Aeneid

Virgil

Vergil. Aeneid. John Dryden. trans.

  1. When Asia's power and Priam's race and throne,
  2. though guiltless, were cast down by Heaven's decree,
  3. when Ilium proud had fallen, and Neptune's Troy
  4. in smouldering ash lay level with the ground,
  5. to wandering exile then and regions wild
  6. the gods by many an augury and sign
  7. compelled us forth. We fashioned us a fleet
  8. within Antander's haven, in the shade
  9. of Phrygian Ida's peak (though knowing not
  10. whither our fate would drive, or where afford
  11. a resting-place at last), and my small band
  12. of warriors I arrayed. As soon as smiled
  13. the light of summer's prime, my reverend sire
  14. Anchises bade us on the winds of Fate
  15. to spread all sail. Through tears I saw recede
  16. my native shore, the haven and the plains
  17. where once was Troy. An exile on the seas,
  18. with son and followers and household shrines,
  19. and Troy's great guardian-gods, I took my way.
  1. There is a far-off land where warriors breed,
  2. where Thracians till the boundless plains, and where
  3. the cruel-eyed Lycurgus once was king.
  4. Troy's old ally it was, its deities
  5. had brotherhood with ours before our fall.
  6. Thither I fared, and on its winding shores
  7. set my first walls, though partial Fate opposed
  8. our entrance there. In memory of my name
  9. I called its people the Aeneadae.
  1. Unto Dione's daughter, and all gods
  2. who blessed our young emprise, due gifts were paid;
  3. and unto the supreme celestial King
  4. I slew a fair white bull beside the sea.
  5. But haply near my place of sacrifice
  6. a mound was seen, and on the summit grew
  7. a copse of corner and a myrtle tree,
  8. with spear-like limbs outbranched on every side.
  9. This I approached, and tried to rend away
  10. from its deep roots that grove of gloomy green,
  11. and dress my altars in its leafy boughs.
  12. But, horrible to tell, a prodigy
  13. smote my astonished eyes: for the first tree,
  14. which from the earth with broken roots I drew,
  15. dripped black with bloody drops, and gave the ground
  16. dark stains of gore. Cold horror shook my frame,
  17. and every vein within me froze for fear.
  18. Once more I tried from yet another stock
  19. the pliant stem to tear, and to explore
  20. the mystery within,—but yet again
  21. the foul bark oozed with clots of blackest gore!
  22. From my deep-shaken soul I made a prayer
  23. to all the woodland nymphs and to divine
  24. Gradivus, patron of the Thracian plain,
  25. to bless this sight, to lift its curse away.
  26. But when at a third sheaf of myrtle spears
  27. I fell upon my knees, and tugged amain
  28. against the adverse ground (I dread to tell!),
  29. a moaning and a wail from that deep grave
  30. burst forth and murmured in my listening ear:
  31. “Why wound me, great Aeneas, in my woe?
  32. O, spare the dead, nor let thy holy hands
  33. do sacrilege and sin! I, Trojan-born,
  34. was kin of thine. This blood is not of trees.
  35. Haste from this murderous shore, this land of greed.
  36. O, I am Polydorus! Haste away!
  37. Here was I pierced; a crop of iron spears
  38. has grown up o'er my breast, and multiplied
  39. to all these deadly javelins, keen and strong.”
  40. Then stood I, burdened with dark doubt and fear
  41. I quailed, my hair rose and my utterance choked.
  1. For once this Polydorus, with much gold,
  2. ill-fated Priam sent by stealth away
  3. for nurture with the Thracian king, what time
  4. Dardania's war Iooked hopeless, and her towers
  5. were ringed about by unrelenting siege.
  6. That king, when Ilium's cause was ebbing low,
  7. and fortune frowned, gave o'er his plighted faith
  8. to Agamemnon's might and victory;
  9. he scorned all honor and did murder foul
  10. on Polydorus, seizing lawlessly
  11. on all the gold. O, whither at thy will,
  12. curst greed of gold, may mortal hearts be driven?
  13. Soon as my shuddering ceased, I told this tale
  14. of prodigies before the people's chiefs,
  15. who sat in conclave with my kingly sire,
  16. and bade them speak their reverend counsel forth.
  17. All found one voice; to leave that land of sin,
  18. where foul abomination had profaned
  19. a stranger's right; and once more to resign
  20. our fleet unto the tempest and the wave.
  21. But fit and solemn funeral rites were paid
  22. to Polydorus. A high mound we reared
  23. of heaped-up earth, and to his honored shade
  24. built a perpetual altar, sadly dressed
  25. in cypress dark and purple pall of woe.
  26. Our Ilian women wailed with loosened hair;
  27. new milk was sprinkled from a foaming cup,
  28. and from the shallow bowl fresh blood out-poured
  29. upon the sacred ground. So in its tomb
  30. we laid his ghost to rest, and loudly sang,
  31. with prayer for peace, the long, the last farewell.
  1. After these things, when first the friendly sea
  2. looked safe and fair, and o'er its tranquil plain
  3. light-whispering breezes bade us launch away,
  4. my men drew down our galleys to the brine,
  5. thronging the shore. Soon out of port we ran,
  6. and watched the hills and cities fading far.
  7. There is a sacred island in mid-seas,
  8. to fruitful Doris and to Neptune dear,
  9. which grateful Phoebus, wielder of the bow,
  10. the while it drifted loose from land to land,
  11. chained firmly where the crags of Gyaros
  12. and Myconos uptower, and bade it rest
  13. immovable, in scorn of wind and wave.
  14. Thither I sped; by this my weary ships
  15. found undisturbed retreat and haven fair.
  16. To land we came and saw with reverent eyes
  17. Apollo's citadel. King Anius,
  18. his people's king, and priest at Phoebus' fane,
  19. came forth to meet us, wearing on his brow
  20. the fillets and a holy laurel crown.
  21. Unto Anchises he gave greeting kind,
  22. claimed old acquaintance, grasped us by the hand,
  23. and bade us both his roof and welcome share.
  1. Then, kneeling at the shrine of time-worn stone:
  2. “Thou who at Thymbra on the Trojan shore
  3. hast often blessed my prayer, O, give to me
  4. a hearth and home, and to this war-worn band
  5. defensive towers and offspring multiplied
  6. in an abiding city; give to Troy
  7. a second citadel, that shall survive
  8. Achilles' wrath and all our Argive foe.
  9. Whom shall we follow? Whither lies our way?
  10. Where wilt thou grant us an abiding-place?
  11. Send forth, O King, thy voice oracular,
  12. and on our spirits move.” Scarce had I spoke
  13. when sudden trembling through the laurels ran
  14. and smote the holy portals; far and wide
  15. the mighty ridges of the mountain shook,
  16. and from the opening shrine the tripod moaned.
  17. Prostrate to earth we fall, as on our ears
  18. this utterance breaks: “O breed of iron men,
  19. ye sons of Dardanus! the self-same land
  20. where bloomed at first your far-descended stem
  21. shall to its bounteous bosom draw ye home.
  22. Seek out your ancient Mother! There at last
  23. Aeneas' race shall reign on every shore,
  24. and his sons' sons, and all their house to be.”
  25. So Phoebus spoke; and mighty joy uprose
  26. from all my thronging people, who would know
  27. where Phoebus' city lay, and whitherward
  28. the god ordained the wandering tribe's return.
  29. Then spake my father, pondering olden days
  30. and sacred memories of heroes gone:
  31. “Hear, chiefs and princes, what your hopes shall be!
  32. The Isle of Crete, abode of lofty Jove,
  33. rests in the middle sea. Thence Ida soars;
  34. there is the cradle of our race. It boasts
  35. a hundred cities, seats of fruitful power.
  36. Thence our chief sire, if duly I recall
  37. the olden tale, King Teucer sprung, who first
  38. touched on the Trojan shore, and chose his seat
  39. of kingly power. There was no Ilium then
  40. nor towered Pergama; in lowly vales
  41. their dwelling; hence the ancient worship given
  42. to the Protectress of Mount Cybele,
  43. mother of Gods, what time in Ida's grove
  44. the brazen Corybantic cymbals clang,
  45. or sacred silence guards her mystery,
  46. and lions yoked her royal chariot draw.
  47. Up, then, and follow the behests divine!
  48. Pour offering to the winds, and point your keels
  49. unto that realm of Minos. It is near.
  50. if Jove but bless, the third day's dawn should see
  51. our ships at Cretan land.” So, having said,
  52. he slew the victims for each altar's praise.
  53. A bull to Neptune, and a bull to thee,
  54. o beauteous Apollo! A black lamb
  55. unto the clouds and storms; but fleece of snow
  56. to the mild zephyrs was our offering.
  1. The tale was told us that Idomeneus,
  2. from his hereditary kindgom driven,
  3. had left his Crete abandoned, that no foe
  4. now harbored there, but all its dwellings lay
  5. untenanted of man. So forth we sailed
  6. out of the port of Delos, and sped far
  7. along the main. The maenad-haunted hills
  8. of Naxos came in view; the ridges green
  9. of fair Donysa, with Olearos,
  10. and Paros, gleaming white, and Cyclades
  11. scattered among the waves, as close we ran
  12. where thick-strewn islands vex the channelled seas
  13. with rival shout the sailors cheerly called:
  14. “On, comrades! On, to Crete and to our sires!”
  15. Freely behind us blew the friendly winds,
  16. and gave smooth passage to that fabled shore,
  17. the land of the Curetes, friends of Jove.
  18. There eagerly I labored at the walls
  19. of our long-prayed-for city; and its name
  20. was Pergamea; to my Trojan band,
  21. pleased with such name, I gave command to build
  22. altar and hearth, and raise the lofty tower.
  1. But scarce the ships were beached along the strand
  2. (While o'er the isle my busy mariners
  3. ploughed in new fields and took them wives once more, —
  4. I giving homes and laws) when suddenly
  5. a pestilence from some infectious sky
  6. seized on man's flesh, and horribly exhaled
  7. o'er trees and crops a fatal year of plague.
  8. Some breathed their last, while others weak and worn
  9. lived on; the dog-star parched the barren fields;
  10. grass withered, and the sickly, mouldering corn
  11. refused us life. My aged father then
  12. bade us re-cross the waves and re-implore
  13. Apollo's mercy at his island shrine;
  14. if haply of our weariness and woe
  15. he might vouchsafe the end, or bid us find
  16. help for our task, or guidance o'er the sea.
  1. 'T was night, and sleep possessed all breathing things;
  2. when, lo! the sacred effigies divine,
  3. the Phrygian gods which through the flames I bore
  4. from fallen Troy, seemed in a vision clear
  5. to stand before me where I slumbering lay,
  6. bathed in bright beams which from the moon at full
  7. streamed through the latticed wall: and thus they spoke
  8. to soothe my care away. “Apollo's word,
  9. which in far Delos the god meant for thee,
  10. is uttered here. Behold, he sends ourselves
  11. to this thy house, before thy prayer is made.
  12. We from Troy's ashes have companioned thee
  13. in every fight; and we the swollen seas,
  14. guided by thee, in thine own ships have crossed;
  15. our power divine shall set among the stars
  16. thy seed to be, and to thy city give
  17. dominion evermore. For mighty men
  18. go build its mighty walls! Seek not to shun
  19. the hard, long labors of an exile's way.
  20. Change this abode! Not thine this Cretan shore,
  21. nor here would Delian Phoebus have thee bide.
  22. There is a land the roving Greeks have named
  23. Hesperia. It is a storied realm
  24. made mighty by great wars and fruitful land.
  25. Oenotrians had it, and their sons, 't is said,
  26. have called it Italy, a chieftain's name
  27. to a whole region given. That land alone
  28. our true abode can be; for Dardanus
  29. was cradled there, and old Iasius,
  30. their blood the oldest of our ancient line.
  31. Arise! go forth and cheer thy father gray
  32. with the glad tidings! Bid him doubt no more!
  33. Ausonia seek and Corythus; for Jove
  34. denies this Cretan realm to thine and thee.”
  35. I marvelled at the heavenly presences
  36. so vocal and so bright, for 't was not sleep;
  37. but face to face I deemed I could discern
  38. each countenance august and holy brow,
  39. each mantled head; and from my body ran
  40. cold sweat of awe. From my low couch I sprang,
  41. lifting to heaven my suppliant hands and prayer,
  42. and o'er my hearth poured forth libations free.
  43. After th' auspicious offering, I told
  44. Anchises the whole tale in order due.
  45. He owned our stock two-branched, of our great sires
  46. the twofold line, and that his thought had strayed,
  47. in new confusion mingling ancient names;
  48. then spoke: “O son, in Ilium's doom severe
  49. afflicted ever! To my ears alone
  50. this dark vicissitude Cassandra sang.
  51. I mind me now that her wild tongue foretold
  52. such destiny. For oft she called aloud
  53. ‘Hesperia!’ oft ‘Italia's kingdom!’ called.
  54. But who had faith that Teucer's sons should come
  55. to far Hesperia? What mortal ear
  56. gave heed to sad Cassandra's voice divine?
  57. Now Phoebus speaks. Obedient let us be,
  58. and, warned by him, our happier Iot pursue!”
  59. He spoke: with heart of hope we all obeyed;
  60. again we changed abode; and, leaving there
  61. a feeble few, again with spreading sails
  62. we coursed in hollow ship the spacious sea.
  1. When from the deep the shores had faded far,
  2. and only sky and sea were round our way,
  3. full in the zenith hung a purple cloud,
  4. storm-laden, dark as night, and every wave
  5. grew black and angry, while perpetual gales
  6. came rolling o'er the main, and mountain-high
  7. the wreckful surges rose; our ships were hurled
  8. wide o'er the whirling waters; thunder-clouds
  9. and misty murk of night made end of all
  10. the light of heaven, save where the rifted storm
  11. flashed with the oft-reiterate shaft of Jove.
  12. Then went we drifting, beaten from our course,
  13. upon a trackless sea. Not even the eyes
  14. of Palinurus could tell night from noon
  15. or ken our way. Three days of blinding dark,
  16. three nights without a star, we roved the seas;
  17. The fourth, land seemed to rise. Far distant hills
  18. and rolling smoke we saw. Down came our sails,
  19. out flew the oars, and with prompt stroke the crews
  20. swept the dark waves and tossed the crested foam.
  21. From such sea-peril safe, I made the shores
  22. of Strophades,—a name the Grecians gave
  23. to islands in the broad Ionic main, —
  24. the Strophades, where dread Celaeno bides,
  25. with other Harpies, who had quit the halls
  26. of stricken Phineus, and for very fear
  27. fled from the routed feast; no prodigy
  28. more vile than these, nor plague more pitiless
  29. ere rose by wrath divine from Stygian wave;
  30. birds seem they, but with face like woman-kind;
  31. foul-flowing bellies, hands with crooked claws,
  32. and ghastly lips they have, with hunger pale.
  33. Scarce had we made the haven, when, behold!
  34. Fair herds of cattle roaming a wide plain,
  35. and horned goats, untended, feeding free
  36. in pastures green, surprised our happy eyes.
  37. with eager blades we ran to take and slay,
  38. asking of every god, and chicfly Jove,
  39. to share the welcome prize: we ranged a feast,
  40. with turf-built couches and a banquet-board
  41. along the curving strand. But in a trice,
  42. down from the high hills swooping horribly,
  43. the Harpies loudly shrieking, flapped their wings,
  44. snatched at our meats, and with infectious touch
  45. polluted all; infernal was their cry,
  46. the stench most vile. Once more in covert far
  47. beneath a caverned rock, and close concealed
  48. with trees and branching shade, we raised aloft
  49. our tables, altars, and rekindled fires.
  50. Once more from haunts unknown the clamorous flock
  51. from every quarter flew, and seized its prey
  52. with taloned feet and carrion lip most foul.
  53. I called my mates to arms and opened war
  54. on that accursed brood. My band obeyed;
  55. and, hiding in deep grass their swords and shields,
  56. in ambush lay. But presently the foe
  57. swept o'er the winding shore with loud alarm :
  58. then from a sentry-crag, Misenus blew
  59. a signal on his hollow horn. My men
  60. flew to the combat strange, and fain would wound
  61. with martial steel those foul birds of the sea;
  62. but on their sides no wounding blade could fall,
  63. nor any plume be marred. In swiftest flight
  64. to starry skies they soared, and left on earth
  65. their half-gnawed, stolen feast, and footprints foul.
  66. Celaeno only on a beetling crag
  67. took lofty perch, and, prophetess of ill,
  68. shrieked malediction from her vulture breast:
  69. “Because of slaughtered kine and ravished herd,
  70. sons of Laomedon, have ye made war?
  71. And will ye from their rightful kingdom drive
  72. the guiltless Harpies? Hear, O, hear my word
  73. (Long in your bosoms may it rankle sore!)
  74. which Jove omnipotent to Phoebus gave,
  75. Phoebus to me: a word of doom, which I,
  76. the Furies' elder sister, here unfold:
  77. ‘To Italy ye fare. The willing winds
  78. your call have heard; and ye shall have your prayer
  79. in some Italian haven safely moored.
  80. But never shall ye rear the circling walls
  81. of your own city, till for this our blood
  82. by you unjustly spilt, your famished jaws
  83. bite at your tables, aye,—and half devour.’”
  1. She spoke: her pinions bore her to the grove,
  2. and she was seen no more. But all my band
  3. shuddered with shock of fear in each cold vein;
  4. their drooping spirits trusted swords no more,
  5. but turned to prayers and offerings, asking grace,
  6. scarce knowing if those creatures were divine,
  7. or but vast birds, ill-omened and unclean.
  8. Father Anchises to the gods in heaven
  9. uplifted suppliant hands, and on that shore
  10. due ritual made, crying aloud; “Ye gods
  11. avert this curse, this evil turn away!
  12. Smile, Heaven, upon your faithful votaries.”
  13. Then bade he launch away, the chain undo,
  14. set every cable free and spread all sail.
  15. O'er the white waves we flew, and took our way
  16. where'er the helmsman or the winds could guide.
  17. Now forest-clad Zacynthus met our gaze,
  18. engirdled by the waves; Dulichium,
  19. same, and Neritos, a rocky steep,
  20. uprose. We passed the cliffs of Ithaca
  21. that called Laertes king, and flung our curse
  22. on fierce Ulysses' hearth and native land.
  23. nigh hoar Leucate's clouded crest we drew,
  24. where Phoebus' temple, feared by mariners,
  25. loomed o'er us; thitherward we steered and reached
  26. the little port and town. Our weary fleet
  27. dropped anchor, and lay beached along the strand.
  1. So, safe at land, our hopeless peril past,
  2. we offered thanks to Jove, and kindled high
  3. his altars with our feast and sacrifice;
  4. then, gathering on Actium's holy shore,
  5. made fair solemnities of pomp and game.
  6. My youth, anointing their smooth, naked limbs,
  7. wrestled our wonted way. For glad were we,
  8. who past so many isles of Greece had sped
  9. and 'scaped our circling foes. Now had the sun
  10. rolled through the year's full circle, and the waves
  11. were rough with icy winter's northern gales.
  12. I hung for trophy on that temple door
  13. a swelling shield of brass (which once was worn
  14. by mighty Abas) graven with this line:
  15. SPOIL OF AENEAS FROM TRIUMPHANT FOES.
  16. Then from that haven I command them forth;
  17. my good crews take the thwarts, smiting the sea
  18. with rival strokes, and skim the level main.
  19. Soon sank Phaeacia's wind-swept citadels
  20. out of our view; we skirted the bold shores
  21. of proud Epirus, in Chaonian land,
  22. and made Buthrotum's port and towering town.
  1. Here wondrous tidings met us, that the son
  2. of Priam, Helenus, held kingly sway
  3. o'er many Argive cities, having wed
  4. the Queen of Pyrrhus, great Achilles' son,
  5. and gained his throne; and that Andromache
  6. once more was wife unto a kindred lord.
  7. Amazement held me; all my bosom burned
  8. to see the hero's face and hear this tale
  9. of strange vicissitude. So up I climbed,
  10. leaving the haven, fleet, and friendly shore.
  11. That self-same hour outside the city walls,
  12. within a grove where flowed the mimic stream
  13. of a new Simois, Andromache,
  14. with offerings to the dead, and gifts of woe,
  15. poured forth libation, and invoked the shade
  16. of Hector, at a tomb which her fond grief
  17. had consecrated to perpetual tears,
  18. though void; a mound of fair green turf it stood,
  19. and near it rose twin altars to his name.
  20. She saw me drawing near; our Trojan helms
  21. met her bewildered eyes, and, terror-struck
  22. at the portentous sight, she swooning fell
  23. and lay cold, rigid, lifeless, till at last,
  24. scarce finding voice, her lips addressed me thus :
  25. “Have I true vision? Bringest thou the word
  26. Of truth, O goddess-born? Art still in flesh?
  27. Or if sweet light be fled, my Hector, where?”
  28. With flood of tears she spoke, and all the grove
  29. reechoed to her cry. Scarce could I frame
  30. brief answer to her passion, but replied
  31. with broken voice and accents faltering:
  32. “I live, 't is true. I lengthen out my days
  33. through many a desperate strait. But O, believe
  34. that what thine eyes behold is vision true.
  35. Alas! what lot is thine, that wert unthroned
  36. from such a husband's side? What after-fate
  37. could give thee honor due? Andromache,
  38. once Hector's wife, is Pyrrhus still thy lord?”
  1. With drooping brows and lowly voice she cried :
  2. “O, happy only was that virgin blest,
  3. daughter of Priam, summoned forth to die
  4. in sight of Ilium, on a foeman's tomb!
  5. No casting of the lot her doom decreed,
  6. nor came she to her conqueror's couch a slave.
  7. Myself from burning Ilium carried far
  8. o'er seas and seas, endured the swollen pride
  9. of that young scion of Achilles' race,
  10. and bore him as his slave a son. When he
  11. sued for Hermione, of Leda's line,
  12. and nuptial-bond with Lacedaemon's Iords,
  13. I, the slave-wife, to Helenus was given,
  14. and slave was wed with slave. But afterward
  15. Orestes, crazed by loss of her he loved,
  16. and ever fury-driven from crime to crime,
  17. crept upon Pyrrhus in a careless hour
  18. and murdered him upon his own hearth-stone.
  19. Part of the realm of Neoptolemus
  20. fell thus to Helenus, who called his lands
  21. Chaonian, and in Trojan Chaon's name
  22. his kingdom is Chaonia. Yonder height
  23. is Pergamus, our Ilian citadel.
  24. What power divine did waft thee to our shore,
  25. not knowing whither? Tell me of the boy
  26. Ascanius! Still breathes he earthly air?
  27. In Troy she bore him—is he mourning still
  28. that mother ravished from his childhood's eyes?
  29. what ancient valor stirs the manly soul
  30. of thine own son, of Hector's sister's child?”
  31. Thus poured she forth full many a doleful word
  32. with unavailing tears. But as she ceased,
  33. out of the city gates appeared the son
  34. of Priam, Helenus, with princely train.
  35. He welcomed us as kin, and glad at heart
  36. gave guidance to his house, though oft his words
  37. fell faltering and few, with many a tear.
  38. Soon to a humbler Troy I lift my eyes,
  39. and of a mightier Pergamus discern
  40. the towering semblance; there a scanty stream
  41. runs on in Xanthus' name, and my glad arms
  42. the pillars of a Scaean gate embrace.
  43. My Teucrian mariners with welcome free
  44. enjoyed the friendly town; his ample halls
  45. our royal host threw wide; full wine-cups flowed
  46. within the palace; golden feast was spread,
  47. and many a goblet quaffed. Day followed day,
  48. while favoring breezes beckoned us to sea,
  49. and swelled the waiting canvas as they blew.
  50. Then to the prophet-priest I made this prayer:
  51. “Offspring of Troy, interpreter of Heaven!
  52. Who knowest Phoebus' power, and readest well
  53. the tripod, stars, and vocal laurel leaves
  54. to Phoebus dear, who know'st of every bird
  55. the ominous swift wing or boding song,
  56. o, speak! For all my course good omens showed,
  57. and every god admonished me to sail
  58. in quest of Italy's far-distant shores;
  59. but lone Celaeno, heralding strange woe,
  60. foretold prodigious horror, vengeance dark,
  61. and vile, unnatural hunger. How elude
  62. such perils? Or by what hard duty done
  63. may such huge host of evils vanquished be?”
  64. Then Helenus, with sacrifice of kine
  65. in order due, implored the grace of Heaven,
  66. unloosed the fillets from his sacred brow,
  67. and led me, Phoebus, to thy temple's door,
  68. awed by th' o'er-brooding godhead, whose true priest,
  69. with lips inspired, made this prophetic song:
  1. “O goddess-born, indubitably shines
  2. the blessing of great gods upon thy path
  3. across the sea; the heavenly King supreme
  4. thy destiny ordains; 't is he unfolds
  5. the grand vicissitude, which now pursues
  6. a course immutable. I will declare
  7. of thy large fate a certain bounded part;
  8. that fearless thou may'st view the friendly sea,
  9. and in Ausonia's haven at the last
  10. find thee a fixed abode. Than this no more
  11. the Sister Fates to Helenus unveil,
  12. and Juno, Saturn's daughter, grants no more.
  13. First, that Italia (which nigh at hand
  14. thou deemest, and wouldst fondly enter in
  15. by yonder neighboring bays) lies distant far
  16. o'er trackless course and long, with interval
  17. of far-extended lands. Thine oars must ply
  18. the waves of Sicily; thy fleet must cleave
  19. the large expanse of that Ausonian brine;
  20. the waters of Avernus thou shalt see,
  21. and that enchanted island where abides
  22. Aeaean Circe, ere on tranquil shore
  23. thou mayest plant thy nation. Lo! a sign
  24. I tell thee; hide this wonder in thy heart:
  25. Beside a certain stream's sequestered wave,
  26. thy troubled eyes, in shadowy flex grove
  27. that fringes on the river, shall descry
  28. a milk-white, monstrous sow, with teeming brood
  29. of thirty young, new littered, white like her,
  30. all clustering at her teats, as prone she lies.
  31. There is thy city's safe, predestined ground,
  32. and there thy labors' end. Vex not thy heart
  33. about those ‘tables bitten’, for kind fate
  34. thy path will show, and Phoebus bless thy prayer.
  35. But from these lands and yon Italian shore,
  36. where from this sea of ours the tide sweeps in,
  37. escape and flee, for all its cities hold
  38. pernicious Greeks, thy foes: the Locri there
  39. have builded walls; the wide Sallentine fields
  40. are filled with soldiers of Idomeneus;
  41. there Meliboean Philoctetes' town,
  42. petilia, towers above its little wall.
  43. Yea, even when thy fleet has crossed the main,
  44. and from new altars built along the shore
  45. thy vows to Heaven are paid, throw o'er thy head
  46. a purple mantle, veiling well thy brows,
  47. lest, while the sacrificial fire ascends
  48. in offering to the gods, thine eye behold
  49. some face of foe, and every omen fail.
  50. Let all thy people keep this custom due,
  51. and thou thyself be faithful; let thy seed
  52. forever thus th' immaculate rite maintain.
  53. After departing hence, thou shalt be blown
  54. toward Sicily, and strait Pelorus' bounds
  55. will open wide. Then take the leftward way:
  56. those leftward waters in long circuit sweep,
  57. far from that billowy coast, the opposing side.
  58. These regions, so they tell, in ages gone
  59. by huge and violent convulsion riven
  60. (Such mutability is wrought by time),
  61. sprang wide asunder; where the doubled strand
  62. sole and continuous lay, the sea's vast power
  63. burst in between, and bade its waves divide
  64. Hesperia's bosom from fair Sicily,
  65. while with a straitened firth it interflowed
  66. their fields and cities sundered shore from shore.
  67. The right side Scylla keeps; the left is given
  68. to pitiless Charybdis, who draws down
  69. to the wild whirling of her steep abyss
  70. the monster waves, and ever and anon
  71. flings them at heaven, to lash the tranquil stars.
  72. But Scylla, prisoned in her eyeless cave,
  73. thrusts forth her face, and pulls upon the rocks
  74. ship after ship; the parts that first be seen
  75. are human; a fair-breasted virgin she,
  76. down to the womb; but all that lurks below
  77. is a huge-membered fish, where strangely join
  78. the flukes of dolphins and the paunch of wolves.
  79. Better by far to round the distant goal
  80. of the Trinacrian headlands, veering wide
  81. from thy true course, than ever thou shouldst see
  82. that shapeless Scylla in her vaulted cave,
  83. where grim rocks echo her dark sea-dogs' roar.
  84. Yea, more, if aught of prescience be bestowed
  85. on Helenus, if trusted prophet he,
  86. and Phoebus to his heart true voice have given,
  87. o goddess-born, one counsel chief of all
  88. I tell thee oft, and urge it o'er and o'er.
  89. To Juno's godhead lift thy Ioudest prayer;
  90. to Juno chant a fervent votive song,
  91. and with obedient offering persuade
  92. that potent Queen. So shalt thou, triumphing,
  93. to Italy be sped, and leave behind
  94. Trinacria.When wafted to that shore,
  95. repair to Cumae's hill, and to the Lake
  96. Avernus with its whispering grove divine.
  97. There shalt thou see a frenzied prophetess,
  98. who from beneath the hollow scarped crag
  99. sings oracles, or characters on leaves
  100. mysterious names. Whate'er the virgin writes,
  101. on leaves inscribing the portentous song,
  102. she sets in order, and conceals them well
  103. in her deep cave, where they abide unchanged
  104. in due array. Yet not a care has she,
  105. if with some swinging hinge a breeze sweeps in,
  106. to catch them as they whirl: if open door
  107. disperse them flutterlig through the hollow rock,
  108. she will not link their shifted sense anew,
  109. nor re-invent her fragmentary song.
  110. Oft her unanswered votaries depart,
  111. scorning the Sibyl's shrine. But deem not thou
  112. thy tarrying too Iong, whate'er thy stay.
  113. Though thy companions chide, though winds of power
  114. invite thy ship to sea, and well would speed
  115. the swelling sail, yet to that Sibyl go.
  116. Pray that her own lips may sing forth for thee
  117. the oracles, uplifting her dread voice
  118. in willing prophecy. Her rede shall tell
  119. of Italy, its wars and tribes to be,
  120. and of what way each burden and each woe
  121. may be escaped, or borne. Her favoring aid
  122. will grant swift, happy voyages to thy prayer.
  123. Such counsels Heaven to my lips allows.
  124. arise, begone! and by thy glorious deeds
  125. set Troy among the stars! “
  1. So spake the prophet with benignant voice.
  2. Then gifts he bade be brought of heavy gold
  3. and graven ivory, which to our ships
  4. he bade us bear; each bark was Ioaded full
  5. with messy silver and Dodona's pride
  6. of brazen cauldrons; a cuirass he gave
  7. of linked gold enwrought and triple chain;
  8. a noble helmet, too, with flaming crest
  9. and lofty cone, th' accoutrement erewhile
  10. of Neoptolemus. My father too
  11. had fit gifts from the King; whose bounty then
  12. gave steeds and riders; and new gear was sent
  13. to every sea-worn ship, while he supplied
  14. seafarers, kit to all my loyal crews.
  1. Anchises bade us speedily set sail,
  2. nor lose a wind so fair; and answering him,
  3. Apollo's priest made reverent adieu:
  4. “Anchises, honored by the love sublime
  5. of Venus, self and twice in safety borne
  6. from falling Troy, chief care of kindly Heaven,
  7. th' Ausonian shore is thine. Sail thitherward!
  8. For thou art pre-ordained to travel far
  9. o'er yonder seas; far in the distance lies
  10. that region of Ausonia, Phoebus' voice
  11. to thee made promise of. Onward, I say,
  12. o blest in the exceeding loyal love
  13. of thy dear son! Why keep thee longer now?
  14. Why should my words yon gathering winds detain?”
  15. Likewise Andromache in mournful guise
  16. took last farewell, bringing embroidered robes
  17. of golden woof; a princely Phrygian cloak
  18. she gave Ascanius, vying with the King
  19. in gifts of honor; and threw o'er the boy
  20. the labors of her loom, with words like these:
  21. “Accept these gifts, sweet youth, memorials
  22. of me and my poor handicraft, to prove
  23. th' undying friendship of Andromache,
  24. once Hector's wife. Take these last offerings
  25. of those who are thy kin—O thou that art
  26. of my Astyanax in all this world
  27. the only image! His thy lovely eyes!
  28. Thy hands, thy lips, are even what he bore,
  29. and like thy own his youthful bloom would be.”
  30. Thus I made answer, turning to depart
  31. with rising tears: “Live on, and be ye blessed,
  32. whose greatness is accomplished! As for me,
  33. from change to change Fate summons, and I go;
  34. but ye have won repose. No leagues of sea
  35. await your cleaving keel. Not yours the quest
  36. of fading Italy's delusive shore.
  37. Here a new Xanthus and a second Troy
  38. your labor fashioned and your eyes may see—
  39. more blest, I trust, less tempting to our foes!
  40. If e'er on Tiber and its bordering vales
  41. I safely enter, and these eyes behold
  42. our destined walls, then in fraternal bond
  43. let our two nations live, whose mutual boast
  44. is one Dardanian blood, one common story.
  45. Epirus with Hesperia shall be
  46. one Troy in heart and soul. But this remains
  47. for our sons' sons the happy task and care.”
  1. Forth o'er the seas we sped and kept our course
  2. nigh the Ceraunian headland, where begins
  3. the short sea-passage unto Italy.
  4. Soon sank the sun, while down the shadowed hills
  5. stole deeper gloom; then making shore, we flung
  6. our bodies on a dry, sea-bordering sand,
  7. couched on earth's welcome breast; the oars were ranged
  8. in order due; the tides of slumber dark
  9. o'erflowed our lives. But scarce the chariot
  10. of Night, on wings of swift, obedient Hours,
  11. had touched the middle sky, when wakeful sprang
  12. good Palinurus from his pillowed stone:
  13. with hand at ear he caught each airy gust
  14. and questioned of the winds; the gliding stars
  15. he called by name, as onward they advanced
  16. through the still heaven; Arcturus he beheld,
  17. the Hyades, rain-bringers, the twin Bears,
  18. and vast Orion girt in golden arms.
  19. He blew a trumpet from his ship; our camp
  20. stirred to the signal for embarking; soon
  21. we rode the seas once more with swelling sail.
  1. Scarce had Aurora's purple from the sky
  2. warned off the stars, when Iying very low
  3. along th' horizon, the dimmed hills we saw
  4. of Italy; Achates first gave cry
  5. “Italia!” with answering shouts of joy,
  6. my comrades' voices cried, “Italia, hail!”
  7. Anchises, then, wreathed a great bowl with flowers
  8. and filled with wine, invoking Heaven to bless,
  9. and thus he prayed from our ship's lofty stern:
  10. “O Iords of land and sea and every storm!
  11. Breathe favoring breezes for our onward way!”
  12. Fresh blew the prayed-for winds. A haven fair
  13. soon widened near us; and its heights were crowned
  14. by a Greek fane to Pallas. Yet my men
  15. furled sail and shoreward veered the pointing prow.
  16. the port receding from the orient wave
  17. is curved into a bow; on either side
  18. the jutting headlands toss the salt sea-foam
  19. and hide the bay itself. Like double wall
  20. the towered crags send down protecting arms,
  21. while distant from the shore the temple stands.
  22. Here on a green sward, the first omen given,
  23. I saw four horses grazing through the field,
  24. each white as snow. Father Anchises cried:
  25. “Is war thy gift, O new and alien land?
  26. Horses make war; of war these creatures bode.
  27. Yet oft before the chariot of peace
  28. their swift hoofs go, and on their necks they bear
  29. th' obedient yoke and rein. Therefore a hope
  30. of peace is also ours.” Then we implored
  31. Minerva's mercy, at her sacred shrine,
  32. the mail-clad goddess who gave welcome there;
  33. and at an altar, mantling well our brows
  34. the Phrygian way, as Helenus ordained,
  35. we paid the honors his chief counsel urged,
  36. with blameless rite, to Juno, Argive Queen.
  1. No tarrying now, but after sacrifice
  2. we twirled the sailyards and shook out all sail,
  3. leaving the cities of the sons of Greece
  4. and that distrusted land. Tarentum's bay
  5. soon smiled before us, town of Hercules,
  6. if fame be true; opposing it uptowers
  7. Lacinia's headland unto Juno dear,
  8. the heights of Caulon, and that sailors' bane,
  9. ship-shattering Scylaceum. Thence half seen,
  10. trinacrian Aetna cleaves th' horizon line;
  11. we hear from far the crash of shouting seas,
  12. where lifted billows leap the tide-swept sand.
  13. Father Anchises cried: “'T is none but she—
  14. Charybdis! Helenus this reef foretold,
  15. and rocks of dreadful name. O, fly, my men!
  16. Rise like one man with long, strong sweep of oars!”
  17. Not unobedient they! First Palinure
  18. veered to the leftward wave the willing keel,
  19. and sails and oars together leftward strove.
  20. We shot to skyward on the arching surge,
  21. then, as she sank, dropped deeper than the grave;
  22. thrice bellowed the vast cliffs from vaulted wall;
  23. thrice saw we spouted foam and showers of stars.
  24. After these things both wind and sun did fail;
  25. and weary, worn, not witting of our way,
  26. we drifted shoreward to the Cyclops' land.