Poetry

Virgil: The Georgics

Mosaïque_des_Saisons_(Louvre)_élevage_de_chèvresThe Georgics (Latin: Georgica) is a didactic poem by Virgil (70-19 BC) on agriculture and rural life, after the manner of Hesiod's Works and Days. Completed in 29 BC, it was his second major poem after the Eclogues.

Book 1 focuses on arable farming and the disruption caused by the murder of Caesar, underlining that Virgil's portrait of rural peace had political undertones. The same could be said of his praise of rural Italy in book 2, which concentrates on the cultivation of trees such as the olive and the vine, while Book 3 covers cattle farming. Book 4 deals with bee-keeping, introducing an influential metaphor for human society.

English translators of the Georgics include John Dryden, who famously accounted it 'the best poem of the best poet.'

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Free online texts

Gutenberg: The Georgics. English translation. Multiple formats.

Internet Archive: The Georgics of Virgil, translated by William Sotheby (1808). Multiple formats.

Internet Classics Archive: The Georgics. HTML and TXT formats.

Liberty Fund: Georgics, translated by Arthur S. Way. Multiple formats.

LoebulusL063N - Virgil -- Eclogues. Georgics. Aeneid, Books 1-6. PDF of public domain Loeb edition in Latin and English.

Perseus: Latin text and English translation by J.B. Greenough. HTML and XML formats.

Poetry in Translation: The Georgics, translated by A.S. Kline (2001). Multiple formats.

Sacred Texts: Georgics. Latin text and prose translation by J.W. MacKail. HTML format.

Theoi: Georgics, translated by H.R. Fairclough. HTML format.

Times Literary Supplement: The Bees (Virgil’s Georgics: Book IV), translated by Peter McDonald. 6 September 2016.

University of Adelaide: The Georgics, translated by J.B. Greenough. Multiple formats.

University of Michigan: Virgil's Georgics, translated by John Dryden. HTML format.

Wikisource: Latin text and multiple English translations. HTML and other formats.

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Ovid: Metamorphoses

ActaeonThe Metamorphoses is a a Latin narrative poem in fifteen books by Publius Ovidius Naso (43 BC-17/18 CE), better known in English as Ovid. The theme of transformation unites a disparate collection of legendary stories which progress from the beginning of the universe to the deification of Julius Caesar. In some tales, however, the metamorphosis is a minor element in the story, leading many scholars to look for other interpretations of the poem.

Notable English translations in the public domain include the 1567 edition of Arthur Golding, the version known to Shakespeare, who mentions no classical poet in his works except for Ovid; an edition by George Sandys in the 1620s, and the 1717 edition of Sir Samuel Garth, whose translators included John Dryden, Joseph Addison, Alexander Pope and William Congreve as well as Garth himself.

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Free online texts

Elizabethan Authors: The Fifteen Books of Ovid's Metamorphoses, translated by Arthur Golding. HTML format.

Gutenberg: The Metamorphoses of Ovid, translated by Henry T. Riley (1893). Multiple formats.

Internet Archive: Shakespeare's Ovid, translated by Arthur Golding, edited by W.H.D. Rouse. Multiple formats.

Internet Classics Archive: Metamorphoses, translated by Sir Samuel Garth, John Dryden, et al. HTML and TXT formats.

Latin Library: Metamorphoses. Latin text. HTML format.

Loebulus: L042 - Ovid -- Metamorphoses I: Books 1-8. L043 - Ovid -- Metamorphoses II: Books 9-15. Public domain Loeb edition. PDF format.

Open Book Publishers: Ovid, Metamorphoses, 3.511-733. Latin Text with Introduction, Commentary, Glossary of Terms, Vocabulary Aid and Study Questions. HTML and PDF formats free, others paid.

Perseus: Latin text with Golding and Brookes More translations. HTML and XML format.

Poetry in Translation: The Metamorphoses, translated by A.S. Kline (2000). Multiple formats.

Sacred Texts: Metamorphoses, translated by Garth et al. HTML format.

Theoi: Metamorphoses, translated by Brookes More (1922). HTML format.

University of Adelaide: Ovid's Metamorphoses, translated by Garth et al. Multiple formats.

University of Virginia Library: The Metamorphoses. Multiple texts and other resources.

Wikisource: Latin text and English translations. HTML and other formats.

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Seneca: Medea

Medea, by Artemisia GentileschiMedea by Seneca is a Latin adaptation of Euripides' play of the same name. Seneca alters some details of the plot and makes Medea a more calculating figure than in Euripides' portrayal.

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Free online texts
Gutenberg: Two Tragedies of Seneca - Medea and The Daughters of Troy by Lucius Annaeus Seneca, verse translation by Ella Isabel Harris. Multiple formats. 

How To Be a Stoic: Seneca on anger: the Medea, by Massimo Pigliucci.

Internet Archive: Two tragedies of Seneca, Medea and The daughters of Troy, edited by Ella Isabel Harris (1899). Multiple formats.

Latin Library: Medea. Latin text, HTML format.

Loebulus. L062N -  Tragedies I: Hercules Furens. Troades. Medea. Hippolytus. Oedipus. PDF of public domain Loeb edition in Latin and English.

Theoi: Medea, translated by Frank Justus Miller. HTML format.

Wikisource: Multiple English translations. HTML format.

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Seneca: The Trojan Women

Marie-Lan Nguyen - Wikimedia CommonsThe Trojan Women (Latin: Troades) by Seneca is a Latin adaptation of Euripides' play of the same name, along with elements of the latter's Hecuba.

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Gutenberg: Two Tragedies of Seneca - Medea and The Daughters of Troy by Lucius Annaeus Seneca, verse translation by Ella Isabel Harris. Multiple formats. 

Internet Archive: The Ten Tragedies of Seneca. Latin text with English translation by Watson Bradshaw (1902). Multiple formats.

Loebulus. L062N - Tragedies I: Hercules Furens. Troades. Medea. Hippolytus. Oedipus. PDF of public domain Loeb edition in Latin and English.

Theoi: Troades, translated by Frank Justus Miller. HTML format.

Wikisource: The Trojan Women, English translation by Miller. HTML and other formats.

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Seneca: The Madness of Hercules

Picture by Marie-Lan Nguyen - Wikimedia CommonsThe Madness of Hercules (Latin: Hercules Furens) by Seneca the Younger is a Latin adaptation of Euripides' play of the same name. There are some differences in the plot. For example, instead of threatening to kill Hercules' children, the Theban usurper Lycus seeks to marry his wife Megara.

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Free online texts

Internet Archive:  Three tragedies of Seneca: Hercules furens, Troades, Medea, edited by H.M. Kingery (1908). Latin text, multiple formats.

Internet Archive: The Ten Tragedies of Seneca. Latin text with English translation by Watson Bradshaw (1902). Multiple formats.

Loebulus. L062N -  Tragedies I: Hercules Furens. Troades. Medea. Hippolytus. Oedipus. PDF of public domain Loeb edition in Latin and English.

Perseus: Hercules Furens. Latin text. HTML and XML formats.

Theo.com: Herculens Furens, translated by Frank Justus Miller (1917). HTML format.

Wikisource: English translations. HTML and other formats.

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Sophocles: Oedipus at Colonus

Oedipus at Colonus, Jean-Antoine-Théodore Giroust, 1788, Dallas Museum of ArtOedipus at Colonus (Greek: Οἰδίπους ἐπὶ Κολωνῷ, Oidipous epi Kolōnō, Latin: Oedipus Coloneus) is a tragedy by Sophocles, written shortly before his death in 406/405 BCE. It was produced at Athens by his grandson Sophocles the Younger in 401 BC.

It is thus the latest of the three 'Theban plays', in which Sophocles deals with the legends surrounding Oedipus and his family. Although the plays do not constitute a trilogy, it is tempting to see the portrayal of Oedipus' search for a place to die in peace, as the final reflection of the aging Sophocles on his earlier masterpiece Oedipus Rex.

The events at Colonus, a deme on the outskirts of Athens, are set some years after the earlier play. The protection afforded King Theseus allows Sophocles to portray Athens as a bastion of justice, where the exiled Oedipus is able to find some dignity. We nevertheless see a glimpse of old passions in his curse against his sons, setting up the events which had previously been portrayed by Aeschylus in the Seven Against Thebes, and by Sophocles himself in the Antigone.

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Free online texts

Fadedpage.com: Oedipus at Colonus, translated by Gilbert Murray. Multiple formats.

Gutenberg: Plays of Sophocles: Oedipus the King; Oedipus at Colonus; Antigone; translated by Francis Storr.

Internet Archive: Oedipus at Colonus, Greek text edited by August Meineke (1863). Multiple formats.

Internet Archive: Sophocles - Oedipus Tyrannus, Oedipus at Colonus, Antigone, translated by John Swinnerton Phillimore (1902). Multiple formats.

Internet Classics Archive: Oedipus at Colonus, translated by F. Storr. HTML and TXT formats.

Loebulus. L020 - Sophocles -- Sophocles I: Oedipus the King. Oedipus at Colonus. Antigone. PDF of public domain Loeb edition in Greek and English.

Perseus: Greek text edited by Francis Storr (1912). English translation and notes by Richard Jebb (1889). HTML and XML formats.

Poetry in Translation: Oedipus at Colonus, translated by George Theodoridis. Multiple formats.

University of Adelaide: The Oedipus Trilogy (Oedipus the King - Oedipus at Colonus - Antigone), translated by F. Storr. Multiple formats.

Wikisource: Greek text and multiple English translations, including Plumptre (1878), Storr (1913) and Jebb (1917).

Performances and Reviews

British Theatre Guide: Oedipus at Colonus, Theatro Technis, reviewed by Howard Loxton.

The New Hampshire, Oedipus at Colonus, reviewed by Alex La Roza, 2 March 2017.

Nuvo: NoExit's Oedipus at Colonus at IMA, reviewed by Scott Shoger, May 2012.

 Other Resources

Ancient-literature.com: Oedipus at Colonus - synopsis and analysis.

Classical Wisdom: Oedipus at Colonus - the tale of two ancient deaths.

Grand Valley State University: Notes and questions for Oedipus at Colonus.

History of Ancient Greece: Sophocles, podcast by Ryan Stitt.

Librivox: Oedipus at Colonus, public domain audiobooks based on translations by Jebb and Storr.

Literature and History: The Requiem at Athens - Sophocles' Three Theban Plays, Part 2 - Oedipus at Colonus. Podcast and transcript by Doug Metzger.

QUATR.US Study Guides: Oedipus at Colonus, by Karen Carr.

Stockerblog: Oedipus at Colonus, by Barry Stocker.

Text Etc: Translating Sophocles 2 & 3, by C. John Holcombe.

Theatre Database: Oedipus at Colonus, essay excerpted from The Tragic Drama of the Greeks, by A.E. Haigh.

Wikipedia: Sophocles - Oedipus at Colonus.

The Great Conversation: Further reading at Tom's Learning Notes.

Sophocles: The other Theban plays - Oedipus the King and Antigone.

Aeschylus: Seven Against Thebes - tells the story of Oedipus' sons.

Aeschylus: Eumenides - shares a similar emphasis on Athens as the seat of justice.

Aristotle: The Poetics.

A.E. Haigh: The Tragic Drama of the Greeks (1896).

 Ancient Greek resources: Learn to read Greek classics in the original.

Bloom's Western Canon: Oedipus at Colonus is listed.


Dante: The Divine Comedy

Domenico di Michelino, La Divina Commedia di Dante (Dante and the Divine Comedy). 1465 fresco, in the dome of the church of Santa Maria del Fiore in Florence. Wikipedia.The Divine Comedy (Italian: Divina Commedia) is a poem by Dante Alighieri (1265-1321). In three canticles; Inferno, Purgatorio and Paradiso, it describes Dante's progress on a mystic journey, through hell and purgatory, escorted by the poet Virgil, and through Heaven guided by Beatrice, an idealised portrait of the historical Florentine woman who was the object of Dante's unrequited love.

The poem is generally considered one of the central works of western literature. It gave profound expression of the medieval worldview, in an educated vernacular which would pave the way for renaissance humanism. Itself densely allusive, the work has inspired poets, painters and artists of all kinds ever since.

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Danteonline.it: Commedia. Italian text. HTML format.

Dartmouth College: DanteLab - a customisable digital reader.

Gutenberg: The Divine Comedy, translated by H.F. Cary. Multiple formats.

Gutenberg: The Divine Comedy, translated by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow.  Multiple formats.

Gutenberg: The Divine Comedy, translated by Charles Eliot Norton. Vol I. Hell | Vol. II Purgatory | Vol III Paradise. Multiple formats.

Internet Archive: The Divine Comedy of Dante Alighieri, translated by Henry F. Cary. Harvard Classics Edition. Multiple formats.

ItalianStudies.org: The Divine Comedy, translated by James Finn Cotter. HTML format.

Online Library of Liberty: The Divine Comedy, Italian text and English translation by Courtney Langdon. Multiple formats.

Poetry in Translation: The Divine Comedy, prose translation by A.S. Kline. Multiple formats.

Sacred Texts: The Divine Comedy -  Italian textEnglish translation by H.F. Cary (1888). TXT format.

University of Adelaide: The Divine Comedy - The Vision of Hell, Purgatory, and Paradise, translated by Henry Francis Cary; illustrated by Gustave Doré. Multiple formats.

Wikisource: Divina Commedia - Italian text, multiple formats. Divine Comedy, translated by Longfellow. HTML and other formats.

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Sappho: Poems

Alcaeus and Sappho. Attic red-figure kalathos from Akragas ca. 470 BC. Via Wikimedia Commons user Bibi Saint-Pol.Sappho (Greek: Ψάπφω) was an archaic Greek poet from the island of Lesbos. Little is known for certain of her biography, but she is thought to have lived from around 630 to 570 BCE.

Only one complete poem of hers survives, the Ode to Aphrodite. Other extant fragments include some discovered as recently as 2014.

To the ancients, Sappho was one of the nine canonical lyric poets, and was sometimes described as the 'tenth muse'. In modern times, her work has attracted much interest for its expression of female autonomy and sexuality. The use of the term 'lesbian' to describe female homosexuality is a reference to her.

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Free online texts

Bibliowiki: The Poems of Sappho, translated by Edwin Marion Cox. HTML format.

Guardian: Read Sappho's 'new' poem, translated by Tim Whitmarsh. HTML format.

Gutenberg: The Poems of Sappho - An Interpretative Rendition into English , by John Myers O'Hara. Multiple formats. 

Gutenberg: Sappho - A New Rendering, by Henry De Vere Stacpoole. Multiple formats.

Harvard Center for Hellenic Studies: Sappho Fragments 58–59 - Text, Apparatus Criticus, and Translation, by Dirk Obbink. HTML format.

Internet Archive: Sappho - One Hundred Lyrics, translated by Bliss Carman (1907). Multiple formats.

Internet Archive: Sappho - Poetic Fragments, by D.M. Myatt. Multiple formats.

Internet Archive: Sappho - The Poems and Fragments. Greek text with an English translation by C.R. Haines (1926). Multiple formats.

Loebulus. L142 - Lyra Graeca I: Terpander. Alcman. Sappho. Alcaeus. PDF of public domain Loeb edition in Greek and English.

Middlebury College: Sappho -New Poem No. 58 from the Koln papyrus, translated by William Harris. HTML format.

Peitho's Web: Sappho, translated by H.T. Wharton (1895). HTML format archived at the Internet Archive.

Sacred texts: The Poems of Sappho, translated by John Mysers O'Hara (1910). HTML format.

Sacred texts: The Poems of Sappho, Greek text and English translation by Edwin Marion Cox (1925). HTML and unicode formats.

University of Houston: Fragments of Sappho, translated by Julia Dubnoff. HTML format.

Wikisource: Greek texts.

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Snorri Sturluson: The Prose Edda

Gylfi and three speakers. Manuscript SAM 66 (Iceland, 1765–1766), Reykjavík, Árni Magnússon Institute for Icelandic Studies. Via Wikipedia.The Prose Edda, also known as the Younger Edda or Snorri's Edda (Icelandic: Snorra Edda) is a compilation of Old Norse legends traditionally attributed to the the 13th Century Icelandic scholar Snorri Sturluson. Originally known simply as The Edda, it's later title differentiates it from collections based on the Codex Regius, which became known as The Poetic Edda.

The work is composed of four sections:

  • The Prologue presents an account of the Norse Gods tracing their ancestry to the ancient Trojans, and providing subsequent genealogies influenced by Anglo-Saxon tradition.
  • Gylfaginning - Tells the story of King Gylfi of Sweden and his encounter with three mysterious beings, High, Just-As-High, and Third. Their dialogue provides the frame for an account of the old pagan Norse cosmology.
  • Skáldskaparmál - A dialogue between Ægir, the Norse god of the sea, and Bragi, the god of poetry touching on Norse myth and the poetic language in which it found expression. In particular it gives a detailed list of the figurative expressions known as kennings.
  • Háttatal - A technical discussion of the verse forms of Old Norse poetry.


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Free online texts

Gutenberg: The Younger Edda, translated by Rasmus Bjorn Anderson. Multiple formats. 

Heimskringla: Edda Snorri Sturlusonar - Old Norse and modern Scandinavian texts. HTML format.

Internet Archive: The Prose Edda, translated by Arthur Gilchrist Brodeur. Multiple formats.

Sacred Texts: The Prose Edda, translated by Arthur Gilchrist Brodeur. HTML format.

Septentrionalia: Prose Edda, Old Norse texts, pdf format.

Viking Society for Northern Research: Edda, by Snorri Sturluson, translated by Anthony Faulkes. PDF format.

Viking Society for Northern Research: Prose Edda - Prologue and Glyfaginning. Old Norse text. PDF format.

Wikisource: Prose Edda, translated by Rasmus Bjorn Anderson.

Other Resources

Librivox: The Prose Edda, public domain audiobook.

Wikipedia: Prose Edda.

The Great Conversation: Further reading at Tom's Learning Notes

The Poetic Edda.

The Anglo-Saxon Chronicle.

Virgil: The Aeneid - Like many medieval European texts, the Edda employs Virgil as a model in linking local traditions to a classical heritage.

Bloom's Western Canon: The Prose Edda is listed.


Euripides: Heracleidae

Hercules and Iolaus, Fountain mosaic from the Anzio Nymphaeum, Museo Nazionale RomanoHeracleidae or the Children of Heracles (Ancient Greek: Ἡρακλεῖδαι) is a tragedy by Euripides, probably first produced in Athensvaround 430 BC, in the early years of the Peloponnesian War. Its subject may have had a political resonance at the time, as Heracles was said to be the ancestor of the Dorian Greeks, a group which included the Athenians' main adversaries, the Spartans.

The play opens after Heracles' death, with his children fleeing persecution by Eurystheus, King of Argos. Accompanied by their uncle Iolaus, they take refuge at Athens. When King Demophon, son of Theseus refuses to give them up, Eurystheus declares war. Heracles' daughter Macaria offers herself as a sacrifice to ensure Athenian victory. With the aid of Heracles' eldest son, Hyllus, Eurystheus is defeated and captured.

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Free online texts

Gutenberg: The Tragedies of Euripides, Vol I, translated by Theodore Alois Buckley (1892). Multiple formats. 

Internet Archive: Heracleidae, Greek text with notes by E.A. Beck (1882). Multiple formats.

Internet Archive: Heracleidae, Greek text with notes by C.S. Jerram (1888). Multiple formats.

Internet Classics Archive: Heracleidae, translated by E.P. Coleridge. HTML and TXT formats.

Loebulus: L011N - Euripides -- Euripides III: Bacchanals. Madness of Hercules. Children of Hercules. Phoenician Maidens. Suppliants. Greek and English parallel text. Loeb edition, PDF format.

Perseus: Greek text and English translation by David Kovacs. Multiple formats.

Poetry in Translation: Herakleidae, translated by George Theodoridis (2010). Multiple formats.

Topostext: Heracleidae, translated by E.P. Coleridge. HTML format with accompanying map.

University of Adelaide: Heracleidae, translated by E.P. Coleridge. Multiple formats.

Wikisource: Greek text and English translation. HTML and other formats.

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