STORY OF AENEAS
M. CLARKE Author of "Story Of Troy," "Story Of Caesar"
I. VERGIL, THE PRINCE OP POETS
II. THE GODS AND GODDESSES
I. THE WOODEN HORSE
II. AENEAS LEAVES TROY—THE HARPIES—PROPHESY OF HELENUS-THE GIANT POLYPHEMUS
III. A GREAT STORM—ARRIVAL IN CARTHAGE
IV. DIDO'S LOVE—THE FUNERAL GAMES—SHIPS BURNED BY THE WOMEN
V. THE SIBYL OF CUMAE—THE GOLDEN BOUGH—IN THE REGIONS OF THE DEAD
VI. AENEAS ARRIVES IN LATIUM—WELCOMED BY KING LATINUS
VII. ALLIANCE WITH EVANDER—VULCAN MAKES ARMS FOR AENEAS—THE FAMOUS SHIELD
VIII. TURNUS ATTACKS THE TROJAN CAMP—NISUS AND EURYALUS
IX. THE COUNCIL OF THE GODS—RETURN OF AENEAS—BATTLE ON THE SHORE—DEATH OF PALLAS
X. FUNERAL OF PALLAS—AENEAS AND TURNUS FIGHT—TURNUS IS SLAIN
I. VERGIL, THE PRINCE OF LATIN POETS.
The story of AE-ne'as, as related by the Roman poet Ver'gil in his celebrated poem called the AE-ne'id, which we are to tell about in this book, is one of the most interesting of the myths or legends that have come down to us from ancient authors.
Vergil lived in the time of the Roman Emperor Au-gus'tus (63 B. C.—14 A. D.), grand-nephew and successor of Ju'li-us Cae'sar. Augustus and his chief counsellor or minister Mae-ce'nas, gave great encouragement to learning and learned men, and under their liberal patronage arose a number of eminent writers to whose works has been given the name of classics, as being of the highest rank or class. The period is known as the Augustan Age, a phrase also used in reference to periods in the history of other countries, in which literature reached its highest perfection. Thus the reign of Queen Anne (1702-1714) is called the Augustan age of English literature, because of the number of literary men who flourished in England in that period, and the excellence of their works.
Vergil was the greatest of the poets of ancient Rome, and with the exception of Ho'mer, the greatest of the poets of antiquity. From a very early period, almost from the age in which he lived, he was called the Prince of Latin Poets. His full name was Pub'li-us Ver-gil'i-us Ma'ro. He was born about seventy years before Christ, in the village of An'des (now Pi-e'to-le), near the town of Man'tu-a in the north of Italy. His father was the owner of a small estate, which he farmed himself. Though of moderate means, he gave his son a good education. Young Vergil spent his boyhood at school at Cre-mo'na and Milan. He completed his studies at Naples, where he read the Greek and Latin authors, and acquired a knowledge of mathematics, natural philosophy, and medical science. He afterwards returned to Mantua, and resided there for a few years, enjoying the quiet of country life at the family homestead.
About this time the Emperor Augustus was engaged in a war against a powerful party of his own countrymen, led by a famous Roman named Bru'tus. In the year 42 B.C. he defeated Brutus in a great battle, which put an end to the war. He afterwards rewarded many of his troops by dividing among them lands in the neighborhood of Mantua, and in other parts of Italy, dispossessing the owners for having sided with his enemies. Though Vergil had taken no part in the struggle, his farm was allotted to one of the imperial soldiers. But this was the beginning of his greatness. Through the friendship of the governor of Mantua, he was introduced to Maecenas, and afterwards to Augustus, who gave orders that his property should be restored to him.
Thus Vergil became known to the first men of Rome. He expressed his gratitude to the emperor in one of a series of poems called Pastorals or Bu-col'ics, words which mean shepherds' songs, or songs descriptive of life in the country. These poems, though among Vergil's earliest productions, were highly applauded in Rome. They were so much esteemed that portions of them were recited in the theatre in the author's presence, and the audience were so delighted that they all rose to their feet, an honor which it was customary to pay only to Augustus himself. Vergil also wrote a poem called the Geor'gics, the subject of which is agriculture, the breeding of cattle, and the culture of bees. This is said to be the most perfect in finish of all Latin compositions. The AEneid is, however, regarded as the greatest of Vergil's works. The writing of it occupied the last eleven years of the poet's life.
Vergil died at Brun-di'si-um, in south Italy, in the fifty-first year of his age. He was buried near Naples, by the side of the public road, a few miles outside that city, where what is said to be his tomb is still to be seen. Of his character as a man we are enabled to form an agreeable idea from all that is known about him. He was modest, gentle and of a remarkable sweetness of disposition. Although living in the highest society while in Rome, he never forgot his old friends. He was a dutiful and affectionate son, and liberally shared his good fortune with his aged parents.
As a poet, Vergil was not only the greatest that Rome produced, but the most popular. His poems, particularly the AEneid, were the favorite reading of his countrymen. They became a text-book in the Roman schools. The "little Romans," we are told, studied the AEneid from their master's dictation, and wrote compositions upon its heroes. And not alone in Italy but throughout the world wherever learning extended, the AEneid became popular, and has retained its popularity down to our own time, being still a text-book in every school where Latin is taught.
There are many excellent translations of the AEneid into English. In this book we make numerous quotations from the translation by the English poet Dryden, and from the later work by the eminent Latin scholar Conington.
SPELLING OF THE POET'S NAME.
The spelling of the poet's name adopted in this book is now believed to be preferable to the form Virgil which has for a long time been in common use. Many of the best Latin scholars are of opinion that the proper spelling is Vergil from the Latin Vergilius, as the poet himself wrote it. "As to the fact," says Professor Frieze, "that the poet called himself Vergilius, scholars are now universally agreed. It is the form found in all the earliest manuscripts and inscriptions. In England and America the corrected Latin form is used by all the best authorities."
II. THE GODS AND GODDESSES.
It is said that Vergil wrote the AEneid at the request of the Emperor Augustus, whose family—the Ju'li-i—claimed the honor of being descended from AEneas, through his son I-u'lus or Ju'lus. All the Romans, indeed, were fond of claiming descent from the heroes whom tradition told of as having landed in Italy with AEneas after escaping from the ruins of Troy. The city of Troy, or Il'i-um, so celebrated in ancient song and story, was situated on the coast of Asia Minor, not far from the entrance to what is now the Sea of Mar'mo-ra. It was besieged for ten years by a vast army of the Greeks (natives of Greece or Hel'las) under one of their kings called Ag-a-mem'non. Homer, the greatest of the ancient poets, tells about this siege in his famous poem, the Il'i-ad. We shall see later on how the siege was brought to an end by the capture and destruction of the city, as well as how AEneas escaped, and what afterwards happened to him and his companions.
Meanwhile we must learn something about the gods and goddesses who play so important a part in the story. At almost every stage of the adventures of AEneas, as of the adventures of all ancient heroes, we find a god or a goddess controlling or directing affairs, or in some way mixed up with the course of events.
According to the religion of the ancient Greeks and Romans there were a great many gods. They believed that all parts of the universe—the heavens and the earth, the sun and the moon, the seas and rivers, and storms—were ruled by different gods. Those beings it was supposed, were in some respects like men and women. They needed food and drink and sleep; they married and had children; and like poor mortals they often had quarrels among themselves. Their food was am-bro'si-a, which gave them immortality and perpetual youth, and their drink was a delicious wine called nectar.
The gods often visited men and even accepted their hospitality. Sometimes they married human beings, and the sons of such marriages were the demigods or heroes of antiquity. AEneas was one of those heroes, his mother being the goddess Ve'nus, of whom we shall hear much in the course of our Story.
Though the gods never died, being immortal, they might be wounded and suffer bodily pain like men. They often took part in the quarrels and wars of people on earth, and they had weapons and armor, after the manner of earthly warriors. But they were vastly superior to men in strength and power. They could travel through the skies, or upon land or ocean, with the speed of lightning, and they could change themselves into any form, or make themselves visible or invisible at pleasure.
The usual residence of the principal gods was on the top of Mount O-lym'pus, in Greece. Here they had golden palaces and a chamber where they held grand banquets at which celestial music was rendered by A-pol'lo, the god of minstrelsy, and the Muses, who were the divinities of poetry and song.
Splendid temples were erected to the gods in all the chief cities, where they were worshiped with many ceremonies. Valuable gifts in gold and silver were presented at their shrines, and at their altars animals were killed and portions of the flesh burned as sacrifices. Such offerings were thought to be very pleasing to the gods.
The head or king of the gods was Ju'pi-ter, also called Jove or Zeus. He was the great Thunderer, at whose word the heavens trembled.
He, whose all conscious eyes the world behold, The eternal Thunderer sat enthroned in gold. High heaven the footstool of his feet he makes, And wide beneath him all Olympus shakes. HOMER, Iliad, BOOK VIII.
The wife of Jupiter, and the queen of heaven, was Ju'no, who, as we shall see, persecuted the hero AEneas with "unrelenting hate." Nep'tune, represented as bearing in his hand a trident, or three- pronged fork, was the god of the sea.
Neptune, the mighty marine god, Earth's mover, and the fruitless ocean's king. HOMER
Mars was the god of war, and Plu'to, often called Dis or Ha'des, was the god of the lower or "infernal" regions, and hence also the god of the dead. One of the most glorious and beautiful of the gods was Apollo, god of the sun, of medicine, music, poetry, and all fine arts.
Bright-hair'd Apollo!—thou who ever art A blessing to the world—whose mighty heart Forever pours out love, and light, and life; Thou, at whose glance, all things of earth are rife With happiness. PIKE.
Another of the famous divinities of the ancients was Venus, the goddess of beauty and love. According to some of the myths she was the daughter of Jupiter. Others say that she sprang from the foam of the sea.
These and countless other imaginary beings were believed in as deities under the religious system of the ancient Greeks and Romans, and every unusual or striking event was thought to be caused by some god or goddess.
The will of the gods, it was supposed, was made known to men in different ways—by dreams, by the flight of birds, or by a direct message from Olympus. Very often it was learned by consulting seers, augurs or soothsayers. These were persons believed to have the power of prophecy. There was a famous temple of Apollo at Delphi, in Greece, where a priestess called Pyth'i-a gave answers, or oracles, to those who came to consult her. The name oracle was also applied to the place where such answers were received. There were a great many oracles in ancient times, but that at Delphi was the most celebrated.
STORY OF AENEAS.
I. THE WOODEN HORSE,
The gods, of course, had much to do with the siege and fall of Troy, as well as with the sufferings of Aeneas, which Vergil describes in the AEneid. There were gods and goddesses on both sides in the great conflict. Some were for the Tro'jans, others for the Greeks, and some had their favorites among the heroes and warriors who fought on one side or the other. Two very powerful goddesses, Juno and Mi-ner'va (the goddess of wisdom, also called Pallas), hated the Trojans because of the famous "judgment of Pa'ris," which came about in this way—.
A king of Athens named Pe'leus married a beautiful sea-nymph named The'tis. All the gods and goddesses were present at the wedding feast except E'ris, the goddess of discord. She was not invited, and being angry on that account, she resolved to cause dissension among the guests. With this object she threw into the midst of the assembly a golden apple bearing the inscription, "For the most beautiful." Immediately a dispute arose as to which of the goddesses was entitled to the prize, but at last all gave up their claim except Juno, Venus, and Minerva, and they agreed to leave the settlement of the question to Paris, son of Pri'am, King of Troy, a young prince who was noted for the wisdom of his judgments upon several occasions.
The three goddesses soon afterwards appeared before Paris, and each endeavored by the offer of tempting bribes, to induce him to decide in her favor. Juno promised him great power and wealth.
She to Paris made Proffer of royal power, ample rule Unquestion'd. TENNYSON.
Minerva offered military glory, and Venus promised that she would give him the most beautiful woman in the world for his wife. After hearing their claims and promises, Paris gave the apple to Venus. This award or judgment brought upon him and his family, and all the Trojans, the hatred of the two other goddesses, particularly of Juno, who, being the queen of heaven, had expected that the preference, as a matter of course would be given to her.
But besides the judgment of Paris, there was another cause of Juno's anger against Troy. She had heard of a decree of the Fates that a race descended from the Trojans was one day to destroy Carthage, a city in which she was worshipped with much honor, and which she regarded with great affection. She therefore hated Aeneas, through whom, as the ancestor of the founders of Rome, the destruction of her beloved city was to be brought about.
On account of this hatred of the Trojans, Juno persuaded her royal husband, Jupiter, to consent to the downfall of Troy, and so the valor of all its heroic defenders, of whom Aeneas was one, could not save it from its fate, decreed by the king of the gods. Many famous warriors fell during the long siege. Hec'tor, son of Priam, the greatest of the Trojan champions, was slain by A-chil'les, the most valiant of the Greeks, and Achilles was himself slain by Paris. After losing their bravest leader the Greeks despaired of being able to take the city by force, and so they resorted to stratagem. By the advice of Minerva they erected a huge horse of wood on the plain in front of the walls, and within its body they placed a chosen band of their boldest warriors. Then pretending that they had given up the struggle, they withdrew to their ships, and set sail, as if with the purpose of returning to Greece. But they went no further than Ten'e-dos, an island opposite Troy, a few miles from the coast.
"There was their fleet concealed. We thought for Greece Their sails were hoisted, and our fears release. The Trojans, cooped 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 several chiefs they showed: Here Phoe'nix, here Achilles, made abode; Here joined the battles; there the navy rode. Part on the pile their wandering eyes employ— The pile by Pallas raised to ruin Troy." DRYDEN, AEneid, BOOK II.
The Trojans when they saw the big horse, could not think what it meant, or what should be done with it. Various opinions were given. Some thought it was a peace offering, and one chief proposed that it should be dragged within the walls and placed in the citadel. Others advised that it should be cast into the sea, or set on fire, or at least that they ought to burst it open to find whether anything were concealed within. While they were thus discussing the matter, some urging one course, some another, the priest La-oc'o-on rushed out from the city followed by a great crowd and he exclaimed in a loud voice: "Unhappy fellow-countrymen, what madness is this? Are you so foolish as to suppose that the enemy are gone, or that any offering of theirs can be free from deception? Either Greeks are hidden in this horse, or it is an engine designed for some evil to our city. Put no faith in it, Trojans. Whatever it is, I fear the Greeks even when they tender gifts." Thus speaking, Laocoon hurled his spear into the horse's side.
His mighty spear he cast: Quivering it stood: the sharp rebound Shook the huge monster: and a sound Through all its caverns passed. CONINGTON, AEneid, BOOK II.
But at this point the attention of the multitude was attracted by the appearance of a group of Trojan shepherds dragging along a prisoner with his hands bound behind his back, who, they said, had delivered himself up to them of his own accord. Being taken before King Priam, and questioned as to who he was and whence he came, the stranger told an artful story. He was a Greek, he said, and his name was Si'non. His countrymen had long been weary of the war, and had often resolved to return home, but were hindered by storms from making the attempt. And when the wooden horse was built, the tempests raged and the thunder rolled more than ever.
"Chiefly when completed stood This horse, compact of maple wood, Fierce thunders, pealing in our ears, Proclaimed the turmoil of the spheres." CONINGTON, AEneid, BOOK II.
Then the Greeks sent a messenger to the shrine of Apollo to inquire how they might obtain a safe passage to their country. The answer was that the life of a Greek must be sacrificed on the altar of the god. All were horror-stricken by this announcement, for each feared that the doom might fall upon himself.
"Through every heart a shudder ran, 'Apollo's victim—who the man?'" CONINGTON, AEneid, BOOK II.
The selection of the person to be the victim was left to Cal'chas, the soothsayer, who fixed upon Sinon, and preparations were accordingly made to sacrifice him on the altar of Apollo, but he contrived to escape and conceal himself until the Grecian fleet had sailed.
"I fled, I own it, from the knife, I broke my bands and ran for life, And in a marsh lay that night While they should sail, if sail they might." CONINGTON, AEneid, BOOK II.
This was Sinon's story. The Trojans believed it and King Priam ordered the prisoner to be released, and promised to give him protection in Troy. "But tell me," said the king, "why did they make this horse? Was it for a religious purpose or as an engine of war?" The treacherous Sinon answered that the horse was intended as a peace offering to the gods; that it had been built on the advice of Calchas, who had directed that it should be made of immense size so that the Trojans should not be able to drag it within their walls, "for," said he, "if the men of Troy do any injury to the gift, evil will come upon the kingdom of Priam, but if they bring it into their city, all Asia will make war against Greece, arid on our children will come the destruction which we would have brought upon Troy."
The Trojans believed this story also, and their belief was strengthened by the terrible fate which just then befell Laocoon, who a little before had pierced the side of the horse with his spear. While the priest and his two sons were offering a sacrifice to Neptune on the shore, two enormous serpents suddenly issued from the sea and seized and crushed them to death in sight of the people. The Trojans were filled with fear and astonishment at this spectacle, and they regarded the event as a punishment from the gods upon Laocoon.
Who dared to harm with impious steel Those planks of consecrated deal. CONINGTON, AEneid, BOOK II.
Then a cry arose that the "peace offering" should be conveyed into the city, and accordingly a great breach was made in the walls that for ten years had resisted all the assaults of the Greeks, and by means of rollers attached to its feet, and ropes tied around its limbs, the horse was dragged into the citadel, the young men and maidens singing songs of triumph. But in the midst of the rejoicing there were portents of the approaching evil. Four times the huge figure halted on the threshold of the gate, and four times it gave forth a sound from within, as if of the clash of arms.
"Four times 'twas on the threshold stayed: Four times the armor clashed and brayed. Yet on we press with passion blind, All forethought blotted from our mind, Till the dread monster we install Within the temple's tower-built wall." CONINGTON. AEneid, BOOK II.
The prophetess Cas-san'dra, too, the daughter of King Priam, had warned her countrymen of the doom that was certain to fall upon the city if the horse were admitted. Her warning was, however, disregarded. The fateful gift of the Greeks was placed in the citadel, and the Trojans, thinking that their troubles were now over, and that the enemy had departed to return no more, spent the rest of the day in feasting and rejoicing.
But in the dead of the night, when they were all sunk in sleep, the Greek fleet sailed back from Tenedos, and on King Agamemnon's ship a bright light was shown, which was the signal to the false Sinon to complete his work of treachery. Quickly he "unlocked the horse" and forth from their hiding place came the armed Greek warriors. Among them were the famous U-lys'ses, and Ne-op-tol'e-mus, son of the brave Achilles, and Men-e-la'us, husband of the celebrated Hel'en whom Paris, son of Priam, had carried off from Greece, which was the cause of the war. Ulysses and his companions then rushed to the walls, and after slaying the sentinels, threw open the gates of the city to the main body of the Greeks who had by this time landed from their ships. Thus Troy was taken.
And the long baffled legions, bursting in Through gate and bastion, blunted sword and spear With unresisted slaughter. LEWIS MORRIS.
Meanwhile AEneas, sleeping in the house of his father, An-chi'ses, had a dream in which the ghost of Hector appeared to him, shedding abundant tears, and disfigured with wounds as when he had been dragged around the walls of Troy behind the chariot of the victorious Achilles. In a mournful voice, AEneas, seeming to forget that Hector was dead, inquired why he had been so long absent from the defense of his native city, and from what distant shores he had now returned. But the spirit answered only by a solemn warning to AEneas, the "goddess- born" (being the son of Venus) to save himself by immediate flight.
"O goddess-born! escape by timely flight, The flames and horrors of this fatal night. The foes already have possessed 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, 'twas by mine alone. Now Troy to thee commends her future state, And gives her gods companions of thy fate; From their assistance, happier walls expect, Which, wand'ring long, at last thou shalt erect." DRYDEN, AEneid, BOOK I.
Awaking from his sleep, AEneas was startled by the clash of arms and by cries of battle, which he now heard on all sides. Rushing to the roof of the house and gazing around, he saw the palaces of many of the Trojan princes in flames, and he heard the shouts of the victorious Greeks, and the blaring of their trumpets. Notwithstanding the warning of Hector, he ran for his weapons.
Resolved on death, resolved to die in arms, But first to gather friends, with them to oppose (If fortune favored) and repel the foes. DRYDEN, AEneid, BOOK II.
At the door, as he was going forth to join the combat, he met the Trojan Pan'thus, a priest of Apollo, who had just escaped by flight from the swords of the Greeks. In reply to the questions of AEneas, the priest told him, in words of grief and despair, that Troy's last day had come.
"'Tis come, our fated day of death. We have been Trojans; Troy has been; She sat, but sits no more, a queen; Stern Jove an Argive rule proclaims; Greece holds a city wrapt in flames. There in the bosom of the town The tall horse rains invasion down, And Sinon, with a conqueror's pride, Deals fiery havoc far and wide. Some keep the gates, as vast a host As ever left Myce'nae's coast; Some block the narrows of the street, With weapons threatening all they meet; The stark sword stretches o'er the way, Quick-glancing, ready drawn to slay, While scarce our sentinels resist, And battle in the flickering mist." CONINGTON, AEneid, BOOK II.
As Panthus ceased speaking, several Trojan chiefs came up, and eagerly joined AEneas in resolving to make a last desperate attempt to save their native city. Together they rushed into the thick of the fight. Some were slain, and some with Aeneas succeeded in forcing their way to the palace of King Priam, where a fierce struggle was then raging. Entering by a secret door, AEneas climbed to the roof, from which he and the other brave defenders of the palace hurled stones and beams of wood upon the enemy below. But all their heroic efforts were in vain. In front of the principal gate, battering upon it with his huge battle-axe, stood Neoptolemus (also called Pyr'rhus) the son of Achilles. Soon its posts, though plated with bronze, gave way before his mighty strokes, and a great breach was made, through which the Greeks poured into the stately halls of the Trojan king. Then there was a scene of wild confusion and terror.
The house is filled with loud laments and cries And shrieks of women rend the vaulted skies. DRYDEN, AEneid BOOK II.
The aged king when he saw that the enemy was beneath his roof, put on his armor "long disused," and was about to rush forth to meet the foe, but Hec'u-ba, his queen, persuaded him to take refuge with her in a court of the palace in which were placed the altars of their gods. Here he was shortly afterwards cruelly slain by Pyrrhus.
Thus Priam fell, and shared one common fate With Troy in ashes, and his ruined state; He, who the scepter of all Asia swayed, Whom monarchs like domestic slaves obeyed. DRYDEN, AEneid, BOOK II.
There being now no hope to save the city, the thoughts of AEneas turned to his own home where he had left his father Anchises, his wife Cre-u'sa (daughter of King Priam) and his son Iulus (also named As-ca'ni-us). Making his way thither with the purpose of providing for their safety, he espied Helen, the "common scourge of Greece and Troy," sitting in the porch of the temple of the goddess Ves'ta. Enraged at the sight of the woman who had been the cause of so many woes to his country, AEneas was about to slay her on the spot, but at that moment his mother Venus appeared to him in the midst of a bright light.
Great in her charms, as when on gods above She looks, and breathes herself into their love. DRYDEN, AEneid, BOOK II.
Taking the hero by the hand as he was in the act of raising his sword to strike Helen, the goddess thus rebuked him: "What is it that excites your anger now, my son? Where is your regard for me? Have you forgotten your father Anchises and your wife and little son? They would have been killed by the Greeks if I had not cared for them and saved them. It is not Helen or Paris that has laid low this great city of Troy, but the wrath of the gods. See now, for I will take away the mist that covers your mortal eyes; see how Neptune with his trident is overthrowing the walls and rooting up the city from its foundations; and how Juno stands with spear and shield in the Scae'an Gate, and calls fresh hosts from the ships; and how Pallas sits on the height with the storm-cloud about her; and how Father Jupiter himself stirs up the enemy against Troy. Fly, therefore, my son. I myself will guard you till you stand before your father's door."
The goddess then disappeared and AEneas quickly proceeded to obey her command. Hastening home he resolved to take his aged father to a place of safety in the hills beyond the city, but the old man refused to go. "You, who are young and strong," said he, "may go, but I shall remain here, for if it had been the will of the gods that I should live, they would have preserved my home."
"Now leave me: be your farewell said To this my corpse, and count me dead." CONINGTON, AEneid, BOOK II
Nor could all the entreaties of his son and wife move him from his resolution. Then AEneas, in grief and despair, was about to rush back to the battle, which still raged in the city, preferring to die rather than to go and leave his father behind. But at this moment a bright flame as if of fire was seen to play around the head of the boy Iulus, and send forth beams of light. Alarmed as well as surprised at the spectacle, AEneas was about to extinguish the flames by water, when Anchises cried out that it was a sign from heaven that he should accompany his family in their flight from the city.
This pretty story, it is said, was meant by Vergil as a compliment to Augustus, the idea intended to be conveyed being that the seal of sovereign power was thus early set upon the founder of the great house of Julius.
The gods seeming thus to ordain the immediate departure of the hero and his family, they all speedily set forth, AEneas carrying his father on his shoulders, while Iulus walked by his side, and Creusa followed at some distance. They had arranged to meet at a ruined temple outside the city, where they were to be joined by their servants, but when they reached the place, it was discovered that Creusa had disappeared. Great was the grief of Aeneas. In agony he hastened back to the city in search of his wife. Coming to his father's palace, he found it already in flames. Then he hurried on through the streets, in his distress calling aloud the name of Creusa. Suddenly her figure started up before him, larger than when in life, for it was her spirit he saw. Appalled at the sight, Aeneas stood in silence gazing at the apparition while it thus spoke:
"Beloved husband, why do you give way to grief? What has happened is by the decree of heaven. It was not the will of the gods that I should accompany you. You have a long journey to make, and a wide extent of sea to cross, before you reach the shores of Hes-pe'ri-a, where the Ti'ber flows in gentle course through the rich fields of a warlike race. There prosperity awaits you, and you shall take to yourself a wife of a royal line. Weep not for me. The mother of the gods keeps me in this land to serve her. And now farewell, and fail not to love and watch over our son."
Then the form of Creusa melted into air, and the sorrowing husband returned to the place where his father and son awaited him. There he found a number of his fellow-citizens prepared to follow him into exile. They first took refuge in the forests of Mount I'da, not far from the ruined city. In this place they spent the winter, and they built a fleet of ships at An-tan'dros, a coast town at the foot of the mountain.
"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 assigned." DRYDEN, AEneid, BOOK III.
It is remarkable that Vergil does not tell how Creusa came by her death. Apparently we are left to infer that she was killed by the Greeks.
II. AENEAS LEAVES TROY—THE HARPIES—PROPHECY OF HELENUS-THE GIANT POLYPHEMUS.
In the early days of summer—the fleet being ready and all preparations complete—Anchises gave the order for departure, and so they set sail, piously carrying with them the images of their household gods and of the "great gods" of their nation. The first land they touched was the coast of Thrace, not far from Troy. AEneas thought he would build a city and make a settlement here, as the country had been, from early times, connected by ties of friendship with his own. To obtain the blessing of heaven on an undertaking of such importance, he set about performing religious services in honor of his mother Venus and the other gods, sacrificing a snow-white bull as an offering to Jupiter. Close by the place there happened to be a little hill, on the top of which was a grove of myrtle, bristling with thick-clustering, spear-like shoots. Wishing to have some of those plants to decorate his altars, AEneas pulled one up from the ground, whereupon he beheld drops of blood oozing from the torn roots. Though horrified at the sight he plucked another bough, and again blood oozed out as before. Then praying to the gods to save himself and his people from whatever evil there might be in the omen, he proceeded to tear up a third shoot, when from out the earth at his feet a voice uttered these words:
"O, AEneas! why do you tear an unhappy wretch? Spare me, now that I am in my grave; forbear to pollute your pious hands. It is from no tree- trunk that the blood comes. Quit this barbarous land with all speed. Know that I am Pol-y-do'rus. Here I was slain by many arrows, which have taken root and grown into a tree."
Deep was the horror of AEneas while he listened to this dreadful story, for he knew that Polydorus was one of the younger sons of Priam. Early in the war, his father, fearing that the Trojans might be defeated, had sent him for protection to the court of the king of Thrace. At the same time he sent the greater part of his treasures, including a large sum of money, to be taken care of by the king till the war should be over. But as soon as the Thracian monarch heard of the fall of Troy he treacherously slew the young prince and seized all his father's treasure.
False to divine and human laws, The traitor joins the conqueror's cause, Lays impious hands on Polydore, And grasps by force the golden store. Fell lust of gold! abhorred, accurst! What will not men to slake such thirst? CONINGTON, AEneid, BOOK III.
When AEneas related this story to his father and the other Trojan chiefs, they all agreed to depart forthwith from a land polluted by so black a crime. But first they performed funeral rites on the grave of Polydorus, erecting two altars which they decked with cypress wreaths, the emblem of mourning, and offering sacrifices to the gods.
Soon afterwards, the winds being favorable, they set sail, and in a few days reached De'los, one of the isles of Greece, where there was a famous temple of Apollo. A'ni-us, the king of the island, and a priest of Apollo, gave them a hospitable reception. In the great temple they made suitable offerings, and AEneas prayed to the god to tell them in what country they might find a resting place and a home. Scarcely had the prayer been finished when the temple and the earth itself seemed to quake, whereupon the Trojans prostrated themselves in lowly reverence upon the ground, and presently they heard a voice saying: "Brave sons of Dar'da-nus, the land which gave birth to your ancestors shall again receive your race in its fertile bosom. Seek out your ancient mother. There the house of AEneas shall rule over every coast, and his children's children and their descendants."
The answers or oracles of the gods were often given in mysterious words, as in the present case. AEneas and his companions did not know what land was meant by the "ancient mother," but Anchises, "revolving in his mind the legends of the men of old," remembered having heard that one of his ancestors, Teu'cer, (the father-in-law of Dardanus), had come from the island of Crete. Believing, therefore, that that was the land referred to in the words of the oracle, they set sail, having first sacrificed to Apollo, to Neptune, god of the ocean, and to the god of storms, that their voyage might be favorable.
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. DRYDEN, AEneid, BOOK III.
They arrived safely at Crete (now known as Can'di-a) where they remained a considerable time and built a city which AEneas called Per'ga-mus, the name of the famous citadel or fort of Troy. But here a new misfortune came upon the exiles in the shape of a plague, which threatened destruction to man and beast and the fruits of the field.
Sudden on man's feeble frame From tainted skies a sickness came, On trees and crops a poisonous breath, A year of pestilence and death. CONINGTON, AEneid, BOOK III.
Anchises now proposed that they should return to Delos, and again seek the counsel and aid of Apollo, but that night AEneas had a dream in which the household gods whose images he had carried with him from Troy, appeared to him, and told him that Crete was not the land destined by the gods for him and his people. They also told him where that Hesperia was, of which he had heard from the shade of Creusa.
"A land there is, Hesperia called of old, (The soil is fruitful, and the natives bold— The OE-no'tri-ans held it once,) by later fame Now called I-ta'li-a, from the leader's name. I-a'si-us 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." DRYDEN, AEneid, BOOK III.
AEneas made haste to tell this dream to his father, whereupon the old man advised that they should at once depart. So they quickly got their ships in order and set sail for Hesperia—the Land of the West. But scarcely had they lost sight of the shore when a terrible storm arose which drove them out of their course, and for three days and nights the light of heaven was shut from their view. Even the great Pal-i-nu'rus, the pilot of the ship of AEneas, "could not distinguish night from day, or remember his true course in the midst of the wave."
On the fourth day, however, the storm ceased and soon the Trojans sighted land in the distance. It was one of the islands of the Ionian sea, called the Stroph'a-des. Here dwelt the Har'pies, monsters having faces like women, and bodies, wings, and claws like vultures. When the Trojans landed they saw herds of oxen and flocks of goats grazing in the fields. They killed some of them and prepared a feast upon the shore, and having first, in accordance with their invariable custom, made offerings to the gods, they proceeded "to banquet on the rich viands." But they had hardly begun their meal when the Harpies, with noisy flapping of wings and fearful cries, swooped down upon them, snatched off a great portion of the meat, and so spoiled the rest with their unclean touch that it was unfit to eat.
From the mountain-tops with hideous cry, And clattering wings, the hungry Harpies fly: And snatch the meat, defiling all they find, And parting, leave a loathsome stench behind. DRYDEN, AEneid, BOOK III.
The Trojans got ready another meal and again sat down to eat, but the Harpies again came down upon them as before, and did in like manner. AEneas and his companions then resolved to fight, so they took their swords and drove the foul monsters off, though they could not kill any of them, for their skins were proof against wounds. One of them, however, remained behind, and perching on a rock, cried out in words of anger against the intruders. "Do you dare, base Trojans," said she, "to make war upon us after killing our oxen? Do you dare to drive the Harpies from the place which is their own? Listen then to what I have to tell you, which the father of the gods revealed to Phoe'bus Apollo, and Apollo revealed to me. Italy is the land you seek, and Italy you shall reach; but you shall not build the walls of your city until dire famine, visiting you because you have injured us, shall compel you to devour even your tables."
This Harpy was named Ce-lae'no. When the Trojans heard her awful words they prayed to the gods for protection, and then hastening to their ships, they put to sea. They soon came near Ith'a-ca, the island kingdom of Ulysses, the most skilful in stratagem of all the Greek chiefs at the Trojan war. Cursing the land which gave birth to that cruel enemy of their country, AEneas and his companions sailed past, and they continued their voyage until they reached the rocky island of Leu-ca'di-a on the coast of E-pi'rus, where there was another temple of Apollo. Here they landed, rejoicing that they had steered safely by so many cities of their enemies, for since leaving Crete their route had been mostly along the Grecian coast. They spent the winter in Leucadia, passing their leisure in games of wrestling and other athletic exercises, which were the sports of warriors in those ancient times. AEneas fastened to the door of the temple a shield of bronze—a trophy he had carried away from Troy—and upon it he put the inscription:
THIS ARMOR AENEAS WON FROM THE CONQUERING GREEKS.
In spring the wanderers again took to their ships, and sailing northwards, close to the coast, they came to Bu-thro'tum in Epirus, where they were surprised to learn that Hel'e-nus, son of Priam, was king of the country and that his wife was Androm'-a-che, who had formerly been wife of the famous Hector. AEneas having heard this upon landing, proceeded without delay towards the city, impatient to greet his kindred and to know how they had come to be there. It happened that just then Andromache was offering sacrifice on a tomb which she had erected outside the walls to the memory of Hector. Seeing AEneas approach she at once recognized him, but she was so overcome with surprise that for some time she was unable to utter a word. As soon as she recovered strength to speak she told AEneas that she had been carried off from Troy by Pyrrhus, and that Pyrrhus had given her to Helenus, after he himself had married Her-mi'o-ne, the daughter of the famous Helen. She also told that on the death of Pyrrhus who had been slain by O-res'tes, son of Agamemnon, part of his kingdom was given to Helenus.
Meanwhile king Helenus having heard of the arrival of the Trojans came out from the city to meet them, accompanied by a numerous train of attendants. He affectionately greeted AEneas and his companions, and invited them to his palace, where he hospitably entertained them during their stay. Helenus, besides being a king and the son of a king, was a famous soothsayer, so AEneas begged him to exercise his powers of prophecy on behalf of himself and his people. Helenus readily complied with the request. After offering the usual sacrifices to the gods, he told the Trojan chief that he had yet a long voyage to make before reaching his destination, that the place in which he should found his new kingdom was on the banks of a river, and that he would know it by finding there a white sow, with a litter of thirty young ones.
"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 encompassed 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." DRYDEN, AEneid, BOOK III.
As to the Harpy's dreadful prophecy that the Trojans would have to eat their tables, Helenus bade AEneas not to be troubled about it, for "the fates would find a way," and Apollo would be present to aid. Then the soothsayer warned his countrymen to shun the strait between Italy and Sicily, where on one side was the frightful monster Scyl'la, with the face of a woman and the tail of a dolphin, and on the other was the dangerous whirlpool Cha-ryb'dis. But more important than all other things, they must offer sacrifices and prayers to Juno, that her anger might be turned away from them, for she it was who had hitherto opposed all their efforts to reach their promised land.
Helenus also told them that on arriving in Italy they must seek out and consult the famous Sib'yl of Cu'mas. This was a prophetess who usually wrote her prophecies on leaves of trees, which she placed at the entrance to her cave. These leaves had to be taken up very carefully and quickly, for if they were scattered about by the wind, it would be impossible to put them in order again, so as to read them or understand their meaning. Helenus, therefore, directed AEneas to request the Sibyl to give her answers by word of mouth. She would do so, he said, and tell him all that was to happen to him and his people in Italy—the wars they would have to encounter, the dangers they were to meet, and how to avoid them.
Thus Helenus prophesied and gave counsel to his kinsmen. Then he made presents to AEneas and Anchises of valuable things in gold and silver, and he sent pilots to the ships, and horses and arms for the men. And Andromache gave embroidered robes to Ascanius and a cloak wrought in gold.
Soon afterwards the wanderers bade farewell to their friends, and set sail. Next day they came in sight of Italy, which they hailed with loud shouts of rejoicing. It was the south-eastern point of the peninsula, and as the Trojans approached it, they saw a harbor into which they ran their ships. Here they went ashore and offered sacrifices to Minerva, and also to Juno, remembering the advice of Helenus. But that part of the country being inhabited by Greeks, they made haste to depart, and taking their course southward, they passed by the Bay of Ta-ren'tum and down the coast until they came to the entrance of the strait now called Messina. This was a point of danger, for the loud roaring of the sea warned them that they were not far from the terrible Charybdis. Quickly Palinurus turned his ship to the left, and, all the others following, made straight for the Sicilian shore. Here they landed almost at the foot of AEtna, famous then as in our own times as a volcano or burning mountain. Under this mountain, according to an old legend, Jupiter imprisoned En-cel'a-dus, one of the giants who had dared to make war against heaven, and as often as the giant turned his weary sides, all Sicily trembled and the mountain sent forth flames of fire and streams of molten lava.
Enceladus, they say, transfixed by Jove, With blasted limbs came tumbling from above; And when he fell, the 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. DRYDEN, AEneid, BOOK III.
But beside the horrors of the "flaming hill" there was another danger to which the Trojans were now exposed. Sicily was the land of the terrible Cy'clops. These were fierce giants of immense size, with one eye, huge and round, in the middle of their foreheads. The morning after their arrival, the Trojans were surprised to see a stranger running forth from the woods, and with arms outstretched imploring their protection. Being asked who he was, he said he was a Greek, and that his name was Ach-e-men'ides. He had been at Troy with Ulysses, and was one of the companions of that famous warrior in his adventures after the siege. In their wanderings they had come to Sicily and had been in the very cave of Pol-y-phe'-mus, the largest and fiercest of the Cyclops, who had killed several of the unfortunate Greeks.
"I myself," said Achemenides, "saw him seize two of our number and break their bodies against a rock. I saw their limbs quivering between his teeth. But Ulysses did not suffer such things to go unpunished, for when the giant lay asleep, gorged with food, and made drunk with wine, (which Ulysses had given him) we, having prayed to the gods, and arranged by lot what part each should perform, crowded around him and with a sharp weapon bored out his eye, which was as large as the orb of the sun, and so we avenged the death of our comrades."
But in their flight from the cave, after punishing Polyphemus, the Greeks left Achemenides behind, and for three months he lived on berries in the woods. He now warned the Trojans to depart from the island with all speed, for, he said, a hundred other Cyclops, huge and savage, dwelt on those shores, tending their flocks among the hills.
"Such, and so vast as Polypheme appears, A hundred more this hated island bears; Like him, in caves they shut their wooly sheep; Like him their herds on tops of mountains keep; Like him, with mighty strides they stalk from steep to steep." DRYDEN, AEneid, BOOK III
Scarcely had Achemenides finished his story when Polyphemus himself appeared coming down from the mountain in the midst of his flocks. A horrid monster he was, "huge, awful, hideous, ghastly, blind." In his hand he carried the trunk of a pine tree to guide his steps, and striding to the water's edge, he waded far into the sea, yet the waves did not touch his sides.
The Trojans now quickly got to their vessels, taking Achemenides with them, and they plied their oars with the utmost speed. Hearing the voices of the rowers and the sweep of their oars, the blind giant stretched out his hands in the direction of the sound, seeking to seize his enemies, as he took them to be. But the Trojans had got beyond his reach. Then in his rage and disappointment the monster raised a mighty shout which echoed from the mountain sides and brought forth his brethren from their woods and caves.
"To heaven he lifts a monstrous roar, Which sends a shudder through the waves, Shakes to its base the Italian shore, And echoing runs through AEtna's caves. From rocks and woods the Cyclop host Rush startled forth, and crowd the coast. There glaring fierce we see them stand In idle rage, a hideous band, The sons of AEtna, carrying high Their towering summits to the sky." CONINGTON, AEneid, BOOK III.
After thus escaping from the terrible Polyphemus, the Trojan wanderers sailed along the coasts of Sicily, and coming to the north-west extremity of the island, they put ashore at Drep'a-num. Here AEneas met with a misfortune which none of the prophets had predicted. This was the death of his venerable father Anchises.
"After endless labors (often tossed By raging storms and driven on every coast), My dear, dear father, spent with age, I lost— Ease of my cares, and solace of my pain, Saved through a thousand toils, but saved in vain! The prophet, who my future woes revealed, Yet this, the greatest and the worst, concealed, And dire Celaeno, whose foreboding skill Denounced all else, was silent of this ill." DRYDEN, AEneid, BOOK III.
III. A GREAT STORM—ARRIVAL IN CARTHAGE.
Thus far you have read the story of the Trojan exiles as it was told by AEneas himself to Di'do, queen of Carthage, at whose court we shall soon find him, after a dreadful storm which scattered his ships, sinking one, and driving the rest upon the coast of Africa. The narrative occupies the second and third books of the AEneid. In the first book the poet begins by telling of Juno's unrelenting hate, which was the chief cause of all the evils that befell the Trojans.
Arms and the man I sing, who, forced by fate, And haughty Juno's unrelenting hate, Expelled and exiled, left the Trojan shore. Long labors, both by sea and land he bore. DRYDEN, AEneid, BOOK I.
It was at Juno's request that AE'o-lus, god of the winds, raised the great storm, just at the time when the wanderers, after leaving Drepanum, were about to direct their course towards the destined Hesperian land. For though AEneas and his companions, following the advice of Helenus, had offered prayers and sacrifices to the haughty goddess, still her anger was not appeased. She could not forget the judgment of Paris, or the prophecy that through the Trojan race was to come destruction on the city she loved. And so when she saw the ships of AEneas sailing towards the Italian coast, she gave vent to her anger in bitter words. "Must I then," said she, "desist from my purpose? Am I, the queen of heaven, not able to prevent the Trojans from establishing their kingdom in Italy? Who then will hereafter worship Juno or offer sacrifices on her altars?" With such thoughts inflaming her breast, the goddess hastened to AE-o'lia, the home of storms where dwelt AEolus, king of the winds. AEolia was one of the ancient names of the islands between Italy and Sicily, now known as the Lipari Islands. In a vast cave, in one of those islands king AEolus held the winds imprisoned and controlled their fury lest they should destroy the world—
In a spacious cave of living stone, The tyrant AEolus, from his airy throne, With power imperial curbs the struggling winds, And sounding tempests in dark prisons binds: High in his hall the undaunted monarch stands, And shakes his sceptre, and their rage commands: Which did he not, their unresisted sway Would sweep the world before them in their way; Earth, air, and seas, through empty space would roll, And heaven would fly before the driving soul. In fear of this, the father of the gods Confined their fury to those dark abodes, And locked them safe within, oppressed with mountain loads; Imposed a king with arbitrary sway, To loose their fetters, or their force allay. DRYDEN, AEneid, BOOK I.
To this great king Juno appealed, begging him to send forth his storms against the ships of AEneas, and she promised to reward him by giving him in marriage the fair De-i-o-pe'a, most beautiful of all the nymphs or maids in her heavenly train of attendants. AEolus promptly replied saying that he was ready to obey the queen of heaven. "'Tis for you, O queen, to command and for me to execute your will."
Then AEolus struck the side of the cavern with his mighty scepter, whereupon the rock flew open and the winds rushed furiously forth. In an instant a terrific hurricane swept over land and sea. The lightning flashed, the thunder pealed, and the waves rolled mountain high around the Trojan fleet.
All in a moment sun and skies Are blotted from the Trojans' eyes; Black night is brooding o'er the deep, Sharp thunder peals, live lightnings leap; The stoutest warrior holds his breath, And looks as on the face of death. CONINGTON, AEneid, BOOK I.
Filled with terror, AEneas bewailed his unhappy fate, and lamented that it had not been his lot to fall with those
Who died at Troy like valiant men E'en in their parents' view.
But the storm increased in fury. Three of his ships were dashed against hidden rocks, while before his eyes one went down with all its crew.
And here and there above the waves were seen Arms, pictures, precious goods and floating men. DRYDEN, AEneid, BOOK I.
Meantime the roaring of wind and waves had reached the ears of Neptune, in his coral palace beneath the sea. Neptune was one of the gods who were friendly to AEneas, and so when he raised his head above the waters, and beheld the ships scattered about and the hero himself in deep distress, the ocean king was very angry. Instantly he summoned the winds before him, and sternly rebuked them for daring to cause such disturbance in his dominions without his authority. Then he ordered them to depart forthwith to their caverns, and tell their master that not to him belonged the kingdom of the sea.
"Back to your master instant flee, And tell him, not to him but me The imperial trident of the sea Fell by the lot's award." CONINGTON, AEneid, BOOK I.
It was by lot that the empire of the universe had been divided among the three brothers Jupiter, Neptune and Pluto, the kingdom of the ocean falling to Neptune, the heavens to Jupiter and the "lower regions" or regions of the dead to Pluto. Neptune, therefore, had full power within his own dominion, and so the winds had to retire at his command. Then immediately the sea became calm and still, and AEneas with seven ships—all that he could find of his fleet—sailed for the African coast, which was the nearest land, the storm having driven them far out of their course. Soon discovering a suitable harbor, deep in a bay, with high rocks on each side at the entrance, the tempest- tossed Trojans gladly put ashore, and lighting a fire on the beach, they prepared a meal of parched corn, which they ground with stones.
Meanwhile AEneas climbed a rock and looked out over the sea hoping to catch sight of some of the lost vessels. He was accompanied by his armor-bearer A-cha'tes, who was so devoted to his chief that the name is often used to signify a very faithful friend. But they could see none of the missing ships and so they returned to their companions. Then AEneas delivered an address to his people, bidding them be of good cheer, and reminding them of the decree of heaven that they should have a peaceful settlement in La'ti-um—that fair Italian land, to which the gods would surely guide them in due time.
"Comrades and friends! for ours is strength Has brooked the test of woes; O worse-scarred hearts! these wounds at length The gods will heal, like those. You that have seen grim Scylla rave, And heard her monsters yell, You that have looked upon the cave Where savage Cyclops dwell, Come, cheer your souls, your fears forget; This suffering will yield us yet A pleasant tale to tell. Through chance, through peril lies our way To Latium, where the fates display A mansion of abiding stay; There Troy her fallen realm shall raise; Bear up and live for happier days." CONINGTON, AEneid, BOOK I.
It is not to be supposed that all this time the goddess Venus was forgetful of the sufferings of her son. Even while AEneas was thus speaking to his fellow wanderers she was pleading his cause before the throne of Jupiter himself on the top of Mount Olympus. "What offence, O king of heaven," said she, "has my AEneas committed? How have the Trojans offended? What is to be the end of their sufferings? Are they to be forever persecuted on account of the anger of one goddess?"
To this appeal the king of the gods answered assuring Venus that the promises made to the Trojan exiles should all be fulfilled. AEneas, he said, should make war against fierce tribes in Italy, and conquer them, and rule in La-vin'i-um. After him his son Iulus should reign for thirty years, and build a city to be called Alba Longa, where his descendants would hold sovereign power for three hundred years. Then from the same race should come Rom'u-lus, who would found the city Rome, which would in time conquer Greece and rule the world.
"The people Romans call, the city Rome To them no bounds of empire I assign, Nor term of years to their immortal line, E'en haughty Juno, who, with endless broils, Earth, seas, and heaven, and Jove himself turmoils, At length atoned, her friendly power shall join, To cherish and advance the Trojan line. An age is ripening in revolving fate, When Troy shall overturn the Grecian state, And sweet revenge her conquering sons shall call To crush the people that conspired her fall, Then Caesar from the Julian stock shall rise, Whose empire ocean, and whose fame the skies Alone shall bound." DRYDEN, AEneid, BOOK I.
Thus did the king of heaven prophesy the future greatness and power of the Julian line. Then he sent Mercury, the messenger of the gods, down to earth to bid the queen of Carthage and her people give a hospitable reception to the Trojans, for it was near that city, on the Li'by-an shore, that they had landed after the storm. Venus herself, too, came down from Olympus, and, in the garb of a huntress, appeared to her son and the faithful Achates, as they were exploring the coast to find out what land it was, and by what people possessed. She did not make herself known to them, but inquired if they had seen one of her sisters who had strayed away from her. AEneas answered: "None of your sisters have we seen, O virgin, or shall we call you goddess, for such you seem to be? Whoever you are, graciously relieve our anxiety by informing us what country this is into which unkind fortune has driven us.
"Instruct us 'neath what sky at last, Upon what shore our lot is cast; We wander here by tempest blown, The people and the place unknown." CONINGTON, AEneid, BOOK I.
To these inquiries Venus, still maintaining her disguise, replied by telling the Trojan heroes the story of Carthage and Queen Dido. This famous woman was the daughter of Be'lus, king of Tyre, a city of Phoe-nic'i-a, in Asia Minor. She married a wealthy Tyrian lord named Si-chae'us. On her father's death, her brother Pyg-ma'li-on became king of Tyre. He was a cruel and avaricious tyrant, and in order to get possession of his brother-in-law's riches, he had him put to death, concealing the crime from his sister by many false tales. But in a dream the ghost of Sichaeus appeared to Dido and told her of the wicked deed of Pygmalion. He at the same time advised her to fly from the country with all speed, and he informed her of the place where he had hidden his treasures—a large sum in gold and silver, which he bade her take to help her in her flight.
Dido therefore got together a number of ships, and put to sea accompanied by a number of her countrymen who hated the cruel tyrant. They sailed to the coast of Africa and landed in Libya, where they purchased from the inhabitants as much ground as could be encompassed by a bull's hide cut into thongs. Then they commenced to build a city which they called Carthage, and even now they were engaged in raising its walls.
Such was the story of Dido which Venus related to AEneas and Achates. Having concluded, she inquired in her turn who they were, from what country they had come, and whither they were going. In reply AEneas gave a brief account of his wanderings since the fall of Troy. Then the goddess directed him to go into the city and present himself before the queen, and she pointed to an augury in the sky—twelve swans flying above their heads—which, she said, was a sign that the ships they had supposed to be lost were at that moment sailing into the harbor.
So saying Venus turned to leave them, when suddenly a marvelous change took place in her dress and appearance, so that AEneas knew she was his mother, and he cried to her to permit him to touch her hand and speak with her as her son. The goddess, however, made no answer, but she cast over Aeneas and his companion a thick veil of cloud so that no one might see or molest them on their way. Thus rendered invisible, they went towards the city. When they reached it they found a great many men at work, some finishing the walls, others erecting great buildings of various kinds. In the center of the town was a magnificent temple of Juno.
Enriched 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 enclose; The rafters are with brazen coverings crowned; The lofty doors on brazen hinges sound. DRYDEN, AEneid, BOOK I.
Entering this temple, AEneas was astonished to find the walls covered with paintings representing scenes of the Trojan war.
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 every leader known. He stopped, and weeping said: "O friend! e'en here! The monuments of Trojan woes appear!" DRYDEN, AEneid, BOOK I.
Amongst the pictures, AEneas recognized one of himself performing deeds of valor in the thick of the fight. While he and his companion, both still invisible, were gazing with admiration upon those scenes Queen Dido came into the temple, attended by a numerous train of warriors, and took her seat upon a high-raised throne. Presently there appeared a number of Trojans advancing towards the queen, and AEneas rejoiced to see that they were some of his own people belonging to the ships that had been separated from him during the storm. They had been cast ashore on a different part of the coast, and not hearing of the safe arrival of AEneas, they were now come to beg the help and protection of Dido. Having heard their story, which Il-i'o-neus, one of their number, briefly related, the queen bade them dismiss their fears, promising that she would give them whatever assistance they needed, and send out messengers to search the Libyan coasts for their leader AEneas. But at this point the mist that encompassed AEneas and his companion suddenly vanished and the hero stood forth, beheld by all, his face resembling that of a god.
The Trojan chief appeared in open sight August in visage, and serenely bright. His mother-goddess, with her hands divine, Had formed his curling locks, and made his temples shine, And given his rolling eyes a sparkling grace, And breathed a youthful vigor on his face. DRYDEN, AEneid, BOOK I.
AEneas now made himself known to the queen and thanked her for her kindness to his people. Dido was astonished at the sudden appearance of the hero, of whom she had already heard much. Her father, Belus, she said, had told her of the fall of Troy and of the name of AEneas, and having herself suffered many misfortunes, she had learned to have pity for the distressed.
"For I myself, like you, have been distressed; Till heaven afforded me this place of rest; Like you, an alien in a land unknown, I learn to pity woes so like my own." DRYDEN, AEneid, BOOK I.
Then she invited the hero into the royal apartments where a grand banquet was prepared in his honor. She also caused a supply of provisions to be taken to his people on the shore—twenty oxen, a hundred swine, and a hundred fat lambs. Meanwhile AEneas sent Achates to bring his son Ascanius to the city, bidding him at the same time to take with him presents for the queen, costly and beautiful things that had been saved from the ruins of Troy—a mantle embroidered with gold, a scepter which had belonged to I-li'o-ne, King Priam's daughter, and a necklace strung with pearls.
At the banquet Queen Dido sat on a golden couch, surrounded by the Trojan chiefs and her Tyrian lords. By her side was seated the handsome youth whom Achates had brought from the ships as the son of AEneas. Dido admired the beautiful boy and fondled him in her arms little thinking that it was Cupid, the god of love, whom Venus had sent to the banquet under the appearance of Iulus.
Unhappy Dido little thought what guest, How dire a god she drew so near her breast. DRYDEN, AEneid, BOOK I.
The real Ascanius meantime lay in peaceful slumber in a sacred grove in the island of Cyprus, to which Venus had borne him away.
Lulled 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 flowery bed. DRYDEN, AEneid BOOK 1.
And so Queen Dido entertained the chiefs of Troy and of Carthage, with the god of love seated beside her on her golden couch. A hundred maids and as many pages attended upon the guests. After the viands were removed, I-o'pas, the Tyrian minstrel and poet, played upon his gilded lyre, and sang about the wondrous things in the heavens and on earth.
The various labors of the wandering moon, And whence proceed the eclipses of the sun; The original of men and beasts; and whence The rains arise, and fires their warmth dispense; What shakes the solid earth; what cause delays The summer nights, and shortens winter days. DRYDEN, AEneid. BOOK I.
The song of Iopas was applauded by the entire assemblage. Then Queen Dido after asking Aeneas many questions about Priam and Hector, and Achilles, and Memnon, and Diomede and other heroes of the Trojan war, begged him to tell the whole story from the beginning. "Come, my guest," said she, "relate to us from the very first the stratagems of the Greeks, the adventures of your friends, and your own wanderings."
It was in compliance with this request that Aeneas, as has been said, recounted the history (already given) of the ruin of Troy, and of his own misfortunes, commencing with the artifice of the wooden horse, and ending with the storm which drove his ships upon the Carthaginian coast. The events of the story extended over a period of seven years, for it was now that length of time since the fatal "peace offering" brought destruction on the city of Priam.
IV. DIDO'S LOVE—THE FUNERAL GAMES—SHIPS BURNED BY THE WOMEN.
Queen Dido was much interested in the story told by Aeneas, but more so in the hero himself. His many virtues, the honors and glories of his race, made a strong impression on her mind; his looks and words were imprinted on her heart. In short, the Carthaginian queen was in love with the Trojan prince. She confided her secret to her sister Anna, and she said that if she had not vowed, on the death of her dear husband Sichaeus, never again to unite with any one in the bond of marriage, she might think of giving her hand to her noble guest.
Sister Anna knew that such a marriage would be a great advantage to Carthage, which might need brave defenders like the Trojans, since there were many warlike princes in that part of Africa, who might some time attack the new city. And if the Trojan arms were joined to those of Carthage, both would be strong enough to resist the most powerful enemy, and the new kingdom would become great and flourishing. "Let us therefore," said she, "pray to the gods for help and at the same time endeavor by all means to detain our Trojan guests as long as possible upon our shore."
The queen listened to her sister's advice with pleasure, more especially as it was in accord with her own feelings. Her scruples about a second marriage soon vanished, and so she continued to entertain the Trojans and their chief with princely hospitality.
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 wandering guest: Her faltering tongue forbids to speak the rest. When day declines and feasts renew the night, Still on his face she feeds her famished 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. DRYDEN, AEneid, BOOK IV
Meanwhile the goddess Juno, watching the course of events, also saw the advantage, to her favorite city, of a union with the Trojan chief. If he and his people, she thought, could be persuaded to settle in Carthage, that city and not the long talked of Rome, would come to be the center of power and the ruler of the world. She therefore proposed to Venus a treaty of "eternal peace" on the condition of a marriage between Aeneas and Dido.
"Your Trojan with my Tyrian let us join; So Dido shall be yours, AEneas mine— One common kingdom, one united line." DRYDEN, AEneid, BOOK IV.
Venus was not at all deceived by this plausible speech. She well understood the motive and purpose of Juno to secure future power and glory for Carthage and divert from Rome the empire of the world, nevertheless she answered in mild words saying, "Who could be so foolish as to reject such an alliance, and prefer to be at war with the queen of heaven? Yet there is a difficulty. I do not know whether it is the pleasure of Jupiter that the Tyrians and Trojans should dwell together in one city. Will he approve the union of the two nations? Perhaps, however, you, who are his wife, may be able to induce him to do so. It is for you, then, to lead the way, and where you lead I shall follow."
But another obstacle stood in the way of Juno's proposed alliance. There was at that time a certain African king named I-ar'bas, a very important personage, for he was a son of Jupiter. It was from him that Dido when she first came to Libya had bought the ground to build her city. Now Iarbas wished to have Dido for his wife, and he had asked her to marry him, but she had refused. Great was his anger, therefore, when he heard that the Trojan chief had been received and honored in Carthage and that a marriage between him and the queen was talked of as a certain thing. So he went to the temple of his father Jupiter, and complained bitterly of the conduct of Dido in rejecting himself and taking a foreign prince into her kingdom to be its ruler. The king of heaven, naturally enough sympathising with his son, gave ear to his complaint and he forthwith dispatched Mercury with a message to AEneas, bidding him to depart instantly from Carthage. This command the swift-winged god, having sped down from Olympus, and sought out the Trojan hero, delivered in impressive words.
"All powerful Jove Who sways the world below and heaven above, Has sent me down with this severe command: What means thy lingering 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 promised crown let young Ascanius wear, To whom the Ausonian sceptre, and the state Of Rome's imperial name, is owed by fate." DRYDEN, AEneid, BOOK IV.
The command filled AEneas with astonishment and fear. He knew that he must obey, but how could he break the intelligence to Dido, or what excuse could he offer for so sudden a departure?
What should he say, or how should he begin? What course alas! remains, to steer between The offended lover and the powerful queen. DRYDEN, AEneid, BOOK IV.
There being, however, no middle course, Aeneas directed his chiefs to get ready the ships, call together the crews, and prepare their arms, and to do all as quietly and secretly as possible. Meanwhile he himself would watch for a favorable opportunity of obtaining the queen's consent to their departure.
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 sovereign power decrees. DRYDEN, AEneid, BOOK IV.
But Dido soon discovered what the Trojans were about, and she sent for AEneas and reproached him in angry words for his deception and ingratitude. Then her anger gave way to grief and tears, and she implored him to alter his resolution, declaring that if he would thus suddenly leave her she must surely die. AEneas was in deep distress at the spectacle of the sorrowing queen, yet he dared not yield to her entreaties, since it was the decree of the fates and the command of Jupiter that he should remain no longer in Carthage.
The Trojans therefore hastened their preparations and were soon ready to set sail; but there came another warning conveyed to them by the god Mercury, who, while AEneas was asleep in his ship, appeared to him in a dream, bidding him to speed away that very night, for if he waited until morning he would find the harbor filled with queen Dido's fleet to prevent his departure. Starting from his couch AEneas quickly roused his companions and gave the order for instantly putting to sea.
"Haste to your oars! your crooked anchors weigh, And speed your flying sails, and stand to sea! A god commands! he stood before my sight, And urged me once again to speedy flight." DRYDEN, AEneid, BOOK IV.
Promptly the order of the chief was obeyed, and soon the Trojan vessels were sailing away from the city of Dido. And at dawn of morning the unhappy queen, looking forth from her watch tower, beheld them far out at sea. Then she prayed that there might be eternal enmity between the descendants of AEneas and the people of Carthage, and that a man would come of her nation who would persecute the Trojan race with fire and sword.
"These are my prayers, and this my dying will; And you, my Tyrians, every curse fulfill: Perpetual hate and mortal wars proclaim Against the prince, the people, and the name. These grateful offerings on my grave bestow; Nor league, nor love, the hostile nations know! Now and from hence in every 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 perjured brood: Our arms, our seas, our shores, opposed to theirs; And the same hate descend on all our heirs!" DRYDEN, AEneid, BOOK IV.
Vergil thus makes Dido prophesy the long conflict between Rome and Carthage, (known as the Punic wars) and the achievements of the famous Carthaginian general, Han'ni-bal, who carried the war into the heart of Italy (218 B. C.) and defeated the Romans in several great battles.
In her grief at the departure of AEneas, the unhappy queen resolved to put an end to her life. She bade her servants erect in the inner court yard of her palace a lofty pile of wood, called a funeral pyre, and upon it to place an image of AEneas as well as the arms he had left behind him. Then mounting the pyre, to which flaming torches had been applied, she stabbed herself with her false lover's sword, and so died.
The Trojans from their ships, saw the smoke and flame ascending from the palace of Dido. They knew not the cause, yet AEneas, suspecting what had happened, deeply lamented the fate of the unhappy queen.
The cause unknown; yet his presaging mind The fate of Dido from the fire divined. Dire auguries from hence the Trojans draw; Till neither fires nor shining shores they saw. DRYDEN, AEneid, BOOK IV.
The fleet was no sooner out of sight of the Libyan coast than the pilot Palinurus observed signs of a storm. He proposed, therefore, that they should make for the Sicilian shore, which was not far distant. AEneas gladly consented, for he wished to stand again upon the spot where his father's bones were laid. Moreover the good king A-ces'tes, who ruled in that part of the island, was a Trojan by descent, and he had hospitably received the wanderers on their former visit. They, therefore, turned the prows of their galleys towards Sicily, and soon reached Drepanum, where they were met and welcomed by Acestes, who from a hill top had seen their vessels approaching the shore.
Next day AEneas, accompanied by king Acestes, and a great multitude of people, proceeded to the grave of Anchises where they erected altars, and according to the custom of the times, poured wine and milk on the ground, as an offering to the gods. Fresh flowers were then scattered on the tomb. While these ceremonies were being performed all present were startled by the appearance of a huge serpent with scales of golden hue, which suddenly glided from beneath the tomb, trailed among the bowls or goblets containing the wine and milk, tasted slightly of the contents, and then returned into the vault.
Betwixt the rising altars, and around, The sacred monster shot along the ground; With harmless play amidst the bowls he passed, And with his lolling tongue assayed the taste: Thus fed with holy food, the wondrous guest Within the hollow tomb retired to rest. DRYDEN, AEneid, BOOK V.
AEneas believed that this serpent was an attendant on the shade of Anchises. He supposed, therefore, that his father was now elevated to the dignity of a god, for most of the gods had inferior deities assigned to them as ministers or messengers.
Besides the sacrifices and other ceremonies at the tomb, there were games and athletic exercises in honor of Anchises, this also being one of the customs of the ancients in paying tribute to the memory of their dead heroes. The principal event in the games was a ship race in which the most skilful of the Trojan mariners took part. In this contest Mnes'theus with a ship named Pristis, and Clo-an'-thus commanding the Scylla performed wonderful feats of seamanship. So equally were they matched and so well did they manage their vessels that both would probably have reached the goal or winning post together, had it not been for the interference of the gods. The goal was a branch of an oak tree fixed to a small rock in the bay facing the beach on which the spectators were assembled. As the Scylla was approaching the rock on the home run, the Pristis, which had been pressing close behind, shot alongside, and was almost beak to beak with its competitor. Then Cloanthus stretching forth his arms to heaven, prayed the gods of the sea to help him at that critical moment, promising that he would offer sacrifices of thanksgiving on their altars, if he should win the race. His prayer was quickly heard. From their palaces in the deep, the Ne-re'ids, Neptune's band of attendants and assistants, rushed to his aid, and with his mighty hand Por-tu'nus, the god of harbors, coming behind the Scylla, pushed the vessel along, speeding her forward more swiftly than the wind.
And old Portunus with his breadth of hand, Pushed 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. DRYDEN, AEneid, BOOK V.
Cloanthus was declared victor and received the first prize—a rich mantle embroidered in gold. The second prize was given to Mnestheus, and suitable rewards were also bestowed on the crews. After the ship race AEneas and the vast multitude of Trojans and Sicilians proceeded to a grassy plain not far from the shore where the other games were held. The first was a foot race in which a large number took part. Among them were Eu-ry'a-lus and Ni'sus, Trojan youths famed for their mutual friendship, and Di-o'res, a young prince of Priam's royal line. Among the Sicilian competitors were Sa'li-us and Pa'tron, and two young men, El'y-mus and Pan'o-pes, companions of King Acestes.
The signal having been given, the racers darted off like lightning. Nisus quickly took the lead springing far away ahead of the rest. Next, but at a long distance came Salius, and after him Euryalus, followed by Elymus, with Diores close by his side. Nisus would have reached the goal first, but just as he was approaching it, he lost his foothold at a slippery spot on the course, and fell headlong upon the ground. Seeing then that it was not possible for him to win, he thought of his friend Euryalus, and rising from the ground he set himself right in the way of Salius who was rushing forward.
E'en then affection claims its part; Euryalus is in his heart; Uprising from the sodden clay, He casts himself in Salius' way, And Salius tripped and sprawling lay. CONINGTON, AEneid, BOOK V.
This gave the victory to Euryalus, but Salius protested against the foul play by which he had been defeated, and claimed that he was entitled to the first prize. AEneas, however, decided that the prize should go to him who had actually reached the goal first. Nevertheless, he gave Salius a lion's hide, heavy with shaggy fur and gilt claws. Nisus, too, claimed a reward, and AEneas sympathising with his misfortune, presented to him a shield of beautiful workmanship, which had been taken from the pillars of Neptune's temple in the city of Troy.
Games of boxing and archery—shooting with bows and arrows—came next. In the latter contest, king Acestes and Mnestheus took part. The other competitors were Eu-ry'ti-on and Hip-poc'o-on. For a mark to shoot at, they tied a pigeon to the top of a tall mast set firmly in the ground. Hippocoon won the first chance in the drawing of lots. His arrow struck the mast with such force that it fixed itself in the wood. The arrow of Mnestheus broke the cord by which the pigeon was attached to the mast, and as she flew off, Eurytion discharged his shaft with so true an aim that it killed the bird. Acestes, who had drawn the last lot, now fired, though there was nothing to shoot at, but his arrow as it winged its way high into the air, presented to the spectators a marvelous sight.
E'en in the mid expanse of skies The arrow kindles as it flies, Behind it draws a fiery glare, Then wasting, vanishes in air. CONINGTON, AEneid, BOOK V.
AEneas interpreted this wonderful event as a sign of the will of the gods that Acestes should receive the honors of victory, and so he presented to him a goblet embossed in gold, which bad belonged to his father Anchises. But prizes were given to Eurytion also and to the other archers. Then followed the last of the games of the day, a grand exhibition of horsemanship, in which a number of the Trojan youth,— chief amongst them the boy Iulus,—took the leading part.
Thus did AEneas pay honor to his father's memory. Meantime the unrelenting Juno was devising schemes to prevent the hero and his companions from reaching their promised land. With this object she sent her messenger I'ris down to the Trojan women, who sat together on the shore while the men were assembled at their games, for at these exercises females were not allowed to be spectators. As the women sat on the beach, looking out upon the sea, they thought and talked of the hardships they had endured during their long wanderings, and lamented their wretched lot in having still so much to suffer before they could find permanent homes to settle in.
"Alas! (said one) what oceans yet remain For us to sail! what labors to sustain!" All take the word, and, with a general groan Implore the gods for peace, and places of their own. DRYDEN, AEneid, BOOK V.
Iris joined in these complaints, and they thought she was one of themselves, for she had assumed the appearance and dress of a Trojan, and pretended to be Ber'o-e, a Trojan woman who was just then on a sick bed in her own chamber. "Unhappy are we," cried the false Beroe; "far better for us would it have been if we had died by the hands of the Greeks before the walls of our native city! What miserable doom does fortune reserve for us? The seventh year since the destruction of Troy has already passed, and yet, after having wandered over so many lands and seas, we still pursue an ever-fleeing Italy; and we are tossed on the waves. Why should we not settle here in Sicily? Come then and let us burn those cursed ships. For in my sleep the prophetess Cassandra seemed to present me with flaming brands and to say, 'Seek here for a new Troy, here is your home.' Therefore let there be no further delay. Now is the time for action."
With these words she seized a brand from a fire on an altar close by, and hurled it towards the ships. But at this point one of the women, Pyr'go by name, who had just then joined the party, discovered that it was not Beroe who had been speaking, for she recognized in the eyes and voice and gait, the resemblance of a goddess.
"No Beroe, matrons, have you here, See, breathing in her face appear Signs of celestial life; Observe her eyes, how bright they shine; Mien, accent, walk are all divine. Beroe herself I left but now Sick and outworn, with clouded brow, That she alone should fail to pay Due reverence to Anchises' day." CONINGTON, AEneid, BOOK V
As Pyrgo ceased speaking, Iris, assuming her own form, mounted into the sky. Then the Trojan women, astonished at what they had seen, and excited almost to madness, cried out with a loud voice, and, seizing brands from the altars, they rushed to the ships.
They shriek aloud; they snatch with impious hands The food of altars; firs and flaming brands, Green boughs and saplings, mingled in their haste, And smoking torches, on the ships they cast. DRYDEN, AEneid, BOOK V.
The ships were now on fire and the alarm quickly reaching the men, they rushed to the shore and endeavored to subdue the flames, while the women already regretting their folly, fled in terror from the scene. But in spite of the efforts of the men the fire rapidly spread, and it seemed as if the entire Trojan fleet was doomed to destruction. Then the pious AEneas, with upraised hands, prayed to Jupiter for help, and immediately there came a great rain-storm, and the water descended in torrents, until every spark was extinguished. Four of the ships, however, were destroyed.
AEneas was much distressed by this misfortune, and he began to think that it might be better, even in disregard of the fates, and the prophecies, to remain in Sicily, than to make any further attempt to reach the promised Italian land. But one of his people, an old and a very wise man, named Nau'tes, strongly urged that the will of the gods ought to be obeyed. As to those who were weary of the enterprise—the aged, the feeble, and such of the women as were not willing to undergo further fatigues at sea-he advised that they should be left under the protection of Acestes, who, being himself of Trojan blood, would doubtless grant them a settlement in his kingdom.
"Your friend Acestes is of Trojan kind; To him disclose the secrets of your mind; Here you may build a common town for all, And, from Acestes' name, Acesta call." DRYDEN, AEneid, BOOK V.
While AEneas was still in doubt what course to pursue, his father appeared to him in a dream and bade him do as Nautes had advised. Acestes willingly consented, and so a Trojan colony was formed in Sicily, and AEneas marked out with a plow the boundaries of the new city, which he called after the king's name. Soon afterwards preparations for departure were made, and AEneas set sail, accompanied by all of his people who were still willing to follow his fortunes, and strong enough to endure further toils and hardships.
They had a safe voyage to Italy, for Venus had entreated Neptune to protect her son and his fleet.
The god of the ocean was favorable, and he promised to take care that the Trojans should reach their destination in safety. But there was to be one exception. "One life," he said, "shall be given for many." The victim was the famous pilot Palinurus, and the poet tells us that his fate was brought about by the action of Som'nus, the god of sleep.
This god taking upon himself the likeness of Phor'bas, one of the sons of Priam, who was killed during the Trojan war, appeared to Palinurus during one of the watches of the night, and tried to persuade him to lie down and sleep, while he himself would stand at the helm and steer the ship. But Palinurus refused to quit his post. Then the treacherous god waved before his eyes a branch that had been dipped in the Stygian Le'the, the fabled river of forgetfulness, and soon the pilot dropped off into a deep slumber, during which Somnus leaning heavily upon him, plunged him headlong into the waves.
AEneas was deeply grieved at the loss of his faithful pilot. He himself took charge of the ship, and the whole fleet, secure under the protection of Neptune, reached the Italian coast without further mishap.
V. THE SIBYL OF CUMAE—THE GOLDEN BOUGH—IN THE REGIONS OF THE DEAD.
AEneas was now in Italy, but not in the part of it where the destined city was to be founded. The prophet, Helenus, as we have seen, had directed him that when he reached the Hesperian land he should visit the Cu-mae'an Sibyl, and learn from her what difficulties he was yet to encounter, and how to overcome them. Cumae, where the Sibyl dwelt, was on the coast of Cam-pa'ni-a, and to this place, therefore, AEneas directed his course after leaving Sicily. Having safely landed, the hero lost no time in making his way to the temple of Apollo, for in a cave adjoining this temple and communicating with it by a hundred doors and as many avenues or corridors, the Sibyl gave her answers.
There were many sibyls in ancient times. The most celebrated was the Sibyl of Cumae. She had several names, but the one adopted by Vergil is De-iph'o-be. Apollo once fell in love with this Sibyl and he promised to give her whatever she should ask if she would marry him. Deiphobe asked to live as many years as she had grains of sand in her hand at the time. She forgot, however, to ask for the continuance of health and youth, of which she was then in possession. Apollo granted her request but she refused to perform her part of the bargain, and soon afterwards she became aged and feeble. She had already lived seven hundred years when AEneas came into Italy, and she had three centuries more to live before her years would be as numerous as the grains of sand which she had held in her hand.
As AEneas with several of his companions approached the cave, they were met at the outer entrance by the Sibyl herself. Then the Trojan hero, after a prayer to Apollo, begged the good will of the prophetess that her answers might be favorable to him and his people.
"And thou, O sacred maid, inspired to see The event of things in dark futurity! Give me, what heaven has promised to my fate, To conquer and command the Latian state; To fix my wandering gods, and find a place For the long exiles of the Trojan race." DRYDEN, AEneid, BOOK VI.
Nor did AEneas forget to beg the Sibyl, as Helenus had directed him, to give her revelations by word of mouth, and not on leaves of trees, as was her custom.
"But, oh! commit not thy prophetic mind To flitting leaves, the sport of every wind, Lest they disperse in air our empty fate; Write not, but, what the powers ordain, relate." DRYDEN, AEneid, BOOK VI.
The Sibyl graciously consented, and then the spirit of prophecy having moved her, she told AEneas of the dangers that yet lay before him, dangers far more formidable than any he had hitherto encountered.
"Escaped the dangers of the watery reign, Yet more and greater ills by land remain. The coast so long desired (nor doubt the event), Thy troops shall reach, but, having reached, repent. Wars! horrid wars, I view!—a field of blood, And Tiber rolling with a purple flood." DRYDEN, AEneid, BOOK VI.
But AEneas was not discouraged by this terrible prophecy. He was ready, he said, to meet the worst that could come, and now he was about to undertake an enterprise more arduous than any the soothsayers had told him of. This was a descent into the regions of Pluto—the land of the dead—to visit the shade of his father, who in a dream had requested him to do so, telling him that the Cumaean Sibyl would be his guide, for the entrance to the Lower World was near Lake A-ver'nus, not far from the cave of the prophetess.
AEneas, therefore, entreated the Sibyl to consent to be his conductor that so he might comply with his father's wish. In reply to this request the prophetess warned the Trojan chief that the undertaking was one of great danger. The descent into the kingdom of Pluto, she said, was easy, but, to return to the upper world—that was a task difficult for mortals to accomplish. Few there were who had entered the gloomy realms of Dis, to whom it had been permitted ever to retrace their steps.
"The journey down to the abyss Is prosperous and light; The palace-gates of gloomy Dis Stand open day and night; But upward to retrace the way And pass into the light of day, There comes the stress of labor; this May task a hero's might." CONINGTON, AEneid, BOOK VI.
Nevertheless if AEneas were still determined on this perilous journey she was willing to aid him and be his guide. But one thing, she said, must first be done. In the woods around the cave was a tree on which grew a bough with leaves and twigs of gold.
No mortal could enter Hades without this bough to present to Pro-ser'pi-na, the queen of Pluto. When the bough was torn off, a second, also of gold, immediately sprung up. It had to be sought for diligently, and when discovered it had to be grasped firmly with the hand. If the fates should be favorable to the enterprise, the bough could be plucked easily; otherwise, the strength of man could not tear it from the tree, nor could it be lopped off even with the sharpest sword.
Here was a formidable difficulty. How was AEneas to find out the wonderful tree? The Sibyl told him only that it was in the woods, and the searching might be long and fruitless. But again his never-failing friend came to his aid. While he was searching the wood with some of his companions, two doves suddenly appeared, and alighted on the ground before them. AEneas knew that they had come from his goddess- mother, the dove being the favorite bird of Venus.
He knew his mother's birds; and thus he prayed: "Be you my guides, with your auspicious aid, And lead my footsteps, till the branch be found, Whose glittering shadow gilds the sacred ground." DRYDEN, AEneid, BOOK VI.
The branch was soon found, for the doves, fluttering away, yet keeping within view of AEneas, presently perched upon a tree, and from out the foliage of this tree, as the Trojan chief approached it, there flashed upon his eyes the gleam of the golden bough. Eagerly he plucked off the branch, and gladly bore it to the cave of the Sibyl.
They now set out on their perilous journey. At the mouth of the gloomy cavern by the side of Lake Avernus, which was the opening to the road that led to Hades—the kingdom of the dead—they offered sacrifices to the gods. Then they plunged into the cave, the Sibyl going first, and AEneas following with sword drawn, as his guide had directed. Many strange and terrible sights they saw on the way.