When Dante walks through Limbo in the Inferno, he talks to a group that he identifies as the five greatest poets in history: Homer, Virgil, Ovid, Horace, and Lucan. While Dante, as an Italian, obviously stacks the deck in favor of Roman poets, his list highlights the importance of the two selections in this chapter: Virgil’s Aeneid and Ovid’s Metamorphoses. While Horace and Lucan are no longer quite as famous as the others, literary critics today recognize the influence and quality of Virgil and Ovid’s works.
Although they were (roughly) contemporaries, the older Virgil had grown up in a world split by civil wars: first Julius Caesar against Pompey the Great, and later Mark Antony (and Cleopatra) against Julius Caesar’s nephew Octavian, who would take the name Augustus Caesar when he became the first Roman Emperor. Ovid was born after the civil wars were over. As a result, Virgil was an advocate for stability in his poetry, while Ovid took a much freer approach in his works.
Virgil reshapes the story of Aeneas to demonstrate what he (and Augustus) saw as the perfect Roman values. Aeneas, however, is not simply a reflection of Virgil’s time period; the Aeneid attempts to use literature to shape real life by showing a model hero worthy of inspiring imitation. To a certain extent, Virgil succeeds, at least in future generations. Ovid is more of a reflection of Virgil’s actual time period. Ovid’s witty sophistication and humorous excesses in his early love poetry provide us with a more decadent picture of Rome. Both poets turn to epic poetry later in life, but for opposite reasons: one to create order out of chaos, and one to question (in all seriousness) whether that order is artificial.
Augustus Caesar’s reaction to each poet epitomizes the difference between them. Virgil was directed by Augustus to write the Aeneid, which rewrites history to explain how Rome was pre-ordained by the gods to be an empire. Virgil’s depiction of the fall of Troy includes Roman fighting techniques and religious beliefs (such as the lares, or household gods) that would have been foreign to Homer’s Greeks and Trojans. Since the Aeneid includes the deification of Augustus (foretold in Aeneid 6), it is a splendid piece of propaganda for a man who only called himself the son of the deified (Julius Caesar), rather than a god. When Virgil was dying, he asked that the nearly complete manuscript be burnt; Augustus ordered the manuscript to be finished and published. Conversely, Ovid’s work challenged the very notion that the people around him were anything but human. Ovid’s works included a book of letters by the women who are abandoned by the so-called heroes of mythology (the Heroides), a scandalous book of love poetry (the Amores), and a manual on how to pick up women (the Ars Amatoria). In particular, the Ars Amatoria was so popular that he wrote a section on how women could pick up men (hardly an example of early feminism, but unusual for the time). Ovid’s view of power was skeptical, at best, since the Metamorphoses catalogues the bad behavior of the gods that led us to the present state of affairs. In Metamorphoses 15, Ovid explains why the gods allowed Julius Caesar to be killed, followed by a prayer that Augustus should have more time on earth before the gods take him too: not exactly the emphasis that Augustus might have preferred. Exiled by Augustus for his scandalous poetry, Ovid was never allowed to return to Rome.
Although Roman culture had appropriated Greek literature and religion, changing the names of characters and gods but continuing their stories, there were significant differences in Roman religious practices. Worship of the most important gods was directed by the flamines maiores (the “major priests”) of the three principle cults (to Jupiter, Mars, and Quirinus), while the flamines minores (or “minor priests”) directed the worship of the rest of the gods. The Romans had quite a few gods that had no equivalent among the Greek gods, and their identities sometimes altered over time. In certain cases, earlier Roman gods were absorbed into another god’s identity or replaced entirely. For example, the Greek goddess Artemis was, over time, equated with the Roman goddess Diana, who also came to be identified with the Greek goddess Hecate, whose rough equivalent was the Roman goddess Trivia. All four figures eventually were identified as one goddess, who had multiple aspects to her power, and who was worshipped by multiple names. Apollo, however, had no equivalent match among the Roman gods, so he remained Apollo. The following comparison of Greek and Roman gods is particularly useful for anyone who has read Homer’s works.
Roman Name Greek Name
Minerva Athena (or Pallas Athena)
As you read, consider the following questions:
How does each epic portray the gods? How do humans feel about the gods in each work?
How is the view of “Fate” different in these works from the earlier Greek texts? In particular, what can the gods do in Roman literature that they cannot do in Greek literature?
What is human nature like in each of the stories? Are there any similarities?
What view of authority does each epic seem to recommend? Why?
What is the definition of a hero in each work? How do we know, based on the evidence in the texts?
Is there a unified view of “duty” in these works? Why or why not?
Written by Laura J. Getty
Virgil (70-19 B.C.E.)
Published around 19 B.C.E. Rome
The Aeneid is a Roman epic purporting to explain how Trojans fleeing the fall of Troy become the ancestors of the Romans: in essence, a continuation of Homer’s Iliad. The story centers on Aeneas, a prince of Troy and the son of Venus/Aphrodite, who leads the search for a new homeland. The epic was commissioned by the first Roman emperor, Augustus Caesar, to justify why Rome was no longer a republic: According to the story, the gods themselves planned for Rome to become an empire long before Rome ever existed, and legend is rewritten so that the Trojan Aeneas (who appears in Homer’s Iliad) becomes the model Roman citizen. Virgil’s execution of the story is more complex, recognizing as it does that the price for the foundation of Rome is a steep one. In Virgil’s time, Greek literature enjoyed more prestige than Roman literature, so the Aeneid attempts in part to revise and replace earlier Greek epics; the first six books of the Aeneid are a conscious parallel to Homer’s Odyssey, and the last six books refigure Homer’s Iliad. Because of the widespread use of Latin in the European Middle Ages, Virgil’s perspective on history (and figures that he considered to be historical) exerted considerable influence on writers who followed him.
Written by Laura J. Getty
1.2.1 The Aeneid
Virgil, translated by John Dryden
Edited, Annotated, and Compiled by Rhonda L. Kelley
License: CC BY-SA 4.0
Arms And The Man
Arms, and the man I sing,1 who, forc’d by fate,
And haughty Juno’s2 unrelenting hate,
Expell’d and exil’d, left the Trojan shore.3
Long labors, both by sea and land, he bore,
And in the doubtful war, before he won
His banish’d gods restor’d to rites divine,
And settled sure succession in his line,6
From whence the race of Alban7 fathers come,
And the long glories of majestic Rome.
O Muse! the causes and the crimes relate;
What goddess was provok’d, and whence her hate;
For what offense the Queen of Heav’n began
To persecute so brave, so just a man;
Involv’d his anxious life in endless cares,
Expos’d to wants, and hurried into wars!
Can heav’nly minds such high resentment show,
Or exercise their spite in human woe?
Against the Tiber’s8 mouth, but far away,
An ancient town was seated on the sea;
A Tyrian9 colony; the people made
Stout for the war, and studious of their trade:
Carthage the name; belov’d by Juno more
Than her own Argos, or the Samian shore.
Here stood her chariot; here, if Heav’n were kind,
The seat of awful empire she design’d.
Yet she had heard an ancient rumor fly,
(Long cited by the people of the sky,)
That times to come should see the Trojan race
Her Carthage ruin, and her tow’rs deface;10
Nor thus confin’d, the yoke of sov’reign sway
Should on the necks of all the nations lay.
She ponder’d this, and fear’d it was in fate;
Nor could forget the war she wag’d of late11
For conqu’ring Greece against the Trojan state.
Besides, long causes working in her mind,
And secret seeds of envy, lay behind;
Deep graven in her heart the doom remain’d
Of partial Paris, and her form disdain’d;12
The grace bestow’d on ravish’d Ganymed,13
Electra’s glories,14 and her injur’d bed.
Each was a cause alone; and all combin’d
To kindle vengeance in her haughty mind.
For this, far distant from the Latian coast15
She drove the remnants of the Trojan host;
And sev’n long years th’ unhappy wand’ring train
Were toss’d by storms, and scatter’d thro’ the main.
Such time, such toil, requir’d the Roman name,
Such length of labor for so vast a frame.
Now scarce the Trojan fleet, with sails and oars,
Had left behind the fair Sicilian shores,
Ent’ring with cheerful shouts the wat’ry reign,
And plowing frothy furrows in the main;
When, lab’ring still with endless discontent,
The Queen of Heav’n did thus her fury vent:
“Then am I vanquish’d? must I yield?” said she,
“And must the Trojans reign in Italy?
So Fate will have it, and Jove adds his force;
Nor can my pow’r divert their happy course.
Could angry Pallas,16 with revengeful spleen,
The Grecian navy burn, and drown the men?
She, for the fault of one offending foe,17
The bolts of Jove himself presum’d to throw:
With whirlwinds from beneath she toss’d the ship,
And bare expos’d the bosom of the deep;
Then, as an eagle gripes the trembling game,
The wretch, yet hissing with her father’s flame,
She strongly seiz’d, and with a burning wound
Transfix’d, and naked, on a rock she bound.
But I, who walk in awful state above,
The majesty of heav’n, the sister wife of Jove,
For length of years my fruitless force employ
Against the thin remains of ruin’d Troy!
What nations now to Juno’s pow’r will pray,
Or off ’rings on my slighted altars lay?”
Thus rag’d the goddess;
Image 4.1: Augustus | Etching of a bust of Augustus, the first Roman emperor.
Source: Hathi Trust Digital Library
License: Public Domain
34-80 As the Trojans are sailing from Sicily on the last stage of their voyage to Italy Juno intervenes to stop them. She goes to Aeolus, king of the winds, and urges him to stir up a storm and wreck the Trojans. He agrees to do so.
81-123 Aeolus causes the storm to begin; Aeneas is panic-stricken, and prays for death. The ships are buffeted, and that of Orontes sinks.
124-156 Neptune intervenes, angrily rebukes the winds, and calms the storm.
The weary Trojans ply their shatter’d oars
To nearest land, and make the Libyan shores.18
Within a long recess there lies a bay:
An island shades it from the rolling sea,
And forms a port secure for ships to ride;
Broke by the jutting land, on either side,
In double streams the briny waters glide.
Betwixt two rows of rocks a sylvan scene19
Appears above, and groves for ever green:
A grot is form’d beneath, with mossy seats,
To rest the Nereids,20 and exclude the heats.
Down thro’ the crannies of the living walls
The crystal streams descend in murm’ring falls:
No haulsers need to bind the vessels here,
Nor bearded anchors; for no storms they fear.
Sev’n ships within this happy harbor meet,
The thin remainders of the scatter’d fleet.
The Trojans, worn with toils, and spent with woes,
Leap on the welcome land, and seek their wish’d repose.
First, good Achates21, with repeated strokes
Of clashing flints, their hidden fire provokes:
Short flame succeeds; a bed of wither’d leaves
The dying sparkles in their fall receives:
Caught into life, in fiery fumes they rise,
And, fed with stronger food, invade the skies.
The Trojans, dropping wet, or stand around
The cheerful blaze, or lie along the ground:
Some dry their corn, infected with the brine,
Then grind with marbles, and prepare to dine.
Aeneas climbs the mountain’s airy brow,
And takes a prospect of the seas below,
If Capys thence, or Antheus he could spy,
Or see the streamers of Caicus fly.22
No vessels were in view; but, on the plain,
Three beamy stags command a lordly train
Of branching heads: the more ignoble throng
Attend their stately steps, and slowly graze along.
He stood; and, while secure they fed below,
He took the quiver and the trusty bow
Achates23 us’d to bear: the leaders first
He laid along, and then the vulgar pierc’d;
Nor ceas’d his arrows, till the shady plain
Sev’n mighty bodies with their blood distain.
For the sev’n ships he made an equal share,
And to the port return’d, triumphant from the war. 24
The jars of gen’rous wine (Acestes’ gift,
When his Trinacrian25 shores the navy left)
He set abroach, and for the feast prepar’d,
In equal portions with the ven’son shar’d.
Thus while he dealt it round, the pious chief
With cheerful words allay’d the common grief:
“Endure, and conquer! Jove will soon dispose
To future good our past and present woes.
With me, the rocks of Scylla26 you have tried;
Th’ inhuman Cyclops27 and his den defied.
What greater ills hereafter can you bear?
Resume your courage and dismiss your care,
An hour will come, with pleasure to relate
Your sorrows past, as benefits of Fate.
Thro’ various hazards and events, we move
To Latium and the realms foredoom’d by Jove.
Call’d to the seat (the promise of the skies)
Where Trojan kingdoms once again may rise,
Endure the hardships of your present state;
Live, and reserve yourselves for better fate.”
These words he spoke, but spoke not from his heart;
His outward smiles conceal’d his inward smart.
The jolly crew, unmindful of the past,
The quarry share, their plenteous dinner haste.
Some strip the skin; some portion out the spoil;
The limbs, yet trembling, in the caldrons boil;
Some on the fire the reeking entrails broil.
Stretch’d on the grassy turf, at ease they dine,
Restore their strength with meat, and cheer their souls with wine.
Their hunger thus appeas’d, their care attends
The doubtful fortune of their absent friends:
Alternate hopes and fears their minds possess,
Whether to deem ‘em dead, or in distress.
Above the rest, Aeneas mourns the fate
Of brave Orontes, and th’ uncertain state
Of Gyas, Lycus, and of Amycus.
The day, but not their sorrows, ended thus.
When, from aloft, almighty Jove surveys
Earth, air, and shores, and navigable seas,
At length on Libyan realms he fix’d his eyes-
Whom, pond’ring thus on human miseries,
When Venus28 saw, she with a lowly look,
Not free from tears, her heav’nly sire bespoke:
“O King of Gods and Men! whose awful hand
Disperses thunder on the seas and land,
Disposing all with absolute command;
How could my pious son thy pow’r incense?
Or what, alas! is vanish’d Troy’s offense?
Our hope of Italy not only lost,
On various seas by various tempests toss’d,
But shut from ev’ry shore, and barr’d from ev’ry coast.
You promis’d once, a progeny divine
Of Romans, rising from the Trojan line,
In after times should hold the world in awe,
And to the land and ocean give the law.
How is your doom29 revers’d, which eas’d my care
When Troy was ruin’d in that cruel war?
Then fates to fates I could oppose; but now,
When Fortune still pursues her former blow,
What can I hope? What worse can still succeed?
What end of labors has your will decreed?
Antenor, from the midst of Grecian hosts,
Could pass secure, and pierce th’ Illyrian coasts,
Where, rolling down the steep, Timavus raves
And thro’ nine channels disembogues his waves.
At length he founded Padua’s happy seat,
And gave his Trojans a secure retreat;
There fix’d their arms, and there renew’d their name,
And there in quiet rules, and crown’d with fame.
But we, descended from your sacred line,
Entitled to your heav’n and rites divine,
Are banish’d earth; and, for the wrath of one,
Remov’d from Latium and the promis’d throne.
Are these our scepters? these our due rewards?
And is it thus that Jove his plighted faith regards?”
To whom the Father of th’ immortal race,30
Smiling with that serene indulgent face,
With which he drives the clouds and clears the skies,
First gave a holy kiss; then thus replies:
“Daughter, dismiss thy fears; to thy desire
The fates of thine are fix’d, and stand entire.
Thou shalt behold thy wish’d Lavinian walls;
And, ripe for heav’n, when fate Aeneas calls,
Then shalt thou bear him up, sublime, to me:31
No councils have revers’d my firm decree.
And, lest new fears disturb thy happy state,
Know, I have search’d the mystic rolls of Fate:
Thy son (nor is th’ appointed season far)
In Italy shall wage successful war,
Shall tame fierce nations in the bloody field,
And sov’reign laws impose, and cities build,
Till, after ev’ry foe subdued, the sun
Thrice thro’ the signs his annual race shall run:
This is his time prefix’d. Ascanius then,
Now call’d Iulus, shall begin his reign.
He thirty rolling years the crown shall wear,
Then from Lavinium shall the seat transfer,
And, with hard labor, Alba Longa build.
The throne with his succession shall be fill’d
Three hundred circuits more: then shall be seen
Who, full of Mars, in time, with kindly throes,
Shall at a birth two goodly boys disclose.34
The royal babes a tawny wolf shall drain:
Then Romulus his grandsire’s throne shall gain,
Of martial tow’rs the founder shall become,
The people Romans call, the city Rome.
To them no bounds of empire I assign,
Nor term of years to their immortal line.
Ev’n haughty Juno, who, with endless broils,
Earth, seas, and heav’n, and Jove himself turmoils;
At length aton’d, her friendly pow’r shall join,
To cherish and advance the Trojan line.
The subject world shall Rome’s dominion own,
And, prostrate, shall adore the nation of the gown.35
An age is ripening in revolving fate
When Troy shall overturn the Grecian state,
And sweet revenge her conqu’ring sons shall call,
To crush the people that conspir’d her fall.
Whose empire ocean, and whose fame the skies
Alone shall bound; whom, fraught with eastern spoils,
Our heav’n, the just reward of human toils,
Securely shall repay with rites divine;
And incense shall ascend before his sacred shrine.38
Then dire debate and impious war shall cease,
And the stern age be soften’d into peace:39
Then banish’d Faith shall once again return,
And Vestal fires in hallow’d temples burn;
And Remus with Quirinus shall sustain
The righteous laws, and fraud and force restrain.
Janus40 himself before his fane shall wait,
And keep the dreadful issues of his gate,
With bolts and iron bars: within remains
Imprison’d Fury, bound in brazen chains;
High on a trophy rais’d, of useless arms,
He sits, and threats the world with vain alarms.”
He said, and sent Cyllenius41 with command
To free the ports, and ope the Punic land42
To Trojan guests; lest, ignorant of fate,
The queen43 might force them from her town and state.
Down from the steep of heav’n Cyllenius flies,
And cleaves with all his wings the yielding skies.
Soon on the Libyan shore descends the god,
Performs his message, and displays his rod:
The surly murmurs of the people cease;
And, as the fates requir’d, they give the peace:
The queen herself suspends the rigid laws,
The Trojans pities, and protects their cause.44
Meantime, in shades of night Aeneas lies:
Care seiz’d his soul, and sleep forsook his eyes.
But, when the sun restor’d the cheerful day,
He rose, the coast and country to survey,
Anxious and eager to discover more.
It look’d a wild uncultivated shore;
But, whether humankind, or beasts alone
Possess’d the new-found region, was unknown.
Beneath a ledge of rocks his fleet he hides:
Tall trees surround the mountain’s shady sides;
The bending brow above a safe retreat provides.
Arm’d with two pointed darts, he leaves his friends,
And true Achates on his steps attends.
Lo! in the deep recesses of the wood,
Before his eyes his goddess mother stood:
A huntress in her habit and her mien;
Her dress a maid, her air confess’d a queen.45
Bare were her knees, and knots her garments bind;
Loose was her hair, and wanton’d in the wind;
Her hand sustain’d a bow; her quiver hung behind.
She seem’d a virgin of the Spartan blood:
With such array Harpalyce bestrode
Her Thracian courser and outstripp’d the rapid flood.
“Ho, strangers! have you lately seen,” she said,
“One of my sisters, like myself array’d,
Who cross’d the lawn, or in the forest stray’d?
A painted quiver at her back she bore;
Varied with spots, a lynx’s hide she wore;
And at full cry pursued the tusky boar.”
Thus Venus: thus her son replied again:
“None of your sisters have we heard or seen,
O virgin! or what other name you bear
Above that style- O more than mortal fair!
Your voice and mien celestial birth betray!
If, as you seem, the sister of the day,
Or one at least of chaste Diana’s train,
Let not an humble suppliant sue in vain;
But tell a stranger, long in tempests toss’d,
What earth we tread, and who commands the coast?
Then on your name shall wretched mortals call,
And offer’d victims at your altars fall.”46
“I dare not,” she replied, “assume the name
Of goddess, or celestial honors claim:
For Tyrian virgins bows and quivers bear,
And purple buskins o’er their ankles wear.
Know, gentle youth, in Libyan lands you are-
A people rude in peace, and rough in war.
The rising city, which from far you see,
Is Carthage, and a Tyrian colony.
Phoenician Dido rules the growing state,
Who fled from Tyre, to shun her brother’s hate.47
Great were her wrongs, her story full of fate;
Which I will sum in short. Sichaeus,48 known
For wealth, and brother to the Punic throne,
Possess’d fair Dido’s bed; and either heart
At once was wounded with an equal dart.
Her father gave her, yet a spotless maid;
Pygmalion then the Tyrian scepter sway’d:
One who condemn’d divine and human laws.
Then strife ensued, and cursed gold the cause.
The monarch, blinded with desire of wealth,
With steel invades his brother’s49 life by stealth;
Before the sacred altar made him bleed,
And long from her conceal’d the cruel deed.
Some tale, some new pretense, he daily coin’d,
To soothe his sister, and delude her mind.
At length, in dead of night, the ghost50 appears
Of her unhappy lord: the specter stares,
And, with erected eyes, his bloody bosom bares.
The cruel altars and his fate he tells,
And the dire secret of his house reveals,
Then warns the widow, with her household gods,
To seek a refuge in remote abodes.
Last, to support her in so long a way,
He shows her where his hidden treasure lay.
Admonish’d thus, and seiz’d with mortal fright,
The queen provides companions of her flight:
They meet, and all combine to leave the state,
Who hate the tyrant, or who fear his hate.
They seize a fleet, which ready rigg’d they find;
Nor is Pygmalion’s treasure left behind.
The vessels, heavy laden, put to sea
With prosp’rous winds; a woman leads the way.
I know not, if by stress of weather driv’n,
Or was their fatal course dispos’d by Heav’n;
At last they landed, where from far your eyes
May view the turrets of new Carthage rise;
There bought a space of ground, which (Byrsa call’d,
From the bull’s hide) they first inclos’d, and wall’d.
But whence are you? what country claims your birth?
What seek you, strangers, on our Libyan earth?”
To whom, with sorrow streaming from his eyes,
And deeply sighing, thus her son replies:
“Could you with patience hear, or I relate,
O nymph, the tedious annals of our fate!
Thro’ such a train of woes if I should run,
The day would sooner than the tale be done!
From ancient Troy, by force expell’d, we came-
If you by chance have heard the Trojan name.
On various seas by various tempests toss’d,
At length we landed on your Libyan coast.
The good Aeneas am I call’d- a name,
While Fortune favor’d, not unknown to fame.
My household gods, companions of my woes,
With pious care I rescued from our foes.
To fruitful Italy my course was bent;
And from the King of Heav’n is my descent.
With twice ten sail I cross’d the Phrygian sea;
Fate and my mother goddess led my way.
Scarce sev’n, the thin remainders of my fleet,
From storms preserv’d, within your harbor meet.
Myself distress’d, an exile, and unknown,
Debarr’d from Europe, and from Asia thrown,
In Libyan desarts wander thus alone.”
His tender parent could no longer bear;
But, interposing, sought to soothe his care.
“Whoe’er you are- not unbelov’d by Heav’n,
Since on our friendly shore your ships are driv’n-
Have courage: to the gods permit the rest,
And to the queen expose your just request.
Now take this earnest of success, for more:
Your scatter’d fleet is join’d upon the shore; 51
The winds are chang’d, your friends from danger free;
Or I renounce my skill in augury.
Twelve swans behold in beauteous order move,
And stoop with closing pinions from above;
Whom late the bird of Jove had driv’n along,
And thro’ the clouds pursued the scatt’ring throng:
Now, all united in a goodly team,
They skim the ground, and seek the quiet stream.
As they, with joy returning, clap their wings,
And ride the circuit of the skies in rings;
Not otherwise your ships, and ev’ry friend,
Already hold the port, or with swift sails descend.
No more advice is needful; but pursue
The path before you, and the town in view.”
Thus having said, she turn’d, and made appear
Her neck refulgent, and dishevel’d hair,
Which, flowing from her shoulders, reach’d the ground.
And widely spread ambrosial scents around:
In length of train descends her sweeping gown;
And, by her graceful walk, the Queen of Love is known.
The prince pursued the parting deity
With words like these: “Ah! whither do you fly?
Unkind and cruel! to deceive your son
In borrow’d shapes, and his embrace to shun;
Never to bless my sight, but thus unknown;
And still to speak in accents not your own.”
Against the goddess these complaints he made,
But took the path, and her commands obey’d.
They march, obscure; for Venus kindly shrouds
With mists their persons, and involves in clouds,
That, thus unseen, their passage none might stay,
Or force to tell the causes of their way.
This part perform’d, the goddess flies sublime
To visit Paphos and her native clime;
Where garlands, ever green and ever fair,
With vows are offer’d, and with solemn pray’r:
A hundred altars in her temple smoke;
A thousand bleeding hearts her pow’r invoke.
They52 climb the next ascent, and, looking down,
Now at a nearer distance view the town.
The prince with wonder sees the stately tow’rs,
Which late were huts and shepherds’ homely bow’rs,
The gates and streets; and hears, from ev’ry part,
The noise and busy concourse of the mart.
The toiling Tyrians on each other call
To ply their labor: some extend the wall;
Some build the citadel; the brawny throng
Or dig, or push unwieldly stones along.
Some for their dwellings choose a spot of ground,
Which, first design’d, with ditches they surround.
Some laws ordain; and some attend the choice
Of holy senates, and elect by voice.
Here some design a mole,53 while others there
Lay deep foundations for a theater;
From marble quarries mighty columns hew,
For ornaments of scenes, and future view.
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.
“Thrice happy you, whose walls already rise!”
Aeneas said, and view’d, with lifted eyes,
Their lofty tow’rs; then, entering at the gate,
Conceal’d in clouds (prodigious to relate)
He mix’d, unmark’d, among the busy throng,
Borne by the tide, and pass’d unseen along.
Full in the center of the town there stood,
Thick set with trees, a venerable wood.
The Tyrians, landing near this holy ground,
And digging here, a prosp’rous omen found:
From under earth a courser’s head they drew,
Their growth and future fortune to foreshew.
This fated sign their foundress Juno gave,
Of a soil fruitful, and a people brave.
Sidonian Dido here with solemn state
Did Juno’s temple build, and consecrate,
Enrich’d with gifts, and with a golden shrine;
But more the goddess made the place divine.
On brazen steps the marble threshold rose,
And brazen plates the cedar beams inclose:
The rafters are with brazen cov’rings crown’d;
The lofty doors on brazen hinges sound.
What first Aeneas this place beheld,
Reviv’d his courage, and his fear expell’d.
For while, expecting there the queen, he rais’d
His wond’ring eyes, and round the temple gaz’d,
Admir’d the fortune of the rising town,
The striving artists, and their arts’ renown;
He saw, in order painted on the wall,
Whatever did unhappy Troy befall:
The wars that fame around the world had blown,
All to the life, and ev’ry leader known.
And fierce Achilles,56 who both kings defies.
He stopp’d, and weeping said: “O friend! ev’n here
The monuments of Trojan woes appear!
Our known disasters fill ev’n foreign lands:
See there, where old unhappy Priam stands!
Ev’n the mute walls relate the warrior’s fame,
And Trojan griefs the Tyrians’ pity claim.”
He said (his tears a ready passage find),
Devouring what he saw so well design’d,
And with an empty picture fed his mind:
For there he saw the fainting Grecians yield,
And here the trembling Trojans quit the field,
Pursued by fierce Achilles thro’ the plain,
On his high chariot driving o’er the slain.
The tents of Rhesus next his grief renew,
By their white sails betray’d to nightly view;
And wakeful Diomede,57 whose cruel sword
The sentries slew, nor spar’d their slumb’ring lord,
Then took the fiery steeds, ere yet the food
Of Troy they taste, or drink the Xanthian flood.
Elsewhere he saw where Troilus defied
Achilles, and unequal combat tried;
Then, where the boy disarm’d, with loosen’d reins,
Was by his horses hurried o’er the plains,
Hung by the neck and hair, and dragg’d around:
The hostile spear, yet sticking in his wound,
With tracks of blood inscrib’d the dusty ground.
Meantime the Trojan dames, oppress’d with woe,
To Pallas’ fane in long procession go,
In hopes to reconcile their heav’nly foe.
They weep, they beat their breasts, they rend their hair,
And rich embroider’d vests for presents bear;
But the stern goddess stands unmov’d with pray’r.
Thrice round the Trojan walls Achilles drew
The corpse of Hector, whom in fight he slew.
Here Priam sues; and there, for sums of gold,
The lifeless body of his son is sold.58
So sad an object, and so well express’d,
Drew sighs and groans from the griev’d hero’s breast,
To see the figure of his lifeless friend,
And his old sire his helpless hand extend.
Himself he saw amidst the Grecian train,
Mix’d in the bloody battle on the plain;
And swarthy Memnon59 in his arms he knew,
His pompous ensigns, and his Indian crew.
Penthisilea60 there, with haughty grace,
Leads to the wars an Amazonian race:
In their right hands a pointed dart they wield;
The left, forward, sustains the lunar shield.
Athwart her breast a golden belt she throws,
Amidst the press alone provokes a thousand foes,
And dares her maiden arms to manly force oppose.
Thus while the Trojan prince employs his eyes,
Fix’d on the walls with wonder and surprise,
The beauteous Dido, with a num’rous train
And pomp of guards, ascends the sacred fane.61
Such on Eurotas’ banks, or Cynthus’ height,
Diana62 seems; and so she charms the sight,
When in the dance the graceful goddess leads
The choir of nymphs, and overtops their heads:
Known by her quiver, and her lofty mien,
She walks majestic, and she looks their queen;
Latona63 sees her shine above the rest,
And feeds with secret joy her silent breast.
Such Dido was; with such becoming state,
Amidst the crowd, she walks serenely great.
Their labor to her future sway she speeds,
And passing with a gracious glance proceeds;
Then mounts the throne, high plac’d before the shrine:
In crowds around, the swarming people join.
She takes petitions, and dispenses laws,
Hears and determines ev’ry private cause;
Their tasks in equal portions she divides,
And, where unequal, there by lots decides.
Another way by chance Aeneas bends
His eyes, and unexpected sees his friends,
Antheus, Sergestus grave, Cloanthus strong,
And at their backs a mighty Trojan throng,
Whom late the tempest on the billows toss’d,
And widely scatter’d on another coast.
The prince, unseen, surpris’d with wonder stands,
And longs, with joyful haste, to join their hands;
But, doubtful of the wish’d event, he stays,
And from the hollow cloud his friends surveys,
Impatient till they told their present state,
And where they left their ships, and what their fate,
And why they came, and what was their request;
For these were sent, commission’d by the rest,
To sue for leave to land their sickly men,
And gain admission to the gracious queen.
Ent’ring, with cries they fill’d the holy fane;
Then thus, with lowly voice, Ilioneus began:
“O queen! indulg’d by favor of the gods
To found an empire in these new abodes,
To build a town, with statutes to restrain
The wild inhabitants beneath thy reign,
We wretched Trojans, toss’d on ev’ry shore,
From sea to sea, thy clemency implore.
Forbid the fires our shipping to deface!
Receive th’ unhappy fugitives to grace,
And spare the remnant of a pious race!
We come not with design of wasteful prey,
To drive the country, force the swains away:
Nor such our strength, nor such is our desire;
The vanquish’d dare not to such thoughts aspire.
A land there is, Hesperia nam’d of old;
The soil is fruitful, and the men are bold-
Th’ Oenotrians held it once- by common fame
Now call’d Italia, from the leader’s name.
To that sweet region was our voyage bent,
When winds and ev’ry warring element
Disturb’d our course, and, far from sight of land,
Cast our torn vessels on the moving sand:
The sea came on; the South, with mighty roar,
Dispers’d and dash’d the rest upon the rocky shore.
Those few you see escap’d the Storm, and fear,
Unless you interpose, a shipwreck here.
What men, what monsters, what inhuman race,
What laws, what barb’rous customs of the place,
Shut up a desart shore to drowning men,
And drive us to the cruel seas again?
If our hard fortune no compassion draws,
Nor hospitable rights, nor human laws,
The gods are just, and will revenge our cause.
Aeneas was our prince: a juster lord,
Or nobler warrior, never drew a sword;
Observant of the right, religious of his word.
If yet he lives, and draws this vital air,
Nor we, his friends, of safety shall despair;
Nor you, great queen, these offices repent,
Which he will equal, and perhaps augment.
We want not cities, nor Sicilian coasts,
Where King Acestes Trojan lineage boasts.
Permit our ships a shelter on your shores,
Refitted from your woods with planks and oars,
That, if our prince be safe, we may renew
Our destin’d course, and Italy pursue.
But if, O best of men, the Fates ordain
That thou art swallow’d in the Libyan main,
And if our young Iulus be no more,
Dismiss our navy from your friendly shore,
That we to good Acestes may return,
And with our friends our common losses mourn.”
Thus spoke Ilioneus: the Trojan crew
With cries and clamors his request renew.
The modest queen a while, with downcast eyes,
Ponder’d the speech; then briefly thus replies:
“Trojans, dismiss your fears; my cruel fate,
And doubts attending an unsettled state,
Force me to guard my coast from foreign foes.
Who has not heard the story of your woes,
The name and fortune of your native place,
The fame and valor of the Phrygian race?
We Tyrians are not so devoid of sense,
Nor so remote from Phoebus’ influence.
Whether to Latian shores your course is bent,
Or, driv’n by tempests from your first intent,
You seek the good Acestes’ government,
Your men shall be receiv’d, your fleet repair’d,
And sail, with ships of convoy for your guard:
Or, would you stay, and join your friendly pow’rs
To raise and to defend the Tyrian tow’rs,
My wealth, my city, and myself are yours.
And would to Heav’n, the Storm, you felt, would bring
On Carthaginian coasts your wand’ring king.
My people shall, by my command, explore
The ports and creeks of ev’ry winding shore,
And towns, and wilds, and shady woods, in quest
Of so renown’d and so desir’d a guest.”
Rais’d in his mind the Trojan hero stood,
And long’d to break from out his ambient cloud:
Achates found it, and thus urg’d his way:
“From whence, O goddess-born, this long delay?
What more can you desire, your welcome sure,
Your fleet in safety, and your friends secure?
One only wants; and him we saw in vain
Oppose the Storm, and swallow’d in the main.
Orontes in his fate our forfeit paid;
The rest agrees with what your mother said.”
Scarce had he spoken, when the cloud gave way,
The mists flew upward and dissolv’d in day.
The Trojan chief appear’d in open sight,
August in visage, and serenely bright.
His mother goddess, with her hands divine,
Had form’d his curling locks, and made his temples shine,
And giv’n his rolling eyes a sparkling grace,
And breath’d a youthful vigor on his face;
Like polish’d ivory, beauteous to behold,
Or Parian marble, when enchas’d in gold:
Thus radiant from the circling cloud he broke,
And thus with manly modesty he spoke:
“He whom you seek am I; by tempests toss’d,
And sav’d from shipwreck on your Libyan coast;
Presenting, gracious queen, before your throne,
A prince that owes his life to you alone.
Fair majesty, the refuge and redress
Of those whom fate pursues, and wants oppress,
You, who your pious offices employ
To save the relics of abandon’d Troy;
Receive the shipwreck’d on your friendly shore,
With hospitable rites relieve the poor;
Associate in your town a wand’ring train,
And strangers in your palace entertain:
What thanks can wretched fugitives return,
Who, scatter’d thro’ the world, in exile mourn?
The gods, if gods to goodness are inclin’d;
If acts of mercy touch their heav’nly mind,
And, more than all the gods, your gen’rous heart.
Conscious of worth, requite its own desert!
In you this age is happy, and this earth,
And parents more than mortal gave you birth.
While rolling rivers into seas shall run,
And round the space of heav’n the radiant sun;
While trees the mountain tops with shades supply,
Your honor, name, and praise shall never die.
Whate’er abode my fortune has assign’d,
Your image shall be present in my mind.”
Thus having said, he turn’d with pious haste,
And joyful his expecting friends embrac’d:
With his right hand Ilioneus was grac’d,
Serestus with his left; then to his breast
Cloanthus and the noble Gyas press’d;
And so by turns descended to the rest.
The Tyrian queen stood fix’d upon his face,
Pleas’d with his motions, ravish’d with his grace;
Admir’d his fortunes, more admir’d the man;
Then recollected stood, and thus began:
“What fate, O goddess-born; what angry pow’rs
Have cast you shipwrack’d on our barren shores?
Are you the great Aeneas, known to fame,
Who from celestial seed your lineage claim?
The same Aeneas whom fair Venus bore
To fam’d Anchises on th’ Idaean shore?
It calls into my mind, tho’ then a child,
When Teucer came, from Salamis exil’d,
And sought my father’s aid, to be restor’d:
My father Belus then with fire and sword
Invaded Cyprus, made the region bare,
And, conqu’ring, finish’d the successful war.
From him the Trojan siege I understood,
The Grecian chiefs, and your illustrious blood.
Your foe himself the Dardan valor prais’d,
And his own ancestry from Trojans rais’d.
Enter, my noble guest, and you shall find,
If not a costly welcome, yet a kind:
For I myself, like you, have been distress’d,
Till Heav’n afforded me this place of rest;
Like you, an alien in a land unknown,
I learn to pity woes so like my own.”
She said, and to the palace led her guest;
Then offer’d incense, and proclaim’d a feast.
Nor yet less careful for her absent friends,
Twice ten fat oxen to the ships she sends;
Besides a hundred boars, a hundred lambs,
With bleating cries, attend their milky dams;
And jars of gen’rous wine and spacious bowls
She gives, to cheer the sailors’ drooping souls.
Now purple hangings clothe the palace walls,
And sumptuous feasts are made in splendid halls:
On Tyrian carpets, richly wrought, they dine;
With loads of massy plate the sideboards shine,
And antique vases, all of gold emboss’d
(The gold itself inferior to the cost),
Of curious work, where on the sides were seen
The fights and figures of illustrious men,
From their first founder to the present queen.
The good Aeneas, paternal care
Iulus’64 absence could no longer bear,
Dispatch’d Achates to the ships in haste,
To give a glad relation of the past,
And, fraught with precious gifts, to bring the boy,
Snatch’d from the ruins of unhappy Troy:
A robe of tissue, stiff with golden wire;
An upper vest, once Helen’s65 rich attire,
From Argos by the fam’d adultress brought,
With golden flow’rs and winding foliage wrought,
Her mother Leda’s present, when she came
To ruin Troy and set the world on flame;
The scepter Priam’s eldest daughter bore,
Her orient necklace, and the crown she wore
Of double texture, glorious to behold,
One order set with gems, and one with gold.
Instructed thus, the wise Achates goes,
And in his diligence his duty shows.
But Venus, anxious for her son’s affairs,
New counsels tries, and new designs prepares:
That Cupid should assume the shape and face
Of sweet Ascanius, and the sprightly grace;
Should bring the presents, in her nephew’s stead,
And in Eliza’s veins the gentle poison shed:
For much she fear’d the Tyrians, double-tongued,
And knew the town to Juno’s care belong’d.
These thoughts by night her golden slumbers broke,
And thus alarm’d, to winged Love66 she spoke:
“My son, my strength, whose mighty pow’r alone
Controls the Thund’rer on his awful throne,
To thee thy much-afflicted mother flies,
And on thy succor and thy faith relies.
Thou know’st, my son, how Jove’s revengeful wife,
By force and fraud, attempts thy brother’s life;
And often hast thou mourn’d with me his pains.
Him Dido now with blandishment detains;
But I suspect the town where Juno reigns.
For this ‘t is needful to prevent her art,
And fire with love the proud Phoenician’s heart:
A love so violent, so strong, so sure,
As neither age can change, nor art can cure.
How this may be perform’d, now take my mind:
Ascanius by his father is design’d
To come, with presents laden, from the port,
To gratify the queen, and gain the court.
I mean to plunge the boy in pleasing sleep,
And, ravish’d, in Idalian bow’rs to keep,
Or high Cythera, that the sweet deceit
May pass unseen, and none prevent the cheat.
Take thou his form and shape. I beg the grace
But only for a night’s revolving space:
Thyself a boy, assume a boy’s dissembled face;
That when, amidst the fervor of the feast,
The Tyrian hugs and fonds thee on her breast,
And with sweet kisses in her arms constrains,
Thou may’st infuse thy venom in her veins.”
The God of Love obeys, and sets aside
His bow and quiver, and his plumy pride;
He walks Iulus in his mother’s sight,
And in the sweet resemblance takes delight.
The goddess then to young Ascanius67 flies,
And in a pleasing slumber seals his eyes:
Lull’d in her lap, amidst a train of Loves,
She gently bears him to her blissful groves,
Then with a wreath of myrtle crowns his head,
And softly lays him on a flow’ry bed.
Cupid meantime assum’d his form and face,
Foll’wing Achates with a shorter pace,
And brought the gifts. The queen already sate
Amidst the Trojan lords, in shining state,
High on a golden bed: her princely guest
Was next her side; in order sate the rest.
Then canisters with bread are heap’d on high;
Th’ attendants water for their hands supply,
And, having wash’d, with silken towels dry.
Next fifty handmaids in long order bore
The censers, and with fumes the gods adore:
Then youths, and virgins twice as many, join
To place the dishes, and to serve the wine.
The Tyrian train, admitted to the feast,
Approach, and on the painted couches rest.
All on the Trojan gifts with wonder gaze,
But view the beauteous boy with more amaze,
His rosy-color’d cheeks, his radiant eyes,
His motions, voice, and shape, and all the god’s disguise;
Nor pass unprais’d the vest and veil divine,
Which wand’ring foliage and rich flow’rs entwine.
But, far above the rest, the royal dame,
(Already doom’d to love’s disastrous flame,)
With eyes insatiate, and tumultuous joy,
Beholds the presents, and admires the boy.
The guileful god about the hero long,
With children’s play, and false embraces, hung;
Then sought the queen: she took him to her arms
With greedy pleasure, and devour’d his charms.
Unhappy Dido little thought what guest,
How dire a god, she drew so near her breast;
But he, not mindless of his mother’s pray’r,
Works in the pliant bosom of the fair,
And molds her heart anew, and blots her former care.
The dead is to the living love resign’d;
And all Aeneas enters in her mind.
Now, when the rage of hunger was appeas’d,
The meat remov’d, and ev’ry guest was pleas’d,
The golden bowls with sparkling wine are crown’d,
And thro’ the palace cheerful cries resound.
From gilded roofs depending lamps display
Nocturnal beams, that emulate the day.
A golden bowl, that shone with gems divine,
The queen commanded to be crown’d with wine:
The bowl that Belus us’d, and all the Tyrian line.
Then, silence thro’ the hall proclaim’d, she spoke:
“O hospitable Jove! we thus invoke,
With solemn rites, thy sacred name and pow’r;
Bless to both nations this auspicious hour!
So may the Trojan and the Tyrian line
In lasting concord from this day combine.
Thou, Bacchus,68 god of joys and friendly cheer,
And gracious Juno, both be present here!
And you, my lords of Tyre, your vows address
To Heav’n with mine, to ratify the peace.”
The goblet then she took, with nectar crown’d
(Sprinkling the first libations on the ground,)
And rais’d it to her mouth with sober grace;
Then, sipping, offer’d to the next in place.
‘T was Bitias whom she call’d, a thirsty soul;
He took challenge, and embrac’d the bowl,
With pleasure swill’d the gold, nor ceas’d to draw,
Till he the bottom of the brimmer saw.
The goblet goes around: Iopas brought
His golden lyre, and sung what ancient Atlas taught:
The various labors of the wand’ring moon,
And whence proceed th’ eclipses of the sun;
Th’ original of men and beasts; and whence
The rains arise, and fires their warmth dispense,
And fix’d and erring stars dispose their influence;
What shakes the solid earth; what cause delays
The summer nights and shortens winter days.
With peals of shouts the Tyrians praise the song:
Those peals are echo’d by the Trojan throng.
Th’ unhappy queen with talk prolong’d the night,
And drank large draughts of love with vast delight;
Of Priam much enquir’d, of Hector more;
Then ask’d what arms the swarthy Memnon wore,
What troops he landed on the Trojan shore;
The steeds of Diomede varied the discourse,
And fierce Achilles, with his matchless force;
At length, as fate and her ill stars requir’d,
To hear the series of the war desir’d.
“Relate at large, my godlike guest,” she said,
“The Grecian stratagems, the town betray’d:
The fatal issue of so long a war,
Your flight, your wand’rings, and your woes, declare;
For, since on ev’ry sea, on ev’ry coast,
Your men have been distress’d, your navy toss’d,
Sev’n times the sun has either tropic view’d,
The winter banish’d, and the spring renew’d.”
The Fall Of Troy
All were attentive to the godlike man,69
When from his lofty couch he thus began:
“Great queen, what you command me to relate
Renews the sad remembrance of our fate:
An empire from its old foundations rent,
And ev’ry woe the Trojans underwent;
A peopled city made a desart place;
All that I saw, and part of which I was:
Not ev’n the hardest of our foes could hear,
Nor stern Ulysses tell without a tear.
And now the latter watch of wasting night,
And setting stars, to kindly rest invite;
But, since you take such int’rest in our woe,
And Troy’s disastrous end desire to know,
I will restrain my tears, and briefly tell
What in our last and fatal night befell.
“By destiny compell’d, and in despair,
The Greeks grew weary of the tedious war,
And by Minerva’s aid a fabric rear’d,
Which like a steed of monstrous height appear’d:70
The sides were plank’d with pine; they feign’d it made
For their return,71 and this the vow they paid.
Thus they pretend, but in the hollow side
Selected numbers of their soldiers hide:
With inward arms the dire machine they load,
And iron bowels stuff the dark abode.
In sight of Troy lies Tenedos, an isle
(While Fortune did on Priam’s empire smile)
Renown’d for wealth; but, since, a faithless bay,
Where ships expos’d to wind and weather lay.
There was their fleet conceal’d. We thought, for Greece
Their sails were hoisted, and our fears release.
The Trojans, coop’d within their walls so long,
Unbar their gates, and issue in a throng,
Like swarming bees, and with delight survey
The camp deserted, where the Grecians lay:
The quarters of the sev’ral chiefs they show’d;
Here Phoenix, here Achilles, made abode;
Here join’d the battles; there the navy rode.
Part on the pile their wond’ring eyes employ:
The pile by Pallas72 rais’d to ruin Troy.
Thymoetes first (‘t is doubtful whether hir’d,
Or so the Trojan destiny requir’d)
Mov’d that the ramparts might be broken down,
To lodge the monster fabric73 in the town.
But Capys, and the rest of sounder mind,
The fatal present to the flames designed,
Or to the wat’ry deep; at least to bore
The hollow sides, and hidden frauds explore.
The giddy vulgar, as their fancies guide,
With noise say nothing, and in parts divide.
Laocoon, follow’d by a num’rous crowd,
Ran from the fort, and cried, from far, aloud:
‘O wretched countrymen! what fury reigns?
What more than madness has possess’d your brains?
Think you the Grecians from your coasts are gone?
And are Ulysses’ arts no better known?
This hollow fabric either must inclose,
Within its blind recess, our secret foes;
Or ‘t is an engine rais’d above the town,
T’ o’erlook the walls, and then to batter down.
Somewhat is sure design’d, by fraud or force:
Trust not their presents, nor admit the horse.’
Thus having said, against the steed he threw
His forceful spear, which, hissing as flew,
Pierc’d thro’ the yielding planks of jointed wood,
And trembling in the hollow belly stood.
The sides, transpierc’d, return a rattling sound,
And groans of Greeks inclos’d come issuing thro’ the wound.
And, had not Heav’n the fall of Troy design’d,
Or had not men been fated to be blind,
Enough was said and done t’inspire a better mind.
Then had our lances pierc’d the treach’rous wood,
And Ilian74 tow’rs and Priam’s empire stood.
Meantime, with shouts, the Trojan shepherds bring
A captive Greek,75 in bands, before the king;
Taken to take; who made himself their prey,
T’ impose on their belief, and Troy betray;
Fix’d on his aim, and obstinately bent
To die undaunted, or to circumvent.
About the captive, tides of Trojans flow;
All press to see, and some insult the foe.
Now hear how well the Greeks their wiles disguis’d;
Behold a nation in a man compris’d.
Trembling the miscreant stood, unarm’d and bound;
He star’d, and roll’d his haggard eyes around,
Then said: ‘Alas! what earth remains, what sea
Is open to receive unhappy me?
What fate a wretched fugitive attends,
Scorn’d by my foes, abandon’d by my friends?’
He said, and sigh’d, and cast a rueful eye:
Our pity kindles, and our passions die.
We cheer youth to make his own defense,
And freely tell us what he was, and whence:
What news he could impart, we long to know,
And what to credit from a captive foe.
“His fear at length dismiss’d, he said:
‘Whate’er My fate ordains, my words shall be sincere:
I neither can nor dare my birth disclaim;
Greece is my country, Sinon is my name.
Tho’ plung’d by Fortune’s pow’r in misery,
‘Tis not in Fortune’s pow’r to make me lie.
If any chance has hither brought the name
Of Palamedes, not unknown to fame,
Who suffer’d from the malice of the times,
Accus’d and sentenc’d for pretended crimes,
Because these fatal wars he would prevent;
Whose death the wretched Greeks too late lament-
Me, then a boy, my father, poor and bare
Of other means, committed to his care,
His kinsman and companion in the war.
While Fortune favor’d, while his arms support
The cause, and rul’d the counsels, of the court,
I made some figure there; nor was my name
Obscure, nor I without my share of fame.
But when Ulysses, with fallacious arts,
Had made impression in the people’s hearts,
And forg’d a treason in my patron’s name
(I speak of things too far divulg’d by fame),
My kinsman fell. Then I, without support,
In private mourn’d his loss, and left the court.
Mad as I was, I could not bear his fate
With silent grief, but loudly blam’d the state,
And curs’d the direful author of my woes.
‘T was told again; and hence my ruin rose.
I threaten’d, if indulgent Heav’n once more
Would land me safely on my native shore,
His death with double vengeance to restore.
This mov’d the murderer’s hate; and soon ensued
Th’ effects of malice from a man so proud.
Ambiguous rumors thro’ the camp he spread,
And sought, by treason, my devoted head;
New crimes invented; left unturn’d no stone,
To make my guilt appear, and hide his own;
Till Calchas was by force and threat’ning wrought-
But why- why dwell I on that anxious thought?
If on my nation just revenge you seek,
And ‘t is t’ appear a foe, t’ appear a Greek;
Already you my name and country know;
Assuage your thirst of blood, and strike the blow:
My death will both the kingly brothers please,
And set insatiate Ithacus at ease.’
This fair unfinish’d tale, these broken starts,
Rais’d expectations in our longing hearts:
Unknowing as we were in Grecian arts.
His former trembling once again renew’d,
With acted fear, the villain thus pursued:
“’Long had the Grecians (tir’d with fruitless care,
And wearied with an unsuccessful war)
Resolv’d to raise the siege, and leave the town;
And, had the gods permitted, they had gone;
But oft the wintry seas and southern winds
Withstood their passage home, and chang’d their minds.
Portents and prodigies their souls amaz’d;
But most, when this stupendous pile was rais’d:
Then flaming meteors, hung in air, were seen,
And thunders rattled thro’ a sky serene.
Dismay’d, and fearful of some dire event,
Eurypylus t’ enquire their fate was sent.
He from the gods this dreadful answer brought:
“O Grecians, when the Trojan shores you sought,
Your passage with a virgin’s blood was bought:
So must your safe return be bought again,
And Grecian blood once more atone the main.”
The spreading rumor round the people ran;
All fear’d, and each believ’d himself the man.
Ulysses76 took th’ advantage of their fright;
Call’d Calchas,77 and produc’d in open sight:
Then bade him name the wretch, ordain’d by fate
The public victim, to redeem the state.
Already some presag’d the dire event,
And saw what sacrifice Ulysses meant.
For twice five days the good old seer withstood
Th’ intended treason, and was dumb to blood,
Till, tir’d, with endless clamors and pursuit
Of Ithacus, he stood no longer mute;
But, as it was agreed, pronounc’d that I
Was destin’d by the wrathful gods to die.
All prais’d the sentence, pleas’d the storm should fall
On one alone, whose fury threaten’d all.
The dismal day was come; the priests prepare
Their leaven’d cakes, and fillets for my hair.
I follow’d nature’s laws, and must avow
I broke my bonds and fled the fatal blow.
Hid in a weedy lake all night I lay,
Secure of safety when they sail’d away.
But now what further hopes for me remain,
To see my friends, or native soil, again;
My tender infants, or my careful sire,
Whom they returning will to death require;
Will perpetrate on them their first design,
And take the forfeit of their heads for mine?
Which, O! if pity mortal minds can move,
If there be faith below, or gods above,
If innocence and truth can claim desert,
Ye Trojans, from an injur’d wretch avert.’
“False tears true pity move; the king commands
To loose his fetters, and unbind his hands:
Then adds these friendly words: ‘Dismiss thy fears;
Forget the Greeks; be mine as thou wert theirs.
But truly tell, was it for force or guile,
Or some religious end, you rais’d the pile?’
Thus said the king. He, full of fraudful arts,
This well-invented tale for truth imparts:
‘Ye lamps of heav’n!’ he said, and lifted high
His hands now free, ‘thou venerable sky!
Inviolable pow’rs, ador’d with dread!
Ye fatal fillets, that once bound this head!
Ye sacred altars, from whose flames I fled!
Be all of you adjur’d; and grant I may,
Without a crime, th’ ungrateful Greeks betray,
Reveal the secrets of the guilty state,
And justly punish whom I justly hate!
But you, O king, preserve the faith you gave,
If I, to save myself, your empire save.
The Grecian hopes, and all th’ attempts they made,
Were only founded on Minerva’s aid.
But from the time when impious Diomede,
And false Ulysses, that inventive head,
Her fatal image from the temple drew,
The sleeping guardians of the castle slew,
Her virgin statue with their bloody hands
Polluted, and profan’d her holy bands;
From thence the tide of fortune left their shore,
And ebb’d much faster than it flow’d before:
Their courage languish’d, as their hopes decay’d;
And Pallas, now averse, refus’d her aid.
Nor did the goddess doubtfully declare
Her alter’d mind and alienated care.
When first her fatal image touch’d the ground,
She sternly cast her glaring eyes around,
That sparkled as they roll’d, and seem’d to threat:
Her heav’nly limbs distill’d a briny sweat.
Thrice from the ground she leap’d, was seen to wield
Her brandish’d lance, and shake her horrid shield.
Then Calchas bade our host for flight
And hope no conquest from the tedious war,
Till first they sail’d for Greece; with pray’rs besought
Her injur’d pow’r, and better omens brought.
And now their navy plows the wat’ry main,
Yet soon expect it on your shores again,
With Pallas pleas’d; as Calchas did ordain.
But first, to reconcile the blue-ey’d maid
For her stol’n statue and her tow’r betray’d,
Warn’d by the seer, to her offended name
We rais’d and dedicate this wondrous frame,
So lofty, lest thro’ your forbidden gates
It pass, and intercept our better fates:
For, once admitted there, our hopes are lost;
And Troy may then a new Palladium78 boast;
For so religion and the gods ordain,
That, if you violate with hands profane
Minerva’s gift, your town in flames shall burn,
(Which omen, O ye gods, on Graecia turn!)
But if it climb, with your assisting hands,
The Trojan walls, and in the city stands;
Then Troy shall Argos and Mycenae burn,
And the reverse of fate on us return.’
“With such deceits he gain’d their easy hearts,
Too prone to credit his perfidious arts.
What Diomede, nor Thetis’ greater son,
A thousand ships, nor ten years’ siege, had done-
False tears and fawning words the city won.
“A greater omen, and of worse portent,
Did our unwary minds with fear torment,
Concurring to produce the dire event.
Laocoon, Neptune’s priest by lot that year,
With solemn pomp then sacrific’d a steer;
When, dreadful to behold, from sea we spied
Two serpents, rank’d abreast, the seas divide,
And smoothly sweep along the swelling tide.
Their flaming crests above the waves they show;
Their bellies seem to burn the seas below;
Their speckled tails advance to steer their course,
And on the sounding shore the flying billows force.
And now the strand, and now the plain they held;
Their ardent eyes with bloody streaks were fill’d;
Their nimble tongues they brandish’d as they came,
And lick’d their hissing jaws, that sputter’d flame.
We fled amaz’d; their destin’d way they take,
And to Laocoon and his children make;
And first around the tender boys they wind,
Then with their sharpen’d fangs their limbs and bodies grind.
The wretched father, running to their aid
With pious haste, but vain, they next invade;
Twice round his waist their winding volumes roll’d;
And twice about his gasping throat they fold.
The priest thus doubly chok’d, their crests divide,
And tow’ring o’er his head in triumph ride.
With both his hands he labors at the knots;
His holy fillets the blue venom blots;
His roaring fills the flitting air around.
Thus, when an ox receives a glancing wound,
He breaks his bands, the fatal altar flies,
And with loud bellowings breaks the yielding skies.
Their tasks perform’d, the serpents quit their prey,
And to the tow’r of Pallas make their way:
Couch’d at her feet, they lie protected there
By her large buckler and protended spear.
Amazement seizes all; the gen’ral cry
Proclaims Laocoon justly doom’d to die,
Whose hand the will of Pallas had withstood,
And dared to violate the sacred wood.
All vote t’ admit the steed, that vows be paid
And incense offer’d to th’ offended maid.
A spacious breach is made; the town lies bare;
Some hoisting-levers, some the wheels prepare
And fasten to the horse’s feet; the rest
With cables haul along th’ unwieldly beast.
Each on his fellow for assistance calls;
At length the fatal fabric mounts the walls,
Big with destruction. Boys with chaplets crown’d,
And choirs of virgins, sing and dance around.
Thus rais’d aloft, and then descending down,
It enters o’er our heads, and threats the town.
O sacred city, built by hands divine!
O valiant heroes of the Trojan line!
Four times he struck: as oft the clashing sound
Of arms was heard, and inward groans rebound.
Yet, mad with zeal, and blinded with our fate,
We haul along the horse in solemn state;
Then place the dire portent within the tow’r.
Cassandra cried, and curs’d th’ unhappy hour;
Foretold our fate; but, by the god’s decree,
All heard, and none believ’d the prophecy.
With branches we the fanes adorn, and waste,
In jollity, the day ordain’d to be the last.
Meantime the rapid heav’ns roll’d down the light,
And on the shaded ocean rush’d the night;
Our men, secure, nor guards nor sentries held,
But easy sleep their weary limbs compell’d.
The Grecians had embark’d their naval pow’rs
From Tenedos, and sought our well-known shores,
Safe under covert of the silent night,
And guided by th’ imperial galley’s light;
Unlock’d the horse, and op’d his dark abodes;
Restor’d to vital air our hidden foes,
Who joyful from their long confinement rose.
Tysander bold, and Sthenelus their guide,
And dire Ulysses down the cable slide:
Then Thoas, Athamas, and Pyrrhus79 haste;
Nor was the Podalirian hero last,
Nor injur’d Menelaus,80 nor the fam’d
Epeus, who the fatal engine fram’d.
A nameless crowd succeed; their forces join
T’ invade the town, oppress’d with sleep and wine.
Those few they find awake first meet their fate;
Then to their fellows they unbar the gate.
“’T was in the dead of night, when sleep repairs
Our bodies worn with toils, our minds with cares,
When Hector’s ghost before my sight appears:
A bloody shroud he seem’d, and bath’d in tears;
Such as he was, when, by Pelides81 slain,
Thessalian coursers dragg’d him o’er the plain.
Swoln were his feet, as when the thongs were thrust
Thro’ the bor’d holes; his body black with dust;
Unlike that Hector who return’d from toils
Of war, triumphant, in Aeacian spoils,
Or him who made the fainting Greeks retire,
And launch’d against their navy Phrygian fire.
His hair and beard stood stiffen’d with his gore;
And all the wounds he for his country bore
Now stream’d afresh, and with new purple ran.
I wept to see the visionary man,
And, while my trance continued, thus began:
‘O light of Trojans, and support of Troy,
Thy father’s champion, and thy country’s joy!
O, long expected by thy friends! from whence
Art thou so late return’d for our defense?
Do we behold thee, wearied as we are
With length of labors, and with toils of war?
After so many fun’rals of thy own
Art thou restor’d to thy declining town?
But say, what wounds are these? What new disgrace
Deforms the manly features of thy face?’
“To this the specter no reply did frame,
But answer’d to the cause for which he came,
And, groaning from the bottom of his breast,
This warning in these mournful words express’d:
‘O goddess-born! escape, by timely flight,
The flames and horrors of this fatal night.
The foes already have possess’d the wall;
Troy nods from high, and totters to her fall.
Enough is paid to Priam’s royal name,
More than enough to duty and to fame.
If by a mortal hand my father’s throne
Could be defended, ‘t was by mine alone.
Now Troy to thee commends her future state,
And gives her gods companions of thy fate:
From their assistance walls expect,
Which, wand’ring long, at last thou shalt erect.’
He said, and brought me, from their blest abodes,
The venerable statues of the gods,82
With ancient Vesta83 from the sacred choir,
The wreaths and relics of th’ immortal fire.
“Now peals of shouts come thund’ring from afar,
Cries, threats, and loud laments, and mingled war:
The noise approaches, tho’ our palace stood
Aloof from streets, encompass’d with a wood.
Louder, and yet more loud, I hear th’ alarms
Of human cries distinct, and clashing arms.
Fear broke my slumbers; I no longer stay,
But mount the terrace, thence the town survey,
And hearken what the frightful sounds convey.
Thus, when a flood of fire by wind is borne,
Crackling it rolls, and mows the standing corn;
Or deluges, descending on the plains,
Sweep o’er the yellow year, destroy the pains
Of lab’ring oxen and the peasant’s gains;
Unroot the forest oaks, and bear away
Flocks, folds, and trees, and undistinguish’d prey:
The shepherd climbs the cliff, and sees from far
The wasteful ravage of the wat’ry war.
Then Hector’s faith was manifestly clear’d,
And Grecian frauds in open light appear’d.
The palace of Deiphobus ascends
In smoky flames, and catches on his friends.
Ucalegon burns next: the seas are bright
With splendor not their own, and shine with Trojan light.
New clamors and new clangors now arise,
The sound of trumpets mix’d with fighting cries.
With frenzy seiz’d, I run to meet th’ alarms,
Resolv’d on death, resolv’d to die in arms,
But first to gather friends, with them t’ oppose
(If fortune favor’d) and repel the foes;
Spurr’d by my courage, by my country fir’d,
With sense of honor and revenge inspir’d.
“Pantheus, Apollo’s priest, a sacred name,
Had scap’d the Grecian swords, and pass’d the flame:
With relics loaden. to my doors he fled,
And by the hand his tender grandson led.
‘What hope, O Pantheus? whither can we run?
Where make a stand? and what may yet be done?’
Scarce had I said, when Pantheus, with a groan:
‘Troy is no more, and Ilium was a town!
The fatal day, th’ appointed hour, is come,
When wrathful Jove’s irrevocable doom
Transfers the Trojan state to Grecian hands.
The fire consumes the town, the foe commands;
And armed hosts, an unexpected force,
Break from the bowels of the fatal horse.
Within the gates, proud Sinon throws about
The flames; and foes for entrance press without,
With thousand others, whom I fear to name,
More than from Argos or Mycenae came.
To sev’ral posts their parties they divide;
Some block the narrow streets, some scour the wide:
The bold they kill, th’ unwary they surprise;
Who fights finds death, and death finds him who flies.
The warders of the gate but scarce maintain
Th’ unequal combat, and resist in vain.’
“I heard; and Heav’n, that well-born souls inspires,
Prompts me thro’ lifted swords and rising fires
To run where clashing arms and clamor calls,
And rush undaunted to defend the walls.
Ripheus and Iph’itus by my side engage,
For valor one renown’d, and one for age.
Dymas and Hypanis by moonlight knew
My motions and my mien, and to my party drew;
With young Coroebus, who by love was led
To win renown and fair Cassandra’s bed,
And lately brought his troops to Priam’s aid,
Forewarn’d in vain by the prophetic maid.
Whom when I saw resolv’d in arms to fall,
And that one spirit animated all:
‘Brave souls!’ said I,- ‘but brave, alas! in vain-
Come, finish what our cruel fates ordain.
You see the desp’rate state of our affairs,
And heav’n’s protecting pow’rs are deaf to pray’rs.
The passive gods behold the Greeks defile
Their temples, and abandon to the spoil
Their own abodes: we, feeble few, conspire
To save a sinking town, involv’d in fire.
Then let us fall, but fall amidst our foes:
Despair of life the means of living shows.’
So bold a speech incourag’d their desire
Of death, and added fuel to their fire.
“As hungry wolves, with raging appetite,
Scour thro’ the fields, nor fear the stormy night-
Their whelps at home expect the promis’d food,
And long to temper their dry chaps in blood-
So rush’d we forth at once; resolv’d to die,
Resolv’d, in death, the last extremes to try.
We leave the narrow lanes behind, and dare
Th’ unequal combat in the public square:
Night was our friend; our leader was despair.
What tongue can tell the slaughter of that night?
What eyes can weep the sorrows and affright?
An ancient and imperial city falls:
The streets are fill’d with frequent funerals;
Houses and holy temples float in blood,
And hostile nations make a common flood.
Not only Trojans fall; but, in their turn,
The vanquish’d triumph, and the victors mourn.
Ours take new courage from despair and night:
Confus’d the fortune is, confus’d the fight.
All parts resound with tumults, plaints, and fears;
And grisly Death in sundry shapes appears.
Androgeos fell among us, with his band,
Who thought us Grecians newly come to land.
‘From whence,’ said he, ‘my friends, this long delay?
You loiter, while the spoils are borne away:
Our ships are laden with the Trojan store;
And you, like truants, come too late ashore.’
He said, but soon corrected his mistake,
Found, by the doubtful answers which we make:
Amaz’d, he would have shunn’d th’ unequal fight;
But we, more num’rous, intercept his flight.
As when some peasant, in a bushy brake,
Has with unwary footing press’d a snake;
He starts aside, astonish’d, when he spies
His rising crest, blue neck, and rolling eyes;
So from our arms surpris’d Androgeos flies.
In vain; for him and his we compass’d round,
Possess’d with fear, unknowing of the ground,
And of their lives an easy conquest found.
Thus Fortune on our first endeavor smil’d.
Coroebus then, with youthful hopes beguil’d,
Swoln with success, and a daring mind,
This new invention fatally design’d.
‘My friends,’ said he, ‘since Fortune shows the way,
‘Tis fit we should th’ auspicious guide obey.
For what has she these Grecian arms bestow’d,
But their destruction, and the Trojans’ good?
Then change we shields, and their devices bear:
Let fraud supply the want of force in war.
They find us arms.’ This said, himself he dress’d
In dead Androgeos’ spoils, his upper vest,
His painted buckler, and his plumy crest.
Thus Ripheus, Dymas, all the Trojan train,
Lay down their own attire, and strip the slain.
Mix’d with the Greeks, we go with ill presage,
Flatter’d with hopes to glut our greedy rage;
Unknown, assaulting whom we blindly meet,
And strew with Grecian carcasses the street.
Thus while their straggling parties we defeat,
Some to the shore and safer ships retreat;
And some, oppress’d with more ignoble fear,
Remount the hollow horse, and pant in secret there.
“But, ah! what use of valor can be made,
When heav’n’s propitious pow’rs refuse their aid!
Behold the royal prophetess, the fair
Cassandra,84 dragg’d by her dishevel’d hair,
Whom not Minerva’s shrine, nor sacred bands,
In safety could protect from sacrilegious hands:
On heav’n she cast her eyes, she sigh’d, she cried-
‘T was all she could- her tender arms were tied.
So sad a sight Coroebus could not bear;
But, fir’d with rage, distracted with despair,
Amid the barb’rous ravishers he flew:
Our leader’s rash example we pursue.
But storms of stones, from the proud temple’s height,
Pour down, and on our batter’d helms alight:
We from our friends receiv’d this fatal blow,
Who thought us Grecians, as we seem’d in show.
They aim at the mistaken crests, from high;
And ours beneath the pond’rous ruin lie.
Then, mov’d with anger and disdain, to see
Their troops dispers’d, the royal virgin free,
The Grecians rally, and their pow’rs unite,
With fury charge us, and renew the fight.
The brother kings with Ajax join their force,
And the whole squadron of Thessalian horse.
“Thus, when the rival winds their quarrel try,
Contending for the kingdom of the sky,
South, east, and west, on airy coursers borne;
The whirlwind gathers, and the woods are torn:
Then Nereus strikes the deep; the billows rise,
And, mix’d with ooze and sand, pollute the skies.
The troops we squander’d first again appear
From several quarters, and enclose the rear.
They first observe, and to the rest betray,
Our diff ’rent speech; our borrow’d arms survey.
Oppress’d with odds, we fall; Coroebus first,
At Pallas’ altar, by Peneleus pierc’d.
Then Ripheus follow’d, in th’ unequal fight;
Just of his word, observant of the right:
Heav’n thought not so. Dymas their fate attends,
With Hypanis, mistaken by their friends.
Nor, Pantheus, thee, thy miter, nor the bands
Of awful Phoebus, sav’d from impious hands.
Ye Trojan flames, your testimony bear,
What I perform’d, and what I suffer’d there;
No sword avoiding in the fatal strife,
Expos’d to death, and prodigal of life;
Witness, ye heavens! I live not by my fault:
I strove to have deserv’d the death I sought.
But, when I could not fight, and would have died,
Borne off to distance by the growing tide,
Old Iphitus and I were hurried thence,
With Pelias wounded, and without defense.
New clamors from th’ invested palace ring:
We run to die, or disengage the king.
So hot th’ assault, so high the tumult rose,
While ours defend, and while the Greeks oppose
As all the Dardan and Argolic race
Had been contracted in that narrow space;
Or as all Ilium else were void of fear,
And tumult, war, and slaughter, only there.
Their targets in a tortoise cast, the foes,
Secure advancing, to the turrets rose:
Some mount the scaling ladders; some, more bold,
Swerve upwards, and by posts and pillars hold;
Their left hand gripes their bucklers in th’ ascent,
While with their right they seize the battlement.
From their demolish’d tow’rs the Trojans throw
Huge heaps of stones, that, falling, crush the foe;
And heavy beams and rafters from the sides
(Such arms their last necessity provides)
And gilded roofs, come tumbling from on high,
The marks of state and ancient royalty.
The guards below, fix’d in the pass, attend
The charge undaunted, and the gate defend.
Renew’d in courage with recover’d breath,
A second time we ran to tempt our death,
To clear the palace from the foe, succeed
The weary living, and revenge the dead.
“A postern85 door, yet unobserv’d and free,
Join’d by the length of a blind gallery,
To the king’s closet led: a way well known
To Hector’s wife, while Priam held the throne,
Thro’ which she brought Astyanax,86 unseen,
To cheer his grandsire and his grandsire’s queen.
Thro’ this we pass, and mount the tow’r, from whence
With unavailing arms the Trojans make defense.
From this the trembling king had oft descried
The Grecian camp, and saw their navy ride.
Beams from its lofty height with swords we hew,
Then, wrenching with our hands, th’ assault renew;
And, where the rafters on the columns meet,
We push them headlong with our arms and feet.
The lightning flies not swifter than the fall,
Nor thunder louder than the ruin’d wall:
Down goes the top at once; the Greeks beneath
Are piecemeal torn, or pounded into death.
Yet more succeed, and more to death are sent;
We cease not from above, nor they below relent.
“Before the gate stood Pyrrhus, threat’ning loud,
With glitt’ring arms conspicuous in the crowd.
So shines, renew’d in youth, the crested snake,
Who slept the winter in a thorny brake,
And, casting off his slough when spring returns,
Now looks aloft, and with new glory burns;
Restor’d with poisonous herbs, his ardent sides
Reflect the sun; and rais’d on spires he rides;
High o’er the grass, hissing he rolls along,
And brandishes by fits his forky tongue.
Proud Periphas, and fierce Automedon,
His father’s charioteer, together run
To force the gate; the Scyrian infantry
Rush on in crowds, and the barr’d passage free.
Ent’ring the court, with shouts the skies they rend;
And flaming firebrands to the roofs ascend.
Himself, among the foremost, deals his blows,
And with his ax repeated strokes bestows
On the strong doors; then all their shoulders ply,
Till from the posts the brazen hinges fly.
He hews apace; the double bars at length
Yield to his ax and unresisted strength.
A mighty breach is made: the rooms conceal’d
Appear, and all the palace is reveal’d;
The halls of audience, and of public state,
And where the lonely queen in secret sate.
Arm’d soldiers now by trembling maids are seen,
With not a door, and scarce a space, between.
The house is fill’d with loud laments and cries,
And shrieks of women rend the vaulted skies;
The fearful matrons run from place to place,
And kiss the thresholds, and the posts embrace.
The fatal work inhuman Pyrrhus plies,
And all his father87 sparkles in his eyes;
Nor bars, nor fighting guards, his force sustain:
The bars are broken, and the guards are slain.
In rush the Greeks, and all the apartments fill;
Those few defendants whom they find, they kill.
Not with so fierce a rage the foaming flood
Roars, when he finds his rapid course withstood;
Bears down the dams with unresisted sway,
And sweeps the cattle and the cots away.
These eyes beheld him when he march’d between
The brother kings: I saw th’ unhappy queen,
The hundred wives, and where old Priam stood,
To stain his hallow’d altar with his brood.
The fifty nuptial beds (such hopes had he,
So large a promise, of a progeny),
The posts, of plated gold, and hung with spoils,
Fell the reward of the proud victor’s toils.
Where’er the raging fire had left a space,
The Grecians enter and possess the place.
“Perhaps you may of Priam’s fate enquire.
He, when he saw his regal town on fire,
His ruin’d palace, and his ent’ring foes,
On ev’ry side inevitable woes,
In arms, disus’d, invests his limbs, decay’d,
Like them, with age; a late and useless aid.
His feeble shoulders scarce the weight sustain;
Loaded, not arm’d,88 he creeps along with pain,
Despairing of success, ambitious to be slain!
Uncover’d but by heav’n, there stood in view
An altar; near the hearth a laurel grew,
Dodder’d with age, whose boughs encompass round
The household gods, and shade the holy ground.
Here Hecuba, with all her helpless train
Of dames, for shelter sought, but sought in vain.
Driv’n like a flock of doves along the sky,
Their images they hug, and to their altars fly.
The Queen, when she beheld her trembling lord,
And hanging by his side a heavy sword,
‘What rage,’ she cried, ‘has seiz’d my husband’s mind?
What arms are these, and to what use design’d?
These times want other aids! Were Hector here,
Ev’n Hector now in vain, like Priam, would appear.
With us, one common shelter thou shalt find,
Or in one common fate with us be join’d.’
She said, and with a last salute embrac’d
The poor old man, and by the laurel plac’d.
Behold! Polites, one of Priam’s sons,
Pursued by Pyrrhus, there for safety runs.
Thro’ swords and foes, amaz’d and hurt, he flies
Thro’ empty courts and open galleries.
Him Pyrrhus, urging with his lance, pursues,
And often reaches, and his thrusts renews.
The youth, transfix’d, with lamentable cries,
Expires before his wretched parent’s eyes:
Whom gasping at his feet when Priam saw,
The fear of death gave place to nature’s law;
And, shaking more with anger than with age,
‘The gods,’ said he,89 ‘requite thy brutal rage!
As sure they will, barbarian, sure they must,
If there be gods in heav’n, and gods be just-
Who tak’st in wrongs an insolent delight;
With a son’s death t’ infect a father’s sight.
Not he, whom thou and lying fame conspire
To call thee his- not he, thy vaunted sire,
Thus us’d my wretched age: the gods he fear’d,
The laws of nature and of nations heard.
He cheer’d my sorrows, and, for sums of gold,
The bloodless carcass of my Hector sold;
Pitied the woes a parent underwent,
And sent me back in safety from his tent.’
“This said, his feeble hand a javelin threw,
Which, flutt’ring, seem’d to loiter as it flew:
Just, and but barely, to the mark it held,
And faintly tinkled on the brazen shield.
“Then Pyrrhus thus: ‘Go thou from me to fate,
And to my father my foul deeds relate.
Now die!’ With that he dragg’d the trembling sire,
Slidd’ring thro’ clotte’d blood and holy mire,
(The mingled paste his murder’d son had made,)
Haul’d from beneath the violated shade,
And on the sacred pile the royal victim laid.
His right hand held his bloody falchion90 bare,
His left he twisted in his hoary hair;
Then, with a speeding thrust, his heart he found:
The lukewarm blood came rushing thro’ the wound,
And sanguine streams distain’d the sacred ground.
Thus Priam fell, and shar’d one common fate
With Troy in ashes, and his ruin’d state:
He, who the scepter of all Asia sway’d,
Whom monarchs like domestic slaves obey’d.
On the bleak shore now lies th’ abandon’d king,
A headless carcass, and a nameless thing.
“Then, not before, I felt my cruddled91 blood
Congeal with fear, my hair with horror stood:
My father’s image fill’d my pious mind,
Lest equal years might equal fortune find.
Again I thought on my forsaken wife,
And trembled for my son’s abandon’d life.
I look’d about, but found myself alone,
Deserted at my need! My friends were gone.
Some spent with toil, some with despair oppress’d,
Leap’d headlong from the heights; the flames consum’d the rest.
“Thus, wand’ring in my way, without a guide,
The graceless Helen in the porch I spied
Of Vesta’s temple; there she lurk’d alone;
Muffled she sate, and, what she could, unknown:
But, by the flames that cast their blaze around,
That common bane of Greece and Troy I found.
For Ilium burnt, she dreads the Trojan sword;
More dreads the vengeance of her injur’d lord;92
Ev’n by those gods who refug’d her abhorr’d.
Trembling with rage, the strumpet I regard,
Resolv’d to give her guilt the due reward:
‘Shall she triumphant sail before the wind,
And leave in flames unhappy Troy behind?
Shall she her kingdom and her friends review,
In state attended with a captive crew,
While unreveng’d the good old Priam falls,
And Grecian fires consume the Trojan walls?
For this the Phrygian fields and Xanthian flood
Were swell’d with bodies, and were drunk with blood?
‘Tis true, a soldier can small honor gain,
And boast no conquest, from a woman slain:
Yet shall the fact not pass without applause,
Of vengeance taken in so just a cause;
The punish’d crime shall set my soul at ease,
And murm’ring manes93 of my friends appease.’
Thus while I rave, a gleam of pleasing light
Spread o’er the place; and, shining heav’nly bright,
My mother stood reveal’d before my sight
Never so radiant did her eyes appear;
Not her own star confess’d a light so clear:
Great in her charms, as when on gods above
She looks, and breathes herself into their love.
She held my hand, the destin’d blow to break;
Then from her rosy lips began to speak:
‘My son, from whence this madness, this neglect
Of my commands, and those whom I protect?94
Why this unmanly rage? Recall to mind
Whom you forsake, what pledges leave behind.
Look if your helpless father yet survive,
Or if Ascanius or Creusa live.
Around your house the greedy Grecians err;
And these had perish’d in the nightly war,
But for my presence and protecting care.
Not Helen’s face, nor Paris, was in fault;
But by the gods was this destruction brought.
Now cast your eyes around, while I dissolve
The mists and films that mortal eyes involve,
Purge from your sight the dross, and make you see
The shape of each avenging deity.
Enlighten’d thus, my just commands fulfil,
Nor fear obedience to your mother’s will.
Where yon disorder’d heap of ruin lies,
Stones rent from stones; where clouds of dust arise-
Amid that smother Neptune holds his place,
Below the wall’s foundation drives his mace,
And heaves the building from the solid base.
Look where, in arms, imperial Juno stands
Full in the Scaean gate, with loud commands,
Urging on shore the tardy Grecian bands.
See! Pallas, of her snaky buckler95 proud,
Bestrides the tow’r, refulgent thro’ the cloud:
See! Jove new courage to the foe supplies,
And arms against the town the partial deities.
Haste hence, my son; this fruitless labor end:
Haste, where your trembling spouse and sire attend:
Haste; and a mother’s care your passage shall befriend.’
She said, and swiftly vanish’d from my sight,
Obscure in clouds and gloomy shades of night.
I look’d, I listen’d; dreadful sounds I hear;
And the dire forms of hostile gods appear.
Troy sunk in flames I saw (nor could prevent),
And Ilium from its old foundations rent;
Rent like a mountain ash, which dar’d the winds,
And stood the sturdy strokes of lab’ring hinds.
About the roots the cruel ax resounds;
The stumps are pierc’d with oft-repeated wounds:
The war is felt on high; the nodding crown
Now threats a fall, and throws the leafy honors down.
To their united force it yields, tho’ late,
And mourns with mortal groans th’ approaching fate:
The roots no more their upper load sustain;
But down she falls, and spreads a ruin thro’ the plain.
“Descending thence, I scape thro’ foes and fire:
Before the goddess, foes and flames retire.
Arriv’d at home, he, for whose only sake,
Or most for his, such toils I undertake,
The good Anchises, whom, by timely flight,
I purpos’d to secure on Ida’s height,
Refus’d the journey, resolute to die
And add his fun’rals to the fate of Troy,
Rather than exile and old age sustain.
‘Go you, whose blood runs warm in ev’ry vein.
Had Heav’n decreed that I should life enjoy,
Heav’n had decreed to save unhappy Troy. ‘
Tis, sure, enough, if not too much, for one,
Twice to have seen our Ilium overthrown.
Make haste to save the poor remaining crew,
And give this useless corpse a long adieu.
These weak old hands suffice to stop my breath;
At least the pitying foes will aid my death,
To take my spoils, and leave my body bare:
As for my sepulcher, let Heav’n take care.
‘Tis long since I, for my celestial wife
Loath’d by the gods, have dragg’d a ling’ring life;
Since ev’ry hour and moment I expire,
Blasted from heav’n by Jove’s avenging fire.’
This oft repeated, he stood fix’d to die:
Myself, my wife, my son, my family,
Intreat, pray, beg, and raise a doleful cry-
‘What, will he still persist, on death resolve,
And in his ruin all his house involve!’
He still persists his reasons to maintain;
Our pray’rs, our tears, our loud laments, are vain.
“Urg’d by despair, again I go to try
The fate of arms, resolv’d in fight to die:
‘What hope remains, but what my death must give?
Can I, without so dear a father, live?
You term it prudence, what I baseness call:
Could such a word from such a parent fall?
If Fortune please, and so the gods ordain,
That nothing should of ruin’d Troy remain,
And you conspire with Fortune to be slain,
The way to death is wide, th’ approaches near:
For soon relentless Pyrrhus will appear,
Reeking with Priam’s blood- the wretch who slew
The son (inhuman) in the father’s view,
And then the sire himself to the dire altar drew.
O goddess mother, give me back to Fate;
Your gift was undesir’d, and came too late!
Did you, for this, unhappy me convey
Thro’ foes and fires, to see my house a prey?
Shall I my father, wife, and son behold,
Welt’ring in blood, each other’s arms infold?
Haste! gird my sword, tho’ spent and overcome:
‘Tis the last summons to receive our doom.
I hear thee, Fate; and I obey thy call!
Not unreveng’d the foe shall see my fall.
Restore me to the yet unfinish’d fight:
My death is wanting to conclude the night.’
Arm’d once again, my glitt’ring sword I wield,
While th’ other hand sustains my weighty shield,
And forth I rush to seek th’ abandon’d field.
I went; but sad Creusa stopp’d my way,
And cross the threshold in my passage lay,
Embrac’d my knees, and, when I would have gone,
Shew’d me my feeble sire and tender son:
‘If death be your design, at least,’ said she,
‘Take us along to share your destiny.
If any farther hopes in arms remain,
This place, these pledges of your love, maintain.
To whom do you expose your father’s life,
Your son’s, and mine, your now forgotten wife!’
While thus she fills the house with clam’rous cries,
Our hearing is diverted by our eyes:
For, while I held my son, in the short space
Betwixt our kisses and our last embrace;
Strange to relate, from young Iulus’ head
A lambent flame arose, which gently spread
Around his brows, and on his temples fed.
Amaz’d, with running water we prepare
To quench the sacred fire, and slake his hair;
But old Anchises, vers’d in omens, rear’d
His hands to heav’n, and this request preferr’d:
‘If any vows, almighty Jove, can bend
Thy will; if piety can pray’rs commend,
Confirm the glad presage which thou art pleas’d to send.’
Scarce had he said, when, on our left, we hear
A peal of rattling thunder roll in air:
There shot a streaming lamp along the sky,
Which on the winged lightning seem’d to fly;
From o’er the roof the blaze began to move,
And, trailing, vanish’d in th’ Idaean grove.
It swept a path in heav’n, and shone a guide,
Then in a steaming stench of sulphur died.
“The good old man with suppliant hands implor’d
The gods’ protection, and their star ador’d.
‘Now, now,’ said he, ‘my son, no more delay!
I yield, I follow where Heav’n shews the way.
Keep, O my country gods, our dwelling place,
And guard this relic of the Trojan race,
This tender child! These omens are your own,
And you can yet restore the ruin’d town.
At least accomplish what your signs foreshow:
I stand resign’d, and am prepar’d to go.’
“He said. The crackling flames appear on high.
And driving sparkles dance along the sky.
With Vulcan’s96 rage the rising winds conspire,
And near our palace roll the flood of fire.
‘Haste, my dear father, (‘t is no time to wait,)
And load my shoulders with a willing freight.
Whate’er befalls, your life shall be my care;
One death, or one deliv’rance, we will share.
My hand shall lead our little son; and you,
My faithful consort, shall our steps pursue.
Next, you, my servants, heed my strict commands:
Without the walls a ruin’d temple stands,
To Ceres97 hallow’d once; a cypress nigh
Shoots up her venerable head on high,
By long religion kept; there bend your feet,
And in divided parties let us meet.
Our country gods, the relics, and the bands,
Hold you, my father, in your guiltless hands:
In me ‘t is impious holy things to bear,
Red as I am with slaughter, new from war,
Till in some living stream I cleanse the guilt
Of dire debate, and blood in battle spilt.’
Thus, ord’ring all that prudence could provide,
I clothe my shoulders with a lion’s hide
And yellow spoils; then, on my bending back,
The welcome load of my dear father take;
While on my better hand Ascanius hung,
And with unequal paces tripp’d along.
Creusa kept behind; by choice we stray
Thro’ ev’ry dark and ev’ry devious way.
I, who so bold and dauntless, just before,
The Grecian darts and shock of lances bore,
At ev’ry shadow now am seiz’d with fear,
Not for myself, but for the charge I bear;
Till, near the ruin’d gate arriv’d at last,
Secure, and deeming all the danger past,
A frightful noise of trampling feet we hear.
My father, looking thro’ the shades, with fear,
Cried out: ‘Haste, haste, my son, the foes are nigh;
Their swords and shining armor I descry.’98
Some hostile god, for some unknown offense,
Had sure bereft my mind of better sense;
For, while thro’ winding ways I took my flight,
And sought the shelter of the gloomy night,
Alas! I lost Creusa: hard to tell
If by her fatal destiny she fell,
Or weary sate, or wander’d with affright;
But she was lost for ever to my sight.
I knew not, or reflected, till I meet
My friends, at Ceres’ now deserted seat.
We met: not one was wanting; only she
Deceiv’d her friends, her son, and wretched me.
“What mad expressions did my tongue refuse!
Whom did I not, of gods or men, accuse!
This was the fatal blow, that pain’d me more
Than all I felt from ruin’d Troy before.
Stung with my loss, and raving with despair,
Abandoning my now forgotten care,
Of counsel, comfort, and of hope bereft,
My sire, my son, my country gods I left.
In shining armor once again I sheathe
My limbs, not feeling wounds, nor fearing death.
Then headlong to the burning walls I run,
And seek the danger I was forc’d to shun.
I tread my former tracks; thro’ night explore
Each passage, ev’ry street I cross’d before.
All things were full of horror and affright,
And dreadful ev’n the silence of the night.
Then to my father’s house I make repair,
With some small glimpse of hope to find her there.
Instead of her, the cruel Greeks I met;
The house was fill’d with foes, with flames beset.
Driv’n on the wings of winds, whole sheets of fire,
Thro’ air transported, to the roofs aspire.
From thence to Priam’s palace I resort,
And search the citadel and desart court.
Then, unobserv’d, I pass by Juno’s church:
A guard of Grecians had possess’d the porch;
There Phoenix and Ulysses watch prey,
And thither all the wealth of Troy convey:
The spoils which they from ransack’d houses brought,
And golden bowls from burning altars caught,
The tables of the gods, the purple vests,
The people’s treasure, and the pomp of priests.
A rank of wretched youths, with pinion’d hands,
And captive matrons, in long order stands.
Then, with ungovern’d madness, I proclaim,
Thro’ all the silent street, Creusa’s name:
Creusa still I call; at length she hears,
And sudden thro’ the shades of night appears-
Appears, no more Creusa, nor my wife,
But a pale specter, larger than the life.
Aghast, astonish’d, and struck dumb with fear,
I stood; like bristles rose my stiffen’d hair.
Then thus the ghost began to soothe my grief
‘Nor tears, nor cries, can give the dead relief.
Desist, my much-lov’d lord,’t indulge your pain;
You bear no more than what the gods ordain.
My fates permit me not from hence to fly;
Nor he, the great controller of the sky.
Long wand’ring ways for you the pow’rs decree;
On land hard labors, and a length of sea.
Then, after many painful years are past,
On Latium’s happy shore you shall be cast,
Where gentle Tiber from his bed beholds
The flow’ry meadows, and the feeding folds.
There end your toils; and there your fates provide
A quiet kingdom, and a royal bride:
There fortune shall the Trojan line restore,
And you for lost Creusa weep no more.
Fear not that I shall watch, with servile shame,
Th’ imperious looks of some proud Grecian dame;
Or, stooping to the victor’s lust, disgrace
My goddess mother, or my royal race.
And now, farewell! The parent of the gods
Restrains my fleeting soul in her abodes:
I trust our common issue to your care.’
She said, and gliding pass’d unseen in air.
I strove to speak: but horror tied my tongue;
And thrice about her neck my arms I flung,
And, thrice deceiv’d, on vain embraces hung.
Light as an empty dream at break of day,
Or as a blast of wind, she rush’d away.
“Thus having pass’d the night in fruitless pain,
I to my longing friends return again,
Amaz’d th’ augmented number to behold,
Of men and matrons mix’d, of young and old;
A wretched exil’d crew together brought,
With arms appointed, and with treasure fraught,
Resolv’d, and willing, under my command,
To run all hazards both of sea and land.
The Morn began, from Ida, to display
Her rosy cheeks; and Phosphor led the day:
Before the gates the Grecians took their post,
And all pretense of late relief was lost.
I yield to Fate, unwillingly retire,
And, loaded, up the hill convey my sire.”
Aeneas’ Wanderings: Summary99
1-12 After the destruction of Troy, Aeneas and his companions build a fleet, and at the beginning of the summer set sail for unknown lands.
13-18 Aeneas sails to Thrace, and begins to build a city.
19-68 As Aeneas tears up some myrtle and cornet shoots in order to wreathe the altars, drops of blood come from the broken stems. Then a cry is heard from beneath the earth, and the voice of Polydorus100 tells Aeneas that the shoots have grown from the spears which transfixed him when he was murdered after being sent to Thrace. Aeneas calls a council, and the Tojans decide to leave; funeral rites for Polydorus are prepared.
69-83 The Trojans sail to Delos, the sacred island of Apollo, and are hospitably received by Anius.
84-120 At Delos Aeneas prays to Apollo for guidance, and recieves an oracular response bidding the Trojans to seek out their ‘ancient mother’. Anchises interprets this as the island of Crete, and they prepare to set out.
121-34 The Trojans sail from Delos to Crete, where they land and begin to build a town called Pergamum.
135-91 As the Trojans busy themselves with bulding their new home in Crete, a pestilence suddenly attacks them. Anchises suggests that they should return to Delos to consult the oracle again, but a vision of the Penates101 appears to Aeneas at night, telling him that it is in Hesperia, now called Italia, that he is to found his destined city. Anchises recognises his error in interpreting the oracle of Apollo, and the Trojans leave Crete.
192-208 The Trojans endure a great storm at sea for three days and nights, and on the fourth day reach the Strophades.
209-77 The Trojans land on the Strophades, kill some cattle for a meal, and are at once attacked by the Harpies, half-woman monsters who pollute their food. Aeneas and his men drive them off, and Celaeno, oldest of the Harpies, in a hostile prophecy proclaims that the Trojans will not found their city until hunger has made them eat their tables. They set said and after passing Ithaca land at Leucate.
278-93 The Trojans make offerings and celebrate games at Actium102; Aeneas dedicates a shield to Apollo, and they said on again to Buthrotum.
294-355 At Buthrotum the Trojans hear that Helenus, son of Priam, is ruling over part of Pyrrhus’ kingdom and is married to Andromache.103 Aeneas meets Andromache as she is making offerings at the empty tomb of Hector. She tells the story of her misfortunes sice the fall of Troy, and Helenus approaches and welcomes the Trojans hospitably.
356-73 Aeneas consults Helenus about his voyage and Celaeno’s threat. Helenus takes him to the temple and begins his prophecy.
374-462 Helenus makes his prophecy, telling the Trojans that they still have far to go; they will know that they have reached the site of their city by the sign of the white sow. There is no need to fear Celaeno’s threat. They must beware of the estern coast of Italy, and after sacrificing in the prescribed manner must sail on round Sicily, thus avoiding Scylla and Charybdis. Above all they must make constant prayer and sacrifice to Juno. They must then land at Cumae to consult the Sibyl; she will tell them of the wars to be fought in Italy.
463-505 Helenus bestows presents upon the Trojans, and gives his last instructions. Andromache adds her gifts to Ascanius104 in memory of Astyanax. Aeneas bids them farewell and promises eternal friendship between their two cities.
506-47 After leaving Buthrotum the Trojans sail to Acroceraunia. Here they spend the night; they set off early next day and sight Italy. They land at Castrum Minervae, and Anchises interprets the sight of four white horses as an omen both of peace and of war. They make offerings to Juno and re-embark.
548-87 The Trojans sail across the bay of Tarentum, escape Scylla and Charybdis, and approach the Sicilian coast near Mt. Etna. They pass a night of fear in the shadow of the volcano.
588-654 The Trojans meet an emaciated castaway, who appeals to them for help. He tells them that he is Achaemenides, left behind on the island by Ulysses105 after his encounter with the Cyclops Polyphemus.
655-91 The blinded Polyphemus106 and his fellow Cyclops appear. Taking Achaemenides with them the Trojans set sail with all speed, and as the wind is from the north they succeed in avoiding Scylla and Charybdis and they sail southwards along the coast of Sicily.
692-718 The Trojans continue to sail around Sicily, finally reaching Drepanum where Anchises dies. From there, Aeneas tells Dido, they were driven by a storm to Carthage; and so he ends the tale of his wanderings.
The Passion Of Dido
But anxious cares already seiz’d the queen:
She fed within her veins a flame unseen;
The hero’s valor, acts, and birth inspire
Her soul with love, and fan the secret fire.
His words, his looks, imprinted in her heart,
Improve the passion, and increase the smart.
Now, when the purple morn had chas’d away
The dewy shadows, and restor’d the day,
Her sister first with early care she sought,
And thus in mournful accents eas’d her thought:
“My dearest Anna, what new dreams affright
My lab’ring soul! what visions of the night
Disturb my quiet, and distract my breast
With strange ideas of our Trojan guest!
His worth, his actions, and majestic air,
A man descended from the gods declare.
Fear ever argues a degenerate kind;
His birth is well asserted by his mind.
Then, what he suffer’d, when by Fate betray’d!
What brave attempts for falling Troy he made!
Such were his looks, so gracefully he spoke,
That, were I not resolv’d against the yoke
Of hapless marriage, never to be curst
With second love, so fatal was my first,
To this one error I might yield again;
For, since Sichaeus was untimely slain,
This only man is able to subvert
The fix’d foundations of my stubborn heart.
And, to confess my frailty, to my shame,
Somewhat I find within, if not the same,
Too like the sparkles of my former flame.
But first let yawning earth a passage rend,
And let me thro’ the dark abyss descend;
First let avenging Jove, with flames from high,
Drive down this body to the nether sky,
Condemn’d with ghosts in endless night to lie,
Before I break the plighted faith I gave!
No! he who had my vows shall ever have;
For, whom I lov’d on earth, I worship in the grave.”
She said: the tears ran gushing from her eyes,
And stopp’d her speech. Her sister thus replies:
“O dearer than the vital air I breathe,
Will you to grief your blooming years bequeath,
Condemn’d to waste in woes your lonely life,
Without the joys of mother or of wife?
Think you these tears, this pompous train of woe,
Are known or valued by the ghosts below?
I grant that, while your sorrows yet were green,
It well became a woman, and a queen,
The vows of Tyrian princes to neglect,
To scorn Hyarbas, and his love reject,
With all the Libyan lords of mighty name;
But will you fight against a pleasing flame!
This little spot of land, which Heav’n bestows,
On ev’ry side is hemm’d with warlike foes;
Gaetulian cities here are spread around,
And fierce Numidians there your frontiers bound;
Here lies a barren waste of thirsty land,
And there the Syrtes raise the moving sand;
Barcaean troops besiege the narrow shore,
And from the sea Pygmalion threatens more.
Propitious Heav’n, and gracious Juno, lead
This wand’ring navy to your needful aid:
How will your empire spread, your city rise,
From such a union, and with such allies?
Implore the favor of the pow’rs above,
And leave the conduct of the rest to love.
Continue still your hospitable way,
And still invent occasions of their stay,
Till storms and winter winds shall cease to threat,
And planks and oars repair their shatter’d fleet.”
These words, which from a friend and sister came,
With ease resolv’d the scruples of her fame,
And added fury to the kindled flame.
Inspir’d with hope, the project they pursue;
On ev’ry altar sacrifice renew:
A chosen ewe of two years old they pay
To Ceres, Bacchus, and the God of Day;
Preferring Juno’s pow’r, for Juno ties
The nuptial knot and makes the marriage joys.
The beauteous queen before her altar stands,
And holds the golden goblet in her hands.
A milk-white heifer she with flow’rs adorns,
And pours the ruddy wine betwixt her horns;
And, while the priests with pray’r the gods invoke,
She feeds their altars with Sabaean smoke,
With hourly care the sacrifice renews,
And anxiously the panting entrails views.
What priestly rites, alas! what pious art,
What vows avail to cure a bleeding heart!
A gentle fire she feeds within her veins,
Where the soft god secure in silence reigns.
Sick with desire, and seeking him she loves,
From street to street the raving Dido roves.
So when the watchful shepherd, from the blind,
Wounds with a random shaft the careless hind,
Distracted with her pain she flies the woods,
Bounds o’er the lawn, and seeks the silent floods,
With fruitless care; for still the fatal dart
Sticks in her side, and rankles in her heart.
And now she leads the Trojan chief along
The lofty walls, amidst the busy throng;
Displays her Tyrian wealth, and rising town,
Which love, without his labor, makes his own.
This pomp she shows, to tempt her wand’ring guest;
Her falt’ring tongue forbids to speak the rest.
When day declines, and feasts renew the night,
Still on his face she feeds her famish’d sight;
She longs again to hear the prince relate
His own adventures and the Trojan fate. H
e tells it o’er and o’er; but still in vain,
For still she begs to hear it once again.
The hearer on the speaker’s mouth depends,
And thus the tragic story never ends.
Then, when they part, when Phoebe’s paler light
Withdraws, and falling stars to sleep invite,
She last remains, when ev’ry guest is gone,
Sits on the bed he press’d, and sighs alone;
Absent, her absent hero sees and hears;
Or in her bosom young Ascanius bears,
And seeks the father’s image in the child,
If love by likeness might be so beguil’d.
Meantime the rising tow’rs are at a stand;
No labors exercise the youthful band,
Nor use of arts, nor toils of arms they know;
The mole is left unfinish’d to the foe;
The mounds, the works, the walls, neglected lie,
Short of their promis’d heighth, that seem’d to threat the sky,
But when imperial Juno, from above,
Saw Dido fetter’d in the chains of love,
Hot with the venom which her veins inflam’d,
And by no sense of shame to be reclaim’d,
With soothing words to Venus she begun:
“High praises, endless honors, you have won,
And mighty trophies, with your worthy son!
Two gods a silly woman have undone!
Nor am I ignorant, you both suspect
This rising city, which my hands erect:
But shall celestial discord never cease?
‘Tis better ended in a lasting peace.
You stand possess’d of all your soul desir’d:
Poor Dido with consuming love is fir’d.
Your Trojan with my Tyrian let us join;
So Dido shall be yours, Aeneas mine:
One common kingdom, one united line.
And lofty Carthage for a dow’r convey.”
Then Venus, who her hidden fraud descried,
Which would the scepter of the world misguide
To Libyan shores, thus artfully replied:
“Who, but a fool, would wars with Juno choose,
And such alliance and such gifts refuse,
If Fortune with our joint desires comply?
The doubt is all from Jove and destiny;
Lest he forbid, with absolute command,
To mix the people in one common land-
Or will the Trojan and the Tyrian line
In lasting leagues and sure succession join?
But you, the partner of his bed and throne,
May move his mind; my wishes are your own.”
“Mine,” said imperial Juno, “be the care;
Time urges, now, to perfect this affair:
Attend my counsel, and the secret share.
When next the Sun his rising light displays,
And gilds the world below with purple rays,
The queen, Aeneas, and the Tyrian court
Shall to the shady woods, for sylvan game, resort.
There, while the huntsmen pitch their toils around,
And cheerful horns from side to side resound,
A pitchy cloud shall cover all the plain
With hail, and thunder, and tempestuous rain;
The fearful train shall take their speedy flight,
Dispers’d, and all involv’d in gloomy night;
One cave a grateful shelter shall afford
To the fair princess and the Trojan lord.
I will myself the bridal bed prepare,
If you, to bless the nuptials, will be there:
So shall their loves be crown’d with due delights,
And Hymen shall be present at the rites.”
The Queen of Love consents, and closely smiles
At her vain project, and discover’d wiles.
The rosy morn was risen from the main,
And horns and hounds awake the princely train:
They issue early thro’ the city gate,
Where the more wakeful huntsmen ready wait,
With nets, and toils, and darts, beside the force
Of Spartan dogs, and swift Massylian horse.
The Tyrian peers and officers of state
For the slow queen in antechambers wait;
Her lofty courser, in the court below,
Who his majestic rider seems to know,
Proud of his purple trappings, paws the ground,
And champs the golden bit, and spreads the foam around.
The queen at length appears; on either hand
The brawny guards in martial order stand.
A flow’r’d simar with golden fringe she wore,
And at her back a golden quiver bore;
Her flowing hair a golden caul restrains,
A golden clasp the Tyrian robe sustains.
Then young Ascanius, with a sprightly grace,
Leads on the Trojan youth to view the chase.
But far above the rest in beauty shines
The great Aeneas, the troop he joins;
Like fair Apollo, when he leaves the frost
Of wint’ry Xanthus, and the Lycian coast,
When to his native Delos he resorts,
Ordains the dances, and renews the sports;
Where painted Scythians, mix’d with Cretan bands,
Before the joyful altars join their hands:
Himself, on Cynthus walking, sees below
The merry madness of the sacred show.
Green wreaths of bays his length of hair inclose;
A golden fillet binds his awful brows;
His quiver sounds: not less the prince is seen
In manly presence, or in lofty mien.
Now had they reach’d the hills, and storm’d the seat
Of salvage beasts, in dens, their last retreat.
The cry pursues the mountain goats: they bound
From rock to rock, and keep the craggy ground;
Quite otherwise the stags, a trembling train,
In herds unsingled, scour the dusty plain,
And a long chase in open view maintain.
The glad Ascanius, as his courser guides,
Spurs thro’ the vale, and these and those outrides.
His horse’s flanks and sides are forc’d to feel
The clanking lash, and goring of the steel.
Impatiently he views the feeble prey,
Wishing some nobler beast to cross his way,
And rather would the tusky boar attend,
Or see the tawny lion downward bend.
Meantime, the gath’ring clouds obscure the skies:
From pole to pole the forky lightning flies;
The rattling thunders roll; and Juno pours
A wintry deluge down, and sounding show’rs.
The company, dispers’d, to converts ride,
And seek the homely cots, or mountain’s hollow side.
The rapid rains, descending from the hills,
To rolling torrents raise the creeping rills.
The queen and prince, as love or fortune guides,
One common cavern in her bosom hides.
Then first the trembling earth the signal gave,
And flashing fires enlighten all the cave;
Hell from below, and Juno from above,
And howling nymphs, were conscious of their love.
From this ill-omen’d hour in time arose
Debate and death, and all succeeding woes.
The queen, whom sense of honor could not move,
No longer made a secret of her love,
But call’d it marriage, by that specious name
To veil the crime and sanctify the shame.
The loud report thro’ Libyan cities goes.
Fame, the great ill, from small beginnings grows:
Swift from the first; and ev’ry moment brings
New vigor to her flights, new pinions to her wings.
Soon grows the pigmy to gigantic size;
Her feet on earth, her forehead in the skies.
Inrag’d against the gods, revengeful Earth
Produc’d her last of the Titanian birth.
Swift is her walk, more swift her winged haste:
A monstrous phantom, horrible and vast.
As many plumes as raise her lofty flight,
So many piercing eyes inlarge her sight;
Millions of opening mouths to Fame belong,
And ev’ry mouth is furnish’d with a tongue,
And round with list’ning ears the flying plague is hung.
She fills the peaceful universe with cries;
No slumbers ever close her wakeful eyes;
By day, from lofty tow’rs her head she shews,
And spreads thro’ trembling crowds disastrous news;
With court informers haunts, and royal spies;
Things done relates, not done she feigns, and mingles truth with lies.
Talk is her business, and her chief delight
To tell of prodigies and cause affright.
She fills the people’s ears with Dido’s name,
Who, lost to honor and the sense of shame,
Admits into her throne and nuptial bed
A wand’ring guest, who from his country fled:
Whole days with him she passes in delights,
And wastes in luxury long winter nights,
Forgetful of her fame and royal trust,
Dissolv’d in ease, abandon’d to her lust.
The goddess widely spreads the loud report,
And flies at length to King Hyarba’s court.
When first possess’d with this unwelcome news
Whom did he not of men and gods accuse?
This prince, from ravish’d Garamantis born,
A hundred temples did with spoils adorn,
In Ammon’s honor, his celestial sire;
A hundred altars fed with wakeful fire;
And, thro’ his vast dominions, priests ordain’d,
Whose watchful care these holy rites maintain’d.
The gates and columns were with garlands crown’d,
And blood of victim beasts enrich’d the ground.
He, when he heard a fugitive could move
The Tyrian princess, who disdain’d his love,
His breast with fury burn’d, his eyes with fire,
Mad with despair, impatient with desire;
Then on the sacred altars pouring wine,
He thus with pray’rs implor’d his sire divine:
“Great Jove! propitious to the Moorish race,
Who feast on painted beds, with off ’rings grace
Thy temples, and adore thy pow’r divine
With blood of victims, and with sparkling wine,
Seest thou not this? or do we fear in vain
Thy boasted thunder, and thy thoughtless reign?
Do thy broad hands the forky lightnings lance?
Thine are the bolts, or the blind work of chance?
A wand’ring woman builds, within our state,
A little town, bought at an easy rate;
She pays me homage, and my grants allow
A narrow space of Libyan lands to plow;
Yet, scorning me, by passion blindly led,
Admits a banish’d Trojan to her bed!
And now this other Paris, with his train
Of conquer’d cowards, must in Afric reign!
(Whom, what they are, their looks and garb confess,
Their locks with oil perfum’d, their Lydian dress.)
He takes the spoil, enjoys the princely dame;
And I, rejected I, adore an empty name.”
His vows, in haughty terms, he thus preferr’d,
And held his altar’s horns. The mighty Thund’rer heard;
Then cast his eyes on Carthage, where he found
The lustful pair in lawless pleasure drown’d,
Lost in their loves, insensible of shame,
And both forgetful of their better fame.
He calls Cyllenius, and the god attends,
By whom his menacing command he sends:
“Go, mount the western winds, and cleave the sky;
Then, with a swift descent, to Carthage fly:
There find the Trojan chief, who wastes his days
In slothful not and inglorious ease,
Nor minds the future city, giv’n by fate.
To him this message from my mouth relate:
‘Not so fair Venus hop’d, when twice she won
Thy life with pray’rs, nor promis’d such a son.
Hers was a hero, destin’d to command
A martial race, and rule the Latian land,
Who should his ancient line from Teucer draw,
And on the conquer’d world impose the law.’
If glory cannot move a mind so mean,
Nor future praise from fading pleasure wean,
Yet why should he defraud his son of fame,
And grudge the Romans their immortal name!
What are his vain designs! what hopes he more
From his long ling’ring on a hostile shore,
Regardless to redeem his honor lost,
And for his race to gain th’ Ausonian coast!
Bid him with speed the Tyrian court forsake;
With this command the slumb’ring warrior wake.”
Hermes obeys; with golden pinions binds
His flying feet, and mounts the western winds:
And, whether o’er the seas or earth he flies,
With rapid force they bear him down the skies.
But first he grasps within his awful hand
The mark of sov’reign pow’r, his magic wand;
With this he draws the ghosts from hollow graves;
With this he drives them down the Stygian waves;
With this he seals in sleep the wakeful sight,
And eyes, tho’ clos’d in death, restores to light.
Thus arm’d, the god begins his airy race,
And drives the racking clouds along the liquid space;
Now sees the tops of Atlas, as he flies,
Whose brawny back supports the starry skies;
Atlas, whose head, with piny forests crown’d,
Is beaten by the winds, with foggy vapors bound.
Snows hide his shoulders; from beneath his chin
The founts of rolling streams their race begin;
A beard of ice on his large breast depends.
Here, pois’d upon his wings, the god descends:
Then, rested thus, he from the tow’ring height
Plung’d downward, with precipitated flight,
Lights on the seas, and skims along the flood.
As waterfowl, who seek their fishy food,
Less, and yet less, to distant prospect show;
By turns they dance aloft, and dive below:
Like these, the steerage of his wings he plies,
And near the surface of the water flies,
Till, having pass’d the seas, and cross’d the sands,
He clos’d his wings, and stoop’d on Libyan lands:
Where shepherds once were hous’d in homely sheds,
Now tow’rs within the clouds advance their heads.
Arriving there, he found the Trojan prince
New ramparts raising for the town’s defense.
A purple scarf, with gold embroider’d o’er,
(Queen Dido’s gift,) about his waist he wore;
A sword, with glitt’ring gems diversified,
For ornament, not use, hung idly by his side.
Then thus, with winged words, the god began,
Resuming his own shape: “Degenerate man,
Thou woman’s property, what mak’st thou here,
These foreign walls and Tyrian tow’rs to rear,
Forgetful of thy own? All-pow’rful Jove,
Who sways the world below and heav’n above,
Has sent me down with this severe command:
What means thy ling’ring in the Libyan land?
If glory cannot move a mind so mean,
Nor future praise from flitting pleasure wean,
Regard the fortunes of thy rising heir:
The promis’d crown let young Ascanius wear,
To whom th’ Ausonian scepter, and the state
Of Rome’s imperial name is ow’d by fate.”
So spoke the god; and, speaking, took his flight,
Involv’d in clouds, and vanish’d out of sight.
The pious prince was seiz’d with sudden fear;
Mute was his tongue, and upright stood his hair.
Revolving in his mind the stern command,
He longs to fly, and loathes the charming land.
What should he say? or how should he begin?
What course, alas! remains to steer between
Th’ offended lover and the pow’rful queen?
This way and that he turns his anxious mind,
And all expedients tries, and none can find.
Fix’d on the deed, but doubtful of the means,
After long thought, to this advice he leans:
Three chiefs he calls, commands them to repair
The fleet, and ship their men with silent care;
Some plausible pretense he bids them find,
To color what in secret he design’d.
Himself, meantime, the softest hours would choose,
Before the love-sick lady heard the news;
And move her tender mind, by slow degrees,
To suffer what the sov’reign pow’r decrees:
Jove will inspire him, when, and what to say.
They hear with pleasure, and with haste obey.
But soon the queen perceives the thin disguise:
(What arts can blind a jealous woman’s eyes!)
She was the first to find the secret fraud,
Before the fatal news was blaz’d abroad.
Love the first motions of the lover hears,
Quick to presage, and ev’n in safety fears.
Nor impious Fame was wanting to report
The ships repair’d, the Trojans’ thick resort,
And purpose to forsake the Tyrian court.
Frantic with fear, impatient of the wound,
And impotent of mind, she roves the city round.
Less wild the Bacchanalian dames appear,
When, from afar, their nightly god they hear,
And howl about the hills, and shake the wreathy spear.
At length she finds the dear perfidious man;
Prevents his form’d excuse, and thus began:
“Base and ungrateful! could you hope to fly,
And undiscover’d scape a lover’s eye?
Nor could my kindness your compassion move.
Nor plighted vows, nor dearer bands of love?
Or is the death of a despairing queen
Not worth preventing, tho’ too well foreseen?
Ev’n when the wintry winds command your stay,
You dare the tempests, and defy the sea.
False as you are, suppose you were not bound
To lands unknown, and foreign coasts to sound;
Were Troy restor’d, and Priam’s happy reign,
Now durst you tempt, for Troy, the raging main?
See whom you fly! am I the foe you shun?
Now, by those holy vows, so late begun,
By this right hand, (since I have nothing more
To challenge, but the faith you gave before;)
I beg you by these tears too truly shed,
By the new pleasures of our nuptial bed;
If ever Dido, when you most were kind,
Were pleasing in your eyes, or touch’d your mind;
By these my pray’rs, if pray’rs may yet have place,
Pity the fortunes of a falling race.
For you I have provok’d a tyrant’s hate,
Incens’d the Libyan and the Tyrian state;
For you alone I suffer in my fame,
Bereft of honor, and expos’d to shame.
Whom have I now to trust, ungrateful guest?
(That only name remains of all the rest!)
What have I left? or whither can I fly?
Must I attend Pygmalion’s cruelty,
Or till Hyarba shall in triumph lead
A queen that proudly scorn’d his proffer’d bed?
Had you deferr’d, at least, your hasty flight,
And left behind some pledge of our delight,
Some babe to bless the mother’s mournful sight,
Some young Aeneas, to supply your place,
Whose features might express his father’s face;
I should not then complain to live bereft
Of all my husband, or be wholly left.”
Here paus’d the queen. Unmov’d he holds his eyes,
By Jove’s command; nor suffer’d love to rise,
Tho’ heaving in his heart; and thus at length replies:
“Fair queen, you never can enough repeat
Your boundless favors, or I own my debt;
Nor can my mind forget Eliza’s name,
While vital breath inspires this mortal frame.
This only let me speak in my defense:
I never hop’d a secret flight from hence,
Much less pretended to the lawful claim
Of sacred nuptials, or a husband’s name.
For, if indulgent Heav’n would leave me free,
And not submit my life to fate’s decree,
My choice would lead me to the Trojan shore,
Those relics to review, their dust adore,
And Priam’s ruin’d palace to restore.
But now the Delphian oracle commands,
And fate invites me to the Latian lands.
That is the promis’d place to which I steer,
And all my vows are terminated there.
If you, a Tyrian, and a stranger born,
With walls and tow’rs a Libyan town adorn,
Why may not we- like you, a foreign race-
Like you, seek shelter in a foreign place?
As often as the night obscures the skies
With humid shades, or twinkling stars arise,
Anchises’ angry ghost in dreams appears,
Chides my delay, and fills my soul with fears;
And young Ascanius justly may complain
Of his defrauded and destin’d reign.
Ev’n now the herald of the gods appear’d:
Waking I saw him, and his message heard.
From Jove he came commission’d, heav’nly bright
With radiant beams, and manifest to sight
(The sender and the sent I both attest)
These walls he enter’d, and those words express’d.
Fair queen, oppose not what the gods command;
Forc’d by my fate, I leave your happy land.”
Thus while he spoke, already she began,
With sparkling eyes, to view the guilty man;
From head to foot survey’d his person o’er,
Nor longer these outrageous threats forebore:
“False as thou art, and, more than false, forsworn!
Not sprung from noble blood, nor goddess-born,
But hewn from harden’d entrails of a rock!
And rough Hyrcanian tigers gave thee suck!
Why should I fawn? what have I worse to fear?
Did he once look, or lent a list’ning ear,
Sigh’d when I sobb’d, or shed one kindly tear?-
All symptoms of a base ungrateful mind,
So foul, that, which is worse, ‘tis hard to find.
Of man’s injustice why should I complain?
The gods, and Jove himself, behold in vain
Triumphant treason; yet no thunder flies,
Nor Juno views my wrongs with equal eyes;
Faithless is earth, and faithless are the skies!
Justice is fled, and Truth is now no more!
I sav’d the shipwrack’d exile on my shore;
With needful food his hungry Trojans fed;
I took the traitor to my throne and bed:
Fool that I was- ‘t is little to repeat
The rest- I stor’d and rigg’d his ruin’d fleet.
I rave, I rave! A god’s command he pleads,
And makes Heav’n accessary to his deeds.
Now Lycian lots, and now the Delian god,
Now Hermes is employ’d from Jove’s abode,
To warn him hence; as if the peaceful state
Of heav’nly pow’rs were touch’d with human fate!
But go! thy flight no longer I detain-
Go seek thy promis’d kingdom thro’ the main!
Yet, if the heav’ns will hear my pious vow,
The faithless waves, not half so false as thou,
Or secret sands, shall sepulchers afford
To thy proud vessels, and their perjur’d lord.
Then shalt thou call on injur’d Dido’s name:
Dido shall come in a black sulph’ry flame,
When death has once dissolv’d her mortal frame;
Shall smile to see the traitor vainly weep:
Her angry ghost, arising from the deep,
Shall haunt thee waking, and disturb thy sleep.
At least my shade thy punishment shall know,
And Fame shall spread the pleasing news below.”
Abruptly here she stops; then turns away
Her loathing eyes, and shuns the sight of day.
Amaz’d he stood, revolving in his mind
What speech to frame, and what excuse to find.
Her fearful maids their fainting mistress led,
And softly laid her on her ivory bed.
But good Aeneas, tho’ he much desir’d
To give that pity which her grief requir’d;
Tho’ much he mourn’d, and labor’d with his love,
Resolv’d at length, obeys the will of Jove;
Reviews his forces: they with early care
Unmoor their vessels, and for sea prepare.
The fleet is soon afloat, in all its pride,
And well-calk’d galleys in the harbor ride.
Then oaks for oars they fell’d; or, as they stood,
Of its green arms despoil’d the growing wood,
Studious of flight. The beach is cover’d o’er
With Trojan bands, that blacken all the shore:
On ev’ry side are seen, descending down,
Thick swarms of soldiers, loaden from the town.
Thus, in battalia, march embodied ants,
Fearful of winter, and of future wants,
T’ invade the corn, and to their cells convey
The plunder’d forage of their yellow prey.
The sable troops, along the narrow tracks,
Scarce bear the weighty burthen on their backs:
Some set their shoulders to the pond’rous grain;
Some guard the spoil; some lash the lagging train;
All ply their sev’ral tasks, and equal toil sustain.
What pangs the tender breast of Dido tore,
When, from the tow’r, she saw the cover’d shore,
And heard the shouts of sailors from afar,
Mix’d with the murmurs of the wat’ry war!
All-pow’rful Love! what changes canst thou cause
In human hearts, subjected to thy laws!
Once more her haughty soul the tyrant bends:
To pray’rs and mean submissions she descends.
No female arts or aids she left untried,
Nor counsels unexplor’d, before she died.
“Look, Anna! look! the Trojans crowd to sea;
They spread their canvas, and their anchors weigh.
The shouting crew their ships with garlands bind,
Invoke the sea gods, and invite the wind.
Could I have thought this threat’ning blow so near,
My tender soul had been forewarn’d to bear.
But do not you my last request deny;
With yon perfidious man your int’rest try,
And bring me news, if I must live or die.
You are his fav’rite; you alone can find
The dark recesses of his inmost mind:
In all his trusted secrets you have part,
And know the soft approaches to his heart.
Haste then, and humbly seek my haughty foe;
Tell him, I did not with the Grecians go,
Nor did my fleet against his friends employ,
Nor swore the ruin of unhappy Troy,
Nor mov’d with hands profane his father’s dust:
Why should he then reject a just!
Whom does he shun, and whither would he fly!
Can he this last, this only pray’r deny!
Let him at least his dang’rous flight delay,
Wait better winds, and hope a calmer sea.
The nuptials he disclaims I urge no more:
Let him pursue the promis’d Latian shore.
A short delay is all I ask him now;
A pause of grief, an interval from woe,
Till my soft soul be temper’d to sustain
Accustom’d sorrows, and inur’d to pain.
If you in pity grant this one request,
My death shall glut the hatred of his breast.”
This mournful message pious Anna bears,
And seconds with her own her sister’s tears:
But all her arts are still employ’d in vain;
Again she comes, and is refus’d again.
His harden’d heart nor pray’rs nor threat’nings move;
Fate, and the god, had stopp’d his ears to love.
As, when the winds their airy quarrel try,
Justling from ev’ry quarter of the sky,
This way and that the mountain oak they bend,
His boughs they shatter, and his branches rend;
With leaves and falling mast they spread the ground;
The hollow valleys echo to the sound:
Unmov’d, the royal plant their fury mocks,
Or, shaken, clings more closely to the rocks;
Far as he shoots his tow’ring head on high,
So deep in earth his fix’d foundations lie.
No less a storm the Trojan hero bears;
Thick messages and loud complaints he hears,
And bandied words, still beating on his ears.
Sighs, groans, and tears proclaim his inward pains;
But the firm purpose of his heart remains.
The wretched queen, pursued by cruel fate,
Begins at length the light of heav’n to hate,
And loathes to live. Then dire portents she sees,
To hasten on the death her soul decrees:
Strange to relate! for when, before the shrine,
She pours in sacrifice the purple wine,
The purple wine is turn’d to putrid blood,
And the white offer’d milk converts to mud.
This dire presage, to her alone reveal’d,
From all, and ev’n her sister, she conceal’d.
A marble temple stood within the grove,
Sacred to death, and to her murther’d love;
That honor’d chapel she had hung around
With snowy fleeces, and with garlands crown’d:
Oft, when she visited this lonely dome,
Strange voices issued from her husband’s tomb;
She thought she heard him summon her away,
Invite her to his grave, and chide her stay.
Hourly ‘t is heard, when with a boding note
The solitary screech owl strains her throat,
And, on a chimney’s top, or turret’s height,
With songs obscene disturbs the silence of the night.
Besides, old prophecies augment her fears;
And stern Aeneas in her dreams appears,
Disdainful as by day: she seems, alone,
To wander in her sleep, thro’ ways unknown,
Guideless and dark; or, in a desart plain,
To seek her subjects, and to seek in vain:
Like Pentheus, when, distracted with his fear,
He saw two suns, and double Thebes, appear;
Or mad Orestes, when his mother’s ghost
Full in his face infernal torches toss’d,
And shook her snaky locks: he shuns the sight,
Flies o’er the stage, surpris’d with mortal fright;
The Furies guard the door and intercept his flight.
Now, sinking underneath a load of grief,
From death alone she seeks her last relief;
The time and means resolv’d within her breast,
She to her mournful sister thus address’d
(Dissembling hope, her cloudy front she clears,
And a false vigor in her eyes appears):
“Rejoice!” she said. “Instructed from above,
My lover I shall gain, or lose my love.
Nigh rising Atlas, next the falling sun,
Long tracts of Ethiopian climates run:
There a Massylian priestess I have found,
Honor’d for age, for magic arts renown’d:
Th’ Hesperian temple was her trusted care;
‘T was she supplied the wakeful dragon’s fare.
She poppy seeds in honey taught to steep,
Reclaim’d his rage, and sooth’d him into sleep.
She watch’d the golden fruit; her charms unbind
The chains of love, or fix them on the mind:
She stops the torrents, leaves the channel dry,
Repels the stars, and backward bears the sky.
The yawning earth rebellows to her call,
Pale ghosts ascend, and mountain ashes fall.
Witness, ye gods, and thou my better part,
How loth I am to try this impious art!
Within the secret court, with silent care,
Erect a lofty pile, expos’d in air:
Hang on the topmost part the Trojan vest,
Spoils, arms, and presents, of my faithless guest.
Next, under these, the bridal bed be plac’d,
Where I my ruin in his arms embrac’d:
All relics of the wretch are doom’d to fire;
For so the priestess and her charms require.”
Thus far she said, and farther speech forbears;
A mortal paleness in her face appears:
Yet the mistrustless Anna could not find
The secret fun’ral in these rites design’d;
Nor thought so dire a rage possess’d her mind.
Unknowing of a train conceal’d so well,
She fear’d no worse than when Sichaeus fell;
Therefore obeys. The fatal pile they rear,
Within the secret court, expos’d in air.
The cloven holms and pines are heap’d on high,
And garlands on the hollow spaces lie.
Sad cypress, vervain, yew, compose the wreath,
And ev’ry baleful green denoting death.
The queen, determin’d to the fatal deed,
The spoils and sword he left, in order spread,
And the man’s image on the nuptial bed.
And now (the sacred altars plac’d around)
The priestess enters, with her hair unbound,
And thrice invokes the pow’rs below the ground.
Night, Erebus, and Chaos she proclaims,
And threefold Hecate, with her hundred names,
And three Dianas: next, she sprinkles round
With feign’d Avernian drops the hallow’d ground;
Culls hoary simples, found by Phoebe’s light,
With brazen sickles reap’d at noon of night;
Then mixes baleful juices in the bowl,
And cuts the forehead of a newborn foal,
Robbing the mother’s love. The destin’d queen
Observes, assisting at the rites obscene;
A leaven’d cake in her devoted hands
She holds, and next the highest altar stands:
One tender foot was shod, her other bare;
Girt was her gather’d gown, and loose her hair.
Thus dress’d, she summon’d, with her dying breath,
The heav’ns and planets conscious of her death,
And ev’ry pow’r, if any rules above,
Who minds, or who revenges, injur’d love.
“’T was dead of night, when weary bodies close
Their eyes in balmy sleep and soft repose:
The winds no longer whisper thro’ the woods,
Nor murm’ring tides disturb the gentle floods.
The stars in silent order mov’d around;
And Peace, with downy wings, was brooding on the ground
The flocks and herds, and party-color’d fowl,
Which haunt the woods, or swim the weedy pool,
Stretch’d on the quiet earth, securely lay,
Forgetting the past labors of the day.
All else of nature’s common gift partake:
Unhappy Dido was alone awake.
Nor sleep nor ease the furious queen can find;
Sleep fled her eyes, as quiet fled her mind.
Despair, and rage, and love divide her heart;
Despair and rage had some, but love the greater part.
Then thus she said within her secret mind:
“What shall I do? what succor can I find?
Become a suppliant to Hyarba’s pride,
And take my turn, to court and be denied?
Shall I with this ungrateful Trojan go,
Forsake an empire, and attend a foe?
Himself I refug’d, and his train reliev’d-
‘Tis true- but am I sure to be receiv’d?
Can gratitude in Trojan souls have place!
Laomedon still lives in all his race!
Then, shall I seek alone the churlish crew,
Or with my fleet their flying sails pursue?
What force have I but those whom scarce before
I drew reluctant from their native shore?
Will they again embark at my desire,
Once more sustain the seas, and quit their second Tyre?
Rather with steel thy guilty breast invade,
And take the fortune thou thyself hast made.
Your pity, sister, first seduc’d my mind,
Or seconded too well what I design’d.
These dear-bought pleasures had I never known,
Had I continued free, and still my own;
Avoiding love, I had not found despair,
But shar’d with salvage beasts the common air.
Like them, a lonely life I might have led,
Not mourn’d the living, nor disturb’d the dead.”
These thoughts she brooded in her anxious breast.
On board, the Trojan found more easy rest.
Resolv’d to sail, in sleep he pass’d the night;
And order’d all things for his early flight.
To whom once more the winged god appears;
His former youthful mien and shape he wears,
And with this new alarm invades his ears:
“Sleep’st thou, O goddess-born! and canst thou drown
Thy needful cares, so near a hostile town,
Beset with foes; nor hear’st the western gales
Invite thy passage, and inspire thy sails?
She harbors in her heart a furious hate,
And thou shalt find the dire effects too late;
Fix’d on revenge, and obstinate to die.
Haste swiftly hence, while thou hast pow’r to fly.
The sea with ships will soon be cover’d o’er,
And blazing firebrands kindle all the shore.
Prevent her rage, while night obscures the skies,
And sail before the purple morn arise.
Who knows what hazards thy delay may bring?
Woman’s a various and a changeful thing.”
Thus Hermes in the dream; then took his flight
Aloft in air unseen, and mix’d with night.
Twice warn’d by the celestial messenger,
The pious prince arose with hasty fear;
Then rous’d his drowsy train without delay:
“Haste to your banks; your crooked anchors weigh,
And spread your flying sails, and stand to sea.
A god commands: he stood before my sight,
And urg’d us once again to speedy flight.
O sacred pow’r, what pow’r soe’er thou art,
To thy blest orders I resign my heart.
Lead thou the way; protect thy Trojan bands,
And prosper the design thy will commands.”
He said: and, drawing forth his flaming sword,
His thund’ring arm divides the many-twisted cord.
An emulating zeal inspires his train:
They run; they snatch; they rush into the main.
With headlong haste they leave the desert shores,
And brush the liquid seas with lab’ring oars.
Aurora now had left her saffron bed,
And beams of early light the heav’ns o’erspread,
When, from a tow’r, the queen, with wakeful eyes,
Saw day point upward from the rosy skies.
She look’d to seaward; but the sea was void,
And scarce in ken the sailing ships descried.
Stung with despite, and furious with despair,
She struck her trembling breast, and tore her hair.
“And shall th’ ungrateful traitor go,” she said,
“My land forsaken, and my love betray’d?
Shall we not arm? not rush from ev’ry street,
To follow, sink, and burn his perjur’d fleet?
Haste, haul my galleys out! pursue the foe!
Bring flaming brands! set sail, and swiftly row!
What have I said? where am I? Fury turns
My brain; and my distemper’d bosom burns.
Then, when I gave my person and my throne,
This hate, this rage, had been more timely shown.
See now the promis’d faith, the vaunted name,
The pious man, who, rushing thro’ the flame,
Preserv’d his gods, and to the Phrygian shore
The burthen of his feeble father bore!
I should have torn him piecemeal; strow’d in floods
His scatter’d limbs, or left expos’d in woods;
Destroy’d his friends and son; and, from the fire,
Have set the reeking boy before the sire.
Events are doubtful, which on battles wait:
Yet where’s the doubt, to souls secure of fate?
My Tyrians, at their injur’d queen’s command,
Had toss’d their fires amid the Trojan band;
At once extinguish’d all the faithless name;
And I myself, in vengeance of my shame,
Had fall’n upon the pile, to mend the fun’ral flame.
Thou Sun, who view’st at once the world below;
Thou Juno, guardian of the nuptial vow;
Thou Hecate hearken from thy dark abodes!
Ye Furies, fiends, and violated gods,
All pow’rs invok’d with Dido’s dying breath,
Attend her curses and avenge her death!
If so the Fates ordain, Jove commands,
Th’ ungrateful wretch should find the Latian lands,
Yet let a race untam’d, and haughty foes,
His peaceful entrance with dire arms oppose:
Oppress’d with numbers in th’ unequal field,
His men discourag’d, and himself expell’d,
Let him for succor sue from place to place,
Torn from his subjects, and his son’s embrace.
First, let him see his friends in battle slain,
And their untimely fate lament in vain;
And when, at length, the cruel war shall cease,
On hard conditions may he buy his peace:
Nor let him then enjoy supreme command;
But fall, untimely, by some hostile hand,
And lie unburied on the barren sand!
These are my pray’rs, and this my dying will;
And you, my Tyrians, ev’ry curse fulfil.
Perpetual hate and mortal wars proclaim,
Against the prince, the people, and the name.
These grateful off ’rings on my grave bestow;
Nor league, nor love, the hostile nations know!
Now, and from hence, in ev’ry future age,
When rage excites your arms, and strength supplies the rage
Rise some avenger of our Libyan blood,
With fire and sword pursue the perjur’d brood;
Our arms, our seas, our shores, oppos’d to theirs;
And the same hate descend on all our heirs!”
This said, within her anxious mind she weighs
The means of cutting short her odious days.
Then to Sichaeus’ nurse she briefly said
(For, when she left her country, hers was dead):
“Go, Barce, call my sister. Let her care
The solemn rites of sacrifice prepare;
The sheep, and all th’ atoning off ’rings bring,
Sprinkling her body from the crystal spring
With living drops; then let her come, and thou
With sacred fillets bind thy hoary brow.
Thus will I pay my vows to Stygian Jove,
And end the cares of my disastrous love;
Then cast the Trojan image on the fire,
And, as that burns, my passions shall expire.”
The nurse moves onward, with officious care,
And all the speed her aged limbs can bear.
But furious Dido, with dark thoughts involv’d,
Shook at the mighty mischief she resolv’d.
With livid spots distinguish’d was her face;
Red were her rolling eyes, and discompos’d her pace;
Ghastly she gaz’d, with pain she drew her breath,
And nature shiver’d at approaching death.
Then swiftly to the fatal place she pass’d,
And mounts the fun’ral pile with furious haste;
Unsheathes the sword the Trojan left behind
(Not for so dire an enterprise design’d).
But when she view’d the garments loosely spread,
Which once he wore, and saw the conscious bed,
She paus’d, and with a sigh the robes embrac’d;
Then on the couch her trembling body cast,
Repress’d the ready tears, and spoke her last:
“Dear pledges of my love, while Heav’n so pleas’d,
Receive a soul, of mortal anguish eas’d:
My fatal course is finish’d; and I go,
A glorious name, among the ghosts below.
A lofty city by my hands is rais’d,
Pygmalion punish’d, and my lord appeas’d.
What could my fortune have afforded more,
Had the false Trojan never touch’d my shore!”
Then kiss’d the couch; and, “Must I die,” she said,
“And unreveng’d? ‘Tis doubly to be dead!
Yet ev’n this death with pleasure I receive:
On any terms, ‘t is better than to live.
These flames, from far, may the false Trojan view;
These boding omens his base flight pursue!”
She said, and struck; deep enter’d in her side
The piercing steel, with reeking purple dyed:
Clogg’d in the wound the cruel weapon stands;
The spouting blood came streaming on her hands.
Her sad attendants saw the deadly stroke,
And with loud cries the sounding palace shook.
Distracted, from the fatal sight they fled,
And thro’ the town the dismal rumor spread.
First from the frighted court the yell began;
Redoubled, thence from house to house it ran:
The groans of men, with shrieks, laments, and cries
Of mixing women, mount the vaulted skies.
Not less the clamor, than if- ancient Tyre,
Or the new Carthage, set by foes on fire-
The rolling ruin, with their lov’d abodes,
Involv’d the blazing temples of their gods.
Her sister hears; and, furious with despair,
She beats her breast, and rends her yellow hair,
And, calling on Eliza’s name aloud,
Runs breathless to the place, and breaks the crowd.
“Was all that pomp of woe for this prepar’d;
These fires, this fun’ral pile, these altars rear’d?
Was all this train of plots contriv’d,” said she,
“All only to deceive unhappy me?
Which is the worst? Didst thou in death pretend
To scorn thy sister, or delude thy friend?
Thy summon’d sister, and thy friend, had come;
One sword had serv’d us both, one common tomb:
Was I to raise the pile, the pow’rs invoke,
Not to be present at the fatal stroke?
At once thou hast destroy’d thyself and me,
Thy town, thy senate, and thy colony!
Bring water; bathe the wound; while I in death
Lay close my lips to hers, and catch the flying breath.”
This said, she mounts the pile with eager haste,
And in her arms the gasping queen embrac’d;
Her temples chaf ’d; and her own garments tore,
To stanch the streaming blood, and cleanse the gore.
Thrice Dido tried to raise her drooping head,
And, fainting thrice, fell grov’ling on the bed;
Thrice op’d her heavy eyes, and sought the light,
But, having found it, sicken’d at the sight,
And clos’d her lids at last in endless night.
Then Juno, grieving that she should sustain
A death so ling’ring, and so full of pain,
Sent Iris down, to free her from the strife
Of lab’ring nature, and dissolve her life.
For since she died, not doom’d by Heav’n’s decree,
Or her own crime, but human casualty,
And rage of love, that plung’d her in despair,
The Sisters had not cut the topmost hair,
Which Proserpine and they can only know;
Nor made her sacred to the shades below.
Downward the various goddess took her flight,
And drew a thousand colors from the light;
Then stood above the dying lover’s head,
And said: “I thus devote thee to the dead.
This off ’ring to th’ infernal gods I bear.”
Thus while she spoke, she cut the fatal hair:
The struggling soul was loos’d, and life dissolv’d in air.
Image 4.2: Mural in pompeii | This mural depicts a famous scene from the Fall of Troy as Ajax the Lesser drags Cassandra from Athena’s temple.
Author: User “Ken and Nyetta”
License: CC BY-NC 2.0
Funeral Games: Summary
1-7 As the Trojans sail away from Carthage, they look back and see a blaze in the city; although they do not know that it comes from Dido’s pyre, they feel presentiments of disaster.
8-41 When they reach the open sea, a violent storm comes upon them and Palinurus the helmsman tells Aeneas that it is impossible to hole their course for Italy, and suggests that they should run with the wind to Sicily. Aeneas agrees, and they land near the tomb of Anchises, and are welcomed by Acestes.
42-71 On the next day Aeneas summons an assembly and reminds the Trojans that it is the anniversary of the death of his father Anchises. He proclaims a solemn sacrifice at the tomb, which is to be followed on the ninth day by contest in rowing, running, boxing and archery.
72-103 The Trojans proceed to the tomb of Anchises, where Aeneas offers libations and addresses his father’s shade. Suddenly a huge snake comes forth from the tomb, tastes the offerings, and then disappears. Aeneas recognises that this indicates the presence of Anchises’ ghost at the ceremony, and the sacrifice is renewed, and followed by a ritual feast.
104-113 The day of the games comes round, and the people assemble; the prizes are displayed, and the trumpet sounds for the beginning of the contests.
114-50 Four competitors enter for the ship-race, Mnestheus in the Pristis, Gyas in the Chimaera, Sergestus in the Centaurus, and Cloanthus in the Scylla. The course is out to sea, round a rock and home again. The competitors draw lots for postion; the starting signal is given, and the ships get under way amidst applause.
151-82 Gyas gets the lead, followed by Cloanthus, with Mnestheus and Sergestus contending for third position. As tehy draw near the turningpoint, Gyas urges he helmsman Menoetes to steer closer in; but in fear of fouling the rock he fails to do so, and Cloanthus’ ship slips past on the inside. In a fury of anger Gyas throws Menoetes overboard; eventually he manages to clamber out on the rock, while all the spectators are amused at the incident.
183-226 Mnestheus and Sergestus now have new hope of passing Gyas. Sergestus slightly ahead and Mnestheus urges his men to put forward all their efforts to avoid the disgrace of coming in last. Sergestus goes in too near the turning-point and runs aground, breaking his oars on one side. Mnesthus leaves him behind and soon overtakes Gyas too; then he set out after Cloanthus.
227-43 Mnestheus’ final spurt to catch Cloanthus would perhaps have succeeded had not Cloanthus prayed to the gods of the sea. His prayers are heard, and he reaches harbour, the winner of the race.
244-85 Aeneas distributes prizes to the crews of the three ships and their captains. When this is completed, Sergestus finally manages to bring home his disabled ship, moving slowly like a maimed snake; he duly receives his fourth prize.
286-314 Aeneas now leads the assembled company away from the shore to a grassy plain surrounded by hills, suitable for the remaining contests. He invites competitors for the foot-race, and many Trojans and Sicilians enter for it. He promises gifts for all the runners, and announces the prizes which will be awarded to the first three.
315-39 Nisus get well ahead in the foot-race, but as he nears the finish he slips in a pool of blood. While lying on the ground he trips up Salius who was second, so that his friend Euryalus comes up from third place to win.
340-61 An objection is now raised by Salius. Aeneas over-rules it, but he presents Salius with a consolation prize; Nisus too is given a special prize.
362-86 Aeneas now announces a boxing competition. Dares comes forward, but nobody is prepared to fight him. He claims the prize.
387-423 Acestes now urges Entellus, who was trained by Eryx, to oppose Dares. He protests that he is now past the prime of his youth, but none the less accepts the challenge and hurls into the ring a pair of huge gauntlets with which Eryx once faught Hercules. The spectators are all shocked and amazed; Entellus makes a taunting speech, but agrees to fight with matched gauntlets.
424-60 Aeneas brings out matching pairs of gauntlets, and the fight begins. After preliminary sparring Entellus aims a mighty blow which misses and causes him to fall flat on the ground. He is assisted to his feet, and in fury renews the fight, driving Dares all around the arena.
461-84 Aeneas intervenes and stops the fight. Dares is carried away by his friends back to the ships, and Entellus receives the ox as his prize. With a single blow he kills it in a sacrifice to Eryx, and announces his final retirement from boxing.
485-518 Aeneas proclaims an archery contest, the target being a dove secured to a mast. Hippocoon hits the mast; Mnesteus’ arrow cots the cord; Eurytion then shoots down the bird as it flies away.
519-44 Acestes, left with no target to aim at, shoots his arrow high into the air. It catches fire, and then disappears like a shooting star. Aeneas recognises this as a good omen and awards Acestes first prize.
545-603 The final event is the equestrian display by the Trojan boys. They process in three companies, young Priam the leading one, Atys another, and Iulus the third, and they give a brilliant display of intricate manoeuvres and mock battle. This is the ceremony which Iulus introduces Alba Longa, and it was handed on to Rome and called the lusus Troiae.
604-63 While the games are being celebrated, Juno sends Iris down from heaven in order to incite the Trojan women to burn their ships. They are gathered on the shore weeping over Anchises’ death and their endless wanderings; Iris takes on the appearance of Beroe and urges them to set fire to the ships so that they cannot wanter any more. Pyrgo tells them that this is not Beroe, but a goddess; Iris reveals her divinity and driven on now by frenzy they set the ships ablaze.
664-99 The news reachs the Trojans. Ascanius immediately rides off and brings the women to the realization of their crime. But the Trojans cannot put out the flames, and Aeneas prays to Jupiter either to send help or to bring final destruction upon them. Jupiter hears his prayer; the flames are quenched by a thunderstorm, and all the ships are saved except for four.
700-45 Aeneas in dispair wonders whether to abandon his fated mission altogether. Nautes advises him to leave behind some of his company in Sicily, and takes the rest onwards to Italy. As Aeneas is pondering this advice there appears to him in the night a vision of his father Anchises, who tells him to accept Nautes’ advice; but before establishing his city he is to visit the underworld to meet his father and hear his destiny.
746-78 Aeneas follows out the new plan, and a city is founded under Acestes’ rule for those staying behind; a temple is dedicated to Venus at Eryx, and Anchises’ tomb has a priest and a sanctuary appointed for it. After nine days of celebration in honour of the new city the Trojans say their farewells to those staying behind; sacrifices are made, and they sail for Italy.
779-826 Meanwhile Venus complains to Neptune of Juno’s hostility to the Trojans, and asks for his promise that the Trojans will safely cross the sea to Italy. Neptune gives his promise, but says that one life must be lost so that the others shall be safe. The seas are calmed as Neptune rides over them, attended by his retinue.
827-71 The Trojans proceed on their voyage, Palinurus leading. During the night the god of Sleep comes to Palinurus, disguised as Phorbas, and urges him to rest from his vigil. Palinurus refuses, and Sleep casts him into the sea. When the loss of the helmsman is discovered; Aeneas takes over the control of the ship and in deep sorrow speaks his farewell to Palinurus.
He said, and wept; then spread his sails before
The winds, and reach’d at length the Cumaean shore:
Their anchors dropp’d, his crew the vessels moor.
They turn their heads to sea, their sterns to land,
And greet with greedy joy th’ Italian strand.
Some strike from clashing flints their fiery seed;
Some gather sticks, the kindled flames to feed,
Or search for hollow trees, and fell the woods,
Or trace thro’ valleys the discover’d floods.
Thus, while their sev’ral charges they fulfil,
The pious prince ascends the sacred hill
Where Phoebus is ador’d; and seeks the shade
Which hides from sight his venerable maid.
Deep in a cave the Sibyl makes abode;
Thence full of fate returns, and of the god.
Thro’ Trivia’s grove they walk; and now behold,
And enter now, the temple roof ’d with gold.
When Daedalus, to fly the Cretan shore,
His heavy limbs on jointed pinions bore,
(The first who sail’d in air,) ‘t is sung by Fame,
To the Cumaean coast at length he came,
And here alighting, built this costly frame.
Inscrib’d to Phoebus, here he hung on high
The steerage of his wings, that cut the sky:
Then o’er the lofty gate his art emboss’d
Androgeos’ death, and off ’rings to his ghost;
Sev’n youths from Athens yearly sent, to meet
The fate appointed by revengeful Crete.
And next to those the dreadful urn was plac’d,
In which the destin’d names by lots were cast:
The mournful parents stand around in tears,
And rising Crete against their shore appears.
There too, in living sculpture, might be seen
The mad affection of the Cretan queen;
Then how she cheats her bellowing lover’s eye;
The rushing leap, the doubtful progeny,
The lower part a beast, a man above,
The monument of their polluted love.
Not far from thence he grav’d the wondrous maze,
A thousand doors, a thousand winding ways:
Here dwells the monster, hid from human view,
Not to be found, but by the faithful clew;
Till the kind artist, mov’d with pious grief,
Lent to the loving maid this last relief,
And all those erring paths describ’d so well
That Theseus conquer’d and the monster fell.
Here hapless Icarus had found his part,
Had not the father’s grief restrain’d his art.
He twice assay’d to cast his son in gold;
Twice from his hands he dropp’d the forming mold.
All this with wond’ring eyes Aeneas view’d;
Each varying object his delight renew’d:
Eager to read the rest- Achates came,
And by his side the mad divining dame,
The priestess of the god, Deiphobe her name.
“Time suffers not,” she said, “to feed your eyes
With empty pleasures; haste the sacrifice.
Sev’n bullocks, yet unyok’d, for Phoebus choose,
And for Diana sev’n unspotted ewes.”
This said, the servants urge the sacred rites,
While to the temple she the prince invites.
A spacious cave, within its farmost part,
Was hew’d and fashion’d by laborious art
Thro’ the hill’s hollow sides: before the place,
A hundred doors a hundred entries grace;
As many voices issue, and the sound
Of Sybil’s words as many times rebound.
Now to the mouth they come. Aloud she cries:
“This is the time; enquire your destinies.
He comes; behold the god!” Thus while she said,
(And shiv’ring at the sacred entry stay’d,)
Her color chang’d; her face was not the same,
And hollow groans from her deep spirit came.
Her hair stood up; convulsive rage possess’d
Her trembling limbs, and heav’d her lab’ring breast.
Greater than humankind she seem’d to look,
And with an accent more than mortal spoke.
Her staring eyes with sparkling fury roll;
When all the god came rushing on her soul.
Swiftly she turn’d, and, foaming as she spoke:
“Why this delay?” she cried- “the pow’rs invoke!
Thy pray’rs alone can open this abode;
Else vain are my demands, and dumb the god.”
She said no more. The trembling Trojans hear,
O’erspread with a damp sweat and holy fear.
The prince himself, with awful dread possess’d,
His vows to great Apollo thus address’d:
“Indulgent god, propitious pow’r to Troy,
Swift to relieve, unwilling to destroy,
Directed by whose hand the Dardan dart
Pierc’d the proud Grecian’s only mortal part:
Thus far, by fate’s decrees and thy commands,
Thro’ ambient seas and thro’ devouring sands,
Our exil’d crew has sought th’ Ausonian ground;
And now, at length, the flying coast is found.
Thus far the fate of Troy, from place to place,
With fury has pursued her wand’ring race.
Here cease, ye pow’rs, and let your vengeance end:
Troy is no more, and can no more offend.
And thou, O sacred maid, inspir’d to see
Th’ event of things in dark futurity;
Give me what Heav’n has promis’d to my fate,
To conquer and command the Latian state;
To fix my wand’ring gods, and find a place
For the long exiles of the Trojan race.
Then shall my grateful hands a temple rear
To the twin gods, with vows and solemn pray’r;
And annual rites, and festivals, and games,
Shall be perform’d to their auspicious names.
Nor shalt thou want thy honors in my land;
For there thy faithful oracles shall stand,
Preserv’d in shrines; and ev’ry sacred lay,
Which, by thy mouth, Apollo shall convey:
All shall be treasur’d by a chosen train
To flitting leaves, the sport of ev’ry wind,
Lest they disperse in air our empty fate;
Write not, but, what the pow’rs ordain, relate.”
Struggling in vain, impatient of her load,
And lab’ring underneath the pond’rous god,
The more she strove to shake him from her breast,
With more and far superior force he press’d;
Commands his entrance, and, without control,
Usurps her organs and inspires her soul.
Now, with a furious blast, the hundred doors
Ope of themselves; a rushing whirlwind roars
Within the cave, and Sibyl’s voice restores:
“Escap’d the dangers of the wat’ry reign,
Yet more and greater ills by land remain.
The coast, so long desir’d (nor doubt th’ event),
Thy troops shall reach, but, having reach’d, repent.
Wars, horrid wars, I view- a field of blood,
And Tiber rolling with a purple flood.
Simois nor Xanthus shall be wanting there:
A new Achilles shall in arms appear,
And he, too, goddess-born. Fierce Juno’s hate,
Added to hostile force, shall urge thy fate.
To what strange nations shalt not thou resort,
Driv’n to solicit aid at ev’ry court!
The cause the same which Ilium once oppress’d;
A foreign mistress, and a foreign guest.
But thou, secure of soul, unbent with woes,
The more thy fortune frowns, the more oppose.
The dawnings of thy safety shall be shown
From whence thou least shalt hope, a Grecian town.”
Thus, from the dark recess, the Sibyl spoke,
And the resisting air the thunder broke;
The cave rebellow’d, and the temple shook.
Th’ ambiguous god, who rul’d her lab’ring breast,
In these mysterious words his mind express’d;
Some truths reveal’d, in terms involv’d the rest.
At length her fury fell, her foaming ceas’d,
And, ebbing in her soul, the god decreas’d.
Then thus the chief: “No terror to my view,
No frightful face of danger can be new.
Inur’d to suffer, and resolv’d to dare,
The Fates, without my pow’r, shall be without my care.
This let me crave, since near your grove the road
To hell lies open, and the dark abode
Which Acheron surrounds, th’ innavigable flood;
Conduct me thro’ the regions void of light,
And lead me longing to my father’s sight.
For him, a thousand dangers I have sought,
And, rushing where the thickest Grecians fought,
Safe on my back the sacred burthen brought.
He, for my sake, the raging ocean tried,
And wrath of Heav’n, my still auspicious guide,
And bore beyond the strength decrepid age supplied.
Oft, since he breath’d his last, in dead of night
His reverend image stood before my sight;
Enjoin’d to seek, below, his holy shade;
Conducted there by your unerring aid.
But you, if pious minds by pray’rs are won,
Oblige the father, and protect the son.
Yours is the pow’r; nor Proserpine in vain
Has made you priestess of her nightly reign.
If Orpheus, arm’d with his enchanting lyre,
The ruthless king with pity could inspire,
And from the shades below redeem his wife;
If Pollux, off ’ring his alternate life,
Could free his brother, and can daily go
By turns aloft, by turns descend below-
Why name I Theseus, or his greater friend,
Who trod the downward path, and upward could ascend?
Not less than theirs from Jove my lineage came;
My mother greater, my descent the same.”
So pray’d the Trojan prince, and, while he pray’d,
His hand upon the holy altar laid.
Then thus replied the prophetess divine:
“O goddess-born of great Anchises’ line,
The gates of hell are open night and day;
Smooth the descent, and easy is the way:
But to return, and view the cheerful skies,
In this the task and mighty labor lies.
To few great Jupiter imparts this grace,
And those of shining worth and heav’nly race.
Betwixt those regions and our upper light,
Deep forests and impenetrable night
Possess the middle space: th’ infernal bounds
Cocytus, with his sable waves, surrounds.
But if so dire a love your soul invades,
As twice below to view the trembling shades;
If you so hard a toil will undertake,
As twice to pass th’ innavigable lake;
Receive my counsel. In the neighb’ring grove
There stands a tree; the queen of Stygian Jove
Claims it her own; thick woods and gloomy night
Conceal the happy plant from human sight.
One bough it bears; but (wondrous to behold!)
The ductile rind and leaves of radiant gold:
This from the vulgar branches must be torn,
And to fair Proserpine the present borne,
Ere leave be giv’n to tempt the nether skies.
The first thus rent a second will arise,
And the same metal the same room supplies.
Look round the wood, with lifted eyes, to see
The lurking gold upon the fatal tree:
Then rend it off, as holy rites command;
The willing metal will obey thy hand,
Following with ease, if favor’d by thy fate,
Thou art foredoom’d to view the Stygian state:
If not, no labor can the tree constrain;
And strength of stubborn arms and steel are vain.
Besides, you know not, while you here attend,
Th’ unworthy fate of your unhappy friend:
Breathless he lies; and his unburied ghost,
Depriv’d of fun’ral rites, pollutes your host.
Pay first his pious dues; and, for the dead,
Two sable sheep around his hearse be led;
Then, living turfs upon his body lay:
This done, securely take the destin’d way,
To find the regions destitute of day.”
She said, and held her peace. Aeneas went
Sad from the cave, and full of discontent,
Unknowing whom the sacred Sibyl meant.
Achates, the companion of his breast,
Goes grieving by his side, with equal cares oppress’d.
Walking, they talk’d, and fruitlessly divin’d
What friend the priestess by those words design’d.
But soon they found an object to deplore:
Misenus lay extended the shore;
Son of the God of Winds: none so renown’d
The warrior trumpet in the field to sound;
With breathing brass to kindle fierce alarms,
And rouse to dare their fate in honorable arms.
He serv’d great Hector, and was ever near,
Not with his trumpet only, but his spear.
But by Pelides’ arms when Hector fell,
He chose Aeneas; and he chose as well.
Swoln with applause, and aiming still at more,
He now provokes the sea gods from the shore;
With envy Triton heard the martial sound,
And the bold champion, for his challenge, drown’d;
Then cast his mangled carcass on the strand:
The gazing crowd around the body stand.
All weep; but most Aeneas mourns his fate,
And hastens to perform the funeral state.
In altar-wise, a stately pile they rear;
The basis broad below, and top advanc’d in air.
An ancient wood, fit for the work design’d,
(The shady covert of the salvage kind,)
The Trojans found: the sounding ax is plied;
Firs, pines, and pitch trees, and the tow’ring pride
Of forest ashes, feel the fatal stroke,
And piercing wedges cleave the stubborn oak.
Huge trunks of trees, fell’d from the steepy crown
Of the bare mountains, roll with ruin down.
Arm’d like the rest the Trojan prince appears,
And by his pious labor urges theirs.
Thus while he wrought, revolving in his mind
The ways to compass what his wish design’d,
He cast his eyes upon the gloomy grove,
And then with vows implor’d the Queen of Love:
“O may thy pow’r, propitious still to me,
Conduct my steps to find the fatal tree,
In this deep forest; since the Sibyl’s breath
Foretold, alas! too true, Misenus’ death.”
Scarce had he said, when, full before his sight,
Two doves, descending from their airy flight,
Secure upon the grassy plain alight.
He knew his mother’s birds; and thus he pray’d:
“Be you my guides, with your auspicious aid,
And lead my footsteps, till the branch be found,
Whose glitt’ring shadow gilds the sacred ground.
And thou, great parent, with celestial care,
In this distress be present to my pray’r!”
Thus having said, he stopp’d with watchful sight,
Observing still the motions of their flight,
What course they took, what happy signs they shew.
They fed, and, flutt’ring, by degrees withdrew
Still farther from the place, but still in view:
Hopping and flying, thus they led him on
To the slow lake, whose baleful stench to shun
They wing’d their flight aloft; then, stooping low,
Perch’d on the double tree that bears the golden bough.
Thro’ the green leafs the glitt’ring shadows glow;
As, on the sacred oak, the wintry mistletoe,
Where the proud mother views her precious brood,
And happier branches, which she never sow’d.
Such was the glitt’ring; such the ruddy rind,
And dancing leaves, that wanton’d in the wind.
He seiz’d the shining bough with griping hold,
And rent away, with ease, the ling’ring gold;
Then to the Sibyl’s palace bore the prize.
Meantime the Trojan troops, with weeping eyes,
To dead Misenus pay his obsequies.
First, from the ground a lofty pile they rear,
Of pitch trees, oaks, and pines, and unctuous fir:
The fabric’s front with cypress twigs they strew,
And stick the sides with boughs of baleful yew.
The topmost part his glitt’ring arms adorn;
Warm waters, then, in brazen caldrons borne,
Are pour’d to wash his body, joint by joint,
And fragrant oils the stiffen’d limbs anoint.
With groans and cries Misenus they deplore:
Then on a bier, with purple cover’d o’er,
The breathless body, thus bewail’d, they lay,
And fire the pile, their faces turn’d away- S
uch reverend rites their fathers us’d to pay.
Pure oil and incense on the fire they throw,
And fat of victims, which his friends bestow.
These gifts the greedy flames to dust devour;
Then on the living coals red wine they pour;
And, last, the relics by themselves dispose,
Which in a brazen urn the priests inclose.
Old Corynaeus compass’d thrice the crew,
And dipp’d an olive branch in holy dew;
Which thrice he sprinkled round, and thrice aloud
Invok’d the dead, and then dismissed the crowd.
But good Aeneas order’d on the shore
A stately tomb, whose top a trumpet bore,
A soldier’s fauchion, and a seaman’s oar.
Thus was his friend interr’d; and deathless fame
Still to the lofty cape consigns his name.
These rites perform’d, the prince, without delay,
Hastes to the nether world his destin’d way.
Deep was the cave; and, downward as it went
From the wide mouth, a rocky rough descent;
And here th’ access a gloomy grove defends,
And there th’ unnavigable lake extends,
O’er whose unhappy waters, void of light,
No bird presumes to steer his airy flight;
Such deadly stenches from the depths arise,
And steaming sulphur, that infects the skies.
From hence the Grecian bards their legends make,
And give the name Avernus to the lake.
Four sable bullocks, in the yoke untaught,
For sacrifice the pious hero brought.
The priestess pours the wine betwixt their horns;
Then cuts the curling hair; that first oblation burns,
Invoking Hecate hither to repair:
A pow’rful name in hell and upper air.
The sacred priests with ready knives bereave
The beasts of life, and in full bowls receive
The streaming blood: a lamb to Hell and Night
(The sable wool without a streak of white)
Aeneas offers; and, by fate’s decree,
A barren heifer, Proserpine, to thee,
With holocausts he Pluto’s altar fills;
Sev’n brawny bulls with his own hand he kills;
Then on the broiling entrails oil he pours;
Which, ointed thus, the raging flame devours.
Late the nocturnal sacrifice begun,
Nor ended till the next returning sun.
Then earth began to bellow, trees to dance,
And howling dogs in glimm’ring light advance,
Ere Hecate came. “Far hence be souls profane!”
The Sibyl cried, “and from the grove abstain!
Now, Trojan, take the way thy fates afford;
Assume thy courage, and unsheathe thy sword.”
She said, and pass’d along the gloomy space;
The prince pursued her steps with equal pace.
Ye realms, yet unreveal’d to human sight,
Ye gods who rule the regions of the night,
Ye gliding ghosts, permit me to relate
The mystic wonders of your silent state!
Obscure they went thro’ dreary shades, that led
Along the waste dominions of the dead.
Thus wander travelers in woods by night,
By the moon’s doubtful and malignant light,
When Jove in dusky clouds involves the skies,
And the faint crescent shoots by fits before their eyes.
Just in the gate and in the jaws of hell,
Revengeful Cares and sullen Sorrows dwell,
And pale Diseases, and repining Age,
Want, Fear, and Famine’s unresisted rage;
Here Toils, and Death, and Death’s half-brother, Sleep,
Forms terrible to view, their sentry keep;
With anxious Pleasures of a guilty mind,
Deep Frauds before, and open Force behind;
The Furies’ iron beds; and Strife, that shakes
Her hissing tresses and unfolds her snakes.
Full in the midst of this infernal road,
An elm displays her dusky arms abroad:
The God of Sleep there hides his heavy head,
And empty dreams on ev’ry leaf are spread.
Of various forms unnumber’d specters more,
Centaurs, and double shapes, besiege the door.
Before the passage, horrid Hydra stands,
And Briareus with all his hundred hands;
Gorgons, Geryon with his triple frame;
And vain Chimaera vomits empty flame.
The chief unsheath’d his shining steel, prepar’d,
Tho’ seiz’d with sudden fear, to force the guard,
Off ’ring his brandish’d weapon at their face;
Had not the Sibyl stopp’d his eager pace,
And told him what those empty phantoms were:
Forms without bodies, and impassive air.
Hence to deep Acheron they take their way,
Whose troubled eddies, thick with ooze and clay,
Are whirl’d aloft, and in Cocytus lost.
There Charon stands, who rules the dreary coast-
A sordid god: down from his hoary chin
A length of beard descends, uncomb’d, unclean;
His eyes, like hollow furnaces on fire;
A girdle, foul with grease, binds his obscene attire.
He spreads his canvas; with his pole he steers;
The freights of flitting ghosts in his thin bottom bears.
He look’d in years; yet in his years were seen
A youthful vigor and autumnal green.
An airy crowd came rushing where he stood,
Which fill’d the margin of the fatal flood:
Husbands and wives, boys and unmarried maids,
And mighty heroes’ more majestic shades,
And youths, intomb’d before their fathers’ eyes,
With hollow groans, and shrieks, and feeble cries.
Thick as the leaves in autumn strow the woods,
Or fowls, by winter forc’d, forsake the floods,
And wing their hasty flight to happier lands;
Such, and so thick, the shiv’ring army stands,
And press for passage with extended hands.
Now these, now those, the surly boatman bore:
The rest he drove to distance from the shore.
The hero, who beheld with wond’ring eyes
The tumult mix’d with shrieks, laments, and cries,
Ask’d of his guide, what the rude concourse meant;
Why to the shore the thronging people bent;
What forms of law among the ghosts were us’d;
Why some were ferried o’er, and some refus’d.
“Son of Anchises, offspring of the gods,”
The Sibyl said, “you see the Stygian floods,
The sacred stream which heav’n’s imperial state
Attests in oaths, and fears to violate.
The ghosts rejected are th’ unhappy crew
Depriv’d of sepulchers and fun’ral due:
The boatman, Charon; those, the buried host,
He ferries over to the farther coast;
Nor dares his transport vessel cross the waves
With such whose bones are not compos’d in graves.
A hundred years they wander on the shore;
At length, their penance done, are wafted o’er.”
The Trojan chief his forward pace repress’d,
Revolving anxious thoughts within his breast,
He saw his friends, who, whelm’d beneath the waves,
Their fun’ral honors claim’d, and ask’d their quiet graves.
The lost Leucaspis in the crowd he knew,
And the brave leader of the Lycian crew,
Whom, on the Tyrrhene seas, the tempests met;
The sailors master’d, and the ship o’erset.
Amidst the spirits, Palinurus press’d,
Yet fresh from life, a new-admitted guest,
Who, while he steering view’d the stars, and bore
His course from Afric to the Latian shore,
Fell headlong down. The Trojan fix’d his view,
And scarcely thro’ the gloom the sullen shadow knew.
Then thus the prince: “What envious pow’r, O friend,
Brought your lov’d life to this disastrous end?
For Phoebus, ever true in all he said,
Has in your fate alone my faith betray’d.
The god foretold you should not die, before
You reach’d, secure from seas, th’ Italian shore.
Is this th’ unerring pow’r?” The ghost replied;
“Nor Phoebus flatter’d, nor his answers lied;
Nor envious gods have sent me to the deep:
But, while the stars and course of heav’n I keep,
My wearied eyes were seiz’d with fatal sleep.
I fell; and, with my weight, the helm constrain’d
Was drawn along, which yet my gripe retain’d.
Now by the winds and raging waves I swear,
Your safety, more than mine, was then my care;
Lest, of the guide bereft, the rudder lost,
Your ship should run against the rocky coast.
Three blust’ring nights, borne by the southern blast,
I floated, and discover’d land at last:
High on a mounting wave my head I bore,
Forcing my strength, and gath’ring to the shore.
Panting, but past the danger, now I seiz’d
The craggy cliffs, and my tir’d members eas’d.
While, cumber’d with my dropping clothes, I lay,
The cruel nation, covetous of prey,
Stain’d with my blood th’ unhospitable coast;
And now, by winds and waves, my lifeless limbs are toss’d:
Which O avert, by yon ethereal light,
Which I have lost for this eternal night!
Or, if by dearer ties you may be won,
By your dead sire, and by your living son,
Redeem from this reproach my wand’ring ghost;
Or with your navy seek the Velin coast,
And in a peaceful grave my corpse compose;
Or, if a nearer way your mother shows,
Without whose aid you durst not undertake
This frightful passage o’er the Stygian lake,
Lend to this wretch your hand, and waft him o’er
To the sweet banks of yon forbidden shore.”
Scarce had he said, the prophetess began:
“What hopes delude thee, miserable man?
Think’st thou, thus unintomb’d, to cross the floods,
To view the Furies and infernal gods,
And visit, without leave, the dark abodes?
Attend the term of long revolving years;
Fate, and the dooming gods, are deaf to tears.
This comfort of thy dire misfortune take:
The wrath of Heav’n, inflicted for thy sake,
With vengeance shall pursue th’ inhuman coast,
Till they propitiate thy offended ghost,
And raise a tomb, with vows and solemn pray’r;
And Palinurus’ name the place shall bear.”
This calm’d his cares; sooth’d with his future fame,
And pleas’d to hear his propagated name.
Now nearer to the Stygian lake they draw:
Whom, from the shore, the surly boatman saw;
Observ’d their passage thro’ the shady wood,
And mark’d their near approaches to the flood.
Then thus he call’d aloud, inflam’d with wrath:
“Mortal, whate’er, who this forbidden path
In arms presum’st to tread, I charge thee, stand,
And tell thy name, and bus’ness in the land.
Know this, the realm of night- the Stygian shore:
My boat conveys no living bodies o’er;
Nor was I pleas’d great Theseus once to bear,
Who forc’d a passage with his pointed spear,
Nor strong Alcides- men of mighty fame,
And from th’ immortal gods their lineage came.
In fetters one the barking porter tied,
And took him trembling from his sov’reign’s side:
Two sought by force to seize his beauteous bride.”
To whom the Sibyl thus: “Compose thy mind;
Nor frauds are here contriv’d, nor force design’d.
Still may the dog the wand’ring troops constrain
Of airy ghosts, and vex the guilty train,
And with her grisly lord his lovely queen remain.
The Trojan chief, whose lineage is from Jove,
Much fam’d for arms, and more for filial love,
Is sent to seek his sire in your Elysian grove.
If neither piety, nor Heav’n’s command, Can gain his passage to the Stygian strand,
This fatal present shall prevail at least.”
Then shew’d the shining bough, conceal’d within her vest.
No more was needful: for the gloomy god
Stood mute with awe, to see the golden rod;
Admir’d the destin’d off ’ring to his queen-
A venerable gift, so rarely seen.
His fury thus appeas’d, he puts to land;
The ghosts forsake their seats at his command:
He clears the deck, receives the mighty freight;
The leaky vessel groans beneath the weight.
Slowly she sails, and scarcely stems the tides;
The pressing water pours within her sides.
His passengers at length are wafted o’er,
Expos’d, in muddy weeds, upon the miry shore.
No sooner landed, in his den they found
The triple porter of the Stygian sound,
Grim Cerberus, who soon began to rear
His crested snakes, and arm’d his bristling hair.
The prudent Sibyl had before prepar’d
A sop, in honey steep’d, to charm the guard;
Which, mix’d with pow’rful drugs, she cast before
His greedy grinning jaws, just op’d to roar.
With three enormous mouths he gapes; and straight,
With hunger press’d, devours the pleasing bait.
Long draughts of sleep his monstrous limbs enslave;
He reels, and, falling, fills the spacious cave.
The keeper charm’d, the chief without delay
Pass’d on, and took th’ irremeable way.
Before the gates, the cries of babes new born,
Whom fate had from their tender mothers torn,
Assault his ears: then those, whom form of laws
Condemn’d to die, when traitors judg’d their cause.
Nor want they lots, nor judges to review
The wrongful sentence, and award a new.
Minos, the strict inquisitor, appears;
And lives and crimes, with his assessors, hears.
Round in his urn the blended balls he rolls,
Absolves the just, and dooms the guilty souls.
The next, in place and punishment, are they
Who prodigally throw their souls away;
Fools, who, repining at their wretched state,
And loathing anxious life, suborn’d their fate.
With late repentance now they would retrieve
The bodies they forsook, and wish to live;
Their pains and poverty desire to bear,
To view the light of heav’n, and breathe the vital air:
But fate forbids; the Stygian floods oppose,
And with circling streams the captive souls inclose.
Not far from thence, the Mournful Fields appear
So call’d from lovers that inhabit there.
The souls whom that unhappy flame invades,
In secret solitude and myrtle shades
Make endless moans, and, pining with desire,
Lament too late their unextinguish’d fire.
Here Procris, Eriphyle here he found,
Baring her breast, yet bleeding with the wound
Made by her son. He saw Pasiphae there,
With Phaedra’s ghost, a foul incestuous pair.
There Laodamia, with Evadne, moves,
Unhappy both, but loyal in their loves:
Caeneus, a woman once, and once a man,
But ending in the sex she first began.
Not far from these Phoenician Dido stood,
Fresh from her wound, her bosom bath’d in blood;
Whom when the Trojan hero hardly knew,
Obscure in shades, and with a doubtful view,
(Doubtful as he who sees, thro’ dusky night,
Or thinks he sees, the moon’s uncertain light,)
With tears he first approach’d the sullen shade;
And, as his love inspir’d him, thus he said:
“Unhappy queen! then is the common breath
Of rumor true, in your reported death,
And I, alas! the cause? By Heav’n, I vow,
And all the pow’rs that rule the realms below,
Unwilling I forsook your friendly state,
Commanded by the gods, and forc’d by fate-
Those gods, that fate, whose unresisted might
Have sent me to these regions void of light,
Thro’ the vast empire of eternal night.
Nor dar’d I to presume, that, press’d with grief,
My flight should urge you to this dire relief.
Stay, stay your steps, and listen to my vows:
‘Tis the last interview that fate allows!”
In vain he thus attempts her mind to move
With tears, and pray’rs, and late-repenting love.
Disdainfully she look’d; then turning round,
But fix’d her eyes unmov’d upon the ground,
And what he says and swears, regards no more
Than the deaf rocks, when the loud billows roar;
But whirl’d away, to shun his hateful sight,
Hid in the forest and the shades of night;
Then sought Sichaeus thro’ the shady grove,
Who answer’d all her cares, and equal’d all her love.
Some pious tears the pitying hero paid,
And follow’d with his eyes the flitting shade,
Then took the forward way, by fate ordain’d,
And, with his guide, the farther fields attain’d,
Where, sever’d from the rest, the warrior souls remain’d.
Tydeus he met, with Meleager’s race,
The pride of armies, and the soldiers’ grace;
And pale Adrastus with his ghastly face.
Of Trojan chiefs he view’d a num’rous train,
All much lamented, all in battle slain;
Glaucus and Medon, high above the rest,
Antenor’s sons, and Ceres’ sacred priest.
And proud Idaeus, Priam’s charioteer,
Who shakes his empty reins, and aims his airy spear.
The gladsome ghosts, in circling troops, attend
And with unwearied eyes behold their friend;
Delight to hover near, and long to know
What bus’ness brought him to the realms below.
But Argive chiefs, and Agamemnon’s train,
When his refulgent arms flash’d thro’ the shady plain,
Fled from his well-known face, with wonted fear,
As when his thund’ring sword and pointed spear
Drove headlong to their ships, and glean’d the routed rear.
They rais’d a feeble cry, with trembling notes;
But the weak voice deceiv’d their gasping throats.
Here Priam’s son, Deiphobus, he found,
Whose face and limbs were one continued wound:
Dishonest, with lopp’d arms, the youth appears,
Spoil’d of his nose, and shorten’d of his ears.
He scarcely knew him, striving to disown
His blotted form, and blushing to be known;
And therefore first began: “O Tsucer’s race,
Who durst thy faultless figure thus deface?
What heart could wish, what hand inflict, this dire disgrace?
‘Twas fam’d, that in our last and fatal night
Your single prowess long sustain’d the fight,
Till tir’d, not forc’d, a glorious fate you chose,
And fell upon a heap of slaughter’d foes.
But, in remembrance of so brave a deed,
A tomb and fun’ral honors I decreed;
Thrice call’d your manes on the Trojan plains:
The place your armor and your name retains.
Your body too I sought, and, had I found,
Design’d for burial in your native ground.”
The ghost replied: “Your piety has paid
All needful rites, to rest my wand’ring shade;
But cruel fate, and my more cruel wife,
To Grecian swords betray’d my sleeping life.
These are the monuments of Helen’s love:
The shame I bear below, the marks I bore above.
You know in what deluding joys we pass’d
The night that was by Heav’n decreed our last:
For, when the fatal horse, descending down,
Pregnant with arms, o’erwhelm’d th’ unhappy town
She feign’d nocturnal orgies; left my bed,
And, mix’d with Trojan dames, the dances led
Then, waving high her torch, the signal made,
Which rous’d the Grecians from their ambuscade.
With watching overworn, with cares oppress’d,
Unhappy I had laid me down to rest,
And heavy sleep my weary limbs possess’d.
Meantime my worthy wife our arms mislaid,
And from beneath my head my sword convey’d;
The door unlatch’d, and, with repeated calls,
Invites her former lord within my walls.
Thus in her crime her confidence she plac’d,
And with new treasons would redeem the past.
What need I more? Into the room they ran,
And meanly murther’d a defenseless man.
Ulysses, basely born, first led the way.
Avenging pow’rs! with justice if I pray,
That fortune be their own another day!
But answer you; and in your turn relate,
What brought you, living, to the Stygian state:
Driv’n by the winds and errors of the sea,
Or did you Heav’n’s superior doom obey?
Or tell what other chance conducts your way,
To view with mortal eyes our dark retreats,
Tumults and torments of th’ infernal seats.”
While thus in talk the flying hours they pass,
The sun had finish’d more than half his race:
And they, perhaps, in words and tears had spent
The little time of stay which Heav’n had lent;
But thus the Sibyl chides their long delay:
“Night rushes down, and headlong drives the day:
‘Tis here, in different paths, the way divides;
The right to Pluto’s golden palace guides;
The left to that unhappy region tends,
Which to the depth of Tartarus descends;
The seat of night profound, and punish’d fiends.”
Then thus Deiphobus: “O sacred maid,
Forbear to chide, and be your will obey’d!
Lo! to the secret shadows I retire,
To pay my penance till my years expire.
Proceed, auspicious prince, with glory crown’d,
And born to better fates than I have found.”
He said; and, while he said, his steps he turn’d
To secret shadows, and in silence mourn’d.
The hero, looking on the left, espied
A lofty tow’r, and strong on ev’ry side
With treble walls, which Phlegethon surrounds,
Whose fiery flood the burning empire bounds;
And, press’d betwixt the rocks, the bellowing noise resounds
Wide is the fronting gate, and, rais’d on high
With adamantine columns, threats the sky.
Vain is the force of man, and Heav’n’s as vain,
To crush the pillars which the pile sustain.
Sublime on these a tow’r of steel is rear’d;
And dire Tisiphone there keeps the ward,
Girt in her sanguine gown, by night and day,
Observant of the souls that pass the downward way.
From hence are heard the groans of ghosts, the pains
Of sounding lashes and of dragging chains.
The Trojan stood astonish’d at their cries,
And ask’d his guide from whence those yells arise;
And what the crimes, and what the tortures were,
And loud laments that rent the liquid air.
She thus replied: “The chaste and holy race
Are all forbidden this polluted place.
But Hecate, when she gave to rule the woods,
Then led me trembling thro’ these dire abodes,
And taught the tortures of th’ avenging gods.
These are the realms of unrelenting fate;
And awful Rhadamanthus rules the state.
He hears and judges each committed crime;
Enquires into the manner, place, and time.
The conscious wretch must all his acts reveal,
(Loth to confess, unable to conceal),
From the first moment of his vital breath,
To his last hour of unrepenting death.
Straight, o’er the guilty ghost, the Fury shakes
The sounding whip and brandishes her snakes,
And the pale sinner, with her sisters, takes.
Then, of itself, unfolds th’ eternal door;
With dreadful sounds the brazen hinges roar.
You see, before the gate, what stalking ghost
Commands the guard, what sentries keep the post.
More formidable Hydra stands within,
Whose jaws with iron teeth severely grin.
The gaping gulf low to the center lies,
And twice as deep as earth is distant from the skies.
The rivals of the gods, the Titan race,
Here, sing’d with lightning, roll within th’ unfathom’d space.
Here lie th’ Alaean twins, (I saw them both,)
Enormous bodies, of gigantic growth,
Who dar’d in fight the Thund’rer to defy,
Affect his heav’n, and force him from the sky.
Salmoneus, suff ’ring cruel pains, I found,
For emulating Jove; the rattling sound
Of mimic thunder, and the glitt’ring blaze
Of pointed lightnings, and their forky rays.
Thro’ Elis and the Grecian towns he flew;
Th’ audacious wretch four fiery coursers drew:
He wav’d a torch aloft, and, madly vain,
Sought godlike worship from a servile train.
Ambitious fool! with horny hoofs to pass
O’er hollow arches of resounding brass,
To rival thunder in its rapid course,
And imitate inimitable force!
But he, the King of Heav’n, obscure on high,
Bar’d his red arm, and, launching from the sky
His writhen bolt, not shaking empty smoke,
Down to the deep abyss the flaming felon strook.
There Tityus was to see, who took his birth
From heav’n, his nursing from the foodful earth.
Here his gigantic limbs, with large embrace,
Infold nine acres of infernal space.
A rav’nous vulture, in his open’d side,
Her crooked beak and cruel talons tried;
Still for the growing liver digg’d his breast;
The growing liver still supplied the feast;
Still are his entrails fruitful to their pains:
Th’ immortal hunger lasts, th’ immortal food remains.
Ixion and Perithous I could name,
And more Thessalian chiefs of mighty fame.
High o’er their heads a mold’ring rock is plac’d,
That promises a fall, and shakes at ev’ry blast.
They lie below, on golden beds display’d;
And genial feasts with regal pomp are made.
The Queen of Furies by their sides is set,
And snatches from their mouths th’ untasted meat,
Which if they touch, her hissing snakes she rears,
Tossing her torch, and thund’ring in their ears.
Then they, who brothers’ better claim disown,
Expel their parents, and usurp the throne;
Defraud their clients, and, to lucre sold,
Sit brooding on unprofitable gold;
Who dare not give, and ev’n refuse to lend
To their poor kindred, or a wanting friend.
Vast is the throng of these; nor less the train
Of lustful youths, for foul adult’ry slain:
Hosts of deserters, who their honor sold,
And basely broke their faith for bribes of gold.
All these within the dungeon’s depth remain,
Despairing pardon, and expecting pain.
Ask not what pains; nor farther seek to know
Their process, or the forms of law below.
Some roll a weighty stone; some, laid along,
And bound with burning wires, on spokes of wheels are hung
Unhappy Theseus, doom’d for ever there,
Is fix’d by fate on his eternal chair;
And wretched Phlegyas warns the world with cries (
Could warning make the world more just or wise):
‘Learn righteousness, and dread th’ avenging deities.’
To tyrants others have their country sold,
Imposing foreign lords, for foreign gold;
Some have old laws repeal’d, new statutes made,
Not as the people pleas’d, but as they paid;
With incest some their daughters’ bed profan’d:
All dar’d the worst of ills, and, what they dar’d, attain’d.
Had I a hundred mouths, a hundred tongues,
And throats of brass, inspir’d with iron lungs,
I could not half those horrid crimes repeat,
Nor half the punishments those crimes have met.
But let us haste our voyage to pursue:
The walls of Pluto’s palace are in view;
The gate, and iron arch above it, stands
On anvils labor’d by the Cyclops’ hands.
Before our farther way the Fates allow,
Here must we fix on high the golden bough.”
She said: and thro’ the gloomy shades they pass’d,
And chose the middle path. Arriv’d at last,
The prince with living water sprinkled o’er
His limbs and body; then approach’d the door,
Possess’d the porch, and on the front above
He fix’d the fatal bough requir’d by Pluto’s love.
These holy rites perform’d, they took their way
Where long extended plains of pleasure lay:
The verdant fields with those of heav’n may vie,
With ether vested, and a purple sky;
The blissful seats of happy souls below.
Stars of their own, and their own suns, they know;
Their airy limbs in sports they exercise,
And on the green contend the wrestler’s prize.
Some in heroic verse divinely sing;
Others in artful measures led the ring.
The Thracian bard, surrounded by the rest,
There stands conspicuous in his flowing vest;
His flying fingers, and harmonious quill,
Strikes sev’n distinguish’d notes, and sev’n at once they fill.
Here found they Tsucer’s old heroic race,
Born better times and happier years to grace.
Assaracus and Ilus here enjoy
Perpetual fame, with him who founded Troy.
The chief beheld their chariots from afar,
Their shining arms, and coursers train’d to war:
Their lances fix’d in earth, their steeds around,
Free from their harness, graze the flow’ry ground.
The love of horses which they had, alive,
And care of chariots, after death survive.
Some cheerful souls were feasting on the plain;
Some did the song, and some the choir maintain,
Beneath a laurel shade, where mighty Po
Mounts up to woods above, and hides his head below.
Here patriots live, who, for their country’s good,
In fighting fields, were prodigal of blood:
Priests of unblemish’d lives here make abode,
And poets worthy their inspiring god;
And searching wits, of more mechanic parts,
Who grac’d their age with new-invented arts:
Those who to worth their bounty did extend,
And those who knew that bounty to commend.
The heads of these with holy fillets bound,
And all their temples were with garlands crown’d.
To these the Sibyl thus her speech address’d,
And first to him surrounded by the rest
(Tow’ring his height, and ample was his breast):
“Say, happy souls, divine Musaeus, say,
Where lives Anchises, and where lies our way
To find the hero, for whose only sake
We sought the dark abodes, and cross’d the bitter lake?”
To this the sacred poet thus replied:
“In no fix’d place the happy souls reside.
In groves we live, and lie on mossy beds,
By crystal streams, that murmur thro’ the meads:
But pass yon easy hill, and thence descend;
The path conducts you to your journey’s end.”
This said, he led them up the mountain’s brow,
And shews them all the shining fields below.
They wind the hill, and thro’ the blissful meadows go.
But old Anchises, in a flow’ry vale,
Review’d his muster’d race, and took the tale:
Those happy spirits, which, ordain’d by fate,
For future beings and new bodies wait-
With studious thought observ’d th’ illustrious throng,
In nature’s order as they pass’d along:
Their names, their fates, their conduct, and their care,
In peaceful senates and successful war.
He, when Aeneas on the plain appears,
Meets him with open arms, and falling tears.
“Welcome,” he said, “the gods’ undoubted race!
O long expected to my dear embrace!
Once more ‘t is giv’n me to behold your face!
The love and pious duty which you pay
Have pass’d the perils of so hard a way.
‘Tis true, computing times, I now believ’d
The happy day approach’d; nor are my hopes deceiv’d.
What length of lands, what oceans have you pass’d;
What storms sustain’d, and on what shores been cast?
How have I fear’d your fate! but fear’d it most,
When love assail’d you, on the Libyan coast.”
To this, the filial duty thus replies:
“Your sacred ghost before my sleeping eyes
Appear’d, and often urg’d this painful enterprise.
After long tossing on the Tyrrhene sea,
My navy rides at anchor in the bay.
But reach your hand, O parent shade, nor shun
The dear embraces of your longing son!”
He said; and falling tears his face bedew:
Then thrice around his neck his arms he threw;
And thrice the flitting shadow slipp’d away,
Like winds, or empty dreams that fly the day.
Now, in a secret vale, the Trojan sees
A sep’rate grove, thro’ which a gentle breeze
Plays with a passing breath, and whispers thro’ the trees;
And, just before the confines of the wood,
The gliding Lethe leads her silent flood.
About the boughs an airy nation flew,
Thick as the humming bees, that hunt the golden dew;
In summer’s heat on tops of lilies feed,
And creep within their bells, to suck the balmy seed:
The winged army roams the fields around;
The rivers and the rocks remurmur to the sound.
Aeneas wond’ring stood, then ask’d the cause
Which to the stream the crowding people draws.
Then thus the sire: “The souls that throng the flood
Are those to whom, by fate, are other bodies ow’d:
In Lethe’s lake they long oblivion taste,
Of future life secure, forgetful of the past.
Long has my soul desir’d this time and place,
To set before your sight your glorious race,
That this presaging joy may fire your mind
To seek the shores by destiny design’d.”-
“O father, can it be, that souls sublime
Return to visit our terrestrial clime,
And that the gen’rous mind, releas’d by death,
Can covet lazy limbs and mortal breath?”
Anchises then, in order, thus begun
To clear those wonders to his godlike son:
“Know, first, that heav’n, and earth’s compacted frame,
And flowing waters, and the starry flame,
And both the radiant lights, one common soul
Inspires and feeds, and animates the whole.
This active mind, infus’d thro’ all the space,
Unites and mingles with the mighty mass.
Hence men and beasts the breath of life obtain,
And birds of air, and monsters of the main.
Th’ ethereal vigor is in all the same,
And every soul is fill’d with equal flame;
As much as earthy limbs, and gross allay
Of mortal members, subject to decay,
Blunt not the beams of heav’n and edge of day.
From this coarse mixture of terrestrial parts,
Desire and fear by turns possess their hearts,
And grief, and joy; nor can the groveling mind,
In the dark dungeon of the limbs confin’d,
Assert the native skies, or own its heav’nly kind:
Nor death itself can wholly wash their stains;
But long-contracted filth ev’n in the soul remains.
The relics of inveterate vice they wear,
And spots of sin obscene in ev’ry face appear.
For this are various penances enjoin’d;
And some are hung to bleach upon the wind,
Some plung’d in waters, others purg’d in fires,
Till all the dregs are drain’d, and all the rust expires.
All have their manes, and those manes bear:
The few, so cleans’d, to these abodes repair,
And breathe, in ample fields, the soft Elysian air.
Then are they happy, when by length of time
The scurf is worn away of each committed crime;
No speck is left of their habitual stains,
But the pure ether of the soul remains.
But, when a thousand rolling years are past,
(So long their punishments and penance last,)
Whole droves of minds are, by the driving god,
Compell’d to drink the deep Lethaean flood,
In large forgetful draughts to steep the cares
Of their past labors, and their irksome years,
That, unrememb’ring of its former pain,
The soul may suffer mortal flesh again.”
Thus having said, the father spirit leads
The priestess and his son thro’ swarms of shades,
And takes a rising ground, from thence to see
The long procession of his progeny.
“Survey,” pursued the sire, “this airy throng,
As, offer’d to thy view, they pass along.
These are th’ Italian names, which fate will join
With ours, and graff upon the Trojan line.
Observe the youth who first appears in sight,
And holds the nearest station to the light,
Already seems to snuff the vital air,
And leans just forward, on a shining spear:
Silvius is he, thy last-begotten race,
But first in order sent, to fill thy place;
An Alban name, but mix’d with Dardan blood,
Born in the covert of a shady wood:
Him fair Lavinia, thy surviving wife,
Shall breed in groves, to lead a solitary life.
In Alba he shall fix his royal seat,
And, born a king, a race of kings beget.
Then Procas, honor of the Trojan name,
Capys, and Numitor, of endless fame.
A second Silvius after these appears;
Silvius Aeneas, for thy name he bears;
For arms and justice equally renown’d,
Who, late restor’d, in Alba shall be crown’d.
How great they look! how vig’rously they wield
Their weighty lances, and sustain the shield!
But they, who crown’d with oaken wreaths appear,
Shall Gabian walls and strong Fidena rear;
Nomentum, Bola, with Pometia, found;
And raise Collatian tow’rs on rocky ground.
All these shall then be towns of mighty fame,
Tho’ now they lie obscure, and lands without a name.
See Romulus the great, born to restore
The crown that once his injur’d grandsire wore.
This prince a priestess of your blood shall bear,
And like his sire in arms he shall appear.
Two rising crests, his royal head adorn;
Born from a god, himself to godhead born:
His sire already signs him for the skies,
And marks the seat amidst the deities.
Auspicious chief! thy race, in times to come,
Shall spread the conquests of imperial Rome-
Rome, whose ascending tow’rs shall heav’n invade,
Involving earth and ocean in her shade;
High as the Mother of the Gods in place,
And proud, like her, of an immortal race.
Then, when in pomp she makes the Phrygian round,
With golden turrets on her temples crown’d;
A hundred gods her sweeping train supply;
Her offspring all, and all command the sky.
“Now fix your sight, and stand intent, to see
Your Roman race, and Julian progeny.
The mighty Caesar waits his vital hour,
Impatient for the world, and grasps his promis’d pow’r.
But next behold the youth of form divine,
Ceasar himself, exalted in his line;
Augustus, promis’d oft, and long foretold,
Sent to the realm that Saturn rul’d of old;
Born to restore a better age of gold.
Afric and India shall his pow’r obey;
He shall extend his propagated sway
Beyond the solar year, without the starry way,
Where Atlas turns the rolling heav’ns around,
And his broad shoulders with their lights are crown’d.
At his foreseen approach, already quake
The Caspian kingdoms and Maeotian lake:
Their seers behold the tempest from afar,
And threat’ning oracles denounce the war.
Nile hears him knocking at his sev’nfold gates,
And seeks his hidden spring, and fears his nephew’s fates.
Nor Hercules more lands or labors knew,
Not tho’ the brazen-footed hind he slew,
Freed Erymanthus from the foaming boar,
And dipp’d his arrows in Lernaean gore;
Nor Bacchus, turning from his Indian war,
By tigers drawn triumphant in his car,
From Nisus’ top descending on the plains,
With curling vines around his purple reins.
And doubt we yet thro’ dangers to pursue
The paths of honor, and a crown in view?
But what’s the man, who from afar appears?
His head with olive crown’d, his hand a censer bears,
His hoary beard and holy vestments bring
His lost idea back: I know the Roman king.
He shall to peaceful Rome new laws ordain,
Call’d from his mean abode a scepter to sustain.
Him Tullus next in dignity succeeds,
An active prince, and prone to martial deeds.
He shall his troops for fighting fields prepare,
Disus’d to toils, and triumphs of the war.
By dint of sword his crown he shall increase,
And scour his armor from the rust of peace.
Whom Ancus follows, with a fawning air,
But vain within, and proudly popular.
Next view the Tarquin kings, th’ avenging sword
Of Brutus, justly drawn, and Rome restor’d.
He first renews the rods and ax severe,
And gives the consuls royal robes to wear.
His sons, who seek the tyrant to sustain,
And long for arbitrary lords again,
With ignominy scourg’d, in open sight,
He dooms to death deserv’d, asserting public right.
Unhappy man, to break the pious laws
Of nature, pleading in his children’s cause!
Howeer the doubtful fact is understood,
‘Tis love of honor, and his country’s good:
The consul, not the father, sheds the blood.
Behold Torquatus the same track pursue;
And, next, the two devoted Decii view:
The Drusian line, Camillus loaded home
With standards well redeem’d, and foreign foes o’ercome
The pair you see in equal armor shine,
Now, friends below, in close embraces join;
But, when they leave the shady realms of night,
And, cloth’d in bodies, breathe your upper light,
With mortal hate each other shall pursue:
What wars, what wounds, what slaughter shall ensue!
From Alpine heights the father first descends;
His daughter’s husband in the plain attends:
His daughter’s husband arms his eastern friends.
Embrace again, my sons, be foes no more;
Nor stain your country with her children’s gore!
And thou, the first, lay down thy lawless claim,
Thou, of my blood, who bearist the Julian name!
Another comes, who shall in triumph ride,
And to the Capitol his chariot guide,
From conquer’d Corinth, rich with Grecian spoils.
And yet another, fam’d for warlike toils,
On Argos shall impose the Roman laws,
And on the Greeks revenge the Trojan cause;
Shall drag in chains their Achillean race;
Shall vindicate his ancestors’ disgrace,
And Pallas, for her violated place.
Great Cato there, for gravity renown’d,
And conqu’ring Cossus goes with laurels crown’d.
Who can omit the Gracchi? who declare
The Scipios’ worth, those thunderbolts of war,
The double bane of Carthage? Who can see
Without esteem for virtuous poverty,
Severe Fabricius, or can cease t’ admire
The plowman consul in his coarse attire?
Tir’d as I am, my praise the Fabii claim;
And thou, great hero, greatest of thy name,
Ordain’d in war to save the sinking state,
And, by delays, to put a stop to fate!
Let others better mold the running mass
Of metals, and inform the breathing brass,
And soften into flesh a marble face;
Plead better at the bar; describe the skies,
And when the stars descend, and when they rise.
But, Rome, ‘t is thine alone, with awful sway,
To rule mankind, and make the world obey,
Disposing peace and war by thy own majestic way;
To tame the proud, the fetter’d slave to free:
These are imperial arts, and worthy thee.”
He paus’d; and, while with wond’ring eyes they view’d
The passing spirits, thus his speech renew’d:
“See great Marcellus! how, untir’d in toils,
He moves with manly grace, how rich with regal spoils!
He, when his country, threaten’d with alarms,
Requires his courage and his conqu’ring arms,
Shall more than once the Punic bands affright;
Shall kill the Gaulish king in single fight;
Then to the Capitol in triumph move,
And the third spoils shall grace Feretrian Jove.”
Aeneas here beheld, of form divine,109
A godlike youth in glitt’ring armor shine,
With great Marcellus110 keeping equal pace;
But gloomy were his eyes, dejected was his face.
He saw, and, wond’ring, ask’d his airy guide,
What and of whence was he, who press’d the hero’s side:
“His son, or one of his illustrious name?
How like the former, and almost the same!
Observe the crowds that compass him around;
All gaze, and all admire, and raise a shouting sound:
But hov’ring mists around his brows are spread,
And night, with sable shades, involves his head.”
“Seek not to know,” the ghost replied with tears,
“The sorrows of thy sons in future years.
This youth (the blissful vision of a day)
Shall just be shown on earth, and snatch’d away.
The gods too high had rais’d the Roman state,
Were but their gifts as permanent as great.
What groans of men shall fill the Martian field!
How fierce a blaze his flaming pile shall yield!
What fun’ral pomp shall floating Tiber see,
When, rising from his bed, he views the sad solemnity!
No youth shall equal hopes of glory give,
No youth afford so great a cause to grieve;
The Trojan honor, and the Roman boast,
Admir’d when living, and ador’d when lost!
Mirror of ancient faith in early youth!
Undaunted worth, inviolable truth!
No foe, unpunish’d, in the fighting field
Shall dare thee, foot to foot, with sword and shield;
Much less in arms oppose thy matchless force,
When thy sharp spurs shall urge thy foaming horse.
Ah! couldst thou break thro’ fate’s severe decree,
A new Marcellus shall arise in thee!
Full canisters of fragrant lilies bring,
Mix’d with the purple roses of the spring;
Let me with fun’ral flow’rs his body strow;
This gift which parents to their children owe,
This unavailing gift, at least, I may bestow!”
Thus having said, he led the hero round
The confines of the blest Elysian ground;
Which when Anchises to his son had shown,
And fir’d his mind to mount the promis’d throne,
He tells the future wars, ordain’d by fate;
The strength and customs of the Latian state;
The prince, and people; and forearms his care
With rules, to push his fortune, or to bear.
Two gates the silent house of Sleep adorn;
Of polish’d ivory this, that of transparent horn:
True visions thro’ transparent horn arise;
Thro’ polish’d ivory pass deluding lies.
Of various things discoursing as he pass’d,
Anchises hither bends his steps at last.
Then, thro’ the gate of iv’ry, he dismiss’d
His valiant offspring and divining guest.
Straight to the ships Aeneas his way,
Embark’d his men, and skimm’d along the sea,
Still coasting, till he gain’d Cajeta’s bay.
At length on oozy ground his galleys moor;
Their heads are turn’d to sea, their sterns to shore.
A Betrothal And A Declaration Of War: Summary
1-4 Death of Aeneas’ nurse, Caieta.
5-24 The Trojans sail past the island of Circe.
25-36 The Trojans reach the mouth of the Tiber.
37-45 Invocation to the Muse.
45-106 Latinus’ daughter Lavinia was betrothed to Turnus, but portents confirmed by the oracle of Faunus indicate that she is destined to marry a foreigner.
107-47 The Trojans land and at a banquet consume also the platters of bread on which the food is set out. Iulus exlacims “We are eating our tables,” and A. recognizes the fulfilment of the oracle, and accepts that they have arrived at their destined home. He makes appropriate sacrifices and Jupiter thunders in confirmation of the omen.
148-69 The Torjans send an embassy to King Latinus.
170-91 Description of the palace in which King Latinus receives the Trojans.
192-248 Latinus welcomes the Trojans, asking them the reason for their arrival. Ilioneus answers that fate has brought them to Italy, and offers gifts.
249-85 Latinus realizes that A. is the stranger destined by the portents to become the husband of Lavinia, and after a joyful speech accepting the Trojan requests and offering them allicance, he sends princely gifts.
286-322 Juno observes the Trojans landing, and breaks out into an angry speech, culminating in her decision to arouse the powers of Hell on her side and exact a toll of bloodshed before the fated alliance takes place.
323-405 Juno summons up Allecto to sow the seeds of war. The fiend hurls one of her snakes at Queen Amata. Amata, after appealing in vain to Latinus not to give his daughter in marriage to Aeneas, becomes frenzied, and pretending to be filled by Bacchic inspiration she causes the women of the city to follow her.
406-74 Allecto next goes to Turnus, and changing herself into the shape of an aged priestess, Calybe, urges Turnus to fight for his rights against the Trojans. He replies confidently and contemptuously that he is fully aware of what to do and needs no advice from old women. At this Allecto hurls twin snakes at him and rouses him to a mad desire for war.
475-510 Allecto causes the war to begin by inciting the hunting hounds of Iulus to chase the pet stag of Silvia, sister of the chief herdsman of King Latinus’ flocks. Iulus himself, unaware that it is a pet, shoots it. The Latin herdsmen gather in anger for revenge.
511-71 Allecto now sounds the trumpet note for war, and Almo, Galaesus and many others are killed. Allecto reports to Juno that her mission is completed; Junto contemptuously orders her back to the underworld.
572-640 The Latin shepherds, Turnus, and the families of the women made frenzied by Amata beseech their king to declare war; he attempts to stand firm, but when he finds he cannot he withdraws from command and shuts himself in his palace. He refuses to open the Gates of War and Juno does so in his stead. The Latins arm themselves and prepare for battle.
641-646 Invocation to the Muse.
647-782. The Italian Catalogue: Mezentius, with his son Lausus, if first in the list, followed by many other heroes from Italy.
783-802 The Italian Catalogue: Turnus, magnificently arrayed, comes in command of the Rutulians. 803-17 Last of all comes Camilla, the warrior princess of the Volsci.
Evander And Aenea’s New Armor: Summary and Exerpt
1-101 Turnus gives the signal for war; the Latins prepare, and an embassy asking for help is sent to Diomedes. Aeneas is troubled at the turn of events, but a vision of the River-God Tiberinus appears to him, assuring him that he has reached his goal, and urging him to seek help from Evander. He sees the omen of the white sow and rowing peacefully up the Tiber reaches Pallanteum, Evander’s little settlement on the future site of Rome.
102-83 The Arcadians are celebrating a festival for Hercules when they see Aeneas and his men approaching along the river. Pallas challenges them, and Aeneas replies that they are Trojans. They are welcomed, and Aeneas tells Evander that in the name of their common ancestry he asks for help against Turnus. Evander remembers meeting Anchises and promises help; they feast together.
184-279 Evander tells the story of how the monster Cacus used to terrify the neighborhood from his cave on the Aventine. One day when Hercules was returning from one of his labors in Spain with the cattle of Geryon, Cacus stole some of them and hid them in his cave. Hercules discovered them, and after a mighty battle with the fire-breathing monster killed him and delivered the people from their fear. Since then Hercules has been honored on his annual festival at the Ara Maxima.
280-369 The celebrations in Hercules’ honor are continued, and a hymn of praise is sung. Evander next tells Aeneas of the early history of Latium, and the golden age under Saturn, and takes him on a tour of his little city, showing him places destined to be famous in Roman history.
370-453 Venus asks her husband Vulcan to make new armor for her son; he is easily persuaded by her rhetoric and her charms. Within his workshop beneath the earth the Cyclops set to the task.
454-607 Aeneas and Evander meet again the next morning. Evander tells Aeneas about the tyrannical deeds of Mezentius which led to his exile from Caere and his alliance with Turnus in war against the Etruscans. An oracle required a foreign leader for the Etruscans in this war, and Evander asks Aeneas to undertake this with the assistance of his son Pallas. A sign from heaven is given, and Aeneas agrees to do so; arrangements are made for him to set out to meet Tarchon with his Etruscan forces. Evander says goodbye to Pallas, beseeching the gods for his safety; in a splendid array they set off and join Tarchon.
608-731 Venus brings to Aeneas the armor which Vulcan has made. The pictures on the shield are described, scenes from early Roman history around the outside, and in the center the battle of Actium and Augustus’ triumph over the forces of the East. Aeneas takes up on his shoulder the pictured destiny of his people.
Shield of Aeneas
But most admires the shield’s mysterious mold,
And Roman triumphs rising on the gold:
For these, emboss’d, the heav’nly smith had wrought
(Not in the rolls of future fate untaught)
The wars in order, and the race divine
Of warriors issuing from the Julian line.
The cave of Mars was dress’d with mossy greens:
There, by the wolf, were laid the martial twins.
Intrepid on her swelling dugs they hung;
The foster dam loll’d out her fawning tongue:
They suck’d secure, while, bending back her head,
She lick’d their tender limbs, and form’d them as they fed.
Not far from thence new Rome appears, with games
Projected for the rape of Sabine dames.
The pit resounds with shrieks; a war succeeds,
For breach of public faith, and unexampled deeds.
Here for revenge the Sabine troops contend;
The Romans there with arms the prey defend.
Wearied with tedious war, at length they cease;
And both the kings and kingdoms plight the peace.
The friendly chiefs before Jove’s altar stand,
Both arm’d, with each a charger in his hand:
A fatted sow for sacrifice is led,
With imprecations on the perjur’d head.
Near this, the traitor Metius, stretch’d between
Four fiery steeds, is dragg’d along the green,
By Tullus’ doom: the brambles drink his blood,
And his torn limbs are left the vulture’s food.
There, Porsena to Rome proud Tarquin brings,
And would by force restore the banish’d kings.
One tyrant for his fellow-tyrant fights;
The Roman youth assert their native rights.
Before the town the Tuscan army lies,
To win by famine, or by fraud surprise.
Their king, half-threat’ning, half-disdaining stood,
While Cocles broke the bridge, and stemm’d the flood.
The captive maids there tempt the raging tide,
Scap’d from their chains, with Cloelia for their guide.
High on a rock heroic Manlius stood,
To guard the temple, and the temple’s god.
Then Rome was poor; and there you might behold
The palace thatch’d with straw, now roof ’d with gold.
The silver goose before the shining gate
There flew, and, by her cackle, sav’d the state.
She told the Gauls’ approach; th’ approaching Gauls,
Obscure in night, ascend, and seize the walls.
The gold dissembled well their yellow hair,
And golden chains on their white necks they wear.
Gold are their vests; long Alpine spears they wield,
And their left arm sustains a length of shield.
Hard by, the leaping Salian priests advance;
And naked thro’ the streets the mad Luperci dance,
In caps of wool; the targets dropp’d from heav’n.
Here modest matrons, in soft litters driv’n,
To pay their vows in solemn pomp appear,
And odorous gums in their chaste hands they bear.
Far hence remov’d, the Stygian seats are seen;
Pains of the damn’d, and punish’d Catiline
Hung on a rock- the traitor; and, around,
The Furies hissing from the nether ground.
Apart from these, the happy souls he draws,
And Cato’s holy ghost dispensing laws.
Betwixt the quarters flows a golden sea;
But foaming surges there in silver play.
The dancing dolphins with their tails divide
The glitt’ring waves, and cut the precious tide.
Amid the main, two mighty fleets engage
Their brazen beaks, oppos’d with equal rage.
Actium surveys the well-disputed prize;
Leucate’s wat’ry plain with foamy billows fries.
Young Caesar, on the stern, in armor bright,
Here leads the Romans and their gods to fight:
His beamy temples shoot their flames afar,
And o’er his head is hung the Julian star.
Agrippa seconds him, with prosp’rous gales,
And, with propitious gods, his foes assails:
A naval crown, that binds his manly brows,
The happy fortune of the fight foreshows.
Rang’d on the line oppos’d, Antonius brings
Barbarian aids, and troops of Eastern kings;
Th’ Arabians near, and Bactrians from afar,
Of tongues discordant, and a mingled war:
And, rich in gaudy robes, amidst the strife,
His ill fate follows him- th’ Egyptian wife.
Moving they fight; with oars and forky prows
The froth is gather’d, and the water glows.
It seems, as if the Cyclades again
Were rooted up, and justled in the main;
Or floating mountains floating mountains meet;
Such is the fierce encounter of the fleet.
Fireballs are thrown, and pointed jav’lins fly;
The fields of Neptune take a purple dye.
The queen herself, amidst the loud alarms,
With cymbals toss’d her fainting soldiers warms-
Fool as she was! who had not yet divin’d
Her cruel fate, nor saw the snakes behind.
Her country gods, the monsters of the sky,
Great Neptune, Pallas, and Love’s Queen defy:
The dog Anubis barks, but barks in vain,
Nor longer dares oppose th’ ethereal train.
Mars in the middle of the shining shield
Is grav’d, and strides along the liquid field.
The Dirae souse from heav’n with swift descent;
And Discord, dyed in blood, with garments rent,
Divides the prease: her steps Bellona treads,
And shakes her iron rod above their heads.
This seen, Apollo, from his Actian height,
Pours down his arrows; at whose winged flight
The trembling Indians and Egyptians yield,
And soft Sabaeans quit the wat’ry field.
The fatal mistress hoists her silken sails,
And, shrinking from the fight, invokes the gales.
Aghast she looks, and heaves her breast for breath,
Panting, and pale with fear of future death.
The god had figur’d her as driv’n along
By winds and waves, and scudding thro’ the throng.
Just opposite, sad Nilus opens wide
His arms and ample bosom to the tide,
And spreads his mantle o’er the winding coast,
In which he wraps his queen, and hides the flying host.
The victor to the gods his thanks express’d,
And Rome, triumphant, with his presence bless’d.
Three hundred temples in the town he plac’d;
With spoils and altars ev’ry temple grac’d.
Three shining nights, and three succeeding days,
The fields resound with shouts, the streets with praise,
The domes with songs, the theaters with plays.
All altars flame: before each altar lies,
Drench’d in his gore, the destin’d sacrifice.
Great Caesar sits sublime upon his throne,
Before Apollo’s porch of Parian stone;
Accepts the presents vow’d for victory,
And hangs the monumental crowns on high.
Vast crowds of vanquish’d nations march along,
Various in arms, in habit, and in tongue.
Here, Mulciber assigns the proper place
For Carians, and th’ ungirt Numidian race;
Then ranks the Thracians in the second row,
With Scythians, expert in the dart and bow.
And here the tam’d Euphrates humbly glides,
And there the Rhine submits her swelling tides,
And proud Araxes, whom no bridge could bind;
The Danes’ unconquer’d offspring march behind,
And Morini, the last of humankind.
These figures, on the shield divinely wrought,
By Vulcan labor’d, and by Venus brought,
With joy and wonder fill the hero’s thought.
Unknown the names, he yet admires the grace,
And bears aloft the fame and fortune of his race.
Turnus Attacks: Summary and Exerpt
1-76 Juno sends Iris to Turnus, in order to tell him that Aeneas is away and that the moment for attack has arrived. Turnus accepts the divine call to arms. The Trojans, in accordance with Aeneas’ instructions, stay within their camp, and Turnus, wild for blood like a wolf at a sheep-fold, prepares to set fire to the Trojan fleet.
77-122 The Trojan ships, which had been made from the sacred pine trees of the goddess Cybele, are saved from burning by being transformed into nymphs.
123-175 The Rutulians are shaken by this, but Turnus rallies them with a confident speech, saying that this portent is directed against the Trojans who cannot now escape. They will find the Rutulians more formidable enemies than the Greeks. He urges his men to get ready for battle; they place sentries, and the Trojans for their part prepare defences.
Nisus and Euryalus
The Trojans, from above, their foes beheld,
And with arm’d legions all the rampires fill’d.
Seiz’d with affright, their gates they first explore;
Join works to works with bridges, tow’r to tow’r:
Thus all things needful for defense abound.
Mnestheus and brave Seresthus walk the round,
Commission’d by their absent prince111 to share
The common danger, and divide the care.
The soldiers draw their lots, and, as they fall,
By turns relieve each other on the wall.
Nigh where the foes their utmost guards advance,
To watch the gate was warlike Nisus’112 chance.
His father Hyrtacus of noble blood;
His mother was a huntress of the wood,
And sent him to the wars. Well could he bear
His lance in fight, and dart the flying spear,
But better skill’d unerring shafts to send.
Beside him stood Euryalus, his friend:
Euryalus, than whom the Trojan host
No fairer face, or sweeter air, could boast-
Scarce had the down to shade his cheeks begun.
One was their care, and their delight was one:
One common hazard in the war they shar’d,
And now were both by choice upon the guard.
Then Nisus thus: “Or do the gods inspire
This warmth, or make we gods of our desire?
A gen’rous ardor boils within my breast,
Eager of action, enemy to rest:
This urges me to fight, and fires my mind
To leave a memorable name behind.
Thou see’st the foe secure; how faintly shine
Their scatter’d fires! the most, in sleep supine
Along the ground, an easy conquest lie:
The wakeful few the fuming flagon113 ply;
All hush’d around. Now hear what I revolve-
A thought unripe- and scarcely yet resolve.
Our absent prince both camp and council mourn;
By message both would hasten his return:
If they confer what I demand on thee,
(For fame is recompense enough for me,)
Methinks, beneath yon hill, I have espied
A way that safely will my passage guide.”114
Euryalus stood list’ning while he spoke,
With love of praise and noble envy struck;
Then to his ardent friend expos’d his mind:
“All this, alone, and leaving me behind!
Am I unworthy, Nisus, to be join’d?
Thinkest thou I can my share of glory yield,
Or send thee unassisted to the field?
Not so my father taught my childhood arms;
Born in a siege, and bred among alarms!115
Nor is my youth unworthy of my friend,
Nor of the heav’n-born hero I attend.
The thing call’d life, with ease I can disclaim,
And think it over-sold to purchase fame.”
Then Nisus thus: “Alas! thy tender years
Would minister new matter to my fears.
So may the gods, who view this friendly strife,
Restore me to thy lov’d embrace with life,
Condemn’d to pay my vows, (as sure I trust,)
This thy request is cruel and unjust.
But if some chance- as many chances are,
And doubtful hazards, in the deeds of war-
If one should reach my head, there let it fall,
And spare thy life; I would not perish all.
Thy bloomy youth deserves a longer date:
Live thou to mourn thy love’s unhappy fate;
To bear my mangled body from the foe,
Or buy it back, and fun’ral rites bestow.
Or, if hard fortune shall those dues deny,
Thou canst at least an empty tomb supply.
O let not me the widow’s tears renew!
Nor let a mother’s curse my name pursue:
Thy pious parent, who, for love of thee,
Forsook the coasts of friendly Sicily,
Her age committing to the seas and wind,
When ev’ry weary matron stay’d behind.”116
To this, Euryalus: “You plead in vain,
And but protract the cause you cannot gain.
No more delays, but haste!” With that, he wakes
The nodding watch; each to his office takes.
The guard reliev’d, the gen’rous couple went
To find the council at the royal tent.
All creatures else forgot their daily care,
And sleep, the common gift of nature, share;
Except the Trojan peers,117 who wakeful sate
In nightly council for th’ indanger’d state.
They vote a message to their absent chief,
Shew their distress, and beg a swift relief.
Amid the camp a silent seat they chose,
Remote from clamor, and secure from foes.
On their left arms their ample shields they bear,
The right reclin’d upon the bending spear.
Now Nisus and his friend approach the guard,
And beg admission, eager to be heard:
Th’ affair important, not to be deferr’d.
Ascanius bids ‘em be conducted in,
Ord’ring the more experienc’d to begin.
Then Nisus thus: “Ye fathers, lend your ears;
Nor judge our bold attempt beyond our years.
The foe, securely drench’d in sleep and wine,
Neglect their watch; the fires but thinly shine;
And where the smoke in cloudy vapors flies,
Cov’ring the plain, and curling to the skies,
Betwixt two paths, which at the gate divide,
Close by the sea, a passage we have spied,
Which will our way to great Aeneas guide.
Expect each hour to see him safe again,
Loaded with spoils of foes in battle slain.
Snatch we the lucky minute while we may;
Nor can we be mistaken in the way;
For, hunting in the vale, we both have seen
The rising turrets, and the stream between,
And know the winding course, with ev’ry ford.”
He ceas’d; and old Alethes took the word:
“Our country gods, in whom our trust we place,
Will yet from ruin save the Trojan race,
While we behold such dauntless worth appear
In dawning youth, and souls so void of fear.”
Then into tears of joy the father broke;
Each in his longing arms by turns he took;
Panted and paus’d; and thus again he spoke:
“Ye brave young men, what equal gifts can we,
In recompense of such desert, decree?
The greatest, sure, and best you can receive,
The gods and your own conscious worth will give.
The rest our grateful gen’ral will bestow,
And young Ascanius till his manhood owe.”
“And I, whose welfare in my father lies,”
Ascanius adds, “by the great deities,
By my dear country, by my household gods,
By hoary Vesta’s rites and dark abodes,
Adjure you both, (on you my fortune stands;
That and my faith I plight into your hands,)
Make me but happy in his safe return,
Whose wanted presence I can only mourn;
Your common gift shall two large goblets be
Of silver, wrought with curious imagery,
And high emboss’d, which, when old Priam reign’d,
My conqu’ring sire at sack’d Arisba gain’d;
And more, two tripods cast in antic mold,
With two great talents of the finest gold;
Beside a costly bowl, ingrav’d with art,
Which Dido gave, when first she gave her heart.
But, if in conquer’d Italy we reign,
When spoils by lot the victor shall obtain-
Thou saw’st the courser by proud Turnus press’d:
That, Nisus, and his arms, and nodding crest,
And shield, from chance exempt, shall be thy share:
Twelve lab’ring slaves, twelve handmaids young and fair
All clad in rich attire, and train’d with care;
And, last, a Latian field with fruitful plains,
And a large portion of the king’s domains.
But thou, whose years are more to mine allied-
No fate my vow’d affection shall divide
From thee, heroic youth! Be wholly mine;
Take full possession; all my soul is thine.
One faith, one fame, one fate, shall both attend;
My life’s companion, and my bosom friend:
My peace shall be committed to thy care,
And to thy conduct my concerns in war.”
Then thus the young Euryalus replied:
“Whatever fortune, good or bad, betide,
The same shall be my age, as now my youth;
No time shall find me wanting to my truth.
This only from your goodness let me gain
(And, this ungranted, all rewards are vain)
Of Priam’s royal race my mother came-
And sure the best that ever bore the name-
Whom neither Troy nor Sicily could hold
From me departing, but, o’erspent and old,
My fate she follow’d. Ignorant of this
(Whatever) danger, neither parting kiss,
Nor pious blessing taken, her I leave,
And in this only act of all my life deceive.
By this right hand and conscious Night I swear,
My soul so sad a farewell could not bear.118
Be you her comfort; fill my vacant place
(Permit me to presume so great a grace)
Support her age, forsaken and distress’d.
That hope alone will fortify my breast
Against the worst of fortunes, and of fears.”
He said. The mov’d assistants melt in tears.
Then thus Ascanius, wonderstruck to see
That image of his filial piety:119
“So great beginnings, in so green an age,
Exact the faith which I again ingage.
Thy mother all the dues shall justly claim,
Creusa120 had, and only want the name.
Whate’er event thy bold attempt shall have,
‘Tis merit to have borne a son so brave.
Now by my head, a sacred oath, I swear,
(My father us’d it,) what, returning here
Crown’d with success, I for thyself prepare,
That, if thou fail, shall thy lov’d mother share.”
He said, and weeping, while he spoke the word,
From his broad belt he drew a shining sword,
Magnificent with gold. Lycaon made,
And in an ivory scabbard sheath’d the blade.
This was his gift. Great Mnestheus gave his friend
A lion’s hide, his body to defend;
And good Alethes furnish’d him, beside,
With his own trusty helm, of temper tried.
Thus arm’d they went. The noble Trojans wait
Their issuing forth, and follow to the gate
With prayers and vows. Above the rest appears
Ascanius, manly far beyond his years,
And messages committed to their care,
Which all in winds were lost, and flitting air.121
The trenches first they pass’d; then took their way
Where their proud foes in pitch’d pavilions lay;
To many fatal, ere themselves were slain.
They found the careless host dispers’d upon the plain,
Who, gorg’d, and drunk with wine, supinely snore.
Unharness’d chariots stand along the shore:
Amidst the wheels and reins, the goblet by,
A medley of debauch122 and war, they lie.
Observing Nisus shew’d his friend the sight:
“Behold a conquest gain’d without a fight.
Occasion offers, and I stand prepar’d;
There lies our way; be thou upon the guard,
And look around, while I securely go,
And hew a passage thro’ the sleeping foe.”
Softly he spoke; then striding took his way,
With his drawn sword, where haughty Rhamnes lay;
His head rais’d high on tapestry beneath,
And heaving from his breast, he drew his breath;
A king and prophet, by King Turnus lov’d:
But fate by prescience cannot be remov’d.
Him and his sleeping slaves he123 slew; then spies
Where Remus, with his rich retinue, lies.
His armor-bearer first, and next he kills
His charioteer, intrench’d betwixt the wheels
And his lov’d horses; last invades their lord;
Full on his neck he drives the fatal sword:
The gasping head flies off; a purple flood
Flows from the trunk, that welters in the blood,
Which, by the spurning heels dispers’d around,
The bed besprinkles and bedews the ground.
Lamus the bold, and Lamyrus the strong,
He slew, and then Serranus fair and young.
From dice and wine the youth retir’d to rest,
And puff ’d the fumy god124 from out his breast:
Ev’n then he dreamt of drink and lucky play-
More lucky, had it lasted till the day.
The famish’d lion thus, with hunger bold,
O’erleaps the fences of the nightly fold,
And tears the peaceful flocks: with silent awe
Trembling they lie, and pant beneath his paw.
Nor with less rage Euryalus employs
The wrathful sword, or fewer foes destroys;
But on th’ ignoble crowd his fury flew;
He Fadus, Hebesus, and Rhoetus slew.
Oppress’d with heavy sleep the former fell,
But Rhoetus wakeful, and observing all:
Behind a spacious jar he slink’d for fear;
The fatal iron found and reach’d him there;
For, as he rose, it pierc’d his naked side,
And, reeking, thence return’d in crimson dyed.
The wound pours out a stream of wine and blood;
The purple soul comes floating in the flood.125
Now, where Messapus quarter’d, they arrive.
The fires were fainting there, and just alive;
The warrior-horses, tied in order, fed.
Nisus observ’d the discipline, and said:
“Our eager thirst of blood may both betray;
And see the scatter’d streaks of dawning day,
Foe to nocturnal thefts. No more, my friend;
Here let our glutted execution end.
A lane thro’ slaughter’d bodies we have made.”
The bold Euryalus, tho’ loth, obey’d.
Of arms, and arras, and of plate, they find
A precious load; but these they leave behind.
Yet, fond of gaudy spoils, the boy would stay
To make the rich caparison his prey,
Which on the steed of conquer’d Rhamnes lay.
Nor did his eyes less longingly behold
The girdle-belt, with nails of burnish’d gold.
This present Caedicus the rich bestow’d
On Remulus, when friendship first they vow’d,
And, absent, join’d in hospitable ties:
He, dying, to his heir bequeath’d the prize;
Till, by the conqu’ring Ardean troops oppress’d,
He fell; and they the glorious gift possess’d.
These glitt’ring spoils (now made the victor’s gain)
He to his body suits, but suits in vain:
Messapus’ helm he finds among the rest,
And laces on, and wears the waving crest.
Proud of their conquest, prouder of their prey,
They leave the camp, and take the ready way.
But far they had not pass’d, before they spied
Three hundred horse, with Volscens126 for their guide.
The queen a legion to King Turnus sent;
But the swift horse the slower foot prevent,
And now, advancing, sought the leader’s tent.
They saw the pair; for, thro’ the doubtful shade,
His shining helm127 Euryalus betray’d,
On which the moon with full reflection play’d.
“’Tis not for naught,” cried Volscens from the crowd,
“These men go there;” then rais’d his voice aloud:
“Stand! stand! why thus in arms? And whither bent?
From whence, to whom, and on what errand sent?”
Silent they scud away, and haste their flight
To neighb’ring woods, and trust themselves to night.
The speedy horse all passages belay,
And spur their smoking steeds to cross their way,
And watch each entrance of the winding wood.
Black was the forest: thick with beech it stood,
Horrid with fern, and intricate with thorn;
Few paths of human feet, or tracks of beasts, were worn.
The darkness of the shades, his heavy prey,
And fear, misled the younger128 from his way.
But Nisus hit the turns with happier haste,
And, thoughtless of his friend, the forest pass’d,
And Alban plains, from Alba’s name so call’d,
Where King Latinus then his oxen stall’d;
Till, turning at the length, he stood his ground,
And miss’d his friend, and cast his eyes around:
“Ah wretch!” he cried, “where have I left behind
Th’ unhappy youth? where shall I hope to find?
Or what way take?” Again he ventures back,
And treads the mazes of his former track.
He winds the wood, and, list’ning, hears the noise
Of tramping coursers, and the riders’ voice.
The sound approach’d; and suddenly he view’d
The foes inclosing, and his friend pursued,
Forelaid and taken, while he strove in vain
The shelter of the friendly shades to gain.
What should he next attempt? what arms employ,
What fruitless force, to free the captive boy?
Or desperate should he rush and lose his life,
With odds oppress’d, in such unequal strife?
Resolv’d at length, his pointed spear he shook;
And, casting on the moon a mournful look:
“Guardian of groves, and goddess of the night,
Fair queen,”129 he said, “direct my dart aright.
If e’er my pious father, for my sake,
Did grateful off ’rings on thy altars make,
Or I increas’d them with my sylvan toils,
And hung thy holy roofs with savage spoils,
Give me to scatter these.” Then from his ear
He pois’d, and aim’d, and launch’d the trembling spear.
The deadly weapon, hissing from the grove,
Impetuous on the back of Sulmo drove;
Pierc’d his thin armor, drank his vital blood,
And in his body left the broken [wood]
He staggers round; his eyeballs roll in death,
And with short sobs he gasps away his breath.
All stand amaz’d- a second jav’lin flies
With equal strength, and quivers thro’ the skies.
This thro’ thy temples, Tagus, forc’d the way,
And in the brainpan warmly buried lay.
Fierce Volscens130 foams with rage, and, gazing round,
Descried not him who gave the fatal wound,
Nor knew to fix revenge: “But thou,” he cries,
“Shalt pay for both,” and at the pris’ner flies
With his drawn sword. Then, struck with deep despair,
That cruel sight the lover could not bear;
But from his covert rush’d in open view,
And sent his voice before him as he flew:
“Me! me!” he cried- “turn all your swords alone
On me- the fact confess’d, the fault my own.
He neither could nor durst, the guiltless youth:
Ye moon and stars, bear witness to the truth!
His only crime (if friendship can offend)
Is too much love to his unhappy friend.”
Too late he speaks: the sword, which fury guides,
Driv’n with full force, had pierc’d his tender sides.
Down fell the beauteous youth: the yawning wound
Gush’d out a purple stream, and stain’d the ground.
His snowy neck reclines upon his breast,
Like a fair flow’r by the keen share oppress’d;
Like a white poppy sinking on the plain,
Whose heavy head is overcharg’d with rain.
Despair, and rage, and vengeance justly vow’d,
Drove Nisus headlong on the hostile crowd.
Volscens he seeks; on him alone he bends:
Borne back and bor’d by his surrounding friends,
Onward he press’d, and kept him still in sight;
Then whirl’d aloft his sword with all his might:
Th’ unerring steel descended while he spoke,
Pierced his wide mouth, and thro’ his weazon131 broke.
Dying, he slew; and, stagg’ring on the plain,
With swimming eyes he sought his lover slain;
Then quiet on his bleeding bosom fell,
Content, in death, to be reveng’d so well.
O happy friends!132 for, if my verse can give
Immortal life, your fame shall ever live,
Fix’d as the Capitol’s foundation lies,
And spread, where’er the Roman eagle flies!
450-502 The Rutulians discover the slaughter in their camp. Next day they march forth to battle, carrying the heads of Nisus and Euryalus impaled upon spears. Euryalus’ mother learns the truth and laments her young son.
503-89 The full-scale attack on the Trojan camp begins. Vergil invokes the Muse to tell of the slaughter dealt by Turnus; he kills Helenor and Lycus and in the general fighting many fall on both sides.
590-671 Numanus makes a taunting speech, contrasting the hard vigor of the Italians with the oriental effeminacy of the Trojans: Ascanius kills him with an arrow. Apollo appears to Ascanius and prophesies a glorious future, but warns him that from now on he must keep out of the fighting until he is grown up.
672-818 Pandarus and Bitias throw open the Trojan gates; the Rutulians by the gates are defeated until Turnus comes to their help. He kills Bitias; Pandarus shuts the gates again, but Turnus is inside. Pandarus challenges Turnus with a taunt, and Turnus kills him. Turnus could now have opened the gates again and let in the rest of his army, but he is intenet on personal triumphs, and kills many Trojans. At last they rally, led by Mnestheus, and Turnus is compelled to give way. He plunges into the Tiber and rejoins his army.
War Rages On: Summary and Exerpts
1-15 Jupiter calls a council of the gods in Olympus, and urges them to cease from stirring up warfare between the Trojans and Italians; the time for strife will be when Juno’s Carthage attacks Venus’ Rome.
16-95 Venus makes an indignant speech, bitterly complaining at Juno’s interventions and the Trojan set-backs, and ironically suggesting that as all else is lost Jupiter should at least save the life of little Ascanius. Juno angrily replies, maintaining that the Trojan disasters have not been caused by her, and that any assitance she may give to the Rutulians is justified.
96-117 Jupiter refuses to side with either of the goddesses and say he will remain impartial, allowing the fates to find a way.
118-45 The Rutulians continue to attack the Trojan camp.
146-62 Aeneas returns by sea with a contingent of Etruscan forces; with him are the Etruscan king, Tarchon, and Evander’s young son, Pallas.
163-214 Vergil makes a new invocation to the Muse and then gives a list of the Etruscan allies of Aeneas as they sail south with him to join the war against Mezentius and Turnus.
215-59 A. on his return is met by the nymphs into whom the Trojan fleet had been changed. One of them, Cymodocea, tells him of Turnus’ attack on his camp, and warns him to be ready for battle. Aeneas, with a prayer to Cybele, prepares for action.
260-86 A. as he approaches lifts high his shield and the Trojans shout in joy at his return. Light flashes from his armor, like a comet or Sirius, but Turnus is not dismayed and urges his troops to be ready for battle.
287-307 Aeneas’ men disembark; Tarchon runs his ship at the shore, and it breaks its back on a sand-bank.
308-61 The battle begins, and the first victories are won by A. himself. Elsewhere however the Italians are successful, and the struggle is equally poised.
362-438 Pallas encourages his Arcadians and kills many of the enemy; Halaesus rallies the Italians but is killed by Pallas. Lausus then moves to attack Pallas, but fate prevents their meeting.
The Youthful Pallas and Lausus
Here Pallas urges on, and Lausus there:
Of equal youth and beauty both appear,
But both by fate forbid to breathe their native air.
Their congress in the field great Jove withstands:
Both doom’d to fall, but fall by greater hands.
439-509 Turnus and Pallas meet in single combat. Pallas is killed and Turnus strips off his sword-belt as spoils of battle. The poet reflects that a day will come when he will bitterly regret this deed.
Death of Pallas
And, as a lion- when he spies from far
A bull that seems to meditate the war,
Bending his neck, and spurning back the sand-
Runs roaring downward from his hilly stand:
Imagine eager Turnus not more slow,
To rush from high on his unequal foe.
Young Pallas, when he saw the chief advance
Within due distance of his flying lance,
Prepares to charge him first, resolv’d to try
If fortune would his want of force supply;
And thus to Heav’n and Hercules address’d:
“Alcides, once on earth Evander’s guest,
His son adjures you by those holy rites,
That hospitable board, those genial nights;
Assist my great attempt to gain this prize,
And let proud Turnus view, with dying eyes,
His ravish’d spoils.” ‘T was heard, the vain request;
Alcides mourn’d, and stifled sighs within his breast.
Then Jove, to soothe his sorrow, thus began:
“Short bounds of life are set to mortal man.
‘Tis virtue’s work alone to stretch the narrow span.
So many sons of gods, in bloody fight,
Around the walls of Troy, have lost the light:
My own Sarpedon fell beneath his foe;
Nor I, his mighty sire, could ward the blow.
Ev’n Turnus shortly shall resign his breath,
And stands already on the verge of death.”
This said, the god permits the fatal fight,
But from the Latian fields averts his sight.
Now with full force his spear young Pallas threw,
And, having thrown, his shining fauchion drew
The steel just graz’d along the shoulder joint,
And mark’d it slightly with the glancing point,
Fierce Turnus first to nearer distance drew,
And pois’d his pointed spear, before he threw:
Then, as the winged weapon whizz’d along,
“See now,” said he, “whose arm is better strung.”
The spear kept on the fatal course, unstay’d
By plates of ir’n, which o’er the shield were laid:
Thro’ folded brass and tough bull hides it pass’d,
His corslet pierc’d, and reach’d his heart at last.
In vain the youth tugs at the broken wood;
The soul comes issuing with the vital blood:
He falls; his arms upon his body sound;
And with his bloody teeth he bites the ground.
Turnus bestrode the corpse: “Arcadians, hear,”
Said he; “my message to your master bear:
Such as the sire deserv’d, the son I send;
It costs him dear to be the Phrygians’ friend.
The lifeless body, tell him, I bestow,
Unask’d, to rest his wand’ring ghost below.”
He said, and trampled down with all the force
Of his left foot, and spurn’d the wretched corse;
Then snatch’d the shining belt, with gold inlaid;
The belt Eurytion’s artful hands had made,
Where fifty fatal brides, express’d to sight,
All in the compass of one mournful night,
Depriv’d their bridegrooms of returning light.
In an ill hour insulting Turnus tore
Those golden spoils, and in a worse he wore.
O mortals, blind in fate, who never know
To bear high fortune, or endure the low!
The time shall come, when Turnus, but in vain,
Shall wish untouch’d the trophies of the slain;
Shall wish the fatal belt were far away,
And curse the dire remembrance of the day.
510-605 A. rages in mad anger over the battlefield, seeking vengeance for Pallas and killing many of the enemy violently and ruthlessly.
606-688 Meanwhile in Olympus Juno obtains permission from Jupiter to save Turnus, but only temporarily. She makes a phantom of Aeneas: Turnus pursues it to a ship, and Juno then sets the ship loose. Turnus, bitterly chafing at his enforced absence from the batlle, is carried away to his home at Ardea.
689-768 Mezentius enters the battle and performs mighty deeds.
769-832 A. and Mezentius meet in single combat. M. is wounded and his son Lausus intervenes to save him. A. kills Lausus and in profound sorrow at what he has had to do lifts up his body and restores it to his comrades.
Death of Lausus
His father’s peril Lausus view’d with grief;
He sigh’d, he wept, he ran to his relief.
And here, heroic youth, ‘t is here I must
To thy immortal memory be just,
And sing an act so noble and so new,
Posterity will scarce believe ‘t is true.
Pain’d with his wound, and useless for the fight,
The father sought to save himself by flight:
Incumber’d, slow he dragg’d the spear along,
Which pierc’d his thigh, and in his buckler hung.
The pious youth, resolv’d on death, below
The lifted sword springs forth to face the foe;
Protects his parent, and prevents the blow.
Shouts of applause ran ringing thro’ the field,
To see the son the vanquish’d father shield.
All, fir’d with gen’rous indignation, strive,
And with a storm of darts to distance drive
The Trojan chief, who, held at bay from far,
On his Vulcanian orb sustain’d the war.
As, when thick hail comes rattling in the wind,
The plowman, passenger, and lab’ring hind
For shelter to the neighb’ring covert fly,
Or hous’d, or safe in hollow caverns lie;
But, that o’erblown, when heav’n above ‘em smiles,
Return to travel, and renew their toils:
Aeneas thus, o’erwhelmed on ev’ry side,
The storm of darts, undaunted, did abide;
And thus to Lausus loud with friendly threat’ning cried:
“Why wilt thou rush to certain death, and rage
In rash attempts, beyond thy tender age,
Betray’d by pious love?” Nor, thus forborne,
The youth desists, but with insulting scorn
Provokes the ling’ring prince, whose patience, tir’d,
Gave place; and all his breast with fury fir’d.
For now the Fates prepar’d their sharpen’d shears;
And lifted high the flaming sword appears,
Which, full descending with a frightful sway,
Thro’ shield and corslet forc’d th’ impetuous way,
And buried deep in his fair bosom lay.
The purple streams thro’ the thin armor strove,
And drench’d th’ imbroider’d coat his mother wove;
And life at length forsook his heaving heart,
Loth from so sweet a mansion to depart.
But when, with blood and paleness all o’erspread,
The pious prince beheld young Lausus dead,
He griev’d; he wept; the sight an image brought
Of his own filial love, a sadly pleasing thought:
Then stretch’d his hand to hold him up, and said:
“Poor hapless youth! what praises can be paid
To love so great, to such transcendent store
Of early worth, and sure presage of more?
Accept whate’er Aeneas can afford;
Untouch’d thy arms, untaken be thy sword;
And all that pleas’d thee living, still remain
Inviolate, and sacred to the slain.
Thy body on thy parents I bestow,
To rest thy soul, at least, if shadows know,
Or have a sense of human things below.
There to thy fellow ghosts with glory tell:
‘’T was by the great Aeneas hand I fell.’”
With this, his distant friends he beckons near,
Provokes their duty, and prevents their fear:
Himself assists to lift him from the ground,
With clotted locks, and blood that well’d from out the wound.
833-908 Mezentius hears of the death of his son Lausus, and prepares to give up his own life by confronting Aeneas. In the ensuing contest he is mortally wounded, and meets his death with the dignity of the heroic warrior.
The Trojans Advance: Summary
1-99 Aeneas dedicates the spoils of Mezentius as a trophy to Mars, and then arranges for the funeral procession to escort Pallas’ body back to his father Evander. He speaks to the dead youth in terms of the most extreme sorrow.
100-138 Spokesmen arrive from the Latin camp asking for a truce to bury the dead; A. grants it most willingly. Drances thanks A. and inveighs against Turnus. A 12-day truce is arranged.
139-81 Pallas’ funeral procession arrives at Pallanteum; the citizens are deeply grief-stricken and his father Evander, in a speech of lamentation, ends by asking A. to take vengeance on Turnus.
182-224 The Trojans and their allies bury their dead; in another part of the field the Latins do likewise. Resentment against Turnus grows in the Latin capital, but he has strong support too.
225-295 The embassy sent to ask Diomedes for help returns with an unfavorable answer. Diomedes had said that he would not fight against the Trojans again on any account, particularly not against so great a warrior as Aeneas. He advised them to make peace.
296-335 Latinus makes a speech in which he says that the Latin situation is hopeless: he proposes to make peace with the Trojans either by ceding them land or by providing them with ships to find land elsewhere.
336-75 Drances supports Latinus’ proposals for peace in a highly rhetorical speech directed against Turnus.
376-444 Turnus in reply angily reviles Drances with taunts of cowardice; then more calmly he replies to Latinus’ proposals, saying that there is no need to despair of their situation. Finally he says that he is ready to face A. in single combat.
445-97 While the debate in the Latin aseembly continues A. moves to the attack. Turnus hearing of this gives instructions for action, and fiercely arms himself for battle.
498-531 The warrior-queen Camilla offers help to Turnus: he gratefully accepts and asks her to engage the enemy cavalry while he lays an ambush for Aeneas and his infantry.
532-96 Diana speaks to her nympth Opis, lamenting the impending fate of Camilla, and telling the story of her escape as a baby and her subsequent devotion to the goddess. She tells Opis to take vengeance on the man who kills Camilla.
597-647 The cavalry battle outside the walls develops on a large scale; first one side prevails and then the other.
648-724 Camilla, like an Amazon warrior-maiden, performs mighty deeds on the battlefield, killing 12 of the enemy.
725-67 Jupiter intervenes to send Tarchon to rally the Etruscan allies of the Trojans. Tarchon upbraids them and leads them into battle, capturing the Latin Venulus. Meanwhile Arruns shadows Camilla, preparing to attack her.
768-835 Camilla’s attention is caught by a gorgeously attired Trojan priest, and as she tracks him to capture spoils from him Arruns shoots her. As he runs away Camilla falls dead-- in her last words she sends a message to Trunus telling him to take her place in the battle.
836-915 Opis avenges the death of Camilla by shooting down Arruns. The Latins are driven in flight, and their city is besieged. Turnus is told of Camilla’s death, and he abandons his plan for an ambush and returns to the capital. Nightfall ends the battle.
Turnus Vs. Aeneas: Summary and Exerpt
1-106 In the moment of their defeat Turnus feels the eyes of all the Latins are upon him; he tells King Latinus that he will fight Aeneas in single combat. Latinus tries to dissuade him, but Turnus is all the more fiercely determined. Amata beseeches him not to go, but Turnus replies that he is not free to refuse. He arms himself in rehearsal for the next day’s combat.
107-12 Aeneas also prepares for the coming single combat.
113-215 The troops on both sides take up their positions to watch the single combat. Juno tells Juturna that she herself can do no more; if Juturna can do anything, then she has authority from Juno to act. The two parties proceed to the battle area, and oaths are sworn, first by Aeneas, and then by Latinus on behalf of Turnus.
216-310 The Rutulians are uneasy about the single combat, and Juturna, disguised as Camers, intervenes to urge them to break the truce. An omen of an eagle forced by a mass attack of other birds to release a swan is interpreted by Tolumnius to mean that the Rutulians must attack to save Turnus. Fighting breaks out.
311-82 Aeneas attempts to prevent his men from breaking the treaty, but is wounded by an arrow from an unknown source. Thereupon Turnus excitedly leads his men into battle, and the fighting is resumed.
383-440 The wounded Aeneas is helped back to camp. The physician Iapyx cannot remove the arrow-head, but Venus intervenes and with supernatural potions causes the arrow-head to come out and the wound to heal. Aeneas immediately arms for battle.
441-99 The Rutulians are terrified as Aeneas rushes into battle. He pursues Turnus and Turnus only. Juturna intervienes in the guise of Metiscus, Turnus’ charioteer, and keeps Turnus away from Aeneas. Messapus attacks Aeneas and realizing that Turnus will not meet him Aeneas begins to attack his enemies indiscriminately.
500-53 In the general battle which ensues both Aeneas and Turnus deal death all around them.
554-92 Venus puts into Aeneas’ mind the idea of attacking the Latin capital itself. He urges on his men, and they move in to the attack. There is panic within the city.
593-613 Queen Amata is driven to utter despair by the sight of the Trojans attacking, and blaming herself for the imminent disaster commits suicide by hanging herself.
614-96 Turnus hears the noise of lamentation from the capital; Juturna tries to persuade him to stay away from Aeneas, but he now insists that he must go to face him. News is brought of the siege of the city and the death of Amata. Turnus at first is rooted to the ground, bewildered and confused; then he rushes to the capital and calls on his friends to cease fighting and leave him to single combat with Aeneas.
697-790 Aeneas moves to fight with Turnus and the combat begins. They throw their spears without effect and then join in close combat. Turnus strikes Aeneas with his sword, but it shatters in fragments-- Turnus had in his hurry taken his charioteer’s sword by mistake. Aeneas chases Turnus, and as they pass the stump of an oleaster sacred to Faunus Aeneas tries to regain his spear which is sticking in the root. Faunus prevents him from pulling it out, and meanwhile Juturna gives Turnus his own sword. Venus promptly restores Aeneas’ spear to him, and they stand again facing each other poised for battle.
791-842 In Olympus Jupiter orders Juno to cease from interference against the Trojans. She yields, but begs that the Latins may keep their language and dress, and not become Trojans; that Rome may be great because of Italian virtues. Jupiter agrees to this, and promises that the Romans will above all other peoples pay worship to Juno.
843-86 Jupiter sends one of the Furies down to the battlefield, in the shape of an owl, in order to terrify Turnus by flitting in front of his face, and to convince Juturna that she must withdraw. Juturna laments her helplessness, and finally leaves the battlefield.
Aeneas Kills Turnus
Now stern Aeneas his weighty spear
Against his foe, and thus upbraids his fear:
“What farther subterfuge can Turnus find?
What empty hopes are harbor’d in his mind?
‘Tis not thy swiftness can secure thy flight;
Not with their feet, but hands, the valiant fight.
Vary thy shape in thousand forms, and dare
What skill and courage can attempt in war;
Wish for the wings of winds, to mount the sky;
Or hid, within the hollow earth to lie!”
The champion shook his head, and made this short reply:
“No threats of thine my manly mind can move;
‘Tis hostile heav’n I dread, and partial Jove.”
He said no more, but, with a sigh, repress’d
The mighty sorrow in his swelling breast.
Then, as he roll’d his troubled eyes around,
An antique stone he saw, the common bound
Of neighb’ring fields, and barrier of the ground;
So vast, that twelve strong men of modern days
Th’ enormous weight from earth could hardly raise.
He heav’d it at a lift, and, pois’d on high,
Ran stagg’ring on against his enemy,
But so disorder’d, that he scarcely knew
His way, or what unwieldly weight he threw.
His knocking knees are bent beneath the load,
And shiv’ring cold congeals his vital blood.
The stone drops from his arms, and, falling short
For want of vigor, mocks his vain effort.
And as, when heavy sleep has clos’d the sight,
The sickly fancy labors in the night;
We seem to run; and, destitute of force,
Our sinking limbs forsake us in the course:
In vain we heave for breath; in vain we cry;
The nerves, unbrac’d, their usual strength deny;
And on the tongue the falt’ring accents die:
So Turnus far’d; whatever means he tried,
All force of arms and points of art employ’d,
The Fury flew athwart, and made th’ endeavor void.
A thousand various thoughts his soul confound;
He star’d about, nor aid nor issue found;
His own men stop the pass, and his own walls surround.
Once more he pauses, and looks out again,
And seeks the goddess charioteer in vain.
Trembling he views the thund’ring chief advance,
And brandishing aloft the deadly lance:
Amaz’d he cow’rs beneath his conqu’ring foe,
Forgets to ward, and waits the coming blow.
Astonish’d while he stands, and fix’d with fear,
Aim’d at his shield he sees th’ impending spear.
The hero measur’d first, with narrow view,
The destin’d mark; and, rising as he threw,
With its full swing the fatal weapon flew.
Not with less rage the rattling thunder falls,
Or stones from batt’ring-engines break the walls:
Swift as a whirlwind, from an arm so strong,
The lance drove on, and bore the death along.
Naught could his sev’nfold shield the prince avail,
Nor aught, beneath his arms, the coat of mail:
It pierc’d thro’ all, and with a grisly wound
Transfix’d his thigh, and doubled him to ground.
With groans the Latins rend the vaulted sky:
Woods, hills, and valleys, to the voice reply.
Now low on earth the lofty chief is laid,
With eyes cast upward, and with arms display’d,
And, recreant, thus to the proud victor pray’d:
“I know my death deserv’d, nor hope to live:
Use what the gods and thy good fortune give.
Yet think, O think, if mercy may be shown-
Thou hadst a father once, and hast a son-
Pity my sire, now sinking to the grave;
And for Anchises’ sake old Daunus save!
Or, if thy vow’d revenge pursue my death,
Give to my friends my body void of breath!
The Latian chiefs have seen me beg my life;
Thine is the conquest, thine the royal wife:
Against a yielded man, ‘t is mean ignoble strife.”
In deep suspense the Trojan seem’d to stand,
And, just prepar’d to strike, repress’d his hand.
He roll’d his eyes, and ev’ry moment felt
His manly soul with more compassion melt;
When, casting down a casual glance, he spied
The golden belt that glitter’d on his side,
The fatal spoils which haughty Turnus tore
From dying Pallas, and in triumph wore.
Then, rous’d anew to wrath, he loudly cries
(Flames, while he spoke, came flashing from his eyes)
“Traitor, dost thou, dost thou to grace pretend,
Clad, as thou art, in trophies of my friend?
To his sad soul a grateful off ’ring go!
‘Tis Pallas, Pallas gives this deadly blow.”
He rais’d his arm aloft, and, at the word,
Deep in his bosom drove the shining sword.
The streaming blood distain’d his arms around,
And the disdainful soul came rushing thro’ the wound.
Image 4.3: Deification of Caesar | Woodcut by Virgil Solis depicting Julius Caesar rising to godhood.
Author: Paul Barlow
Source: Wikimedia Commons
License: Public Domain
Ovid (43 B.C.E.-17 C.E.)
Published 8 C.E.
Ovid’s Metamorphoses, a collection of many Greek and Roman myths, is written by a master poet of the ancient world. From the creation of the world to the apotheosis of Julius Caesar, Ovid traces the course of mythological history, putting together a narrative based on previous written and oral sources. In the Aeneid of Virgil, Ovid’s older contemporary epic poet, the gods were portrayed as guiding history toward an end goal (the creation of Rome) with foresight and planning. In the Metamorphoses, Ovid demonstrates how the traditional stories reveal that there is very little planning in the actions of the gods, who often are motivated by lust or pride. His irreverent view of the world, combined with his previous (sometimes risqué) love poetry, probably led to his exile by Emperor Augustus in the same year that his Metamorphoses was published. In the Middle Ages, Ovid’s Metamorph