This is from the UVM Latin Day program. I do not speak or read Latin, but am a huge proponent of students taking it. Indeed, if I had my way all students would take a year before taking French, Spanish and the like. How else can you learn English without knowing its origins. The University of Vermont has a yearly Latin Day, and a recitation of this poem is part of it in 2010. It is an interesting program worth checking out here.
From “The Aenied”, Aeneas admires the building in progress at Carthage
and compares the workers to bees. It’s quite simple, and you can talk about metaphor and similes with their students. Also, you can discuss work habits!
The original is below the translation (by John Dryden!).
Aeneid 1. 430-37
Such is their toil, and such their busy pains,
As exercise the bees in flow’ry plains,
When winter past, and summer scarce begun,
Invites them forth to labor in the sun;
Some lead their youth abroad, while some condense
Their liquid store, and some in cells dispense;
Some at the gate stand ready to receive
The golden burthen, and their friends relieve;
All with united force, combine to drive
The lazy drones from the laborious hive:
With envy stung, they view each other’s deeds;
The fragrant work with diligence proceeds.
Qualis apes aestate nova per florea rura
exercet sub sole labor, cum gentis adultos
educunt fetus, aut cum liquentia mella
stipant et dulci distendunt nectare cellas,
aut onera accipiunt venientum, aut agmine facto
ignavom fucos pecus a praesepibus arcent:
fervet opus, redolentque thymo fragrantia mella.