Quid frustra quereris, colone, mecum,
quod quondam bene fructuosa malus
autumnis sterilis duobus adstem?
non me praegravat, ut putas, senectus,
nec sum grandine verberata dura,
nec gemmas modo germine exeuntes
seri frigoris ustulavit aura,
nec venti pluviaeve siccitasve,
quod de se quererer, malum dederunt;
non sturnus mihi graculusve raptor
aut cornix anus aut aquosus anser
aut corvus nocuit siticulosus,
sed quod carmina pessimi poetae
ramis sustineo laboriosis.
Why, cultivator, vainly moan to me
That I, a fruitful apple-tree whilom,
For two autumnal seasons barren stand?
Weighs me not down (as deemest thou) old age
Nor am I floggèd by the hailstone hard,
Nor yet my burgeon-gems a-budding new
Are burnt by rigours of a wintry spring:
Neither the winds nor rains nor yet the droughts
Caused just complaining to the apple-tree;
Nor me the starling or the robber 'Daw
Or crow as crone old-grown or watery goose
Or thirsty raven e'er endamagèd.
No! but from bearing scribblers' rubbish verse
On labouring branches comes mine every woe.
Why dost thou vainly complain, O husbandman, that I, once a well-fruited apple tree, have now remained sterile throughout two autumns? 'Tis not old age, as thou imaginest, which tells upon me; nor have I been beaten by a violent hailstorm; nor has an unseasonable wintry blast nipped off the blossoms just breaking forth from the stem. Neither have winds, nor rain, nor droughts, given the apple tree any cause to murmur. The starling, the plundering 'daw, the old crow, the water-loving goose, the thirsty raven, none of these has injured me; but the verses of the most execrable of poetasters which I bear on my grievously overladen branches.