Aeneid

Virgil

Vergil. Aeneid. John Dryden. trans.

  1. But now not blindly from Olympian throne
  2. the Sire of gods and men observant saw
  3. how sped the day. Then to the conflict dire
  4. the god thrust Tarchon forth, the Tyrrhene King,
  5. goading the warrior's rage. So Tarchon rode
  6. through slaughter wide and legions in retreat,
  7. and roused the ranks with many a wrathful cry:
  8. he called each man by name, and toward the foe
  9. drove back the routed lines. “What terrors now,
  10. Tuscan cowards, dead to noble rage,
  11. have seized ye? or what laggard sloth and vile
  12. unmans your hearts, that now a woman's arm
  13. pursues ye and this scattered host confounds?
  14. Why dressed in steel, or to what purpose wear
  15. your futile swords? Not slackly do ye join
  16. the ranks of Venus in a midnight war;
  17. or when fantastic pipes of Bacchus call
  18. your dancing feet, right venturesome ye fly
  19. to banquets and the flowing wine—what zeal,
  20. what ardor then! Or if your flattering priest
  21. begins the revel, and to Iofty groves
  22. fat flesh of victims bids ye haste away!”
  23. So saying, his steed he spurred, and scorning death
  24. dashed into the mid-fray, where, frenzy-driven,
  25. he sought out Venulus, and, grappling him
  26. with one hand, from the saddle snatched his foe,
  27. and, clasping strongly to his giant breast,
  28. exultant bore away. The shouting rose
  29. to heaven, and all the Latins gazed his way,
  30. as o'er the plain the fiery Tarchon flew
  31. bearing the full-armed man; then, breaking off
  32. the point of his own spear, he pried a way
  33. through the seam'd armor for the mortal wound;
  34. the other, struggling, thrust back from his throat
  35. the griping hand, full force to force opposing.
  36. As when a golden eagle high in air
  37. knits to a victim—snake his clinging feet
  38. and deeply-thrusting claws; but, coiling back,
  39. the wounded serpent roughens his stiff scales
  40. and stretches high his hissing head; whereat
  41. the eagle with hooked beak the more doth rend
  42. her writhing foe, and with swift stroke of wing
  43. lashes the air: so Tarchon, from the ranks
  44. of Tibur's sons, triumphant snatched his prey.
  45. The Tuscans rallied now, well pleased to view
  46. their king's example and successful war.
  47. Then Arruns, marked for doom, made circling line
  48. around Camilla's path, his crafty spear
  49. seeking its lucky chance. Where'er the maid
  50. sped furious to the battle, Arruns there
  51. in silence dogged her footsteps and pursued;
  52. or where triumphant from her fallen foes
  53. she backward drew, the warrior stealthily
  54. turned his swift reins that way: from every side
  55. he circled her, and scanned his vantage here
  56. or vantage there, his skilful javelin
  57. stubbornly shaking. But it soon befell
  58. that Chloreus, once a priest of Cybele,
  59. shone forth in far-resplendent Phrygian arms,
  60. and urged a foaming steed, which wore a robe
  61. o'erwrought with feathery scales of bronze and gold;
  62. while he, in purples of fine foreign stain,
  63. bore light Gortynian shafts and Lycian bow;
  64. his bow was gold; a golden casque he wore
  65. upon his priestly brow; the saffron cloak,
  66. all folds of rustling cambric, was enclasped
  67. in glittering gold; his skirts and tunics gay
  68. were broidered, and the oriental garb
  69. swathed his whole leg. Him when the maiden spied,
  70. (Perchance she fain on temple walls would hang
  71. the Trojan prize, or in such captured gold
  72. her own fair shape array), she gave mad chase,
  73. and reckless through the ranks her prey pursued,
  74. desiring, woman-like, the splendid spoil.
  75. Then from his ambush Arruns seized at last
  76. the fatal moment and let speed his shaft,
  77. thus uttering his vow to heavenly powers:
  78. “Chief of the gods, Apollo, who dost guard
  79. Soracte's hallowed steep, whom we revere
  80. first of thy worshippers, for thee is fed
  81. the heap of burning pine; for thee we pass
  82. through the mid-blaze in sacred zeal secure,
  83. and deep in glowing embers plant our feet.
  84. O Sire Omnipotent, may this my spear
  85. our foul disgrace put by. I do not ask
  86. for plunder, spoils, or trophies in my name,
  87. when yonder virgin falls; let honor's crown
  88. be mine for other deeds. But if my stroke
  89. that curse and plague destroy, may I unpraised
  90. safe to the cities of my sires return.”
  1. Apollo heard and granted half the prayer,
  2. but half upon the passing breeze he threw:
  3. granting his votary he should confound
  4. Camilla by swift death; but 't was denied
  5. the mountain-fatherland once more to see,
  6. or safe return,—that prayer th' impetuous winds
  7. swept stormfully away. Soon as the spear
  8. whizzed from his hand, straight-speeding on the air,
  9. the Volscians all turned eager thought and eyes
  10. toward their Queen. She only did not heed
  11. that windy roar, nor weapon dropped from heaven,
  12. till in her bare, protruded breast the spear
  13. drank, deeply driven, of her virgin blood.
  14. Her terror-struck companians swiftly throng
  15. around her, and uplift their sinking Queen.
  16. But Arruns, panic-stricken more than all,
  17. makes off, half terror and half joy, nor dares
  18. hazard his lance again, nor dares oppose
  19. a virgin's arms. As creeps back to the hills
  20. in pathless covert ere his foes pursue,
  21. from shepherd slain or mighty bull laid low,
  22. some wolf, who, now of his bold trespass ware,
  23. curls close against his paunch a quivering tail
  24. and to the forest tries: so Arruns speeds
  25. from sight of men in terror, glad to fly,
  26. and hides him in the crowd. But his keen spear
  27. dying Camilla from her bosom drew,
  28. though the fixed barb of deeply-wounding steel
  29. clung to the rib. She sank to earth undone,
  30. her cold eyes closed in death, and from her cheeks
  31. the roses fled. With failing breath she called
  32. on Acca—who of all her maiden peers
  33. was chiefly dear and shared her heart's whole pain—
  34. and thus she spoke: “O Acca, sister mine,
  35. I have been strong till now. The cruel wound
  36. consumes me, and my world is growing dark.
  37. Haste thee to Turnus! Tell my dying words!
  38. 'T is he must bear the battle and hold back
  39. the Trojan from our city wall. Farewell!”
  40. So saying, her fingers from the bridle-rein
  41. unclasped, and helpless to the earth she fell;
  42. then, colder grown, she loosed her more and more
  43. out of the body's coil; she gave to death
  44. her neck, her drooping head, and ceased to heed
  45. her war-array. So fled her spirit forth
  46. with wrath and moaning to the world below.
  47. Then clamor infinite uprose and smote
  48. the golden stars, as round Camilla slain
  49. the battle newly raged. To swifter charge
  50. the gathered Trojans ran, with Tuscan lords
  51. and King Evander's troops of Arcady.
  1. Fair Opis, keeping guard for Trivia
  2. in patient sentry on a lofty hill, beheld
  3. unterrified the conflict's rage. Yet when,
  4. amid the frenzied shouts of soldiery,
  5. she saw from far Camilla pay the doom
  6. of piteous death, with deep-drawn voice of sight
  7. she thus complained: “O virgin, woe is me!
  8. Too much, too much, this agony of thine,
  9. to expiate that thou didst lift thy spear
  10. for wounding Troy. It was no shield in war,
  11. nor any vantage to have kept thy vow
  12. to chaste Diana in the thorny wild.
  13. Our maiden arrows at thy shoulder slung
  14. availed thee not! Yet will our Queen divine
  15. not leave unhonored this thy dying day,
  16. nor shall thy people let thy death remain
  17. a thing forgot, nor thy bright name appear
  18. a glory unavenged. Whoe'er he be
  19. that marred thy body with the mortal wound
  20. shall die as he deserves.” Beneath that hill
  21. an earth-built mound uprose, the tomb
  22. of King Dercennus, a Laurentine old,
  23. by sombre ilex shaded: thither hied
  24. the fair nymph at full speed, and from the mound
  25. looked round for Arruns. When his shape she saw
  26. in glittering armor vainly insolent,
  27. “Whither so fast?” she cried. “This way, thy path!
  28. This fatal way approach, and here receive
  29. thy reward for Camilla! Thou shalt fall,
  30. vile though thou art, by Dian's shaft divine.”
  31. She said; and one swift-coursing arrow took
  32. from golden quiver, like a maid of Thrace,
  33. and stretched it on her bow with hostile aim,
  34. withdrawing far, till both the tips of horn
  35. together bent, and, both hands poising well,
  36. the left outreached to touch the barb of steel,
  37. the right to her soft breast the bowstring drew:
  38. the hissing of the shaft, the sounding air,
  39. Arruns one moment heard, as to his flesh
  40. the iron point clung fast. But his last groan
  41. his comrades heeded not, and let him lie,
  42. scorned and forgotten, on the dusty field,
  43. while Opis soared to bright Olympian air.
  1. Camilla's light-armed troop, its virgin chief
  2. now fallen, were the first to fly; in flight
  3. the panic-stricken Rutule host is seen
  4. and Acer bold; his captains in dismay
  5. with shattered legions from the peril fly,
  6. and goad their horses to the city wall.
  7. Not one sustains the Trojan charge, or stands
  8. in arms against the swift approach of death.
  9. Their bows unstrung from drooping shoulder fall,
  10. and clatter of hoof-beats shakes the crumbling ground.
  11. On to the city in a blinding cloud
  12. the dust uprolls. From watch-towers Iooking forth,
  13. the women smite their breasts and raise to heaven
  14. shrill shouts of fear. Those fliers who first passed
  15. the open gates were followed by the foe,
  16. routed and overwhelmed. They could not fly
  17. a miserable death, but were struck down
  18. in their own ancient city, or expired
  19. before the peaceful shrines of hearth and home.
  20. Then some one barred the gates. They dared not now
  21. give their own people entrance, and were deaf
  22. to all entreaty. Woeful deaths ensued,
  23. both of the armed defenders of the gate,
  24. and of the foe in arms. The desperate band,
  25. barred from the city in the face and eyes
  26. of their own weeping parents, either dropped
  27. with headlong and inevitable plunge
  28. into the moat below; or, frantic, blind,
  29. battered with beams against the stubborn door
  30. and columns strong. Above in conflict wild
  31. even the women (who for faithful love
  32. of home and country schooled them to be brave
  33. Camilla's way) rained weapons from the walls,
  34. and used oak-staves and truncheons shaped in flame,
  35. as if, well-armed in steel, each bosom bold
  36. would fain in such defence be first to die.
  1. Meanwhile th' unpitying messenger had flown
  2. to Turnus in the wood; the warrior heard
  3. from Acca of the wide confusion spread,
  4. the Volscian troop destroyed, Camilla slain,
  5. the furious foe increasing, and, with Mars
  6. to help him, grasping all, till in that hour
  7. far as the city-gates the panic reigned.
  8. Then he in desperate rage (Jove's cruel power
  9. decreed it) from the ambushed hills withdrew
  10. and pathless wild. He scarce had passed beyond
  11. to the bare plain, when forth Aeneas marched
  12. along the wide ravine, climbed up the ridge,
  13. and from the dark, deceiving grove stood clear.
  14. Then swiftly each with following ranks of war
  15. moved to the city-wall, nor wide the space
  16. that measured 'twixt the twain. Aeneas saw
  17. the plain with dust o'erclouded, and the lines
  18. of the Laurentian host extending far;
  19. Turnus, as clearly, saw the war array
  20. of dread Aeneas, and his ear perceived
  21. loud tramp of mail-clad men and snorting steeds.
  22. Soon had they sped to dreadful shock of arms,
  23. hazard of war to try; but Phoebus now,
  24. glowing rose-red, had dipped his wearied wheel
  25. deep in Iberian seas, and brought back night
  26. above the fading day. So near the town
  27. both pitch their camps and make their ramparts strong.