|BOOK I||BOOK II||BOOK III||BOOK IV|
|BOOK V||BOOK VI||BOOK VII||BOOK VIII|
|BOOK IX||BOOK X||BOOK XI||BOOK XII|
Arms, and the man I sing, who, forc’d by fate,
And haughty Juno’s unrelenting hate,
Expell’d and exil’d, left the Trojan shore.
Long labors, both by sea and land, he bore,
And in the doubtful war, before he won
The Latian realm, and built the destin’d town;
His banish’d gods restor’d to rites divine,
And settled sure succession in his line,
From whence the race of Alban fathers come,
And the long glories of majestic Rome.
O Muse! the causes and the crimes relate;
What goddess was provok’d, and whence her hate;
For what offense the Queen of Heav’n began
To persecute so brave, so just a man;
Involv’d his anxious life in endless cares,
Expos’d to wants, and hurried into wars!
Can heav’nly minds such high resentment show,
Or exercise their spite in human woe?
Against the Tiber’s mouth, but far away,
An ancient town was seated on the sea;
A Tyrian colony; the people made
Stout for the war, and studious of their trade:
Carthage the name; belov’d by Juno more
Than her own Argos, or the Samian shore.
Here stood her chariot; here, if Heav’n were kind,
The seat of awful empire she design’d.
Yet she had heard an ancient rumor fly,
(Long cited by the people of the sky,)
That times to come should see the Trojan race
Her Carthage ruin, and her tow’rs deface;
Nor thus confin’d, the yoke of sov’reign sway
Should on the necks of all the nations lay.
She ponder’d this, and fear’d it was in fate;
Nor could forget the war she wag’d of late
For conqu’ring Greece against the Trojan state.
Besides, long causes working in her mind,
And secret seeds of envy, lay behind;
Deep graven in her heart the doom remain’d
Of partial Paris, and her form disdain’d;
The grace bestow’d on ravish’d Ganymed,
Electra’s glories, and her injur’d bed.
Each was a cause alone; and all combin’d
To kindle vengeance in her haughty mind.
For this, far distant from the Latian coast
She drove the remnants of the Trojan host;
And sev’n long years th’ unhappy wand’ring train
Were toss’d by storms, and scatter’d thro’ the main.
Such time, such toil, requir’d the Roman name,
Such length of labor for so vast a frame.
Now scarce the Trojan fleet, with sails and oars,
Had left behind the fair Sicilian shores,
Ent’ring with cheerful shouts the wat’ry reign,
And plowing frothy furrows in the main;
When, lab’ring still with endless discontent,
The Queen of Heav’n did thus her fury vent:
“Then am I vanquish’d? must I yield?” said she,
“And must the Trojans reign in Italy?
So Fate will have it, and Jove adds his force;
Nor can my pow’r divert their happy course.
Could angry Pallas, with revengeful spleen,
The Grecian navy burn, and drown the men?
She, for the fault of one offending foe,
The bolts of Jove himself presum’d to throw:
With whirlwinds from beneath she toss’d the ship,
And bare expos’d the bosom of the deep;
Then, as an eagle gripes the trembling game,
The wretch, yet hissing with her father’s flame,
She strongly seiz’d, and with a burning wound
Transfix’d, and naked, on a rock she bound.
But I, who walk in awful state above,
The majesty of heav’n, the sister wife of Jove,
For length of years my fruitless force employ
Against the thin remains of ruin’d Troy!
What nations now to Juno’s pow’r will pray,
Or off’rings on my slighted altars lay?”
Thus rag’d the goddess; and, with fury fraught.
The restless regions of the storms she sought,
Where, in a spacious cave of living stone,
The tyrant Aeolus, from his airy throne,
With pow’r imperial curbs the struggling winds,
And sounding tempests in dark prisons binds.
This way and that th’ impatient captives tend,
And, pressing for release, the mountains rend.
High in his hall th’ undaunted monarch stands,
And shakes his scepter, and their rage commands;
Which did he not, their unresisted sway
Would sweep the world before them in their way;
Earth, air, and seas thro’ empty space would roll,
And heav’n would fly before the driving soul.
In fear of this, the Father of the Gods
Confin’d their fury to those dark abodes,
And lock’d ’em safe within, oppress’d with mountain loads;
Impos’d a king, with arbitrary sway,
To loose their fetters, or their force allay.
To whom the suppliant queen her pray’rs address’d,
And thus the tenor of her suit express’d:
“O Aeolus! for to thee the King of Heav’n
The pow’r of tempests and of winds has giv’n;
Thy force alone their fury can restrain,
And smooth the waves, or swell the troubled main-
A race of wand’ring slaves, abhorr’d by me,
With prosp’rous passage cut the Tuscan sea;
To fruitful Italy their course they steer,
And for their vanquish’d gods design new temples there.
Raise all thy winds; with night involve the skies;
Sink or disperse my fatal enemies.
Twice sev’n, the charming daughters of the main,
Around my person wait, and bear my train:
Succeed my wish, and second my design;
The fairest, Deiopeia, shall be thine,
And make thee father of a happy line.”
To this the god: “‘T is yours, O queen, to will
The work which duty binds me to fulfil.
These airy kingdoms, and this wide command,
Are all the presents of your bounteous hand:
Yours is my sov’reign’s grace; and, as your guest,
I sit with gods at their celestial feast;
Raise tempests at your pleasure, or subdue;
Dispose of empire, which I hold from you.”
He said, and hurl’d against the mountain side
His quiv’ring spear, and all the god applied.
The raging winds rush thro’ the hollow wound,
And dance aloft in air, and skim along the ground;
Then, settling on the sea, the surges sweep,
Raise liquid mountains, and disclose the deep.
South, East, and West with mix’d confusion roar,
And roll the foaming billows to the shore.
The cables crack; the sailors’ fearful cries
Ascend; and sable night involves the skies;
And heav’n itself is ravish’d from their eyes.
Loud peals of thunder from the poles ensue;
Then flashing fires the transient light renew;
The face of things a frightful image bears,
And present death in various forms appears.
Struck with unusual fright, the Trojan chief,
With lifted hands and eyes, invokes relief;
And, “Thrice and four times happy those,” he cried,
“That under Ilian walls before their parents died!
Tydides, bravest of the Grecian train!
Why could not I by that strong arm be slain,
And lie by noble Hector on the plain,
Or great Sarpedon, in those bloody fields
Where Simois rolls the bodies and the shields
Of heroes, whose dismember’d hands yet bear
The dart aloft, and clench the pointed spear!”
Thus while the pious prince his fate bewails,
Fierce Boreas drove against his flying sails,
And rent the sheets; the raging billows rise,
And mount the tossing vessels to the skies:
Nor can the shiv’ring oars sustain the blow;
The galley gives her side, and turns her prow;
While those astern, descending down the steep,
Thro’ gaping waves behold the boiling deep.
Three ships were hurried by the southern blast,
And on the secret shelves with fury cast.
Those hidden rocks th’ Ausonian sailors knew:
They call’d them Altars, when they rose in view,
And show’d their spacious backs above the flood.
Three more fierce Eurus, in his angry mood,
Dash’d on the shallows of the moving sand,
And in mid ocean left them moor’d aland.
Orontes’ bark, that bore the Lycian crew,
(A horrid sight!) ev’n in the hero’s view,
From stem to stern by waves was overborne:
The trembling pilot, from his rudder torn,
Was headlong hurl’d; thrice round the ship was toss’d,
Then bulg’d at once, and in the deep was lost;
And here and there above the waves were seen
Arms, pictures, precious goods, and floating men.
The stoutest vessel to the storm gave way,
And suck’d thro’ loosen’d planks the rushing sea.
Ilioneus was her chief: Alethes old,
Achates faithful, Abas young and bold,
Endur’d not less; their ships, with gaping seams,
Admit the deluge of the briny streams.
Meantime imperial Neptune heard the sound
Of raging billows breaking on the ground.
Displeas’d, and fearing for his wat’ry reign,
He rear’d his awful head above the main,
Serene in majesty; then roll’d his eyes
Around the space of earth, and seas, and skies.
He saw the Trojan fleet dispers’d, distress’d,
By stormy winds and wintry heav’n oppress’d.
Full well the god his sister’s envy knew,
And what her aims and what her arts pursue.
He summon’d Eurus and the western blast,
And first an angry glance on both he cast;
Then thus rebuk’d: “Audacious winds! from whence
This bold attempt, this rebel insolence?
Is it for you to ravage seas and land,
Unauthoriz’d by my supreme command?
To raise such mountains on the troubled main?
Whom I- but first ‘t is fit the billows to restrain;
And then you shall be taught obedience to my reign.
Hence! to your lord my royal mandate bear-
The realms of ocean and the fields of air
Are mine, not his. By fatal lot to me
The liquid empire fell, and trident of the sea.
His pow’r to hollow caverns is confin’d:
There let him reign, the jailer of the wind,
With hoarse commands his breathing subjects call,
And boast and bluster in his empty hall.”
He spoke; and, while he spoke, he smooth’d the sea,
Dispell’d the darkness, and restor’d the day.
Cymothoe, Triton, and the sea-green train
Of beauteous nymphs, the daughters of the main,
Clear from the rocks the vessels with their hands:
The god himself with ready trident stands,
And opes the deep, and spreads the moving sands;
Then heaves them off the shoals. Where’er he guides
His finny coursers and in triumph rides,
The waves unruffle and the sea subsides.
As, when in tumults rise th’ ignoble crowd,
Mad are their motions, and their tongues are loud;
And stones and brands in rattling volleys fly,
And all the rustic arms that fury can supply:
If then some grave and pious man appear,
They hush their noise, and lend a list’ning ear;
He soothes with sober words their angry mood,
And quenches their innate desire of blood:
So, when the Father of the Flood appears,
And o’er the seas his sov’reign trident rears,
Their fury falls: he skims the liquid plains,
High on his chariot, and, with loosen’d reins,
Majestic moves along, and awful peace maintains.
The weary Trojans ply their shatter’d oars
To nearest land, and make the Libyan shores.
Within a long recess there lies a bay:
An island shades it from the rolling sea,
And forms a port secure for ships to ride;
Broke by the jutting land, on either side,
In double streams the briny waters glide.
Betwixt two rows of rocks a sylvan scene
Appears above, and groves for ever green:
A grot is form’d beneath, with mossy seats,
To rest the Nereids, and exclude the heats.
Down thro’ the crannies of the living walls
The crystal streams descend in murm’ring falls:
No haulsers need to bind the vessels here,
Nor bearded anchors; for no storms they fear.
Sev’n ships within this happy harbor meet,
The thin remainders of the scatter’d fleet.
The Trojans, worn with toils, and spent with woes,
Leap on the welcome land, and seek their wish’d repose.
First, good Achates, with repeated strokes
Of clashing flints, their hidden fire provokes:
Short flame succeeds; a bed of wither’d leaves
The dying sparkles in their fall receives:
Caught into life, in fiery fumes they rise,
And, fed with stronger food, invade the skies.
The Trojans, dropping wet, or stand around
The cheerful blaze, or lie along the ground:
Some dry their corn, infected with the brine,
Then grind with marbles, and prepare to dine.
Aeneas climbs the mountain’s airy brow,
And takes a prospect of the seas below,
If Capys thence, or Antheus he could spy,
Or see the streamers of Caicus fly.
No vessels were in view; but, on the plain,
Three beamy stags command a lordly train
Of branching heads: the more ignoble throng
Attend their stately steps, and slowly graze along.
He stood; and, while secure they fed below,
He took the quiver and the trusty bow
Achates us’d to bear: the leaders first
He laid along, and then the vulgar pierc’d;
Nor ceas’d his arrows, till the shady plain
Sev’n mighty bodies with their blood distain.
For the sev’n ships he made an equal share,
And to the port return’d, triumphant from the war.
The jars of gen’rous wine (Acestes’ gift,
When his Trinacrian shores the navy left)
He set abroach, and for the feast prepar’d,
In equal portions with the ven’son shar’d.
Thus while he dealt it round, the pious chief
With cheerful words allay’d the common grief:
“Endure, and conquer! Jove will soon dispose
To future good our past and present woes.
With me, the rocks of Scylla you have tried;
Th’ inhuman Cyclops and his den defied.
What greater ills hereafter can you bear?
Resume your courage and dismiss your care,
An hour will come, with pleasure to relate
Your sorrows past, as benefits of Fate.
Thro’ various hazards and events, we move
To Latium and the realms foredoom’d by Jove.
Call’d to the seat (the promise of the skies)
Where Trojan kingdoms once again may rise,
Endure the hardships of your present state;
Live, and reserve yourselves for better fate.”
These words he spoke, but spoke not from his heart;
His outward smiles conceal’d his inward smart.
The jolly crew, unmindful of the past,
The quarry share, their plenteous dinner haste.
Some strip the skin; some portion out the spoil;
The limbs, yet trembling, in the caldrons boil;
Some on the fire the reeking entrails broil.
Stretch’d on the grassy turf, at ease they dine,
Restore their strength with meat, and cheer their souls with
Their hunger thus appeas’d, their care attends
The doubtful fortune of their absent friends:
Alternate hopes and fears their minds possess,
Whether to deem ’em dead, or in distress.
Above the rest, Aeneas mourns the fate
Of brave Orontes, and th’ uncertain state
Of Gyas, Lycus, and of Amycus.
The day, but not their sorrows, ended thus.
When, from aloft, almighty Jove surveys
Earth, air, and shores, and navigable seas,
At length on Libyan realms he fix’d his eyes-
Whom, pond’ring thus on human miseries,
When Venus saw, she with a lowly look,
Not free from tears, her heav’nly sire bespoke:
“O King of Gods and Men! whose awful hand
Disperses thunder on the seas and land,
Disposing all with absolute command;
How could my pious son thy pow’r incense?
Or what, alas! is vanish’d Troy’s offense?
Our hope of Italy not only lost,
On various seas by various tempests toss’d,
But shut from ev’ry shore, and barr’d from ev’ry coast.
You promis’d once, a progeny divine
Of Romans, rising from the Trojan line,
In after times should hold the world in awe,
And to the land and ocean give the law.
How is your doom revers’d, which eas’d my care
When Troy was ruin’d in that cruel war?
Then fates to fates I could oppose; but now,
When Fortune still pursues her former blow,
What can I hope? What worse can still succeed?
What end of labors has your will decreed?
Antenor, from the midst of Grecian hosts,
Could pass secure, and pierce th’ Illyrian coasts,
Where, rolling down the steep, Timavus raves
And thro’ nine channels disembogues his waves.
At length he founded Padua’s happy seat,
And gave his Trojans a secure retreat;
There fix’d their arms, and there renew’d their name,
And there in quiet rules, and crown’d with fame.
But we, descended from your sacred line,
Entitled to your heav’n and rites divine,
Are banish’d earth; and, for the wrath of one,
Remov’d from Latium and the promis’d throne.
Are these our scepters? these our due rewards?
And is it thus that Jove his plighted faith regards?”
To whom the Father of th’ immortal race,
Smiling with that serene indulgent face,
With which he drives the clouds and clears the skies,
First gave a holy kiss; then thus replies:
“Daughter, dismiss thy fears; to thy desire
The fates of thine are fix’d, and stand entire.
Thou shalt behold thy wish’d Lavinian walls;
And, ripe for heav’n, when fate Aeneas calls,
Then shalt thou bear him up, sublime, to me:
No councils have revers’d my firm decree.
And, lest new fears disturb thy happy state,
Know, I have search’d the mystic rolls of Fate:
Thy son (nor is th’ appointed season far)
In Italy shall wage successful war,
Shall tame fierce nations in the bloody field,
And sov’reign laws impose, and cities build,
Till, after ev’ry foe subdued, the sun
Thrice thro’ the signs his annual race shall run:
This is his time prefix’d. Ascanius then,
Now call’d Iulus, shall begin his reign.
He thirty rolling years the crown shall wear,
Then from Lavinium shall the seat transfer,
And, with hard labor, Alba Longa build.
The throne with his succession shall be fill’d
Three hundred circuits more: then shall be seen
Ilia the fair, a priestess and a queen,
Who, full of Mars, in time, with kindly throes,
Shall at a birth two goodly boys disclose.
The royal babes a tawny wolf shall drain:
Then Romulus his grandsire’s throne shall gain,
Of martial tow’rs the founder shall become,
The people Romans call, the city Rome.
To them no bounds of empire I assign,
Nor term of years to their immortal line.
Ev’n haughty Juno, who, with endless broils,
Earth, seas, and heav’n, and Jove himself turmoils;
At length aton’d, her friendly pow’r shall join,
To cherish and advance the Trojan line.
The subject world shall Rome’s dominion own,
And, prostrate, shall adore the nation of the gown.
An age is ripening in revolving fate
When Troy shall overturn the Grecian state,
And sweet revenge her conqu’ring sons shall call,
To crush the people that conspir’d her fall.
Then Caesar from the Julian stock shall rise,
Whose empire ocean, and whose fame the skies
Alone shall bound; whom, fraught with eastern spoils,
Our heav’n, the just reward of human toils,
Securely shall repay with rites divine;
And incense shall ascend before his sacred shrine.
Then dire debate and impious war shall cease,
And the stern age be soften’d into peace:
Then banish’d Faith shall once again return,
And Vestal fires in hallow’d temples burn;
And Remus with Quirinus shall sustain
The righteous laws, and fraud and force restrain.
Janus himself before his fane shall wait,
And keep the dreadful issues of his gate,
With bolts and iron bars: within remains
Imprison’d Fury, bound in brazen chains;
High on a trophy rais’d, of useless arms,
He sits, and threats the world with vain alarms.”
He said, and sent Cyllenius with command
To free the ports, and ope the Punic land
To Trojan guests; lest, ignorant of fate,
The queen might force them from her town and state.
Down from the steep of heav’n Cyllenius flies,
And cleaves with all his wings the yielding skies.
Soon on the Libyan shore descends the god,
Performs his message, and displays his rod:
The surly murmurs of the people cease;
And, as the fates requir’d, they give the peace:
The queen herself suspends the rigid laws,
The Trojans pities, and protects their cause.
Meantime, in shades of night Aeneas lies:
Care seiz’d his soul, and sleep forsook his eyes.
But, when the sun restor’d the cheerful day,
He rose, the coast and country to survey,
Anxious and eager to discover more.
It look’d a wild uncultivated shore;
But, whether humankind, or beasts alone
Possess’d the new-found region, was unknown.
Beneath a ledge of rocks his fleet he hides:
Tall trees surround the mountain’s shady sides;
The bending brow above a safe retreat provides.
Arm’d with two pointed darts, he leaves his friends,
And true Achates on his steps attends.
Lo! in the deep recesses of the wood,
Before his eyes his goddess mother stood:
A huntress in her habit and her mien;
Her dress a maid, her air confess’d a queen.
Bare were her knees, and knots her garments bind;
Loose was her hair, and wanton’d in the wind;
Her hand sustain’d a bow; her quiver hung behind.
She seem’d a virgin of the Spartan blood:
With such array Harpalyce bestrode
Her Thracian courser and outstripp’d the rapid flood.
“Ho, strangers! have you lately seen,” she said,
“One of my sisters, like myself array’d,
Who cross’d the lawn, or in the forest stray’d?
A painted quiver at her back she bore;
Varied with spots, a lynx’s hide she wore;
And at full cry pursued the tusky boar.”
Thus Venus: thus her son replied again:
“None of your sisters have we heard or seen,
O virgin! or what other name you bear
Above that style- O more than mortal fair!
Your voice and mien celestial birth betray!
If, as you seem, the sister of the day,
Or one at least of chaste Diana’s train,
Let not an humble suppliant sue in vain;
But tell a stranger, long in tempests toss’d,
What earth we tread, and who commands the coast?
Then on your name shall wretched mortals call,
And offer’d victims at your altars fall.”
“I dare not,” she replied, “assume the name
Of goddess, or celestial honors claim:
For Tyrian virgins bows and quivers bear,
And purple buskins o’er their ankles wear.
Know, gentle youth, in Libyan lands you are-
A people rude in peace, and rough in war.
The rising city, which from far you see,
Is Carthage, and a Tyrian colony.
Phoenician Dido rules the growing state,
Who fled from Tyre, to shun her brother’s hate.
Great were her wrongs, her story full of fate;
Which I will sum in short. Sichaeus, known
For wealth, and brother to the Punic throne,
Possess’d fair Dido’s bed; and either heart
At once was wounded with an equal dart.
Her father gave her, yet a spotless maid;
Pygmalion then the Tyrian scepter sway’d:
One who condemn’d divine and human laws.
Then strife ensued, and cursed gold the cause.
The monarch, blinded with desire of wealth,
With steel invades his brother’s life by stealth;
Before the sacred altar made him bleed,
And long from her conceal’d the cruel deed.
Some tale, some new pretense, he daily coin’d,
To soothe his sister, and delude her mind.
At length, in dead of night, the ghost appears
Of her unhappy lord: the specter stares,
And, with erected eyes, his bloody bosom bares.
The cruel altars and his fate he tells,
And the dire secret of his house reveals,
Then warns the widow, with her household gods,
To seek a refuge in remote abodes.
Last, to support her in so long a way,
He shows her where his hidden treasure lay.
Admonish’d thus, and seiz’d with mortal fright,
The queen provides companions of her flight:
They meet, and all combine to leave the state,
Who hate the tyrant, or who fear his hate.
They seize a fleet, which ready rigg’d they find;
Nor is Pygmalion’s treasure left behind.
The vessels, heavy laden, put to sea
With prosp’rous winds; a woman leads the way.
I know not, if by stress of weather driv’n,
Or was their fatal course dispos’d by Heav’n;
At last they landed, where from far your eyes
May view the turrets of new Carthage rise;
There bought a space of ground, which (Byrsa call’d,
From the bull’s hide) they first inclos’d, and wall’d.
But whence are you? what country claims your birth?
What seek you, strangers, on our Libyan earth?”
To whom, with sorrow streaming from his eyes,
And deeply sighing, thus her son replies:
“Could you with patience hear, or I relate,
O nymph, the tedious annals of our fate!
Thro’ such a train of woes if I should run,
The day would sooner than the tale be done!
From ancient Troy, by force expell’d, we came-
If you by chance have heard the Trojan name.
On various seas by various tempests toss’d,
At length we landed on your Libyan coast.
The good Aeneas am I call’d- a name,
While Fortune favor’d, not unknown to fame.
My household gods, companions of my woes,
With pious care I rescued from our foes.
To fruitful Italy my course was bent;
And from the King of Heav’n is my descent.
With twice ten sail I cross’d the Phrygian sea;
Fate and my mother goddess led my way.
Scarce sev’n, the thin remainders of my fleet,
From storms preserv’d, within your harbor meet.
Myself distress’d, an exile, and unknown,
Debarr’d from Europe, and from Asia thrown,
In Libyan desarts wander thus alone.”
His tender parent could no longer bear;
But, interposing, sought to soothe his care.
“Whoe’er you are- not unbelov’d by Heav’n,
Since on our friendly shore your ships are driv’n-
Have courage: to the gods permit the rest,
And to the queen expose your just request.
Now take this earnest of success, for more:
Your scatter’d fleet is join’d upon the shore;
The winds are chang’d, your friends from danger free;
Or I renounce my skill in augury.
Twelve swans behold in beauteous order move,
And stoop with closing pinions from above;
Whom late the bird of Jove had driv’n along,
And thro’ the clouds pursued the scatt’ring throng:
Now, all united in a goodly team,
They skim the ground, and seek the quiet stream.
As they, with joy returning, clap their wings,
And ride the circuit of the skies in rings;
Not otherwise your ships, and ev’ry friend,
Already hold the port, or with swift sails descend.
No more advice is needful; but pursue
The path before you, and the town in view.”
Thus having said, she turn’d, and made appear
Her neck refulgent, and dishevel’d hair,
Which, flowing from her shoulders, reach’d the ground.
And widely spread ambrosial scents around:
In length of train descends her sweeping gown;
And, by her graceful walk, the Queen of Love is known.
The prince pursued the parting deity
With words like these: “Ah! whither do you fly?
Unkind and cruel! to deceive your son
In borrow’d shapes, and his embrace to shun;
Never to bless my sight, but thus unknown;
And still to speak in accents not your own.”
Against the goddess these complaints he made,
But took the path, and her commands obey’d.
They march, obscure; for Venus kindly shrouds
With mists their persons, and involves in clouds,
That, thus unseen, their passage none might stay,
Or force to tell the causes of their way.
This part perform’d, the goddess flies sublime
To visit Paphos and her native clime;
Where garlands, ever green and ever fair,
With vows are offer’d, and with solemn pray’r:
A hundred altars in her temple smoke;
A thousand bleeding hearts her pow’r invoke.
They climb the next ascent, and, looking down,
Now at a nearer distance view the town.
The prince with wonder sees the stately tow’rs,
Which late were huts and shepherds’ homely bow’rs,
The gates and streets; and hears, from ev’ry part,
The noise and busy concourse of the mart.
The toiling Tyrians on each other call
To ply their labor: some extend the wall;
Some build the citadel; the brawny throng
Or dig, or push unwieldly stones along.
Some for their dwellings choose a spot of ground,
Which, first design’d, with ditches they surround.
Some laws ordain; and some attend the choice
Of holy senates, and elect by voice.
Here some design a mole, while others there
Lay deep foundations for a theater;
From marble quarries mighty columns hew,
For ornaments of scenes, and future view.
Such is their toil, and such their busy pains,
As exercise the bees in flow’ry plains,
When winter past, and summer scarce begun,
Invites them forth to labor in the sun;
Some lead their youth abroad, while some condense
Their liquid store, and some in cells dispense;
Some at the gate stand ready to receive
The golden burthen, and their friends relieve;
All with united force, combine to drive
The lazy drones from the laborious hive:
With envy stung, they view each other’s deeds;
The fragrant work with diligence proceeds.
“Thrice happy you, whose walls already rise!”
Aeneas said, and view’d, with lifted eyes,
Their lofty tow’rs; then, entiring at the gate,
Conceal’d in clouds (prodigious to relate)
He mix’d, unmark’d, among the busy throng,
Borne by the tide, and pass’d unseen along.
Full in the center of the town there stood,
Thick set with trees, a venerable wood.
The Tyrians, landing near this holy ground,
And digging here, a prosp’rous omen found:
From under earth a courser’s head they drew,
Their growth and future fortune to foreshew.
This fated sign their foundress Juno gave,
Of a soil fruitful, and a people brave.
Sidonian Dido here with solemn state
Did Juno’s temple build, and consecrate,
Enrich’d with gifts, and with a golden shrine;
But more the goddess made the place divine.
On brazen steps the marble threshold rose,
And brazen plates the cedar beams inclose:
The rafters are with brazen cov’rings crown’d;
The lofty doors on brazen hinges sound.
What first Aeneas this place beheld,
Reviv’d his courage, and his fear expell’d.
For while, expecting there the queen, he rais’d
His wond’ring eyes, and round the temple gaz’d,
Admir’d the fortune of the rising town,
The striving artists, and their arts’ renown;
He saw, in order painted on the wall,
Whatever did unhappy Troy befall:
The wars that fame around the world had blown,
All to the life, and ev’ry leader known.
There Agamemnon, Priam here, he spies,
And fierce Achilles, who both kings defies.
He stopp’d, and weeping said: “O friend! ev’n here
The monuments of Trojan woes appear!
Our known disasters fill ev’n foreign lands:
See there, where old unhappy Priam stands!
Ev’n the mute walls relate the warrior’s fame,
And Trojan griefs the Tyrians’ pity claim.”
He said (his tears a ready passage find),
Devouring what he saw so well design’d,
And with an empty picture fed his mind:
For there he saw the fainting Grecians yield,
And here the trembling Trojans quit the field,
Pursued by fierce Achilles thro’ the plain,
On his high chariot driving o’er the slain.
The tents of Rhesus next his grief renew,
By their white sails betray’d to nightly view;
And wakeful Diomede, whose cruel sword
The sentries slew, nor spar’d their slumb’ring lord,
Then took the fiery steeds, ere yet the food
Of Troy they taste, or drink the Xanthian flood.
Elsewhere he saw where Troilus defied
Achilles, and unequal combat tried;
Then, where the boy disarm’d, with loosen’d reins,
Was by his horses hurried o’er the plains,
Hung by the neck and hair, and dragg’d around:
The hostile spear, yet sticking in his wound,
With tracks of blood inscrib’d the dusty ground.
Meantime the Trojan dames, oppress’d with woe,
To Pallas’ fane in long procession go,
In hopes to reconcile their heav’nly foe.
They weep, they beat their breasts, they rend their hair,
And rich embroider’d vests for presents bear;
But the stern goddess stands unmov’d with pray’r.
Thrice round the Trojan walls Achilles drew
The corpse of Hector, whom in fight he slew.
Here Priam sues; and there, for sums of gold,
The lifeless body of his son is sold.
So sad an object, and so well express’d,
Drew sighs and groans from the griev’d hero’s breast,
To see the figure of his lifeless friend,
And his old sire his helpless hand extend.
Himself he saw amidst the Grecian train,
Mix’d in the bloody battle on the plain;
And swarthy Memnon in his arms he knew,
His pompous ensigns, and his Indian crew.
Penthisilea there, with haughty grace,
Leads to the wars an Amazonian race:
In their right hands a pointed dart they wield;
The left, for ward, sustains the lunar shield.
Athwart her breast a golden belt she throws,
Amidst the press alone provokes a thousand foes,
And dares her maiden arms to manly force oppose.
Thus while the Trojan prince employs his eyes,
Fix’d on the walls with wonder and surprise,
The beauteous Dido, with a num’rous train
And pomp of guards, ascends the sacred fane.
Such on Eurotas’ banks, or Cynthus’ height,
Diana seems; and so she charms the sight,
When in the dance the graceful goddess leads
The choir of nymphs, and overtops their heads:
Known by her quiver, and her lofty mien,
She walks majestic, and she looks their queen;
Latona sees her shine above the rest,
And feeds with secret joy her silent breast.
Such Dido was; with such becoming state,
Amidst the crowd, she walks serenely great.
Their labor to her future sway she speeds,
And passing with a gracious glance proceeds;
Then mounts the throne, high plac’d before the shrine:
In crowds around, the swarming people join.
She takes petitions, and dispenses laws,
Hears and determines ev’ry private cause;
Their tasks in equal portions she divides,
And, where unequal, there by lots decides.
Another way by chance Aeneas bends
His eyes, and unexpected sees his friends,
Antheus, Sergestus grave, Cloanthus strong,
And at their backs a mighty Trojan throng,
Whom late the tempest on the billows toss’d,
And widely scatter’d on another coast.
The prince, unseen, surpris’d with wonder stands,
And longs, with joyful haste, to join their hands;
But, doubtful of the wish’d event, he stays,
And from the hollow cloud his friends surveys,
Impatient till they told their present state,
And where they left their ships, and what their fate,
And why they came, and what was their request;
For these were sent, commission’d by the rest,
To sue for leave to land their sickly men,
And gain admission to the gracious queen.
Ent’ring, with cries they fill’d the holy fane;
Then thus, with lowly voice, Ilioneus began:
“O queen! indulg’d by favor of the gods
To found an empire in these new abodes,
To build a town, with statutes to restrain
The wild inhabitants beneath thy reign,
We wretched Trojans, toss’d on ev’ry shore,
From sea to sea, thy clemency implore.
Forbid the fires our shipping to deface!
Receive th’ unhappy fugitives to grace,
And spare the remnant of a pious race!
We come not with design of wasteful prey,
To drive the country, force the swains away:
Nor such our strength, nor such is our desire;
The vanquish’d dare not to such thoughts aspire.
A land there is, Hesperia nam’d of old;
The soil is fruitful, and the men are bold-
Th’ Oenotrians held it once- by common fame
Now call’d Italia, from the leader’s name.
To that sweet region was our voyage bent,
When winds and ev’ry warring element
Disturb’d our course, and, far from sight of land,
Cast our torn vessels on the moving sand:
The sea came on; the South, with mighty roar,
Dispers’d and dash’d the rest upon the rocky shore.
Those few you see escap’d the Storm, and fear,
Unless you interpose, a shipwreck here.
What men, what monsters, what inhuman race,
What laws, what barb’rous customs of the place,
Shut up a desart shore to drowning men,
And drive us to the cruel seas again?
If our hard fortune no compassion draws,
Nor hospitable rights, nor human laws,
The gods are just, and will revenge our cause.
Aeneas was our prince: a juster lord,
Or nobler warrior, never drew a sword;
Observant of the right, religious of his word.
If yet he lives, and draws this vital air,
Nor we, his friends, of safety shall despair;
Nor you, great queen, these offices repent,
Which he will equal, and perhaps augment.
We want not cities, nor Sicilian coasts,
Where King Acestes Trojan lineage boasts.
Permit our ships a shelter on your shores,
Refitted from your woods with planks and oars,
That, if our prince be safe, we may renew
Our destin’d course, and Italy pursue.
But if, O best of men, the Fates ordain
That thou art swallow’d in the Libyan main,
And if our young Iulus be no more,
Dismiss our navy from your friendly shore,
That we to good Acestes may return,
And with our friends our common losses mourn.”
Thus spoke Ilioneus: the Trojan crew
With cries and clamors his request renew.
The modest queen a while, with downcast eyes,
Ponder’d the speech; then briefly thus replies:
“Trojans, dismiss your fears; my cruel fate,
And doubts attending an unsettled state,
Force me to guard my coast from foreign foes.
Who has not heard the story of your woes,
The name and fortune of your native place,
The fame and valor of the Phrygian race?
We Tyrians are not so devoid of sense,
Nor so remote from Phoebus’ influence.
Whether to Latian shores your course is bent,
Or, driv’n by tempests from your first intent,
You seek the good Acestes’ government,
Your men shall be receiv’d, your fleet repair’d,
And sail, with ships of convoy for your guard:
Or, would you stay, and join your friendly pow’rs
To raise and to defend the Tyrian tow’rs,
My wealth, my city, and myself are yours.
And would to Heav’n, the Storm, you felt, would bring
On Carthaginian coasts your wand’ring king.
My people shall, by my command, explore
The ports and creeks of ev’ry winding shore,
And towns, and wilds, and shady woods, in quest
Of so renown’d and so desir’d a guest.”
Rais’d in his mind the Trojan hero stood,
And long’d to break from out his ambient cloud:
Achates found it, and thus urg’d his way:
“From whence, O goddess-born, this long delay?
What more can you desire, your welcome sure,
Your fleet in safety, and your friends secure?
One only wants; and him we saw in vain
Oppose the Storm, and swallow’d in the main.
Orontes in his fate our forfeit paid;
The rest agrees with what your mother said.”
Scarce had he spoken, when the cloud gave way,
The mists flew upward and dissolv’d in day.
The Trojan chief appear’d in open sight,
August in visage, and serenely bright.
His mother goddess, with her hands divine,
Had form’d his curling locks, and made his temples shine,
And giv’n his rolling eyes a sparkling grace,
And breath’d a youthful vigor on his face;
Like polish’d ivory, beauteous to behold,
Or Parian marble, when enchas’d in gold:
Thus radiant from the circling cloud he broke,
And thus with manly modesty he spoke:
“He whom you seek am I; by tempests toss’d,
And sav’d from shipwreck on your Libyan coast;
Presenting, gracious queen, before your throne,
A prince that owes his life to you alone.
Fair majesty, the refuge and redress
Of those whom fate pursues, and wants oppress,
You, who your pious offices employ
To save the relics of abandon’d Troy;
Receive the shipwreck’d on your friendly shore,
With hospitable rites relieve the poor;
Associate in your town a wand’ring train,
And strangers in your palace entertain:
What thanks can wretched fugitives return,
Who, scatter’d thro’ the world, in exile mourn?
The gods, if gods to goodness are inclin’d;
If acts of mercy touch their heav’nly mind,
And, more than all the gods, your gen’rous heart.
Conscious of worth, requite its own desert!
In you this age is happy, and this earth,
And parents more than mortal gave you birth.
While rolling rivers into seas shall run,
And round the space of heav’n the radiant sun;
While trees the mountain tops with shades supply,
Your honor, name, and praise shall never die.
Whate’er abode my fortune has assign’d,
Your image shall be present in my mind.”
Thus having said, he turn’d with pious haste,
And joyful his expecting friends embrac’d:
With his right hand Ilioneus was grac’d,
Serestus with his left; then to his breast
Cloanthus and the noble Gyas press’d;
And so by turns descended to the rest.
The Tyrian queen stood fix’d upon his face,
Pleas’d with his motions, ravish’d with his grace;
Admir’d his fortunes, more admir’d the man;
Then recollected stood, and thus began:
“What fate, O goddess-born; what angry pow’rs
Have cast you shipwrack’d on our barren shores?
Are you the great Aeneas, known to fame,
Who from celestial seed your lineage claim?
The same Aeneas whom fair Venus bore
To fam’d Anchises on th’ Idaean shore?
It calls into my mind, tho’ then a child,
When Teucer came, from Salamis exil’d,
And sought my father’s aid, to be restor’d:
My father Belus then with fire and sword
Invaded Cyprus, made the region bare,
And, conqu’ring, finish’d the successful war.
From him the Trojan siege I understood,
The Grecian chiefs, and your illustrious blood.
Your foe himself the Dardan valor prais’d,
And his own ancestry from Trojans rais’d.
Enter, my noble guest, and you shall find,
If not a costly welcome, yet a kind:
For I myself, like you, have been distress’d,
Till Heav’n afforded me this place of rest;
Like you, an alien in a land unknown,
I learn to pity woes so like my own.”
She said, and to the palace led her guest;
Then offer’d incense, and proclaim’d a feast.
Nor yet less careful for her absent friends,
Twice ten fat oxen to the ships she sends;
Besides a hundred boars, a hundred lambs,
With bleating cries, attend their milky dams;
And jars of gen’rous wine and spacious bowls
She gives, to cheer the sailors’ drooping souls.
Now purple hangings clothe the palace walls,
And sumptuous feasts are made in splendid halls:
On Tyrian carpets, richly wrought, they dine;
With loads of massy plate the sideboards shine,
And antique vases, all of gold emboss’d
(The gold itself inferior to the cost),
Of curious work, where on the sides were seen
The fights and figures of illustrious men,
From their first founder to the present queen.
The good Aeneas, paternal care
Iulus’ absence could no longer bear,
Dispatch’d Achates to the ships in haste,
To give a glad relation of the past,
And, fraught with precious gifts, to bring the boy,
Snatch’d from the ruins of unhappy Troy:
A robe of tissue, stiff with golden wire;
An upper vest, once Helen’s rich attire,
From Argos by the fam’d adultress brought,
With golden flow’rs and winding foliage wrought,
Her mother Leda’s present, when she came
To ruin Troy and set the world on flame;
The scepter Priam’s eldest daughter bore,
Her orient necklace, and the crown she wore
Of double texture, glorious to behold,
One order set with gems, and one with gold.
Instructed thus, the wise Achates goes,
And in his diligence his duty shows.
But Venus, anxious for her son’s affairs,
New counsels tries, and new designs prepares:
That Cupid should assume the shape and face
Of sweet Ascanius, and the sprightly grace;
Should bring the presents, in her nephew’s stead,
And in Eliza’s veins the gentle poison shed:
For much she fear’d the Tyrians, double-tongued,
And knew the town to Juno’s care belong’d.
These thoughts by night her golden slumbers broke,
And thus alarm’d, to winged Love she spoke:
“My son, my strength, whose mighty pow’r alone
Controls the Thund’rer on his awful throne,
To thee thy much-afflicted mother flies,
And on thy succor and thy faith relies.
Thou know’st, my son, how Jove’s revengeful wife,
By force and fraud, attempts thy brother’s life;
And often hast thou mourn’d with me his pains.
Him Dido now with blandishment detains;
But I suspect the town where Juno reigns.
For this ‘t is needful to prevent her art,
And fire with love the proud Phoenician’s heart:
A love so violent, so strong, so sure,
As neither age can change, nor art can cure.
How this may be perform’d, now take my mind:
Ascanius by his father is design’d
To come, with presents laden, from the port,
To gratify the queen, and gain the court.
I mean to plunge the boy in pleasing sleep,
And, ravish’d, in Idalian bow’rs to keep,
Or high Cythera, that the sweet deceit
May pass unseen, and none prevent the cheat.
Take thou his form and shape. I beg the grace
But only for a night’s revolving space:
Thyself a boy, assume a boy’s dissembled face;
That when, amidst the fervor of the feast,
The Tyrian hugs and fonds thee on her breast,
And with sweet kisses in her arms constrains,
Thou may’st infuse thy venom in her veins.”
The God of Love obeys, and sets aside
His bow and quiver, and his plumy pride;
He walks Iulus in his mother’s sight,
And in the sweet resemblance takes delight.
The goddess then to young Ascanius flies,
And in a pleasing slumber seals his eyes:
Lull’d in her lap, amidst a train of Loves,
She gently bears him to her blissful groves,
Then with a wreath of myrtle crowns his head,
And softly lays him on a flow’ry bed.
Cupid meantime assum’d his form and face,
Foll’wing Achates with a shorter pace,
And brought the gifts. The queen already sate
Amidst the Trojan lords, in shining state,
High on a golden bed: her princely guest
Was next her side; in order sate the rest.
Then canisters with bread are heap’d on high;
Th’ attendants water for their hands supply,
And, having wash’d, with silken towels dry.
Next fifty handmaids in long order bore
The censers, and with fumes the gods adore:
Then youths, and virgins twice as many, join
To place the dishes, and to serve the wine.
The Tyrian train, admitted to the feast,
Approach, and on the painted couches rest.
All on the Trojan gifts with wonder gaze,
But view the beauteous boy with more amaze,
His rosy-color’d cheeks, his radiant eyes,
His motions, voice, and shape, and all the god’s disguise;
Nor pass unprais’d the vest and veil divine,
Which wand’ring foliage and rich flow’rs entwine.
But, far above the rest, the royal dame,
(Already doom’d to love’s disastrous flame,)
With eyes insatiate, and tumultuous joy,
Beholds the presents, and admires the boy.
The guileful god about the hero long,
With children’s play, and false embraces, hung;
Then sought the queen: she took him to her arms
With greedy pleasure, and devour’d his charms.
Unhappy Dido little thought what guest,
How dire a god, she drew so near her breast;
But he, not mindless of his mother’s pray’r,
Works in the pliant bosom of the fair,
And molds her heart anew, and blots her former care.
The dead is to the living love resign’d;
And all Aeneas enters in her mind.
Now, when the rage of hunger was appeas’d,
The meat remov’d, and ev’ry guest was pleas’d,
The golden bowls with sparkling wine are crown’d,
And thro’ the palace cheerful cries resound.
From gilded roofs depending lamps display
Nocturnal beams, that emulate the day.
A golden bowl, that shone with gems divine,
The queen commanded to be crown’d with wine:
The bowl that Belus us’d, and all the Tyrian line.
Then, silence thro’ the hall proclaim’d, she spoke:
“O hospitable Jove! we thus invoke,
With solemn rites, thy sacred name and pow’r;
Bless to both nations this auspicious hour!
So may the Trojan and the Tyrian line
In lasting concord from this day combine.
Thou, Bacchus, god of joys and friendly cheer,
And gracious Juno, both be present here!
And you, my lords of Tyre, your vows address
To Heav’n with mine, to ratify the peace.”
The goblet then she took, with nectar crown’d
(Sprinkling the first libations on the ground,)
And rais’d it to her mouth with sober grace;
Then, sipping, offer’d to the next in place.
‘T was Bitias whom she call’d, a thirsty soul;
He took challenge, and embrac’d the bowl,
With pleasure swill’d the gold, nor ceas’d to draw,
Till he the bottom of the brimmer saw.
The goblet goes around: Iopas brought
His golden lyre, and sung what ancient Atlas taught:
The various labors of the wand’ring moon,
And whence proceed th’ eclipses of the sun;
Th’ original of men and beasts; and whence
The rains arise, and fires their warmth dispense,
And fix’d and erring stars dispose their influence;
What shakes the solid earth; what cause delays
The summer nights and shortens winter days.
With peals of shouts the Tyrians praise the song:
Those peals are echo’d by the Trojan throng.
Th’ unhappy queen with talk prolong’d the night,
And drank large draughts of love with vast delight;
Of Priam much enquir’d, of Hector more;
Then ask’d what arms the swarthy Memnon wore,
What troops he landed on the Trojan shore;
The steeds of Diomede varied the discourse,
And fierce Achilles, with his matchless force;
At length, as fate and her ill stars requir’d,
To hear the series of the war desir’d.
“Relate at large, my godlike guest,” she said,
“The Grecian stratagems, the town betray’d:
The fatal issue of so long a war,
Your flight, your wand’rings, and your woes, declare;
For, since on ev’ry sea, on ev’ry coast,
Your men have been distress’d, your navy toss’d,
Sev’n times the sun has either tropic view’d,
The winter banish’d, and the spring renew’d.”
All were attentive to the godlike man,
When from his lofty couch he thus began:
“Great queen, what you command me to relate
Renews the sad remembrance of our fate:
An empire from its old foundations rent,
And ev’ry woe the Trojans underwent;
A peopled city made a desart place;
All that I saw, and part of which I was:
Not ev’n the hardest of our foes could hear,
Nor stern Ulysses tell without a tear.
And now the latter watch of wasting night,
And setting stars, to kindly rest invite;
But, since you take such int’rest in our woe,
And Troy’s disastrous end desire to know,
I will restrain my tears, and briefly tell
What in our last and fatal night befell.
“By destiny compell’d, and in despair,
The Greeks grew weary of the tedious war,
And by Minerva’s aid a fabric rear’d,
Which like a steed of monstrous height appear’d:
The sides were plank’d with pine; they feign’d it made
For their return, and this the vow they paid.
Thus they pretend, but in the hollow side
Selected numbers of their soldiers hide:
With inward arms the dire machine they load,
And iron bowels stuff the dark abode.
In sight of Troy lies Tenedos, an isle
(While Fortune did on Priam’s empire smile)
Renown’d for wealth; but, since, a faithless bay,
Where ships expos’d to wind and weather lay.
There was their fleet conceal’d. We thought, for Greece
Their sails were hoisted, and our fears release.
The Trojans, coop’d within their walls so long,
Unbar their gates, and issue in a throng,
Like swarming bees, and with delight survey
The camp deserted, where the Grecians lay:
The quarters of the sev’ral chiefs they show’d;
Here Phoenix, here Achilles, made abode;
Here join’d the battles; there the navy rode.
Part on the pile their wond’ring eyes employ:
The pile by Pallas rais’d to ruin Troy.
Thymoetes first (‘t is doubtful whether hir’d,
Or so the Trojan destiny requir’d)
Mov’d that the ramparts might be broken down,
To lodge the monster fabric in the town.
But Capys, and the rest of sounder mind,
The fatal present to the flames designed,
Or to the wat’ry deep; at least to bore
The hollow sides, and hidden frauds explore.
The giddy vulgar, as their fancies guide,
With noise say nothing, and in parts divide.
Laocoon, follow’d by a num’rous crowd,
Ran from the fort, and cried, from far, aloud:
‘O wretched countrymen! what fury reigns?
What more than madness has possess’d your brains?
Think you the Grecians from your coasts are gone?
And are Ulysses’ arts no better known?
This hollow fabric either must inclose,
Within its blind recess, our secret foes;
Or ‘t is an engine rais’d above the town,
T’ o’erlook the walls, and then to batter down.
Somewhat is sure design’d, by fraud or force:
Trust not their presents, nor admit the horse.’
Thus having said, against the steed he threw
His forceful spear, which, hissing as flew,
Pierc’d thro’ the yielding planks of jointed wood,
And trembling in the hollow belly stood.
The sides, transpierc’d, return a rattling sound,
And groans of Greeks inclos’d come issuing thro’ the wound
And, had not Heav’n the fall of Troy design’d,
Or had not men been fated to be blind,
Enough was said and done t’inspire a better mind.
Then had our lances pierc’d the treach’rous wood,
And Ilian tow’rs and Priam’s empire stood.
Meantime, with shouts, the Trojan shepherds bring
A captive Greek, in bands, before the king;
Taken to take; who made himself their prey,
T’ impose on their belief, and Troy betray;
Fix’d on his aim, and obstinately bent
To die undaunted, or to circumvent.
About the captive, tides of Trojans flow;
All press to see, and some insult the foe.
Now hear how well the Greeks their wiles disguis’d;
Behold a nation in a man compris’d.
Trembling the miscreant stood, unarm’d and bound;
He star’d, and roll’d his haggard eyes around,
Then said: ‘Alas! what earth remains, what sea
Is open to receive unhappy me?
What fate a wretched fugitive attends,
Scorn’d by my foes, abandon’d by my friends?’
He said, and sigh’d, and cast a rueful eye:
Our pity kindles, and our passions die.
We cheer youth to make his own defense,
And freely tell us what he was, and whence:
What news he could impart, we long to know,
And what to credit from a captive foe.
“His fear at length dismiss’d, he said: ‘Whate’er
My fate ordains, my words shall be sincere:
I neither can nor dare my birth disclaim;
Greece is my country, Sinon is my name.
Tho’ plung’d by Fortune’s pow’r in misery,
‘T is not in Fortune’s pow’r to make me lie.
If any chance has hither brought the name
Of Palamedes, not unknown to fame,
Who suffer’d from the malice of the times,
Accus’d and sentenc’d for pretended crimes,
Because these fatal wars he would prevent;
Whose death the wretched Greeks too late lament-
Me, then a boy, my father, poor and bare
Of other means, committed to his care,
His kinsman and companion in the war.
While Fortune favor’d, while his arms support
The cause, and rul’d the counsels, of the court,
I made some figure there; nor was my name
Obscure, nor I without my share of fame.
But when Ulysses, with fallacious arts,
Had made impression in the people’s hearts,
And forg’d a treason in my patron’s name
(I speak of things too far divulg’d by fame),
My kinsman fell. Then I, without support,
In private mourn’d his loss, and left the court.
Mad as I was, I could not bear his fate
With silent grief, but loudly blam’d the state,
And curs’d the direful author of my woes.
‘T was told again; and hence my ruin rose.
I threaten’d, if indulgent Heav’n once more
Would land me safely on my native shore,
His death with double vengeance to restore.
This mov’d the murderer’s hate; and soon ensued
Th’ effects of malice from a man so proud.
Ambiguous rumors thro’ the camp he spread,
And sought, by treason, my devoted head;
New crimes invented; left unturn’d no stone,
To make my guilt appear, and hide his own;
Till Calchas was by force and threat’ning wrought-
But why- why dwell I on that anxious thought?
If on my nation just revenge you seek,
And ‘t is t’ appear a foe, t’ appear a Greek;
Already you my name and country know;
Assuage your thirst of blood, and strike the blow:
My death will both the kingly brothers please,
And set insatiate Ithacus at ease.’
This fair unfinish’d tale, these broken starts,
Rais’d expectations in our longing hearts:
Unknowing as we were in Grecian arts.
His former trembling once again renew’d,
With acted fear, the villain thus pursued:
“‘Long had the Grecians (tir’d with fruitless care,
And wearied with an unsuccessful war)
Resolv’d to raise the siege, and leave the town;
And, had the gods permitted, they had gone;
But oft the wintry seas and southern winds
Withstood their passage home, and chang’d their minds.
Portents and prodigies their souls amaz’d;
But most, when this stupendous pile was rais’d:
Then flaming meteors, hung in air, were seen,
And thunders rattled thro’ a sky serene.
Dismay’d, and fearful of some dire event,
Eurypylus t’ enquire their fate was sent.
He from the gods this dreadful answer brought:
“O Grecians, when the Trojan shores you sought,
Your passage with a virgin’s blood was bought:
So must your safe return be bought again,
And Grecian blood once more atone the main.”
The spreading rumor round the people ran;
All fear’d, and each believ’d himself the man.
Ulysses took th’ advantage of their fright;
Call’d Calchas, and produc’d in open sight:
Then bade him name the wretch, ordain’d by fate
The public victim, to redeem the state.
Already some presag’d the dire event,
And saw what sacrifice Ulysses meant.
For twice five days the good old seer withstood
Th’ intended treason, and was dumb to blood,
Till, tir’d, with endless clamors and pursuit
Of Ithacus, he stood no longer mute;
But, as it was agreed, pronounc’d that I
Was destin’d by the wrathful gods to die.
All prais’d the sentence, pleas’d the storm should fall
On one alone, whose fury threaten’d all.
The dismal day was come; the priests prepare
Their leaven’d cakes, and fillets for my hair.
I follow’d nature’s laws, and must avow
I broke my bonds and fled the fatal blow.
Hid in a weedy lake all night I lay,
Secure of safety when they sail’d away.
But now what further hopes for me remain,
To see my friends, or native soil, again;
My tender infants, or my careful sire,
Whom they returning will to death require;
Will perpetrate on them their first design,
And take the forfeit of their heads for mine?
Which, O! if pity mortal minds can move,
If there be faith below, or gods above,
If innocence and truth can claim desert,
Ye Trojans, from an injur’d wretch avert.’
“False tears true pity move; the king commands
To loose his fetters, and unbind his hands:
Then adds these friendly words: ‘Dismiss thy fears;
Forget the Greeks; be mine as thou wert theirs.
But truly tell, was it for force or guile,
Or some religious end, you rais’d the pile?’
Thus said the king. He, full of fraudful arts,
This well-invented tale for truth imparts:
‘Ye lamps of heav’n!’ he said, and lifted high
His hands now free, ‘thou venerable sky!
Inviolable pow’rs, ador’d with dread!
Ye fatal fillets, that once bound this head!
Ye sacred altars, from whose flames I fled!
Be all of you adjur’d; and grant I may,
Without a crime, th’ ungrateful Greeks betray,
Reveal the secrets of the guilty state,
And justly punish whom I justly hate!
But you, O king, preserve the faith you gave,
If I, to save myself, your empire save.
The Grecian hopes, and all th’ attempts they made,
Were only founded on Minerva’s aid.
But from the time when impious Diomede,
And false Ulysses, that inventive head,
Her fatal image from the temple drew,
The sleeping guardians of the castle slew,
Her virgin statue with their bloody hands
Polluted, and profan’d her holy bands;
From thence the tide of fortune left their shore,
And ebb’d much faster than it flow’d before:
Their courage languish’d, as their hopes decay’d;
And Pallas, now averse, refus’d her aid.
Nor did the goddess doubtfully declare
Her alter’d mind and alienated care.
When first her fatal image touch’d the ground,
She sternly cast her glaring eyes around,
That sparkled as they roll’d, and seem’d to threat:
Her heav’nly limbs distill’d a briny sweat.
Thrice from the ground she leap’d, was seen to wield
Her brandish’d lance, and shake her horrid shield.
Then Calchas bade our host for flight
And hope no conquest from the tedious war,
Till first they sail’d for Greece; with pray’rs besought
Her injur’d pow’r, and better omens brought.
And now their navy plows the wat’ry main,
Yet soon expect it on your shores again,
With Pallas pleas’d; as Calchas did ordain.
But first, to reconcile the blue-ey’d maid
For her stol’n statue and her tow’r betray’d,
Warn’d by the seer, to her offended name
We rais’d and dedicate this wondrous frame,
So lofty, lest thro’ your forbidden gates
It pass, and intercept our better fates:
For, once admitted there, our hopes are lost;
And Troy may then a new Palladium boast;
For so religion and the gods ordain,
That, if you violate with hands profane
Minerva’s gift, your town in flames shall burn,
(Which omen, O ye gods, on Graecia turn!)
But if it climb, with your assisting hands,
The Trojan walls, and in the city stands;
Then Troy shall Argos and Mycenae burn,
And the reverse of fate on us return.’
“With such deceits he gain’d their easy hearts,
Too prone to credit his perfidious arts.
What Diomede, nor Thetis’ greater son,
A thousand ships, nor ten years’ siege, had done-
False tears and fawning words the city won.
“A greater omen, and of worse portent,
Did our unwary minds with fear torment,
Concurring to produce the dire event.
Laocoon, Neptune’s priest by lot that year,
With solemn pomp then sacrific’d a steer;
When, dreadful to behold, from sea we spied
Two serpents, rank’d abreast, the seas divide,
And smoothly sweep along the swelling tide.
Their flaming crests above the waves they show;
Their bellies seem to burn the seas below;
Their speckled tails advance to steer their course,
And on the sounding shore the flying billows force.
And now the strand, and now the plain they held;
Their ardent eyes with bloody streaks were fill’d;
Their nimble tongues they brandish’d as they came,
And lick’d their hissing jaws, that sputter’d flame.
We fled amaz’d; their destin’d way they take,
And to Laocoon and his children make;
And first around the tender boys they wind,
Then with their sharpen’d fangs their limbs and bodies grind.
The wretched father, running to their aid
With pious haste, but vain, they next invade;
Twice round his waist their winding volumes roll’d;
And twice about his gasping throat they fold.
The priest thus doubly chok’d, their crests divide,
And tow’ring o’er his head in triumph ride.
With both his hands he labors at the knots;
His holy fillets the blue venom blots;
His roaring fills the flitting air around.
Thus, when an ox receives a glancing wound,
He breaks his bands, the fatal altar flies,
And with loud bellowings breaks the yielding skies.
Their tasks perform’d, the serpents quit their prey,
And to the tow’r of Pallas make their way:
Couch’d at her feet, they lie protected there
By her large buckler and protended spear.
Amazement seizes all; the gen’ral cry
Proclaims Laocoon justly doom’d to die,
Whose hand the will of Pallas had withstood,
And dared to violate the sacred wood.
All vote t’ admit the steed, that vows be paid
And incense offer’d to th’ offended maid.
A spacious breach is made; the town lies bare;
Some hoisting-levers, some the wheels prepare
And fasten to the horse’s feet; the rest
With cables haul along th’ unwieldly beast.
Each on his fellow for assistance calls;
At length the fatal fabric mounts the walls,
Big with destruction. Boys with chaplets crown’d,
And choirs of virgins, sing and dance around.
Thus rais’d aloft, and then descending down,
It enters o’er our heads, and threats the town.
O sacred city, built by hands divine!
O valiant heroes of the Trojan line!
Four times he struck: as oft the clashing sound
Of arms was heard, and inward groans rebound.
Yet, mad with zeal, and blinded with our fate,
We haul along the horse in solemn state;
Then place the dire portent within the tow’r.
Cassandra cried, and curs’d th’ unhappy hour;
Foretold our fate; but, by the god’s decree,
All heard, and none believ’d the prophecy.
With branches we the fanes adorn, and waste,
In jollity, the day ordain’d to be the last.
Meantime the rapid heav’ns roll’d down the light,
And on the shaded ocean rush’d the night;
Our men, secure, nor guards nor sentries held,
But easy sleep their weary limbs compell’d.
The Grecians had embark’d their naval pow’rs
From Tenedos, and sought our well-known shores,
Safe under covert of the silent night,
And guided by th’ imperial galley’s light;
When Sinon, favor’d by the partial gods,
Unlock’d the horse, and op’d his dark abodes;
Restor’d to vital air our hidden foes,
Who joyful from their long confinement rose.
Tysander bold, and Sthenelus their guide,
And dire Ulysses down the cable slide:
Then Thoas, Athamas, and Pyrrhus haste;
Nor was the Podalirian hero last,
Nor injur’d Menelaus, nor the fam’d
Epeus, who the fatal engine fram’d.
A nameless crowd succeed; their forces join
T’ invade the town, oppress’d with sleep and wine.
Those few they find awake first meet their fate;
Then to their fellows they unbar the gate.
“‘T was in the dead of night, when sleep repairs
Our bodies worn with toils, our minds with cares,
When Hector’s ghost before my sight appears:
A bloody shroud he seem’d, and bath’d in tears;
Such as he was, when, by Pelides slain,
Thessalian coursers dragg’d him o’er the plain.
Swoln were his feet, as when the thongs were thrust
Thro’ the bor’d holes; his body black with dust;
Unlike that Hector who return’d from toils
Of war, triumphant, in Aeacian spoils,
Or him who made the fainting Greeks retire,
And launch’d against their navy Phrygian fire.
His hair and beard stood stiffen’d with his gore;
And all the wounds he for his country bore
Now stream’d afresh, and with new purple ran.
I wept to see the visionary man,
And, while my trance continued, thus began:
‘O light of Trojans, and support of Troy,
Thy father’s champion, and thy country’s joy!
O, long expected by thy friends! from whence
Art thou so late return’d for our defense?
Do we behold thee, wearied as we are
With length of labors, and with toils of war?
After so many fun’rals of thy own
Art thou restor’d to thy declining town?
But say, what wounds are these? What new disgrace
Deforms the manly features of thy face?’
“To this the specter no reply did frame,
But answer’d to the cause for which he came,
And, groaning from the bottom of his breast,
This warning in these mournful words express’d:
‘O goddess-born! escape, by timely flight,
The flames and horrors of this fatal night.
The foes already have possess’d the wall;
Troy nods from high, and totters to her fall.
Enough is paid to Priam’s royal name,
More than enough to duty and to fame.
If by a mortal hand my father’s throne
Could be defended, ‘t was by mine alone.
Now Troy to thee commends her future state,
And gives her gods companions of thy fate:
From their assistance walls expect,
Which, wand’ring long, at last thou shalt erect.’
He said, and brought me, from their blest abodes,
The venerable statues of the gods,
With ancient Vesta from the sacred choir,
The wreaths and relics of th’ immortal fire.
“Now peals of shouts come thund’ring from afar,
Cries, threats, and loud laments, and mingled war:
The noise approaches, tho’ our palace stood
Aloof from streets, encompass’d with a wood.
Louder, and yet more loud, I hear th’ alarms
Of human cries distinct, and clashing arms.
Fear broke my slumbers; I no longer stay,
But mount the terrace, thence the town survey,
And hearken what the frightful sounds convey.
Thus, when a flood of fire by wind is borne,
Crackling it rolls, and mows the standing corn;
Or deluges, descending on the plains,
Sweep o’er the yellow year, destroy the pains
Of lab’ring oxen and the peasant’s gains;
Unroot the forest oaks, and bear away
Flocks, folds, and trees, and undistinguish’d prey:
The shepherd climbs the cliff, and sees from far
The wasteful ravage of the wat’ry war.
Then Hector’s faith was manifestly clear’d,
And Grecian frauds in open light appear’d.
The palace of Deiphobus ascends
In smoky flames, and catches on his friends.
Ucalegon burns next: the seas are bright
With splendor not their own, and shine with Trojan light.
New clamors and new clangors now arise,
The sound of trumpets mix’d with fighting cries.
With frenzy seiz’d, I run to meet th’ alarms,
Resolv’d on death, resolv’d to die in arms,
But first to gather friends, with them t’ oppose
(If fortune favor’d) and repel the foes;
Spurr’d by my courage, by my country fir’d,
With sense of honor and revenge inspir’d.
“Pantheus, Apollo’s priest, a sacred name,
Had scap’d the Grecian swords, and pass’d the flame:
With relics loaden. to my doors he fled,
And by the hand his tender grandson led.
‘What hope, O Pantheus? whither can we run?
Where make a stand? and what may yet be done?’
Scarce had I said, when Pantheus, with a groan:
‘Troy is no more, and Ilium was a town!
The fatal day, th’ appointed hour, is come,
When wrathful Jove’s irrevocable doom
Transfers the Trojan state to Grecian hands.
The fire consumes the town, the foe commands;
And armed hosts, an unexpected force,
Break from the bowels of the fatal horse.
Within the gates, proud Sinon throws about
The flames; and foes for entrance press without,
With thousand others, whom I fear to name,
More than from Argos or Mycenae came.
To sev’ral posts their parties they divide;
Some block the narrow streets, some scour the wide:
The bold they kill, th’ unwary they surprise;
Who fights finds death, and death finds him who flies.
The warders of the gate but scarce maintain
Th’ unequal combat, and resist in vain.’
“I heard; and Heav’n, that well-born souls inspires,
Prompts me thro’ lifted swords and rising fires
To run where clashing arms and clamor calls,
And rush undaunted to defend the walls.
Ripheus and Iph’itus by my side engage,
For valor one renown’d, and one for age.
Dymas and Hypanis by moonlight knew
My motions and my mien, and to my party drew;
With young Coroebus, who by love was led
To win renown and fair Cassandra’s bed,
And lately brought his troops to Priam’s aid,
Forewarn’d in vain by the prophetic maid.
Whom when I saw resolv’d in arms to fall,
And that one spirit animated all:
‘Brave souls!’ said I,- ‘but brave, alas! in vain-
Come, finish what our cruel fates ordain.
You see the desp’rate state of our affairs,
And heav’n’s protecting pow’rs are deaf to pray’rs.
The passive gods behold the Greeks defile
Their temples, and abandon to the spoil
Their own abodes: we, feeble few, conspire
To save a sinking town, involv’d in fire.
Then let us fall, but fall amidst our foes:
Despair of life the means of living shows.’
So bold a speech incourag’d their desire
Of death, and added fuel to their fire.
“As hungry wolves, with raging appetite,
Scour thro’ the fields, nor fear the stormy night-
Their whelps at home expect the promis’d food,
And long to temper their dry chaps in blood-
So rush’d we forth at once; resolv’d to die,
Resolv’d, in death, the last extremes to try.
We leave the narrow lanes behind, and dare
Th’ unequal combat in the public square:
Night was our friend; our leader was despair.
What tongue can tell the slaughter of that night?
What eyes can weep the sorrows and affright?
An ancient and imperial city falls:
The streets are fill’d with frequent funerals;
Houses and holy temples float in blood,
And hostile nations make a common flood.
Not only Trojans fall; but, in their turn,
The vanquish’d triumph, and the victors mourn.
Ours take new courage from despair and night:
Confus’d the fortune is, confus’d the fight.
All parts resound with tumults, plaints, and fears;
And grisly Death in sundry shapes appears.
Androgeos fell among us, with his band,
Who thought us Grecians newly come to land.
‘From whence,’ said he, ‘my friends, this long delay?
You loiter, while the spoils are borne away:
Our ships are laden with the Trojan store;
And you, like truants, come too late ashore.’
He said, but soon corrected his mistake,
Found, by the doubtful answers which we make:
Amaz’d, he would have shunn’d th’ unequal fight;
But we, more num’rous, intercept his flight.
As when some peasant, in a bushy brake,
Has with unwary footing press’d a snake;
He starts aside, astonish’d, when he spies
His rising crest, blue neck, and rolling eyes;
So from our arms surpris’d Androgeos flies.
In vain; for him and his we compass’d round,
Possess’d with fear, unknowing of the ground,
And of their lives an easy conquest found.
Thus Fortune on our first endeavor smil’d.
Coroebus then, with youthful hopes beguil’d,
Swoln with success, and a daring mind,
This new invention fatally design’d.
‘My friends,’ said he, ‘since Fortune shows the way,
‘T is fit we should th’ auspicious guide obey.
For what has she these Grecian arms bestow’d,
But their destruction, and the Trojans’ good?
Then change we shields, and their devices bear:
Let fraud supply the want of force in war.
They find us arms.’ This said, himself he dress’d
In dead Androgeos’ spoils, his upper vest,
His painted buckler, and his plumy crest.
Thus Ripheus, Dymas, all the Trojan train,
Lay down their own attire, and strip the slain.
Mix’d with the Greeks, we go with ill presage,
Flatter’d with hopes to glut our greedy rage;
Unknown, assaulting whom we blindly meet,
And strew with Grecian carcasses the street.
Thus while their straggling parties we defeat,
Some to the shore and safer ships retreat;
And some, oppress’d with more ignoble fear,
Remount the hollow horse, and pant in secret there.
“But, ah! what use of valor can be made,
When heav’n’s propitious pow’rs refuse their aid!
Behold the royal prophetess, the fair
Cassandra, dragg’d by her dishevel’d hair,
Whom not Minerva’s shrine, nor sacred bands,
In safety could protect from sacrilegious hands:
On heav’n she cast her eyes, she sigh’d, she cried-
‘T was all she could- her tender arms were tied.
So sad a sight Coroebus could not bear;
But, fir’d with rage, distracted with despair,
Amid the barb’rous ravishers he flew:
Our leader’s rash example we pursue.
But storms of stones, from the proud temple’s height,
Pour down, and on our batter’d helms alight:
We from our friends receiv’d this fatal blow,
Who thought us Grecians, as we seem’d in show.
They aim at the mistaken crests, from high;
And ours beneath the pond’rous ruin lie.
Then, mov’d with anger and disdain, to see
Their troops dispers’d, the royal virgin free,
The Grecians rally, and their pow’rs unite,
With fury charge us, and renew the fight.
The brother kings with Ajax join their force,
And the whole squadron of Thessalian horse.
“Thus, when the rival winds their quarrel try,
Contending for the kingdom of the sky,
South, east, and west, on airy coursers borne;
The whirlwind gathers, and the woods are torn:
Then Nereus strikes the deep; the billows rise,
And, mix’d with ooze and sand, pollute the skies.
The troops we squander’d first again appear
From several quarters, and enclose the rear.
They first observe, and to the rest betray,
Our diff’rent speech; our borrow’d arms survey.
Oppress’d with odds, we fall; Coroebus first,
At Pallas’ altar, by Peneleus pierc’d.
Then Ripheus follow’d, in th’ unequal fight;
Just of his word, observant of the right:
Heav’n thought not so. Dymas their fate attends,
With Hypanis, mistaken by their friends.
Nor, Pantheus, thee, thy miter, nor the bands
Of awful Phoebus, sav’d from impious hands.
Ye Trojan flames, your testimony bear,
What I perform’d, and what I suffer’d there;
No sword avoiding in the fatal strife,
Expos’d to death, and prodigal of life;
Witness, ye heavens! I live not by my fault:
I strove to have deserv’d the death I sought.
But, when I could not fight, and would have died,
Borne off to distance by the growing tide,
Old Iphitus and I were hurried thence,
With Pelias wounded, and without defense.
New clamors from th’ invested palace ring:
We run to die, or disengage the king.
So hot th’ assault, so high the tumult rose,
While ours defend, and while the Greeks oppose
As all the Dardan and Argolic race
Had been contracted in that narrow space;
Or as all Ilium else were void of fear,
And tumult, war, and slaughter, only there.
Their targets in a tortoise cast, the foes,
Secure advancing, to the turrets rose:
Some mount the scaling ladders; some, more bold,
Swerve upwards, and by posts and pillars hold;
Their left hand gripes their bucklers in th’ ascent,
While with their right they seize the battlement.
From their demolish’d tow’rs the Trojans throw
Huge heaps of stones, that, falling, crush the foe;
And heavy beams and rafters from the sides
(Such arms their last necessity provides)
And gilded roofs, come tumbling from on high,
The marks of state and ancient royalty.
The guards below, fix’d in the pass, attend
The charge undaunted, and the gate defend.
Renew’d in courage with recover’d breath,
A second time we ran to tempt our death,
To clear the palace from the foe, succeed
The weary living, and revenge the dead.
“A postern door, yet unobserv’d and free,
Join’d by the length of a blind gallery,
To the king’s closet led: a way well known
To Hector’s wife, while Priam held the throne,
Thro’ which she brought Astyanax, unseen,
To cheer his grandsire and his grandsire’s queen.
Thro’ this we pass, and mount the tow’r, from whence
With unavailing arms the Trojans make defense.
From this the trembling king had oft descried
The Grecian camp, and saw their navy ride.
Beams from its lofty height with swords we hew,
Then, wrenching with our hands, th’ assault renew;
And, where the rafters on the columns meet,
We push them headlong with our arms and feet.
The lightning flies not swifter than the fall,
Nor thunder louder than the ruin’d wall:
Down goes the top at once; the Greeks beneath
Are piecemeal torn, or pounded into death.
Yet more succeed, and more to death are sent;
We cease not from above, nor they below relent.
Before the gate stood Pyrrhus, threat’ning loud,
With glitt’ring arms conspicuous in the crowd.
So shines, renew’d in youth, the crested snake,
Who slept the winter in a thorny brake,
And, casting off his slough when spring returns,
Now looks aloft, and with new glory burns;
Restor’d with poisonous herbs, his ardent sides
Reflect the sun; and rais’d on spires he rides;
High o’er the grass, hissing he rolls along,
And brandishes by fits his forky tongue.
Proud Periphas, and fierce Automedon,
His father’s charioteer, together run
To force the gate; the Scyrian infantry
Rush on in crowds, and the barr’d passage free.
Ent’ring the court, with shouts the skies they rend;
And flaming firebrands to the roofs ascend.
Himself, among the foremost, deals his blows,
And with his ax repeated strokes bestows
On the strong doors; then all their shoulders ply,
Till from the posts the brazen hinges fly.
He hews apace; the double bars at length
Yield to his ax and unresisted strength.
A mighty breach is made: the rooms conceal’d
Appear, and all the palace is reveal’d;
The halls of audience, and of public state,
And where the lonely queen in secret sate.
Arm’d soldiers now by trembling maids are seen,
With not a door, and scarce a space, between.
The house is fill’d with loud laments and cries,
And shrieks of women rend the vaulted skies;
The fearful matrons run from place to place,
And kiss the thresholds, and the posts embrace.
The fatal work inhuman Pyrrhus plies,
And all his father sparkles in his eyes;
Nor bars, nor fighting guards, his force sustain:
The bars are broken, and the guards are slain.
In rush the Greeks, and all the apartments fill;
Those few defendants whom they find, they kill.
Not with so fierce a rage the foaming flood
Roars, when he finds his rapid course withstood;
Bears down the dams with unresisted sway,
And sweeps the cattle and the cots away.
These eyes beheld him when he march’d between
The brother kings: I saw th’ unhappy queen,
The hundred wives, and where old Priam stood,
To stain his hallow’d altar with his brood.
The fifty nuptial beds (such hopes had he,
So large a promise, of a progeny),
The posts, of plated gold, and hung with spoils,
Fell the reward of the proud victor’s toils.
Where’er the raging fire had left a space,
The Grecians enter and possess the place.
“Perhaps you may of Priam’s fate enquire.
He, when he saw his regal town on fire,
His ruin’d palace, and his ent’ring foes,
On ev’ry side inevitable woes,
In arms, disus’d, invests his limbs, decay’d,
Like them, with age; a late and useless aid.
His feeble shoulders scarce the weight sustain;
Loaded, not arm’d, he creeps along with pain,
Despairing of success, ambitious to be slain!
Uncover’d but by heav’n, there stood in view
An altar; near the hearth a laurel grew,
Dodder’d with age, whose boughs encompass round
The household gods, and shade the holy ground.
Here Hecuba, with all her helpless train
Of dames, for shelter sought, but sought in vain.
Driv’n like a flock of doves along the sky,
Their images they hug, and to their altars fly.
The Queen, when she beheld her trembling lord,
And hanging by his side a heavy sword,
‘What rage,’ she cried, ‘has seiz’d my husband’s mind?
What arms are these, and to what use design’d?
These times want other aids! Were Hector here,
Ev’n Hector now in vain, like Priam, would appear.
With us, one common shelter thou shalt find,
Or in one common fate with us be join’d.’
She said, and with a last salute embrac’d
The poor old man, and by the laurel plac’d.
Behold! Polites, one of Priam’s sons,
Pursued by Pyrrhus, there for safety runs.
Thro’ swords and foes, amaz’d and hurt, he flies
Thro’ empty courts and open galleries.
Him Pyrrhus, urging with his lance, pursues,
And often reaches, and his thrusts renews.
The youth, transfix’d, with lamentable cries,
Expires before his wretched parent’s eyes:
Whom gasping at his feet when Priam saw,
The fear of death gave place to nature’s law;
And, shaking more with anger than with age,
‘The gods,’ said he, ‘requite thy brutal rage!
As sure they will, barbarian, sure they must,
If there be gods in heav’n, and gods be just-
Who tak’st in wrongs an insolent delight;
With a son’s death t’ infect a father’s sight.
Not he, whom thou and lying fame conspire
To call thee his- not he, thy vaunted sire,
Thus us’d my wretched age: the gods he fear’d,
The laws of nature and of nations heard.
He cheer’d my sorrows, and, for sums of gold,
The bloodless carcass of my Hector sold;
Pitied the woes a parent underwent,
And sent me back in safety from his tent.’
“This said, his feeble hand a javelin threw,
Which, flutt’ring, seem’d to loiter as it flew:
Just, and but barely, to the mark it held,
And faintly tinkled on the brazen shield.
“Then Pyrrhus thus: ‘Go thou from me to fate,
And to my father my foul deeds relate.
Now die!’ With that he dragg’d the trembling sire,
Slidd’ring thro’ clotter’d blood and holy mire,
(The mingled paste his murder’d son had made,)
Haul’d from beneath the violated shade,
And on the sacred pile the royal victim laid.
His right hand held his bloody falchion bare,
His left he twisted in his hoary hair;
Then, with a speeding thrust, his heart he found:
The lukewarm blood came rushing thro’ the wound,
And sanguine streams distain’d the sacred ground.
Thus Priam fell, and shar’d one common fate
With Troy in ashes, and his ruin’d state:
He, who the scepter of all Asia sway’d,
Whom monarchs like domestic slaves obey’d.
On the bleak shore now lies th’ abandon’d king,
A headless carcass, and a nameless thing.
“Then, not before, I felt my cruddled blood
Congeal with fear, my hair with horror stood:
My father’s image fill’d my pious mind,
Lest equal years might equal fortune find.
Again I thought on my forsaken wife,
And trembled for my son’s abandon’d life.
I look’d about, but found myself alone,
Deserted at my need! My friends were gone.
Some spent with toil, some with despair oppress’d,
Leap’d headlong from the heights; the flames consum’d the rest.
Thus, wand’ring in my way, without a guide,
The graceless Helen in the porch I spied
Of Vesta’s temple; there she lurk’d alone;
Muffled she sate, and, what she could, unknown:
But, by the flames that cast their blaze around,
That common bane of Greece and Troy I found.
For Ilium burnt, she dreads the Trojan sword;
More dreads the vengeance of her injur’d lord;
Ev’n by those gods who refug’d her abhorr’d.
Trembling with rage, the strumpet I regard,
Resolv’d to give her guilt the due reward:
‘Shall she triumphant sail before the wind,
And leave in flames unhappy Troy behind?
Shall she her kingdom and her friends review,
In state attended with a captive crew,
While unreveng’d the good old Priam falls,
And Grecian fires consume the Trojan walls?
For this the Phrygian fields and Xanthian flood
Were swell’d with bodies, and were drunk with blood?
‘T is true, a soldier can small honor gain,
And boast no conquest, from a woman slain:
Yet shall the fact not pass without applause,
Of vengeance taken in so just a cause;
The punish’d crime shall set my soul at ease,
And murm’ring manes of my friends appease.’
Thus while I rave, a gleam of pleasing light
Spread o’er the place; and, shining heav’nly bright,
My mother stood reveal’d before my sight
Never so radiant did her eyes appear;
Not her own star confess’d a light so clear:
Great in her charms, as when on gods above
She looks, and breathes herself into their love.
She held my hand, the destin’d blow to break;
Then from her rosy lips began to speak:
‘My son, from whence this madness, this neglect
Of my commands, and those whom I protect?
Why this unmanly rage? Recall to mind
Whom you forsake, what pledges leave behind.
Look if your helpless father yet survive,
Or if Ascanius or Creusa live.
Around your house the greedy Grecians err;
And these had perish’d in the nightly war,
But for my presence and protecting care.
Not Helen’s face, nor Paris, was in fault;
But by the gods was this destruction brought.
Now cast your eyes around, while I dissolve
The mists and films that mortal eyes involve,
Purge from your sight the dross, and make you see
The shape of each avenging deity.
Enlighten’d thus, my just commands fulfil,
Nor fear obedience to your mother’s will.
Where yon disorder’d heap of ruin lies,
Stones rent from stones; where clouds of dust arise-
Amid that smother Neptune holds his place,
Below the wall’s foundation drives his mace,
And heaves the building from the solid base.
Look where, in arms, imperial Juno stands
Full in the Scaean gate, with loud commands,
Urging on shore the tardy Grecian bands.
See! Pallas, of her snaky buckler proud,
Bestrides the tow’r, refulgent thro’ the cloud:
See! Jove new courage to the foe supplies,
And arms against the town the partial deities.
Haste hence, my son; this fruitless labor end:
Haste, where your trembling spouse and sire attend:
Haste; and a mother’s care your passage shall befriend.’
She said, and swiftly vanish’d from my sight,
Obscure in clouds and gloomy shades of night.
I look’d, I listen’d; dreadful sounds I hear;
And the dire forms of hostile gods appear.
Troy sunk in flames I saw (nor could prevent),
And Ilium from its old foundations rent;
Rent like a mountain ash, which dar’d the winds,
And stood the sturdy strokes of lab’ring hinds.
About the roots the cruel ax resounds;
The stumps are pierc’d with oft-repeated wounds:
The war is felt on high; the nodding crown
Now threats a fall, and throws the leafy honors down.
To their united force it yields, tho’ late,
And mourns with mortal groans th’ approaching fate:
The roots no more their upper load sustain;
But down she falls, and spreads a ruin thro’ the plain.
“Descending thence, I scape thro’ foes and fire:
Before the goddess, foes and flames retire.
Arriv’d at home, he, for whose only sake,
Or most for his, such toils I undertake,
The good Anchises, whom, by timely flight,
I purpos’d to secure on Ida’s height,
Refus’d the journey, resolute to die
And add his fun’rals to the fate of Troy,
Rather than exile and old age sustain.
‘Go you, whose blood runs warm in ev’ry vein.
Had Heav’n decreed that I should life enjoy,
Heav’n had decreed to save unhappy Troy.
‘T is, sure, enough, if not too much, for one,
Twice to have seen our Ilium overthrown.
Make haste to save the poor remaining crew,
And give this useless corpse a long adieu.
These weak old hands suffice to stop my breath;
At least the pitying foes will aid my death,
To take my spoils, and leave my body bare:
As for my sepulcher, let Heav’n take care.
‘T is long since I, for my celestial wife
Loath’d by the gods, have dragg’d a ling’ring life;
Since ev’ry hour and moment I expire,
Blasted from heav’n by Jove’s avenging fire.’
This oft repeated, he stood fix’d to die:
Myself, my wife, my son, my family,
Intreat, pray, beg, and raise a doleful cry-
‘What, will he still persist, on death resolve,
And in his ruin all his house involve!’
He still persists his reasons to maintain;
Our pray’rs, our tears, our loud laments, are vain.
“Urg’d by despair, again I go to try
The fate of arms, resolv’d in fight to die:
‘What hope remains, but what my death must give?
Can I, without so dear a father, live?
You term it prudence, what I baseness call:
Could such a word from such a parent fall?
If Fortune please, and so the gods ordain,
That nothing should of ruin’d Troy remain,
And you conspire with Fortune to be slain,
The way to death is wide, th’ approaches near:
For soon relentless Pyrrhus will appear,
Reeking with Priam’s blood- the wretch who slew
The son (inhuman) in the father’s view,
And then the sire himself to the dire altar drew.
O goddess mother, give me back to Fate;
Your gift was undesir’d, and came too late!
Did you, for this, unhappy me convey
Thro’ foes and fires, to see my house a prey?
Shall I my father, wife, and son behold,
Welt’ring in blood, each other’s arms infold?
Haste! gird my sword, tho’ spent and overcome:
‘T is the last summons to receive our doom.
I hear thee, Fate; and I obey thy call!
Not unreveng’d the foe shall see my fall.
Restore me to the yet unfinish’d fight:
My death is wanting to conclude the night.’
Arm’d once again, my glitt’ring sword I wield,
While th’ other hand sustains my weighty shield,
And forth I rush to seek th’ abandon’d field.
I went; but sad Creusa stopp’d my way,
And cross the threshold in my passage lay,
Embrac’d my knees, and, when I would have gone,
Shew’d me my feeble sire and tender son:
‘If death be your design, at least,’ said she,
‘Take us along to share your destiny.
If any farther hopes in arms remain,
This place, these pledges of your love, maintain.
To whom do you expose your father’s life,
Your son’s, and mine, your now forgotten wife!’
While thus she fills the house with clam’rous cries,
Our hearing is diverted by our eyes:
For, while I held my son, in the short space
Betwixt our kisses and our last embrace;
Strange to relate, from young Iulus’ head
A lambent flame arose, which gently spread
Around his brows, and on his temples fed.
Amaz’d, with running water we prepare
To quench the sacred fire, and slake his hair;
But old Anchises, vers’d in omens, rear’d
His hands to heav’n, and this request preferr’d:
‘If any vows, almighty Jove, can bend
Thy will; if piety can pray’rs commend,
Confirm the glad presage which thou art pleas’d to send.’
Scarce had he said, when, on our left, we hear
A peal of rattling thunder roll in air:
There shot a streaming lamp along the sky,
Which on the winged lightning seem’d to fly;
From o’er the roof the blaze began to move,
And, trailing, vanish’d in th’ Idaean grove.
It swept a path in heav’n, and shone a guide,
Then in a steaming stench of sulphur died.
“The good old man with suppliant hands implor’d
The gods’ protection, and their star ador’d.
‘Now, now,’ said he, ‘my son, no more delay!
I yield, I follow where Heav’n shews the way.
Keep, O my country gods, our dwelling place,
And guard this relic of the Trojan race,
This tender child! These omens are your own,
And you can yet restore the ruin’d town.
At least accomplish what your signs foreshow:
I stand resign’d, and am prepar’d to go.’
“He said. The crackling flames appear on high.
And driving sparkles dance along the sky.
With Vulcan’s rage the rising winds conspire,
And near our palace roll the flood of fire.
‘Haste, my dear father, (‘t is no time to wait,)
And load my shoulders with a willing freight.
Whate’er befalls, your life shall be my care;
One death, or one deliv’rance, we will share.
My hand shall lead our little son; and you,
My faithful consort, shall our steps pursue.
Next, you, my servants, heed my strict commands:
Without the walls a ruin’d temple stands,
To Ceres hallow’d once; a cypress nigh
Shoots up her venerable head on high,
By long religion kept; there bend your feet,
And in divided parties let us meet.
Our country gods, the relics, and the bands,
Hold you, my father, in your guiltless hands:
In me ‘t is impious holy things to bear,
Red as I am with slaughter, new from war,
Till in some living stream I cleanse the guilt
Of dire debate, and blood in battle spilt.’
Thus, ord’ring all that prudence could provide,
I clothe my shoulders with a lion’s hide
And yellow spoils; then, on my bending back,
The welcome load of my dear father take;
While on my better hand Ascanius hung,
And with unequal paces tripp’d along.
Creusa kept behind; by choice we stray
Thro’ ev’ry dark and ev’ry devious way.
I, who so bold and dauntless, just before,
The Grecian darts and shock of lances bore,
At ev’ry shadow now am seiz’d with fear,
Not for myself, but for the charge I bear;
Till, near the ruin’d gate arriv’d at last,
Secure, and deeming all the danger past,
A frightful noise of trampling feet we hear.
My father, looking thro’ the shades, with fear,
Cried out: ‘Haste, haste, my son, the foes are nigh;
Their swords and shining armor I descry.’
Some hostile god, for some unknown offense,
Had sure bereft my mind of better sense;
For, while thro’ winding ways I took my flight,
And sought the shelter of the gloomy night,
Alas! I lost Creusa: hard to tell
If by her fatal destiny she fell,
Or weary sate, or wander’d with affright;
But she was lost for ever to my sight.
I knew not, or reflected, till I meet
My friends, at Ceres’ now deserted seat.
We met: not one was wanting; only she
Deceiv’d her friends, her son, and wretched me.
“What mad expressions did my tongue refuse!
Whom did I not, of gods or men, accuse!
This was the fatal blow, that pain’d me more
Than all I felt from ruin’d Troy before.
Stung with my loss, and raving with despair,
Abandoning my now forgotten care,
Of counsel, comfort, and of hope bereft,
My sire, my son, my country gods I left.
In shining armor once again I sheathe
My limbs, not feeling wounds, nor fearing death.
Then headlong to the burning walls I run,
And seek the danger I was forc’d to shun.
I tread my former tracks; thro’ night explore
Each passage, ev’ry street I cross’d before.
All things were full of horror and affright,
And dreadful ev’n the silence of the night.
Then to my father’s house I make repair,
With some small glimpse of hope to find her there.
Instead of her, the cruel Greeks I met;
The house was fill’d with foes, with flames beset.
Driv’n on the wings of winds, whole sheets of fire,
Thro’ air transported, to the roofs aspire.
From thence to Priam’s palace I resort,
And search the citadel and desart court.
Then, unobserv’d, I pass by Juno’s church:
A guard of Grecians had possess’d the porch;
There Phoenix and Ulysses watch prey,
And thither all the wealth of Troy convey:
The spoils which they from ransack’d houses brought,
And golden bowls from burning altars caught,
The tables of the gods, the purple vests,
The people’s treasure, and the pomp of priests.
A rank of wretched youths, with pinion’d hands,
And captive matrons, in long order stands.
Then, with ungovern’d madness, I proclaim,
Thro’ all the silent street, Creusa’s name:
Creusa still I call; at length she hears,
And sudden thro’ the shades of night appears-
Appears, no more Creusa, nor my wife,
But a pale specter, larger than the life.
Aghast, astonish’d, and struck dumb with fear,
I stood; like bristles rose my stiffen’d hair.
Then thus the ghost began to soothe my grief
‘Nor tears, nor cries, can give the dead relief.
Desist, my much-lov’d lord,’t indulge your pain;
You bear no more than what the gods ordain.
My fates permit me not from hence to fly;
Nor he, the great controller of the sky.
Long wand’ring ways for you the pow’rs decree;
On land hard labors, and a length of sea.
Then, after many painful years are past,
On Latium’s happy shore you shall be cast,
Where gentle Tiber from his bed beholds
The flow’ry meadows, and the feeding folds.
There end your toils; and there your fates provide
A quiet kingdom, and a royal bride:
There fortune shall the Trojan line restore,
And you for lost Creusa weep no more.
Fear not that I shall watch, with servile shame,
Th’ imperious looks of some proud Grecian dame;
Or, stooping to the victor’s lust, disgrace
My goddess mother, or my royal race.
And now, farewell! The parent of the gods
Restrains my fleeting soul in her abodes:
I trust our common issue to your care.’
She said, and gliding pass’d unseen in air.
I strove to speak: but horror tied my tongue;
And thrice about her neck my arms I flung,
And, thrice deceiv’d, on vain embraces hung.
Light as an empty dream at break of day,
Or as a blast of wind, she rush’d away.
“Thus having pass’d the night in fruitless pain,
I to my longing friends return again,
Amaz’d th’ augmented number to behold,
Of men and matrons mix’d, of young and old;
A wretched exil’d crew together brought,
With arms appointed, and with treasure fraught,
Resolv’d, and willing, under my command,
To run all hazards both of sea and land.
The Morn began, from Ida, to display
Her rosy cheeks; and Phosphor led the day:
Before the gates the Grecians took their post,
And all pretense of late relief was lost.
I yield to Fate, unwillingly retire,
And, loaded, up the hill convey my sire.”
“When Heav’n had overturn’d the Trojan state
And Priam’s throne, by too severe a fate;
When ruin’d Troy became the Grecians’ prey,
And Ilium’s lofty tow’rs in ashes lay;
Warn’d by celestial omens, we retreat,
To seek in foreign lands a happier seat.
Near old Antandros, and at Ida’s foot,
The timber of the sacred groves we cut,
And build our fleet; uncertain yet to find
What place the gods for our repose assign’d.
Friends daily flock; and scarce the kindly spring
Began to clothe the ground, and birds to sing,
When old Anchises summon’d all to sea:
The crew my father and the Fates obey.
With sighs and tears I leave my native shore,
And empty fields, where Ilium stood before.
My sire, my son, our less and greater gods,
All sail at once, and cleave the briny floods.
“Against our coast appears a spacious land,
Which once the fierce Lycurgus did command,
(Thracia the name- the people bold in war;
Vast are their fields, and tillage is their care,)
A hospitable realm while Fate was kind,
With Troy in friendship and religion join’d.
I land; with luckless omens then adore
Their gods, and draw a line along the shore;
I lay the deep foundations of a wall,
And Aenos, nam’d from me, the city call.
To Dionaean Venus vows are paid,
And all the pow’rs that rising labors aid;
A bull on Jove’s imperial altar laid.
Not far, a rising hillock stood in view;
Sharp myrtles on the sides, and cornels grew.
There, while I went to crop the sylvan scenes,
And shade our altar with their leafy greens,
I pull’d a plant- with horror I relate
A prodigy so strange and full of fate.
The rooted fibers rose, and from the wound
Black bloody drops distill’d upon the ground.
Mute and amaz’d, my hair with terror stood;
Fear shrunk my sinews, and congeal’d my blood.
Mann’d once again, another plant I try:
That other gush’d with the same sanguine dye.
Then, fearing guilt for some offense unknown,
With pray’rs and vows the Dryads I atone,
With all the sisters of the woods, and most
The God of Arms, who rules the Thracian coast,
That they, or he, these omens would avert,
Release our fears, and better signs impart.
Clear’d, as I thought, and fully fix’d at length
To learn the cause, I tugged with all my strength:
I bent my knees against the ground; once more
The violated myrtle ran with gore.
Scarce dare I tell the sequel: from the womb
Of wounded earth, and caverns of the tomb,
A groan, as of a troubled ghost, renew’d
My fright, and then these dreadful words ensued:
‘Why dost thou thus my buried body rend?
O spare the corpse of thy unhappy friend!
Spare to pollute thy pious hands with blood:
The tears distil not from the wounded wood;
But ev’ry drop this living tree contains
Is kindred blood, and ran in Trojan veins.
O fly from this unhospitable shore,
Warn’d by my fate; for I am Polydore!
Here loads of lances, in my blood embrued,
Again shoot upward, by my blood renew’d.’
“My falt’ring tongue and shiv’ring limbs declare
My horror, and in bristles rose my hair.
When Troy with Grecian arms was closely pent,
Old Priam, fearful of the war’s event,
This hapless Polydore to Thracia sent:
Loaded with gold, he sent his darling, far
From noise and tumults, and destructive war,
Committed to the faithless tyrant’s care;
Who, when he saw the pow’r of Troy decline,
Forsook the weaker, with the strong to join;
Broke ev’ry bond of nature and of truth,
And murder’d, for his wealth, the royal youth.
O sacred hunger of pernicious gold!
What bands of faith can impious lucre hold?
Now, when my soul had shaken off her fears,
I call my father and the Trojan peers;
Relate the prodigies of Heav’n, require
What he commands, and their advice desire.
All vote to leave that execrable shore,
Polluted with the blood of Polydore;
But, ere we sail, his fun’ral rites prepare,
Then, to his ghost, a tomb and altars rear.
In mournful pomp the matrons walk the round,
With baleful cypress and blue fillets crown’d,
With eyes dejected, and with hair unbound.
Then bowls of tepid milk and blood we pour,
And thrice invoke the soul of Polydore.
“Now, when the raging storms no longer reign,
But southern gales invite us to the main,
We launch our vessels, with a prosp’rous wind,
And leave the cities and the shores behind.
“An island in th’ Aegaean main appears;
Neptune and wat’ry Doris claim it theirs.
It floated once, till Phoebus fix’d the sides
To rooted earth, and now it braves the tides.
Here, borne by friendly winds, we come ashore,
With needful ease our weary limbs restore,
And the Sun’s temple and his town adore.
“Anius, the priest and king, with laurel crown’d,
His hoary locks with purple fillets bound,
Who saw my sire the Delian shore ascend,
Came forth with eager haste to meet his friend;
Invites him to his palace; and, in sign
Of ancient love, their plighted hands they join.
Then to the temple of the god I went,
And thus, before the shrine, my vows present:
‘Give, O Thymbraeus, give a resting place
To the sad relics of the Trojan race;
A seat secure, a region of their own,
A lasting empire, and a happier town.
Where shall we fix? where shall our labors end?
Whom shall we follow, and what fate attend?
Let not my pray’rs a doubtful answer find;
But in clear auguries unveil thy mind.’
Scarce had I said: he shook the holy ground,
The laurels, and the lofty hills around;
And from the tripos rush’d a bellowing sound.
Prostrate we fell; confess’d the present god,
Who gave this answer from his dark abode:
‘Undaunted youths, go, seek that mother earth
From which your ancestors derive their birth.
The soil that sent you forth, her ancient race
In her old bosom shall again embrace.
Thro’ the wide world th’ Aeneian house shall reign,
And children’s children shall the crown sustain.’
Thus Phoebus did our future fates disclose:
A mighty tumult, mix’d with joy, arose.
“All are concern’d to know what place the god
Assign’d, and where determin’d our abode.
My father, long revolving in his mind
The race and lineage of the Trojan kind,
Thus answer’d their demands: ‘Ye princes, hear
Your pleasing fortune, and dispel your fear.
The fruitful isle of Crete, well known to fame,
Sacred of old to Jove’s imperial name,
In the mid ocean lies, with large command,
And on its plains a hundred cities stand.
Another Ida rises there, and we
From thence derive our Trojan ancestry.
From thence, as ‘t is divulg’d by certain fame,
To the Rhoetean shores old Teucrus came;
There fix’d, and there the seat of empire chose,
Ere Ilium and the Trojan tow’rs arose.
In humble vales they built their soft abodes,
Till Cybele, the mother of the gods,
With tinkling cymbals charm’d th’ Idaean woods,
She secret rites and ceremonies taught,
And to the yoke the savage lions brought.
Let us the land which Heav’n appoints, explore;
Appease the winds, and seek the Gnossian shore.
If Jove assists the passage of our fleet,
The third propitious dawn discovers Crete.’
Thus having said, the sacrifices, laid
On smoking altars, to the gods he paid:
A bull, to Neptune an oblation due,
Another bull to bright Apollo slew;
A milk-white ewe, the western winds to please,
And one coal-black, to calm the stormy seas.
Ere this, a flying rumor had been spread
That fierce Idomeneus from Crete was fled,
Expell’d and exil’d; that the coast was free
From foreign or domestic enemy.
“We leave the Delian ports, and put to sea;
By Naxos, fam’d for vintage, make our way;
Then green Donysa pass; and sail in sight
Of Paros’ isle, with marble quarries white.
We pass the scatter’d isles of Cyclades,
That, scarce distinguish’d, seem to stud the seas.
The shouts of sailors double near the shores;
They stretch their canvas, and they ply their oars.
‘All hands aloft! for Crete! for Crete!’ they cry,
And swiftly thro’ the foamy billows fly.
Full on the promis’d land at length we bore,
With joy descending on the Cretan shore.
With eager haste a rising town I frame,
Which from the Trojan Pergamus I name:
The name itself was grateful; I exhort
To found their houses, and erect a fort.
Our ships are haul’d upon the yellow strand;
The youth begin to till the labor’d land;
And I myself new marriages promote,
Give laws, and dwellings I divide by lot;
When rising vapors choke the wholesome air,
And blasts of noisome winds corrupt the year;
The trees devouring caterpillars burn;
Parch’d was the grass, and blighted was the corn:
Nor ‘scape the beasts; for Sirius, from on high,
With pestilential heat infects the sky:
My men- some fall, the rest in fevers fry.
Again my father bids me seek the shore
Of sacred Delos, and the god implore,
To learn what end of woes we might expect,
And to what clime our weary course direct.
“‘T was night, when ev’ry creature, void of cares,
The common gift of balmy slumber shares:
The statues of my gods (for such they seem’d),
Those gods whom I from flaming Troy redeem’d,
Before me stood, majestically bright,
Full in the beams of Phoebe’s ent’ring light.
Then thus they spoke, and eas’d my troubled mind:
‘What from the Delian god thou go’st to find,
He tells thee here, and sends us to relate.
Those pow’rs are we, companions of thy fate,
Who from the burning town by thee were brought,
Thy fortune follow’d, and thy safety wrought.
Thro’ seas and lands as we thy steps attend,
So shall our care thy glorious race befriend.
An ample realm for thee thy fates ordain,
A town that o’er the conquer’d world shall reign.
Thou, mighty walls for mighty nations build;
Nor let thy weary mind to labors yield:
But change thy seat; for not the Delian god,
Nor we, have giv’n thee Crete for our abode.
A land there is, Hesperia call’d of old,
(The soil is fruitful, and the natives bold-
Th’ Oenotrians held it once,) by later fame
Now call’d Italia, from the leader’s name.
lasius there and Dardanus were born;
From thence we came, and thither must return.
Rise, and thy sire with these glad tidings greet.
Search Italy; for Jove denies thee Crete.’
“Astonish’d at their voices and their sight,
(Nor were they dreams, but visions of the night;
I saw, I knew their faces, and descried,
In perfect view, their hair with fillets tied;)
I started from my couch; a clammy sweat
On all my limbs and shiv’ring body sate.
To heav’n I lift my hands with pious haste,
And sacred incense in the flames I cast.
Thus to the gods their perfect honors done,
More cheerful, to my good old sire I run,
And tell the pleasing news. In little space
He found his error of the double race;
Not, as before he deem’d, deriv’d from Crete;
No more deluded by the doubtful seat:
Then said: ‘O son, turmoil’d in Trojan fate!
Such things as these Cassandra did relate.
This day revives within my mind what she
Foretold of Troy renew’d in Italy,
And Latian lands; but who could then have thought
That Phrygian gods to Latium should be brought,
Or who believ’d what mad Cassandra taught?
Now let us go where Phoebus leads the way.’
“He said; and we with glad consent obey,
Forsake the seat, and, leaving few behind,
We spread our sails before the willing wind.
Now from the sight of land our galleys move,
With only seas around and skies above;
When o’er our heads descends a burst of rain,
And night with sable clouds involves the main;
The ruffling winds the foamy billows raise;
The scatter’d fleet is forc’d to sev’ral ways;
The face of heav’n is ravish’d from our eyes,
And in redoubled peals the roaring thunder flies.
Cast from our course, we wander in the dark.
No stars to guide, no point of land to mark.
Ev’n Palinurus no distinction found
Betwixt the night and day; such darkness reign’d around.
Three starless nights the doubtful navy strays,
Without distinction, and three sunless days;
The fourth renews the light, and, from our shrouds,
We view a rising land, like distant clouds;
The mountain-tops confirm the pleasing sight,
And curling smoke ascending from their height.
The canvas falls; their oars the sailors ply;
From the rude strokes the whirling waters fly.
At length I land upon the Strophades,
Safe from the danger of the stormy seas.
Those isles are compass’d by th’ Ionian main,
The dire abode where the foul Harpies reign,
Forc’d by the winged warriors to repair
To their old homes, and leave their costly fare.
Monsters more fierce offended Heav’n ne’er sent
From hell’s abyss, for human punishment:
With virgin faces, but with wombs obscene,
Foul paunches, and with ordure still unclean;
With claws for hands, and looks for ever lean.
“We landed at the port, and soon beheld
Fat herds of oxen graze the flow’ry field,
And wanton goats without a keeper stray’d.
With weapons we the welcome prey invade,
Then call the gods for partners of our feast,
And Jove himself, the chief invited guest.
We spread the tables on the greensward ground;
We feed with hunger, and the bowls go round;
When from the mountain-tops, with hideous cry,
And clatt’ring wings, the hungry Harpies fly;
They snatch the meat, defiling all they find,
And, parting, leave a loathsome stench behind.
Close by a hollow rock, again we sit,
New dress the dinner, and the beds refit,
Secure from sight, beneath a pleasing shade,
Where tufted trees a native arbor made.
Again the holy fires on altars burn;
And once again the rav’nous birds return,
Or from the dark recesses where they lie,
Or from another quarter of the sky;
With filthy claws their odious meal repeat,
And mix their loathsome ordures with their meat.
I bid my friends for vengeance then prepare,
And with the hellish nation wage the war.
They, as commanded, for the fight provide,
And in the grass their glitt’ring weapons hide;
Then, when along the crooked shore we hear
Their clatt’ring wings, and saw the foes appear,
Misenus sounds a charge: we take th’ alarm,
And our strong hands with swords and bucklers arm.
In this new kind of combat all employ
Their utmost force, the monsters to destroy.
In vain- the fated skin is proof to wounds;
And from their plumes the shining sword rebounds.
At length rebuff’d, they leave their mangled prey,
And their stretch’d pinions to the skies display.
Yet one remain’d- the messenger of Fate:
High on a craggy cliff Celaeno sate,
And thus her dismal errand did relate:
‘What! not contented with our oxen slain,
Dare you with Heav’n an impious war maintain,
And drive the Harpies from their native reign?
Heed therefore what I say; and keep in mind
What Jove decrees, what Phoebus has design’d,
And I, the Furies’ queen, from both relate-
You seek th’ Italian shores, foredoom’d by fate:
Th’ Italian shores are granted you to find,
And a safe passage to the port assign’d.
But know, that ere your promis’d walls you build,
My curses shall severely be fulfill’d.
Fierce famine is your lot for this misdeed,
Reduc’d to grind the plates on which you feed.’
She said, and to the neighb’ring forest flew.
Our courage fails us, and our fears renew.
Hopeless to win by war, to pray’rs we fall,
And on th’ offended Harpies humbly call,
And whether gods or birds obscene they were,
Our vows for pardon and for peace prefer.
But old Anchises, off’ring sacrifice,
And lifting up to heav’n his hands and eyes,
Ador’d the greater gods: ‘Avert,’ said he,
‘These omens; render vain this prophecy,
And from th’ impending curse a pious people free!’
“Thus having said, he bids us put to sea;
We loose from shore our haulsers, and obey,
And soon with swelling sails pursue the wat’ry way.
Amidst our course, Zacynthian woods appear;
And next by rocky Neritos we steer:
We fly from Ithaca’s detested shore,
And curse the land which dire Ulysses bore.
At length Leucate’s cloudy top appears,
And the Sun’s temple, which the sailor fears.
Resolv’d to breathe a while from labor past,
Our crooked anchors from the prow we cast,
And joyful to the little city haste.
Here, safe beyond our hopes, our vows we pay
To Jove, the guide and patron of our way.
The customs of our country we pursue,
And Trojan games on Actian shores renew.
Our youth their naked limbs besmear with oil,
And exercise the wrastlers’ noble toil;
Pleas’d to have sail’d so long before the wind,
And left so many Grecian towns behind.
The sun had now fulfill’d his annual course,
And Boreas on the seas display’d his force:
I fix’d upon the temple’s lofty door
The brazen shield which vanquish’d Abas bore;
The verse beneath my name and action speaks:
‘These arms Aeneas took from conqu’ring Greeks.’
Then I command to weigh; the seamen ply
Their sweeping oars; the smoking billows fly.
The sight of high Phaeacia soon we lost,
And skimm’d along Epirus’ rocky coast.
“Then to Chaonia’s port our course we bend,
And, landed, to Buthrotus’ heights ascend.
Here wondrous things were loudly blaz’d fame:
How Helenus reviv’d the Trojan name,
And reign’d in Greece; that Priam’s captive son
Succeeded Pyrrhus in his bed and throne;
And fair Andromache, restor’d by fate,
Once more was happy in a Trojan mate.
I leave my galleys riding in the port,
And long to see the new Dardanian court.
By chance, the mournful queen, before the gate,
Then solemniz’d her former husband’s fate.
Green altars, rais’d of turf, with gifts she crown’d,
And sacred priests in order stand around,
And thrice the name of hapless Hector sound.
The grove itself resembles Ida’s wood;
And Simois seem’d the well-dissembled flood.
But when at nearer distance she beheld
My shining armor and my Trojan shield,
Astonish’d at the sight, the vital heat
Forsakes her limbs; her veins no longer beat:
She faints, she falls, and scarce recov’ring strength,
Thus, with a falt’ring tongue, she speaks at length:
“‘Are you alive, O goddess-born?’ she said,
‘Or if a ghost, then where is Hector’s shade?’
At this, she cast a loud and frightful cry.
With broken words I made this brief reply:
‘All of me that remains appears in sight;
I live, if living be to loathe the light.
No phantom; but I drag a wretched life,
My fate resembling that of Hector’s wife.
What have you suffer’d since you lost your lord?
By what strange blessing are you now restor’d?
Still are you Hector’s? or is Hector fled,
And his remembrance lost in Pyrrhus’ bed?’
With eyes dejected, in a lowly tone,
After a modest pause she thus begun:
“‘O only happy maid of Priam’s race,
Whom death deliver’d from the foes’ embrace!
Commanded on Achilles’ tomb to die,
Not forc’d, like us, to hard captivity,
Or in a haughty master’s arms to lie.
In Grecian ships unhappy we were borne,
Endur’d the victor’s lust, sustain’d the scorn:
Thus I submitted to the lawless pride
Of Pyrrhus, more a handmaid than a bride.
Cloy’d with possession, he forsook my bed,
And Helen’s lovely daughter sought to wed;
Then me to Trojan Helenus resign’d,
And his two slaves in equal marriage join’d;
Till young Orestes, pierc’d with deep despair,
And longing to redeem the promis’d fair,
Before Apollo’s altar slew the ravisher.
By Pyrrhus’ death the kingdom we regain’d:
At least one half with Helenus remain’d.
Our part, from Chaon, he Chaonia calls,
And names from Pergamus his rising walls.
But you, what fates have landed on our coast?
What gods have sent you, or what storms have toss’d?
Does young Ascanius life and health enjoy,
Sav’d from the ruins of unhappy Troy?
O tell me how his mother’s loss he bears,
What hopes are promis’d from his blooming years,
How much of Hector in his face appears?’
She spoke; and mix’d her speech with mournful cries,
And fruitless tears came trickling from her eyes.
“At length her lord descends upon the plain,
In pomp, attended with a num’rous train;
Receives his friends, and to the city leads,
And tears of joy amidst his welcome sheds.
Proceeding on, another Troy I see,
Or, in less compass, Troy’s epitome.
A riv’let by the name of Xanthus ran,
And I embrace the Scaean gate again.
My friends in porticoes were entertain’d,
And feasts and pleasures thro’ the city reign’d.
The tables fill’d the spacious hall around,
And golden bowls with sparkling wine were crown’d.
Two days we pass’d in mirth, till friendly gales,
Blown from the supplied our swelling sails.
Then to the royal seer I thus began:
‘O thou, who know’st, beyond the reach of man,
The laws of heav’n, and what the stars decree;
Whom Phoebus taught unerring prophecy,
From his own tripod, and his holy tree;
Skill’d in the wing’d inhabitants of air,
What auspices their notes and flights declare:
O say- for all religious rites portend
A happy voyage, and a prosp’rous end;
And ev’ry power and omen of the sky
Direct my course for destin’d Italy;
But only dire Celaeno, from the gods,
A dismal famine fatally forebodes-
O say what dangers I am first to shun,
What toils vanquish, and what course to run.’
“The prophet first with sacrifice adores
The greater gods; their pardon then implores;
Unbinds the fillet from his holy head;
To Phoebus, next, my trembling steps he led,
Full of religious doubts and awful dread.
Then, with his god possess’d, before the shrine,
These words proceeded from his mouth divine:
‘O goddess-born, (for Heav’n’s appointed will,
With greater auspices of good than ill,
Foreshows thy voyage, and thy course directs;
Thy fates conspire, and Jove himself protects,)
Of many things some few I shall explain,
Teach thee to shun the dangers of the main,
And how at length the promis’d shore to gain.
The rest the fates from Helenus conceal,
And Juno’s angry pow’r forbids to tell.
First, then, that happy shore, that seems so nigh,
Will far from your deluded wishes fly;
Long tracts of seas divide your hopes from Italy:
For you must cruise along Sicilian shores,
And stem the currents with your struggling oars;
Then round th’ Italian coast your navy steer;
And, after this, to Circe’s island veer;
And, last, before your new foundations rise,
Must pass the Stygian lake, and view the nether skies.
Now mark the signs of future ease and rest,
And bear them safely treasur’d in thy breast.
When, in the shady shelter of a wood,
And near the margin of a gentle flood,
Thou shalt behold a sow upon the ground,
With thirty sucking young encompass’d round;
The dam and offspring white as falling snow-
These on thy city shall their name bestow,
And there shall end thy labors and thy woe.
Nor let the threaten’d famine fright thy mind,
For Phoebus will assist, and Fate the way will find.
Let not thy course to that ill coast be bent,
Which fronts from far th’ Epirian continent:
Those parts are all by Grecian foes possess’d;
The salvage Locrians here the shores infest;
There fierce Idomeneus his city builds,
And guards with arms the Salentinian fields;
And on the mountain’s brow Petilia stands,
Which Philoctetes with his troops commands.
Ev’n when thy fleet is landed on the shore,
And priests with holy vows the gods adore,
Then with a purple veil involve your eyes,
Lest hostile faces blast the sacrifice.
These rites and customs to the rest commend,
That to your pious race they may descend.
“‘When, parted hence, the wind, that ready waits
For Sicily, shall bear you to the straits
Where proud Pelorus opes a wider way,
Tack to the larboard, and stand off to sea:
Veer starboard sea and land. Th’ Italian shore
And fair Sicilia’s coast were one, before
An earthquake caus’d the flaw: the roaring tides
The passage broke that land from land divides;
And where the lands retir’d, the rushing ocean rides.
Distinguish’d by the straits, on either hand,
Now rising cities in long order stand,
And fruitful fields: so much can time invade
The mold’ring work that beauteous Nature made.
Far on the right, her dogs foul Scylla hides:
Charybdis roaring on the left presides,
And in her greedy whirlpool sucks the tides;
Then spouts them from below: with fury driv’n,
The waves mount up and wash the face of heav’n.
But Scylla from her den, with open jaws,
The sinking vessel in her eddy draws,
Then dashes on the rocks. A human face,
And virgin bosom, hides her tail’s disgrace:
Her parts obscene below the waves descend,
With dogs inclos’d, and in a dolphin end.
‘T is safer, then, to bear aloof to sea,
And coast Pachynus, tho’ with more delay,
Than once to view misshapen Scylla near,
And the loud yell of wat’ry wolves to hear.
“‘Besides, if faith to Helenus be due,
And if prophetic Phoebus tell me true,
Do not this precept of your friend forget,
Which therefore more than once I must repeat:
Above the rest, great Juno’s name adore;
Pay vows to Juno; Juno’s aid implore.
Let gifts be to the mighty queen design’d,
And mollify with pray’rs her haughty mind.
Thus, at the length, your passage shall be free,
And you shall safe descend on Italy.
Arriv’d at Cumae, when you view the flood
Of black Avernus, and the sounding wood,
The mad prophetic Sibyl you shall find,
Dark in a cave, and on a rock reclin’d.
She sings the fates, and, in her frantic fits,
The notes and names, inscrib’d, to leafs commits.
What she commits to leafs, in order laid,
Before the cavern’s entrance are display’d:
Unmov’d they lie; but, if a blast of wind
Without, or vapors issue from behind,
The leafs are borne aloft in liquid air,
And she resumes no more her museful care,
Nor gathers from the rocks her scatter’d verse,
Nor sets in order what the winds disperse.
Thus, many not succeeding, most upbraid
The madness of the visionary maid,
And with loud curses leave the mystic shade.
“‘Think it not loss of time a while to stay,
Tho’ thy companions chide thy long delay;
Tho’ summon’d to the seas, tho’ pleasing gales
Invite thy course, and stretch thy swelling sails:
But beg the sacred priestess to relate
With willing words, and not to write thy fate.
The fierce Italian people she will show,
And all thy wars, and all thy future woe,
And what thou may’st avoid, and what must undergo.
She shall direct thy course, instruct thy mind,
And teach thee how the happy shores to find.
This is what Heav’n allows me to relate:
Now part in peace; pursue thy better fate,
And raise, by strength of arms, the Trojan state.’
“This when the priest with friendly voice declar’d,
He gave me license, and rich gifts prepar’d:
Bounteous of treasure, he supplied my want
With heavy gold, and polish’d elephant;
Then Dodonaean caldrons put on board,
And ev’ry ship with sums of silver stor’d.
A trusty coat of mail to me he sent,
Thrice chain’d with gold, for use and ornament;
The helm of Pyrrhus added to the rest,
That flourish’d with a plume and waving crest.
Nor was my sire forgotten, nor my friends;
And large recruits he to my navy sends:
Men, horses, captains, arms, and warlike stores;
Supplies new pilots, and new sweeping oars.
Meantime, my sire commands to hoist our sails,
Lest we should lose the first auspicious gales.
“The prophet bless’d the parting crew, and last,
With words like these, his ancient friend embrac’d:
‘Old happy man, the care of gods above,
Whom heav’nly Venus honor’d with her love,
And twice preserv’d thy life, when Troy was lost,
Behold from far the wish’d Ausonian coast:
There land; but take a larger compass round,
For that before is all forbidden ground.
The shore that Phoebus has design’d for you,
At farther distance lies, conceal’d from view.
Go happy hence, and seek your new abodes,
Blest in a son, and favor’d by the gods:
For I with useless words prolong your stay,
When southern gales have summon’d you away.’
“Nor less the queen our parting thence deplor’d,
Nor was less bounteous than her Trojan lord.
A noble present to my son she brought,
A robe with flow’rs on golden tissue wrought,
A phrygian vest; and loads with gifts beside
Of precious texture, and of Asian pride.
‘Accept,’ she said, ‘these monuments of love,
Which in my youth with happier hands I wove:
Regard these trifles for the giver’s sake;
‘T is the last present Hector’s wife can make.
Thou call’st my lost Astyanax to mind;
In thee his features and his form I find:
His eyes so sparkled with a lively flame;
Such were his motions; such was all his frame;
And ah! had Heav’n so pleas’d, his years had been the same.’
“With tears I took my last adieu, and said:
‘Your fortune, happy pair, already made,
Leaves you no farther wish. My diff’rent state,
Avoiding one, incurs another fate.
To you a quiet seat the gods allow:
You have no shores to search, no seas to plow,
Nor fields of flying Italy to chase:
(Deluding visions, and a vain embrace!)
You see another Simois, and enjoy
The labor of your hands, another Troy,
With better auspice than her ancient tow’rs,
And less obnoxious to the Grecian pow’rs.
If e’er the gods, whom I with vows adore,
Conduct my steps to Tiber’s happy shore;
If ever I ascend the Latian throne,
And build a city I may call my own;
As both of us our birth from Troy derive,
So let our kindred lines in concord live,
And both in acts of equal friendship strive.
Our fortunes, good or bad, shall be the same:
The double Troy shall differ but in name;
That what we now begin may never end,
But long to late posterity descend.’
“Near the Ceraunian rocks our course we bore;
The shortest passage to th’ Italian shore.
Now had the sun withdrawn his radiant light,
And hills were hid in dusky shades of night:
We land, and, on the bosom Of the ground,
A safe retreat and a bare lodging found.
Close by the shore we lay; the sailors keep
Their watches, and the rest securely sleep.
The night, proceeding on with silent pace,
Stood in her noon, and view’d with equal face
Her steepy rise and her declining race.
Then wakeful Palinurus rose, to spy
The face of heav’n, and the nocturnal sky;
And listen’d ev’ry breath of air to try;
Observes the stars, and notes their sliding course,
The Pleiads, Hyads, and their wat’ry force;
And both the Bears is careful to behold,
And bright Orion, arm’d with burnish’d gold.
Then, when he saw no threat’ning tempest nigh,
But a sure promise of a settled sky,
He gave the sign to weigh; we break our sleep,
Forsake the pleasing shore, and plow the deep.
“And now the rising morn with rosy light
Adorns the skies, and puts the stars to flight;
When we from far, like bluish mists, descry
The hills, and then the plains, of Italy.
Achates first pronounc’d the joyful sound;
Then, ‘Italy!’ the cheerful crew rebound.
My sire Anchises crown’d a cup with wine,
And, off’ring, thus implor’d the pow’rs divine:
‘Ye gods, presiding over lands and seas,
And you who raging winds and waves appease,
Breathe on our swelling sails a prosp’rous wind,
And smooth our passage to the port assign’d!’
The gentle gales their flagging force renew,
And now the happy harbor is in view.
Minerva’s temple then salutes our sight,
Plac’d, as a landmark, on the mountain’s height.
We furl our sails, and turn the prows to shore;
The curling waters round the galleys roar.
The land lies open to the raging east,
Then, bending like a bow, with rocks compress’d,
Shuts out the storms; the winds and waves complain,
And vent their malice on the cliffs in vain.
The port lies hid within; on either side
Two tow’ring rocks the narrow mouth divide.
The temple, which aloft we view’d before,
To distance flies, and seems to shun the shore.
Scarce landed, the first omens I beheld
Were four white steeds that cropp’d the flow’ry field.
‘War, war is threaten’d from this foreign ground,’
My father cried, ‘where warlike steeds are found.
Yet, since reclaim’d to chariots they submit,
And bend to stubborn yokes, and champ the bit,
Peace may succeed to war.’ Our way we bend
To Pallas, and the sacred hill ascend;
There prostrate to the fierce virago pray,
Whose temple was the landmark of our way.
Each with a Phrygian mantle veil’d his head,
And all commands of Helenus obey’d,
And pious rites to Grecian Juno paid.
These dues perform’d, we stretch our sails, and stand
To sea, forsaking that suspected land.
“From hence Tarentum’s bay appears in view,
For Hercules renown’d, if fame be true.
Just opposite, Lacinian Juno stands;
Caulonian tow’rs, and Scylacaean strands,
For shipwrecks fear’d. Mount Aetna thence we spy,
Known by the smoky flames which cloud the sky.
Far off we hear the waves with surly sound
Invade the rocks, the rocks their groans rebound.
The billows break upon the sounding strand,
And roll the rising tide, impure with sand.
Then thus Anchises, in experience old:
”T is that Charybdis which the seer foretold,
And those the promis’d rocks! Bear off to sea!’
With haste the frighted mariners obey.
First Palinurus to the larboard veer’d;
Then all the fleet by his example steer’d.
To heav’n aloft on ridgy waves we ride,
Then down to hell descend, when they divide;
And thrice our galleys knock’d the stony ground,
And thrice the hollow rocks return’d the sound,
And thrice we saw the stars, that stood with dews around.
The flagging winds forsook us, with the sun;
And, wearied, on Cyclopian shores we run.
The port capacious, and secure from wind,
Is to the foot of thund’ring Aetna join’d.
By turns a pitchy cloud she rolls on high;
By turns hot embers from her entrails fly,
And flakes of mounting flames, that lick the sky.
Oft from her bowels massy rocks are thrown,
And, shiver’d by the force, come piecemeal down.
Oft liquid lakes of burning sulphur flow,
Fed from the fiery springs that boil below.
Enceladus, they say, transfix’d by Jove,
With blasted limbs came tumbling from above;
And, where he fell, th’ avenging father drew
This flaming hill, and on his body threw.
As often as he turns his weary sides,
He shakes the solid isle, and smoke the heavens hides.
In shady woods we pass the tedious night,
Where bellowing sounds and groans our souls affright,
Of which no cause is offer’d to the sight;
For not one star was kindled in the sky,
Nor could the moon her borrow’d light supply;
For misty clouds involv’d the firmament,
The stars were muffled, and the moon was pent.
“Scarce had the rising sun the day reveal’d,
Scarce had his heat the pearly dews dispell’d,
When from the woods there bolts, before our sight,
Somewhat betwixt a mortal and a sprite,
So thin, so ghastly meager, and so wan,
So bare of flesh, he scarce resembled man.
This thing, all tatter’d, seem’d from far t’ implore
Our pious aid, and pointed to the shore.
We look behind, then view his shaggy beard;
His clothes were tagg’d with thorns, and filth his limbs
The rest, in mien, in habit, and in face,
Appear’d a Greek, and such indeed he was.
He cast on us, from far, a frightful view,
Whom soon for Trojans and for foes he knew;
Stood still, and paus’d; then all at once began
To stretch his limbs, and trembled as he ran.
Soon as approach’d, upon his knees he falls,
And thus with tears and sighs for pity calls:
‘Now, by the pow’rs above, and what we share
From Nature’s common gift, this vital air,
O Trojans, take me hence! I beg no more;
But bear me far from this unhappy shore.
‘T is true, I am a Greek, and farther own,
Among your foes besieg’d th’ imperial town.
For such demerits if my death be due,
No more for this abandon’d life I sue;
This only favor let my tears obtain,
To throw me headlong in the rapid main:
Since nothing more than death my crime demands,
I die content, to die by human hands.’
He said, and on his knees my knees embrac’d:
I bade him boldly tell his fortune past,
His present state, his lineage, and his name,
Th’ occasion of his fears, and whence he came.
The good Anchises rais’d him with his hand;
Who, thus encourag’d, answer’d our demand:
‘From Ithaca, my native soil, I came
To Troy; and Achaemenides my name.
Me my poor father with Ulysses sent;
(O had I stay’d, with poverty content!)
But, fearful for themselves, my countrymen
Left me forsaken in the Cyclops’ den.
The cave, tho’ large, was dark; the dismal floor
Was pav’d with mangled limbs and putrid gore.
Our monstrous host, of more than human size,
Erects his head, and stares within the skies;
Bellowing his voice, and horrid is his hue.
Ye gods, remove this plague from mortal view!
The joints of slaughter’d wretches are his food;
And for his wine he quaffs the streaming blood.
These eyes beheld, when with his spacious hand
He seiz’d two captives of our Grecian band;
Stretch’d on his back, he dash’d against the stones
Their broken bodies, and their crackling bones:
With spouting blood the purple pavement swims,
While the dire glutton grinds the trembling limbs.
“‘Not unreveng’d Ulysses bore their fate,
Nor thoughtless of his own unhappy state;
For, gorg’d with flesh, and drunk with human wine
While fast asleep the giant lay supine,
Snoring aloud, and belching from his maw
His indigested foam, and morsels raw;
We pray; we cast the lots, and then surround
The monstrous body, stretch’d along the ground:
Each, as he could approach him, lends a hand
To bore his eyeball with a flaming brand.
Beneath his frowning forehead lay his eye;
For only one did the vast frame supply-
But that a globe so large, his front it fill’d,
Like the sun’s disk or like a Grecian shield.
The stroke succeeds; and down the pupil bends:
This vengeance follow’d for our slaughter’d friends.
But haste, unhappy wretches, haste to fly!
Your cables cut, and on your oars rely!
Such, and so vast as Polypheme appears,
A hundred more this hated island bears:
Like him, in caves they shut their woolly sheep;
Like him, their herds on tops of mountains keep;
Like him, with mighty strides, they stalk from steep to steep
And now three moons their sharpen’d horns renew,
Since thus, in woods and wilds, obscure from view,
I drag my loathsome days with mortal fright,
And in deserted caverns lodge by night;
Oft from the rocks a dreadful prospect see
Of the huge Cyclops, like a walking tree:
From far I hear his thund’ring voice resound,
And trampling feet that shake the solid ground.
Cornels and salvage berries of the wood,
And roots and herbs, have been my meager food.
While all around my longing eyes I cast,
I saw your happy ships appear at last.
On those I fix’d my hopes, to these I run;
‘T is all I ask, this cruel race to shun;
What other death you please, yourselves bestow.’
“Scarce had he said, when on the mountain’s brow
We saw the giant shepherd stalk before
His following flock, and leading to the shore:
A monstrous bulk, deform’d, depriv’d of sight;
His staff a trunk of pine, to guide his steps aright.
His pond’rous whistle from his neck descends;
His woolly care their pensive lord attends:
This only solace his hard fortune sends.
Soon as he reach’d the shore and touch’d the waves,
From his bor’d eye the gutt’ring blood he laves:
He gnash’d his teeth, and groan’d; thro’ seas he strides,
And scarce the topmost billows touch’d his sides.
“Seiz’d with a sudden fear, we run to sea,
The cables cut, and silent haste away;
The well-deserving stranger entertain;
Then, buckling to the work, our oars divide the main.
The giant harken’d to the dashing sound:
But, when our vessels out of reach he found,
He strided onward, and in vain essay’d
Th’ Ionian deep, and durst no farther wade.
With that he roar’d aloud: the dreadful cry
Shakes earth, and air, and seas; the billows fly
Before the bellowing noise to distant Italy.
The neigh’ring Aetna trembling all around,
The winding caverns echo to the sound.
His brother Cyclops hear the yelling roar,
And, rushing down the mountains, crowd the shore.
We saw their stern distorted looks, from far,
And one-eyed glance, that vainly threaten’d war:
A dreadful council, with their heads on high;
(The misty clouds about their foreheads fly;)
Not yielding to the tow’ring tree of Jove,
Or tallest cypress of Diana’s grove.
New pangs of mortal fear our minds assail;
We tug at ev’ry oar, and hoist up ev’ry sail,
And take th’ advantage of the friendly gale.
Forewarn’d by Helenus, we strive to shun
Charybdis’ gulf, nor dare to Scylla run.
An equal fate on either side appears:
We, tacking to the left, are free from fears;
For, from Pelorus’ point, the North arose,
And drove us back where swift Pantagias flows.
His rocky mouth we pass, and make our way
By Thapsus and Megara’s winding bay.
This passage Achaemenides had shown,
Tracing the course which he before had run.
“Right o’er against Plemmyrium’s wat’ry strand,
There lies an isle once call’d th’ Ortygian land.
Alpheus, as old fame reports, has found
From Greece a secret passage under ground,
By love to beauteous Arethusa led;
And, mingling here, they roll in the same sacred bed.
As Helenus enjoin’d, we next adore
Diana’s name, protectress of the shore.
With prosp’rous gales we pass the quiet sounds
Of still Elorus, and his fruitful bounds.
Then, doubling Cape Pachynus, we survey
The rocky shore extended to the sea.
The town of Camarine from far we see,
And fenny lake, undrain’d by fate’s decree.
In sight of the Geloan fields we pass,
And the large walls, where mighty Gela was;
Then Agragas, with lofty summits crown’d,
Long for the race of warlike steeds renown’d.
We pass’d Selinus, and the palmy land,
And widely shun the Lilybaean strand,
Unsafe, for secret rocks and moving sand.
At length on shore the weary fleet arriv’d,
Which Drepanum’s unhappy port receiv’d.
Here, after endless labors, often toss’d
By raging storms, and driv’n on ev’ry coast,
My dear, dear father, spent with age, I lost:
Ease of my cares, and solace of my pain,
Sav’d thro’ a thousand toils, but sav’d in vain
The prophet, who my future woes reveal’d,
Yet this, the greatest and the worst, conceal’d;
And dire Celaeno, whose foreboding skill
Denounc’d all else, was silent of the ill.
This my last labor was. Some friendly god
From thence convey’d us to your blest abode.”
Thus, to the list’ning queen, the royal guest
His wand’ring course and all his toils express’d;
And here concluding, he retir’d to rest.
But anxious cares already seiz’d the queen:
She fed within her veins a flame unseen;
The hero’s valor, acts, and birth inspire
Her soul with love, and fan the secret fire.
His words, his looks, imprinted in her heart,
Improve the passion, and increase the smart.
Now, when the purple morn had chas’d away
The dewy shadows, and restor’d the day,
Her sister first with early care she sought,
And thus in mournful accents eas’d her thought:
“My dearest Anna, what new dreams affright
My lab’ring soul! what visions of the night
Disturb my quiet, and distract my breast
With strange ideas of our Trojan guest!
His worth, his actions, and majestic air,
A man descended from the gods declare.
Fear ever argues a degenerate kind;
His birth is well asserted by his mind.
Then, what he suffer’d, when by Fate betray’d!
What brave attempts for falling Troy he made!
Such were his looks, so gracefully he spoke,
That, were I not resolv’d against the yoke
Of hapless marriage, never to be curst
With second love, so fatal was my first,
To this one error I might yield again;
For, since Sichaeus was untimely slain,
This only man is able to subvert
The fix’d foundations of my stubborn heart.
And, to confess my frailty, to my shame,
Somewhat I find within, if not the same,
Too like the sparkles of my former flame.
But first let yawning earth a passage rend,
And let me thro’ the dark abyss descend;
First let avenging Jove, with flames from high,
Drive down this body to the nether sky,
Condemn’d with ghosts in endless night to lie,
Before I break the plighted faith I gave!
No! he who had my vows shall ever have;
For, whom I lov’d on earth, I worship in the grave.”
She said: the tears ran gushing from her eyes,
And stopp’d her speech. Her sister thus replies:
“O dearer than the vital air I breathe,
Will you to grief your blooming years bequeath,
Condemn’d to waste in woes your lonely life,
Without the joys of mother or of wife?
Think you these tears, this pompous train of woe,
Are known or valued by the ghosts below?
I grant that, while your sorrows yet were green,
It well became a woman, and a queen,
The vows of Tyrian princes to neglect,
To scorn Hyarbas, and his love reject,
With all the Libyan lords of mighty name;
But will you fight against a pleasing flame!
This little spot of land, which Heav’n bestows,
On ev’ry side is hemm’d with warlike foes;
Gaetulian cities here are spread around,
And fierce Numidians there your frontiers bound;
Here lies a barren waste of thirsty land,
And there the Syrtes raise the moving sand;
Barcaean troops besiege the narrow shore,
And from the sea Pygmalion threatens more.
Propitious Heav’n, and gracious Juno, lead
This wand’ring navy to your needful aid:
How will your empire spread, your city rise,
From such a union, and with such allies?
Implore the favor of the pow’rs above,
And leave the conduct of the rest to love.
Continue still your hospitable way,
And still invent occasions of their stay,
Till storms and winter winds shall cease to threat,
And planks and oars repair their shatter’d fleet.”
These words, which from a friend and sister came,
With ease resolv’d the scruples of her fame,
And added fury to the kindled flame.
Inspir’d with hope, the project they pursue;
On ev’ry altar sacrifice renew:
A chosen ewe of two years old they pay
To Ceres, Bacchus, and the God of Day;
Preferring Juno’s pow’r, for Juno ties
The nuptial knot and makes the marriage joys.
The beauteous queen before her altar stands,
And holds the golden goblet in her hands.
A milk-white heifer she with flow’rs adorns,
And pours the ruddy wine betwixt her horns;
And, while the priests with pray’r the gods invoke,
She feeds their altars with Sabaean smoke,
With hourly care the sacrifice renews,
And anxiously the panting entrails views.
What priestly rites, alas! what pious art,
What vows avail to cure a bleeding heart!
A gentle fire she feeds within her veins,
Where the soft god secure in silence reigns.
Sick with desire, and seeking him she loves,
From street to street the raving Dido roves.
So when the watchful shepherd, from the blind,
Wounds with a random shaft the careless hind,
Distracted with her pain she flies the woods,
Bounds o’er the lawn, and seeks the silent floods,
With fruitless care; for still the fatal dart
Sticks in her side, and rankles in her heart.
And now she leads the Trojan chief along
The lofty walls, amidst the busy throng;
Displays her Tyrian wealth, and rising town,
Which love, without his labor, makes his own.
This pomp she shows, to tempt her wand’ring guest;
Her falt’ring tongue forbids to speak the rest.
When day declines, and feasts renew the night,
Still on his face she feeds her famish’d sight;
She longs again to hear the prince relate
His own adventures and the Trojan fate.
He tells it o’er and o’er; but still in vain,
For still she begs to hear it once again.
The hearer on the speaker’s mouth depends,
And thus the tragic story never ends.
Then, when they part, when Phoebe’s paler light
Withdraws, and falling stars to sleep invite,
She last remains, when ev’ry guest is gone,
Sits on the bed he press’d, and sighs alone;
Absent, her absent hero sees and hears;
Or in her bosom young Ascanius bears,
And seeks the father’s image in the child,
If love by likeness might be so beguil’d.
Meantime the rising tow’rs are at a stand;
No labors exercise the youthful band,
Nor use of arts, nor toils of arms they know;
The mole is left unfinish’d to the foe;
The mounds, the works, the walls, neglected lie,
Short of their promis’d heighth, that seem’d to threat the sky,
But when imperial Juno, from above,
Saw Dido fetter’d in the chains of love,
Hot with the venom which her veins inflam’d,
And by no sense of shame to be reclaim’d,
With soothing words to Venus she begun:
“High praises, endless honors, you have won,
And mighty trophies, with your worthy son!
Two gods a silly woman have undone!
Nor am I ignorant, you both suspect
This rising city, which my hands erect:
But shall celestial discord never cease?
‘T is better ended in a lasting peace.
You stand possess’d of all your soul desir’d:
Poor Dido with consuming love is fir’d.
Your Trojan with my Tyrian let us join;
So Dido shall be yours, Aeneas mine:
One common kingdom, one united line.
Eliza shall a Dardan lord obey,
And lofty Carthage for a dow’r convey.”
Then Venus, who her hidden fraud descried,
Which would the scepter of the world misguide
To Libyan shores, thus artfully replied:
“Who, but a fool, would wars with Juno choose,
And such alliance and such gifts refuse,
If Fortune with our joint desires comply?
The doubt is all from Jove and destiny;
Lest he forbid, with absolute command,
To mix the people in one common land-
Or will the Trojan and the Tyrian line
In lasting leagues and sure succession join?
But you, the partner of his bed and throne,
May move his mind; my wishes are your own.”
“Mine,” said imperial Juno, “be the care;
Time urges, now, to perfect this affair:
Attend my counsel, and the secret share.
When next the Sun his rising light displays,
And gilds the world below with purple rays,
The queen, Aeneas, and the Tyrian court
Shall to the shady woods, for sylvan game, resort.
There, while the huntsmen pitch their toils around,
And cheerful horns from side to side resound,
A pitchy cloud shall cover all the plain
With hail, and thunder, and tempestuous rain;
The fearful train shall take their speedy flight,
Dispers’d, and all involv’d in gloomy night;
One cave a grateful shelter shall afford
To the fair princess and the Trojan lord.
I will myself the bridal bed prepare,
If you, to bless the nuptials, will be there:
So shall their loves be crown’d with due delights,
And Hymen shall be present at the rites.”
The Queen of Love consents, and closely smiles
At her vain project, and discover’d wiles.
The rosy morn was risen from the main,
And horns and hounds awake the princely train:
They issue early thro’ the city gate,
Where the more wakeful huntsmen ready wait,
With nets, and toils, and darts, beside the force
Of Spartan dogs, and swift Massylian horse.
The Tyrian peers and officers of state
For the slow queen in antechambers wait;
Her lofty courser, in the court below,
Who his majestic rider seems to know,
Proud of his purple trappings, paws the ground,
And champs the golden bit, and spreads the foam around.
The queen at length appears; on either hand
The brawny guards in martial order stand.
A flow’r’d simar with golden fringe she wore,
And at her back a golden quiver bore;
Her flowing hair a golden caul restrains,
A golden clasp the Tyrian robe sustains.
Then young Ascanius, with a sprightly grace,
Leads on the Trojan youth to view the chase.
But far above the rest in beauty shines
The great Aeneas, the troop he joins;
Like fair Apollo, when he leaves the frost
Of wint’ry Xanthus, and the Lycian coast,
When to his native Delos he resorts,
Ordains the dances, and renews the sports;
Where painted Scythians, mix’d with Cretan bands,
Before the joyful altars join their hands:
Himself, on Cynthus walking, sees below
The merry madness of the sacred show.
Green wreaths of bays his length of hair inclose;
A golden fillet binds his awful brows;
His quiver sounds: not less the prince is seen
In manly presence, or in lofty mien.
Now had they reach’d the hills, and storm’d the seat
Of salvage beasts, in dens, their last retreat.
The cry pursues the mountain goats: they bound
From rock to rock, and keep the craggy ground;
Quite otherwise the stags, a trembling train,
In herds unsingled, scour the dusty plain,
And a long chase in open view maintain.
The glad Ascanius, as his courser guides,
Spurs thro’ the vale, and these and those outrides.
His horse’s flanks and sides are forc’d to feel
The clanking lash, and goring of the steel.
Impatiently he views the feeble prey,
Wishing some nobler beast to cross his way,
And rather would the tusky boar attend,
Or see the tawny lion downward bend.
Meantime, the gath’ring clouds obscure the skies:
From pole to pole the forky lightning flies;
The rattling thunders roll; and Juno pours
A wintry deluge down, and sounding show’rs.
The company, dispers’d, to converts ride,
And seek the homely cots, or mountain’s hollow side.
The rapid rains, descending from the hills,
To rolling torrents raise the creeping rills.
The queen and prince, as love or fortune guides,
One common cavern in her bosom hides.
Then first the trembling earth the signal gave,
And flashing fires enlighten all the cave;
Hell from below, and Juno from above,
And howling nymphs, were conscious of their love.
From this ill-omen’d hour in time arose
Debate and death, and all succeeding woes.
The queen, whom sense of honor could not move,
No longer made a secret of her love,
But call’d it marriage, by that specious name
To veil the crime and sanctify the shame.
The loud report thro’ Libyan cities goes.
Fame, the great ill, from small beginnings grows:
Swift from the first; and ev’ry moment brings
New vigor to her flights, new pinions to her wings.
Soon grows the pigmy to gigantic size;
Her feet on earth, her forehead in the skies.
Inrag’d against the gods, revengeful Earth
Produc’d her last of the Titanian birth.
Swift is her walk, more swift her winged haste:
A monstrous phantom, horrible and vast.
As many plumes as raise her lofty flight,
So many piercing eyes inlarge her sight;
Millions of opening mouths to Fame belong,
And ev’ry mouth is furnish’d with a tongue,
And round with list’ning ears the flying plague is hung.
She fills the peaceful universe with cries;
No slumbers ever close her wakeful eyes;
By day, from lofty tow’rs her head she shews,
And spreads thro’ trembling crowds disastrous news;
With court informers haunts, and royal spies;
Things done relates, not done she feigns, and mingles truth with lies.
Talk is her business, and her chief delight
To tell of prodigies and cause affright.
She fills the people’s ears with Dido’s name,
Who, lost to honor and the sense of shame,
Admits into her throne and nuptial bed
A wand’ring guest, who from his country fled:
Whole days with him she passes in delights,
And wastes in luxury long winter nights,
Forgetful of her fame and royal trust,
Dissolv’d in ease, abandon’d to her lust.
The goddess widely spreads the loud report,
And flies at length to King Hyarba’s court.
When first possess’d with this unwelcome news
Whom did he not of men and gods accuse?
This prince, from ravish’d Garamantis born,
A hundred temples did with spoils adorn,
In Ammon’s honor, his celestial sire;
A hundred altars fed with wakeful fire;
And, thro’ his vast dominions, priests ordain’d,
Whose watchful care these holy rites maintain’d.
The gates and columns were with garlands crown’d,
And blood of victim beasts enrich’d the ground.
He, when he heard a fugitive could move
The Tyrian princess, who disdain’d his love,
His breast with fury burn’d, his eyes with fire,
Mad with despair, impatient with desire;
Then on the sacred altars pouring wine,
He thus with pray’rs implor’d his sire divine:
“Great Jove! propitious to the Moorish race,
Who feast on painted beds, with off’rings grace
Thy temples, and adore thy pow’r divine
With blood of victims, and with sparkling wine,
Seest thou not this? or do we fear in vain
Thy boasted thunder, and thy thoughtless reign?
Do thy broad hands the forky lightnings lance?
Thine are the bolts, or the blind work of chance?
A wand’ring woman builds, within our state,
A little town, bought at an easy rate;
She pays me homage, and my grants allow
A narrow space of Libyan lands to plow;
Yet, scorning me, by passion blindly led,
Admits a banish’d Trojan to her bed!
And now this other Paris, with his train
Of conquer’d cowards, must in Afric reign!
(Whom, what they are, their looks and garb confess,
Their locks with oil perfum’d, their Lydian dress.)
He takes the spoil, enjoys the princely dame;
And I, rejected I, adore an empty name.”
His vows, in haughty terms, he thus preferr’d,
And held his altar’s horns. The mighty Thund’rer heard;
Then cast his eyes on Carthage, where he found
The lustful pair in lawless pleasure drown’d,
Lost in their loves, insensible of shame,
And both forgetful of their better fame.
He calls Cyllenius, and the god attends,
By whom his menacing command he sends:
“Go, mount the western winds, and cleave the sky;
Then, with a swift descent, to Carthage fly:
There find the Trojan chief, who wastes his days
In slothful not and inglorious ease,
Nor minds the future city, giv’n by fate.
To him this message from my mouth relate:
‘Not so fair Venus hop’d, when twice she won
Thy life with pray’rs, nor promis’d such a son.
Hers was a hero, destin’d to command
A martial race, and rule the Latian land,
Who should his ancient line from Teucer draw,
And on the conquer’d world impose the law.’
If glory cannot move a mind so mean,
Nor future praise from fading pleasure wean,
Yet why should he defraud his son of fame,
And grudge the Romans their immortal name!
What are his vain designs! what hopes he more
From his long ling’ring on a hostile shore,
Regardless to redeem his honor lost,
And for his race to gain th’ Ausonian coast!
Bid him with speed the Tyrian court forsake;
With this command the slumb’ring warrior wake.”
Hermes obeys; with golden pinions binds
His flying feet, and mounts the western winds:
And, whether o’er the seas or earth he flies,
With rapid force they bear him down the skies.
But first he grasps within his awful hand
The mark of sov’reign pow’r, his magic wand;
With this he draws the ghosts from hollow graves;
With this he drives them down the Stygian waves;
With this he seals in sleep the wakeful sight,
And eyes, tho’ clos’d in death, restores to light.
Thus arm’d, the god begins his airy race,
And drives the racking clouds along the liquid space;
Now sees the tops of Atlas, as he flies,
Whose brawny back supports the starry skies;
Atlas, whose head, with piny forests crown’d,
Is beaten by the winds, with foggy vapors bound.
Snows hide his shoulders; from beneath his chin
The founts of rolling streams their race begin;
A beard of ice on his large breast depends.
Here, pois’d upon his wings, the god descends:
Then, rested thus, he from the tow’ring height
Plung’d downward, with precipitated flight,
Lights on the seas, and skims along the flood.
As waterfowl, who seek their fishy food,
Less, and yet less, to distant prospect show;
By turns they dance aloft, and dive below:
Like these, the steerage of his wings he plies,
And near the surface of the water flies,
Till, having pass’d the seas, and cross’d the sands,
He clos’d his wings, and stoop’d on Libyan lands:
Where shepherds once were hous’d in homely sheds,
Now tow’rs within the clouds advance their heads.
Arriving there, he found the Trojan prince
New ramparts raising for the town’s defense.
A purple scarf, with gold embroider’d o’er,
(Queen Dido’s gift,) about his waist he wore;
A sword, with glitt’ring gems diversified,
For ornament, not use, hung idly by his side.
Then thus, with winged words, the god began,
Resuming his own shape: “Degenerate man,
Thou woman’s property, what mak’st thou here,
These foreign walls and Tyrian tow’rs to rear,
Forgetful of thy own? All-pow’rful Jove,
Who sways the world below and heav’n above,
Has sent me down with this severe command:
What means thy ling’ring in the Libyan land?
If glory cannot move a mind so mean,
Nor future praise from flitting pleasure wean,
Regard the fortunes of thy rising heir:
The promis’d crown let young Ascanius wear,
To whom th’ Ausonian scepter, and the state
Of Rome’s imperial name is ow’d by fate.”
So spoke the god; and, speaking, took his flight,
Involv’d in clouds, and vanish’d out of sight.
The pious prince was seiz’d with sudden fear;
Mute was his tongue, and upright stood his hair.
Revolving in his mind the stern command,
He longs to fly, and loathes the charming land.
What should he say? or how should he begin?
What course, alas! remains to steer between
Th’ offended lover and the pow’rful queen?
This way and that he turns his anxious mind,
And all expedients tries, and none can find.
Fix’d on the deed, but doubtful of the means,
After long thought, to this advice he leans:
Three chiefs he calls, commands them to repair
The fleet, and ship their men with silent care;
Some plausible pretense he bids them find,
To color what in secret he design’d.
Himself, meantime, the softest hours would choose,
Before the love-sick lady heard the news;
And move her tender mind, by slow degrees,
To suffer what the sov’reign pow’r decrees:
Jove will inspire him, when, and what to say.
They hear with pleasure, and with haste obey.
But soon the queen perceives the thin disguise:
(What arts can blind a jealous woman’s eyes!)
She was the first to find the secret fraud,
Before the fatal news was blaz’d abroad.
Love the first motions of the lover hears,
Quick to presage, and ev’n in safety fears.
Nor impious Fame was wanting to report
The ships repair’d, the Trojans’ thick resort,
And purpose to forsake the Tyrian court.
Frantic with fear, impatient of the wound,
And impotent of mind, she roves the city round.
Less wild the Bacchanalian dames appear,
When, from afar, their nightly god they hear,
And howl about the hills, and shake the wreathy spear.
At length she finds the dear perfidious man;
Prevents his form’d excuse, and thus began:
“Base and ungrateful! could you hope to fly,
And undiscover’d scape a lover’s eye?
Nor could my kindness your compassion move.
Nor plighted vows, nor dearer bands of love?
Or is the death of a despairing queen
Not worth preventing, tho’ too well foreseen?
Ev’n when the wintry winds command your stay,
You dare the tempests, and defy the sea.
False as you are, suppose you were not bound
To lands unknown, and foreign coasts to sound;
Were Troy restor’d, and Priam’s happy reign,
Now durst you tempt, for Troy, the raging main?
See whom you fly! am I the foe you shun?
Now, by those holy vows, so late begun,
By this right hand, (since I have nothing more
To challenge, but the faith you gave before;)
I beg you by these tears too truly shed,
By the new pleasures of our nuptial bed;
If ever Dido, when you most were kind,
Were pleasing in your eyes, or touch’d your mind;
By these my pray’rs, if pray’rs may yet have place,
Pity the fortunes of a falling race.
For you I have provok’d a tyrant’s hate,
Incens’d the Libyan and the Tyrian state;
For you alone I suffer in my fame,
Bereft of honor, and expos’d to shame.
Whom have I now to trust, ungrateful guest?
(That only name remains of all the rest!)
What have I left? or whither can I fly?
Must I attend Pygmalion’s cruelty,
Or till Hyarba shall in triumph lead
A queen that proudly scorn’d his proffer’d bed?
Had you deferr’d, at least, your hasty flight,
And left behind some pledge of our delight,
Some babe to bless the mother’s mournful sight,
Some young Aeneas, to supply your place,
Whose features might express his father’s face;
I should not then complain to live bereft
Of all my husband, or be wholly left.”
Here paus’d the queen. Unmov’d he holds his eyes,
By Jove’s command; nor suffer’d love to rise,
Tho’ heaving in his heart; and thus at length replies:
“Fair queen, you never can enough repeat
Your boundless favors, or I own my debt;
Nor can my mind forget Eliza’s name,
While vital breath inspires this mortal frame.
This only let me speak in my defense:
I never hop’d a secret flight from hence,
Much less pretended to the lawful claim
Of sacred nuptials, or a husband’s name.
For, if indulgent Heav’n would leave me free,
And not submit my life to fate’s decree,
My choice would lead me to the Trojan shore,
Those relics to review, their dust adore,
And Priam’s ruin’d palace to restore.
But now the Delphian oracle commands,
And fate invites me to the Latian lands.
That is the promis’d place to which I steer,
And all my vows are terminated there.
If you, a Tyrian, and a stranger born,
With walls and tow’rs a Libyan town adorn,
Why may not we- like you, a foreign race-
Like you, seek shelter in a foreign place?
As often as the night obscures the skies
With humid shades, or twinkling stars arise,
Anchises’ angry ghost in dreams appears,
Chides my delay, and fills my soul with fears;
And young Ascanius justly may complain
Of his defrauded and destin’d reign.
Ev’n now the herald of the gods appear’d:
Waking I saw him, and his message heard.
From Jove he came commission’d, heav’nly bright
With radiant beams, and manifest to sight
(The sender and the sent I both attest)
These walls he enter’d, and those words express’d.
Fair queen, oppose not what the gods command;
Forc’d by my fate, I leave your happy land.”
Thus while he spoke, already she began,
With sparkling eyes, to view the guilty man;
From head to foot survey’d his person o’er,
Nor longer these outrageous threats forebore:
“False as thou art, and, more than false, forsworn!
Not sprung from noble blood, nor goddess-born,
But hewn from harden’d entrails of a rock!
And rough Hyrcanian tigers gave thee suck!
Why should I fawn? what have I worse to fear?
Did he once look, or lent a list’ning ear,
Sigh’d when I sobb’d, or shed one kindly tear?-
All symptoms of a base ungrateful mind,
So foul, that, which is worse, ’tis hard to find.
Of man’s injustice why should I complain?
The gods, and Jove himself, behold in vain
Triumphant treason; yet no thunder flies,
Nor Juno views my wrongs with equal eyes;
Faithless is earth, and faithless are the skies!
Justice is fled, and Truth is now no more!
I sav’d the shipwrack’d exile on my shore;
With needful food his hungry Trojans fed;
I took the traitor to my throne and bed:
Fool that I was- ‘t is little to repeat
The rest- I stor’d and rigg’d his ruin’d fleet.
I rave, I rave! A god’s command he pleads,
And makes Heav’n accessary to his deeds.
Now Lycian lots, and now the Delian god,
Now Hermes is employ’d from Jove’s abode,
To warn him hence; as if the peaceful state
Of heav’nly pow’rs were touch’d with human fate!
But go! thy flight no longer I detain-
Go seek thy promis’d kingdom thro’ the main!
Yet, if the heav’ns will hear my pious vow,
The faithless waves, not half so false as thou,
Or secret sands, shall sepulchers afford
To thy proud vessels, and their perjur’d lord.
Then shalt thou call on injur’d Dido’s name:
Dido shall come in a black sulph’ry flame,
When death has once dissolv’d her mortal frame;
Shall smile to see the traitor vainly weep:
Her angry ghost, arising from the deep,
Shall haunt thee waking, and disturb thy sleep.
At least my shade thy punishment shall know,
And Fame shall spread the pleasing news below.”
Abruptly here she stops; then turns away
Her loathing eyes, and shuns the sight of day.
Amaz’d he stood, revolving in his mind
What speech to frame, and what excuse to find.
Her fearful maids their fainting mistress led,
And softly laid her on her ivory bed.
But good Aeneas, tho’ he much desir’d
To give that pity which her grief requir’d;
Tho’ much he mourn’d, and labor’d with his love,
Resolv’d at length, obeys the will of Jove;
Reviews his forces: they with early care
Unmoor their vessels, and for sea prepare.
The fleet is soon afloat, in all its pride,
And well-calk’d galleys in the harbor ride.
Then oaks for oars they fell’d; or, as they stood,
Of its green arms despoil’d the growing wood,
Studious of flight. The beach is cover’d o’er
With Trojan bands, that blacken all the shore:
On ev’ry side are seen, descending down,
Thick swarms of soldiers, loaden from the town.
Thus, in battalia, march embodied ants,
Fearful of winter, and of future wants,
T’ invade the corn, and to their cells convey
The plunder’d forage of their yellow prey.
The sable troops, along the narrow tracks,
Scarce bear the weighty burthen on their backs:
Some set their shoulders to the pond’rous grain;
Some guard the spoil; some lash the lagging train;
All ply their sev’ral tasks, and equal toil sustain.
What pangs the tender breast of Dido tore,
When, from the tow’r, she saw the cover’d shore,
And heard the shouts of sailors from afar,
Mix’d with the murmurs of the wat’ry war!
All-pow’rful Love! what changes canst thou cause
In human hearts, subjected to thy laws!
Once more her haughty soul the tyrant bends:
To pray’rs and mean submissions she descends.
No female arts or aids she left untried,
Nor counsels unexplor’d, before she died.
“Look, Anna! look! the Trojans crowd to sea;
They spread their canvas, and their anchors weigh.
The shouting crew their ships with garlands bind,
Invoke the sea gods, and invite the wind.
Could I have thought this threat’ning blow so near,
My tender soul had been forewarn’d to bear.
But do not you my last request deny;
With yon perfidious man your int’rest try,
And bring me news, if I must live or die.
You are his fav’rite; you alone can find
The dark recesses of his inmost mind:
In all his trusted secrets you have part,
And know the soft approaches to his heart.
Haste then, and humbly seek my haughty foe;
Tell him, I did not with the Grecians go,
Nor did my fleet against his friends employ,
Nor swore the ruin of unhappy Troy,
Nor mov’d with hands profane his father’s dust:
Why should he then reject a just!
Whom does he shun, and whither would he fly!
Can he this last, this only pray’r deny!
Let him at least his dang’rous flight delay,
Wait better winds, and hope a calmer sea.
The nuptials he disclaims I urge no more:
Let him pursue the promis’d Latian shore.
A short delay is all I ask him now;
A pause of grief, an interval from woe,
Till my soft soul be temper’d to sustain
Accustom’d sorrows, and inur’d to pain.
If you in pity grant this one request,
My death shall glut the hatred of his breast.”
This mournful message pious Anna bears,
And seconds with her own her sister’s tears:
But all her arts are still employ’d in vain;
Again she comes, and is refus’d again.
His harden’d heart nor pray’rs nor threat’nings move;
Fate, and the god, had stopp’d his ears to love.
As, when the winds their airy quarrel try,
Justling from ev’ry quarter of the sky,
This way and that the mountain oak they bend,
His boughs they shatter, and his branches rend;
With leaves and falling mast they spread the ground;
The hollow valleys echo to the sound:
Unmov’d, the royal plant their fury mocks,
Or, shaken, clings more closely to the rocks;
Far as he shoots his tow’ring head on high,
So deep in earth his fix’d foundations lie.
No less a storm the Trojan hero bears;
Thick messages and loud complaints he hears,
And bandied words, still beating on his ears.
Sighs, groans, and tears proclaim his inward pains;
But the firm purpose of his heart remains.
The wretched queen, pursued by cruel fate,
Begins at length the light of heav’n to hate,
And loathes to live. Then dire portents she sees,
To hasten on the death her soul decrees:
Strange to relate! for when, before the shrine,
She pours in sacrifice the purple wine,
The purple wine is turn’d to putrid blood,
And the white offer’d milk converts to mud.
This dire presage, to her alone reveal’d,
From all, and ev’n her sister, she conceal’d.
A marble temple stood within the grove,
Sacred to death, and to her murther’d love;
That honor’d chapel she had hung around
With snowy fleeces, and with garlands crown’d:
Oft, when she visited this lonely dome,
Strange voices issued from her husband’s tomb;
She thought she heard him summon her away,
Invite her to his grave, and chide her stay.
Hourly ‘t is heard, when with a boding note
The solitary screech owl strains her throat,
And, on a chimney’s top, or turret’s height,
With songs obscene disturbs the silence of the night.
Besides, old prophecies augment her fears;
And stern Aeneas in her dreams appears,
Disdainful as by day: she seems, alone,
To wander in her sleep, thro’ ways unknown,
Guideless and dark; or, in a desart plain,
To seek her subjects, and to seek in vain:
Like Pentheus, when, distracted with his fear,
He saw two suns, and double Thebes, appear;
Or mad Orestes, when his mother’s ghost
Full in his face infernal torches toss’d,
And shook her snaky locks: he shuns the sight,
Flies o’er the stage, surpris’d with mortal fright;
The Furies guard the door and intercept his flight.
Now, sinking underneath a load of grief,
From death alone she seeks her last relief;
The time and means resolv’d within her breast,
She to her mournful sister thus address’d
(Dissembling hope, her cloudy front she clears,
And a false vigor in her eyes appears):
“Rejoice!” she said. “Instructed from above,
My lover I shall gain, or lose my love.
Nigh rising Atlas, next the falling sun,
Long tracts of Ethiopian climates run:
There a Massylian priestess I have found,
Honor’d for age, for magic arts renown’d:
Th’ Hesperian temple was her trusted care;
‘T was she supplied the wakeful dragon’s fare.
She poppy seeds in honey taught to steep,
Reclaim’d his rage, and sooth’d him into sleep.
She watch’d the golden fruit; her charms unbind
The chains of love, or fix them on the mind:
She stops the torrents, leaves the channel dry,
Repels the stars, and backward bears the sky.
The yawning earth rebellows to her call,
Pale ghosts ascend, and mountain ashes fall.
Witness, ye gods, and thou my better part,
How loth I am to try this impious art!
Within the secret court, with silent care,
Erect a lofty pile, expos’d in air:
Hang on the topmost part the Trojan vest,
Spoils, arms, and presents, of my faithless guest.
Next, under these, the bridal bed be plac’d,
Where I my ruin in his arms embrac’d:
All relics of the wretch are doom’d to fire;
For so the priestess and her charms require.”
Thus far she said, and farther speech forbears;
A mortal paleness in her face appears:
Yet the mistrustless Anna could not find
The secret fun’ral in these rites design’d;
Nor thought so dire a rage possess’d her mind.
Unknowing of a train conceal’d so well,
She fear’d no worse than when Sichaeus fell;
Therefore obeys. The fatal pile they rear,
Within the secret court, expos’d in air.
The cloven holms and pines are heap’d on high,
And garlands on the hollow spaces lie.
Sad cypress, vervain, yew, compose the wreath,
And ev’ry baleful green denoting death.
The queen, determin’d to the fatal deed,
The spoils and sword he left, in order spread,
And the man’s image on the nuptial bed.
And now (the sacred altars plac’d around)
The priestess enters, with her hair unbound,
And thrice invokes the pow’rs below the ground.
Night, Erebus, and Chaos she proclaims,
And threefold Hecate, with her hundred names,
And three Dianas: next, she sprinkles round
With feign’d Avernian drops the hallow’d ground;
Culls hoary simples, found by Phoebe’s light,
With brazen sickles reap’d at noon of night;
Then mixes baleful juices in the bowl,
And cuts the forehead of a newborn foal,
Robbing the mother’s love. The destin’d queen
Observes, assisting at the rites obscene;
A leaven’d cake in her devoted hands
She holds, and next the highest altar stands:
One tender foot was shod, her other bare;
Girt was her gather’d gown, and loose her hair.
Thus dress’d, she summon’d, with her dying breath,
The heav’ns and planets conscious of her death,
And ev’ry pow’r, if any rules above,
Who minds, or who revenges, injur’d love.
“‘T was dead of night, when weary bodies close
Their eyes in balmy sleep and soft repose:
The winds no longer whisper thro’ the woods,
Nor murm’ring tides disturb the gentle floods.
The stars in silent order mov’d around;
And Peace, with downy wings, was brooding on the ground
The flocks and herds, and party-color’d fowl,
Which haunt the woods, or swim the weedy pool,
Stretch’d on the quiet earth, securely lay,
Forgetting the past labors of the day.
All else of nature’s common gift partake:
Unhappy Dido was alone awake.
Nor sleep nor ease the furious queen can find;
Sleep fled her eyes, as quiet fled her mind.
Despair, and rage, and love divide her heart;
Despair and rage had some, but love the greater part.
Then thus she said within her secret mind:
“What shall I do? what succor can I find?
Become a suppliant to Hyarba’s pride,
And take my turn, to court and be denied?
Shall I with this ungrateful Trojan go,
Forsake an empire, and attend a foe?
Himself I refug’d, and his train reliev’d-
‘T is true- but am I sure to be receiv’d?
Can gratitude in Trojan souls have place!
Laomedon still lives in all his race!
Then, shall I seek alone the churlish crew,
Or with my fleet their flying sails pursue?
What force have I but those whom scarce before
I drew reluctant from their native shore?
Will they again embark at my desire,
Once more sustain the seas, and quit their second Tyre?
Rather with steel thy guilty breast invade,
And take the fortune thou thyself hast made.
Your pity, sister, first seduc’d my mind,
Or seconded too well what I design’d.
These dear-bought pleasures had I never known,
Had I continued free, and still my own;
Avoiding love, I had not found despair,
But shar’d with salvage beasts the common air.
Like them, a lonely life I might have led,
Not mourn’d the living, nor disturb’d the dead.”
These thoughts she brooded in her anxious breast.
On board, the Trojan found more easy rest.
Resolv’d to sail, in sleep he pass’d the night;
And order’d all things for his early flight.
To whom once more the winged god appears;
His former youthful mien and shape he wears,
And with this new alarm invades his ears:
“Sleep’st thou, O goddess-born! and canst thou drown
Thy needful cares, so near a hostile town,
Beset with foes; nor hear’st the western gales
Invite thy passage, and inspire thy sails?
She harbors in her heart a furious hate,
And thou shalt find the dire effects too late;
Fix’d on revenge, and obstinate to die.
Haste swiftly hence, while thou hast pow’r to fly.
The sea with ships will soon be cover’d o’er,
And blazing firebrands kindle all the shore.
Prevent her rage, while night obscures the skies,
And sail before the purple morn arise.
Who knows what hazards thy delay may bring?
Woman’s a various and a changeful thing.”
Thus Hermes in the dream; then took his flight
Aloft in air unseen, and mix’d with night.
Twice warn’d by the celestial messenger,
The pious prince arose with hasty fear;
Then rous’d his drowsy train without delay:
“Haste to your banks; your crooked anchors weigh,
And spread your flying sails, and stand to sea.
A god commands: he stood before my sight,
And urg’d us once again to speedy flight.
O sacred pow’r, what pow’r soe’er thou art,
To thy blest orders I resign my heart.
Lead thou the way; protect thy Trojan bands,
And prosper the design thy will commands.”
He said: and, drawing forth his flaming sword,
His thund’ring arm divides the many-twisted cord.
An emulating zeal inspires his train:
They run; they snatch; they rush into the main.
With headlong haste they leave the desert shores,
And brush the liquid seas with lab’ring oars.
Aurora now had left her saffron bed,
And beams of early light the heav’ns o’erspread,
When, from a tow’r, the queen, with wakeful eyes,
Saw day point upward from the rosy skies.
She look’d to seaward; but the sea was void,
And scarce in ken the sailing ships descried.
Stung with despite, and furious with despair,
She struck her trembling breast, and tore her hair.
“And shall th’ ungrateful traitor go,” she said,
“My land forsaken, and my love betray’d?
Shall we not arm? not rush from ev’ry street,
To follow, sink, and burn his perjur’d fleet?
Haste, haul my galleys out! pursue the foe!
Bring flaming brands! set sail, and swiftly row!
What have I said? where am I? Fury turns
My brain; and my distemper’d bosom burns.
Then, when I gave my person and my throne,
This hate, this rage, had been more timely shown.
See now the promis’d faith, the vaunted name,
The pious man, who, rushing thro’ the flame,
Preserv’d his gods, and to the Phrygian shore
The burthen of his feeble father bore!
I should have torn him piecemeal; strow’d in floods
His scatter’d limbs, or left expos’d in woods;
Destroy’d his friends and son; and, from the fire,
Have set the reeking boy before the sire.
Events are doubtful, which on battles wait:
Yet where’s the doubt, to souls secure of fate?
My Tyrians, at their injur’d queen’s command,
Had toss’d their fires amid the Trojan band;
At once extinguish’d all the faithless name;
And I myself, in vengeance of my shame,
Had fall’n upon the pile, to mend the fun’ral flame.
Thou Sun, who view’st at once the world below;
Thou Juno, guardian of the nuptial vow;
Thou Hecate hearken from thy dark abodes!
Ye Furies, fiends, and violated gods,
All pow’rs invok’d with Dido’s dying breath,
Attend her curses and avenge her death!
If so the Fates ordain, Jove commands,
Th’ ungrateful wretch should find the Latian lands,
Yet let a race untam’d, and haughty foes,
His peaceful entrance with dire arms oppose:
Oppress’d with numbers in th’ unequal field,
His men discourag’d, and himself expell’d,
Let him for succor sue from place to place,
Torn from his subjects, and his son’s embrace.
First, let him see his friends in battle slain,
And their untimely fate lament in vain;
And when, at length, the cruel war shall cease,
On hard conditions may he buy his peace:
Nor let him then enjoy supreme command;
But fall, untimely, by some hostile hand,
And lie unburied on the barren sand!
These are my pray’rs, and this my dying will;
And you, my Tyrians, ev’ry curse fulfil.
Perpetual hate and mortal wars proclaim,
Against the prince, the people, and the name.
These grateful off’rings on my grave bestow;
Nor league, nor love, the hostile nations know!
Now, and from hence, in ev’ry future age,
When rage excites your arms, and strength supplies the rage
Rise some avenger of our Libyan blood,
With fire and sword pursue the perjur’d brood;
Our arms, our seas, our shores, oppos’d to theirs;
And the same hate descend on all our heirs!”
This said, within her anxious mind she weighs
The means of cutting short her odious days.
Then to Sichaeus’ nurse she briefly said
(For, when she left her country, hers was dead):
“Go, Barce, call my sister. Let her care
The solemn rites of sacrifice prepare;
The sheep, and all th’ atoning off’rings bring,
Sprinkling her body from the crystal spring
With living drops; then let her come, and thou
With sacred fillets bind thy hoary brow.
Thus will I pay my vows to Stygian Jove,
And end the cares of my disastrous love;
Then cast the Trojan image on the fire,
And, as that burns, my passions shall expire.”
The nurse moves onward, with officious care,
And all the speed her aged limbs can bear.
But furious Dido, with dark thoughts involv’d,
Shook at the mighty mischief she resolv’d.
With livid spots distinguish’d was her face;
Red were her rolling eyes, and discompos’d her pace;
Ghastly she gaz’d, with pain she drew her breath,
And nature shiver’d at approaching death.
Then swiftly to the fatal place she pass’d,
And mounts the fun’ral pile with furious haste;
Unsheathes the sword the Trojan left behind
(Not for so dire an enterprise design’d).
But when she view’d the garments loosely spread,
Which once he wore, and saw the conscious bed,
She paus’d, and with a sigh the robes embrac’d;
Then on the couch her trembling body cast,
Repress’d the ready tears, and spoke her last:
“Dear pledges of my love, while Heav’n so pleas’d,
Receive a soul, of mortal anguish eas’d:
My fatal course is finish’d; and I go,
A glorious name, among the ghosts below.
A lofty city by my hands is rais’d,
Pygmalion punish’d, and my lord appeas’d.
What could my fortune have afforded more,
Had the false Trojan never touch’d my shore!”
Then kiss’d the couch; and, “Must I die,” she said,
“And unreveng’d? ‘T is doubly to be dead!
Yet ev’n this death with pleasure I receive:
On any terms, ‘t is better than to live.
These flames, from far, may the false Trojan view;
These boding omens his base flight pursue!”
She said, and struck; deep enter’d in her side
The piercing steel, with reeking purple dyed:
Clogg’d in the wound the cruel weapon stands;
The spouting blood came streaming on her hands.
Her sad attendants saw the deadly stroke,
And with loud cries the sounding palace shook.
Distracted, from the fatal sight they fled,
And thro’ the town the dismal rumor spread.
First from the frighted court the yell began;
Redoubled, thence from house to house it ran:
The groans of men, with shrieks, laments, and cries
Of mixing women, mount the vaulted skies.
Not less the clamor, than if- ancient Tyre,
Or the new Carthage, set by foes on fire-
The rolling ruin, with their lov’d abodes,
Involv’d the blazing temples of their gods.
Her sister hears; and, furious with despair,
She beats her breast, and rends her yellow hair,
And, calling on Eliza’s name aloud,
Runs breathless to the place, and breaks the crowd.
“Was all that pomp of woe for this prepar’d;
These fires, this fun’ral pile, these altars rear’d?
Was all this train of plots contriv’d,” said she,
“All only to deceive unhappy me?
Which is the worst? Didst thou in death pretend
To scorn thy sister, or delude thy friend?
Thy summon’d sister, and thy friend, had come;
One sword had serv’d us both, one common tomb:
Was I to raise the pile, the pow’rs invoke,
Not to be present at the fatal stroke?
At once thou hast destroy’d thyself and me,
Thy town, thy senate, and thy colony!
Bring water; bathe the wound; while I in death
Lay close my lips to hers, and catch the flying breath.”
This said, she mounts the pile with eager haste,
And in her arms the gasping queen embrac’d;
Her temples chaf’d; and her own garments tore,
To stanch the streaming blood, and cleanse the gore.
Thrice Dido tried to raise her drooping head,
And, fainting thrice, fell grov’ling on the bed;
Thrice op’d her heavy eyes, and sought the light,
But, having found it, sicken’d at the sight,
And clos’d her lids at last in endless night.
Then Juno, grieving that she should sustain
A death so ling’ring, and so full of pain,
Sent Iris down, to free her from the strife
Of lab’ring nature, and dissolve her life.
For since she died, not doom’d by Heav’n’s decree,
Or her own crime, but human casualty,
And rage of love, that plung’d her in despair,
The Sisters had not cut the topmost hair,
Which Proserpine and they can only know;
Nor made her sacred to the shades below.
Downward the various goddess took her flight,
And drew a thousand colors from the light;
Then stood above the dying lover’s head,
And said: “I thus devote thee to the dead.
This off’ring to th’ infernal gods I bear.”
Thus while she spoke, she cut the fatal hair:
The struggling soul was loos’d, and life dissolv’d in air.
Meantime the Trojan cuts his wat’ry way,
Fix’d on his voyage, thro’ the curling sea;
Then, casting back his eyes, with dire amaze,
Sees on the Punic shore the mounting blaze.
The cause unknown; yet his presaging mind
The fate of Dido from the fire divin’d;
He knew the stormy souls of womankind,
What secret springs their eager passions move,
How capable of death for injur’d love.
Dire auguries from hence the Trojans draw;
Till neither fires nor shining shores they saw.
Now seas and skies their prospect only bound;
An empty space above, a floating field around.
But soon the heav’ns with shadows were o’erspread;
A swelling cloud hung hov’ring o’er their head:
Livid it look’d, the threat’ning of a storm:
Then night and horror ocean’s face deform.
The pilot, Palinurus, cried aloud:
“What gusts of weather from that gath’ring cloud
My thoughts presage! Ere yet the tempest roars,
Stand to your tackle, mates, and stretch your oars;
Contract your swelling sails, and luff to wind.”
The frighted crew perform the task assign’d.
Then, to his fearless chief: “Not Heav’n,” said he,
“Tho’ Jove himself should promise Italy,
Can stem the torrent of this raging sea.
Mark how the shifting winds from west arise,
And what collected night involves the skies!
Nor can our shaken vessels live at sea,
Much less against the tempest force their way.
‘T is fate diverts our course, and fate we must obey.
Not far from hence, if I observ’d aright
The southing of the stars, and polar light,
Sicilia lies, whose hospitable shores
In safety we may reach with struggling oars.”
Aeneas then replied: “Too sure I find
We strive in vain against the seas and wind:
Now shift your sails; what place can please me more
Than what you promise, the Sicilian shore,
Whose hallow’d earth Anchises’ bones contains,
And where a prince of Trojan lineage reigns?”
The course resolv’d, before the western wind
They scud amain, and make the port assign’d.
Meantime Acestes, from a lofty stand,
Beheld the fleet descending on the land;
And, not unmindful of his ancient race,
Down from the cliff he ran with eager pace,
And held the hero in a strict embrace.
Of a rough Libyan bear the spoils he wore,
And either hand a pointed jav’lin bore.
His mother was a dame of Dardan blood;
His sire Crinisus, a Sicilian flood.
He welcomes his returning friends ashore
With plenteous country cates and homely store.
Now, when the following morn had chas’d away
The flying stars, and light restor’d the day,
Aeneas call’d the Trojan troops around,
And thus bespoke them from a rising ground:
“Offspring of heav’n, divine Dardanian race!
The sun, revolving thro’ th’ ethereal space,
The shining circle of the year has fill’d,
Since first this isle my father’s ashes held:
And now the rising day renews the year;
A day for ever sad, for ever dear.
This would I celebrate with annual games,
With gifts on altars pil’d, and holy flames,
Tho’ banish’d to Gaetulia’s barren sands,
Caught on the Grecian seas, or hostile lands:
But since this happy storm our fleet has driv’n
(Not, as I deem, without the will of Heav’n)
Upon these friendly shores and flow’ry plains,
Which hide Anchises and his blest remains,
Let us with joy perform his honors due,
And pray for prosp’rous winds, our voyage to renew;
Pray, that in towns and temples of our own,
The name of great Anchises may be known,
And yearly games may spread the gods’ renown.
Our sports Acestes, of the Trojan race,
With royal gifts ordain’d, is pleas’d to grace:
Two steers on ev’ry ship the king bestows;
His gods and ours shall share your equal vows.
Besides, if, nine days hence, the rosy morn
Shall with unclouded light the skies adorn,
That day with solemn sports I mean to grace:
Light galleys on the seas shall run a wat’ry race;
Some shall in swiftness for the goal contend,
And others try the twanging bow to bend;
The strong, with iron gauntlets arm’d, shall stand
Oppos’d in combat on the yellow sand.
Let all be present at the games prepar’d,
And joyful victors wait the just reward.
But now assist the rites, with garlands crown’d.”
He said, and first his brows with myrtle bound.
Then Helymus, by his example led,
And old Acestes, each adorn’d his head;
Thus young Ascanius, with a sprightly grace,
His temples tied, and all the Trojan race.
Aeneas then advanc’d amidst the train,
By thousands follow’d thro’ the flow’ry plain,
To great Anchises’ tomb; which when he found,
He pour’d to Bacchus, on the hallow’d ground,
Two bowls of sparkling wine, of milk two more,
And two (from offer’d bulls) of purple gore,
With roses then the sepulcher he strow’d
And thus his father’s ghost bespoke aloud:
“Hail, O ye holy manes! hail again,
Paternal ashes, now review’d in vain!
The gods permitted not, that you, with me,
Should reach the promis’d shores of Italy,
Or Tiber’s flood, what flood soe’er it be.”
Scarce had he finish’d, when, with speckled pride,
A serpent from the tomb began to glide;
His hugy bulk on sev’n high volumes roll’d;
Blue was his breadth of back, but streak’d with scaly gold:
Thus riding on his curls, he seem’d to pass
A rolling fire along, and singe the grass.
More various colors thro’ his body run,
Than Iris when her bow imbibes the sun.
Betwixt the rising altars, and around,
The sacred monster shot along the ground;
With harmless play amidst the bowls he pass’d,
And with his lolling tongue assay’d the taste:
Thus fed with holy food, the wondrous guest
Within the hollow tomb retir’d to rest.
The pious prince, surpris’d at what he view’d,
The fun’ral honors with more zeal renew’d,
Doubtful if this place’s genius were,
Or guardian of his father’s sepulcher.
Five sheep, according to the rites, he slew;
As many swine, and steers of sable hue;
New gen’rous wine he from the goblets pour’d.
And call’d his father’s ghost, from hell restor’d.
The glad attendants in long order come,
Off’ring their gifts at great Anchises’ tomb:
Some add more oxen: some divide the spoil;
Some place the chargers on the grassy soil;
Some blow the fires, and off entrails broil.
Now came the day desir’d. The skies were bright
With rosy luster of the rising light:
The bord’ring people, rous’d by sounding fame
Of Trojan feasts and great Acestes’ name,
The crowded shore with acclamations fill,
Part to behold, and part to prove their skill.
And first the gifts in public view they place,
Green laurel wreaths, and palm, the victors’ grace:
Within the circle, arms and tripods lie,
Ingots of gold and silver, heap’d on high,
And vests embroider’d, of the Tyrian dye.
The trumpet’s clangor then the feast proclaims,
And all prepare for their appointed games.
Four galleys first, which equal rowers bear,
Advancing, in the wat’ry lists appear.
The speedy Dolphin, that outstrips the wind,
Bore Mnestheus, author of the Memmian kind:
Gyas the vast Chimaera’s bulk commands,
Which rising, like a tow’ring city stands;
Three Trojans tug at ev’ry lab’ring oar;
Three banks in three degrees the sailors bore;
Beneath their sturdy strokes the billows roar.
Sergesthus, who began the Sergian race,
In the great Centaur took the leading place;
Cloanthus on the sea-green Scylla stood,
From whom Cluentius draws his Trojan blood.
Far in the sea, against the foaming shore,
There stands a rock: the raging billows roar
Above his head in storms; but, when ‘t is clear,
Uncurl their ridgy backs, and at his foot appear.
In peace below the gentle waters run;
The cormorants above lie basking in the sun.
On this the hero fix’d an oak in sight,
The mark to guide the mariners aright.
To bear with this, the seamen stretch their oars;
Then round the rock they steer, and seek the former shores.
The lots decide their place. Above the rest,
Each leader shining in his Tyrian vest;
The common crew with wreaths of poplar boughs
Their temples crown, and shade their sweaty brows:
Besmear’d with oil, their naked shoulders shine.
All take their seats, and wait the sounding sign:
They gripe their oars; and ev’ry panting breast
Is rais’d by turns with hope, by turns with fear depress’d.
The clangor of the trumpet gives the sign;
At once they start, advancing in a line:
With shouts the sailors rend the starry skies;
Lash’d with their oars, the smoky billows rise;
Sparkles the briny main, and the vex’d ocean fries.
Exact in time, with equal strokes they row:
At once the brushing oars and brazen prow
Dash up the sandy waves, and ope the depths below.
Not fiery coursers, in a chariot race,
Invade the field with half so swift a pace;
Not the fierce driver with more fury lends
The sounding lash, and, ere the stroke descends,
Low to the wheels his pliant body bends.
The partial crowd their hopes and fears divide,
And aid with eager shouts the favor’d side.
Cries, murmurs, clamors, with a mixing sound,
From woods to woods, from hills to hills rebound.
Amidst the loud applauses of the shore,
Gyas outstripp’d the rest, and sprung before:
Cloanthus, better mann’d, pursued him fast,
But his o’er-masted galley check’d his haste.
The Centaur and the Dolphin brush the brine
With equal oars, advancing in a line;
And now the mighty Centaur seems to lead,
And now the speedy Dolphin gets ahead;
Now board to board the rival vessels row,
The billows lave the skies, and ocean groans below.
They reach’d the mark. Proud Gyas and his train
In triumph rode, the victors of the main;
But, steering round, he charg’d his pilot stand
More close to shore, and skim along the sand-
“Let others bear to sea!” Menoetes heard;
But secret shelves too cautiously he fear’d,
And, fearing, sought the deep; and still aloof he steer’d.
With louder cries the captain call’d again:
“Bear to the rocky shore, and shun the main.”
He spoke, and, speaking, at his stern he saw
The bold Cloanthus near the shelvings draw.
Betwixt the mark and him the Scylla stood,
And in a closer compass plow’d the flood.
He pass’d the mark; and, wheeling, got before:
Gyas blasphem’d the gods, devoutly swore,
Cried out for anger, and his hair he tore.
Mindless of others’ lives (so high was grown
His rising rage) and careless of his own,
The trembling dotard to the deck he drew;
Then hoisted up, and overboard he threw:
This done, he seiz’d the helm; his fellows cheer’d,
Turn’d short upon the shelfs, and madly steer’d.
Hardly his head the plunging pilot rears,
Clogg’d with his clothes, and cumber’d with his years:
Now dropping wet, he climbs the cliff with pain.
The crowd, that saw him fall and float again,
Shout from the distant shore; and loudly laugh’d,
To see his heaving breast disgorge the briny draught.
The following Centaur, and the Dolphin’s crew,
Their vanish’d hopes of victory renew;
While Gyas lags, they kindle in the race,
To reach the mark. Sergesthus takes the place;
Mnestheus pursues; and while around they wind,
Comes up, not half his galley’s length behind;
Then, on the deck, amidst his mates appear’d,
And thus their drooping courage he cheer’d:
“My friends, and Hector’s followers heretofore,
Exert your vigor; tug the lab’ring oar;
Stretch to your strokes, my still unconquer’d crew,
Whom from the flaming walls of Troy I drew.
In this, our common int’rest, let me find
That strength of hand, that courage of the mind,
As when you stemm’d the strong Malean flood,
And o’er the Syrtes’ broken billows row’d.
I seek not now the foremost palm to gain;
Tho’ yet- but, ah! that haughty wish is vain!
Let those enjoy it whom the gods ordain.
But to be last, the lags of all the race!-
Redeem yourselves and me from that disgrace.”
Now, one and all, they tug amain; they row
At the full stretch, and shake the brazen prow.
The sea beneath ’em sinks; their lab’ring sides
Are swell’d, and sweat runs gutt’ring down in tides.
Chance aids their daring with unhop’d success;
Sergesthus, eager with his beak to press
Betwixt the rival galley and the rock,
Shuts up th’ unwieldly Centaur in the lock.
The vessel struck; and, with the dreadful shock,
Her oars she shiver’d, and her head she broke.
The trembling rowers from their banks arise,
And, anxious for themselves, renounce the prize.
With iron poles they heave her off the shores,
And gather from the sea their floating oars.
The crew of Mnestheus, with elated minds,
Urge their success, and call the willing winds;
Then ply their oars, and cut their liquid way
In larger compass on the roomy sea.
As, when the dove her rocky hold forsakes,
Rous’d in a fright, her sounding wings she shakes;
The cavern rings with clatt’ring; out she flies,
And leaves her callow care, and cleaves the skies:
At first she flutters; but at length she springs
To smoother flight, and shoots upon her wings:
So Mnestheus in the Dolphin cuts the sea;
And, flying with a force, that force assists his way.
Sergesthus in the Centaur soon he pass’d,
Wedg’d in the rocky shoals, and sticking fast.
In vain the victor he with cries implores,
And practices to row with shatter’d oars.
Then Mnestheus bears with Gyas, and outflies:
The ship, without a pilot, yields the prize.
Unvanquish’d Scylla now alone remains;
Her he pursues, and all his vigor strains.
Shouts from the fav’ring multitude arise;
Applauding Echo to the shouts replies;
Shouts, wishes, and applause run rattling thro’ the skies.
These clamors with disdain the Scylla heard,
Much grudg’d the praise, but more the robb’d reward:
Resolv’d to hold their own, they mend their pace,
All obstinate to die, or gain the race.
Rais’d with success, the Dolphin swiftly ran;
For they can conquer, who believe they can.
Both urge their oars, and fortune both supplies,
And both perhaps had shar’d an equal prize;
When to the seas Cloanthus holds his hands,
And succor from the wat’ry pow’rs demands:
“Gods of the liquid realms, on which I row!
If, giv’n by you, the laurel bind my brow,
Assist to make me guilty of my vow!
A snow-white bull shall on your shore be slain;
His offer’d entrails cast into the main,
And ruddy wine, from golden goblets thrown,
Your grateful gift and my return shall own.”
The choir of nymphs, and Phorcus, from below,
With virgin Panopea, heard his vow;
And old Portunus, with his breadth of hand,
Push’d on, and sped the galley to the land.
Swift as a shaft, or winged wind, she flies,
And, darting to the port, obtains the prize.
The herald summons all, and then proclaims
Cloanthus conqu’ror of the naval games.
The prince with laurel crowns the victor’s head,
And three fat steers are to his vessel led,
The ship’s reward; with gen’rous wine beside,
And sums of silver, which the crew divide.
The leaders are distinguish’d from the rest;
The victor honor’d with a nobler vest,
Where gold and purple strive in equal rows,
And needlework its happy cost bestows.
There Ganymede is wrought with living art,
Chasing thro’ Ida’s groves the trembling hart:
Breathless he seems, yet eager to pursue;
When from aloft descends, in open view,
The bird of Jove, and, sousing on his prey,
With crooked talons bears the boy away.
In vain, with lifted hands and gazing eyes,
His guards behold him soaring thro’ the skies,
And dogs pursue his flight with imitated cries.
Mnestheus the second victor was declar’d;
And, summon’d there, the second prize he shard.
A coat of mail, brave Demoleus bore,
More brave Aeneas from his shoulders tore,
In single combat on the Trojan shore:
This was ordain’d for Mnestheus to possess;
In war for his defense, for ornament in peace.
Rich was the gift, and glorious to behold,
But yet so pond’rous with its plates of gold,
That scarce two servants could the weight sustain;
Yet, loaded thus, Demoleus o’er the plain
Pursued and lightly seiz’d the Trojan train.
The third, succeeding to the last reward,
Two goodly bowls of massy silver shar’d,
With figures prominent, and richly wrought,
And two brass caldrons from Dodona brought.
Thus all, rewarded by the hero’s hands,
Their conqu’ring temples bound with purple bands;
And now Sergesthus, clearing from the rock,
Brought back his galley shatter’d with the shock.
Forlorn she look’d, without an aiding oar,
And, houted by the vulgar, made to shore.
As when a snake, surpris’d upon the road,
Is crush’d athwart her body by the load
Of heavy wheels; or with a mortal wound
Her belly bruis’d, and trodden to the ground:
In vain, with loosen’d curls, she crawls along;
Yet, fierce above, she brandishes her tongue;
Glares with her eyes, and bristles with her scales;
But, groveling in the dust, her parts unsound she trails:
So slowly to the port the Centaur tends,
But, what she wants in oars, with sails amends.
Yet, for his galley sav’d, the grateful prince
Is pleas’d th’ unhappy chief to recompense.
Pholoe, the Cretan slave, rewards his care,
Beauteous herself, with lovely twins as fair.
From thence his way the Trojan hero bent
Into the neighb’ring plain, with mountains pent,
Whose sides were shaded with surrounding wood.
Full in the midst of this fair valley stood
A native theater, which, rising slow
By just degrees, o’erlook’d the ground below.
High on a sylvan throne the leader sate;
A num’rous train attend in solemn state.
Here those that in the rapid course delight,
Desire of honor and the prize invite.
The rival runners without order stand;
The Trojans mix’d with the Sicilian band.
First Nisus, with Euryalus, appears;
Euryalus a boy of blooming years,
With sprightly grace and equal beauty crown’d;
Nisus, for friendship to the youth renown’d.
Diores next, of Priam’s royal race,
Then Salius joined with Patron, took their place;
(But Patron in Arcadia had his birth,
And Salius his from Arcananian earth;)
Then two Sicilian youths- the names of these,
Swift Helymus, and lovely Panopes:
Both jolly huntsmen, both in forest bred,
And owning old Acestes for their head;
With sev’ral others of ignobler name,
Whom time has not deliver’d o’er to fame.
To these the hero thus his thoughts explain’d,
In words which gen’ral approbation gain’d:
“One common largess is for all design’d,
(The vanquish’d and the victor shall be join’d,)
Two darts of polish’d steel and Gnosian wood,
A silver-studded ax, alike bestow’d.
The foremost three have olive wreaths decreed:
The first of these obtains a stately steed,
Adorn’d with trappings; and the next in fame,
The quiver of an Amazonian dame,
With feather’d Thracian arrows well supplied:
A golden belt shall gird his manly side,
Which with a sparkling diamond shall be tied.
The third this Grecian helmet shall content.”
He said. To their appointed base they went;
With beating hearts th’ expected sign receive,
And, starting all at once, the barrier leave.
Spread out, as on the winged winds, they flew,
And seiz’d the distant goal with greedy view.
Shot from the crowd, swift Nisus all o’erpass’d;
Nor storms, nor thunder, equal half his haste.
The next, but tho’ the next, yet far disjoin’d,
Came Salius, and Euryalus behind;
Then Helymus, whom young Diores plied,
Step after step, and almost side by side,
His shoulders pressing; and, in longer space,
Had won, or left at least a dubious race.
Now, spent, the goal they almost reach at last,
When eager Nisus, hapless in his haste,
Slipp’d first, and, slipping, fell upon the plain,
Soak’d with the blood of oxen newly slain.
The careless victor had not mark’d his way;
But, treading where the treach’rous puddle lay,
His heels flew up; and on the grassy floor
He fell, besmear’d with filth and holy gore.
Not mindless then, Euryalus, of thee,
Nor of the sacred bonds of amity,
He strove th’ immediate rival’s hope to cross,
And caught the foot of Salius as he rose.
So Salius lay extended on the plain;
Euryalus springs out, the prize to gain,
And leaves the crowd: applauding peals attend
The victor to the goal, who vanquish’d by his friend.
Next Helymus; and then Diores came,
By two misfortunes made the third in fame.
But Salius enters, and, exclaiming loud
For justice, deafens and disturbs the crowd;
Urges his cause may in the court be heard;
And pleads the prize is wrongfully conferr’d.
But favor for Euryalus appears;
His blooming beauty, with his tender tears,
Had brib’d the judges for the promis’d prize.
Besides, Diores fills the court with cries,
Who vainly reaches at the last reward,
If the first palm on Salius be conferr’d.
Then thus the prince: “Let no disputes arise:
Where fortune plac’d it, I award the prize.
But fortune’s errors give me leave to mend,
At least to pity my deserving friend.”
He said, and, from among the spoils, he draws
(Pond’rous with shaggy mane and golden paws)
A lion’s hide: to Salius this he gives.
Nisus with envy sees the gift, and grieves.
“If such rewards to vanquish’d men are due.”
He said, “and falling is to rise by you,
What prize may Nisus from your bounty claim,
Who merited the first rewards and fame?
In falling, both an equal fortune tried;
Would fortune for my fall so well provide!”
With this he pointed to his face, and show’d
His hand and all his habit smear’d with blood.
Th’ indulgent father of the people smil’d,
And caus’d to be produc’d an ample shield,
Of wondrous art, by Didymaon wrought,
Long since from Neptune’s bars in triumph brought.
This giv’n to Nisus, he divides the rest,
And equal justice in his gifts express’d.
The race thus ended, and rewards bestow’d,
Once more the princes bespeaks th’ attentive crowd:
“If there he here whose dauntless courage dare
In gauntlet-fight, with limbs and body bare,
His opposite sustain in open view,
Stand forth the champion, and the games renew.
Two prizes I propose, and thus divide:
A bull with gilded horns, and fillets tied,
Shall be the portion of the conqu’ring chief;
A sword and helm shall cheer the loser’s grief.”
Then haughty Dares in the lists appears;
Stalking he strides, his head erected bears:
His nervous arms the weighty gauntlet wield,
And loud applauses echo thro’ the field.
Dares alone in combat us’d to stand
The match of mighty Paris, hand to hand;
The same, at Hector’s fun’rals, undertook
Gigantic Butes, of th’ Amycian stock,
And, by the stroke of his resistless hand,
Stretch’d the vast bulk upon the yellow sand.
Such Dares was; and such he strode along,
And drew the wonder of the gazing throng.
His brawny back and ample breast he shows,
His lifted arms around his head he throws,
And deals in whistling air his empty blows.
His match is sought; but, thro’ the trembling band,
Not one dares answer to the proud demand.
Presuming of his force, with sparkling eyes
Already he devours the promis’d prize.
He claims the bull with awless insolence,
And having seiz’d his horns, accosts the prince:
“If none my matchless valor dares oppose,
How long shall Dares wait his dastard foes?
Permit me, chief, permit without delay,
To lead this uncontended gift away.”
The crowd assents, and with redoubled cries
For the proud challenger demands the prize.
Acestes, fir’d with just disdain, to see
The palm usurp’d without a victory,
Reproach’d Entellus thus, who sate beside,
And heard and saw, unmov’d, the Trojan’s pride:
“Once, but in vain, a champion of renown,
So tamely can you bear the ravish’d crown,
A prize in triumph borne before your sight,
And shun, for fear, the danger of the fight?
Where is our Eryx now, the boasted name,
The god who taught your thund’ring arm the game?
Where now your baffled honor? Where the spoil
That fill’d your house, and fame that fill’d our isle?”
Entellus, thus: “My soul is still the same,
Unmov’d with fear, and mov’d with martial fame;
But my chill blood is curdled in my veins,
And scarce the shadow of a man remains.
O could I turn to that fair prime again,
That prime of which this boaster is so vain,
The brave, who this decrepid age defies,
Should feel my force, without the promis’d prize.”
He said; and, rising at the word, he threw
Two pond’rous gauntlets down in open view;
Gauntlets which Eryx wont in fight to wield,
And sheathe his hands with in the listed field.
With fear and wonder seiz’d, the crowd beholds
The gloves of death, with sev’n distinguish’d folds
Of tough bull hides; the space within is spread
With iron, or with loads of heavy lead:
Dares himself was daunted at the sight,
Renounc’d his challenge, and refus’d to fight.
Astonish’d at their weight, the hero stands,
And pois’d the pond’rous engines in his hands.
“What had your wonder,” said Entellus, “been,
Had you the gauntlets of Alcides seen,
Or view’d the stern debate on this unhappy green!
These which I bear your brother Eryx bore,
Still mark’d with batter’d brains and mingled gore.
With these he long sustain’d th’ Herculean arm;
And these I wielded while my blood was warm,
This languish’d frame while better spirits fed,
Ere age unstrung my nerves, or time o’ersnow’d my head.
But if the challenger these arms refuse,
And cannot wield their weight, or dare not use;
If great Aeneas and Acestes join
In his request, these gauntlets I resign;
Let us with equal arms perform the fight,
And let him leave to fear, since I resign my right.”
This said, Entellus for the strife prepares;
Stripp’d of his quilted coat, his body bares;
Compos’d of mighty bones and brawn he stands,
A goodly tow’ring object on the sands.
Then just Aeneas equal arms supplied,
Which round their shoulders to their wrists they tied.
Both on the tiptoe stand, at full extent,
Their arms aloft, their bodies inly bent;
Their heads from aiming blows they bear afar;
With clashing gauntlets then provoke the war.
One on his youth and pliant limbs relies;
One on his sinews and his giant size.
The last is stiff with age, his motion slow;
He heaves for breath, he staggers to and fro,
And clouds of issuing smoke his nostrils loudly blow.
Yet equal in success, they ward, they strike;
Their ways are diff’rent, but their art alike.
Before, behind, the blows are dealt; around
Their hollow sides the rattling thumps resound.
A storm of strokes, well meant, with fury flies,
And errs about their temples, ears, and eyes.
Nor always errs; for oft the gauntlet draws
A sweeping stroke along the crackling jaws.
Heavy with age, Entellus stands his ground,
But with his warping body wards the wound.
His hand and watchful eye keep even pace;
While Dares traverses and shifts his place,
And, like a captain who beleaguers round
Some strong-built castle on a rising ground,
Views all th’ approaches with observing eyes:
This and that other part in vain he tries,
And more on industry than force relies.
With hands on high, Entellus threats the foe;
But Dares watch’d the motion from below,
And slipp’d aside, and shunn’d the long descending blow.
Entellus wastes his forces on the wind,
And, thus deluded of the stroke design’d,
Headlong and heavy fell; his ample breast
And weighty limbs his ancient mother press’d.
So falls a hollow pine, that long had stood
On Ida’s height, or Erymanthus’ wood,
Torn from the roots. The diff’ring nations rise,
And shouts and mingled murmurs rend the skies,
Acestus runs with eager haste, to raise
The fall’n companion of his youthful days.
Dauntless he rose, and to the fight return’d;
With shame his glowing cheeks, his eyes with fury burn’d.
Disdain and conscious virtue fir’d his breast,
And with redoubled force his foe he press’d.
He lays on load with either hand, amain,
And headlong drives the Trojan o’er the plain;
Nor stops, nor stays; nor rest nor breath allows;
But storms of strokes descend about his brows,
A rattling tempest, and a hail of blows.
But now the prince, who saw the wild increase
Of wounds, commands the combatants to cease,
And bounds Entellus’ wrath, and bids the peace.
First to the Trojan, spent with toil, he came,
And sooth’d his sorrow for the suffer’d shame.
“What fury seiz’d my friend? The gods,” said he,
“To him propitious, and averse to thee,
Have giv’n his arm superior force to thine.
‘T is madness to contend with strength divine.”
The gauntlet fight thus ended, from the shore
His faithful friends unhappy Dares bore:
His mouth and nostrils pour’d a purple flood,
And pounded teeth came rushing with his blood.
Faintly he stagger’d thro’ the hissing throng,
And hung his head, and trail’d his legs along.
The sword and casque are carried by his train;
But with his foe the palm and ox remain.
The champion, then, before Aeneas came,
Proud of his prize, but prouder of his fame:
“O goddess-born, and you, Dardanian host,
Mark with attention, and forgive my boast;
Learn what I was, by what remains; and know
From what impending fate you sav’d my foe.”
Sternly he spoke, and then confronts the bull;
And, on his ample forehead aiming full,
The deadly stroke, descending, pierc’d the skull.
Down drops the beast, nor needs a second wound,
But sprawls in pangs of death, and spurns the ground.
Then, thus: “In Dares’ stead I offer this.
Eryx, accept a nobler sacrifice;
Take the last gift my wither’d arms can yield:
Thy gauntlets I resign, and here renounce the field.”
This done, Aeneas orders, for the close,
The strife of archers with contending bows.
The mast Sergesthus’ shatter’d galley bore
With his own hands he raises on the shore.
A flutt’ring dove upon the top they tie,
The living mark at which their arrows fly.
The rival archers in a line advance,
Their turn of shooting to receive from chance.
A helmet holds their names; the lots are drawn:
On the first scroll was read Hippocoon.
The people shout. Upon the next was found
Young Mnestheus, late with naval honors crown’d.
The third contain’d Eurytion’s noble name,
Thy brother, Pandarus, and next in fame,
Whom Pallas urg’d the treaty to confound,
And send among the Greeks a feather’d wound.
Acestes in the bottom last remain’d,
Whom not his age from youthful sports restrain’d.
Soon all with vigor bend their trusty bows,
And from the quiver each his arrow chose.
Hippocoon’s was the first: with forceful sway
It flew, and, whizzing, cut the liquid way.
Fix’d in the mast the feather’d weapon stands:
The fearful pigeon flutters in her bands,
And the tree trembled, and the shouting cries
Of the pleas’d people rend the vaulted skies.
Then Mnestheus to the head his arrow drove,
With lifted eyes, and took his aim above,
But made a glancing shot, and missed the dove;
Yet miss’d so narrow, that he cut the cord
Which fasten’d by the foot the flitting bird.
The captive thus releas’d, away she flies,
And beats with clapping wings the yielding skies.
His bow already bent, Eurytion stood;
And, having first invok’d his brother god,
His winged shaft with eager haste he sped.
The fatal message reach’d her as she fled:
She leaves her life aloft; she strikes the ground,
And renders back the weapon in the wound.
Acestes, grudging at his lot, remains,
Without a prize to gratify his pains.
Yet, shooting upward, sends his shaft, to show
An archer’s art, and boast his twanging bow.
The feather’d arrow gave a dire portent,
And latter augurs judge from this event.
Chaf’d by the speed, it fir’d; and, as it flew,
A trail of following flames ascending drew:
Kindling they mount, and mark the shiny way;
Across the skies as falling meteors play,
And vanish into wind, or in a blaze decay.
The Trojans and Sicilians wildly stare,
And, trembling, turn their wonder into pray’r.
The Dardan prince put on a smiling face,
And strain’d Acestes with a close embrace;
Then, hon’ring him with gifts above the rest,
Turn’d the bad omen, nor his fears confess’d.
“The gods,” said he, “this miracle have wrought,
And order’d you the prize without the lot.
Accept this goblet, rough with figur’d gold,
Which Thracian Cisseus gave my sire of old:
This pledge of ancient amity receive,
Which to my second sire I justly give.”
He said, and, with the trumpets’ cheerful sound,
Proclaim’d him victor, and with laurel-crown’d.
Nor good Eurytion envied him the prize,
Tho’ he transfix’d the pigeon in the skies.
Who cut the line, with second gifts was grac’d;
The third was his whose arrow pierc’d the mast.
The chief, before the games were wholly done,
Call’d Periphantes, tutor to his son,
And whisper’d thus: “With speed Ascanius find;
And, if his childish troop be ready join’d,
On horseback let him grace his grandsire’s day,
And lead his equals arm’d in just array.”
He said; and, calling out, the cirque he clears.
The crowd withdrawn, an open plain appears.
And now the noble youths, of form divine,
Advance before their fathers, in a line;
The riders grace the steeds; the steeds with glory shine.
Thus marching on in military pride,
Shouts of applause resound from side to side.
Their casques adorn’d with laurel wreaths they wear,
Each brandishing aloft a cornel spear.
Some at their backs their gilded quivers bore;
Their chains of burnish’d gold hung down before.
Three graceful troops they form’d upon the green;
Three graceful leaders at their head were seen;
Twelve follow’d ev’ry chief, and left a space between.
The first young Priam led; a lovely boy,
Whose grandsire was th’ unhappy king of Troy;
His race in after times was known to fame,
New honors adding to the Latian name;
And well the royal boy his Thracian steed became.
White were the fetlocks of his feet before,
And on his front a snowy star he bore.
Then beauteous Atys, with Iulus bred,
Of equal age, the second squadron led.
The last in order, but the first in place,
First in the lovely features of his face,
Rode fair Ascanius on a fiery steed,
Queen Dido’s gift, and of the Tyrian breed.
Sure coursers for the rest the king ordains,
With golden bits adorn’d, and purple reins.
The pleas’d spectators peals of shouts renew,
And all the parents in the children view;
Their make, their motions, and their sprightly grace,
And hopes and fears alternate in their face.
Th’ unfledg’d commanders and their martial train
First make the circuit of the sandy plain
Around their sires, and, at th’ appointed sign,
Drawn up in beauteous order, form a line.
The second signal sounds, the troop divides
In three distinguish’d parts, with three distinguish’d guides
Again they close, and once again disjoin;
In troop to troop oppos’d, and line to line.
They meet; they wheel; they throw their darts afar
With harmless rage and well-dissembled war.
Then in a round the mingled bodies run:
Flying they follow, and pursuing shun;
Broken, they break; and, rallying, they renew
In other forms the military shew.
At last, in order, undiscern’d they join,
And march together in a friendly line.
And, as the Cretan labyrinth of old,
With wand’ring ways and many a winding fold,
Involv’d the weary feet, without redress,
In a round error, which denied recess;
So fought the Trojan boys in warlike play,
Turn’d and return’d, and still a diff’rent way.
Thus dolphins in the deep each other chase
In circles, when they swim around the wat’ry race.
This game, these carousels, Ascanius taught;
And, building Alba, to the Latins brought;
Shew’d what he learn’d: the Latin sires impart
To their succeeding sons the graceful art;
From these imperial Rome receiv’d the game,
Which Troy, the youths the Trojan troop, they name.
Thus far the sacred sports they celebrate:
But Fortune soon resum’d her ancient hate;
For, while they pay the dead his annual dues,
Those envied rites Saturnian Juno views;
And sends the goddess of the various bow,
To try new methods of revenge below;
Supplies the winds to wing her airy way,
Where in the port secure the navy lay.
Swiftly fair Iris down her arch descends,
And, undiscern’d, her fatal voyage ends.
She saw the gath’ring crowd; and, gliding thence,
The desart shore, and fleet without defense.
The Trojan matrons, on the sands alone,
With sighs and tears Anchises’ death bemoan;
Then, turning to the sea their weeping eyes,
Their pity to themselves renews their cries.
“Alas!” said one, “what oceans yet remain
For us to sail! what labors to sustain!”
All take the word, and, with a gen’ral groan,
Implore the gods for peace, and places of their own.
The goddess, great in mischief, views their pains,
And in a woman’s form her heav’nly limbs restrains.
In face and shape old Beroe she became,
Doryclus’ wife, a venerable dame,
Once blest with riches, and a mother’s name.
Thus chang’d, amidst the crying crowd she ran,
Mix’d with the matrons, and these words began:
“O wretched we, whom not the Grecian pow’r,
Nor flames, destroy’d, in Troy’s unhappy hour!
O wretched we, reserv’d by cruel fate,
Beyond the ruins of the sinking state!
Now sev’n revolving years are wholly run,
Since this improsp’rous voyage we begun;
Since, toss’d from shores to shores, from lands to lands,
Inhospitable rocks and barren sands,
Wand’ring in exile thro’ the stormy sea,
We search in vain for flying Italy.
Now cast by fortune on this kindred land,
What should our rest and rising walls withstand,
Or hinder here to fix our banish’d band?
O country lost, and gods redeem’d in vain,
If still in endless exile we remain!
Shall we no more the Trojan walls renew,
Or streams of some dissembled Simois view!
Haste, join with me, th’ unhappy fleet consume!
Cassandra bids; and I declare her doom.
In sleep I saw her; she supplied my hands
(For this I more than dreamt) with flaming brands:
‘With these,’ said she, ‘these wand’ring ships destroy:
These are your fatal seats, and this your Troy.’
Time calls you now; the precious hour employ:
Slack not the good presage, while Heav’n inspires
Our minds to dare, and gives the ready fires.
See! Neptune’s altars minister their brands:
The god is pleas’d; the god supplies our hands.”
Then from the pile a flaming fire she drew,
And, toss’d in air, amidst the galleys threw.
Wrapp’d in amaze, the matrons wildly stare:
Then Pyrgo, reverenc’d for her hoary hair,
Pyrgo, the nurse of Priam’s num’rous race:
“No Beroe this, tho’ she belies her face!
What terrors from her frowning front arise!
Behold a goddess in her ardent eyes!
What rays around her heav’nly face are seen!
Mark her majestic voice, and more than mortal mien!
Beroe but now I left, whom, pin’d with pain,
Her age and anguish from these rites detain,”
She said. The matrons, seiz’d with new amaze,
Roll their malignant eyes, and on the navy gaze.
They fear, and hope, and neither part obey:
They hope the fated land, but fear the fatal way.
The goddess, having done her task below,
Mounts up on equal wings, and bends her painted bow.
Struck with the sight, and seiz’d with rage divine,
The matrons prosecute their mad design:
They shriek aloud; they snatch, with impious hands,
The food of altars; fires and flaming brands.
Green boughs and saplings, mingled in their haste,
And smoking torches, on the ships they cast.
The flame, unstopp’d at first, more fury gains,
And Vulcan rides at large with loosen’d reins:
Triumphant to the painted sterns he soars,
And seizes, in this way, the banks and crackling oars.
Eumelus was the first the news to bear,
While yet they crowd the rural theater.
Then, what they hear, is witness’d by their eyes:
A storm of sparkles and of flames arise.
Ascanius took th’ alarm, while yet he led
His early warriors on his prancing steed,
And, spurring on, his equals soon o’erpass’d;
Nor could his frighted friends reclaim his haste.
Soon as the royal youth appear’d in view,
He sent his voice before him as he flew:
“What madness moves you, matrons, to destroy
The last remainders of unhappy Troy!
Not hostile fleets, but your own hopes, you burn,
And on your friends your fatal fury turn.
Behold your own Ascanius!” While he said,
He drew his glitt’ring helmet from his head,
In which the youths to sportful arms he led.
By this, Aeneas and his train appear;
And now the women, seiz’d with shame and fear,
Dispers’d, to woods and caverns take their flight,
Abhor their actions, and avoid the light;
Their friends acknowledge, and their error find,
And shake the goddess from their alter’d mind.
Not so the raging fires their fury cease,
But, lurking in the seams, with seeming peace,
Work on their way amid the smold’ring tow,
Sure in destruction, but in motion slow.
The silent plague thro’ the green timber eats,
And vomits out a tardy flame by fits.
Down to the keels, and upward to the sails,
The fire descends, or mounts, but still prevails;
Nor buckets pour’d, nor strength of human hand,
Can the victorious element withstand.
The pious hero rends his robe, and throws
To heav’n his hands, and with his hands his vows.
“O Jove,” he cried, “if pray’rs can yet have place;
If thou abhorr’st not all the Dardan race;
If any spark of pity still remain;
If gods are gods, and not invok’d in vain;
Yet spare the relics of the Trojan train!
Yet from the flames our burning vessels free,
Or let thy fury fall alone on me!
At this devoted head thy thunder throw,
And send the willing sacrifice below!”
Scarce had he said, when southern storms arise:
From pole to pole the forky lightning flies;
Loud rattling shakes the mountains and the plain;
Heav’n bellies downward, and descends in rain.
Whole sheets of water from the clouds are sent,
Which, hissing thro’ the planks, the flames prevent,
And stop the fiery pest. Four ships alone
Burn to the waist, and for the fleet atone.
But doubtful thoughts the hero’s heart divide;
If he should still in Sicily reside,
Forgetful of his fates, or tempt the main,
In hope the promis’d Italy to gain.
Then Nautes, old and wise, to whom alone
The will of Heav’n by Pallas was foreshown;
Vers’d in portents, experienc’d, and inspir’d
To tell events, and what the fates requir’d;
Thus while he stood, to neither part inclin’d,
With cheerful words reliev’d his lab’ring mind:
“O goddess-born, resign’d in ev’ry state,
With patience bear, with prudence push your fate.
By suff’ring well, our Fortune we subdue;
Fly when she frowns, and, when she calls, pursue.
Your friend Acestes is of Trojan kind;
To him disclose the secrets of your mind:
Trust in his hands your old and useless train;
Too num’rous for the ships which yet remain:
The feeble, old, indulgent of their ease,
The dames who dread the dangers of the seas,
With all the dastard crew, who dare not stand
The shock of battle with your foes by land.
Here you may build a common town for all,
And, from Acestes’ name, Acesta call.”
The reasons, with his friend’s experience join’d,
Encourag’d much, but more disturb’d his mind.
‘T was dead of night; when to his slumb’ring eyes
His father’s shade descended from the skies,
And thus he spoke: “O more than vital breath,
Lov’d while I liv’d, and dear ev’n after death;
O son, in various toils and troubles toss’d,
The King of Heav’n employs my careful ghost
On his commands: the god, who sav’d from fire
Your flaming fleet, and heard your just desire.
The wholesome counsel of your friend receive,
And here the coward train and woman leave:
The chosen youth, and those who nobly dare,
Transport, to tempt the dangers of the war.
The stern Italians will their courage try;
Rough are their manners, and their minds are high.
But first to Pluto’s palace you shall go,
And seek my shade among the blest below:
For not with impious ghosts my soul remains,
Nor suffers with the damn’d perpetual pains,
But breathes the living air of soft Elysian plains.
The chaste Sibylla shall your steps convey,
And blood of offer’d victims free the way.
There shall you know what realms the gods assign,
And learn the fates and fortunes of your line.
But now, farewell! I vanish with the night,
And feel the blast of heav’n’s approaching light.”
He said, and mix’d with shades, and took his airy flight.
“Whither so fast?” the filial duty cried;
“And why, ah why, the wish’d embrace denied?”
He said, and rose; as holy zeal inspires,
He rakes hot embers, and renews the fires;
His country gods and Vesta then adores
With cakes and incense, and their aid implores.
Next, for his friends and royal host he sent,
Reveal’d his vision, and the gods’ intent,
With his own purpose. All, without delay,
The will of Jove, and his desires obey.
They list with women each degenerate name,
Who dares not hazard life for future fame.
These they cashier: the brave remaining few,
Oars, banks, and cables, half consum’d, renew.
The prince designs a city with the plow;
The lots their sev’ral tenements allow.
This part is nam’d from Ilium, that from Troy,
And the new king ascends the throne with joy;
A chosen senate from the people draws;
Appoints the judges, and ordains the laws.
Then, on the top of Eryx, they begin
A rising temple to the Paphian queen.
Anchises, last, is honor’d as a god;
A priest is added, annual gifts bestow’d,
And groves are planted round his blest abode.
Nine days they pass in feasts, their temples crown’d;
And fumes of incense in the fanes abound.
Then from the south arose a gentle breeze
That curl’d the smoothness of the glassy seas;
The rising winds a ruffling gale afford,
And call the merry mariners aboard.
Now loud laments along the shores resound,
Of parting friends in close embraces bound.
The trembling women, the degenerate train,
Who shunn’d the frightful dangers of the main,
Ev’n those desire to sail, and take their share
Of the rough passage and the promis’d war:
Whom good Aeneas cheers, and recommends
To their new master’s care his fearful friends.
On Eryx’s altars three fat calves he lays;
A lamb new-fallen to the stormy seas;
Then slips his haulsers, and his anchors weighs.
High on the deck the godlike hero stands,
With olive crown’d, a charger in his hands;
Then cast the reeking entrails in the brine,
And pour’d the sacrifice of purple wine.
Fresh gales arise; with equal strokes they vie,
And brush the buxom seas, and o’er the billows fly.
Meantime the mother goddess, full of fears,
To Neptune thus address’d, with tender tears:
“The pride of Jove’s imperious queen, the rage,
The malice which no suff’rings can assuage,
Compel me to these pray’rs; since neither fate,
Nor time, nor pity, can remove her hate:
Ev’n Jove is thwarted by his haughty wife;
Still vanquish’d, yet she still renews the strife.
As if ‘t were little to consume the town
Which aw’d the world, and wore th’ imperial crown,
She prosecutes the ghost of Troy with pains,
And gnaws, ev’n to the bones, the last remains.
Let her the causes of her hatred tell;
But you can witness its effects too well.
You saw the storm she rais’d on Libyan floods,
That mix’d the mounting billows with the clouds;
When, bribing Aeolus, she shook the main,
And mov’d rebellion in your wat’ry reign.
With fury she possess’d the Dardan dames,
To burn their fleet with execrable flames,
And forc’d Aeneas, when his ships were lost,
To leave his foll’wers on a foreign coast.
For what remains, your godhead I implore,
And trust my son to your protecting pow’r.
If neither Jove’s nor Fate’s decree withstand,
Secure his passage to the Latian land.”
Then thus the mighty Ruler of the Main:
“What may not Venus hope from Neptune’s reign?
My kingdom claims your birth; my late defense
Of your indanger’d fleet may claim your confidence.
Nor less by land than sea my deeds declare
How much your lov’d Aeneas is my care.
Thee, Xanthus, and thee, Simois, I attest.
Your Trojan troops when proud Achilles press’d,
And drove before him headlong on the plain,
And dash’d against the walls the trembling train;
When floods were fill’d with bodies of the slain;
When crimson Xanthus, doubtful of his way,
Stood up on ridges to behold the sea;
(New heaps came tumbling in, and chok’d his way;)
When your Aeneas fought, but fought with odds
Of force unequal, and unequal gods;
I spread a cloud before the victor’s sight,
Sustain’d the vanquish’d, and secur’d his flight;
Ev’n then secur’d him, when I sought with joy
The vow’d destruction of ungrateful Troy.
My will’s the same: fair goddess, fear no more,
Your fleet shall safely gain the Latian shore;
Their lives are giv’n; one destin’d head alone
Shall perish, and for multitudes atone.”
Thus having arm’d with hopes her anxious mind,
His finny team Saturnian Neptune join’d,
Then adds the foamy bridle to their jaws,
And to the loosen’d reins permits the laws.
High on the waves his azure car he guides;
Its axles thunder, and the sea subsides,
And the smooth ocean rolls her silent tides.
The tempests fly before their father’s face,
Trains of inferior gods his triumph grace,
And monster whales before their master play,
And choirs of Tritons crowd the wat’ry way.
The marshal’d pow’rs in equal troops divide
To right and left; the gods his better side
Inclose, and on the worse the Nymphs and Nereids ride.
Now smiling hope, with sweet vicissitude,
Within the hero’s mind his joys renew’d.
He calls to raise the masts, the sheets display;
The cheerful crew with diligence obey;
They scud before the wind, and sail in open sea.
Ahead of all the master pilot steers;
And, as he leads, the following navy veers.
The steeds of Night had travel’d half the sky,
The drowsy rowers on their benches lie,
When the soft God of Sleep, with easy flight,
Descends, and draws behind a trail of light.
Thou, Palinurus, art his destin’d prey;
To thee alone he takes his fatal way.
Dire dreams to thee, and iron sleep, he bears;
And, lighting on thy prow, the form of Phorbas wears.
Then thus the traitor god began his tale:
“The winds, my friend, inspire a pleasing gale;
The ships, without thy care, securely sail.
Now steal an hour of sweet repose; and I
Will take the rudder and thy room supply.”
To whom the yawning pilot, half asleep:
“Me dost thou bid to trust the treach’rous deep,
The harlot smiles of her dissembling face,
And to her faith commit the Trojan race?
Shall I believe the Siren South again,
And, oft betray’d, not know the monster main?”
He said: his fasten’d hands the rudder keep,
And, fix’d on heav’n, his eyes repel invading sleep.
The god was wroth, and at his temples threw
A branch in Lethe dipp’d, and drunk with Stygian dew:
The pilot, vanquish’d by the pow’r divine,
Soon clos’d his swimming eyes, and lay supine.
Scarce were his limbs extended at their length,
The god, insulting with superior strength,
Fell heavy on him, plung’d him in the sea,
And, with the stern, the rudder tore away.
Headlong he fell, and, struggling in the main,
Cried out for helping hands, but cried in vain.
The victor daemon mounts obscure in air,
While the ship sails without the pilot’s care.
On Neptune’s faith the floating fleet relies;
But what the man forsook, the god supplies,
And o’er the dang’rous deep secure the navy flies;
Glides by the Sirens’ cliffs, a shelfy coast,
Long infamous for ships and sailors lost,
And white with bones. Th’ impetuous ocean roars,
And rocks rebellow from the sounding shores.
The watchful hero felt the knocks, and found
The tossing vessel sail’d on shoaly ground.
Sure of his pilot’s loss, he takes himself
The helm, and steers aloof, and shuns the shelf.
Inly he griev’d, and, groaning from the breast,
Deplor’d his death; and thus his pain express’d:
“For faith repos’d on seas, and on the flatt’ring sky,
Thy naked corpse is doom’d on shores unknown to lie.”
He said, and wept; then spread his sails before
The winds, and reach’d at length the Cumaean shore:
Their anchors dropp’d, his crew the vessels moor.
They turn their heads to sea, their sterns to land,
And greet with greedy joy th’ Italian strand.
Some strike from clashing flints their fiery seed;
Some gather sticks, the kindled flames to feed,
Or search for hollow trees, and fell the woods,
Or trace thro’ valleys the discover’d floods.
Thus, while their sev’ral charges they fulfil,
The pious prince ascends the sacred hill
Where Phoebus is ador’d; and seeks the shade
Which hides from sight his venerable maid.
Deep in a cave the Sibyl makes abode;
Thence full of fate returns, and of the god.
Thro’ Trivia’s grove they walk; and now behold,
And enter now, the temple roof’d with gold.
When Daedalus, to fly the Cretan shore,
His heavy limbs on jointed pinions bore,
(The first who sail’d in air,) ‘t is sung by Fame,
To the Cumaean coast at length he came,
And here alighting, built this costly frame.
Inscrib’d to Phoebus, here he hung on high
The steerage of his wings, that cut the sky:
Then o’er the lofty gate his art emboss’d
Androgeos’ death, and off’rings to his ghost;
Sev’n youths from Athens yearly sent, to meet
The fate appointed by revengeful Crete.
And next to those the dreadful urn was plac’d,
In which the destin’d names by lots were cast:
The mournful parents stand around in tears,
And rising Crete against their shore appears.
There too, in living sculpture, might be seen
The mad affection of the Cretan queen;
Then how she cheats her bellowing lover’s eye;
The rushing leap, the doubtful progeny,
The lower part a beast, a man above,
The monument of their polluted love.
Not far from thence he grav’d the wondrous maze,
A thousand doors, a thousand winding ways:
Here dwells the monster, hid from human view,
Not to be found, but by the faithful clew;
Till the kind artist, mov’d with pious grief,
Lent to the loving maid this last relief,
And all those erring paths describ’d so well
That Theseus conquer’d and the monster fell.
Here hapless Icarus had found his part,
Had not the father’s grief restrain’d his art.
He twice assay’d to cast his son in gold;
Twice from his hands he dropp’d the forming mold.
All this with wond’ring eyes Aeneas view’d;
Each varying object his delight renew’d:
Eager to read the rest- Achates came,
And by his side the mad divining dame,
The priestess of the god, Deiphobe her name.
“Time suffers not,” she said, “to feed your eyes
With empty pleasures; haste the sacrifice.
Sev’n bullocks, yet unyok’d, for Phoebus choose,
And for Diana sev’n unspotted ewes.”
This said, the servants urge the sacred rites,
While to the temple she the prince invites.
A spacious cave, within its farmost part,
Was hew’d and fashion’d by laborious art
Thro’ the hill’s hollow sides: before the place,
A hundred doors a hundred entries grace;
As many voices issue, and the sound
Of Sybil’s words as many times rebound.
Now to the mouth they come. Aloud she cries:
“This is the time; enquire your destinies.
He comes; behold the god!” Thus while she said,
(And shiv’ring at the sacred entry stay’d,)
Her color chang’d; her face was not the same,
And hollow groans from her deep spirit came.
Her hair stood up; convulsive rage possess’d
Her trembling limbs, and heav’d her lab’ring breast.
Greater than humankind she seem’d to look,
And with an accent more than mortal spoke.
Her staring eyes with sparkling fury roll;
When all the god came rushing on her soul.
Swiftly she turn’d, and, foaming as she spoke:
“Why this delay?” she cried- “the pow’rs invoke!
Thy pray’rs alone can open this abode;
Else vain are my demands, and dumb the god.”
She said no more. The trembling Trojans hear,
O’erspread with a damp sweat and holy fear.
The prince himself, with awful dread possess’d,
His vows to great Apollo thus address’d:
“Indulgent god, propitious pow’r to Troy,
Swift to relieve, unwilling to destroy,
Directed by whose hand the Dardan dart
Pierc’d the proud Grecian’s only mortal part:
Thus far, by fate’s decrees and thy commands,
Thro’ ambient seas and thro’ devouring sands,
Our exil’d crew has sought th’ Ausonian ground;
And now, at length, the flying coast is found.
Thus far the fate of Troy, from place to place,
With fury has pursued her wand’ring race.
Here cease, ye pow’rs, and let your vengeance end:
Troy is no more, and can no more offend.
And thou, O sacred maid, inspir’d to see
Th’ event of things in dark futurity;
Give me what Heav’n has promis’d to my fate,
To conquer and command the Latian state;
To fix my wand’ring gods, and find a place
For the long exiles of the Trojan race.
Then shall my grateful hands a temple rear
To the twin gods, with vows and solemn pray’r;
And annual rites, and festivals, and games,
Shall be perform’d to their auspicious names.
Nor shalt thou want thy honors in my land;
For there thy faithful oracles shall stand,
Preserv’d in shrines; and ev’ry sacred lay,
Which, by thy mouth, Apollo shall convey:
All shall be treasur’d by a chosen train
Of holy priests, and ever shall remain.
But O! commit not thy prophetic mind
To flitting leaves, the sport of ev’ry wind,
Lest they disperse in air our empty fate;
Write not, but, what the pow’rs ordain, relate.”
Struggling in vain, impatient of her load,
And lab’ring underneath the pond’rous god,
The more she strove to shake him from her breast,
With more and far superior force he press’d;
Commands his entrance, and, without control,
Usurps her organs and inspires her soul.
Now, with a furious blast, the hundred doors
Ope of themselves; a rushing whirlwind roars
Within the cave, and Sibyl’s voice restores:
“Escap’d the dangers of the wat’ry reign,
Yet more and greater ills by land remain.
The coast, so long desir’d (nor doubt th’ event),
Thy troops shall reach, but, having reach’d, repent.
Wars, horrid wars, I view- a field of blood,
And Tiber rolling with a purple flood.
Simois nor Xanthus shall be wanting there:
A new Achilles shall in arms appear,
And he, too, goddess-born. Fierce Juno’s hate,
Added to hostile force, shall urge thy fate.
To what strange nations shalt not thou resort,
Driv’n to solicit aid at ev’ry court!
The cause the same which Ilium once oppress’d;
A foreign mistress, and a foreign guest.
But thou, secure of soul, unbent with woes,
The more thy fortune frowns, the more oppose.
The dawnings of thy safety shall be shown
From whence thou least shalt hope, a Grecian town.”
Thus, from the dark recess, the Sibyl spoke,
And the resisting air the thunder broke;
The cave rebellow’d, and the temple shook.
Th’ ambiguous god, who rul’d her lab’ring breast,
In these mysterious words his mind express’d;
Some truths reveal’d, in terms involv’d the rest.
At length her fury fell, her foaming ceas’d,
And, ebbing in her soul, the god decreas’d.
Then thus the chief: “No terror to my view,
No frightful face of danger can be new.
Inur’d to suffer, and resolv’d to dare,
The Fates, without my pow’r, shall be without my care.
This let me crave, since near your grove the road
To hell lies open, and the dark abode
Which Acheron surrounds, th’ innavigable flood;
Conduct me thro’ the regions void of light,
And lead me longing to my father’s sight.
For him, a thousand dangers I have sought,
And, rushing where the thickest Grecians fought,
Safe on my back the sacred burthen brought.
He, for my sake, the raging ocean tried,
And wrath of Heav’n, my still auspicious guide,
And bore beyond the strength decrepid age supplied.
Oft, since he breath’d his last, in dead of night
His reverend image stood before my sight;
Enjoin’d to seek, below, his holy shade;
Conducted there by your unerring aid.
But you, if pious minds by pray’rs are won,
Oblige the father, and protect the son.
Yours is the pow’r; nor Proserpine in vain
Has made you priestess of her nightly reign.
If Orpheus, arm’d with his enchanting lyre,
The ruthless king with pity could inspire,
And from the shades below redeem his wife;
If Pollux, off’ring his alternate life,
Could free his brother, and can daily go
By turns aloft, by turns descend below-
Why name I Theseus, or his greater friend,
Who trod the downward path, and upward could ascend?
Not less than theirs from Jove my lineage came;
My mother greater, my descent the same.”
So pray’d the Trojan prince, and, while he pray’d,
His hand upon the holy altar laid.
Then thus replied the prophetess divine:
“O goddess-born of great Anchises’ line,
The gates of hell are open night and day;
Smooth the descent, and easy is the way:
But to return, and view the cheerful skies,
In this the task and mighty labor lies.
To few great Jupiter imparts this grace,
And those of shining worth and heav’nly race.
Betwixt those regions and our upper light,
Deep forests and impenetrable night
Possess the middle space: th’ infernal bounds
Cocytus, with his sable waves, surrounds.
But if so dire a love your soul invades,
As twice below to view the trembling shades;
If you so hard a toil will undertake,
As twice to pass th’ innavigable lake;
Receive my counsel. In the neighb’ring grove
There stands a tree; the queen of Stygian Jove
Claims it her own; thick woods and gloomy night
Conceal the happy plant from human sight.
One bough it bears; but (wondrous to behold!)
The ductile rind and leaves of radiant gold:
This from the vulgar branches must be torn,
And to fair Proserpine the present borne,
Ere leave be giv’n to tempt the nether skies.
The first thus rent a second will arise,
And the same metal the same room supplies.
Look round the wood, with lifted eyes, to see
The lurking gold upon the fatal tree:
Then rend it off, as holy rites command;
The willing metal will obey thy hand,
Following with ease, if favor’d by thy fate,
Thou art foredoom’d to view the Stygian state:
If not, no labor can the tree constrain;
And strength of stubborn arms and steel are vain.
Besides, you know not, while you here attend,
Th’ unworthy fate of your unhappy friend:
Breathless he lies; and his unburied ghost,
Depriv’d of fun’ral rites, pollutes your host.
Pay first his pious dues; and, for the dead,
Two sable sheep around his hearse be led;
Then, living turfs upon his body lay:
This done, securely take the destin’d way,
To find the regions destitute of day.”
She said, and held her peace. Aeneas went
Sad from the cave, and full of discontent,
Unknowing whom the sacred Sibyl meant.
Achates, the companion of his breast,
Goes grieving by his side, with equal cares oppress’d.
Walking, they talk’d, and fruitlessly divin’d
What friend the priestess by those words design’d.
But soon they found an object to deplore:
Misenus lay extended the shore;
Son of the God of Winds: none so renown’d
The warrior trumpet in the field to sound;
With breathing brass to kindle fierce alarms,
And rouse to dare their fate in honorable arms.
He serv’d great Hector, and was ever near,
Not with his trumpet only, but his spear.
But by Pelides’ arms when Hector fell,
He chose Aeneas; and he chose as well.
Swoln with applause, and aiming still at more,
He now provokes the sea gods from the shore;
With envy Triton heard the martial sound,
And the bold champion, for his challenge, drown’d;
Then cast his mangled carcass on the strand:
The gazing crowd around the body stand.
All weep; but most Aeneas mourns his fate,
And hastens to perform the funeral state.
In altar-wise, a stately pile they rear;
The basis broad below, and top advanc’d in air.
An ancient wood, fit for the work design’d,
(The shady covert of the salvage kind,)
The Trojans found: the sounding ax is plied;
Firs, pines, and pitch trees, and the tow’ring pride
Of forest ashes, feel the fatal stroke,
And piercing wedges cleave the stubborn oak.
Huge trunks of trees, fell’d from the steepy crown
Of the bare mountains, roll with ruin down.
Arm’d like the rest the Trojan prince appears,
And by his pious labor urges theirs.
Thus while he wrought, revolving in his mind
The ways to compass what his wish design’d,
He cast his eyes upon the gloomy grove,
And then with vows implor’d the Queen of Love:
“O may thy pow’r, propitious still to me,
Conduct my steps to find the fatal tree,
In this deep forest; since the Sibyl’s breath
Foretold, alas! too true, Misenus’ death.”
Scarce had he said, when, full before his sight,
Two doves, descending from their airy flight,
Secure upon the grassy plain alight.
He knew his mother’s birds; and thus he pray’d:
“Be you my guides, with your auspicious aid,
And lead my footsteps, till the branch be found,
Whose glitt’ring shadow gilds the sacred ground.
And thou, great parent, with celestial care,
In this distress be present to my pray’r!”
Thus having said, he stopp’d with watchful sight,
Observing still the motions of their flight,
What course they took, what happy signs they shew.
They fed, and, flutt’ring, by degrees withdrew
Still farther from the place, but still in view:
Hopping and flying, thus they led him on
To the slow lake, whose baleful stench to shun
They wing’d their flight aloft; then, stooping low,
Perch’d on the double tree that bears the golden bough.
Thro’ the green leafs the glitt’ring shadows glow;
As, on the sacred oak, the wintry mistletoe,
Where the proud mother views her precious brood,
And happier branches, which she never sow’d.
Such was the glitt’ring; such the ruddy rind,
And dancing leaves, that wanton’d in the wind.
He seiz’d the shining bough with griping hold,
And rent away, with ease, the ling’ring gold;
Then to the Sibyl’s palace bore the prize.
Meantime the Trojan troops, with weeping eyes,
To dead Misenus pay his obsequies.
First, from the ground a lofty pile they rear,
Of pitch trees, oaks, and pines, and unctuous fir:
The fabric’s front with cypress twigs they strew,
And stick the sides with boughs of baleful yew.
The topmost part his glitt’ring arms adorn;
Warm waters, then, in brazen caldrons borne,
Are pour’d to wash his body, joint by joint,
And fragrant oils the stiffen’d limbs anoint.
With groans and cries Misenus they deplore:
Then on a bier, with purple cover’d o’er,
The breathless body, thus bewail’d, they lay,
And fire the pile, their faces turn’d away-
Such reverend rites their fathers us’d to pay.
Pure oil and incense on the fire they throw,
And fat of victims, which his friends bestow.
These gifts the greedy flames to dust devour;
Then on the living coals red wine they pour;
And, last, the relics by themselves dispose,
Which in a brazen urn the priests inclose.
Old Corynaeus compass’d thrice the crew,
And dipp’d an olive branch in holy dew;
Which thrice he sprinkled round, and thrice aloud
Invok’d the dead, and then dismissed the crowd.
But good Aeneas order’d on the shore
A stately tomb, whose top a trumpet bore,
A soldier’s fauchion, and a seaman’s oar.
Thus was his friend interr’d; and deathless fame
Still to the lofty cape consigns his name.
These rites perform’d, the prince, without delay,
Hastes to the nether world his destin’d way.
Deep was the cave; and, downward as it went
From the wide mouth, a rocky rough descent;
And here th’ access a gloomy grove defends,
And there th’ unnavigable lake extends,
O’er whose unhappy waters, void of light,
No bird presumes to steer his airy flight;
Such deadly stenches from the depths arise,
And steaming sulphur, that infects the skies.
From hence the Grecian bards their legends make,
And give the name Avernus to the lake.
Four sable bullocks, in the yoke untaught,
For sacrifice the pious hero brought.
The priestess pours the wine betwixt their horns;
Then cuts the curling hair; that first oblation burns,
Invoking Hecate hither to repair:
A pow’rful name in hell and upper air.
The sacred priests with ready knives bereave
The beasts of life, and in full bowls receive
The streaming blood: a lamb to Hell and Night
(The sable wool without a streak of white)
Aeneas offers; and, by fate’s decree,
A barren heifer, Proserpine, to thee,
With holocausts he Pluto’s altar fills;
Sev’n brawny bulls with his own hand he kills;
Then on the broiling entrails oil he pours;
Which, ointed thus, the raging flame devours.
Late the nocturnal sacrifice begun,
Nor ended till the next returning sun.
Then earth began to bellow, trees to dance,
And howling dogs in glimm’ring light advance,
Ere Hecate came. “Far hence be souls profane!”
The Sibyl cried, “and from the grove abstain!
Now, Trojan, take the way thy fates afford;
Assume thy courage, and unsheathe thy sword.”
She said, and pass’d along the gloomy space;
The prince pursued her steps with equal pace.
Ye realms, yet unreveal’d to human sight,
Ye gods who rule the regions of the night,
Ye gliding ghosts, permit me to relate
The mystic wonders of your silent state!
Obscure they went thro’ dreary shades, that led
Along the waste dominions of the dead.
Thus wander travelers in woods by night,
By the moon’s doubtful and malignant light,
When Jove in dusky clouds involves the skies,
And the faint crescent shoots by fits before their eyes.
Just in the gate and in the jaws of hell,
Revengeful Cares and sullen Sorrows dwell,
And pale Diseases, and repining Age,
Want, Fear, and Famine’s unresisted rage;
Here Toils, and Death, and Death’s half-brother, Sleep,
Forms terrible to view, their sentry keep;
With anxious Pleasures of a guilty mind,
Deep Frauds before, and open Force behind;
The Furies’ iron beds; and Strife, that shakes
Her hissing tresses and unfolds her snakes.
Full in the midst of this infernal road,
An elm displays her dusky arms abroad:
The God of Sleep there hides his heavy head,
And empty dreams on ev’ry leaf are spread.
Of various forms unnumber’d specters more,
Centaurs, and double shapes, besiege the door.
Before the passage, horrid Hydra stands,
And Briareus with all his hundred hands;
Gorgons, Geryon with his triple frame;
And vain Chimaera vomits empty flame.
The chief unsheath’d his shining steel, prepar’d,
Tho’ seiz’d with sudden fear, to force the guard,
Off’ring his brandish’d weapon at their face;
Had not the Sibyl stopp’d his eager pace,
And told him what those empty phantoms were:
Forms without bodies, and impassive air.
Hence to deep Acheron they take their way,
Whose troubled eddies, thick with ooze and clay,
Are whirl’d aloft, and in Cocytus lost.
There Charon stands, who rules the dreary coast-
A sordid god: down from his hoary chin
A length of beard descends, uncomb’d, unclean;
His eyes, like hollow furnaces on fire;
A girdle, foul with grease, binds his obscene attire.
He spreads his canvas; with his pole he steers;
The freights of flitting ghosts in his thin bottom bears.
He look’d in years; yet in his years were seen
A youthful vigor and autumnal green.
An airy crowd came rushing where he stood,
Which fill’d the margin of the fatal flood:
Husbands and wives, boys and unmarried maids,
And mighty heroes’ more majestic shades,
And youths, intomb’d before their fathers’ eyes,
With hollow groans, and shrieks, and feeble cries.
Thick as the leaves in autumn strow the woods,
Or fowls, by winter forc’d, forsake the floods,
And wing their hasty flight to happier lands;
Such, and so thick, the shiv’ring army stands,
And press for passage with extended hands.
Now these, now those, the surly boatman bore:
The rest he drove to distance from the shore.
The hero, who beheld with wond’ring eyes
The tumult mix’d with shrieks, laments, and cries,
Ask’d of his guide, what the rude concourse meant;
Why to the shore the thronging people bent;
What forms of law among the ghosts were us’d;
Why some were ferried o’er, and some refus’d.
“Son of Anchises, offspring of the gods,”
The Sibyl said, “you see the Stygian floods,
The sacred stream which heav’n’s imperial state
Attests in oaths, and fears to violate.
The ghosts rejected are th’ unhappy crew
Depriv’d of sepulchers and fun’ral due:
The boatman, Charon; those, the buried host,
He ferries over to the farther coast;
Nor dares his transport vessel cross the waves
With such whose bones are not compos’d in graves.
A hundred years they wander on the shore;
At length, their penance done, are wafted o’er.”
The Trojan chief his forward pace repress’d,
Revolving anxious thoughts within his breast,
He saw his friends, who, whelm’d beneath the waves,
Their fun’ral honors claim’d, and ask’d their quiet graves.
The lost Leucaspis in the crowd he knew,
And the brave leader of the Lycian crew,
Whom, on the Tyrrhene seas, the tempests met;
The sailors master’d, and the ship o’erset.
Amidst the spirits, Palinurus press’d,
Yet fresh from life, a new-admitted guest,
Who, while he steering view’d the stars, and bore
His course from Afric to the Latian shore,
Fell headlong down. The Trojan fix’d his view,
And scarcely thro’ the gloom the sullen shadow knew.
Then thus the prince: “What envious pow’r, O friend,
Brought your lov’d life to this disastrous end?
For Phoebus, ever true in all he said,
Has in your fate alone my faith betray’d.
The god foretold you should not die, before
You reach’d, secure from seas, th’ Italian shore.
Is this th’ unerring pow’r?” The ghost replied;
“Nor Phoebus flatter’d, nor his answers lied;
Nor envious gods have sent me to the deep:
But, while the stars and course of heav’n I keep,
My wearied eyes were seiz’d with fatal sleep.
I fell; and, with my weight, the helm constrain’d
Was drawn along, which yet my gripe retain’d.
Now by the winds and raging waves I swear,
Your safety, more than mine, was then my care;
Lest, of the guide bereft, the rudder lost,
Your ship should run against the rocky coast.
Three blust’ring nights, borne by the southern blast,
I floated, and discover’d land at last:
High on a mounting wave my head I bore,
Forcing my strength, and gath’ring to the shore.
Panting, but past the danger, now I seiz’d
The craggy cliffs, and my tir’d members eas’d.
While, cumber’d with my dropping clothes, I lay,
The cruel nation, covetous of prey,
Stain’d with my blood th’ unhospitable coast;
And now, by winds and waves, my lifeless limbs are toss’d:
Which O avert, by yon ethereal light,
Which I have lost for this eternal night!
Or, if by dearer ties you may be won,
By your dead sire, and by your living son,
Redeem from this reproach my wand’ring ghost;
Or with your navy seek the Velin coast,
And in a peaceful grave my corpse compose;
Or, if a nearer way your mother shows,
Without whose aid you durst not undertake
This frightful passage o’er the Stygian lake,
Lend to this wretch your hand, and waft him o’er
To the sweet banks of yon forbidden shore.”
Scarce had he said, the prophetess began:
“What hopes delude thee, miserable man?
Think’st thou, thus unintomb’d, to cross the floods,
To view the Furies and infernal gods,
And visit, without leave, the dark abodes?
Attend the term of long revolving years;
Fate, and the dooming gods, are deaf to tears.
This comfort of thy dire misfortune take:
The wrath of Heav’n, inflicted for thy sake,
With vengeance shall pursue th’ inhuman coast,
Till they propitiate thy offended ghost,
And raise a tomb, with vows and solemn pray’r;
And Palinurus’ name the place shall bear.”
This calm’d his cares; sooth’d with his future fame,
And pleas’d to hear his propagated name.
Now nearer to the Stygian lake they draw:
Whom, from the shore, the surly boatman saw;
Observ’d their passage thro’ the shady wood,
And mark’d their near approaches to the flood.
Then thus he call’d aloud, inflam’d with wrath:
“Mortal, whate’er, who this forbidden path
In arms presum’st to tread, I charge thee, stand,
And tell thy name, and bus’ness in the land.
Know this, the realm of night- the Stygian shore:
My boat conveys no living bodies o’er;
Nor was I pleas’d great Theseus once to bear,
Who forc’d a passage with his pointed spear,
Nor strong Alcides- men of mighty fame,
And from th’ immortal gods their lineage came.
In fetters one the barking porter tied,
And took him trembling from his sov’reign’s side:
Two sought by force to seize his beauteous bride.”
To whom the Sibyl thus: “Compose thy mind;
Nor frauds are here contriv’d, nor force design’d.
Still may the dog the wand’ring troops constrain
Of airy ghosts, and vex the guilty train,
And with her grisly lord his lovely queen remain.
The Trojan chief, whose lineage is from Jove,
Much fam’d for arms, and more for filial love,
Is sent to seek his sire in your Elysian grove.
If neither piety, nor Heav’n’s command,
Can gain his passage to the Stygian strand,
This fatal present shall prevail at least.”
Then shew’d the shining bough, conceal’d within her vest.
No more was needful: for the gloomy god
Stood mute with awe, to see the golden rod;
Admir’d the destin’d off’ring to his queen-
A venerable gift, so rarely seen.
His fury thus appeas’d, he puts to land;
The ghosts forsake their seats at his command:
He clears the deck, receives the mighty freight;
The leaky vessel groans beneath the weight.
Slowly she sails, and scarcely stems the tides;
The pressing water pours within her sides.
His passengers at length are wafted o’er,
Expos’d, in muddy weeds, upon the miry shore.
No sooner landed, in his den they found
The triple porter of the Stygian sound,
Grim Cerberus, who soon began to rear
His crested snakes, and arm’d his bristling hair.
The prudent Sibyl had before prepar’d
A sop, in honey steep’d, to charm the guard;
Which, mix’d with pow’rful drugs, she cast before
His greedy grinning jaws, just op’d to roar.
With three enormous mouths he gapes; and straight,
With hunger press’d, devours the pleasing bait.
Long draughts of sleep his monstrous limbs enslave;
He reels, and, falling, fills the spacious cave.
The keeper charm’d, the chief without delay
Pass’d on, and took th’ irremeable way.
Before the gates, the cries of babes new born,
Whom fate had from their tender mothers torn,
Assault his ears: then those, whom form of laws
Condemn’d to die, when traitors judg’d their cause.
Nor want they lots, nor judges to review
The wrongful sentence, and award a new.
Minos, the strict inquisitor, appears;
And lives and crimes, with his assessors, hears.
Round in his urn the blended balls he rolls,
Absolves the just, and dooms the guilty souls.
The next, in place and punishment, are they
Who prodigally throw their souls away;
Fools, who, repining at their wretched state,
And loathing anxious life, suborn’d their fate.
With late repentance now they would retrieve
The bodies they forsook, and wish to live;
Their pains and poverty desire to bear,
To view the light of heav’n, and breathe the vital air:
But fate forbids; the Stygian floods oppose,
And with circling streams the captive souls inclose.
Not far from thence, the Mournful Fields appear
So call’d from lovers that inhabit there.
The souls whom that unhappy flame invades,
In secret solitude and myrtle shades
Make endless moans, and, pining with desire,
Lament too late their unextinguish’d fire.
Here Procris, Eriphyle here he found,
Baring her breast, yet bleeding with the wound
Made by her son. He saw Pasiphae there,
With Phaedra’s ghost, a foul incestuous pair.
There Laodamia, with Evadne, moves,
Unhappy both, but loyal in their loves:
Caeneus, a woman once, and once a man,
But ending in the sex she first began.
Not far from these Phoenician Dido stood,
Fresh from her wound, her bosom bath’d in blood;
Whom when the Trojan hero hardly knew,
Obscure in shades, and with a doubtful view,
(Doubtful as he who sees, thro’ dusky night,
Or thinks he sees, the moon’s uncertain light,)
With tears he first approach’d the sullen shade;
And, as his love inspir’d him, thus he said:
“Unhappy queen! then is the common breath
Of rumor true, in your reported death,
And I, alas! the cause? By Heav’n, I vow,
And all the pow’rs that rule the realms below,
Unwilling I forsook your friendly state,
Commanded by the gods, and forc’d by fate-
Those gods, that fate, whose unresisted might
Have sent me to these regions void of light,
Thro’ the vast empire of eternal night.
Nor dar’d I to presume, that, press’d with grief,
My flight should urge you to this dire relief.
Stay, stay your steps, and listen to my vows:
‘T is the last interview that fate allows!”
In vain he thus attempts her mind to move
With tears, and pray’rs, and late-repenting love.
Disdainfully she look’d; then turning round,
But fix’d her eyes unmov’d upon the ground,
And what he says and swears, regards no more
Than the deaf rocks, when the loud billows roar;
But whirl’d away, to shun his hateful sight,
Hid in the forest and the shades of night;
Then sought Sichaeus thro’ the shady grove,
Who answer’d all her cares, and equal’d all her love.
Some pious tears the pitying hero paid,
And follow’d with his eyes the flitting shade,
Then took the forward way, by fate ordain’d,
And, with his guide, the farther fields attain’d,
Where, sever’d from the rest, the warrior souls remain’d.
Tydeus he met, with Meleager’s race,
The pride of armies, and the soldiers’ grace;
And pale Adrastus with his ghastly face.
Of Trojan chiefs he view’d a num’rous train,
All much lamented, all in battle slain;
Glaucus and Medon, high above the rest,
Antenor’s sons, and Ceres’ sacred priest.
And proud Idaeus, Priam’s charioteer,
Who shakes his empty reins, and aims his airy spear.
The gladsome ghosts, in circling troops, attend
And with unwearied eyes behold their friend;
Delight to hover near, and long to know
What bus’ness brought him to the realms below.
But Argive chiefs, and Agamemnon’s train,
When his refulgent arms flash’d thro’ the shady plain,
Fled from his well-known face, with wonted fear,
As when his thund’ring sword and pointed spear
Drove headlong to their ships, and glean’d the routed rear.
They rais’d a feeble cry, with trembling notes;
But the weak voice deceiv’d their gasping throats.
Here Priam’s son, Deiphobus, he found,
Whose face and limbs were one continued wound:
Dishonest, with lopp’d arms, the youth appears,
Spoil’d of his nose, and shorten’d of his ears.
He scarcely knew him, striving to disown
His blotted form, and blushing to be known;
And therefore first began: “O Tsucer’s race,
Who durst thy faultless figure thus deface?
What heart could wish, what hand inflict, this dire disgrace?
‘Twas fam’d, that in our last and fatal night
Your single prowess long sustain’d the fight,
Till tir’d, not forc’d, a glorious fate you chose,
And fell upon a heap of slaughter’d foes.
But, in remembrance of so brave a deed,
A tomb and fun’ral honors I decreed;
Thrice call’d your manes on the Trojan plains:
The place your armor and your name retains.
Your body too I sought, and, had I found,
Design’d for burial in your native ground.”
The ghost replied: “Your piety has paid
All needful rites, to rest my wand’ring shade;
But cruel fate, and my more cruel wife,
To Grecian swords betray’d my sleeping life.
These are the monuments of Helen’s love:
The shame I bear below, the marks I bore above.
You know in what deluding joys we pass’d
The night that was by Heav’n decreed our last:
For, when the fatal horse, descending down,
Pregnant with arms, o’erwhelm’d th’ unhappy town
She feign’d nocturnal orgies; left my bed,
And, mix’d with Trojan dames, the dances led
Then, waving high her torch, the signal made,
Which rous’d the Grecians from their ambuscade.
With watching overworn, with cares oppress’d,
Unhappy I had laid me down to rest,
And heavy sleep my weary limbs possess’d.
Meantime my worthy wife our arms mislaid,
And from beneath my head my sword convey’d;
The door unlatch’d, and, with repeated calls,
Invites her former lord within my walls.
Thus in her crime her confidence she plac’d,
And with new treasons would redeem the past.
What need I more? Into the room they ran,
And meanly murther’d a defenseless man.
Ulysses, basely born, first led the way.
Avenging pow’rs! with justice if I pray,
That fortune be their own another day!
But answer you; and in your turn relate,
What brought you, living, to the Stygian state:
Driv’n by the winds and errors of the sea,
Or did you Heav’n’s superior doom obey?
Or tell what other chance conducts your way,
To view with mortal eyes our dark retreats,
Tumults and torments of th’ infernal seats.”
While thus in talk the flying hours they pass,
The sun had finish’d more than half his race:
And they, perhaps, in words and tears had spent
The little time of stay which Heav’n had lent;
But thus the Sibyl chides their long delay:
“Night rushes down, and headlong drives the day:
‘T is here, in different paths, the way divides;
The right to Pluto’s golden palace guides;
The left to that unhappy region tends,
Which to the depth of Tartarus descends;
The seat of night profound, and punish’d fiends.”
Then thus Deiphobus: “O sacred maid,
Forbear to chide, and be your will obey’d!
Lo! to the secret shadows I retire,
To pay my penance till my years expire.
Proceed, auspicious prince, with glory crown’d,
And born to better fates than I have found.”
He said; and, while he said, his steps he turn’d
To secret shadows, and in silence mourn’d.
The hero, looking on the left, espied
A lofty tow’r, and strong on ev’ry side
With treble walls, which Phlegethon surrounds,
Whose fiery flood the burning empire bounds;
And, press’d betwixt the rocks, the bellowing noise resounds
Wide is the fronting gate, and, rais’d on high
With adamantine columns, threats the sky.
Vain is the force of man, and Heav’n’s as vain,
To crush the pillars which the pile sustain.
Sublime on these a tow’r of steel is rear’d;
And dire Tisiphone there keeps the ward,
Girt in her sanguine gown, by night and day,
Observant of the souls that pass the downward way.
From hence are heard the groans of ghosts, the pains
Of sounding lashes and of dragging chains.
The Trojan stood astonish’d at their cries,
And ask’d his guide from whence those yells arise;
And what the crimes, and what the tortures were,
And loud laments that rent the liquid air.
She thus replied: “The chaste and holy race
Are all forbidden this polluted place.
But Hecate, when she gave to rule the woods,
Then led me trembling thro’ these dire abodes,
And taught the tortures of th’ avenging gods.
These are the realms of unrelenting fate;
And awful Rhadamanthus rules the state.
He hears and judges each committed crime;
Enquires into the manner, place, and time.
The conscious wretch must all his acts reveal,
(Loth to confess, unable to conceal),
From the first moment of his vital breath,
To his last hour of unrepenting death.
Straight, o’er the guilty ghost, the Fury shakes
The sounding whip and brandishes her snakes,
And the pale sinner, with her sisters, takes.
Then, of itself, unfolds th’ eternal door;
With dreadful sounds the brazen hinges roar.
You see, before the gate, what stalking ghost
Commands the guard, what sentries keep the post.
More formidable Hydra stands within,
Whose jaws with iron teeth severely grin.
The gaping gulf low to the center lies,
And twice as deep as earth is distant from the skies.
The rivals of the gods, the Titan race,
Here, sing’d with lightning, roll within th’ unfathom’d space.
Here lie th’ Alaean twins, (I saw them both,)
Enormous bodies, of gigantic growth,
Who dar’d in fight the Thund’rer to defy,
Affect his heav’n, and force him from the sky.
Salmoneus, suff’ring cruel pains, I found,
For emulating Jove; the rattling sound
Of mimic thunder, and the glitt’ring blaze
Of pointed lightnings, and their forky rays.
Thro’ Elis and the Grecian towns he flew;
Th’ audacious wretch four fiery coursers drew:
He wav’d a torch aloft, and, madly vain,
Sought godlike worship from a servile train.
Ambitious fool! with horny hoofs to pass
O’er hollow arches of resounding brass,
To rival thunder in its rapid course,
And imitate inimitable force!
But he, the King of Heav’n, obscure on high,
Bar’d his red arm, and, launching from the sky
His writhen bolt, not shaking empty smoke,
Down to the deep abyss the flaming felon strook.
There Tityus was to see, who took his birth
From heav’n, his nursing from the foodful earth.
Here his gigantic limbs, with large embrace,
Infold nine acres of infernal space.
A rav’nous vulture, in his open’d side,
Her crooked beak and cruel talons tried;
Still for the growing liver digg’d his breast;
The growing liver still supplied the feast;
Still are his entrails fruitful to their pains:
Th’ immortal hunger lasts, th’ immortal food remains.
Ixion and Perithous I could name,
And more Thessalian chiefs of mighty fame.
High o’er their heads a mold’ring rock is plac’d,
That promises a fall, and shakes at ev’ry blast.
They lie below, on golden beds display’d;
And genial feasts with regal pomp are made.
The Queen of Furies by their sides is set,
And snatches from their mouths th’ untasted meat,
Which if they touch, her hissing snakes she rears,
Tossing her torch, and thund’ring in their ears.
Then they, who brothers’ better claim disown,
Expel their parents, and usurp the throne;
Defraud their clients, and, to lucre sold,
Sit brooding on unprofitable gold;
Who dare not give, and ev’n refuse to lend
To their poor kindred, or a wanting friend.
Vast is the throng of these; nor less the train
Of lustful youths, for foul adult’ry slain:
Hosts of deserters, who their honor sold,
And basely broke their faith for bribes of gold.
All these within the dungeon’s depth remain,
Despairing pardon, and expecting pain.
Ask not what pains; nor farther seek to know
Their process, or the forms of law below.
Some roll a weighty stone; some, laid along,
And bound with burning wires, on spokes of wheels are hung
Unhappy Theseus, doom’d for ever there,
Is fix’d by fate on his eternal chair;
And wretched Phlegyas warns the world with cries
(Could warning make the world more just or wise):
‘Learn righteousness, and dread th’ avenging deities.’
To tyrants others have their country sold,
Imposing foreign lords, for foreign gold;
Some have old laws repeal’d, new statutes made,
Not as the people pleas’d, but as they paid;
With incest some their daughters’ bed profan’d:
All dar’d the worst of ills, and, what they dar’d, attain’d.
Had I a hundred mouths, a hundred tongues,
And throats of brass, inspir’d with iron lungs,
I could not half those horrid crimes repeat,
Nor half the punishments those crimes have met.
But let us haste our voyage to pursue:
The walls of Pluto’s palace are in view;
The gate, and iron arch above it, stands
On anvils labor’d by the Cyclops’ hands.
Before our farther way the Fates allow,
Here must we fix on high the golden bough.”
She said: and thro’ the gloomy shades they pass’d,
And chose the middle path. Arriv’d at last,
The prince with living water sprinkled o’er
His limbs and body; then approach’d the door,
Possess’d the porch, and on the front above
He fix’d the fatal bough requir’d by Pluto’s love.
These holy rites perform’d, they took their way
Where long extended plains of pleasure lay:
The verdant fields with those of heav’n may vie,
With ether vested, and a purple sky;
The blissful seats of happy souls below.
Stars of their own, and their own suns, they know;
Their airy limbs in sports they exercise,
And on the green contend the wrestler’s prize.
Some in heroic verse divinely sing;
Others in artful measures led the ring.
The Thracian bard, surrounded by the rest,
There stands conspicuous in his flowing vest;
His flying fingers, and harmonious quill,
Strikes sev’n distinguish’d notes, and sev’n at once they fill.
Here found they Tsucer’s old heroic race,
Born better times and happier years to grace.
Assaracus and Ilus here enjoy
Perpetual fame, with him who founded Troy.
The chief beheld their chariots from afar,
Their shining arms, and coursers train’d to war:
Their lances fix’d in earth, their steeds around,
Free from their harness, graze the flow’ry ground.
The love of horses which they had, alive,
And care of chariots, after death survive.
Some cheerful souls were feasting on the plain;
Some did the song, and some the choir maintain,
Beneath a laurel shade, where mighty Po
Mounts up to woods above, and hides his head below.
Here patriots live, who, for their country’s good,
In fighting fields, were prodigal of blood:
Priests of unblemish’d lives here make abode,
And poets worthy their inspiring god;
And searching wits, of more mechanic parts,
Who grac’d their age with new-invented arts:
Those who to worth their bounty did extend,
And those who knew that bounty to commend.
The heads of these with holy fillets bound,
And all their temples were with garlands crown’d.
To these the Sibyl thus her speech address’d,
And first to him surrounded by the rest
(Tow’ring his height, and ample was his breast):
“Say, happy souls, divine Musaeus, say,
Where lives Anchises, and where lies our way
To find the hero, for whose only sake
We sought the dark abodes, and cross’d the bitter lake?”
To this the sacred poet thus replied:
“In no fix’d place the happy souls reside.
In groves we live, and lie on mossy beds,
By crystal streams, that murmur thro’ the meads:
But pass yon easy hill, and thence descend;
The path conducts you to your journey’s end.”
This said, he led them up the mountain’s brow,
And shews them all the shining fields below.
They wind the hill, and thro’ the blissful meadows go.
But old Anchises, in a flow’ry vale,
Review’d his muster’d race, and took the tale:
Those happy spirits, which, ordain’d by fate,
For future beings and new bodies wait-
With studious thought observ’d th’ illustrious throng,
In nature’s order as they pass’d along:
Their names, their fates, their conduct, and their care,
In peaceful senates and successful war.
He, when Aeneas on the plain appears,
Meets him with open arms, and falling tears.
“Welcome,” he said, “the gods’ undoubted race!
O long expected to my dear embrace!
Once more ‘t is giv’n me to behold your face!
The love and pious duty which you pay
Have pass’d the perils of so hard a way.
‘T is true, computing times, I now believ’d
The happy day approach’d; nor are my hopes deceiv’d.
What length of lands, what oceans have you pass’d;
What storms sustain’d, and on what shores been cast?
How have I fear’d your fate! but fear’d it most,
When love assail’d you, on the Libyan coast.”
To this, the filial duty thus replies:
“Your sacred ghost before my sleeping eyes
Appear’d, and often urg’d this painful enterprise.
After long tossing on the Tyrrhene sea,
My navy rides at anchor in the bay.
But reach your hand, O parent shade, nor shun
The dear embraces of your longing son!”
He said; and falling tears his face bedew:
Then thrice around his neck his arms he threw;
And thrice the flitting shadow slipp’d away,
Like winds, or empty dreams that fly the day.
Now, in a secret vale, the Trojan sees
A sep’rate grove, thro’ which a gentle breeze
Plays with a passing breath, and whispers thro’ the trees;
And, just before the confines of the wood,
The gliding Lethe leads her silent flood.
About the boughs an airy nation flew,
Thick as the humming bees, that hunt the golden dew;
In summer’s heat on tops of lilies feed,
And creep within their bells, to suck the balmy seed:
The winged army roams the fields around;
The rivers and the rocks remurmur to the sound.
Aeneas wond’ring stood, then ask’d the cause
Which to the stream the crowding people draws.
Then thus the sire: “The souls that throng the flood
Are those to whom, by fate, are other bodies ow’d:
In Lethe’s lake they long oblivion taste,
Of future life secure, forgetful of the past.
Long has my soul desir’d this time and place,
To set before your sight your glorious race,
That this presaging joy may fire your mind
To seek the shores by destiny design’d.”-
“O father, can it be, that souls sublime
Return to visit our terrestrial clime,
And that the gen’rous mind, releas’d by death,
Can covet lazy limbs and mortal breath?”
Anchises then, in order, thus begun
To clear those wonders to his godlike son:
“Know, first, that heav’n, and earth’s compacted frame,
And flowing waters, and the starry flame,
And both the radiant lights, one common soul
Inspires and feeds, and animates the whole.
This active mind, infus’d thro’ all the space,
Unites and mingles with the mighty mass.
Hence men and beasts the breath of life obtain,
And birds of air, and monsters of the main.
Th’ ethereal vigor is in all the same,
And every soul is fill’d with equal flame;
As much as earthy limbs, and gross allay
Of mortal members, subject to decay,
Blunt not the beams of heav’n and edge of day.
From this coarse mixture of terrestrial parts,
Desire and fear by turns possess their hearts,
And grief, and joy; nor can the groveling mind,
In the dark dungeon of the limbs confin’d,
Assert the native skies, or own its heav’nly kind:
Nor death itself can wholly wash their stains;
But long-contracted filth ev’n in the soul remains.
The relics of inveterate vice they wear,
And spots of sin obscene in ev’ry face appear.
For this are various penances enjoin’d;
And some are hung to bleach upon the wind,
Some plung’d in waters, others purg’d in fires,
Till all the dregs are drain’d, and all the rust expires.
All have their manes, and those manes bear:
The few, so cleans’d, to these abodes repair,
And breathe, in ample fields, the soft Elysian air.
Then are they happy, when by length of time
The scurf is worn away of each committed crime;
No speck is left of their habitual stains,
But the pure ether of the soul remains.
But, when a thousand rolling years are past,
(So long their punishments and penance last,)
Whole droves of minds are, by the driving god,
Compell’d to drink the deep Lethaean flood,
In large forgetful draughts to steep the cares
Of their past labors, and their irksome years,
That, unrememb’ring of its former pain,
The soul may suffer mortal flesh again.”
Thus having said, the father spirit leads
The priestess and his son thro’ swarms of shades,
And takes a rising ground, from thence to see
The long procession of his progeny.
“Survey,” pursued the sire, “this airy throng,
As, offer’d to thy view, they pass along.
These are th’ Italian names, which fate will join
With ours, and graff upon the Trojan line.
Observe the youth who first appears in sight,
And holds the nearest station to the light,
Already seems to snuff the vital air,
And leans just forward, on a shining spear:
Silvius is he, thy last-begotten race,
But first in order sent, to fill thy place;
An Alban name, but mix’d with Dardan blood,
Born in the covert of a shady wood:
Him fair Lavinia, thy surviving wife,
Shall breed in groves, to lead a solitary life.
In Alba he shall fix his royal seat,
And, born a king, a race of kings beget.
Then Procas, honor of the Trojan name,
Capys, and Numitor, of endless fame.
A second Silvius after these appears;
Silvius Aeneas, for thy name he bears;
For arms and justice equally renown’d,
Who, late restor’d, in Alba shall be crown’d.
How great they look! how vig’rously they wield
Their weighty lances, and sustain the shield!
But they, who crown’d with oaken wreaths appear,
Shall Gabian walls and strong Fidena rear;
Nomentum, Bola, with Pometia, found;
And raise Collatian tow’rs on rocky ground.
All these shall then be towns of mighty fame,
Tho’ now they lie obscure, and lands without a name.
See Romulus the great, born to restore
The crown that once his injur’d grandsire wore.
This prince a priestess of your blood shall bear,
And like his sire in arms he shall appear.
Two rising crests, his royal head adorn;
Born from a god, himself to godhead born:
His sire already signs him for the skies,
And marks the seat amidst the deities.
Auspicious chief! thy race, in times to come,
Shall spread the conquests of imperial Rome-
Rome, whose ascending tow’rs shall heav’n invade,
Involving earth and ocean in her shade;
High as the Mother of the Gods in place,
And proud, like her, of an immortal race.
Then, when in pomp she makes the Phrygian round,
With golden turrets on her temples crown’d;
A hundred gods her sweeping train supply;
Her offspring all, and all command the sky.
“Now fix your sight, and stand intent, to see
Your Roman race, and Julian progeny.
The mighty Caesar waits his vital hour,
Impatient for the world, and grasps his promis’d pow’r.
But next behold the youth of form divine,
Ceasar himself, exalted in his line;
Augustus, promis’d oft, and long foretold,
Sent to the realm that Saturn rul’d of old;
Born to restore a better age of gold.
Afric and India shall his pow’r obey;
He shall extend his propagated sway
Beyond the solar year, without the starry way,
Where Atlas turns the rolling heav’ns around,
And his broad shoulders with their lights are crown’d.
At his foreseen approach, already quake
The Caspian kingdoms and Maeotian lake:
Their seers behold the tempest from afar,
And threat’ning oracles denounce the war.
Nile hears him knocking at his sev’nfold gates,
And seeks his hidden spring, and fears his nephew’s fates.
Nor Hercules more lands or labors knew,
Not tho’ the brazen-footed hind he slew,
Freed Erymanthus from the foaming boar,
And dipp’d his arrows in Lernaean gore;
Nor Bacchus, turning from his Indian war,
By tigers drawn triumphant in his car,
From Nisus’ top descending on the plains,
With curling vines around his purple reins.
And doubt we yet thro’ dangers to pursue
The paths of honor, and a crown in view?
But what’s the man, who from afar appears?
His head with olive crown’d, his hand a censer bears,
His hoary beard and holy vestments bring
His lost idea back: I know the Roman king.
He shall to peaceful Rome new laws ordain,
Call’d from his mean abode a scepter to sustain.
Him Tullus next in dignity succeeds,
An active prince, and prone to martial deeds.
He shall his troops for fighting fields prepare,
Disus’d to toils, and triumphs of the war.
By dint of sword his crown he shall increase,
And scour his armor from the rust of peace.
Whom Ancus follows, with a fawning air,
But vain within, and proudly popular.
Next view the Tarquin kings, th’ avenging sword
Of Brutus, justly drawn, and Rome restor’d.
He first renews the rods and ax severe,
And gives the consuls royal robes to wear.
His sons, who seek the tyrant to sustain,
And long for arbitrary lords again,
With ignominy scourg’d, in open sight,
He dooms to death deserv’d, asserting public right.
Unhappy man, to break the pious laws
Of nature, pleading in his children’s cause!
Howeer the doubtful fact is understood,
‘T is love of honor, and his country’s good:
The consul, not the father, sheds the blood.
Behold Torquatus the same track pursue;
And, next, the two devoted Decii view:
The Drusian line, Camillus loaded home
With standards well redeem’d, and foreign foes o’ercome
The pair you see in equal armor shine,
Now, friends below, in close embraces join;
But, when they leave the shady realms of night,
And, cloth’d in bodies, breathe your upper light,
With mortal hate each other shall pursue:
What wars, what wounds, what slaughter shall ensue!
From Alpine heights the father first descends;
His daughter’s husband in the plain attends:
His daughter’s husband arms his eastern friends.
Embrace again, my sons, be foes no more;
Nor stain your country with her children’s gore!
And thou, the first, lay down thy lawless claim,
Thou, of my blood, who bearist the Julian name!
Another comes, who shall in triumph ride,
And to the Capitol his chariot guide,
From conquer’d Corinth, rich with Grecian spoils.
And yet another, fam’d for warlike toils,
On Argos shall impose the Roman laws,
And on the Greeks revenge the Trojan cause;
Shall drag in chains their Achillean race;
Shall vindicate his ancestors’ disgrace,
And Pallas, for her violated place.
Great Cato there, for gravity renown’d,
And conqu’ring Cossus goes with laurels crown’d.
Who can omit the Gracchi? who declare
The Scipios’ worth, those thunderbolts of war,
The double bane of Carthage? Who can see
Without esteem for virtuous poverty,
Severe Fabricius, or can cease t’ admire
The plowman consul in his coarse attire?
Tir’d as I am, my praise the Fabii claim;
And thou, great hero, greatest of thy name,
Ordain’d in war to save the sinking state,
And, by delays, to put a stop to fate!
Let others better mold the running mass
Of metals, and inform the breathing brass,
And soften into flesh a marble face;
Plead better at the bar; describe the skies,
And when the stars descend, and when they rise.
But, Rome, ‘t is thine alone, with awful sway,
To rule mankind, and make the world obey,
Disposing peace and war by thy own majestic way;
To tame the proud, the fetter’d slave to free:
These are imperial arts, and worthy thee.”
He paus’d; and, while with wond’ring eyes they view’d
The passing spirits, thus his speech renew’d:
“See great Marcellus! how, untir’d in toils,
He moves with manly grace, how rich with regal spoils!
He, when his country, threaten’d with alarms,
Requires his courage and his conqu’ring arms,
Shall more than once the Punic bands affright;
Shall kill the Gaulish king in single fight;
Then to the Capitol in triumph move,
And the third spoils shall grace Feretrian Jove.”
Aeneas here beheld, of form divine,
A godlike youth in glitt’ring armor shine,
With great Marcellus keeping equal pace;
But gloomy were his eyes, dejected was his face.
He saw, and, wond’ring, ask’d his airy guide,
What and of whence was he, who press’d the hero’s side:
“His son, or one of his illustrious name?
How like the former, and almost the same!
Observe the crowds that compass him around;
All gaze, and all admire, and raise a shouting sound:
But hov’ring mists around his brows are spread,
And night, with sable shades, involves his head.”
“Seek not to know,” the ghost replied with tears,
“The sorrows of thy sons in future years.
This youth (the blissful vision of a day)
Shall just be shown on earth, and snatch’d away.
The gods too high had rais’d the Roman state,
Were but their gifts as permanent as great.
What groans of men shall fill the Martian field!
How fierce a blaze his flaming pile shall yield!
What fun’ral pomp shall floating Tiber see,
When, rising from his bed, he views the sad solemnity!
No youth shall equal hopes of glory give,
No youth afford so great a cause to grieve;
The Trojan honor, and the Roman boast,
Admir’d when living, and ador’d when lost!
Mirror of ancient faith in early youth!
Undaunted worth, inviolable truth!
No foe, unpunish’d, in the fighting field
Shall dare thee, foot to foot, with sword and shield;
Much less in arms oppose thy matchless force,
When thy sharp spurs shall urge thy foaming horse.
Ah! couldst thou break thro’ fate’s severe decree,
A new Marcellus shall arise in thee!
Full canisters of fragrant lilies bring,
Mix’d with the purple roses of the spring;
Let me with fun’ral flow’rs his body strow;
This gift which parents to their children owe,
This unavailing gift, at least, I may bestow!”
Thus having said, he led the hero round
The confines of the blest Elysian ground;
Which when Anchises to his son had shown,
And fir’d his mind to mount the promis’d throne,
He tells the future wars, ordain’d by fate;
The strength and customs of the Latian state;
The prince, and people; and forearms his care
With rules, to push his fortune, or to bear.
Two gates the silent house of Sleep adorn;
Of polish’d ivory this, that of transparent horn:
True visions thro’ transparent horn arise;
Thro’ polish’d ivory pass deluding lies.
Of various things discoursing as he pass’d,
Anchises hither bends his steps at last.
Then, thro’ the gate of iv’ry, he dismiss’d
His valiant offspring and divining guest.
Straight to the ships Aeneas his way,
Embark’d his men, and skimm’d along the sea,
Still coasting, till he gain’d Cajeta’s bay.
At length on oozy ground his galleys moor;
Their heads are turn’d to sea, their sterns to shore.
And thou, O matron of immortal fame,
Here dying, to the shore hast left thy name;
Cajeta still the place is call’d from thee,
The nurse of great Aeneas’ infancy.
Here rest thy bones in rich Hesperia’s plains;
Thy name (‘t is all a ghost can have) remains.
Now, when the prince her fun’ral rites had paid,
He plow’d the Tyrrhene seas with sails display’d.
From land a gentle breeze arose by night,
Serenely shone the stars, the moon was bright,
And the sea trembled with her silver light.
Now near the shelves of Circe’s shores they run,
(Circe the rich, the daughter of the Sun,)
A dang’rous coast: the goddess wastes her days
In joyous songs; the rocks resound her lays:
In spinning, or the loom, she spends the night,
And cedar brands supply her father’s light.
From hence were heard, rebellowing to the main,
The roars of lions that refuse the chain,
The grunts of bristled boars, and groans of bears,
And herds of howling wolves that stun the sailors’ ears.
These from their caverns, at the close of night,
Fill the sad isle with horror and affright.
Darkling they mourn their fate, whom Circe’s pow’r,
(That watch’d the moon and planetary hour,)
With words and wicked herbs from humankind
Had alter’d, and in brutal shapes confin’d.
Which monsters lest the Trojans’ pious host
Should bear, or touch upon th’ inchanted coast,
Propitious Neptune steer’d their course by night
With rising gales that sped their happy flight.
Supplied with these, they skim the sounding shore,
And hear the swelling surges vainly roar.
Now, when the rosy morn began to rise,
And wav’d her saffron streamer thro’ the skies;
When Thetis blush’d in purple not her own,
And from her face the breathing winds were blown,
A sudden silence sate upon the sea,
And sweeping oars, with struggling, urge their way.
The Trojan, from the main, beheld a wood,
Which thick with shades and a brown horror stood:
Betwixt the trees the Tiber took his course,
With whirlpools dimpled; and with downward force,
That drove the sand along, he took his way,
And roll’d his yellow billows to the sea.
About him, and above, and round the wood,
The birds that haunt the borders of his flood,
That bath’d within, or basked upon his side,
To tuneful songs their narrow throats applied.
The captain gives command; the joyful train
Glide thro’ the gloomy shade, and leave the main.
Now, Erato, thy poet’s mind inspire,
And fill his soul with thy celestial fire!
Relate what Latium was; her ancient kings;
Declare the past and state of things,
When first the Trojan fleet Ausonia sought,
And how the rivals lov’d, and how they fought.
These are my theme, and how the war began,
And how concluded by the godlike man:
For I shall sing of battles, blood, and rage,
Which princes and their people did engage;
And haughty souls, that, mov’d with mutual hate,
In fighting fields pursued and found their fate;
That rous’d the Tyrrhene realm with loud alarms,
And peaceful Italy involv’d in arms.
A larger scene of action is display’d;
And, rising hence, a greater work is weigh’d.
Latinus, old and mild, had long possess’d
The Latin scepter, and his people blest:
His father Faunus; a Laurentian dame
His mother; fair Marica was her name.
But Faunus came from Picus: Picus drew
His birth from Saturn, if records be true.
Thus King Latinus, in the third degree,
Had Saturn author of his family.
But this old peaceful prince, as Heav’n decreed,
Was blest with no male issue to succeed:
His sons in blooming youth were snatch’d by fate;
One only daughter heir’d the royal state.
Fir’d with her love, and with ambition led,
The neighb’ring princes court her nuptial bed.
Among the crowd, but far above the rest,
Young Turnus to the beauteous maid address’d.
Turnus, for high descent and graceful mien,
Was first, and favor’d by the Latian queen;
With him she strove to join Lavinia’s hand,
But dire portents the purpos’d match withstand.
Deep in the palace, of long growth, there stood
A laurel’s trunk, a venerable wood;
Where rites divine were paid; whose holy hair
Was kept and cut with superstitious care.
This plant Latinus, when his town he wall’d,
Then found, and from the tree Laurentum call’d;
And last, in honor of his new abode,
He vow’d the laurel to the laurel’s god.
It happen’d once (a boding prodigy!)
A swarm of bees, that cut the liquid sky,
(Unknown from whence they took their airy flight,)
Upon the topmost branch in clouds alight;
There with their clasping feet together clung,
And a long cluster from the laurel hung.
An ancient augur prophesied from hence:
“Behold on Latian shores a foreign prince!
From the same parts of heav’n his navy stands,
To the same parts on earth; his army lands;
The town he conquers, and the tow’r commands.”
Yet more, when fair Lavinia fed the fire
Before the gods, and stood beside her sire,
(Strange to relate!) the flames, involv’d in smoke
Of incense, from the sacred altar broke,
Caught her dishevel’d hair and rich attire;
Her crown and jewels crackled in the fire:
From thence the fuming trail began to spread
And lambent glories danc’d about her head.
This new portent the seer with wonder views,
Then pausing, thus his prophecy renews:
“The nymph, who scatters flaming fires around,
Shall shine with honor, shall herself be crown’d;
But, caus’d by her irrevocable fate,
War shall the country waste, and change the state.”
Latinus, frighted with this dire ostent,
For counsel to his father Faunus went,
And sought the shades renown’d for prophecy
Which near Albunea’s sulph’rous fountain lie.
To these the Latian and the Sabine land
Fly, when distress’d, and thence relief demand.
The priest on skins of off’rings takes his ease,
And nightly visions in his slumber sees;
A swarm of thin aerial shapes appears,
And, flutt’ring round his temples, deafs his ears:
These he consults, the future fates to know,
From pow’rs above, and from the fiends below.
Here, for the gods’ advice, Latinus flies,
Off’ring a hundred sheep for sacrifice:
Their woolly fleeces, as the rites requir’d,
He laid beneath him, and to rest retir’d.
No sooner were his eyes in slumber bound,
When, from above, a more than mortal sound
Invades his ears; and thus the vision spoke:
“Seek not, my seed, in Latian bands to yoke
Our fair Lavinia, nor the gods provoke.
A foreign son upon thy shore descends,
Whose martial fame from pole to pole extends.
His race, in arms and arts of peace renown’d,
Not Latium shall contain, nor Europe bound:
‘T is theirs whate’er the sun surveys around.”
These answers, in the silent night receiv’d,
The king himself divulg’d, the land believ’d:
The fame thro’ all the neighb’ring nations flew,
When now the Trojan navy was in view.
Beneath a shady tree, the hero spread
His table on the turf, with cakes of bread;
And, with his chiefs, on forest fruits he fed.
They sate; and, (not without the god’s command,)
Their homely fare dispatch’d, the hungry band
Invade their trenchers next, and soon devour,
To mend the scanty meal, their cakes of flour.
Ascanius this observ’d, and smiling said:
“See, we devour the plates on which we fed.”
The speech had omen, that the Trojan race
Should find repose, and this the time and place.
Aeneas took the word, and thus replies,
Confessing fate with wonder in his eyes:
“All hail, O earth! all hail, my household gods!
Behold the destin’d place of your abodes!
For thus Anchises prophesied of old,
And this our fatal place of rest foretold:
‘When, on a foreign shore, instead of meat,
By famine forc’d, your trenchers you shall eat,
Then ease your weary Trojans will attend,
And the long labors of your voyage end.
Remember on that happy coast to build,
And with a trench inclose the fruitful field.’
This was that famine, this the fatal place
Which ends the wand’ring of our exil’d race.
Then, on to-morrow’s dawn, your care employ,
To search the land, and where the cities lie,
And what the men; but give this day to joy.
Now pour to Jove; and, after Jove is blest,
Call great Anchises to the genial feast:
Crown high the goblets with a cheerful draught;
Enjoy the present hour; adjourn the future thought.”
Thus having said, the hero bound his brows
With leafy branches, then perform’d his vows;
Adoring first the genius of the place,
Then Earth, the mother of the heav’nly race,
The nymphs, and native godheads yet unknown,
And Night, and all the stars that gild her sable throne,
And ancient Cybel, and Idaean Jove,
And last his sire below, and mother queen above.
Then heav’n’s high monarch thunder’d thrice aloud,
And thrice he shook aloft a golden cloud.<