Aeneid

Virgil

Vergil. Aeneid. John Dryden. trans.

  1. Up from the sea now soared the dawning day:
  2. Aeneas, though his sorrow bids him haste
  3. to burial of the slain, and his sad soul
  4. is clouded with the sight of death, fulfils,
  5. for reward to his gods, a conqueror's vow,
  6. at morning's earliest beam. A mighty oak
  7. shorn of its limbs he sets upon a hill
  8. and clothes it o'er with glittering arms, the spoil
  9. of King Mezentius, and a trophy proud
  10. to thee, great lord of war. The hero's plumes
  11. bedewed with blood are there, and splintered spears;
  12. there hangs the corselet, by the thrusting steel
  13. twelve times gored through; upon the left he binds
  14. the brazen shield, and from the neck suspends
  15. the ivory-hilted sword. Aeneas thus,
  16. as crowding close his train of captains throng,
  17. addressed his followers: “Ye warriors mine,
  18. our largest work is done. Bid fear begone
  19. of what is left to do. Behold the spoils!
  20. Yon haughty King was firstfruits of our war.
  21. See this Mezentius my hands have made!
  22. Now to the Latin town and King we go.
  23. Arm you in soul! With heart of perfect hope
  24. prepare the war! So when the gods give sign
  25. to open battle and lead forth our brave
  26. out of this stronghold, no bewilderment,
  27. nor tarrying, nor fearful, faltering mind
  28. shall slack our march. Meanwhile in earth we lay
  29. our comrades fallen; for no honor else
  30. in Acheron have they. Go forth,” said he,
  31. “bring gifts of honor and of last farewell
  32. to those high hearts by shedding of whose blood
  33. our country lives. To sad Evander's town
  34. bear Pallas first; who, though he did not fail
  35. of virtue's crown, was seized by doom unblest,
  36. and to the bitterness of death consigned.”
  1. Weeping he spoke, and slowly backward drew
  2. to the tent-door, where by the breathless clay
  3. of Pallas stood Acoetes, aged man,
  4. once bearer of Evander's arms, but now
  5. under less happy omens set to guard
  6. his darling child. Around him is a throng
  7. of slaves, with all the Trojan multitude,
  8. and Ilian women, who the wonted way
  9. let sorrow's tresses loosely flow. When now
  10. Aeneas to the lofty doors drew near,
  11. all these from smitten bosoms raised to heaven
  12. a mighty moaning, till the King's abode
  13. was loud with anguish. There Aeneas viewed
  14. the pillowed head of Pallas cold and pale,
  15. the smooth young breast that bore the gaping wound
  16. of that Ausonian spear, and weeping said:
  17. “Did Fortune's envy, smiling though she came,
  18. refuse me, hapless boy, that thou shouldst see
  19. my throne established, and victorious ride
  20. beside me to thy father's house? Not this
  21. my parting promise to thy King and sire,
  22. Evander, when with friendly, fond embrace
  23. to win imperial power he bade me go;
  24. yet warned me anxiously I must resist
  25. bold warriors and a stubborn breed of foes.
  26. And haply even now he cheats his heart
  27. with expectation vain, and offers vows,
  28. heaping with gifts the altars of his gods.
  29. But we with unavailing honors bring
  30. this lifeless youth, who owes the gods of heaven
  31. no more of gift and vow. O ill-starred King!
  32. Soon shalt thou see thy son's unpitying doom!
  33. What a home-coming! This is glory's day
  34. so Iong awaited; this the solemn pledge
  35. I proudly gave. But fond Evander's eyes
  36. will find no shameful wounding on the slain,
  37. nor for a son in coward safety kept
  38. wilt thou, the sire, crave death. But woe is me!
  39. How strong a bulwark in Ausonia falls!
  40. What loss is thine, Iulus!” Thus lamenting,
  41. he bids them lift the body to the bier,
  42. and sends a thousand heroes from his host
  43. to render the last tributes, and to share
  44. father's tears:—poor solace and too small
  45. for grief so great, but due that mournful sire.
  46. Some busy them to build of osiers fine
  47. the simple litter, twining sapling oaks
  48. with evergreen, till o'er death's Iofty bed
  49. the branching shade extends. Upon it lay,
  50. as if on shepherd's couch, the youthful dead,
  51. like fairest flower by virgin fingers culled,
  52. frail violet or hyacinth forlorn,
  53. of color still undimmed and leaf unmarred;
  54. but from the breast of mother-earth no more
  55. its life doth feed. Then good Aeneas brought
  56. two broidered robes of scarlet and fine gold,
  57. which with the gladsome labor of her hands
  58. Sidonian Dido wrought him long ago,
  59. the thin-spun gold inweaving. One of these
  60. the sad prince o'er the youthful body threw
  61. for parting gift; and with the other veiled
  62. those tresses from the fire; he heaped on high
  63. Laurentum's spoils of war, and bade to bring
  64. much tribute forth: horses and arms he gave,
  65. seized from the fallen enemy; with hands
  66. fettered behind them filed a captive train
  67. doomed to appease the shades, and with the flames
  68. to mix their flowing blood. He bade his chiefs
  69. set up the trunks of trees and clothe them well
  70. with captured arms, inscribing on each one
  71. some foeman's name. Then came Acoetes forth,
  72. a wretched, worn old man, who beat his breast
  73. with tight-clenched hands, and tore his wrinkled face
  74. with ruthless fingers; oft he cast him down
  75. full length along the ground. Then lead they forth
  76. the blood-stained Rutule chariots of war;
  77. Aethon, the war-horse, of his harness bare,
  78. walks mournful by; big teardrops wet his cheek.
  79. Some bear the lance and helm; for all the rest
  80. victorious Turnus seized. Then filed along
  81. a mournful Teucrian cohort; next the host
  82. Etrurian and the men of Arcady
  83. with trailing arms reversed. Aeneas now,
  84. when the long company had passed him by,
  85. spoke thus and groaned aloud: “Ourselves from hence
  86. are summoned by the same dread doom of war
  87. to other tears. Farewell forevermore!
  88. Heroic Pallas! be forever blest!
  89. I bid thee hail, farewell!” In silence then
  90. back to the stronghold's Iofty walls he moved.
  1. Now envoys from the Latin citadel
  2. came olive-crowned, to plead for clemency:
  3. would he not yield those bodies of the dead
  4. sword-scattered o'er the plain, and let them lie
  5. beneath an earth-built tomb? Who wages war
  6. upon the vanquished, the unbreathing slain?
  7. To people once his hosts and kindred called,
  8. would he not mercy show? To such a prayer,
  9. deemed not unworthy, good Aeneas gave
  10. the boon, and this benignant answer made:
  11. “Ye Latins, what misfortune undeserved
  12. has snared you in so vast a war, that now
  13. you shun our friendship? Have you here implored
  14. peace for your dead, by chance of battle fallen?
  15. Pain would I grant it for the living too.
  16. I sailed not hither save by Heaven's decree,
  17. which called me to this land. I wage no war
  18. with you, the people; 't was your King refused
  19. our proffered bond of peace, and gave his cause
  20. to Turnus' arms. More meet and just it were
  21. had Turnus met this death that makes you mourn.
  22. If he would end our quarrel sword in hand,
  23. thrusting us Teucrians forth, 't was honor's way
  24. to cross his blade with mine; that man to whom
  25. the gods, or his own valor, had decreed
  26. the longer life, had lived. But now depart!
  27. Beneath your lost friends light the funeral fires!”
  28. So spoke Aeneas; and with wonder mute
  29. all stood at gaze, each turning to behold
  30. his neighbor's face. Then Drances, full of years,
  31. and ever armed with spite and slanderous word
  32. against young Turnus, made this answering plea:
  33. “O prince of mighty name, whose feats of arms
  34. are even mightier! Trojan hero, how
  35. shall my poor praise exalt thee to the skies?
  36. Is it thy rectitude or strenuous war
  37. most bids me wonder? We will bear thy word
  38. right gladly to the city of our sires;
  39. and there, if Fortune favor it, contrive
  40. a compact with the Latin King. Henceforth
  41. let Turnus find his own allies! Ourselves
  42. will much rejoice to see thy destined walls,
  43. and our own shoulders will be proud to bear
  44. the stone for building Troy.” Such speech he made,
  45. and all the common voice consented loud.
  46. So twelve days' truce they swore, and safe from harm
  47. Latins and Teucrians unmolested roved
  48. together o'er the wooded hills. Now rang
  49. loud steel on ash-tree bole; enormous pines,
  50. once thrusting starward, to the earth they threw;
  51. and with industrious wedge asunder clove
  52. stout oak and odorous cedar, piling high
  53. harvest of ash-trees on the creaking wain.
  1. Now Rumor, herald of prodigious woe,
  2. to King Evander hied, Evander's house
  3. and city filling, where, but late, her word
  4. had told in Latium Pallas' victory.
  5. th' Arcadians thronging to the city-gates
  6. bear funeral torches, the accustomed way;
  7. in lines of flame the long street flashes far,
  8. lighting the fields beyond. To meet them moves
  9. a Phrygian company, to join with theirs
  10. its lamentation loud. The Latin wives,
  11. soon as they saw them entering, aroused
  12. the whole sad city with shrill songs of woe.
  13. No hand could stay Evander. Forth he flew
  14. into the midmost tumult, and fell prone
  15. on his dead Pallas, on the resting bier;
  16. he clung to the pale corse with tears, with groans,
  17. till anguish for a space his lips unsealed:
  18. “Not this thy promise, Pallas, to thy sire,
  19. to walk not rashly in the war-god's way.
  20. I knew too well how honor's morning-star,
  21. and sweet, foretasted glory tempt and woo
  22. in a first battle. O first-fruit forlorn
  23. of youth so fair! O prelude pitiless
  24. of war approaching! O my vows and prayers,
  25. which not one god would hear! My blessed wife,
  26. how happy was the death that spared thee not
  27. to taste this bitterness! But I, the while,
  28. by living longer lived to meet my doom,—
  29. a father sole-surviving. Would I myself
  30. had perished by the Rutule's cruel spear,
  31. the Trojan's cause espousing! This breath of life
  32. how gladly had I given! And O, that now
  33. yon black solemnity were bearing home
  34. myself, not Pallas, dead! Yet blame I not,
  35. O Teucrians, the hallowed pact we made,
  36. nor hospitable bond and clasp of hands.
  37. This doom ye bring me was writ long ago,
  38. for my old age. And though my child is fallen
  39. untimely, I take comfort that he fell
  40. where thousands of the Volscians slaughtered lie,
  41. and into Latium led the Teucrian arms.
  42. What brighter glory could I crave in death
  43. for thee, my Pallas, than Aeneas brings,
  44. and Phrygian princes, and Etrurian lords
  45. with all Etruria's legions? Lo, they bear
  46. yon glittering spoils of victims of thy sword!
  47. Thou, Turnus, too, wert now an effigy
  48. in giant armor clad, if but his years
  49. and strength full ripe had been fair match for thine!
  50. But now my woes detain the Trojan host
  51. from battle. I beseech ye haste away,
  52. and bear this faithful message to your King:
  53. since I but linger out a life I loathe,
  54. without my Pallas, nothing but thy sword
  55. can bid me live. Then let thy sword repay
  56. its debt to sire and son by Turnus slain!
  57. Such deed alone may with thy honor fit,
  58. and happier fortunes. But my life to me
  59. has no joy left to pray for, save to bring
  60. my son that solace in the shadowy land.”
  1. Meanwhile o'er sorrowing mortals the bright morn
  2. had lifted her mild beam, renewing so
  3. the burden of man's toil. Aeneas now
  4. built funeral pyres along the winding shore,
  5. King Tarchon at his side. Each thither brought
  6. the bodies of his kin, observing well
  7. all ancient ritual. The fuming fires
  8. burned from beneath, till highest heaven was hid
  9. in blackest, overmantling cloud. Three times
  10. the warriors, sheathed in proud, resplendent steel,
  11. paced round the kindling pyres; and three times
  12. fair companies of horsemen circled slow,
  13. with loud lamenting, round the doleful flame.
  14. The wail of warriors and the trumpets' blare
  15. the very welkin rend. Cast on the flames
  16. are spoils of slaughtered Latins,—helms and blades,
  17. bridles and chariot-wheels. Yet others bring
  18. gifts to the dead familiar, their own shields
  19. and unavailing spears. Around them slain
  20. great herds of kine give tribute unto death:
  21. swine, bristly-backed, from many a field are borne,
  22. and slaughtered sheep bleed o'er the sacred fire.
  23. So on the shore the wailing multitude
  24. behold their comrades burning, and keep guard
  25. o'er the consuming pyres, nor turn away
  26. till cooling night re-shifts the globe of heaven,
  27. thick-strewn with numberless far-flaming stars.
  1. Likewise the mournful Latins far away
  2. have built their myriad pyres. Yet of the slain
  3. not few in graves are laid, and borne with tears
  4. to neighboring country-side or native town;
  5. the rest—promiscuous mass of dead unknown—
  6. to nameless and unhonored ashes burn;
  7. with multitude of fires the far-spread fields
  8. blaze forth unweariedly. But when from heaven
  9. the third morn had dispelled the dark and cold,
  10. the mournful bands raked forth the mingled bones
  11. and plenteous ashes from the smouldering pyres,
  12. then heaped with earth the one sepulchral mound.
  13. Now from the hearth-stones of the opulent town
  14. of old Latinus a vast wail burst forth,
  15. for there was found the chief and bitterest share
  16. of all the woe. For mothers in their tears,
  17. lone brides, and stricken souls of sisters fond,
  18. and boys left fatherless, fling curses Ioud
  19. on Turnus' troth-plight and the direful war:
  20. “Let him, let Turnus, with his single sword
  21. decide the strife,”—they cry,—“and who shall claim
  22. Lordship of Italy and power supreme.”
  23. Fierce Drances whets their fury, urging all
  24. that Turnus singly must the challenge hear,
  25. and singly wage the war; but others plead
  26. in Turnus' favor; the Queen's noble name
  27. protects him, and his high renown in arms
  28. defends his cause with well-won trophies fair.
  1. Amid these tumults of the wrathful throng,
  2. lo, the ambassadors to Diomed
  3. arrive with cloudy forehead from their quest
  4. in his illustrious town; for naught availed
  5. their toilsome errand, nor the gifts and gold,
  6. nor strong entreaty. Other help in war
  7. the Latins now must find, or humbly sue
  8. peace from the Trojan. At such tidings dire
  9. even Latinus trembles: Heaven's decrees
  10. and influence of gods too visible
  11. sustain Aeneas; so the wrath divine
  12. and new-filled sepulchres conspicuous
  13. give warning clear. Therefore the King convenes
  14. a general council of his captains brave
  15. beneath the royal towers. They, gathering,
  16. throng the approaches thither, where their Iord,
  17. gray-haired Latinus, takes the central throne,
  18. wearing authority with mournful brow.
  19. He bids the envoys from Aetolia's King
  20. sent back, to speak and tell the royal words
  21. in order due. Forthwith on every tongue
  22. fell silence, while the princely Venulus,
  23. heeding his Iord's behest, began the parle:
  1. “My countrymen,” he said, “our eyes have seen
  2. strongholds of Greeks and Diomed the King.
  3. We braved all perils to our journey's end
  4. and clasped that hand whereof the dreadful stroke
  5. wrought Ilium's fall. The hero built a town,
  6. Argyripa, hereditary name,
  7. near mount Garganus in Apulian land:
  8. passing that city's portal and the King's,
  9. we found free audience, held forth thy gifts,
  10. and told our names and fatherland. We showed
  11. what condict was enkindled, and what cause
  12. brought us to Arpi's King. He, hearing all,
  13. with brow benign made answer to our plea:
  14. ‘O happy tribes in Saturn's kingdom born,
  15. Ausonia's ancient stem! What fortune blind
  16. tempts ye from peace away, and now ensnares
  17. in wars unknown? Look how we men that dared
  18. lay Ilium waste (I speak not of what woes
  19. in battling neath her lofty walls we bore,
  20. nor of dead warriors sunk in Simois' wave)
  21. have paid the penalty in many a land
  22. with chastisement accurst and changeful woe,
  23. till Priam's self might pity. Let the star
  24. of Pallas tell its tale of fatal storm,
  25. off grim Caphereus and Eubcea's crags.
  26. Driven asunder from one field of war,
  27. Atrides unto farthest Egypt strayed,
  28. and wise Ulysses saw from Aetna's caves
  29. the Cyclops gathering. Why name the throne
  30. of Pyrrhus, or the violated hearth
  31. whence fled Idomeneus? Or Locri cast
  32. on Libya's distant shore? For even he,
  33. Lord of Mycenae by the Greeks obeyed,
  34. fell murdered on his threshold by the hand
  35. of that polluted wife, whose paramour
  36. trapped Asia's conqueror. The envious gods
  37. withheld me also from returning home
  38. to see once more the hearth-stone of my sires,
  39. the wife I yearn for, and my Calydon,
  40. the beauteous land. For wonders horrible
  41. pursue me still. My vanished followers
  42. through upper air take wing, or haunt and rove
  43. in forms of birds the island waters o'er:
  44. ah me, what misery my people feel!
  45. The tall rocks ring with their lament and cry.
  46. Naught else had I to hope for from that day
  47. when my infatuate sword on gods I drew,
  48. and outraged with abominable wound
  49. the hand of Venus. Urge me not, I pray,
  50. to conflicts in this wise. No more for me
  51. of war with Trojans after Ilium's fall!
  52. I take no joy in evils past, nor wish
  53. such memory to renew. Go, lay these gifts,
  54. brought to my honor from your ancient land,
  55. at great Aeneas' feet. We twain have stood
  56. confronting close with swords implacable
  57. in mortal fray. Believe me, I have known
  58. the stature of him when he lifts his shield,
  59. and swings the whirlwind of his spear. If Troy
  60. two more such sons had bred, the Dardan horde
  61. had stormed at Argos' gates, and Greece to-day
  62. were for her fallen fortunes grieving sore.
  63. Our lingering at Ilium's stubborn wall,
  64. our sluggard conquest halting ten years Iong,
  65. was his and Hector's work. Heroic pair!
  66. Each one for valor notable, and each
  67. famous in enterprise of arms,—but he
  68. was first in piety. Enclasp with his
  69. your hands in plighted peace as best ye may:
  70. but shock of steel on steel ye well may shun.’
  71. now hast thou heard, good King, a king's reply,
  72. and how his wisdom sits in this vast war.”
  1. Soon as the envoys ceased, an answering sound
  2. of troubled voices through the council flowed
  3. of various note, as when its rocky bed
  4. impedes an arrowy stream, and murmurs break
  5. from the strait-channelled flood; the fringing shores
  6. repeat the tumult of the clamorous wave.
  7. But when their hearts and troublous tongues were still,
  8. the King, invoking first the gods in heaven,
  9. thus from a Iofty throne his sentence gave:
  1. “Less evil were our case, if long ago
  2. ye had provided for your country's weal,
  3. O Latins, as I urged. It is no time
  4. to hold dispute, while, compassing our walls,
  5. the foeman waits. Ill-omened war is ours
  6. against a race of gods, my countrymen,
  7. invincible, unwearied in the fray,
  8. and who, though lost and fallen, clutch the sword.
  9. If hope ye cherished of Aetolia's power,
  10. dismiss it! For what hope ye have is found
  11. in your own bosoms only. But ye know
  12. how slight it is and small. What ruin wide
  13. has fallen, is now palpable and clear.
  14. No blame I cast. What valor's uttermost
  15. may do was done; our kingdom in this war
  16. strained its last thews. Now therefore I will tell
  17. such project as my doubtful mind may frame,
  18. and briefly, if ye give good heed, unfold:
  19. an ancient tract have I, close-bordering
  20. the river Tiber; it runs westward far
  21. beyond Sicania's bound, and filth it bears
  22. to Rutule and Auruncan husbandmen,
  23. who furrow its hard hills or feed their flocks
  24. along the stonier slopes. Let this demesne,
  25. together with its pine-clad mountain tall,
  26. be given the Teucrian for our pledge of peace,
  27. confirmed by free and equitable league,
  28. and full alliance with our kingly power.
  29. Let them abide there, if it please them so,
  30. and build their city's wall. But if their hearts
  31. for other land or people yearn, and fate
  32. permits them hence to go, then let us build
  33. twice ten good galleys of Italian oak,
  34. or more, if they can man them. All the wood
  35. lies yonder on the shore. Let them but say
  36. how numerous and large the ships they crave,
  37. and we will give the brass, the artisans,
  38. and ship-supplies. Let us for envoys choose
  39. a hundred of the Latins noblest born
  40. to tell our message and arrange the peace,
  41. bearing mild olive-boughs and weighty gifts
  42. of ivory and gold, with chair of state
  43. and purple robe, our emblems as a king.
  44. But freely let this council speak; give aid
  45. to our exhausted cause.” Then Drances rose,
  46. that foe inveterate, whom Turnus' fame
  47. to stinging hate and envy double-tongued
  48. ever pricked on. Of liberal wealth was he
  49. and flowing speech, but slack of hand in war
  50. at council board accounted no weak voice,
  51. in quarrels stronger still; of lofty birth
  52. in the maternal line, but by his sire's
  53. uncertain and obscure. He, claiming place,
  54. thus multiplies with words the people's ire:
  55. “A course most clear, nor needing voice of mine,
  56. thy council is, good King; for all men see
  57. the way of public weal, but smother close
  58. the telling of it. Turnus must concede
  59. freedom to speak, and his own arrogance
  60. diminish! Under his ill-boding star
  61. and fatal conduct—yea, I speak it plain,
  62. though with his naked steel my death he swear—
  63. yon host of princes fell, and we behold
  64. the whole land bowed with grief; while he assails
  65. the Trojan camp (beating such bold retreats!)
  66. and troubles Heaven with war. One gift the more,
  67. among the many to the Trojans given,
  68. one chiefly, best of kings, thy choice should be.
  69. Let not wild violence thy will restrain
  70. from granting, sire, thy virgin daughter's hand
  71. to son-in-law illustrious, in a match
  72. worthy of both,—and thus the lasting bond
  73. of peace establish. But if verily
  74. our hearts and souls be weak with craven fear,
  75. let us on Turnus call, and grace implore
  76. even of him. Let him no more oppose;
  77. but to his country and his King concede
  78. their natural right. Why wilt thou o'er and o'er
  79. fling thy poor countrymen in danger's way,
  80. O chief and fountain of all Latium's pain?
  81. War will not save us. Not a voice but sues
  82. for peace, O Turnus! and, not less than peace,
  83. its one inviolable pledge. Behold,
  84. I lead in this petition! even I
  85. whom thou dost feign thy foe—(I waste no words
  86. denying)—look! I supplicate of thee,
  87. take pity on thy kindred; drop thy pride,
  88. and get thee home defeated. We have seen
  89. slaughter enough, enough of funeral flames,
  90. and many a wide field waste and desolate.
  91. If glory move thee, if thy martial breast
  92. so swell with strength, and if a royal dower
  93. be thy dear dream, go, pluck thy courage up,
  94. and front thy own brave bosom to the foe.
  95. for, lo, that Turnus on his wedding day
  96. may win a princess, our cheap, common lives—
  97. we the mere mob, unwept, unsepulchred—
  98. must be spilled forth in battle! Thou, I say,
  99. if there be mettle in thee and some drops
  100. of thy undaunted sires, Iook yonder where
  101. the Trojan chieftain waits thee in the field.”
  1. By such discourse he stirred the burning blood
  2. of Turnus, who groaned loud and from his heart
  3. this utterance hurled: “O Drances, thou art rich
  4. in large words, when the day of battle calls
  5. for actions. If our senators convene
  6. thou comest early. But the council hall
  7. is not for swollen talk, such as thy tongue
  8. in safety tosses forth; so long as walls
  9. hold back thy foes, and ere the trenches flow
  10. with blood of brave men slain. O, rattle on
  11. in fluent thunder—thy habitual style!
  12. Brand me a coward, Drances, when thy sword
  13. has heaped up Trojan slain, and on the field
  14. thy shining trophies rise. Now may we twain
  15. our martial prowess prove. Our foe, forsooth,
  16. is not so far to seek; around yon wall
  17. he lies in siege: to front him let us fly!
  18. Why art thou tarrying? Wilt thou linger here,
  19. a soldier only in thy windy tongue,
  20. and thy swift, coward heels? Defeated, I?
  21. Foul wretch, what tongue that honors truth can tell
  22. of my defeat, while Tiber overflows
  23. with Trojan blood? while King Evander's house
  24. in ruin dies, and his Arcadians lie
  25. stripped naked on the field? O, not like thee
  26. did Bitias or the giant Pandarus
  27. misprize my honor; nor those men of Troy
  28. whom this good sword to death and dark sent down,
  29. a thousand in a day,—though I was penned
  30. a prisoner in the ramparts of my foe.
  1. War will not save us? Fling that prophecy
  2. on the doomed Dardan's head, or on thy own,
  3. thou madman! Aye, with thy vile, craven soul
  4. disturb the general cause. Extol the power
  5. of a twice-vanquished people, and decry
  6. Latinus' rival arms. From this time forth
  7. let all the Myrmidonian princes cower
  8. before the might of Troy; let Diomed
  9. and let Achilles tremble; let the stream
  10. of Aufidus in panic backward flow
  11. from Hadria's wave. But hear me when I say
  12. that though his guilt and cunning feign to feel
  13. fear of my vengeance, much embittering so
  14. his taunts and insult—such a life as his
  15. my sword disdains. O Drances, be at ease!
  16. In thy vile bosom let thy breath abide!
  17. But now of thy grave counsel and thy cause,
  18. O royal sire, I speak. If from this hour
  19. thou castest hope of armed success away,
  20. if we be so unfriended that one rout
  21. o'erwhelms us utterly, if Fortune's feet
  22. never turn backward, let us, then, for peace
  23. offer petition, lifting to the foe
  24. our feeble, suppliant hands. Yet would I pray
  25. some spark of manhood such as once we knew
  26. were ours once more! I count him fortunate,
  27. and of illustrious soul beyond us all,
  28. who, rather than behold such things, has fallen
  29. face forward, dead, his teeth upon the dust.
  30. But if we still have power, and men-at-arms
  31. unwasted and unscathed, if there survive
  32. Italian tribes and towns for help in war,
  33. aye! if the Trojans have but won success
  34. at bloody cost,—for they dig graves, I ween,
  35. storm-smitten not less than we,—O, wherefore now
  36. stand faint and shameful on the battle's edge?
  37. Why quake our knees before the trumpet call?
  38. Time and the toil of shifting, changeful days
  39. restore lost causes; ebbing tides of chance
  40. deceive us oft, which after at their flood
  41. do lift us safe to shore. If aid come not
  42. from Diomed in Arpi, our allies
  43. shall be Mezentius and Tolumnius,
  44. auspicious name, and many a chieftain sent
  45. from many a tribe; not all inglorious
  46. are Latium's warriors from Laurentian land!
  47. Hither the noble Volscian stem sends down
  48. Camilla with her beauteous cavalry
  49. in glittering brass arrayed. But if, forsooth,
  50. the Trojans call me singly to the fight,
  51. if this be what ye will, and I so much
  52. the public weal impair—when from this sword
  53. has victory seemed to fly away in scorn?
  54. I should not hopeless tread in honor's way
  55. whate'er the venture. Dauntless will I go
  56. though equal match for great Achilles, he,
  57. and though he clothe him in celestial arms
  58. in Vulcan's smithy wrought. I, Turnus, now,
  59. not less than equal with great warriors gone,
  60. vow to Latinus, father of my bride,
  61. and to ye all, each drop of blood I owe.
  62. Me singly doth Aeneas call? I crave
  63. that challenge. Drances is not called to pay
  64. the debt of death, if wrath from Heaven impend;
  65. nor his a brave man's name and fame to share.”
  1. Thus in their doubtful cause the chieftains strove.
  2. Meanwhile Aeneas his assaulting line
  3. moved forward. The ill tidings wildly sped
  4. from royal hall to hall, and filled the town
  5. with rumors dark: for now the Trojan host
  6. o'er the wide plains from Tiber's wave was spread
  7. in close array of war. The people's soul
  8. was vexed and shaken, and its martial rage
  9. rose to the stern compulsion. Now for arms
  10. their terror calls; the youthful soldiery
  11. clamor for arms; the sires of riper days
  12. weep or repress their tears. On every side
  13. loud shouts and cries of dissonant acclaim
  14. trouble the air, as when in lofty grove
  15. legions of birds alight, or by the flood
  16. of Padus' fishy stream the shrieking swans
  17. far o'er the vocal marish fling their song.
  18. Then, seizing the swift moment, Turnus cried:
  19. “Once more, my countrymen,—ye sit in parle,
  20. lazily praising peace, while yonder foe
  21. speeds forth in arms our kingdom to obtain.”
  22. He spoke no more, but hied him in hot haste,
  23. and from the housetop called, “Volusus, go!
  24. Equip the Volscian companies! Lead forth
  25. my Rutules also! O'er the spreading plain,
  26. ye brothers Coras and Messapus range
  27. our host of cavalry! Let others guard
  28. the city's gates and hold the walls and towers:
  29. I and my followers elsewhere oppose
  30. the shock of arms.” Now to and fro they run
  31. to man the walls. Father Latinus quits—
  32. the place of council and his large design,
  33. vexed and bewildered by the hour's distress.
  34. He blames his own heart that he did not ask
  35. Trojan Aeneas for his daughter's Iord,
  36. and gain him for his kingdom's lasting friend.
  37. They dig them trenches at the gates, or lift
  38. burden of stakes and stones. The horn's harsh note
  39. sounds forth its murderous signal for the war;
  40. striplings and women, in a motley ring,
  41. defend the ramparts; the decisive hour
  42. lays tasks on all. Upon the citadel
  43. a train of matrons, with the doleful Queen,
  44. toward Pallas' temple moves, and in their hand
  45. are gifts and offerings. See, at their side
  46. the maid Lavinia, cause of all these tears,
  47. drops down her lovely eyes! The incense rolls
  48. in clouds above the altar; at the doors
  49. with wailing voice the women make this prayer:
  50. “Tritonian virgin, arbitress of war!
  51. Break of thyself yon Phrygian robber's spear!
  52. Hurl him down dying in the dust! Spill forth
  53. his evil blood beneath our lofty towers!”
  54. Fierce Turnus girds him, emulous to slay:
  55. a crimson coat of mail he wears, with scales
  56. of burnished bronze; beneath his knees are bound
  57. the golden greaves; upon his naked brow
  58. no helm he wears; but to his thigh is bound
  59. a glittering sword. Down from the citadel
  60. runs he, a golden glory, in his heart
  61. boldly exulting, while impatient hope
  62. fore-counts his fallen foes. He seemed as when,
  63. from pinfold bursting, breaking his strong chain,
  64. th' untrammelled stallion ranges the wide field,
  65. or tries him to a herd of feeding mares,
  66. or to some cooling river-bank he knows,
  67. most fierce and mettlesome; the streaming mane
  68. o'er neck and shoulder flies. Across his path
  69. Camilla with her Volscian escort came,
  70. and at the city-gate the royal maid
  71. down from her charger leaped; while all her band
  72. at her example glided to the ground,
  73. their horses leaving. Thus the virgin spoke:
  74. “Turnus, if confidence beseem the brave,
  75. I have no fear; but of myself do vow
  76. to meet yon squadrons of Aeneadae
  77. alone, and front me to the gathered charge
  78. of Tuscan cavalry. Let me alone
  79. the war's first venture-prove. Take station, thou,
  80. here at the walls, this rampart to defend.”
  81. With fixed eyes on the terror-striking maid,
  82. Turnus replied, “O boast of Italy,
  83. O virgin bold! What praise, what gratitude
  84. can words or deeds repay? But since thy soul
  85. so large of stature shows, I bid thee share
  86. my burden and my war. Our spies bring news
  87. that now Aeneas with pernicious mind
  88. sends light-armed horse before him, to alarm
  89. the plains below, while through the wilderness
  90. he climbs the steep hills, and approaches so
  91. our leaguered town. But I in sheltered grove
  92. a stratagem prepare, and bid my men
  93. in ambush at a mountain cross-road lie.
  94. Meet thou the charge of Tuscan cavalry
  95. with all thy banners. For auxiliar strength
  96. take bold Messapus with his Latin troop
  97. and King Tiburtus' men: but the command
  98. shall be thy task and care.” He spoke, and urged
  99. with like instruction for the coming fray
  100. Messapus and his captains; then advanced
  101. to meet the foe. There is a winding vale
  102. for armed deception and insidious war
  103. well fashioned, and by interlacing leaves
  104. screened darkly in; a small path thither leads,
  105. through strait defile-a passage boding ill.
  106. Above it, on a mountain's lofty brow,
  107. are points of outlook, level spaces fair,
  108. and many a safe, invisible retreat
  109. from whence on either hand to challenge war,
  110. or, standing on the ridges, to roll down
  111. huge mountain boulders. Thither Turnus fared,
  112. and, ranging the familiar tract, chose out
  113. his cunning ambush in the dangerous grove.
  1. But now in dwellings of the gods on high,
  2. Diana to fleet-footed Opis called,
  3. a virgin from her consecrated train,
  4. and thus in sorrow spoke: “O maiden mine!
  5. Camilla now to cruel conflict flies;
  6. with weapons like my own she girds her side,
  7. in vain, though dearest of all nymphs to me.
  8. Nor is it some new Iove that stirs to-day
  9. with sudden sweetness in Diana's breast:
  10. for long ago, when from his kingdom driven,
  11. for insolent and envied power, her sire
  12. King Metabus, from old Privernum's wall
  13. was taking flight amidst opposing foes,
  14. he bore a little daughter in his arms
  15. to share his exile; and he called the child
  16. (Changing Casmilla, her queen-mother's name)
  17. Camilla. Bearing on his breast the babe,
  18. he fled to solitary upland groves.
  19. But hovering round him with keen lances, pressed
  20. the Volscian soldiery. Across his path,
  21. lo, Amasenus with full-foaming wave
  22. o'erflowed its banks—so huge a rain had burst
  23. but lately from the clouds. There would he fain
  24. swim over, but the love of that sweet babe
  25. restrained him, trembling for his burden dear.
  26. In his perplexed heart suddenly arose
  27. firm resolve. It chanced the warrior bore
  28. huge spear in his brawny hand, strong shaft
  29. of knotted, seasoned oak; to this he lashed
  30. his little daughter with a withe of bark
  31. pulled from a cork-tree, and with skilful bonds
  32. fast bound her to the spear; then, poising it
  33. high in his right hand, thus he called on Heaven:
  1. ‘Latona's daughter, whose benignant grace
  2. protects this grove, behold, her father now
  3. gives thee this babe for handmaid! Lo, thy spear
  4. her infant fingers hold, as from her foes
  5. she flies a suppliant to thee! Receive,
  6. O goddess, I implore, what now I cast
  7. upon the perilous air.’—He spoke, and hurled
  8. with lifted arm the whirling shaft. The waves
  9. roared loud, as on the whistling javelin
  10. hapless Camilla crossed th' impetuous flood.
  11. But Metabus, his foes in hot pursuit,
  12. dared plunge him in mid-stream, and, triumphing,
  13. soon plucked from grass-grown river-bank the spear,
  14. the child upon it,—now to Trivia vowed,
  15. a virgin offering. Him nevermore
  16. could cities hold, nor would his wild heart yield
  17. its sylvan freedom, but his days were passed
  18. with shepherds on the solitary hills.
  19. His daughter too in tangled woods he bred:
  20. a brood-mare from the milk of her fierce breast
  21. suckled the child, and to its tender lips
  22. .Her udders moved; and when the infant feet
  23. their first firm steps had taken, the small palms
  24. were armed with a keen javelin; her sire
  25. a bow and quiver from her shoulder slung.
  26. Instead of golden combs and flowing pall,
  27. she wore, from her girl-forehead backward thrown,
  28. the whole skin of a tigress; with soft hands
  29. she made her plaything of a whirling spear,
  30. or, swinging round her head the polished thong
  31. of her good sling, she fetched from distant sky
  32. Strymonian cranes or swans of spotless wing.
  33. From Tuscan towns proud matrons oft in vain
  34. sought her in marriage for their sons; but she
  35. to Dian only turned her stainless heart,
  36. her virgin freedom and her huntress' arms
  37. with faithful passion serving. Would that now
  38. this Iove of war had ne'er seduced her mind
  39. the Teucrians to provoke! So might she be
  40. one of our wood-nymphs still. But haste, I pray,
  41. for bitter is her now impending doom.
  42. Descend, dear nymph, from heaven, and explore
  43. the country of the Latins, where the fight
  44. with unpropitious omens now begins.
  45. These weapons take, and from this quiver draw
  46. a vengeful arrow, wherewith he who dares
  47. to wound her sacred body, though he be
  48. a Trojan or Italian, shall receive
  49. bloody and swift reward at my command.
  50. Then, in a cloud concealed, I will consign
  51. her corpse, ill-fated but inviolate
  52. unto the sepulchre, restoring so
  53. the virgin to her native land.” Thus spake
  54. the goddess; but her handmaid, gliding down,
  55. took her loud pathway on the moving winds,
  56. and mantled in dark storm her shape divine.
  1. Meanwhile the Teucrian legions to the wall
  2. draw near, with Tuscan lords and cavalry
  3. in numbered troops arrayed. Loud-footed steeds
  4. prance o'er the field, to manage of the rein
  5. rebellious, but turned deftly here or there.
  6. The iron harvest of keen spears spreads far,
  7. and all the plain burns bright with lifted steel.
  8. Messapus and swift Latin cavalry,
  9. Coras his brother, and th' attending train
  10. of the fair maid Camilla, form their lines
  11. in the opposing field. Their poised right hands
  12. point the long lances forward, and light shafts
  13. are brandished in the air; the warrior hosts
  14. on steeds of fire come kindling as they ride.
  15. One instant, at a spear-throw's space, each line
  16. its motion stays; then with one sudden cry
  17. they rush forth, spurring on each frenzied steed.
  18. From-every side the multitudinous spears
  19. pour down like snowflakes, mantling heaven in shade.
  20. Now with contending spears and straining thews,
  21. Tyrrhenus, and Aconteus, champion bold,
  22. ride forward; with the onset terrible
  23. loudly their armor rings; their chargers twain
  24. crash breast to breast, and like a thunderbolt
  25. Aconteus drops, or like a ponderous stone
  26. hurled from a catapult; full length he falls,
  27. surrend'ring to the winds his fleeting soul.
  1. Now all is panic: holding their light shields
  2. behind their backs, the Latin horse wheel round,
  3. retreating to the wall, the Trojan foe
  4. in close pursuit. Asilas, chieftain proud,
  5. led on th' assault. Hard by the city gates
  6. the Latins wheeled once more and pressed the rein
  7. strong on the yielding neck; the charging foe
  8. took flight and hurried far with loose-flung rein.
  9. 'T was like the shock and onset of the sea
  10. that landward hurls the alternating flood
  11. and hides high cliffs in foam,—the tawny sands
  12. upflinging as it rolls; then, suddenly
  13. whirled backward on the reingulfing waves,
  14. it quits the ledges, and with ebbing flow
  15. far from the shore retires. The Tuscans twice
  16. drive back the flying Rutules to the town;
  17. and twice repulsed, with shields to rearward thrown,
  18. glare back at the pursuer; but conjoined
  19. in the third battle-charge, both armies merge
  20. confusedly together in grim fight
  21. of man to man; then follow dying groans,
  22. armor blood-bathed and corpses, and strong steeds
  23. inextricably with their masters slain,
  24. so fierce the fray. Orsilochus—afraid
  25. to front the warrior's arms—launched forth a spear
  26. at Remulus' horse, and left the fatal steel
  27. clinging below its ear; the charger plunged
  28. madly, and tossed its trembling hoofs in air,
  29. sustaining not the wound; the rider fell,
  30. flung headlong to the ground. Catillus slew
  31. Iollas; and then struck Herminius down,
  32. great-bodied and great-hearted, who could wield
  33. a monster weapon, and whose yellow hair
  34. from naked head to naked shoulder flowed.
  35. By wounds unterrified he dared oppose
  36. his huge bulk to the foe: the quivering spear
  37. pierced to his broad back, and with throes of pain
  38. bowed the man double and clean clove him through.
  39. Wide o'er the field th' ensanguined horror flowed,
  40. where fatal swords were crossed and cut their way
  41. through many a wound to famous death and fair.
  1. Swift through the midmost slaughter proudly strides
  2. the quiver-girt Camilla, with one breast
  3. thrust naked to the fight, like Amazon.
  4. Oft from her hand her pliant shafts she rains,
  5. or whirls with indefatigable arm
  6. a doughty battle-axe; her shoulder bears
  7. Diana's sounding arms and golden bow.
  8. Sometimes retreating and to flight compelled,
  9. the maiden with a rearward-pointing bow
  10. shoots arrows as she flies. Around her move
  11. her chosen peers, Larina, virgin brave,
  12. Tarpeia, brandishing an axe of bronze,
  13. and Tulla, virgins out of Italy
  14. whom the divine Camilla chose to be
  15. her glory, each a faithful servitress
  16. in days of peace or war. The maids of Thrace
  17. ride thus along Thermodon's frozen flood,
  18. and fight with blazoned Amazonian arms
  19. around Hippolyta; or when returns
  20. Penthesilea in triumphal car
  21. 'mid acclamations shrill, and all her host
  22. of women clash in air the moon-shaped shield.
  1. What warrior first, whom last, did thy strong spear,
  2. fierce virgin, earthward fling? Or what thy tale
  3. of prostrate foes laid gasping on the ground?
  4. Eunaeus first, the child of Clytius' Ioins,
  5. whose bared breast, as he faced his foe, she pierced
  6. with fir-tree javelin; from his lips outpoured
  7. the blood-stream as he fell; and as he bit
  8. the gory dust, he clutched his mortal wound.
  9. Then Liris, and upon him Pagasus
  10. she slew: the one clung closer to the reins
  11. of his stabbed horse, and rolled off on the ground;
  12. the other, flying to his fallen friend,
  13. reached out a helpless hand; so both of these
  14. fell on swift death together. Next in line
  15. she smote Amastrus, son of Hippotas;
  16. then, swift-pursuing, pierced with far-flung spear
  17. Tereus, Harpalycus, Demophoon,
  18. and Chromis; every shaft the virgin threw
  19. laid low its Phrygian warrior. From afar
  20. rode Ornytus on his Apulian steed,
  21. bearing a hunter's uncouth arms; for cloak
  22. he wore upon his shoulders broad a hide
  23. from some wild bull stripped off; his helmet was
  24. a wolf's great, gaping mouth, with either jaw
  25. full of white teeth; the weapon in his hand,
  26. a farmer's pole. He strode into the throng,
  27. head taller than them all. But him she seized
  28. and clove him through (his panic-stricken troop
  29. gave her advantage), and with wrathful heart
  30. she taunted thus the fallen: “Didst thou deem
  31. this was a merry hunting in the wood
  32. in chase of game? Behold, thy fatal day
  33. befalls thee at a woman's hand, and thus
  34. thy boasting answers. No small glory thou
  35. unto the ghosts of thy dead sires wilt tell,
  36. that 't was Camilla's javelin struck thee down.”
  1. The turn of Butes and Orsilochus
  2. came next, who were the Trojans, hugest twain:
  3. yet Butes with her javelin-point she clove
  4. from rearward, 'twixt the hauberk and the helm,
  5. just where the horseman's neck showed white, and where
  6. from shoulder leftward slung the light-weight shield.
  7. From swift Orsilochus she feigned to fly,
  8. through a wide circle sweeping, craftily
  9. taking the inside track, pursuing so
  10. her own pursuer; then she raised herself
  11. to her full height, and through the warrior's helm
  12. drove to his very skull with doubling blows
  13. of her strong battle-axe,—while he implored
  14. her mercy with loud prayers: his cloven brain
  15. spilt o'er his face. Next in her pathway came—
  16. but shrank in startled fear—the warrior son
  17. of Aunus, haunter of the Apennine,
  18. not least of the Ligurians ere his doom
  19. cut short a life of lies. He, knowing well
  20. no flight could save him from the shock of arms
  21. nor turn the royal maid's attack, began
  22. with words of cunning and insidious guile:
  23. “What glory is it if a girl be bold,
  24. on sturdy steed depending? Fly me not!
  25. But, venturing with me on this equal ground,
  26. gird thee to fight on foot. Soon shalt thou see
  27. which one of us by windy boast achieves
  28. a false renown.” He spoke; but she, to pangs
  29. of keenest fury stung, gave o'er her steed
  30. in charge of a companion, and opposed
  31. her foe at equal vantage, falchion drawn,
  32. on foot, and, though her shield no blazon bore,
  33. of fear incapable. But the warrior fled,
  34. thinking his trick victorious, and rode off
  35. full speed, with reins reversed,—his iron heel
  36. goading his charger's flight. Camilla cried:
  37. “Ligurian cheat! In vain thy boastful heart
  38. puffs thee so large; in vain thou hast essayed
  39. thy father's slippery ways; nor shall thy trick
  40. bring thee to guileful Aunus safely home.”
  41. Herewith on winged feet that virgin bold
  42. flew past the war-horse, seized the streaming rein,
  43. and, fronting him, took vengeance on her foe
  44. in bloody strokes: with not less ease a hawk,
  45. dark bird of omen, from his mountain crag
  46. pursues on pinions strong a soaring dove
  47. to distant cloud, and, clutching with hooked claws,
  48. holds tight and rips,—while through celestial air
  49. the torn, ensanguined plumage floats along.