Vergil. Aeneid. John Dryden. trans.

  1. Meanwhile the warrior Turnus far afield
  2. pursued a scattered few; but less his speed,
  3. for less and less his worn steeds worked his will;
  4. and now wind-wafted to his straining ear
  5. a nameless horror came, a dull, wild roar,
  6. the city's tumult and distressful cry.
  7. “Alack,” he cried, “what stirs in yonder walls
  8. such anguish? Or why rings from side to side
  9. such wailing through the city?” Asking so,
  10. he tightened frantic grasp upon the rein.
  11. To him his sister, counterfeiting still
  12. the charioteer Metiscus, while she swayed
  13. rein, steeds, and chariot, this answer made:
  14. “Hither, my Turnus, let our arms pursue
  15. the sons of Troy. Here lies the nearest way
  16. to speedy triumph. There be other swords
  17. to keep yon city safe. Aeneas now
  18. storms against Italy in active war;
  19. we also on this Trojan host may hurl
  20. grim havoc. Nor shalt thou the strife give o'er
  21. in glory second, nor in tale of slain.”
  22. Turnus replied, “O sister, Iong ago
  23. I knew thee what thou wert, when guilefully
  24. thou didst confound their treaty, and enlist
  25. thy whole heart in this war. No Ionger now
  26. thy craft divine deceives me. But what god
  27. compelled thee, from Olympus fallen so far,
  28. to bear these cruel burdens? Wouldst thou see
  29. thy wretched brother slaughtered? For what else
  30. is in my power? What flattering hazard still
  31. holds forth deliverance? My own eyes have seen
  32. Murranus (more than any now on earth
  33. my chosen friend) who, calling on my name,
  34. died like a hero by a hero's sword.
  35. Ill-fated Ufens fell, enduring not
  36. to Iook upon my shame; the Teucrians
  37. divide his arms for spoil and keep his bones.
  38. Shall I stand tamely, till my hearth and home
  39. are levelled with the ground? For this would be
  40. the only blow not fallen. Shall my sword
  41. not give the lie to Drances' insolence?
  42. Shall I take flight and let my country see
  43. her Turnus renegade? Is death a thing
  44. so much to weep for? O propitious dead,
  45. O spirits of the dark, receive and bless
  46. me whom yon gods of light have cast away!
  47. Sacred and guiltless shall my soul descend
  48. to join your company; I have not been
  49. unworthy offspring of my kingly sires.”
  1. Scarce had he said, when through the foeman's line
  2. Saces dashed forth upon a foaming steed,
  3. his face gashed by an arrow. He cried loud
  4. on Turnus' name: “O Turnus, but in thee
  5. our last hope lies. Have pity on the woe
  6. of all thy friends and kin! Aeneas hurls
  7. his thunderbolt of war, and menaces
  8. to crush the strongholds of all Italy,
  9. and lay them low; already where we dwell
  10. his firebrands are raining. Unto thee
  11. the Latins Iook, and for thy valor call.
  12. The King sits dumb and helpless, even he,
  13. in doubt which son-in-law, which cause to choose.
  14. Yea, and the Queen, thy truest friend, is fallen
  15. by her own hand; gone mad with grief and fear,
  16. she fled the light of day. At yonder gates
  17. Messapus only and Atinas bear
  18. the brunt of battle; round us closely draw
  19. the serried ranks; their naked blades of steel
  20. are thick as ripening corn; wilt thou the while
  21. speed in thy chariot o'er this empty plain?”
  22. Dazed and bewildered by such host of ills,
  23. Turnus stood dumb; in his pent bosom stirred
  24. shame, frenzy, sorrow, a despairing love
  25. goaded to fury, and a warrior's pride
  26. of valor proven.
  1. But when first the light
  2. of reason to his blinded soul returned,
  3. he strained his flaming eyeballs to behold
  4. the distant wall, and from his chariot gazed
  5. in wonder at the lordly citadel.
  6. For, lo, a pointed peak of flame uprolled
  7. from tier to tier, and surging skyward seized
  8. a tower—the very tower his own proud hands
  9. had built of firm-set beams and wheeled in place,
  10. and slung its Iofty bridges high in air.
  11. “Fate is too strong, my sister! Seek no more
  12. to stay the stroke. But let me hence pursue
  13. that path where Heaven and cruel Fortune call.
  14. Aeneas I must meet; and I must bear
  15. the bitterness of death, whate'er it be.
  16. O sister, thou shalt look upon my shame
  17. no longer. But first grant a madman's will!”
  18. He spoke; and leaping from his chariot, sped
  19. through foes and foemen's spears, not seeing now
  20. his sister's sorrow, as in swift career
  21. he burst from line to line. Thus headlong falls
  22. a mountain-boulder by a whirlwind flung
  23. from lofty peak, or loosened by much rain,
  24. or by insidious lapse of seasons gone;
  25. the huge, resistless crag goes plunging down
  26. by leaps and bounds, o'erwhelming as it flies
  27. tall forests, Bocks and herds, and mortal men:
  28. so through the scattered legions Turnus ran
  29. straight to the city walls, where all the ground
  30. was drenched with blood, and every passing air
  31. shrieked with the noise of spears. His lifted hand
  32. made sign of silence as he loudly called:
  33. “Refrain, Rutulians! O ye Latins all,
  34. your spears withhold! The issue of the fray
  35. is all my own. I only can repair
  36. our broken truce by judgment of the sword.”
  37. Back fell the hostile lines, and cleared the field.
  1. But Sire Aeneas, hearing Turnus' name,
  2. down the steep rampart from the citadel
  3. unlingering tried, all lesser task laid by,
  4. with joy exultant and dread-thundering arms.
  5. Like Athos' crest he loomed, or soaring top
  6. of Eryx, when the nodding oaks resound,
  7. or sovereign Apennine that lifts in air
  8. his forehead of triumphant snow. All eyes
  9. of Troy, Rutulia, and Italy
  10. were fixed his way; and all who kept a guard
  11. on lofty rampart, or in siege below
  12. were battering the foundations, now laid by
  13. their implements and arms. Latinus too
  14. stood awestruck to behold such champions, born
  15. in lands far-sundered, met upon one field
  16. for one decisive stroke of sword with sword.
  17. Swift striding forth where spread the vacant plain,
  18. they hurled their spears from far; then in close fight
  19. the brazen shields rang. Beneath their tread
  20. Earth groaned aloud, as with redoubling blows
  21. their falchions fell; nor could a mortal eye
  22. 'twixt chance and courage the dread work divide.
  23. As o'er Taburnus' top, or spacious hills
  24. of Sila, in relentless shock of war,
  25. two bulls rush brow to brow, while terror-pale
  26. the herdsmen fly; the herd is hushed with fear;
  27. the heifers dumbly marvel which shall be
  28. true monarch of the grove, whom all the kine
  29. obedient follow; but the rival twain,
  30. commingling mightily wound after wound,
  31. thrust with opposing horns, and bathe their necks
  32. in streams of blood; the forest far and wide
  33. repeats their bellowing rage: not otherwise
  34. Trojan Aeneas and King Daunus' son
  35. clashed shield on shield, till all the vaulted sky
  36. felt the tremendous sound. The hand of Jove
  37. held scales in equipoise, and threw thereon
  38. th' unequal fortunes of the heroes twain:
  39. one to vast labors doomed and one to die.
  1. Soon Turnus, reckless of the risk, leaped forth,
  2. upreached his whole height to his lifted sword,
  3. and struck: the Trojans and the Latins pale
  4. cried mightily, and all eyes turned one way
  5. expectant. But the weak, perfidious sword
  6. broke off, and as the blow descended, failed
  7. its furious master, whose sole succor now
  8. was flight; and swifter than the wind he flew.
  9. But, lo! a hilt of form and fashion strange
  10. lay in his helpless hand. For in his haste,
  11. when to the battle-field his team he drove,
  12. his father's sword forgotten (such the tale),
  13. he snatched Metiscus' weapon. This endured
  14. to strike at Trojan backs, as he pursued,
  15. but when on Vulcan's armory divine
  16. its earthly metal smote, the brittle blade
  17. broke off like ice, and o'er the yellow sands
  18. in flashing fragments scattered. Turnus now
  19. takes mad flight o'er the distant plain, and winds
  20. in wavering gyration round and round;
  21. for Troy's close ring confines him, and one way
  22. a wide swamp lies, one way a frowning wall.
  1. But lo! Aeneas—though the arrow's wound
  2. still slackens him and oft his knees refuse
  3. their wonted step—pursues infuriate
  4. his quailing foe, and dogs him stride for stride.
  5. As when a stag-hound drives the baffled roe
  6. to torrent's edge (or where the flaunting snare
  7. of crimson feathers fearfully confines)
  8. and with incessant barking swift pursues;
  9. while through the snared copse or embankment high
  10. the frightened creature by a thousand ways
  11. doubles and turns; but that keen Umbrian hound
  12. with wide jaws, undesisting, grasps his prey,
  13. or, thinking that he grasps it, snaps his teeth
  14. cracking together, and deludes his rage,
  15. devouring empty air: then peal on peal
  16. the cry of hunters bursts; the lake and shore
  17. reecho, and confusion fills the sky:—
  18. such was the flight of Turnus, who reviled
  19. the Rutules as he fled, and loudly sued
  20. of each by name to fetch his own lost sword.
  21. Aeneas vowed destruction and swift death
  22. to all who dared come near, and terrified
  23. their trembling souls with menace that his power
  24. would raze their city to the ground. Straightway,
  25. though wounded, he gave chase, and five times round
  26. in circles ran; then winding left and right
  27. coursed the swift circles o'er. For, lo! the prize
  28. is no light laurel or a youthful game:
  29. for Turnus' doom and death their race is run.
  1. But haply in that place a sacred tree,
  2. a bitter-leaved wild-olive, once had grown,
  3. to Faunus dear, and venerated oft
  4. by mariners safe-rescued from the waves,
  5. who nailed their gifts thereon, or hung in air
  6. their votive garments to Laurentum's god.
  7. But, heeding not, the Teucrians had shorn
  8. the stem away, to clear the field for war.
  9. 'T was here Aeneas' lance stuck fast; its speed
  10. had driven it firmly inward, and it clave
  11. to the hard, clinging root. Anchises' son
  12. bent o'er it, and would wrench his weapon free,
  13. and follow with a far-flung javelin
  14. the swift out-speeding foe. But Turnus then,
  15. bewildered and in terror, cried aloud:
  16. “O Faunus, pity me and heed my prayer!
  17. Hold fast his weapon, O benignant Earth!
  18. If ere these hands have rendered offering due,
  19. where yon polluting Teucrians fight and slay.”
  20. He spoke; invoking succor of the god,
  21. with no Iost prayer. For tugging valiantly
  22. and laboring long against the stubborn stem,
  23. Aeneas with his whole strength could but fail
  24. to Ioose the clasping tree. While fiercely thus
  25. he strove and strained, Juturna once again,
  26. wearing the charioteer Metiscus' shape,
  27. ran to her brother's aid, restoring him
  28. his own true sword. But Venus, wroth to see
  29. what license to the dauntless nymph was given,
  30. herself came near, and plucked from that deep root
  31. the javelin forth. So both with lofty mien
  32. strode forth new-armed, new-hearted: one made bold
  33. by his good sword, the other, spear in hand,
  34. uptowered in wrath, and with confronting brows
  35. they set them to the war-god's breathless game.
  1. Meanwhile th' Olympian sovereign supreme
  2. to Juno speaks, as from an amber cloud
  3. the strife she views: “My Queen, what end shall be?
  4. What yet remains? Thou seest Aeneas' name
  5. numbered with tutelary gods of power;
  6. and well thou know'st what station in the sky
  7. his starward destiny intends. What scheme
  8. vexes thy bosom still? What stubborn hope,
  9. fostered in cloud and cold? O, was it well
  10. to desecrate a god with mortal wound;
  11. or well (what were a nymph unhelped by thee?)
  12. to give back Turnus his lost sword, and lend
  13. strength unavailing to the fallen brave?
  14. Give o'er, and to our supplication yield;
  15. let not such grief thy voiceless heart devour;
  16. nor from thy sweet lips let thy mournful care
  17. so oft assail my mind. For now is come
  18. the last decisive day. Thy power availed
  19. to vex the Trojans upon land and sea,
  20. to wake abominable war, bring shame
  21. upon a royal house, and mix the songs
  22. of marriage and the grave: but further act
  23. I thee refuse.” Such was the word of Jove.
  24. Thus Saturn's daughter answered, drooping low
  25. her brows divine: “Because, great Jove, I knew
  26. thy pleasure, I from yonder earth retired
  27. and Turnus' cause, tho, with unwilling mind.
  28. Else shouldst thou not behold me at this hour
  29. Upon my solitary throne of air
  30. enduring fair and foul; I should be found
  31. flame-girded on the battle's deadly verge,
  32. tempting the Teucrians to a hated war.
  33. Yea, 't was my motion thrust Juturna forth
  34. to help her hapless brother. I approved—
  35. to save his life—that she should be too bold;
  36. but bade no whirl of spear nor bending bow:
  37. I swear it by th' inexorable fount
  38. whence flow the Stygian rivers, the sole seat
  39. where gods of light bow down in awful prayer.
  40. I yield me now; heart-sick I quit the war.
  41. But ask one boon, which in the book of fate
  42. is not denied; for Latium's good I sue,
  43. and high prerogatives of men that be
  44. thy kith and kin: when happy wedlock vows
  45. (aye, be it so!) shall join them by strong laws
  46. of chartered peace, let not the Latins Iose
  47. their ancient, native name. Bid them not pass
  48. for Trojans, nor be hailed as Teucer's sons;
  49. no alien speech, no alien garb impose.
  50. Let it be Latium ever; let the lords
  51. of Alba unto distant ages reign;
  52. let the strong, master blood of Rome receive
  53. the manhood and the might of Italy.
  54. Troy perished: let its name and glory die!”
  55. The Author of mankind and all that is,
  56. smiling benignant, answered thus her plea:
  57. “Jove's sister true, and Saturn's second child,
  58. what seas of anger vex thy heart divine!
  59. But come, relinquish thy rash, fruitless rage:
  60. I give thee this desire, and yield to thee
  61. free submission. The Ausonian tribes
  62. shall keep the speech and customs of their sires;
  63. the name remains as now; the Teucrian race,
  64. abiding in the land, shall but infuse
  65. the mixture of its blood. I will bestow
  66. a league of worship, and to Latins give
  67. one language only. From the mingled breed
  68. a people shall come forth whom thou shalt see
  69. surpass all mortal men and even outvie
  70. the faithfulness of gods; for none that live
  71. shall render to thy name an equal praise.”
  72. So Juno bowed consent, and let her will
  73. be changed, as with much comfort in her breast
  74. she left Olympus and her haunt of cloud.
  1. After these things Jove gave his kingly mind
  2. to further action, that he might forthwith
  3. cut off Juturna from her brother's cause.
  4. Two plagues there be, called Furies, which were spawned
  5. at one birth from the womb of wrathful Night
  6. with dread Megaera, phantom out of hell;
  7. and of their mother's gift, each Fury wears
  8. grim-coiling serpents and tempestuous wings.
  9. These at Jove's throne attend, and watch the doors
  10. of that stern King—to whet the edge of fear
  11. for wretched mortals, when the King of gods
  12. hurls pestilence and death, or terrifies
  13. offending nations with the scourge of war.
  14. 'T was one of these which Jove sent speeding down
  15. from his ethereal seat, and bade her cross
  16. the pathway of Juturna for a sign.
  17. Her wings she spread, and earthward seemed to ride
  18. upon a whirling storm. As when some shaft,
  19. with Parthian poison tipped or Cretan gall,
  20. a barb of death, shoots cloudward from the bow,
  21. and hissing through the dark hastes forth unseen:
  22. so earthward flew that daughter of the night.
  23. Soon as she spied the Teucrians in array
  24. and Turnus' lines, she shrivelled to the shape
  25. of that small bird which on lone tombs and towers
  26. sits perching through the midnight, and prolongs
  27. in shadow and deep gloom her troubling cry.
  28. In such disguise the Fury, screaming shrill,
  29. flitted in Turnus' face, and with her wings
  30. smote on his hollow shield. A strange affright
  31. palsied his every limb; each several hair
  32. lifted with horror, and his gasping voice
  33. died on his lips. But when Juturna knew
  34. from far the shrieking fiend's infernal wing,
  35. she loosed her tresses, and their beauty tore,
  36. to tell a sister's woe; with clenching hands
  37. she marred her cheeks and beat her naked breast.
  38. “What remedy or help, my Turnus, now
  39. is in a sister's power? What way remains
  40. for stubborn me? Or with what further guile
  41. thy life prolong? What can my strength oppose
  42. to this foul thing? I quit the strife at last.
  43. Withdraw thy terror from my fearful eyes,
  44. thou bird accurst! The tumult of thy wings
  45. I know full well, and thy death-boding call.
  46. The harsh decrees of that large-minded Jove
  47. I plainly see. Is this the price he pays
  48. for my lost maidenhood? Why flatter me
  49. with immortality, and snatch away
  50. my property of death? What boon it were
  51. to end this grief this hour, and hie away
  52. to be my brother's helpmeet in his grave!
  53. I, an immortal? O, what dear delight
  54. is mine, sweet brother, living without thee?
  55. O, where will earth yawn deep enough and wide
  56. to hide a goddess with the ghosts below?”
  57. She spoke; and veiled in glistening mantle gray
  58. her mournful brow; then in her stream divine
  59. the nymph sank sighing to its utmost cave.
  1. Aeneas now is near; and waving wide
  2. a spear like some tall tree, he called aloud
  3. with unrelenting heart: “What stays thee now?
  4. Or wherefore, Turnus, backward fly? Our work
  5. is not a foot-race, but the wrathful strife
  6. of man with man. Aye, hasten to put on
  7. tricks and disguises; gather all thou hast
  8. of skill or courage; wish thou wert a bird
  9. to fly to starry heaven, or hide thy head
  10. safe in the hollow ground!” The other then
  11. shook his head, saying: “It is not thy words,
  12. not thy hot words, affright me, savage man!
  13. Only the gods I fear, and hostile Jove.”
  14. Silent he stood, and glancing round him saw
  15. a huge rock Iying by, huge rock and old,
  16. a landmark justly sundering field from field,
  17. which scarce six strong men's shoulders might upraise,
  18. such men as mother-Earth brings forth to-day:
  19. this grasped he with impetuous hand and hurled,
  20. stretched at full height and roused to all his speed,
  21. against his foe. Yet scarcely could he feel
  22. it was himself that ran, himself that moved
  23. with lifted hand to fling the monster stone;
  24. for his knees trembled, and his languid blood
  25. ran shuddering cold; nor could the stone he threw,
  26. tumbling in empty air, attain its goal
  27. nor strike the destined blow. But as in dreams,
  28. when helpless slumber binds the darkened eyes,
  29. we seem with fond desire to tread in vain
  30. along a lengthening road, yet faint and fall
  31. when straining to the utmost, and the tongue
  32. is palsied, and the body's wonted power
  33. obeys not, and we have no speech or cry:
  34. so unto Turnus, whatsoever way
  35. his valiant spirit moved, the direful Fiend
  36. stopped in the act his will. Swift-changing thoughts
  37. rush o'er his soul; on the Rutulian host,
  38. then at the town he glares, shrinks back in fear,
  39. and trembles at th' impending lance; nor sees
  40. what path to fly, what way confront the foe:—
  41. no chariot now, nor sister-charioteer!
  1. Above his faltering terror gleams in air
  2. Aeneas' fatal spear; whose eye perceived
  3. the moment of success, and all whose strength
  4. struck forth: the vast and ponderous rock outflung
  5. from engines which make breach in sieged walls
  6. not louder roars nor breaks in thunder-sound
  7. more terrible; like some black whirlwind flew
  8. the death-delivering spear, and, rending wide
  9. the corselet's edges and the heavy rim
  10. of the last circles of the seven-fold shield,
  11. pierced, hissing, through the thigh. Huge Turnus sinks
  12. o'erwhelmed upon the ground with doubling knee.
  13. Up spring the Rutules, groaning; the whole hill
  14. roars answering round them, and from far and wide
  15. the lofty groves give back an echoing cry.
  16. Lowly, with suppliant eyes, and holding forth
  17. his hand in prayer: “I have my meed,” he cried,
  18. “Nor ask for mercy. Use what Fate has given!
  19. But if a father's grief upon thy heart
  20. have power at all,—for Sire Anchises once
  21. to thee was dear,—I pray thee to show grace
  22. to Daunus in his desolate old age;
  23. and me, or, if thou wilt, my lifeless clay,
  24. to him and his restore. For, lo, thou art
  25. my conqueror! Ausonia's eyes have seen
  26. me suppliant, me fallen. Thou hast made
  27. Lavinia thy bride. Why further urge
  28. our enmity?”With swift and dreadful arms
  29. Aeneas o'er him stood, with rolling eyes,
  30. but his bare sword restraining; for such words
  31. moved on him more and more: when suddenly,
  32. over the mighty shoulder slung, he saw
  33. that fatal baldric studded with bright gold
  34. which youthful Pallas wore, what time he fell
  35. vanquished by Turnus' stroke, whose shoulders now
  36. carried such trophy of a foeman slain.
  37. Aeneas' eyes took sure and slow survey
  38. of spoils that were the proof and memory
  39. of cruel sorrow; then with kindling rage
  40. and terrifying look, he cried, “Wouldst thou,
  41. clad in a prize stripped off my chosen friend,
  42. escape this hand? In this thy mortal wound
  43. 't is Pallas has a victim; Pallas takes
  44. the lawful forfeit of thy guilty blood!”
  45. He said, and buried deep his furious blade
  46. in the opposer's heart. The failing limbs
  47. sank cold and helpless; and the vital breath
  48. with moan of wrath to darkness fled away.