EVERYMAN'S LIBRARY EDITED BY ERNEST RHYS
THE AENEID OF VIRGIL
THE SAGES OF OLD LIVE AGAIN IN US. GLANVILL
The AENEID OF VIRGIL
TRANSLATED INTO ENGLISH VERSE BY E. FAIRFAX TAYLOR
LONDON: PUBLISHED by J. M. DENT & SONS LTD. AND IN NEW YORK BY E. P. DUTTON & CO.
First issue of this Edition 1907. Reprinted 1910.
Virgil—Publius Vergilius Maro—was born at Andes near Mantua, in the year 70 B.C. His life was uneventful, though he lived in stirring times, and he passed by far the greater part of it in reading his books and writing his poems, undisturbed by the fierce civil strife which continued to rage throughout the Roman Empire, until Octavian, who afterwards became the Emperor Augustus, defeated Antony at the battle of Actium. Though his father was a man of humble origin, Virgil received an excellent education, first at Cremona and Milan, and afterwards at Rome. He was intimate with all the distinguished men of his time, and a personal friend of the Emperor. After the publication of his second work, the Georgics, he was recognized as being the greatest poet of his age, and the most striking figure in the brilliant circle of literary men, which was centred at the Court. He died at Brindisi in the spring of 19 B.C. whilst returning from a journey to Greece, leaving his greatest work, the Aeneid, written but unrevised. It was published by his executors, and immediately took its place as the great national Epic of the Roman people. Virgil seems to have been a man of simple, pure, and loveable character, and the references to him in the works of Horace clearly show the affection with which he was regarded by his friends.
Like every cultivated Roman of that age, Virgil was a close student of the literature and philosophy of the Greeks, and his poems bear eloquent testimony to the profound impression made upon him by his reading of the Greek poets. His first important work, the Eclogues, was directly inspired by the pastoral poems of Theocritus, from whom he borrowed not only much of his imagery but even whole lines; in the Georgics he took as his model the Works and Days of Hesiod, and though in the former case it must be confessed that he suffers from the weakness inherent in all imitative poetry, in the latter he far surpasses the slow and simple verses of the Boeotian. But here we must guard ourselves against a misapprehension. We moderns look askance at the writer who borrows without acknowledgment the thoughts and phrases of his forerunners, but the Roman critics of the Augustan Age looked at the matter from a different point of view. They regarded the Greeks as having set the standard of the highest possible achievement in literature, and believed that it should be the aim of every writer to be faithful, not only to the spirit, but even to the letter of their great exemplars. Hence it was only natural that when Virgil essayed the task of writing the national Epic of his country, he should be studious to embody in his work all that was best in Greek Epic poetry.
It is difficult in criticizing Virgil to avoid comparing him to some extent with Homer. But though Virgil copied Homer freely, any comparison between them is apt to be misleading. A primitive epic, like the Iliad or the Nibelungenlied, produced by an imaginative people at an early stage in its development, telling its stories simply for the sake of story telling, cannot be judged by the same canons of criticism as a literary epic like the Aeneid or Paradise Lost, which is the work of a great poet in an age of advanced culture, and sets forth a great idea in a narrative form. The Greek writer to whom Virgil owes most perhaps, is Apollonius of Rhodes, from whose Argonautica he borrowed the love interest of the Aeneid. And though the Roman is a far greater poet, in this instance the advantage is by no means on his side, for, as Professor Gilbert Murray has so well said, 'the Medea and Jason of the Argonautica are at once more interesting and more natural than their copies, the Dido and Aeneas of the Aeneid. The wild love of the witch-maiden sits curiously on the queen and organizer of industrial Carthage; and the two qualities which form an essential part of Jason—the weakness which makes him a traitor, and the deliberate gentleness which contrasts him with Medea—seem incongruous in the father of Rome.' But though Virgil turned to the Greek epics for the general framework and many of the details of his poem, he always remains master of his materials, and stamps them with the impress of his own genius. The spirit which inspires the Aeneid is wholly Roman, and the deep faith in the National Destiny, and stern sense of duty to which it gives expression, its profoundly religious character and stately and melodious verse, have always caused it to be recognized as the loftiest expression of the dignity and greatness of Rome at her best. But the sympathetic reader will be conscious of a deeper and more abiding charm in the poetry of Virgil. Even in his most splendid passages his verses thrill us with a strange pathos, and his sensitiveness to unseen things—things beautiful and sad—has caused a great writer, himself a master of English prose, to speak of 'his single words and phrases, his pathetic half lines, giving utterance as the voice of Nature herself to that pain and weariness, yet hope of better things, which is the experience of her children in every age.'
The task of translating such a writer at all adequately may well seem to be an almost impossible one; and how far any of the numerous attempts to do so have succeeded, is a difficult question. For not only does the stated ideal at which the translator should aim, vary with each generation, but perhaps no two lovers of Virgil would agree at any period as to what this ideal should be. Two general principles stand out from the mass of conflicting views on this point. The translation should read as though it were an original poem, and it should produce on the modern reader as far as possible the same effect as the original produced on Virgil's contemporaries. And here we reach the real difficulty, for the scholar who can alone judge what that effect may have been, is too intimate with the original to see clearly the merits of a translation, and the man who can only read the translation can form no opinion. However, it seems clear that a prose translation can never really satisfy us, because it must always be wanting in the musical quality of continuous verse. And our critical experience bears this out, since even Professor Mackail with all his literary skill and insight has failed to make his version of the Aeneid more than a very valuable aid to the student of the original. The meaning of the poet is fully expressed, but his music has been lost. That oft-quoted line—
'Sunt lacrimae rerum et mentem mortalia tangunt'
haunts us like Tennyson's
'When unto dying eyes The casement slowly grows a glimmering square,'
and no prose rendering can hope to convey the poignancy and pathos of the original. The ideal translation, then, must be in verse, and perhaps the best way for us to determine which style and metre are most suited to convey to the modern reader an impression of the charm of Virgil, will be to take a brief glance at some of the best-known of the verse translations which have appeared.
The first translation of the Aeneid into English verse was that of Gawin Douglas, bishop of Dunkeld in Scotland, which was published in 1553. It is a spirited translation, marked by considerable native force and verisimilitude, and it was certainly unsurpassed until that of Dryden appeared. In the best passages it renders the tone and feeling of the original with extreme felicity—indeed, all but perfectly. Take for instance this passage from the Sixth Book—
'Thai walking furth fa dyrk, oneth thai wyst Quhidder thai went, amyd dym schaddowys thar, Quhar evir is nycht, and nevir lyght dois repar, Throwout the waist dongion of Pluto Kyng, Thai voyd boundis, and that gowsty ryng: Siklyke as quha wold throw thik woddis wend In obscure licht, quhen moyn may nocht be kenned; As Jupiter the kyng etheryall, With erdis skug hydis the hevynnys all And the myrk nycht, with her vissage gray, From every thing hes reft the hew away.'
But in spite of its merits, its dialect wearies the modern reader, and gives it an air of grotesqueness which is very alien to the spirit of the Latin. One other sixteenth-century translation deserves notice, as it was written by one who was himself a distinguished poet; namely, the version of the second and fourth books of the Aeneid written by Henry, Earl of Surrey. It gained the commendation of that stern critic Ascham, who praises Surrey for avoiding rhyme, but considers that he failed to 'fully hit perfect and true versifying'; which is hardly a matter for wonder since English blank verse was then in its infancy. But it has some fine passages—notably the one which relates the death of Dido—
'As she had said, her damsell might perceue Her with these wordes fal pearced on a sword The blade embrued and hands besprent with gore. The clamor rang unto the pallace toppe, The brute ranne throughout al thastoined towne, With wailing great, and women's shrill yelling, The roofs gan roare, the aire resound with plaint, As though Cartage, or thauncient town of Tyre With prease of entred enemies swarmed full, Or when the rage of furious flame doth take The temples toppes, and mansions eke of men.'
Of the translations into modern English, that of Dryden may still be said to stand first, in spite of its lack of fidelity. It owes its place to its sustained vigour, and the fact that the heroic couplet is in the hands of a master. In its way nothing could be better than—
'Just in the gate, and in the jaws of hell, Revengeful cares, and sullen sorrows dwell, And pale diseases, and repining age— Want, fear, and famine's unresisted rage, Here toils and death, and death's half-brother sleep, Forms terrible to view, their sentry keep. With anxious pleasures of a guilty mind, Deep frauds, before, and open force behind; The Furies' iron beds, and strife that shakes Her hissing tresses, and unfolds her snakes.'
But though the heroic couplet may have conveyed to Dryden's age something of the effect of the Virgilian hexameter, it does nothing of the kind to us. Probably we are prejudiced in the matter by Pope's Homer.
Professor Conington's translation certainly has spirit and energy, but he was decidedly unfortunate in his choice of metre. To attempt to render 'the stateliest measure ever moulded by the lips of man' by fluent octosyllabics was bound to result in incongruity, as in the following passage, where the sombre warning of the Sibyl to Aeneas becomes merely a sprightly reminder that—
'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 labour; this May task a hero's might.'
The various attempts that have been made to translate the poem in the metre of the original have all been sad failures. And from Richard Stanyhurst, whom Thomas Nash described as treading 'a foul, lumbering, boistrous, wallowing measure, in his translation of Virgil,' down to our own time, no one has succeeded in avoiding faults of monotony and lack of poetical quality. A short extract from Dr. Crane's translation will illustrate this very clearly—
'No species of hardships, Longer, O maiden, arises before me as strange and unlooked for: All things have I foreknown, and in soul have already endured them. One special thing I crave, since here, it is said, that the gateway Stands of the monarch infernal, and refluent Acheron's dark pool: Let it be mine to go down to the sight and face of my cherished Father, and teach me the way, and the sacred avenues open.'
Nor is William Morris' attempt to devise a new metre anything but disappointing. It is surprising that so delightfully endowed a poet should have so often missed the music of Virgil's verse as he has done in his translation, and the archaisms with which his work abounds, though they might be suitable in a translation of Homer, are only a source of irritation in the case of Virgil.
For the best metre to use we must look in a different direction. Virgil made use of the dactylic hexameter because it was the literary tradition of his day that epics should be written in that metre. In the same way it might be argued, the English tradition points to blank verse as the correct medium. This may be so, but its use demands that the translator should be as great a poet as Virgil. Had Tennyson ever translated the Aeneid, it would doubtless have been as nearly faultless as any translation could be, as is shown by the version of Sir Theodore Martin, which owes so much of its stately charm to its close adherence to the manner of Tennyson. A typical passage is the description of Dido's love for Aeneas—
'Soothsayers, ah! how little do they know! Of what avail are temples, vows, and prayers, To quell a raging passion? All the while A subtle flame is smouldering in her veins, And in her heart a silent aching wound.
* * * * *
Now Dido leads Aeneas round the ramparts, to him shows The wealth of Sidon, all the town laid out, Begins to speak, then stops, she knows not why. Now, as day wanes, the feast of yesterday She gives again, again with fevered lips Begs for the tale of Troy and all its woes, And hangs upon his lips, who tells the tale. Then, when the guests are gone and in her turn The wan moon pales her light, and waning stars Persuade to sleep, she in her empty halls Mourns all alone, and throws herself along The couch where he had lain: though he be gone Far from her side, she hears and sees him still.'
Of the merits of the present translation the reader will judge for himself; but it may perhaps be said of the usual objections urged against the Spenserian stanza—that it is cumbrous and monotonous, and presents difficulties of construction—that the two former criticisms will be just or the reverse, according to the skill of the writer, while it is quite possible that the last is really an advantage, for the intricate machinery imposes a restraint on careless or hasty composition. And finally we must turn a deaf ear, even to so high an authority as Matthew Arnold, when he says that it is not suited to the grand manner. When he said this he cannot have remembered either the lament of Florimell in the Faerie Queene or the conclusion of Childe Harold.
J. P. MAINE.
Edward Fairfax Taylor, whose translation of the Aeneid is now published, was descended from the Taylors of Norwich, a family well known for their culture and intellectual gifts. He was the only son of John Edward Taylor, himself an accomplished German and Italian scholar, and the first translator of the Pentamerone into English, who lived at Weybridge near his aunt, Mrs. Sarah Austin. Brought up among books, young Taylor early showed an intense love for classical literature, and soon after going to Marlborough he began the present translation as a boy of sixteen. His admiration for Spenser led him to adopt the Spenserian stanza, and in the preface to his translation of the first two books he gives detailed reasons for considering it peculiarly well adapted for the Aeneid. He was a favourite pupil of the late Dr. Bradley, Dean of Westminster, at that time headmaster of Marlborough, and who much wished that he should follow in the footsteps of 'that brilliant band of Marlborough men,' as they have been called, who at that time, year after year, gained the Balliol scholarship. But circumstances made him decide otherwise, and in 1865 he passed the necessary examination for a clerkship in the House of Lords. The long vacations gave him time to continue this labour of love, and in the intervals of much other literary work, and in spite of ill health, he completed the translation of the twelve books of the Aeneid. He looked forward to re-editing it and bringing it out when he should have retired from his work in the House of Lords, but this day never came, and he died from heart disease in January 1902. His was a singularly charming disposition, and he was beloved by all who knew him; while the courage and patience with which he bore ever-increasing suffering, and the stoicism he showed in fulfilling his duties in the House of Lords, have left a deep impression on all his friends.
The Edisso Princeps, of Virgil is that printed at Rome by Sweynham and Pannartz. It was not dated, but it is almost certain that it was printed before the Venice folio edition of V. de Spira, which was issued in 1470. The best modern critical editions of the text are those of Ribbeck (4 vols. 1895) and F. A. Hirtzel (Scriptorum Classicorum Bibliotheca Oxoniensis, 1900). Of the editions containing explanatory notes, that of Conington and Nettleship, revised by Haverfield, is the standard English commentary. That of A. Sidgwick (2 vols. Cambridge) is more elementary, but will be found valuable. Those of Kennedy (London, 1879) and of Papillon and Haigh (Oxford, 2 vols. 1890-91) may also be referred to.
Virgil was first introduced to English readers by William Caxton in 1490. But his Eneydos was based, not on the Aeneid itself, but on a French paraphrase, the liure des eneydes, printed at Lyons in 1483.
The best modern prose translations are those of Mackail (London, 1885) and Conington (London, 1870).
The following is a list of the more important verse translations of the Aeneid which have appeared. The name of the translator, and the date at which his translation appeared, are given:—Gawin Douglas, 1553 (see Introduction, p. xi); Henry, Earl of Surrey, 1557 (Books II. and IV. only); J. Dryden, 1697; C. R. Kennedy, 1861; J. Conington, 1866; W. Morris, 1876; W. J. Thornhill, 1886; Sir Charles Bowen, 1887 (Books I.-VI. only); J. Rhoades, 1893 (Books I.-VI. only); Sir Theodore Martin, 1896 (Books I.-VI. only); T. H. D. May, 1903; E. Fairfax Taylor, 1903.
Students of Virgil would also do well to consult Sellar, Poets of the Augustan Age (Oxford, 1883), and Nettleship, Introduction to the Study of Vergil.
THE AENEID OF VIRGIL
Fate sends AEneas to Latium to found Rome, but Juno's hostility long delays his success (1-45). Descrying him and his Trojans in sight of Italy, she bribes AEolus to raise a storm for their destruction (46-99). The tempest (100-116). The despair of AEneas (117-126). One Trojan ship is already lost, when Neptune learns the plot and lays the storm (127-189). AEneas escapes, lands in Libya, and heartens his men (190-261). Venus appeals to Jupiter, who comforts her with assurance that AEneas shall yet be great in Italy. His son shall found Alba and his son's sons Rome. Juno shall eventually relent, and Rome under Augustus shall be empress of the world (262-351). Mercury is sent to secure from Dido, Queen of Libya, a welcome for AEneas. AEneas and Achates, while reconnoitring, meet Venus in the forest disguised as a nymph. She tells them Dido's story. AEneas in reply bewails his own troubles, but is interrupted with promises of success. Let him but persist, all will be well (352-478). Venus changes before their eyes from nymph to goddess, and vanishes before AEneas can utter his reproaches. Hidden in a magic mist, the pair approach Carthage, which they find still building. They reach the citadel unobserved, and are encouraged on seeing pictures of scenes from the Trojan war (479-576). Dido appears and takes her state. To her enter, as suppliants, Trojan leaders, whom AEneas had imagined dead. Ilioneus, their spokesman, tells the story of the storm and asks help. "If only AEneas were here!" (577-661). Dido speaks him fair and echoes his words, "If AEneas were here!" The mist scatters. AEneas appears; thanks Dido, and greets Ilioneus (662-723). Dido welcomes AEneas to Carthage and prepares a festival in his honour. AEneas sends Achates to summon his son and bring gifts for Dido (724-774). Cupid, persuaded by Venus to personate Ascanius and inspire Dido with love for AEneas, comes with the gifts to Dido's palace, while Ascanius is carried away to Idalia. The night is passed in feasting. After the feast Iopas sings the wonders of the firmament, and Dido, bewitched by Cupid, begs AEneas to tell the whole story of his adventures (775-891).
I. Of arms I sing, and of the man, whom Fate First drove from Troy to the Lavinian shore. Full many an evil, through the mindful hate Of cruel Juno, from the gods he bore, Much tost on earth and ocean, yea, and more In war enduring, ere he built a home, And his loved household-deities brought o'er To Latium, whence the Latin people come, Whence rose the Alban sires, and walls of lofty Rome.
II. O Muse, assist me and inspire my song, The various causes and the crimes relate, For what affronted majesty, what wrong To injured Godhead, what offence so great Heaven's Queen resenting, with remorseless hate, Could one renowned for piety compel To brave such troubles, and endure the weight Of toils so many and so huge. O tell How can in heavenly minds such fierce resentment dwell?
III. There stood a city, fronting far away The mouths of Tiber and Italia's shore, A Tyrian settlement of olden day, Rich in all wealth, and trained to war's rough lore, Carthage the name, by Juno loved before All places, even Samos. Here were shown Her arms, and here her chariot; evermore E'en then this land she cherished as her own, And here, should Fate permit, had planned a world-wide throne.
IV. But she had heard, how men of Trojan seed Those Tyrian towers should level, how again From these in time a nation should proceed, Wide-ruling, tyrannous in war, the bane (So Fate was working) of the Libyan reign. This feared she, mindful of the war beside Waged for her Argives on the Trojan plain; Nor even yet had from her memory died The causes of her wrath, the pangs of wounded pride,—
V. The choice of Paris, and her charms disdained, The hateful race, the lawless honours ta'en By ravished Ganymede—these wrongs remained. So fired with rage, the Trojans' scanty train By fierce Achilles and the Greeks unslain She barred from Latium, and in evil strait For many a year, on many a distant main They wandered, homeless outcasts, tost by Fate; So huge, so hard the task to found the Roman state.
VI. Scarce out of sight of Sicily, they set Their sails to sea, and merrily ploughed the main, With brazen beaks, when Juno, harbouring yet Within her breast the ever-rankling pain, Mused thus: "Must I then from the work refrain, Nor keep this Trojan from the Latin throne, Baffled, forsooth, because the Fates constrain? Could Pallas burn the Grecian fleet, and drown Their crews, for one man's crime, Oileus' frenzied son?
VII. "She, hurling Jove's winged lightning, stirred the deep And strewed the ships. Him, from his riven breast The flames outgasping, with a whirlwind's sweep She caught and fixed upon a rock's sharp crest. But I, who walk the Queen of Heaven confessed, Jove's sister-spouse, shall I forevermore With one poor tribe keep warring without rest? Who then henceforth shall Juno's power adore? Who then her fanes frequent, her deity implore?"
VIII. Such thoughts revolving in her fiery mind, Straightway the Goddess to AEolia passed, The storm-clouds' birthplace, big with blustering wind. Here AEolus within a dungeon vast The sounding tempest and the struggling blast Bends to his sway and bridles them with chains. They, in the rock reverberant held fast, Moan at the doors. Here, throned aloft, he reigns; His sceptre calms their rage, their violence restrains:
IX. Else earth and sea and all the firmament The winds together through the void would sweep. But, fearing this, the Sire omnipotent Hath buried them in caverns dark and deep, And o'er them piled huge mountains in a heap, And set withal a monarch, there to reign, By compact taught at his command to keep Strict watch, and tighten or relax the rein. Him now Saturnia sought, and thus in lowly strain:
X. "O AEolus, for Jove, of human kind And Gods the sovran Sire, hath given to thee To lull the waves and lift them with the wind, A hateful people, enemies to me, Their ships are steering o'er the Tuscan sea, Bearing their Troy and vanquished gods away To Italy. Go, set the storm-winds free, And sink their ships or scatter them astray, And strew their corpses forth, to weltering waves a prey.
XI. "Twice seven nymphs have I, beautiful to see; One, Deiopeia, fairest of the fair, In lasting wedlock will I link to thee, Thy life-long years for such deserts to share, And make thee parent of an offspring fair."— "Speak, Queen," he answered, "to obey is mine. To thee I owe this sceptre and whate'er Of realm is here; thou makest Jove benign, Thou giv'st to rule the storms and sit at feasts divine."
XII. So spake the God and with her hest complied, And turned the massive sceptre in his hand And pushed the hollow mountain on its side. Out rushed the winds, like soldiers in a band, In wedged array, and, whirling, scour the land. East, West and squally South-west, with a roar, Swoop down on Ocean, and the surf and sand Mix in dark eddies, and the watery floor Heave from its depths, and roll huge billows to the shore.
XIII. Then come the creak of cables and the cries Of seamen. Clouds the darkened heavens have drowned, And snatched the daylight from the Trojans' eyes. Black night broods on the waters; all around From pole to pole the rattling peals resound And frequent flashes light the lurid air. All nature, big with instant ruin, frowned Destruction. Then AEneas' limbs with fear Were loosened, and he groaned and stretched his hands in prayer:
XIV. "Thrice, four times blest, who, in their fathers' face Fell by the walls of Ilion far away! O son of Tydeus, bravest of the race, Why could not I have perished, too, that day Beneath thine arm, and breathed this soul away Far on the plains of Troy, where Hector brave Lay, pierced by fierce AEacides, where lay Giant Sarpedon, and swift Simois' wave Rolls heroes, helms and shields, whelmed in one watery grave?"
XV. E'en as he cried, the hurricane from the North Struck with a roar against the sail. Up leap The waves to heaven; the shattered oars start forth; Round swings the prow, and lets the waters sweep The broadside. Onward comes a mountain heap Of billows, gaunt, abrupt. These, horsed astride A surge's crest, rock pendent o'er the deep; To those the wave's huge hollow, yawning wide, Lays bare the ground below; dark swells the sandy tide.
XVI. Three ships the South-wind catching hurls away On hidden rocks, which (Latins from of yore Have called them "Altars") in mid ocean lay, A huge ridge level with the tide. Three more Fierce Eurus from the deep sea dashed ashore On quicks and shallows, pitiful to view, And round them heaped the sandbanks. One, that bore The brave Orontes and his Lycian crew, Full in AEneas' sight a toppling wave o'erthrew.
XVII. Dashed from the tiller, down the pilot rolled. Thrice round the billow whirled her, as she lay, Then whelmed below. Strewn here and there behold Arms, planks, lone swimmers in the surges grey, And treasures snatched from Trojan homes away. Now fail the ships wherein Achates ride And Abas; old Aletes' bark gives way, And brave Ilioneus'. Each loosened side Through many a gaping seam lets in the baleful tide.
XVIII. Meanwhile great Neptune, sore amazed, perceived The storm let loose, the turmoil of the sky, And ocean from its lowest depths upheaved. With calm brow lifted o'er the sea, his eye Beholds Troy's navy scattered far and nigh, And by the waves and ruining heaven oppressed The Trojan crews. Nor failed he to espy His sister's wiles and hatred. East and West He summoned to his throne, and thus his wrath expressed.
XIX. "What pride of birth possessed you, Earth and air Without my leave to mingle in affray, And raise such hubbub in my realm? Beware— Yet first 'twere best these billows to allay. Far other coin hereafter ye shall pay For crimes like these. Presumptuous winds, begone, And take your king this message, that the sway Of Ocean and the sceptre and the throne Fate gave to me, not him; the trident is my own.
XX. "He holds huge rocks; these, Eurus, are for thee, There let him glory in his hall and reign, But keep his winds close prisoners." Thus he, And, ere his speech was ended, smoothed the main, And chased the clouds and brought the sun again. Triton, Cymothoe from the rock's sharp brow Push off the vessels. Neptune plies amain His trident-lever, lays the sandbanks low, On light wheels shaves the deep, and calms the billowy flow.
XXI. As when in mighty multitudes bursts out Sedition, and the wrathful rabble rave; Rage finds them arms; stones, firebrands fly about, Then if some statesman reverend and grave, Stand forth conspicuous, and the tumult brave All, hushed, attend; his guiding words restrain Their angry wills; so sank the furious wave, When through the clear sky looking o'er the main, The sea-king lashed his steeds and slacked the favouring rein.
XXII. Tired out, the Trojans seek the nearest land And turn to Libya.—In a far retreat There lies a haven; towards the deep doth stand An island, on whose jutting headlands beat The broken billows, shivered into sleet. Two towering crags, twin giants, guard the cove, And threat the skies. The waters at their feet Sleep hushed, and, like a curtain, frowns above, Mixt with the glancing green, the darkness of the grove.
XXIII. Beneath a precipice, that fronts the wave, With limpid springs inside, and many a seat Of living marble, lies a sheltered cave, Home of the Sea-Nymphs. In this haven sweet Cable nor biting anchor moors the fleet. Here with seven ships, the remnant of his band, AEneas enters. Glad at length to greet The welcome earth, the Trojans leap to land, And lay their weary limbs still dripping on the sand.
XXIV. First from a flint a spark Achates drew, And lit the leaves and dry wood heaped with care And set the fuel flaming, as he blew. Then, tired of toiling, from the ships they bear The sea-spoiled corn, and Ceres' tools prepare, And 'twixt the millstones grind the rescued grain And roast the pounded morsels for their fare: While up the crag AEneas climbs, to gain Full prospect far and wide, and scan the distant main.
XXV. If aught of Phrygian biremes he discern Antheus or Capys, tost upon the seas, Or arms of brave Caicus high astern. No sail, but wandering on the shore he sees Three stags, and, grazing up the vale at ease, The whole herd troops behind them in a row. He stops, and from Achates hastes to seize His chance-brought arms, the arrows and the bow, The branching antlers smites, and lays the leader low.
XXVI. Next fall the herd; and through the leafy glade In mingled rout he drives the scattered train, Plying his shafts, nor stays his conquering raid Till seven huge bodies on the ground lie slain, The number of his vessels; then again He seeks the crews, and gives a deer to each, Then opes the casks, which good Acestes, fain At parting, filled on the Trinacrian beach, And shares the wine, and soothes their drooping hearts with speech.
XXVII. "Comrades! of ills not ignorant; far more Than these ye suffered, and to these as well Will Jove give ending, as he gave before. Ye know mad Scylla, and her monsters' yell, And the dark caverns where the Cyclops dwell. Fear not; take heart; hereafter, it may be These too will yield a pleasant tale to tell. Through shifting hazards, by the Fates' decree, To Latin shores we steer, our promised land to see.
XXVIII. "There quiet settlements the Fates display, There Troy her ruined fortunes shall repair. Bear up; reserve you for a happier day." He spake, and heart-sick with a load of care, Suppressed his grief, and feigned a cheerful air. All straightway gird them to the feast. These flay The ribs and thighs, and lay the entrails bare. Those slice the flesh, and split the quivering prey, And tend the fires and set the cauldrons in array.
XXIX. So wine and venison, to their hearts' desire, Refreshed their strength. And when the feast was sped, Their missing friends in converse they require, Doubtful to deem them, betwixt hope and dread, Alive or out of hearing with the dead. All mourned, but good AEneas mourned the most, And bitter tears for Amycus he shed, Gyas, Cloanthus, bravest of his host, Lycus, Orontes bold, all counted with the lost.
XXX. Now came an end of mourning and of woe, When Jove, surveying from his prospect high Shore, sail-winged sea, and peopled earth below, Stood, musing, on the summit of the sky, And on the Libyan kingdom fixed his eye, To him, such cares revolving in his breast, Her shining eyes suffused with tears, came nigh Fair Venus, for her darling son distrest, And thus in sorrowing tones the Sire of heaven addressed;
XXXI. "O Thou, whose nod and awful bolts attest O'er Gods and men thine everlasting reign, Wherein hath my AEneas so transgressed, Wherein his Trojans, thus to mourn their slain, Barred from the world, lest Italy they gain? Surely from them the rolling years should see New sons of ancient Teucer rise again, The Romans, rulers of the land and sea. So swar'st thou; Father, say, why changed is thy decree?
XXXII. "That word consoled me, weighing fate with fate, For Troy's sad fall. Now Fortune, as before, Pursues the woe-worn victims of her hate. O when, great Monarch, shall their toil be o'er? Safe could Antenor pass th' Illyrian shore Through Danaan hosts, and realms Liburnian gain, And climb Timavus and her springs explore, Where through nine mouths, with roaring surge, the main Bursts from the sounding rocks and deluges the plain.
XXXIII. "Yet there he built Patavium, yea, and named The nation, and the Trojan arms laid down, And now rests happy in the town he framed. But we, thy progeny, to whom alone Thy nod hath promised a celestial throne, Our vessels lost, from Italy are barred, O shame! and ruined for the wrath of one. Thus, thus dost thou thy plighted word regard, Our sceptred realms restore, our piety reward?"
XXXIV. Then Jove, soft-smiling with the look that clears The storms, and gently kissing her, replies; "Firm are thy fates, sweet daughter; spare thy fears. Thou yet shalt see Lavinium's walls arise, And bear thy brave AEneas to the skies. My purpose shifts not. Now, to ease thy woes, Since sorrow for his sake hath dimmed thine eyes, More will I tell, and hidden fates disclose. He in Italia long shall battle with his foes,
XXXV. "And crush fierce tribes, and milder ways ordain, And cities build and wield the Latin sway, Till the third summer shall have seen him reign, And three long winter-seasons passed away Since fierce Rutulia did his arms obey. Then, too, the boy Ascanius, named of late Iulus—Ilus was he in the day When firm by royalty stood Ilium's state— Shall rule till thirty years complete the destined date.
XXXVI. "He from Lavinium shall remove his seat, And gird Long Alba for defence; and there 'Neath Hector's kin three hundred years complete The kingdom shall endure, till Ilia fair, Queen-priestess, twins by Mars' embrace shall bear. Then Romulus the nation's charge shall claim, Wolf-nursed and proud her tawny hide to wear, And build a city of Mavortian fame, And make the Roman race remembered by his name.
XXXVII. "To these no period nor appointed date, Nor bounds to their dominion I assign; An endless empire shall the race await. Nay, Juno, too, who now, in mood malign, Earth, sea and sky is harrying, shall incline To better counsels, and unite with me To cherish and uphold the imperial line, The Romans, rulers of the land and sea, Lords of the flowing gown. So standeth my decree.
XXXVIII. "In rolling ages there shall come the day When heirs of old Assaracus shall tame Phthia and proud Mycene to obey, And terms of peace to conquered Greeks proclaim. Caesar, a Trojan,—Julius his name, Drawn from the great Iulus—shall arise, And compass earth with conquest, heaven with fame, Him, crowned with vows and many an Eastern prize, Thou, freed at length from care, shalt welcome to the skies.
XXXIX. "Then wars shall cease and savage times grow mild, And Remus and Quirinus, brethren twain, With hoary Faith and Vesta undefiled, Shall give the law. With iron bolt and chain Firm-closed the gates of Janus shall remain. Within, the Fiend of Discord, high reclined On horrid arms, unheeded in the fane, Bound with a hundred brazen knots behind, And grim with gory jaws, his grisly teeth shall grind."
XL. So saying, the son of Maia down he sent, To open Carthage and the Libyan state, Lest Dido, weetless of the Fates' intent, Should drive the Trojan wanderers from her gate. With feathered oars he cleaves the skies, and straight On Libya's shores alighting, speeds his hest. The Tyrians, yielding to the god, abate Their fierceness. Dido, more than all the rest, Warms to her Phrygian friends, and wears a kindly breast.
XLI. But good AEneas, pondering through the night Distracting thoughts and many an anxious care, Resolved, when daybreak brought the gladsome light, To search the coast, and back sure tidings bear, What land was this, what habitants were there, If man or beast, for, far as the eye could rove, A wilderness the region seemed, and bare. His ships he hides within a sheltering cove, Screened by the caverned rock, and shadowed by the grove,
XLII. Then wielding in his hand two broad-tipt spears, Alone with brave Achates forth he strayed, When lo, before him in the wood appears His mother, in a virgin's arms arrayed, In form and habit of a Spartan maid, Or like Harpalyce, the pride of Thrace, Who tires swift steeds, and scours the woodland glade, And outstrips rapid Hebrus in the race. So fair the goddess seemed, apparelled for the chase.
XLIII. Bare were her knees, and from her shoulders hung The wonted bow, kept handy for the prey Her flowing raiment in a knot she strung, And loosed her tresses with the winds to play. "Ho, Sirs!" she hails them, "saw ye here astray Ought of my sisters, girt in huntress wise With quiver and a spotted lynx-skin gay, Or following on the foaming boar with cries?" Thus Venus spake, and thus fair Venus' son replies;
XLIV. "Nought of thy sisters have I heard or seen. What name, O maiden, shall I give to thee, For mortal never had thy voice or mien? O Goddess surely, whether Nymph I see, Or Phoebus' sister; whosoe'er thou be, Be kind, for strangers and in evil case We roam, tost hither by the stormy sea. Say, who the people, what the clime and place, And many a victim's blood thy hallowed shrine shall grace."
XLV. "Nay, nay, to no such honour I aspire." Said Venus, "But a simple maid am I, And 'tis the manner of the maids of Tyre To wear, like me, the quiver, and to tie The purple buskin round the ankles high. The realm thou see'st is Punic; Tyrians are The folk, the town Agenor's. Round them lie The Libyan plains, a people rough in war. Queen Dido rules the land, who came from Tyre afar,
XLVI. "Flying her brother. Dark the tale of crime, And long, but briefly be the sum supplied. Sychaeus was her lord, in happier time The richest of Phoenicians far and wide In land, and worshipped by his hapless bride. Her, in the bloom of maidenhood, her sire Had given him, and with virgin rites allied. But soon her brother filled the throne of Tyre, Pygmalion, swoln with sin; 'twixt whom a feud took fire.
XLVII. "He, reckless of a sister's love, and blind With lust of gold, Sychaeus unaware Slew by the altar, and with impious mind Long hid the deed, and flattering hopes and fair Devised, to cheat the lover of her care. But, lifting features marvellously pale, The ghost unburied in her dreams laid bare His breast, and showed the altar and the bale Wrought by the ruthless steel, and solved the crime's dark tale.
XLVIII. "Then bade her fly the country, and revealed, To aid her flight, an old and unknown weight Of gold and silver, in the ground concealed. Thus roused, her friends she gathers. All await Her summons, who the tyrant fear or hate. Some ships at hand, chance-anchored in the bay, They seize and load them with the costly freight, And far off o'er the deep is borne away Pygmalion's hoarded pelf. A woman leads the way.
XLIX. "Hither, where now the walls and fortress high, Of Carthage, and her rising homes are found, They came, and there full cheaply did they buy, Such space—called Byrsa from the deed—of ground As one bull's-hide could compass and surround. But who are ye, pray answer? on what quest Come ye? and whence and whither are ye bound?" Her then AEneas, from his inmost breast Heaving a deep-drawn sigh, with labouring speech addressed:
L. "O Goddess, should I from the first unfold, Or could'st thou hear, the annals of our woe, Eve's star were shining, ere the tale were told. From ancient Troy—if thou the name dost know— A chance-met storm hath driven us to and fro, And tost us on the Libyan shores. My name Is good AEneas; from the flames and foe I bear Troy's rescued deities. My fame Outsoars the stars of heaven; a Jove-born race, we claim
LI. "A home in fair Italia far away. With twice ten ships I climbed the Phrygian main, My goddess-mother pointing out the way, As Fate commanded. Now scarce seven remain, Wave-worn and shattered by the tempest's strain. Myself, a stranger, friendless and unknown, From Europe driven and Asia, roam in vain The wilds of Libya"—Then his plaintive tone No more could Venus bear, but interrupts her son;
LII. "Stranger," she answered, "whosoe'er thou be; Not unbeloved of heavenly powers, I ween, Thou breath'st the vital air, whom Fate's decree Permits a Tyrian city to have seen. But hence, and seek the palace of the queen. Glad news I bear thee, of thy comrades brought, The North-wind shifted and the skies serene; Thy ships have gained the harbour which they sought, Else vain my parents' lore the augury they taught.
LIII. "See yon twelve swans, in jubilant array, Whom late Jove's eagle scattered through the sky; Now these alight, now those the pitch survey. As they, returning, sport with joyous cry, And flap their wings and circle in the sky, E'en so thy vessels and each late-lost crew Safe now and scatheless in the harbour lie, Or, crowding canvas, hold the port in view. But hence, where leads the path, thy forward steps pursue."
LIV. So saying, she turned, and all refulgent showed Her roseate neck, and heavenly fragrance sweet Was breathed from her ambrosial hair. Down flowed Her loosened raiment, streaming to her feet, And by her walk the Goddess shone complete. "Ah, mother mine!" he chides her, as she flies, "Art thou, then, also cruel? Wherefore cheat Thy son so oft with images and lies? Why may I not clasp hands, and talk without disguise?"
LV. Thus he, reproaching. Towards the town they fare In haste. But Venus round them on the way Wrapt a thick mist, a mantle of dark air, That none should see them, none should touch nor stay, Nor, urging idle questions, breed delay. Then back, rejoicing, through the liquid air To Paphos and her home she flies away, Where, steaming with Sabaean incense rare, An hundred altars breathe with garlands fresh and fair.
LVI. They by the path their forward steps pursued, And climbed a hill, whose fronting summit frowned Steep o'er the town. Amazed, AEneas viewed Tall structures rise, where whilom huts were found, The streets, the gates, the bustle and the sound. Hotly the Tyrians are at work. These draw The bastions' lines, roll stones and trench the ground; Or build the citadel; those clothe with awe The Senate; there they choose the judges for the law.
LVII. These delve the port; the broad foundations there They lay for theatres of ample space, And columns, hewn from marble rocks, prepare, Tall ornaments, the future stage to grace. As bees in early summer swarm apace Through flowery fields, when forth from dale and dell They lead the full-grown offspring of the race, Or with the liquid honey store each cell, And make the teeming hive with nectarous sweets to swell.
LVIII. These ease the comers of their loads, those drive The drones afar. The busy work each plies, And sweet with thyme and honey smells the hive. "O happy ye, whose walls already rise!" Exclaimed AEneas, and with envious eyes Looked up where pinnacles and roof-tops showed The new-born city; then in wondrous wise, Clothed in the covering of the friendly cloud, Passed through the midst unseen, and mingled with the crowd.
LIX. A grove stood in the city, rich in shade, Where storm-tost Tyrians, past the perilous brine, Dug from the ground, by royal Juno's aid, A war-steed's head, to far-off days a sign That wealth and prowess should adorn the line. Here, by the goddess and her gifts renowned, Sidonian Dido built a stately shrine. All brazen rose the threshold; brass was round The door-posts; brazen doors on grating hinges sound.
LX. Here a new sight AEneas' hopes upraised, And fear was softened, and his heart was mann'd. For while, the queen awaiting, round he gazed, And marvelled at the happy town, and scanned The rival labours of each craftsman's hand, Behold, Troy's battles on the walls appear, The war, since noised through many a distant land, There Priam and th' Atridae twain, and here Achilles, fierce to both, still ruthless and severe.
LXI. Pensive he stood, and with a rising tear, "What lands, Achates, on the earth, but know Our labours? See our Priam! Even here Worth wins her due, and there are tears to flow, And human hearts to feel for human woe. Fear not," he cries, "Troy's glory yet shall gain Some safety." Thus upon the empty show He feeds his soul, while ever and again Deeply he sighs, and tears run down his cheeks like rain.
LXII. He sees, how, fighting round the Trojan wall, Here fled the Greeks, the Trojan youth pursue, Here fled the Phrygians, and, with helmet tall, Achilles in his chariot stormed and slew. Not far, with tears, the snowy tents he knew Of Rhesus, where Tydides, bathed in blood, Broke in at midnight with his murderous crew, And drove the hot steeds campward, ere the food Of Trojan plains they browsed, or drank the Xanthian flood.
LXIII. There, reft of arms, poor Troilus, rash to dare Achilles, by his horses dragged amain, Hangs from his empty chariot. Neck and hair Trail on the ground; his hand still grasps the rein; The spear inverted scores the dusty plain. Meanwhile, with beaten breasts and streaming hair, The Trojan dames, a sad and suppliant train, The veil to partial Pallas' temple bear. Stern, with averted eyes the Goddess spurns their prayer.
LXIV. Thrice had Achilles round the Trojan wall Dragged Hector; there the slayer sells the slain. Sighing he sees him, chariot, arms and all, And Priam, spreading helpless hands in vain. Himself he knows among the Greeks again, Black Memnon's arms, and all his Eastern clan, Penthesilea's Amazonian train With moony shields. Bare-breasted, in the van, Girt with a golden zone, the maiden fights with man.
LXV. Thus while AEneas, with set gaze and long, Hangs, mute with wonder, on the wildering scene, Lo! to the temple, with a numerous throng Of youthful followers, moves the beauteous Queen. Such as Diana, with her Oreads seen On swift Eurotas' banks or Cynthus' crest, Leading the dances. She, in form and mien, Armed with her quiver, towers above the rest, And tranquil pleasure thrills Latona's silent breast.
LXVI. E'en such was Dido; so with joyous mien, Urging the business of her rising state, Among the concourse passed the Tyrian queen; Then, girt with guards, within the temple's gate Beneath the centre of the dome she sate. There, ministering justice, she presides, And deals the law, and from her throne of state, As choice determines or as chance decides, To each, in equal share, his separate task divides.
LXVII. Sudden, behold a concourse. Looking down, His late-lost friends AEneas sees again, Sergestus, brave Cloanthus of renown, Antheus and others of the Trojan train, Whom the black squall had scattered o'er the main, And driven afar upon an alien strand. At once, 'twixt joy and terror rent in twain, Amazed, AEneas and Achates stand, And long to greet old friends and clasp a comrade's hand.
LXVIII. Yet wildering wonder at so strange a scene Still holds them mute, while anxious thoughts divide Their doubtful minds, and in the cloud unseen, Wrapt in its hollow covering, they abide And note what fortune did their friends betide, And whence they come, and why for grace they sue, And on what shore they left the fleet to bide, For chosen captains came from every crew, And towards the sacred fane with clamorous cries they drew.
LXIX. Then, audience granted, as the fane they filled, Thus calmly spake the eldest of the train, Ilioneus: "O queen, whom Jove hath willed To found this new-born city, here to reign, And stubborn tribes with justice to refrain, We, Troy's poor fugitives, implore thy grace, Storm-tost and wandering over every main,— Forbid the flames our vessels to deface, Mark our afflicted plight, and spare a pious race.
LXX. "We come not hither with the sword to rend Your Libyan homes, and shoreward drive the prey. Nay, no such violence our thoughts intend, Such pride suits not the vanquished. Far away There lies a place—Greeks style the land to-day Hesperia—fruitful and of ancient fame And strong in arms. OEnotrian folk, they say, First tilled the soil. Italian is the name Borne by the later race, with Italus who came.
LXXI. "Thither we sailed, when, rising with the wave, Orion dashed us on the shoals, the prey Of wanton winds, and mastering billows drave Our vessels on the pathless rocks astray. We few have floated to your shore. O say, What manner of mankind is here? What land Is this, to treat us in this barbarous way? They grudge the very shelter of the sand, And call to arms and bar our footsteps from the strand!
LXXII. "If human kind and mortal arms ye scorn, Think of the Gods, who judge the wrong and right. A king was ours, AEneas; ne'er was born A man more just, more valiant in the fight, More famed for piety and deeds of might. If yet he lives and looks upon the sun, Nor cruel death hath snatched him from the light, No fear have we, nor need hast thou to shun A Trojan guest, or rue kind offices begun.
LXXIII. "Towns yet for us in Sicily remain, And arms, and, sprung from Trojan sires of yore, Our kinsman there, Acestes, holds his reign. Grant us to draw our scattered fleet ashore, And fit new planks and branches for the oar. So, if with king and comrades brought again, The Fates allow us to reach Italia's shore, Italia gladly and the Latian plain Seek we; but else, if thoughts of safety be in vain,
LXXIV. "If thee, dear Sire, the Libyan deep doth hide, Nor hopes of young Iulus more can cheer, Back let our barks to the Sicanian tide And proffered homes and king Acestes steer." He spake; the Dardans answered with a cheer. Then Dido thus, with downcast look sedate; "Take courage, Trojans, and dismiss your fear. My kingdom's newness and the stress of Fate Force me to guard far off the frontiers of my state.
LXXV. "Who knows not Troy, th' AEneian house of fame, The deeds and doers, and the war's renown That fired the world? Not hearts so dull and tame Have Punic folk; not so is Phoebus known To turn his back upon our Tyrian town. Whether ye sail to great Hesperia's shore And Saturn's fields, or seek the realms that own Acestes' sway, where Eryx reigned of yore, Safe will I send you hence, and speed you with my store.
LXXVI. "Else, would ye settle in this realm, the town I build is yours; draw up your ships to land. Trojan and Tyrian will I treat as one. Would that your king AEneas here could stand, Driven by the gale that drove you to this strand! Natheless, to scour the country, will I send Some trusty messengers, with strict command To search through Libya to the furthest end, Lest, cast ashore, through town or lonely wood he wend."
LXXVII. Roused by these words, long since the sire of Troy Yearned, like his friend, their comrades to surprise And burst the cloud. Then first with eager joy "O Goddess-born," the bold Achates cries, "How now—what purpose doth thy mind devise? Lo! all are safe—ships, comrades brought again; One only fails us, who before our eyes Sank in the midst of the engulfing main. All else confirms the tale thy mother told thee plain."
LXXVIII. Scarce had he said, when straight the ambient cloud Broke open, melting into day's clear light, And bathed in sunshine stood the chief, endowed With shape and features most divinely bright. For graceful tresses and the purple light Of youth did Venus in her child unfold, And sprightly lustre breathed upon his sight, Beauteous as ivory, or when artists mould Silver or Parian stone, enchased in yellow gold.
LXXIX. Then to the queen, all wondering, he exclaimed, "Behold me, Troy's AEneas; I am here, The man ye seek, from Libyan waves reclaimed. Thou, who alone Troy's sorrows deign'st to hear, And us, the gleanings of the Danaan spear, Poor world-wide wanderers and in desperate case, Hast ta'en to share thy city and thy cheer, Meet thanks nor we, nor what of Dardan race Yet roams the earth, can give to recompense thy grace.
LXXX. "The gods, if gods the good and just regard, And thy own conscience, that approves the right, Grant thee due guerdon and a fit reward. What happy ages did thy birth delight? What godlike parents bore a child so bright? While running rivers hasten to the main, While yon pure ether feeds the stars with light, While shadows round the hill-slopes wax and wane, Thy fame, where'er I go, thy praises shall remain."
LXXXI. So saying AEneas with his left hand pressed Serestus, and Ilioneus with his right, Brave Gyas, brave Cloanthus and the rest. Then Dido, struck with wonder at the sight Of one so great and in so strange a plight, "O Goddess-born! what fate through dangers sore, What force to savage coasts compels thy flight? Art thou, then, that AEneas, whom of yore Venus on Simois' banks to old Anchises bore?
LXXXII. "Ay, well I mind me how in days of yore To Sidon exiled Teucer crossed the main, To seek new kingdoms and the aid implore Of Belus. He, my father Belus, then Ruled Cyprus, victor of the wasted plain, Since then thy name and Ilion's fate are known, And all the princes of Pelasgia's reign. Himself, a foe, oft lauded Troy's renown, And claimed the Teucrian sires as kinsmen of his own.
LXXXIII. "Welcome, then, heroes! Me hath Fortune willed Long tost, like you, through sufferings, here to rest And find at length a refuge. Not unskilled In woe, I learn to succour the distrest." So to the palace she escorts her guest, And calls for festal honours in the shrine. Then shoreward sends beeves twenty to the rest, A hundred boars, of broad and bristly chine, A hundred lambs and ewes and gladdening gifts of wine.
LXXXIV. Meanwhile with regal splendour they arrayed The palace-hall, where feast and banquet high All in the centre of the space is laid, And forth they bring the broidered tapestry, With purple dyed and wrought full cunningly. The tables groan with silver; there are told The deeds of prowess for the gazer's eye, A long, long series, of their sires of old, Traced from the nation's birth, and graven in the gold.
LXXXV. But good AEneas—for a father's care No rest allows him—to the ships sends down Achates, to Ascanius charged to bear The welcome news, and bring him to the town. The father's fondness centres on the son. Rich presents, too, he sends for, saved of old From Troy, a veil, whose saffron edges shone Fringed with acanthus, glorious to behold, A broidered mantle, stiff with figures wrought in gold.
LXXXVI. Fair Helen's ornaments, from Argos brought, The gift of Leda, when the Trojan shore And lawless nuptials o'er the waves she sought. Therewith the royal sceptre, which of yore Ilione, Priam's eldest daughter, bore; Her shining necklace, strung with costly beads, And diadem, rimmed with gold and studded o'er With sparkling gems. Thus charged, Achates heeds, And towards the ships forthwith in eager haste proceeds.
LXXXVII. But crafty Cytherea planned meanwhile New arts, new schemes,—that Cupid should conspire, In likeness of Ascanius, to beguile The queen with gifts, and kindle fierce desire, And turn the marrow of her bones to fire. Fierce Juno's hatred rankles in her breast; The two-faced house, the double tongues of Tyre She fears, and with the night returns unrest; So now to winged Love this mandate she addressed:
LXXXVIII. "O son, sole source of all my strength and power, Who durst high Jove's Typhoean bolts disdain, To thee I fly, thy deity implore. Thou know'st, who oft hast sorrowed with my pain, How, tost by Juno's rancour, o'er the main Thy brother wanders. Him with speeches fair And sweet allurements doth the queen detain; But Juno's hospitality I fear; Scarce at an hour like this will she her hand forbear.
LXXXIX. "Soft snares I purpose round the queen to weave, And wrap her soul in flames, that power malign Shall never change her, but her heart shall cleave Fast to AEneas with a love like mine. Now learn, how best to compass my design. To Tyrian Carthage hastes the princely boy, Prompt at the summons of his sire divine, My prime solicitude, my chiefest joy, Fraught with brave store of gifts, saved from the flames of Troy.
XC. "Him on Idalia, lulled into a dream, Will I secrete, or on the sacred height Of lone Cythera, lest he learn the scheme, Or by his sudden presence mar the sleight. Take thou his likeness, only for a night, And wear the boyish features that are thine; And when the queen, in rapture of delight, Amid the royal banquet and the wine, Shall lock thee in her arms, and press her lips to thine,
XCI. "Then steal into her bosom, and inspire Through all her veins with unsuspected sleight The poisoned sting of passion and desire." Young Love obeys, and doffs his plumage light, And, like Iulus, trips forth with delight. She o'er Ascanius rains a soft repose, And gently bears him to Idalia's height, Where breathing marjoram around him throws Sweet shade, and odorous flowers his slumbering limbs compose.
XCII. Forth Cupid, at his mother's word, repairs, And merrily, for brave Achates led, The royal presents to the Tyrians bears. There, under gorgeous curtains, at the head Sate Dido, throned upon a golden bed. There, flocking in, the Trojans and their King Recline on purple coverlets outspread. Bread, heaped in baskets, the attendants bring, Towels with smooth-shorn nap, and water from the spring.
XCIII. Within are fifty maidens, charged with care To dress the food, and nurse the flames divine. A hundred more, and youths like-aged, prepare To load the tables and arrange the wine. There, entering too, on broidered seats recline The Tyrians, crowding through the festive court. They praise the boy, his glowing looks divine, The words he feigned, the royal gifts he brought, The robe, the saffron veil with bright acanthus wrought.
XCIV. Doomed to devouring Love, the hapless queen Burns as she gazes, with insatiate fire, Charmed by his presents and his youthful mien: He, fondly clinging to his fancied sire, Gave all the love that parents' hearts desire, Then seeks the queen. She, fixing on the boy Her eyes, her soul, impatient to admire, Now, fondling, folds him to her lap with joy; Weetless, alas! what god is plotting to destroy.
XCV. True to his Paphian mother, trace by trace, Slowly the Love-god with prevenient art, Begins the lost Sychaeus to efface, And living passion to a breast impart Long dead to feeling, and a vacant heart. Now, hushed the banquet and the tables all Removed, huge wine-bowls for each guest apart They wreathe with flowers. The noise of festival Rings through the spacious courts, and rolls along the hall.
XCVI. There, blazing from the gilded roof, are seen Bright lamps, and torches turn the night to day. Now for the ponderous goblet called the Queen, Of jewelled gold, which Belus used and they Of Belus' line, and poured the wine straightway, And prayed, while silence filled the crowded hall: "Great Jove, the host's lawgiver, bless this day To these my Tyrians and the Trojans all. Long may our children's sons this solemn feast recall.
XCVII. "Come, jolly Bacchus, giver of delight; Kind Juno, come; and ye with fair accord And friendly spirit hold the feast aright." So spake the Queen, and on the festal board The prime libation to the gods outpoured, Then lightly to her lips the goblet pressed, And gave to Bitias. Challenged by the word, He dived into the brimming gold with zest, And quaffed the foaming bowl, and after him, the rest.
XCVIII. His golden lyre long-haired Iopas tunes, And sings what Atlas taught in loftiest strain; The suns' eclipses and the changing moons, Whence man and beast, whence lightning and the rain, Arcturus, watery Hyads and the Wain; What causes make the winter nights so long, Why sinks the sun so quickly in the main; All this he sings, and ravished at the song, Tyrians and Trojan guests the loud applause prolong.
XCIX. With various talk the night poor Dido wore, And drank deep love, and nursed her inward flame, Of Priam much she asks, of Hector more, Now in what arms Aurora's offspring came, Of Diomede's horses and Achilles' fame. "Tell me," she says, "thy wanderings; stranger, come, Thy friends' mishaps and Danaan wiles proclaim; For seven long summers now have seen thee roam O'er every land and sea, far from thy native home."
AEneas' story.—The Greeks, baffled in battle, built a wooden horse, in which their leaders took ambush. Their fleet sailed to Tenedos. The Trojans, but for Capys and Laocoon, had dragged the horse forthwith as a trophy into Troy (1-72). Sinon, a Greek, brought before Priam, feigns righteous indignation against Greece. The Trojans sympathise and believe his story of wrongs done him by Ulysses (73-126). "When Greek plans of flight had often," says Sinon, "been foiled by storms, oracles foretold that only a human sacrifice could purchase their escape." Chosen for victim, Sinon had fled. He solemnly declares the horse to be an offering to Pallas. "Destroy it, and you are lost. Preserve it in your citadel, your revenge is assured" (127-222). Treachery triumphs. Laocoon's cruel fate is ascribed to his sacrilegious attack upon the horse, which is brought with rejoicing into Troy, despite a last warning, from Cassandra (223-288). While Troy sleeps, the fleet returns, and Sinon releases the Greeks from the horse (289-315). Hector's wraith warns AEneas in a dream to flee with the sacred vessels and images (316-351), and Panthus brings news of Sinon's treachery. The city is in flames. AEneas heads a forlorn hope of rescue (352-441). He and his followers exchange armour with certain Greeks slain in the darkness. The ruse succeeds until they are taken for enemies by their friends. The Greeks rally. The Trojans scatter. At Priam's palace a last stand is made, but Pyrrhus forces the great gates, and the defenders are massacred (442-603). Priam's fate.—The sight of his headless corpse draws AEneas' thoughts to his own father's danger. Hastening homewards he espies Helen, and is pausing to take vengeance and her life, when (604-711) Venus intervening opens his eyes to see the gods aiding the Greeks (712-756). AEneas regains his home. Anchises obstinately refuses to flee, until a halo is seen about the head of Ascanius (757-828), whereupon he accepts the omen and yields. The escape.—In a sudden panic Creusa is lost (829-900). AEneas, at peril of his life, is seeking her throughout the city, when her wraith appears and bids him away. "She is dead in Troytown: in Italy empire awaits him." She vanishes: day dawns: and AEneas, with Anchises and the surviving Trojans, flees to the hills (901-972).
I. All hushed intent, when from his lofty seat Troy's sire began, "O queen, a tale too true, Too sad for words, thou biddest me repeat; How Ilion perished, and the Danaan crew Her power and all her wailful realm o'erthrew: The woes I saw, thrice piteous to behold, And largely shared. What Myrmidon, or who Of stern Ulysses' warriors can withhold His tears, to tell such things, as thou would'st have re-told?
II. "And now already from the heaven's high steep The dewy night wheels down, and sinking slow, The stars are gently wooing us to sleep. But, if thy longing be so great to know The tale of Troy's last agony and woe, The toils we suffered, though my heart doth ache, And grief would fain the memory forego Of scenes so sad, yet, Lady, for thy sake I will begin,"—and thus the sire of Troy outspake;
III. "Broken by war, long baffled by the force Of fate, as fortune and their hopes decline, The Danaan leaders build a monstrous horse, Huge as a hill, by Pallas' craft divine, And cleft fir-timbers in the ribs entwine. They feign it vowed for their return, so goes The tale, and deep within the sides of pine And caverns of the womb by stealth enclose Armed men, a chosen band, drawn as the lots dispose.
IV. "In sight of Troy lies Tenedos, an isle Renowned and rich, while Priam held command, Now a mere bay and roadstead fraught with guile. Thus far they sailed, and on the lonely strand Lay hid, while fondly to Mycenae's land We thought the winds had borne them. Troy once more Shakes off her ten years' sorrow. Open stand The gates. With joy to the abandoned shore, The places bare of foes, the Dorian lines we pour.
V. "Here camped the brave Dolopians, there was set The tent of fierce Achilles; yonder lay The fleet, and here the rival armies met And mingled. Some with wonder and dismay The maid Minerva's fatal gift survey. Then first Thymaetes cries aloud, to go And through the gates the monstrous horse convey And lodge it in the citadel. E'en so His fraud or Troy's dark fates were working for our woe.
VI. "But Capys and the rest, of sounder mind, Urge us to tumble in the rolling tide The doubtful gift, for treachery designed, Or burn with fire, or pierce the hollow side, And probe the caverns where the Danaans hide. Thus while they waver and, perplext with doubt, Urge diverse counsels, and in parts divide, Lo, from the citadel, foremost of a rout, Breathless Laocoon runs, and from afar cries out;
VII. "'Ah! wretched townsmen! do ye think the foe Gone, or that guileless are their gifts? O blind With madness! Thus Ulysses do ye know? Or Grecians in these timbers lurk confined, Or 'tis some engine of assault, designed To breach the walls, and lay our houses bare, And storm the town. Some mischief lies behind. Trust not the horse, ye Teucrians. Whatso'er This means, I fear the Greeks, for all the gifts they bear.'
VIII. "So saying, his mighty spear, with all his force, Full at the flank against the ribs he drave, And pierced the bellying framework of the horse. Quivering, it stood; the hollow chambers gave A groan, that echoed from the womb's dark cave, Then, but for folly or Fate's adverse power, His word had made us with our trusty glaive Lay bare the Argive ambush, and this hour Should Ilion stand, and thou, O Priam's lofty tower!
IX. "Lo, now to Priam, with exulting cries, The Dardan shepherds drag a youth unknown, With hands fast pinioned, and in captive guise. Caught on the way, by cunning of his own, This end to compass, and betray the town. Prepared for either venture, void of fear, The crafty purpose of his mind to crown, Or meet sure death. Around, from far and near, The Trojans throng, and vie the captive youth to jeer.
X. "Mark now the Danaans' cunning; from one wrong Learn all. As, scared the Phrygian ranks to see, Confused, unarmed, amid the gazing throng, He stood, 'Alas! what spot on earth or sea Is left,' he cried, 'to shield a wretch like me, Whom Dardans seek in punishment to kill, And Greeks disown?'—Touched by his tearful plea, We asked his race, what tidings, good or ill, He brings, for hope, perchance, may cheer a captive still.
XI. "Then he, at length his show of fear laid by, 'Great King, all truly will I own, whate'er The issue, nor my Argive race deny. This first; if fortune, spiteful and unfair, Hath made poor Sinon wretched, fortune ne'er Shall make me false or faithless;—if the name Of Palamedes thou hast chanced to hear, Old Belus' progeny, if ever came To thee or thine in talk the rumour of his fame,
XII. "'Whom, pure of guilt, on charges false and feigned, Wroth that his sentence should the war prevent, By perjured witnesses the Greeks arraigned, And doomed to die, but now his death lament, His kinsman, by a needy father sent, With him in boyhood to the war I came, And while in plenitude of power he went, And high in princely counsels waxed his fame, I too could boast of credit and a noble name.
XIII. "'But when, through sly Ulysses' envious hate, He left the light,—alas! the tale ye know,— Stricken, I mused indignant on his fate, And dragged my days in solitude and woe, Nor in my madness kept my purpose low, But vowed, if e'er should happier chance invite, And bring me home a conqueror, even so My comrade's death with vengeance to requite. My words aroused his wrath; thence evil's earliest blight;
XIV. "'Thenceforth Ulysses sought with slanderous tongue To daunt me, scattering in the people's ear Dark hints, and looked for partners of his wrong: Nor rested, till with Calchas' aid, the seer— But why the thankless story should ye hear? Why stay your hand? If Grecians in your sight Are all alike, ye know enough; take here Your vengeance. Dearly will my death delight Ulysses, well the deed will Atreus' sons requite.'
XV. "Then, all unknowing of Pelasgian art And crimes so huge, the story we demand, And falteringly the traitor plays his part. 'Oft, wearied by the war, the Danaans planned To leave—and oh! had they but left—the land. As oft, to daunt them, in the act to fly, Storms lashed the deep, and Southern gales withstand, And louder still, when towered the horse on high With maple timbers, pealed the thunder through the sky.
XVI. "'In doubt, we bade Eurypylus explore Apollo's oracle, and back he brought The dismal news: With blood, a maiden's gore, Ye stilled the winds, when Trojan shores ye sought. With blood again must your return be bought; An Argive victim doth the God demand. Full fast the rumour 'mong the people wrought; Cold horror chills us, and aghast we stand; Whom doth Apollo claim, whose death the Fates demand?
XVII. "'Then straight Ulysses, 'mid tumultuous cries, Drags Calchas forth, and bids the seer unfold The dark and doubtful meaning of the skies. Many e'en then the schemer's crime foretold, And, silent, saw my destiny unrolled. Ten days the seer, as shrinking to reply Or name a victim, did the doom withhold; Then, forced by false Ulysses' clamorous cry, Spake the concerted word, and sentenced me to die.
XVIII. "'All praised the sentence, pleased that one alone Should suffer, glad that one poor wretch should bear The doom that each had dreaded for his own. The fatal day was come; the priests prepare The salted meal, the fillets for my hair. I fled, 'tis true, and saved my life by flight, Bursting my bonds in frenzy of despair, And hidden in a marish lay that night, Waiting till they should sail, if sail, perchance, they might.
XIX. "'No hope have I my ancient fatherland, Or darling boys, or long-lost sire to see, Whom now perchance, the Danaans will demand, Poor souls! for vengeance, and their death decree, To purge my crime, in daring to be free. O by the gods, who know the just and true, By faith unstained,—if any such there be,— With mercy deign such miseries to view; Pity a soul that toils with evils all undue.'
XX. "So, moved at length to pity by his tears, We spare him. Priam bids the cords unbind, And thus with friendly words the captive cheers; 'Whoe'er thou art, henceforward blot from mind The Greeks, and leave thy miseries behind. Ours shalt thou be; but mark, and tell me now, What means this monster, for what use designed? Some warlike engine? or religious vow? Who planned the steed, and why? Come, quick, the truth avow.'
XXI. "Then schooled in cunning and Pelasgian sleights, His hands unshackled to the stars he spread; 'Ye powers inviolate, ever-burning lights! Ye ruthless swords and altars, which I fled, Ye sacred fillets, that adorned my head! Freed is my oath, and I am free to lay Their secrets bare, and wish the Danaans dead. Thou, Troy, preserved, to Sinon faithful stay, If true the tale I tell, if large the price I pay.
XXII. "'All hopes on Pallas, since the war begun, All trust was stayed. But when Ulysses, fain To weave new crimes, with Tydeus' impious son Dragged the Palladium from her sacred fane, And, on the citadel the warders slain, Upon the virgin's image dared to lay Red hands of slaughter, and her wreaths profane, Hope ebbed and failed them from that fatal day, The Danaans' strength grew weak, the goddess turned away.
XXIII. "'No dubious signs Tritonia's wrath declared. Scarce stood her image in the camp, when bright With flickering flames her staring eyeballs glared. Salt sweat ran down her; thrice, a wondrous sight! With shield and quivering spear she sprang upright. "Back o'er the deep," cries Calchas; "nevermore Shall Argives hope to quell the Trojan might, Till, homeward borne, new omens ye implore, And win the blessing back, which o'er the waves ye bore."
XXIV. "'So now to Argos are they gone, to gain Fresh help from heaven, and hither by surprise Shall come once more, remeasuring the main. Thus Calchas warned them; by his words made wise This steed, for stol'n Palladium, they devise, To soothe the outrag'd goddess. Tall and great, With huge oak-timbers mounting to the skies, They build the monster, lest it pass the gate, And like Palladium stand, the bulwark of the State.
XXV. "'"Once had your hands," said Calchas, "dared profane Minerva's gift, dire plagues" (which Heaven forestall Or turn on him) "should Priam's realm sustain; But if by Trojan aid it scaled your wall, Proud Asia then should Pelops' sons enthrall, And children rue the folly of the sire."' His arts gave credence, and forced tears withal Snared us, whom Diomede, nor Achilles dire, Nor thousand ships subdued, nor ten years' war could tire.
XXVI. "A greater yet and ghastlier sign remained Our heedless hearts to terrify anew. Laocoon, Neptune's priest, by lot ordained, A stately bull before the altar slew, When lo!—the tale I shudder to pursue,— From Tenedos in silence, side by side, Two monstrous serpents, horrible to view, With coils enormous leaning on the tide, Shoreward, with even stretch, the tranquil sea divide.
XXVII. "Their breasts erect they rear amid the deep, Their blood-red crests above the surface shine, Their hinder parts along the waters sweep, Trailed in huge coils and many a tortuous twine; Lashed into foam, behind them roars the brine; Now, gliding onward to the beach, ere long They gain the fields, and rolling bloodshot eyne That blaze with fire, the monsters move along, And lick their hissing jaws, and dart a flickering tongue.
XXVIII. "Pale at the sight we fly; unswerving, these Glide on and seek Laocoon. First, entwined In stringent folds, his two young sons they seize, With cruel fangs their tortured limbs to grind. Then, as with arms he comes to aid, they bind In giant grasp the father. Twice, behold, Around his waist the horrid volumes wind, Twice round his neck their scaly backs are rolled, High over all their heads and glittering crests unfold.
XXIX. "Both hands are labouring the fierce knots to pull; Black gore and slime his sacred wreaths distain. Loud are his moans, as when a wounded bull Shakes from his neck the faltering axe and, fain To fly the cruel altars, roars in pain. But lo! the serpents to Tritonia's seat Glide from their victim, till the shrine they gain, And, coiled beside the goddess, at her feet, Behind her sheltering shield with gathered orbs retreat.
XXX. "Fresh wonder seized us, and we shook with fear. All say, that justly had Laocoon died, And paid fit penalty, whose guilty spear Profaned the steed and pierced the sacred side. 'On with the image to its home,' they cried, 'And pray the Goddess to avert our woe'; We breach the walls, and ope the town inside. All set to work, and to the feet below Fix wheels, and hempen ropes around the neck they throw.
XXXI. "Mounting the walls, the monster moves along, Teeming with arms. Boys, maidens joy around To touch the ropes, and raise the festive song. Onward it came, smooth-sliding on the ground, And, beetling, o'er the midmost city frowned. O native land! O Ilion, now betrayed! Blest home of deities, in war renowned! Four times beside the very gate 'twas stayed; Four times within the womb the armour clashed and brayed.
XXXII. "But heedless, blind with frenzy, one and all Up to the sacred citadel we strain, And there the ill-omened prodigy install. E'en then—alas! to Trojan ears in vain— Cassandra sang, and told in utterance plain The coming doom. We, sunk in careless joy, Poor souls! with festive garlands deck each fane, And through the town in revelry employ The day decreed our last, the dying hours of Troy!
XXXIII. "And now the heaven rolled round. From ocean rushed The Night, and wrapt in shadow earth and air And Myrmidonian wiles. In silence hushed, The Trojans through the city here and there, Outstretched in sleep, their weary limbs repair. Meanwhile from neighbouring Tenedos once more, Beneath the tranquil moonbeam's friendly care, With ordered ships, along the deep sea-floor, Back came the Argive host, and sought the well-known shore.
XXXIV. "Forth from the royal galley sprang the flame, When Sinon, screened by partial Fate, withdrew The bolts and barriers of the pinewood frame, And from its inmost caverns, bared to view, The fatal horse disgorged the Danaan crew. With joy from out the hollow wood they bound; First, dire Ulysses, with his captains two, Thessander bold and Sthenelus renowned, Down by a pendent rope come sliding to the ground.
XXXV. "Then Thoas comes; and Acamas, athirst For blood; and Neoptolemus, the heir Of mighty Peleus; and Machaon first; And Menelaus; and himself is there, Epeus, framer of the fatal snare. Now, stealing forward, on the town they fall, Buried in wine and sleep, the guards o'erbear, And ope the gates; their comrades at the call Pour in and, joining bands, all muster by the wall.
XXXVI. "'Twas now the time, when on tired mortals crept First slumber, sweetest that celestials pour. Methought I saw poor Hector, as I slept, All bathed in tears and black with dust and gore, Dragged by the chariot and his swoln feet sore With piercing thongs. Ah me! how sad to view, How changed from him, that Hector, whom of yore Returning with Achilles' spoils we knew, When on the ships of Greece his Phrygian fires he threw.
XXXVII. "Foul is his beard, his hair is stiff with gore, And fresh the wounds, those many wounds, remain, Which erst around his native walls he bore. Then, weeping too, I seem in sorrowing strain To hail the hero, with a voice of pain. 'O light of Troy, our refuge! why and how This long delay? Whence comest thou again, Long-looked-for Hector? How with aching brow, Worn out by toil and death, do we behold thee now!
XXXVIII. "'But oh! what dire indignity hath marred The calmness of thy features? Tell me, why With ghastly wounds do I behold thee scarred?' To such vain quest he cared not to reply, But, heaving from his breast a deep-drawn sigh, 'Fly, Goddess-born! and get thee from the fire! The foes,' he said, 'are on the ramparts. Fly! All Troy is tumbling from her topmost spire. No more can Priam's land, nor Priam's self require.
XXXIX. "'Could Troy be saved by mortal prowess, mine, Yea, mine had saved her. To thy guardian care She doth her Gods and ministries consign. Take them, thy future destinies to share, And seek for them another home elsewhere, That mighty city, which for thee and thine O'er traversed ocean shall the Fates prepare.' He spake, and quickly snatched from Vesta's shrine The deathless fire and wreaths and effigy divine.
XL. "Meanwhile a mingled murmur through the street Rolls onward,—wails of anguish, shrieks of fear, And though my father's mansion stood secrete, Embowered in foliage, nearer and more near Peals the dire clang of arms, and loud and clear, Borne on fierce echoes that in tumult blend, War-shout and wail come thickening on the ear. I start from sleep, the parapet ascend, And from the sloping roof with eager ears attend.
XLI. "Like as a fire, when Southern gusts are rude, Falls on the standing harvest of the plain, Or torrent, hurtling with a mountain flood, Whelms field and oxens' toil and smiling grain, And rolls whole forests headlong to the main, While, weetless of the noise, on neighbouring height, Tranced in mute wonder, stands the listening swain, Then, then I see that Hector's words were right, And all the Danaan wiles are naked to the light.
XLII. "And now, Deiphobus, thy halls of pride, Bowed by the flames, come ruining through the air; Next burn Ucalegon's, and far and wide The broad Sigean reddens with the glare. Then come the clamour and the trumpet's blare. Madly I rush to arms; though vain the fight, Yet burns my soul, in fury and despair, To rally a handful and to hold the height: Sweet seems a warrior's death and danger a delight.
XLIII. "Lo, Panthus, flying from the Grecian bands, Panthus, the son of Othrys, Phoebus' seer, Bearing the sacred vessels in his hands, And vanquished home-gods, to the door draws near, His grandchild clinging to his side in fear. 'Panthus,' I cry, 'how fares the fight? what tower Still hold we?'—Sighing, he replies ''Tis here, The final end of all the Dardan power, The last, sad day has come, the inevitable hour.
XLIV. "'Troy was, and we were Trojans, now, alas! No more, for perished is the Dardan fame. Fierce Jove to Argos biddeth all to pass, And Danaans rule a city wrapt in flame. High in the citadel the monstrous frame Pours forth an armed deluge to the day, And Sinon, puffed with triumph, spreads the flame. Part throng the gates, part block each narrow way; Such hosts Mycenae sends, such thousands to the fray.
XLV. "'Athwart the streets stands ready the array Of steel, and bare is every blade and bright. Scarce the first warders of the gates essay To stand and battle in the blinding night.' So spake the son of Othrys, and forthright, My spirit stirred with impulse from on high, I rush to arms amid the flames and fight, Where yells the war-fiend and the warrior's cry, Mixt with the din of strife, mounts upward to the sky.
XLVI. "Here warlike Epytus, renowned in fight, And valiant Rhipeus gather to our side, And Hypanis and Dymas, matched in might, Join with us, by the glimmering moon descried. Here Mygdon's son, Coroebus, we espied, Who came to Troy,—Cassandra's love to gain, And now his troop with Priam's hosts allied; Poor youth and heedless! whom in frenzied strain His promised bride had warned, but warned, alas! in vain.
XLVII. "So when the bold and compact band I see, 'Brave hearts,' I cry, 'but brave, alas! in vain; If firm your purpose holds to follow me Who dare the worst, our present plight is plain. Troy's guardian gods have left her; altar, fane, All is deserted, every temple bare. The town ye aid is burning. Forward, then, To die and mingle in the tumult's blare. Sole hope to vanquished men of safety is despair.'
XLVIII. "Then fury spurred their courage, and behold, As ravening wolves, when darkness hides the day, Stung with mad fire of famine uncontrolled, Prowl from their dens, and leave the whelps to stay, With jaws athirst and gaping for the prey. So to sure death, amid the darkness there, Where swords, and spears, and foemen bar the way, Into the centre of the town we fare. Night with her shadowy cone broods o'er the vaulted air.
XLIX. "Oh, who hath tears to match our grief withal? What tongue that night of havoc can make known An ancient city totters to her fall, Time-honoured empress and of old renown; And senseless corpses, through the city strown, Choke house and temple. Nor hath vengeance found None save the Trojans; there the victors groan, And valour fires the vanquished. All around Wailings, and wild affright and shapes of death abound.
L. "First of the Greeks approaches, with a crowd, Androgeus; friends he deems us unaware, And thus, with friendly summons, cries aloud: 'Haste, comrades, forward; from the fleet ye fare With lagging steps but now, while yonder glare Troy's towers, and others sack and share the spoils?' Then straight—for doubtful was our answer there— He knew him taken in the foemen's toils; Shuddering, he checks his voice, and back his foot recoils.
LI. "As one who, in a tangled brake apart, On some lithe snake, unheeded in the briar, Hath trodden heavily, and with backward start Flies, trembling at the head uplift in ire And blue neck, swoln in many a glittering spire. So slinks Androgeus, shuddering with dismay; We, massed in onset, make the foe retire, And slay them, wildered, weetless of the way. Fortune, with favouring smile, assists our first essay.
LII. "Flushed with success and eager for the fray, 'Friends,' cries Coroebus, 'forward; let us go Where Fortune newly smiling, points the way. Take we the Danaans' bucklers; with a foe Who asks, if craft or courage guide the blow? Themselves shall arm us.'—Then he takes the crest, The shield and dagger of Androgeus; so Doth Rhipeus, so brave Dymas and the rest; All in the new-won spoils their eager limbs invest.
LIII. "Thus we, elate, but not with Heaven our friend, March on and mingle with the Greeks in fight, And many a Danaan to the shades we send, And many a battle in the blinding night We join with those that meet us. Some in flight Rush diverse to the ships and trusty tide; Some, craven-hearted, in ignoble fright, Make for the horse and, clambering up the side, Deep in the treacherous womb, their well-known refuge, hide.
LIV. "Ah! vain to boast, if Heaven refuse to aid! Dragged by her tresses from Minerva's fane, Cassandra comes, the Priameian maid, Stretching to heaven her burning eyes in vain, Her eyes, for bonds her tender hands constrain. That sight Coroebus brooked not. Stung with gall And mad with rage, nor fearing to be slain, He plunged amid their columns. One and all, With weapons massed, press on and follow at his call.
LV. "Here first with missiles, from a temple's height Hurled by our comrades, we are crushed and slain, And piteous is the slaughter, at the sight Of Argive helms for Argive foes mista'en. Now too, with shouts of fury and disdain To see the maiden rescued, here and there The Danaans gathering round us, charge amain; Fierce-hearted Ajax, the Atridan pair, And all Thessalia's host our scanty band o'erbear.
LVI. "So, when the tempest bursting wakes the war, The justling winds in conflict rave and roar, South, West and East upon his orient car, The lashed woods howl, and with his trident hoar Nereus in foam upheaves the watery floor. Those too, whom late we scattered through the town, Tricked in the darkness, reappear once more. At once the falsehood of our guise is known, The shields, the lying arms, the speech of different tone.
LVII. "O'erwhelmed with odds, we perish; first of all, Struck down by fierce Peneleus by the fane Of warlike Pallas, doth Coroebus fall. Next, Rhipeus dies, the justest, but in vain, The noblest soul of all the Trojan train. Heaven deemed him otherwise; then Dymas brave And Hypanis by comrades' hands are slain. Nor, Panthus, thee thy piety can save, Nor e'en Apollo's wreath preserve thee from the grave.
LVIII. "Witness, ye ashes of our comrades dear, Ye flames of Troy, that in your hour of woe Nor darts I shunned, nor shock of Danaan spear. If Fate my life had called me to forego, This hand had earned it, forfeit to the foe. Thence forced away, brave Iphitus, and I, And Pelias,—Iphitus with age was slow, And Pelias by Ulysses lamed—we fly Where round the palace rings the war-shout's rallying cry.
LIX. "There raged a fight so fierce, as though no fight Raged elsewhere, nor the city streamed with gore. We see the War-God glorying in his might; Up to the roof we see the Danaans pour; Their shielded penthouse drives against the door. Close cling their ladders to the walls; these, fain To clutch the doorposts, climb from floor to floor, Their right hands strive the battlements to gain, Their left with lifted shield the arrowy storm sustain.
LX. "There, roof and pinnacle the Dardans tear— Death standing near—and hurl them on the foe, Last arms of need, the weapons of despair; And gilded beams and rafters down they throw, Ancestral ornaments of days ago. These, stationed at the gates, with naked glaive, Shoulder to shoulder, guard the pass below. Hearts leap afresh the royal halls to save, And cheer our vanquished friends and reinspire the brave.
LXI. "Behind the palace, unobserved and free, There stood a door, a secret thoroughfare Through Priam's halls. Here poor Andromache While Priam's kingdom flourished and was fair, To greet her husband's parents would repair Alone, or carrying with tendance fain To Hector's father Hector's son and heir. By this I reached the roof-top, whence in vain The luckless Teucrians hurled their unavailing rain.
LXII. "Sheer o'er the highest roof-top to the sky, Skirting the parapet, a watch-tower rose, Whence camp and fleet and city met the eye. Here plying levers, where the flooring shows Weak joists, we heave it over. Down it goes With sudden crash upon the Danaan train, Dealing wide ruin. But anon new foes Come swarming up, while ever and again Fast fall the showers of stones, and thick the javelins rain.
LXIII. "Just on the threshold of the porch, behold Fierce Pyrrhus stands, in glittering brass bedight: As when a snake, that through the winter's cold Lay swoln and hidden in the ground from sight, Gorged with rank herbs, forth issues to the light, And sleek with shining youth and newly drest, Wreathing its slippery volumes, towers upright And, glorying, to the sunbeam rears its breast, And darts a three-forked tongue, and points a flaming crest.
LXIV. "With him, Achilles' charioteer and squire, Automedon, huge Periphas and all The Scyrian youth rush up, and flaming fire Hurl to the roof, and thunder at the wall. He in the forefront, tallest of the tall, Poleaxe in hand, unhinging at a stroke The brazen portals, made the doorway fall, And wide-mouthed as a window, through the oak, A panelled plank hewn out, a yawning rent he broke.
LXV. "Bared stands the inmost palace, and behold, The stately chambers and the courts appear Of Priam and the Trojan Kings of old, And warders at the door with shield and spear. Moaning and tumult in the house we hear, Wailings of misery, and shouts that smite The golden stars, and women's shrieks of fear, And trembling matrons, hurrying left and right, Cling to and kiss the doors, made frantic by affright.
LXVI. "Strong as his father, Pyrrhus onward pushed, Nor bars nor warders can his strength sustain. Down sinks the door, with ceaseless battery crushed. Force wins a footing, and, the foremost slain, In, like a deluge, pours the Danaan train. So when the foaming river, uncontrolled, Bursts through its banks and riots on the plain, O'er dyke and dam the gathering deluge rolled, From field to field sweeps on with cattle, flock and fold.
LXVII. "These eyes saw Pyrrhus, rioting in blood, Saw on the threshold the Atridae twain, Saw where among a hundred daughters, stood Pale Hecuba, saw Priam's life-blood stain The fires his hands had hallowed in the fane. Those fifty bridal chambers I behold (So fair the promise of a future reign) And spoil-deckt pillars of barbaric gold, A wreck; where fails the flame, its place the Danaans hold.
LXVIII. "Haply the fate of Priam thou would'st know. Soon as he saw the captured city fall, The palace-gates burst open, and the foe Dealing wild riot in his inmost hall, Up sprang the old man and, at danger's call, Braced o'er his trembling shoulders in a breath His rusty armour, took his belt withal, And drew the useless falchion from its sheath, And on their thronging spears rushed forth to meet his death.
LXIX. "Within the palace, open to the day, There stood a massive altar. Overhead, With drooping boughs, a venerable bay Its shadowy foliage o'er the home-gods spread. Here, with her hundred daughters, pale with dread, Poor Hecuba and all her female train, As doves, that from the low'ring storm have fled, And cower for shelter from the pelting rain, Crouch round the silent gods, and cling to them in vain.
LXX. "But when in youthful arms came Priam near, 'Ah, hapless lord!' she cries, 'what mad desire Arms thee for battle? Why this sword and spear? And whither art thou hurrying? Times so dire Not such defenders nor such help require. Not e'en, were Hector here, my Hector's aid Could save us. Hither to this shrine retire, And share our safety or our death.'—She said, And to his hallowed seat the aged monarch led.
LXXI. "See, now, Polites, one of Priam's sons, Scarce slipt from Pyrrhus' butchery, and lame, Through foes, through darts, along the cloisters runs And empty courtyards. At his heels, aflame With rage, comes Pyrrhus. Lo, in act to aim, Now, now, he clutches him,—a moment more, E'en as before his parent's eyes he came, The long spear reached him. Prostrate on the floor Down falls the hapless youth, and welters in his gore.
LXXII. "Then Priam, though hemmed with death on every side, Spared not his utterance, nor his wrath controlled; 'To thee, yea, thee, fierce miscreant,' he cried, 'May Heaven,—if Heaven with righteous eyes behold So foul an outrage and a deed so bold, Ne'er fail a fitting guerdon to ordain, Nor worthy quittance for thy crime withhold, Whose hand hath made me see my darling slain, And dared with filial blood a father's eyes profane.
LXXIII. "'Not so Achilles, whom thy lying tongue Would feign thy father; like a foeman brave, He scorned a suppliant's rights and trust to wrong, And sent me home in safety,—ay, and gave My Hector's lifeless body to the grave.' The old man spoke and, with a feeble throw, At Pyrrhus with a harmless dart he drave. The jarring metal blunts it, and below The shield-boss, down it hangs, and foils the purposed blow.
LXXIV. "'Go then,' cries Pyrrhus, 'with thy tale of woe To dead Pelides, and thy plaints outpour. To him, my father, in the shades below, These deeds of his degenerate son deplore; Now die!'—So speaking, to the shrine he tore The aged Priam, trembling with affright, And feebly sliding in his son's warm gore. The left hand twists his hoary locks; the right Deep in his side drives home the falchion, bared and bright.
LXXV. "Such close had Priam's fortunes; so his days Were finished, such the bitter end he found, Now doomed by Fate with dying eyes to gaze On Troy in flames and ruin all around, And Pergamus laid level with the ground. Lo, he to whom once Asia bowed the knee, Proud lord of many peoples, far-renowned, Now left to welter by the rolling sea, A huge and headless trunk, a nameless corpse is he.
LXXVI. "Grim horror seized me, and aghast I stood. Uprose the image of my father dear, As there I see the monarch, bathed in blood, Like him in prowess and in age his peer. Uprose Creusa, desolate and drear, Iulus' peril, and a plundered home. I look around for comrades; none are near. Some o'er the battlements leapt headlong, some Sank fainting in the flames; the final hour was come.
LXXVII. "I stood alone, when lo, in Vesta's fane I see Tyndarean Helen, crouching down. Bright shone the blaze around me, as in vain I tracked my comrades through the burning town. There, mute, and, as the traitress deemed, unknown, Dreading the Danaan's vengeance, and the sword Of Trojans, wroth for Pergamus o'erthrown, Dreading the anger of her injured lord, Sat Troy's and Argos' fiend, twice hateful and abhorred.
LXXVIII. "Then, fired with passion and revenge, I burn To quit Troy's downfall and exact the fee Such crimes deserve. Sooth, then, shall she return To Sparta and Mycenae, ay, and see Home, husband, sons and parents, safe and free, With Ilian wives and Phrygians in her train, A queen, in pride of triumph? Shall this be, And Troy have blazed and Priam's self been slain, And Trojan blood so oft have soaked the Dardan plain?