Aeneid

Virgil

Vergil. Aeneid. John Dryden. trans.

  1. Arms and the man I sing, who first made way,
  2. predestined exile, from the Trojan shore
  3. to Italy, the blest Lavinian strand.
  4. Smitten of storms he was on land and sea
  5. by violence of Heaven, to satisfy
  6. stern Juno's sleepless wrath; and much in war
  7. he suffered, seeking at the last to found
  8. the city, and bring o'er his fathers' gods
  9. to safe abode in Latium; whence arose
  10. the Latin race, old Alba's reverend lords,
  11. and from her hills wide-walled, imperial Rome.
  1. O Muse, the causes tell! What sacrilege,
  2. or vengeful sorrow, moved the heavenly Queen
  3. to thrust on dangers dark and endless toil
  4. a man whose largest honor in men's eyes
  5. was serving Heaven? Can gods such anger feel?
  1. In ages gone an ancient city stood—
  2. Carthage, a Tyrian seat, which from afar
  3. made front on Italy and on the mouths
  4. of Tiber's stream; its wealth and revenues
  5. were vast, and ruthless was its quest of war.
  6. 'T is said that Juno, of all lands she loved,
  7. most cherished this,—not Samos' self so dear.
  8. Here were her arms, her chariot; even then
  9. a throne of power o'er nations near and far,
  10. if Fate opposed not, 't was her darling hope
  11. to 'stablish here; but anxiously she heard
  12. that of the Trojan blood there was a breed
  13. then rising, which upon the destined day
  14. should utterly o'erwhelm her Tyrian towers,
  15. a people of wide sway and conquest proud
  16. should compass Libya's doom;—such was the web
  17. the Fatal Sisters spun. Such was the fear
  18. of Saturn's daughter, who remembered well
  19. what long and unavailing strife she waged
  20. for her loved Greeks at Troy. Nor did she fail
  21. to meditate th' occasions of her rage,
  22. and cherish deep within her bosom proud
  23. its griefs and wrongs: the choice by Paris made;
  24. her scorned and slighted beauty; a whole race
  25. rebellious to her godhead; and Jove's smile
  26. that beamed on eagle-ravished Ganymede.
  27. With all these thoughts infuriate, her power
  28. pursued with tempests o'er the boundless main
  29. the Trojans, though by Grecian victor spared
  30. and fierce Achilles; so she thrust them far
  31. from Latium; and they drifted, Heaven-impelled,
  32. year after year, o'er many an unknown sea—
  33. O labor vast, to found the Roman line!
  1. Below th' horizon the Sicilian isle
  2. just sank from view, as for the open sea
  3. with heart of hope they sailed, and every ship
  4. clove with its brazen beak the salt, white waves.
  5. But Juno of her everlasting wound
  6. knew no surcease, but from her heart of pain
  7. thus darkly mused: “Must I, defeated, fail
  8. of what I will, nor turn the Teucrian King
  9. from Italy away? Can Fate oppose?
  10. Had Pallas power to lay waste in flame
  11. the Argive fleet and sink its mariners,
  12. revenging but the sacrilege obscene
  13. by Ajax wrought, Oileus' desperate son?
  14. She, from the clouds, herself Jove's lightning threw,
  15. scattered the ships, and ploughed the sea with storms.
  16. Her foe, from his pierced breast out-breathing fire,
  17. in whirlwind on a deadly rock she flung.
  18. But I, who move among the gods a queen,
  19. Jove's sister and his spouse, with one weak tribe
  20. make war so long! Who now on Juno calls?
  21. What suppliant gifts henceforth her altars crown?”
  1. So, in her fevered heart complaining still,
  2. unto the storm-cloud land the goddess came,
  3. a region with wild whirlwinds in its womb,
  4. Aeolia named, where royal Aeolus
  5. in a high-vaulted cavern keeps control
  6. o'er warring winds and loud concourse of storms.
  7. There closely pent in chains and bastions strong,
  8. they, scornful, make the vacant mountain roar,
  9. chafing against their bonds. But from a throne
  10. of lofty crag, their king with sceptred hand
  11. allays their fury and their rage confines.
  12. Did he not so, our ocean, earth, and sky
  13. were whirled before them through the vast inane.
  14. But over-ruling Jove, of this in fear,
  15. hid them in dungeon dark: then o'er them piled
  16. huge mountains, and ordained a lawful king
  17. to hold them in firm sway, or know what time,
  18. with Jove's consent, to loose them o'er the world.
  19. To him proud Juno thus made lowly plea:
  1. “Thou in whose hands the Father of all gods
  2. and Sovereign of mankind confides the power
  3. to calm the waters or with winds upturn,
  4. great Aeolus! a race with me at war
  5. now sails the Tuscan main towards Italy,
  6. bringing their Ilium and its vanquished powers.
  7. Uprouse thy gales. Strike that proud navy down!
  8. Hurl far and wide, and strew the waves with dead!
  9. Twice seven nymphs are mine, of rarest mould;
  10. of whom Deiopea, the most fair,
  11. I give thee in true wedlock for thine own,
  12. to mate thy noble worth; she at thy side
  13. shall pass long, happy years, and fruitful bring
  14. her beauteous offspring unto thee their sire.”
  1. Then Aeolus: “'T is thy sole task, O Queen,
  2. to weigh thy wish and will. My fealty
  3. thy high behest obeys. This humble throne
  4. is of thy gift. Thy smiles for me obtain
  5. authority from Jove. Thy grace concedes
  6. my station at your bright Olympian board,
  7. and gives me lordship of the darkening storm.”
  1. Replying thus, he smote with spear reversed
  2. the hollow mountain's wall; then rush the winds
  3. through that wide breach in long, embattled line,
  4. and sweep tumultuous from land to land:
  5. with brooding pinions o'er the waters spread,
  6. east wind and south, and boisterous Afric gale
  7. upturn the sea; vast billows shoreward roll;
  8. the shout of mariners, the creak of cordage,
  9. follow the shock; low-hanging clouds conceal
  10. from Trojan eyes all sight of heaven and day;
  11. night o'er the ocean broods; from sky to sky
  12. the thunders roll, the ceaseless lightnings glare;
  13. and all things mean swift death for mortal man.
  14. Straightway Aeneas, shuddering with amaze,
  15. groaned loud, upraised both holy hands to Heaven,
  16. and thus did plead: “O thrice and four times blest,
  17. ye whom your sires and whom the walls of Troy
  18. looked on in your last hour! O bravest son
  19. Greece ever bore, Tydides! O that I
  20. had fallen on Ilian fields, and given this life
  21. struck down by thy strong hand! where by the spear
  22. of great Achilles, fiery Hector fell,
  23. and huge Sarpedon; where the Simois
  24. in furious flood engulfed and whirled away
  25. so many helms and shields and heroes slain!”
  1. While thus he cried to Heaven, a shrieking blast
  2. smote full upon the sail. Up surged the waves
  3. to strike the very stars; in fragments flew
  4. the shattered oars; the helpless vessel veered
  5. and gave her broadside to the roaring flood,
  6. where watery mountains rose and burst and fell.
  7. Now high in air she hangs, then yawning gulfs
  8. lay bare the shoals and sands o'er which she drives.
  9. Three ships a whirling south wind snatched and flung
  10. on hidden rocks,—altars of sacrifice
  11. Italians call them, which lie far from shore
  12. a vast ridge in the sea; three ships beside
  13. an east wind, blowing landward from the deep,
  14. drove on the shallows,—pitiable sight,—
  15. and girdled them in walls of drifting sand.
  16. That ship, which, with his friend Orontes, bore
  17. the Lycian mariners, a great, plunging wave
  18. struck straight astern, before Aeneas' eyes.
  19. Forward the steersman rolled and o'er the side
  20. fell headlong, while three times the circling flood
  21. spun the light bark through swift engulfing seas.
  22. Look, how the lonely swimmers breast the wave!
  23. And on the waste of waters wide are seen
  24. weapons of war, spars, planks, and treasures rare,
  25. once Ilium's boast, all mingled with the storm.
  26. Now o'er Achates and Ilioneus,
  27. now o'er the ship of Abas or Aletes,
  28. bursts the tempestuous shock; their loosened seams
  29. yawn wide and yield the angry wave its will.
  1. Meanwhile how all his smitten ocean moaned,
  2. and how the tempest's turbulent assault
  3. had vexed the stillness of his deepest cave,
  4. great Neptune knew; and with indignant mien
  5. uplifted o'er the sea his sovereign brow.
  6. He saw the Teucrian navy scattered far
  7. along the waters; and Aeneas' men
  8. o'erwhelmed in mingling shock of wave and sky.
  9. Saturnian Juno's vengeful stratagem
  10. her brother's royal glance failed not to see;
  11. and loud to eastward and to westward calling,
  12. he voiced this word:“What pride of birth or power
  13. is yours, ye winds, that, reckless of my will,
  14. audacious thus, ye ride through earth and heaven,
  15. and stir these mountain waves? Such rebels I—
  16. nay, first I calm this tumult! But yourselves
  17. by heavier chastisement shall expiate
  18. hereafter your bold trespass. Haste away
  19. and bear your king this word! Not unto him
  20. dominion o'er the seas and trident dread,
  21. but unto me, Fate gives. Let him possess
  22. wild mountain crags, thy favored haunt and home,
  23. O Eurus! In his barbarous mansion there,
  24. let Aeolus look proud, and play the king
  25. in yon close-bounded prison-house of storms!”
  1. He spoke, and swiftlier than his word subdued
  2. the swelling of the floods; dispersed afar
  3. th' assembled clouds, and brought back light to heaven.
  4. Cymothoe then and Triton, with huge toil,
  5. thrust down the vessels from the sharp-edged reef;
  6. while, with the trident, the great god's own hand
  7. assists the task; then, from the sand-strewn shore
  8. out-ebbing far, he calms the whole wide sea,
  9. and glides light-wheeled along the crested foam.
  10. As when, with not unwonted tumult, roars
  11. in some vast city a rebellious mob,
  12. and base-born passions in its bosom burn,
  13. till rocks and blazing torches fill the air
  14. (rage never lacks for arms)—if haply then
  15. some wise man comes, whose reverend looks attest
  16. a life to duty given, swift silence falls;
  17. all ears are turned attentive; and he sways
  18. with clear and soothing speech the people's will.
  19. So ceased the sea's uproar, when its grave Sire
  20. looked o'er th' expanse, and, riding on in light,
  21. flung free rein to his winged obedient car.
  1. Aeneas' wave-worn crew now landward made,
  2. and took the nearest passage, whither lay
  3. the coast of Libya. A haven there
  4. walled in by bold sides of a rocky isle,
  5. offers a spacious and secure retreat,
  6. where every billow from the distant main
  7. breaks, and in many a rippling curve retires.
  8. Huge crags and two confronted promontories
  9. frown heaven-high, beneath whose brows outspread
  10. the silent, sheltered waters; on the heights
  11. the bright and glimmering foliage seems to show
  12. a woodland amphitheatre; and yet higher
  13. rises a straight-stemmed grove of dense, dark shade.
  14. Fronting on these a grotto may be seen,
  15. o'erhung by steep cliffs; from its inmost wall
  16. clear springs gush out; and shelving seats it has
  17. of unhewn stone, a place the wood-nymphs love.
  18. In such a port, a weary ship rides free
  19. of weight of firm-fluked anchor or strong chain.
  1. Hither Aeneas of his scattered fleet
  2. saving but seven, into harbor sailed;
  3. with passionate longing for the touch of land,
  4. forth leap the Trojans to the welcome shore,
  5. and fling their dripping limbs along the ground.
  6. Then good Achates smote a flinty stone,
  7. secured a flashing spark, heaped on light leaves,
  8. and with dry branches nursed the mounting flame.
  9. Then Ceres' gift from the corrupting sea
  10. they bring away; and wearied utterly
  11. ply Ceres' cunning on the rescued corn,
  12. and parch in flames, and mill 'twixt two smooth stones.
  13. Aeneas meanwhile climbed the cliffs, and searched
  14. the wide sea-prospect; haply Antheus there,
  15. storm-buffeted, might sail within his ken,
  16. with biremes, and his Phrygian mariners,
  17. or Capys or Caicus armor-clad,
  18. upon a towering deck. No ship is seen;
  19. but while he looks, three stags along the shore
  20. come straying by, and close behind them comes
  21. the whole herd, browsing through the lowland vale
  22. in one long line. Aeneas stopped and seized
  23. his bow and swift-winged arrows, which his friend,
  24. trusty Achates, close beside him bore.
  25. His first shafts brought to earth the lordly heads
  26. of the high-antlered chiefs; his next assailed
  27. the general herd, and drove them one and all
  28. in panic through the leafy wood, nor ceased
  29. the victory of his bow, till on the ground
  30. lay seven huge forms, one gift for every ship.
  31. Then back to shore he sped, and to his friends
  32. distributed the spoil, with that rare wine
  33. which good Acestes while in Sicily
  34. had stored in jars, and prince-like sent away
  35. with his Ioved guest;—this too Aeneas gave;
  36. and with these words their mournful mood consoled.
  1. “Companions mine, we have not failed to feel
  2. calamity till now. O, ye have borne
  3. far heavier sorrow: Jove will make an end
  4. also of this. Ye sailed a course hard by
  5. infuriate Scylla's howling cliffs and caves.
  6. Ye knew the Cyclops' crags. Lift up your hearts!
  7. No more complaint and fear! It well may be
  8. some happier hour will find this memory fair.
  9. Through chance and change and hazard without end,
  10. our goal is Latium; where our destinies
  11. beckon to blest abodes, and have ordained
  12. that Troy shall rise new-born! Have patience all!
  13. And bide expectantly that golden day.”
  1. Such was his word, but vexed with grief and care,
  2. feigned hopes upon his forehead firm he wore,
  3. and locked within his heart a hero's pain.
  4. Now round the welcome trophies of his chase
  5. they gather for a feast. Some flay the ribs
  6. and bare the flesh below; some slice with knives,
  7. and on keen prongs the quivering strips impale,
  8. place cauldrons on the shore, and fan the fires.
  9. Then, stretched at ease on couch of simple green,
  10. they rally their lost powers, and feast them well
  11. on seasoned wine and succulent haunch of game.
  12. But hunger banished and the banquet done,
  13. in long discourse of their lost mates they tell,
  14. 'twixt hopes and fears divided; for who knows
  15. whether the lost ones live, or strive with death,
  16. or heed no more whatever voice may call?
  17. Chiefly Aeneas now bewails his friends,
  18. Orontes brave and fallen Amycus,
  19. or mourns with grief untold the untimely doom
  20. of bold young Gyas and Cloanthus bold.
  1. After these things were past, exalted Jove,
  2. from his ethereal sky surveying clear
  3. the seas all winged with sails, lands widely spread,
  4. and nations populous from shore to shore,
  5. paused on the peak of heaven, and fixed his gaze
  6. on Libya. But while he anxious mused,
  7. near him, her radiant eyes all dim with tears,
  8. nor smiling any more, Venus approached,
  9. and thus complained: “O thou who dost control
  10. things human and divine by changeless laws,
  11. enthroned in awful thunder! What huge wrong
  12. could my Aeneas and his Trojans few
  13. achieve against thy power? For they have borne
  14. unnumbered deaths, and, failing Italy,
  15. the gates of all the world against them close.
  16. Hast thou not given us thy covenant
  17. that hence the Romans when the rolling years
  18. have come full cycle, shall arise to power
  19. from Troy's regenerate seed, and rule supreme
  20. the unresisted lords of land and sea?
  21. O Sire, what swerves thy will? How oft have I
  22. in Troy's most lamentable wreck and woe
  23. consoled my heart with this, and balanced oft
  24. our destined good against our destined ill!
  25. But the same stormful fortune still pursues
  26. my band of heroes on their perilous way.
  27. When shall these labors cease, O glorious King?
  28. Antenor, though th' Achaeans pressed him sore,
  29. found his way forth, and entered unassailed
  30. Illyria's haven, and the guarded land
  31. of the Liburni. Straight up stream he sailed
  32. where like a swollen sea Timavus pours
  33. a nine-fold flood from roaring mountain gorge,
  34. and whelms with voiceful wave the fields below.
  35. He built Patavium there, and fixed abodes
  36. for Troy's far-exiled sons; he gave a name
  37. to a new land and race; the Trojan arms
  38. were hung on temple walls; and, to this day,
  39. lying in perfect peace, the hero sleeps.
  40. But we of thine own seed, to whom thou dost
  41. a station in the arch of heaven assign,
  42. behold our navy vilely wrecked, because
  43. a single god is angry; we endure
  44. this treachery and violence, whereby
  45. wide seas divide us from th' Hesperian shore.
  46. Is this what piety receives? Or thus
  47. doth Heaven's decree restore our fallen thrones?”
  1. Smiling reply, the Sire of gods and men,
  2. with such a look as clears the skies of storm
  3. chastely his daughter kissed, and thus spake on:
  4. “Let Cytherea cast her fears away!
  5. Irrevocably blest the fortunes be
  6. of thee and thine. Nor shalt thou fail to see
  7. that City, and the proud predestined wall
  8. encompassing Lavinium. Thyself
  9. shall starward to the heights of heaven bear
  10. Aeneas the great-hearted. Nothing swerves
  11. my will once uttered. Since such carking cares
  12. consume thee, I this hour speak freely forth,
  13. and leaf by leaf the book of fate unfold.
  14. Thy son in Italy shall wage vast war
  15. and, quell its nations wild; his city-wall
  16. and sacred laws shall be a mighty bond
  17. about his gathered people. Summers three
  18. shall Latium call him king; and three times pass
  19. the winter o'er Rutulia's vanquished hills.
  20. His heir, Ascanius, now Iulus called
  21. (Ilus it was while Ilium's kingdom stood),
  22. full thirty months shall reign, then move the throne
  23. from the Lavinian citadel, and build
  24. for Alba Longa its well-bastioned wall.
  1. Here three full centuries shall Hector's race
  2. have kingly power; till a priestess queen,
  3. by Mars conceiving, her twin offspring bear;
  4. then Romulus, wolf-nursed and proudly clad
  5. in tawny wolf-skin mantle, shall receive
  6. the sceptre of his race. He shall uprear
  7. and on his Romans his own name bestow.
  8. To these I give no bounded times or power,
  9. but empire without end. Yea, even my Queen,
  10. Juno, who now chastiseth land and sea
  11. with her dread frown, will find a wiser way,
  12. and at my sovereign side protect and bless
  13. the Romans, masters of the whole round world,
  14. who, clad in peaceful toga, judge mankind.
  15. Such my decree! In lapse of seasons due,
  16. the heirs of Ilium's kings shall bind in chains
  17. Mycenae's glory and Achilles' towers,
  18. and over prostrate Argos sit supreme.
  19. Of Trojan stock illustriously sprung,
  20. lo, Caesar comes! whose power the ocean bounds,
  21. whose fame, the skies. He shall receive the name
  22. Iulus nobly bore, great Julius, he.
  23. Him to the skies, in Orient trophies dress,
  24. thou shalt with smiles receive; and he, like us,
  25. shall hear at his own shrines the suppliant vow.
  26. Then will the world grow mild; the battle-sound
  27. will be forgot; for olden Honor then,
  28. with spotless Vesta, and the brothers twain,
  29. Remus and Romulus, at strife no more,
  30. will publish sacred laws. The dreadful gates
  31. whence issueth war, shall with close-jointed steel
  32. be barred impregnably; and prisoned there
  33. the heaven-offending Fury, throned on swords,
  34. and fettered by a hundred brazen chains,
  35. shall belch vain curses from his lips of gore.”
  1. These words he gave, and summoned Maia's son,
  2. the herald Mercury, who earthward flying,
  3. should bid the Tyrian realms and new-built towers
  4. welcome the Trojan waifs; lest Dido, blind
  5. to Fate's decree, should thrust them from the land.
  6. He takes his flight, with rhythmic stroke of wing,
  7. across th' abyss of air, and soon draws near
  8. unto the Libyan mainland. He fulfils
  9. his heavenly task; the Punic hearts of stone
  10. grow soft beneath the effluence divine;
  11. and, most of all, the Queen, with heart at ease
  12. awaits benignantly her guests from Troy.
  1. But good Aeneas, pondering all night long
  2. his many cares, when first the cheerful dawn
  3. upon him broke, resolved to take survey
  4. of this strange country whither wind and wave
  5. had driven him,—for desert land it seemed,—
  6. to learn what tribes of man or beast possess
  7. a place so wild, and careful tidings bring
  8. back to his friends. His fleet of ships the while,
  9. where dense, dark groves o'er-arch a hollowed crag,
  10. he left encircled in far-branching shade.
  11. Then with no followers save his trusty friend
  12. Achates, he went forth upon his way,
  13. two broad-tipped javelins poising in his hand.
  14. Deep to the midmost wood he went, and there
  15. his Mother in his path uprose; she seemed
  16. in garb and countenance a maid, and bore,
  17. like Spartan maids, a weapon; in such guise
  18. Harpalyce the Thracian urges on
  19. her panting coursers and in wild career
  20. outstrips impetuous Hebrus as it flows.
  21. Over her lovely shoulders was a bow,
  22. slender and light, as fits a huntress fair;
  23. her golden tresses without wimple moved
  24. in every wind, and girded in a knot
  25. her undulant vesture bared her marble knees.
  26. She hailed them thus: “Ho, sirs, I pray you tell
  27. if haply ye have noted, as ye came,
  28. one of my sisters in this wood astray?
  29. She bore a quiver, and a lynx's hide
  30. her spotted mantle was; perchance she roused
  31. some foaming boar, and chased with loud halloo.”