Aeneid

Virgil

Vergil. Aeneid. John Dryden. trans.

  1. Aeneas straightway by the leftward cliff
  2. Beheld a spreading rampart, high begirt
  3. With triple wall, and circling round it ran
  4. A raging river of swift floods of flame,
  5. Infernal Phlegethon, which whirls along
  6. Loud-thundering rocks. A mighty gate is there
  7. Columned in adamant; no human power,
  8. Nor even the gods, against this gate prevail.
  9. Tall tower of steel it has; and seated there
  10. Tisiphone, in blood-flecked pall arrayed,
  11. Sleepless forever, guards the entering way.
  12. Hence groans are heard, fierce cracks of lash and scourge,
  13. Loud-clanking iron links and trailing chains.
  14. Aeneas motionless with horror stood
  15. o'erwhelmed at such uproar. “0 virgin, say
  16. What shapes of guilt are these? What penal woe
  17. Harries them thus? What wailing smites the air?”
  18. To whom the Sibyl, “Far-famed prince of Troy,
  19. The feet of innocence may never pass
  20. Into this house of sin. But Hecate,
  21. When o'er th' Avernian groves she gave me power,
  22. Taught me what penalties the gods decree,
  23. And showed me all. There Cretan Rhadamanth
  24. His kingdom keeps, and from unpitying throne
  25. Chastises and lays bare the secret sins
  26. Of mortals who, exulting in vain guile,
  27. Elude till death, their expiation due.
  28. There, armed forever with her vengeful scourge,
  29. Tisiphone, with menace and affront,
  30. The guilty swarm pursues; in her left hand
  31. She lifts her angered serpents, while she calls
  32. A troop of sister-furies fierce as she.
  33. Then, grating loud on hinge of sickening sound,
  34. Hell's portals open wide. 0, dost thou see
  35. What sentinel upon that threshold sits,
  36. What shapes of fear keep guard upon that gloom?
  1. Far, far within the dragon Hydra broods
  2. With half a hundred mouths, gaping and black;
  3. And Tartarus slopes downward to the dark
  4. Twice the whole space that in the realms of light
  5. Th' Olympian heaven above our earth aspires. —
  6. Here Earth's first offspring, the Titanic brood,
  7. Roll lightning-blasted in the gulf profound;
  8. The twin , colossal shades,
  9. Came on my view; their hands made stroke at Heaven
  10. And strove to thrust Jove from his seat on high.
  11. I saw Salmoneus his dread stripes endure,
  12. Who dared to counterfeit Olympian thunder
  13. And Jove's own fire. In chariot of four steeds,
  14. Brandishing torches, he triumphant rode
  15. Through throngs of Greeks, o'er Elis' sacred way,
  16. Demanding worship as a god. 0 fool!
  17. To mock the storm's inimitable flash—
  18. With crash of hoofs and roll of brazen wheel!
  19. But mightiest Jove from rampart of thick cloud
  20. Hurled his own shaft, no flickering, mortal flame,
  21. And in vast whirl of tempest laid him low.
  22. Next unto these, on Tityos I looked,
  23. Child of old Earth, whose womb all creatures bears:
  24. Stretched o'er nine roods he lies; a vulture huge
  25. Tears with hooked beak at his immortal side,
  26. Or deep in entrails ever rife with pain
  27. Gropes for a feast, making his haunt and home
  28. In the great Titan bosom; nor will give
  29. To ever new-born flesh surcease of woe.
  30. Why name Ixion and Pirithous,
  31. The Lapithae, above whose impious brows
  32. A crag of flint hangs quaking to its fall,
  33. As if just toppling down, while couches proud,
  34. Propped upon golden pillars, bid them feast
  35. In royal glory: but beside them lies
  36. The eldest of the Furies, whose dread hands
  37. Thrust from the feast away, and wave aloft
  38. A flashing firebrand, with shrieks of woe.
  39. Here in a prison-house awaiting doom
  40. Are men who hated, long as life endured,
  41. Their brothers, or maltreated their gray sires,
  42. Or tricked a humble friend; the men who grasped
  43. At hoarded riches, with their kith and kin
  44. Not sharing ever—an unnumbered throng;
  45. Here slain adulterers be; and men who dared
  46. To fight in unjust cause, and break all faith
  47. With their own lawful lords. Seek not to know
  48. What forms of woe they feel, what fateful shape
  49. Of retribution hath o'erwhelmed them there.
  50. Some roll huge boulders up; some hang on wheels,
  51. Lashed to the whirling spokes; in his sad seat
  52. Theseus is sitting, nevermore to rise;
  53. Unhappy Phlegyas uplifts his voice
  54. In warning through the darkness, calling loud,
  55. ‘0, ere too late, learn justice and fear God!’
  56. Yon traitor sold his country, and for gold
  57. Enchained her to a tyrant, trafficking
  58. In laws, for bribes enacted or made void;
  59. Another did incestuously take
  60. His daughter for a wife in lawless bonds.
  61. All ventured some unclean, prodigious crime;
  62. And what they dared, achieved. I could not tell,
  63. Not with a hundred mouths, a hundred tongues,
  64. Or iron voice, their divers shapes of sin,
  65. Nor call by name the myriad pangs they bear.”
  1. So spake Apollo's aged prophetess.
  2. “Now up and on!” she cried. “Thy task fulfil!
  3. We must make speed. Behold yon arching doors
  4. Yon walls in furnace of the Cyclops forged!
  5. 'T is there we are commanded to lay down
  6. Th' appointed offering.” So, side by side,
  7. Swift through the intervening dark they strode,
  8. And, drawing near the portal-arch, made pause.
  9. Aeneas, taking station at the door,
  10. Pure, lustral waters o'er his body threw,
  11. And hung for garland there the Golden Bough.
  1. Now, every rite fulfilled, and tribute due
  2. Paid to the sovereign power of Proserpine,
  3. At last within a land delectable
  4. Their journey lay, through pleasurable bowers
  5. Of groves where all is joy,—a blest abode!
  6. An ampler sky its roseate light bestows
  7. On that bright land, which sees the cloudless beam
  8. Of suns and planets to our earth unknown.
  9. On smooth green lawns, contending limb with limb,
  10. Immortal athletes play, and wrestle long
  11. 'gainst mate or rival on the tawny sand;
  12. With sounding footsteps and ecstatic song,
  13. Some thread the dance divine: among them moves
  14. The bard of Thrace, in flowing vesture clad,
  15. Discoursing seven-noted melody,
  16. Who sweeps the numbered strings with changeful hand,
  17. Or smites with ivory point his golden lyre.
  18. Here Trojans be of eldest, noblest race,
  19. Great-hearted heroes, born in happier times,
  20. Ilus, Assaracus, and Dardanus,
  21. Illustrious builders of the Trojan town.
  22. Their arms and shadowy chariots he views,
  23. And lances fixed in earth, while through the fields
  24. Their steeds without a bridle graze at will.
  25. For if in life their darling passion ran
  26. To chariots, arms, or glossy-coated steeds,
  27. The self-same joy, though in their graves, they feel.
  28. Lo! on the left and right at feast reclined
  29. Are other blessed souls, whose chorus sings
  30. Victorious paeans on the fragrant air
  31. Of laurel groves; and hence to earth outpours
  32. Eridanus, through forests rolling free.
  33. Here dwell the brave who for their native land
  34. Fell wounded on the field; here holy priests
  35. Who kept them undefiled their mortal day;
  36. And poets, of whom the true-inspired song
  37. Deserved Apollo's name; and all who found
  38. New arts, to make man's life more blest or fair;
  39. Yea! here dwell all those dead whose deeds bequeath
  40. Deserved and grateful memory to their kind.
  41. And each bright brow a snow-white fillet wears.
  42. Unto this host the Sibyl turned, and hailed
  43. Musaeus, midmost of a numerous throng,
  44. Who towered o'er his peers a shoulder higher:
  45. “0 spirits blest! 0 venerable bard!
  46. Declare what dwelling or what region holds
  47. Anchises, for whose sake we twain essayed
  48. Yon passage over the wide streams of hell.”
  49. And briefly thus the hero made reply:
  50. “No fixed abode is ours. In shadowy groves
  51. We make our home, or meadows fresh and fair,
  52. With streams whose flowery banks our couches be.
  53. But you, if thitherward your wishes turn,
  54. Climb yonder hill, where I your path may show.”
  55. So saying, he strode forth and led them on,
  56. Till from that vantage they had prospect fair
  57. Of a wide, shining land; thence wending down,
  58. They left the height they trod;for far below
  59. Father Anchises in a pleasant vale
  60. Stood pondering, while his eyes and thought surveyed
  61. A host of prisoned spirits, who there abode
  62. Awaiting entrance to terrestrial air.
  63. And musing he reviewed the legions bright
  64. Of his own progeny and offspring proud—
  65. Their fates and fortunes, virtues and great deeds.
  66. Soon he discerned Aeneas drawing nigh
  67. o'er the green slope, and, lifting both his hands
  68. In eager welcome, spread them swiftly forth.
  69. Tears from his eyelids rained, and thus he spoke:
  70. “Art here at last? Hath thy well-proven love
  71. Of me thy sire achieved yon arduous way?
  72. Will Heaven, beloved son, once more allow
  73. That eye to eye we look? and shall I hear
  74. Thy kindred accent mingling with my own?
  75. I cherished long this hope. My prophet-soul
  76. Numbered the lapse of days, nor did my thought
  77. Deceive. 0, o'er what lands and seas wast driven
  78. To this embrace! What perils manifold
  79. Assailed thee, 0 my son, on every side!
  80. How long I trembled, lest that Libyan throne
  81. Should work thee woe!”
  82. Aeneas thus replied:
  83. “Thine image, sire, thy melancholy shade,
  84. Came oft upon my vision, and impelled
  85. My journey hitherward. Our fleet of ships
  86. Lies safe at anchor in the Tuscan seas.
  87. Come, clasp my hand! Come, father, I implore,
  88. And heart to heart this fond embrace receive!”
  89. So speaking, all his eyes suffused with tears;
  90. Thrice would his arms in vain that shape enfold.
  91. Thrice from the touch of hand the vision fled,
  92. Like wafted winds or likest hovering dreams.
  1. After these things Aeneas was aware
  2. Of solemn groves in one deep, distant vale,
  3. Where trees were whispering, and forever flowed
  4. The river Lethe, through its land of calm.
  5. Nations unnumbered roved and haunted there:
  6. As when, upon a windless summer morn,
  7. The bees afield among the rainbow flowers
  8. Alight and sip, or round the lilies pure
  9. Pour forth in busy swarm, while far diffused
  10. Their murmured songs from all the meadows rise.
  11. Aeneas in amaze the wonder views,
  12. And fearfully inquires of whence and why;
  13. What yonder rivers be; what people press,
  14. Line after line, on those dim shores along.
  15. Said Sire Anchises: “Yonder thronging souls
  16. To reincarnate shape predestined move.
  17. Here, at the river Lethe's wave, they quaff
  18. Care-quelling floods, and long oblivion.
  19. Of these I shall discourse, and to thy soul
  20. Make visible the number and array
  21. Of my posterity; so shall thy heart
  22. In Italy, thy new-found home, rejoice.”
  23. “0 father,” said Aeneas, “must I deem
  24. That from this region souls exalted rise
  25. To upper air, and shall once more return
  26. To cumbering flesh? 0, wherefore do they feel,
  27. Unhappy ones, such fatal lust to live?”
  28. “I speak, my son, nor make thee longer doubt,”
  29. Anchises said, and thus the truth set forth,
  30. In ordered words from point to point unfolding:
  1. “Know first that heaven and earth and ocean's plain,
  2. The moon's bright orb, and stars of Titan birth
  3. Are nourished by one Life; one primal Mind,
  4. Immingled with the vast and general frame,
  5. Fills every part and stirs the mighty whole.
  6. Thence man and beast, thence creatures of the air,
  7. And all the swarming monsters that be found
  8. Beneath the level of the marbled sea;
  9. A fiery virtue, a celestial power,
  10. Their native seeds retain; but bodies vile,
  11. With limbs of clay and members born to die,
  12. Encumber and o'ercloud; whence also spring
  13. Terrors and passions, suffering and joy;
  14. For from deep darkness and captivity
  15. All gaze but blindly on the radiant world.
  16. Nor when to life's last beam they bid farewell
  17. May sufferers cease from pain, nor quite be freed
  18. From all their fleshly plagues; but by fixed law,
  19. The strange, inveterate taint works deeply in.
  20. For this, the chastisement of evils past
  21. Is suffered here, and full requital paid.
  22. Some hang on high, outstretched to viewless winds;
  23. For some their sin's contagion must be purged
  24. In vast ablution of deep-rolling seas,
  25. Or burned away in fire. Each man receives
  26. His ghostly portion in the world of dark;
  27. But thence to realms Elysian we go free,
  28. Where for a few these seats of bliss abide,
  29. Till time's long lapse a perfect orb fulfils,
  30. And takes all taint away, restoring so
  31. The pure, ethereal soul's first virgin fire.
  32. At last, when the millennial aeon strikes,
  33. God calls them forth to yon Lethaean stream,
  34. In numerous host, that thence, oblivious all,
  35. They may behold once more the vaulted sky,
  36. And willingly to shapes of flesh return.”
  1. So spoke Anchises; then led forth his son,
  2. The Sibyl with him, to the assembled shades
  3. (A voiceful throng), and on a lofty mound
  4. His station took, whence plainly could be seen
  5. The long procession, and each face descried.
  1. “Hark now! for of the glories I will tell
  2. That wait our Dardan blood; of our sons' sons
  3. Begot upon the old Italian breed,
  4. Who shall be mighty spirits, and prolong
  5. Our names, their heritage. I will unfold
  6. The story, and reveal the destined years.
  7. Yon princeling, thou beholdest leaning there
  8. Upon a royal lance, shall next emerge
  9. Into the realms of day. He is the first
  10. Of half-Italian strain, the last-born heir
  11. To thine old age by fair Lavinia given,
  12. Called Silvius, a royal Alban name
  13. (Of sylvan birth and sylvan nurture he),
  14. A king himself and sire of kings to come,
  15. By whom our race in Alba Longa reign.
  16. Next Procas stands, our Trojan people's boast;
  17. Capys and Numitor, and, named like thee,
  18. Aeneas Sylvius, like thee renowned
  19. For faithful honor and for deeds of war,
  20. When he ascends at last his Alban throne.
  21. Behold what warrior youth they be! How strong
  22. Their goodly limbs! Above their shaded brows
  23. The civic oak they wear! For thee they build
  24. Nomentum, and the walls of Gabii,
  25. Fidena too, and on the mountains pile
  26. Collatia's citadels, Pometii,
  27. Bola and Cora, Castrum-Inui—
  28. Such be the names the nameless lands shall bear.
  29. See, in that line of sires the son of Mars,
  30. Great Romulus, of Ilian mother born,
  31. From far-descended line of Trojan kings!
  32. See from his helm the double crest uprear,
  33. While his celestial father in his mien
  34. Shows forth his birth divine! Of him, my son,
  35. Great Rome shall rise, and, favored of his star,
  36. Have power world-wide, and men of godlike mind.
  37. She clasps her seven hills in single wall,
  38. Proud mother of the brave! So Cybele,
  39. The Berecynthian goddess, castle-crowned,
  40. On through the Phrygian kingdoms speeds her car,
  41. Exulting in her hundred sons divine,
  42. All numbered with the gods, all throned on high.
  43. “Let now thy visionary glance look long
  44. On this thy race, these Romans that be thine.
  45. Here Caesar, of Iulus' glorious seed,
  46. Behold ascending to the world of light!
  47. Behold, at last, that man, for this is he,
  48. So oft unto thy listening ears foretold,
  49. Augustus Caesar, kindred unto Jove.
  50. He brings a golden age; he shall restore
  51. Old Saturn's sceptre to our Latin land,
  52. And o'er remotest Garamant and Ind
  53. His sway extend; the fair dominion
  54. outruns th' horizon planets, yea, beyond
  55. The sun's bright path, where Atlas' shoulder bears
  56. Yon dome of heaven set thick with burning stars.
  57. Against his coming the far Caspian shores
  58. Break forth in oracles; the Maeotian land
  59. Trembles, and all the seven-fold mouths of Nile.
  1. Not o'er domain so wide Alcides passed,
  2. Although the brazen-footed doe he slew
  3. And stilled the groves of Erymanth, and bade
  4. The beast of Lerna at his arrows quail.
  5. Nor half so far triumphant Baechus drove,
  6. With vine-entwisted reins, his frolic team
  7. Of tigers from the tall-topped Indian hill.
  8. “Still do we doubt if heroes' deeds can fill
  9. A realm so wide? Shall craven fear constrain
  10. Thee or thy people from Ausonia's shore?
  11. Look, who is he I may discern from far
  12. By olive-branch and holy emblems known?
  13. His flowing locks and hoary beard, behold!
  14. Fit for a Roman king! By hallowed laws
  15. He shall found Rome anew—from mean estate
  16. In lowly Cures led to mightier sway.
  17. But after him arises one whose reign
  18. Shall wake the land from slumber: Tullus then
  19. Shall stir slack chiefs to battle, rallying
  20. His hosts which had forgot what triumphs be.
  21. Him boastful Ancus follows hard upon,
  22. o'erflushed with his light people's windy praise.
  23. Wilt thou see Tarquins now? And haughty hand
  24. Of vengeful Brutus seize the signs of power?
  25. He first the consul's name shall take; he first
  26. Th' inexorable fasces sternly bear.
  27. When his own sons in rash rebellion join,
  28. The father and the judge shall sentence give
  29. In beauteous freedom's cause—unhappy he!
  30. Howe'er the age to come the story tell,
  31. 't will bless such love of honor and of Rome.
  32. See Decius, sire and son, the Drusi, see!
  33. Behold Torquatus with his axe! Look where
  34. Camillus brings the Gallic standards home!
  35. “But who are these in glorious armor clad
  36. And equal power? In this dark world of cloud
  37. Their souls in concord move;—but woe is me!
  38. What duel 'twixt them breaks, when by and by
  39. The light of life is theirs, and forth they call
  40. Their long-embattled lines to carnage dire!
  41. Allied by nuptial truce, the sire descends
  42. From Alpine rampart and that castled cliff,
  43. Monoecus by the sea; the son arrays
  44. His hostile legions in the lands of morn.
  45. Forbear, my children! School not your great souls
  46. In such vast wars, nor turn your giant strength
  47. Against the bowels of your native land!
  48. But be thou first, 0 first in mercy! thou
  49. Who art of birth Olympian! Fling away
  50. Thy glorious sword, mine offspring and mine heir!
  51. “Yonder is one whose chariot shall ascend
  52. The laurelled Capitolian steep; he rides
  53. In glory o'er Achaea's hosts laid low,
  54. And Corinth overthrown. There, too, is he
  55. Who shall uproot proud Argos and the towers
  56. Of Agamemnon; vanquishing the heir
  57. Even of Aeacus, the warrior seed
  58. Of Peleus' son; such vengeance shall be wrought
  59. For Troy's slain sires, and violated shrines!
  60. “Or who could fail great Cato's name to tell?
  61. Or, Cossus, thine? or in oblivion leave
  62. The sons of Gracchus? or the Scipios,
  63. Twin thunderbolts of war, and Libya's bane?
  64. Or, more than kingly in his mean abode,
  65. Fabricius? or Serranus at the plough?
  66. Ye Fabii, how far would ye prolong
  67. My weary praise? But see! 'T is Maximus,
  68. Who by wise waiting saves his native land.
  69. “Let others melt and mould the breathing bronze
  70. To forms more fair,—aye! out of marble bring
  71. Features that live; let them plead causes well;
  72. Or trace with pointed wand the cycled heaven,
  73. And hail the constellations as they rise;
  74. But thou, 0 Roman, learn with sovereign sway
  75. To rule the nations. Thy great art shall be
  76. To keep the world in lasting peace, to spare
  77. humbled foe, and crush to earth the proud.”
  1. So did Anchises speak, then, after pause,
  2. Thus to their wondering ears his word prolonged:
  3. “Behold Marcellus, bright with glorious spoil,
  4. In lifted triumph through his warriors move!
  5. The Roman power in tumultuous days
  6. He shall establish; he rides forth to quell
  7. Afric and rebel Gaul; and to the shrine
  8. Of Romulus the third-won trophy brings.”
  9. Then spoke Aeneas, for he now could see
  10. A beauteous youth in glittering dress of war,
  11. Though of sad forehead and down-dropping eyes:
  12. “Say, father, who attends the prince? a son?
  13. Or of his greatness some remoter heir?
  14. How his friends praise him, and how matchless he!
  15. But mournful night Tests darkly o'er his brow.”
  16. With brimming eyes Anchises answer gave:
  17. “Ask not, 0 son, what heavy weight of woe
  18. Thy race shall bear, when fate shall just reveal
  19. This vision to the world, then yield no more.
  20. 0 gods above, too glorious did ye deem
  21. The seed of Rome, had this one gift been sure?
  22. The lamentation of a multitude
  23. Arises from the field of Mars, and strikes
  24. The city's heart. 0 Father Tiber, see
  25. What pomp of sorrow near the new-made tomb
  26. Beside thy fleeting stream! What Ilian youth
  27. Shall e'er his Latin kindred so advance
  28. In hope of glory? When shall the proud land
  29. Of Romulus of such a nursling boast?
  30. Ah, woe' is me! 0 loyal heart and true!
  31. 0 brave, right arm invincible! What foe
  32. Had 'scaped his onset in the shock of arms,
  33. Whether on foot he strode, or if he spurred
  34. The hot flanks of his war-horse flecked with foam?
  35. 0 lost, lamented child! If thou evade
  36. Thy evil star, Marcellus thou shalt be.
  37. 0 bring me lilies! Bring with liberal hand!
  38. Sad purple blossoms let me throw—the shade
  39. Of my own kin to honor, heaping high
  40. My gifts upon his grave! So let me pay
  41. An unavailing vow!”
  42. Then, far and wide
  43. Through spacious fields of air, they wander free,
  44. Witnessing all; Anchises guides his son
  45. From point to point, and quickens in his mind
  46. Hunger for future fame. Of wars he tells
  47. Soon imminent; of fair Laurentum's tribes;
  48. Of King Latinus' town; and shows what way
  49. Each task and hardship to prevent, or bear.
  1. Now Sleep has portals twain, whereof the one
  2. Is horn, they say, and easy exit gives
  3. To visions true; the other, gleaming white
  4. With polished ivory, the.dead employ
  5. To people night with unsubstantial dreams.
  6. Here now Anchises bids his son farewell;
  7. And with Sibylla, his companion sage,
  8. Up through that ivory portal lets him rise.
  9. Back to his fleet and his dear comrades all
  10. Aeneas hastes.Then hold they their straight course
  11. Into Caieta's bay. An anchor holds
  12. Each lofty prow; the sterns stand firm on shore.