Numbers in brackets [ ] refer to line numbers in Virgil's Aeneid. These numbers appeared at the top of each page of text and have been retained for reference.
Obvious typographical errors have been corrected. A complete list follows the text.
THE AENEID OF VIRGIL
Translated into English
J. W. MACKAIL, M.A. Fellow Of Balliol College, Oxford
London MacMillan and Co. 1885
Printed by R. & R. CLARK, Edinburgh.
There is something grotesque in the idea of a prose translation of a poet, though the practice is become so common that it has ceased to provoke a smile or demand an apology. The language of poetry is language in fusion; that of prose is language fixed and crystallised; and an attempt to copy the one material in the other must always count on failure to convey what is, after all, one of the most essential things in poetry,—its poetical quality. And this is so with Virgil more, perhaps, than with any other poet; for more, perhaps, than any other poet Virgil depends on his poetical quality from first to last. Such a translation can only have the value of a copy of some great painting executed in mosaic, if indeed a copy in Berlin wool is not a closer analogy; and even at the best all it can have to say for itself will be in Virgil's own words, Experiar sensus; nihil hic nisi carmina desunt.
In this translation I have in the main followed the text of Conington and Nettleship. The more important deviations from this text are mentioned in the notes; but I have not thought it necessary to give a complete list of various readings, or to mention any change except where it might lead to misapprehension. Their notes have also been used by me throughout.
Beyond this I have made constant use of the mass of ancient commentary going under the name of Servius; the most valuable, perhaps, of all, as it is in many ways the nearest to the poet himself. The explanation given in it has sometimes been followed against those of the modern editors. To other commentaries only occasional reference has been made. The sense that Virgil is his own best interpreter becomes stronger as one studies him more.
My thanks are due to Mr. EVELYN ABBOTT, Fellow and Tutor of Balliol, and to the Rev. H. C. BEECHING, for much valuable suggestion and criticism.
THE COMING OF AENEAS TO CARTHAGE
I sing of arms and the man who of old from the coasts of Troy came, an exile of fate, to Italy and the shore of Lavinium; hard driven on land and on the deep by the violence of heaven, for cruel Juno's unforgetful anger, and hard bestead in war also, ere he might found a city and carry his gods into Latium; from whom is the Latin race, the lords of Alba, and the stately city Rome.
Muse, tell me why, for what attaint of her deity, or in what vexation, did the Queen of heaven drive one so excellent in goodness to circle through so many afflictions, to face so many toils? Is anger so fierce in celestial spirits?
* * * * *
There was a city of ancient days that Tyrian settlers dwelt in, Carthage, over against Italy and the Tiber mouths afar; rich of store, and mighty in war's fierce pursuits; wherein, they say, alone beyond all other lands had Juno her seat, and held Samos itself less dear. Here was her armour, here her chariot; even now, if fate permit, the goddess strives to nurture it for queen of the nations. Nevertheless she had heard a race was issuing of the blood of [20-53]Troy, which sometime should overthrow her Tyrian citadel; from it should come a people, lord of lands and tyrannous in war, the destroyer of Libya: so rolled the destinies. Fearful of that, the daughter of Saturn, the old war in her remembrance that she fought at Troy for her beloved Argos long ago,—nor had the springs of her anger nor the bitterness of her vexation yet gone out of mind: deep stored in her soul lies the judgment of Paris, the insult of her slighted beauty, the hated race and the dignities of ravished Ganymede; fired with this also, she tossed all over ocean the Trojan remnant left of the Greek host and merciless Achilles, and held them afar from Latium; and many a year were they wandering driven of fate around all the seas. Such work was it to found the Roman people.
Hardly out of sight of the land of Sicily did they set their sails to sea, and merrily upturned the salt foam with brazen prow, when Juno, the undying wound still deep in her heart, thus broke out alone:
'Am I then to abandon my baffled purpose, powerless to keep the Teucrian king from Italy? and because fate forbids me? Could Pallas lay the Argive fleet in ashes, and sink the Argives in the sea, for one man's guilt, mad Oilean Ajax? Her hand darted Jove's flying fire from the clouds, scattered their ships, upturned the seas in tempest; him, his pierced breast yet breathing forth the flame, she caught in a whirlwind and impaled on a spike of rock. But I, who move queen among immortals, I sister and wife of Jove, wage warfare all these years with a single people; and is there any who still adores Juno's divinity, or will kneel to lay sacrifice on her altars?'
Such thoughts inly revolving in her kindled bosom, the goddess reaches Aeolia, the home of storm-clouds, the land laden with furious southern gales. Here in a desolate cavern Aeolus keeps under royal dominion and yokes in [54-85]dungeon fetters the struggling winds and loud storms. They with mighty moan rage indignant round their mountain barriers. In his lofty citadel Aeolus sits sceptred, assuages their temper and soothes their rage; else would they carry with them seas and lands, and the depth of heaven, and sweep them through space in their flying course. But, fearful of this, the lord omnipotent hath hidden them in caverned gloom, and laid a mountain mass high over them, and appointed them a ruler, who should know by certain law to strain and slacken the reins at command. To him now Juno spoke thus in suppliant accents:
'Aeolus—for to thee hath the father of gods and king of men given the wind that lulls and that lifts the waves—a people mine enemy sails the Tyrrhene sea, carrying into Italy the conquered gods of their Ilian home. Rouse thy winds to fury, and overwhelm their sinking vessels, or drive them asunder and strew ocean with their bodies. Mine are twice seven nymphs of passing loveliness; her who of them all is most excellent in beauty, Deiopea, I will unite to thee in wedlock to be thine for ever; that for this thy service she may fulfil all her years at thy side, and make thee father of a beautiful race.'
Aeolus thus returned: 'Thine, O queen, the task to search whereto thou hast desire; for me it is right to do thy bidding. From thee have I this poor kingdom, from thee my sceptre and Jove's grace; thou dost grant me to take my seat at the feasts of the gods, and makest me sovereign over clouds and storms.'
Even with these words, turning his spear, he struck the side of the hollow hill, and the winds, as in banded array, pour where passage is given them, and cover earth with eddying blasts. East wind and west wind together, and the gusty south-wester, falling prone on the sea, stir it up [86-120]from its lowest chambers, and roll vast billows to the shore. Behind rises shouting of men and whistling of cordage. In a moment clouds blot sky and daylight from the Teucrians' eyes; black night broods over the deep. Pole thunders to pole, and the air quivers with incessant flashes; all menaces them with instant death. Straightway Aeneas' frame grows unnerved and chill, and stretching either hand to heaven, he cries thus aloud: 'Ah, thrice and four times happy they who found their doom under high Troy town before their fathers' faces! Ah, son of Tydeus, bravest of the Grecian race, that I could not have fallen on the Ilian plains, and gasped out this my life beneath thine hand! where under the spear of Aeacides lies fierce Hector, lies mighty Sarpedon; where Simois so often bore beneath his whirling wave shields and helmets and brave bodies of men.'
As the cry leaves his lips, a gust of the shrill north strikes full on the sail and raises the waves up to heaven. The oars are snapped; the prow swings away and gives her side to the waves; down in a heap comes a broken mountain of water. These hang on the wave's ridge; to these the yawning billow shows ground amid the surge, where the sea churns with sand. Three ships the south wind catches and hurls on hidden rocks, rocks amid the waves which Italians call the Altars, a vast reef banking the sea. Three the east forces from the deep into shallows and quicksands, piteous to see, dashes on shoals and girdles with a sandbank. One, wherein loyal Orontes and his Lycians rode, before their lord's eyes a vast sea descending strikes astern. The helmsman is dashed away and rolled forward headlong; her as she lies the billow sends spinning thrice round with it, and engulfs in the swift whirl. Scattered swimmers appear in the vast eddy, armour of men, timbers and Trojan treasure amid the water. Ere now the stout ship of Ilioneus, ere now of brave Achates, and she wherein [121-152]Abas rode, and she wherein aged Aletes, have yielded to the storm; through the shaken fastenings of their sides they all draw in the deadly water, and their opening seams give way.
Meanwhile Neptune discerned with astonishment the loud roaring of the vexed sea, the tempest let loose from prison, and the still water boiling up from its depths, and lifting his head calm above the waves, looked forth across the deep. He sees all ocean strewn with Aeneas' fleet, the Trojans overwhelmed by the waves and the ruining heaven. Juno's guile and wrath lay clear to her brother's eye; east wind and west he calls before him, and thereon speaks thus:
'Stand you then so sure in your confidence of birth? Careless, O winds, of my deity, dare you confound sky and earth, and raise so huge a coil? you whom I—But better to still the aroused waves; for a second sin you shall pay me another penalty. Speed your flight, and say this to your king: not to him but to me was allotted the stern trident of ocean empire. His fastness is on the monstrous rocks where thou and thine, east wind, dwell: there let Aeolus glory in his palace and reign over the barred prison of his winds.'
Thus he speaks, and ere the words are done he soothes the swollen seas, chases away the gathered clouds, and restores the sunlight. Cymothoe and Triton together push the ships strongly off the sharp reef; himself he eases them with his trident, channels the vast quicksands, and assuages the sea, gliding on light wheels along the water. Even as when oft in a throng of people strife hath risen, and the base multitude rage in their minds, and now brands and stones are flying; madness lends arms; then if perchance they catch sight of one reverend for goodness and service, they are silent and stand by with attentive ear; he with [153-190]speech sways their temper and soothes their breasts; even so hath fallen all the thunder of ocean, when riding forward beneath a cloudless sky the lord of the sea wheels his coursers and lets his gliding chariot fly with loosened rein.
The outworn Aeneadae hasten to run for the nearest shore, and turn to the coast of Libya. There lies a spot deep withdrawn; an island forms a harbour with outstretched sides, whereon all the waves break from the open sea and part into the hollows of the bay. On this side and that enormous cliffs rise threatening heaven, and twin crags beneath whose crest the sheltered water lies wide and calm; above hangs a background of flickering forest, and the dark shade of rustling groves. Beneath the seaward brow is a rock-hung cavern, within it fresh springs and seats in the living stone, a haunt of nymphs; where tired ships need no fetters to hold nor anchor to fasten them with crooked bite. Here with seven sail gathered of all his company Aeneas enters; and disembarking on the land of their desire the Trojans gain the chosen beach, and set their feet dripping with brine upon the shore. At once Achates struck a spark from the flint and caught the fire on leaves, and laying dry fuel round kindled it into flame. Then, weary of fortune, they fetch out corn spoiled by the sea and weapons of corn-dressing, and begin to parch over the fire and bruise in stones the grain they had rescued.
Meanwhile Aeneas scales the crag, and seeks the whole view wide over ocean, if he may see aught of Antheus storm-tossed with his Phrygian galleys, aught of Capys or of Caicus' armour high astern. Ship in sight is none; three stags he espies straying on the shore; behind whole herds follow, and graze in long train across the valley. Stopping short, he snatched up a bow and swift arrows, the arms trusty Achates was carrying; and first the leaders, their stately heads high with branching antlers, then the common [191-222]herd fall to his hand, as he drives them with his shafts in a broken crowd through the leafy woods. Nor stays he till seven great victims are stretched on the sod, fulfilling the number of his ships. Thence he seeks the harbour and parts them among all his company. The casks of wine that good Acestes had filled on the Trinacrian beach, the hero's gift at their departure, he thereafter shares, and calms with speech their sorrowing hearts:
'O comrades, for not now nor aforetime are we ignorant of ill, O tried by heavier fortunes, unto this last likewise will God appoint an end. The fury of Scylla and the roaring recesses of her crags you have been anigh; the rocks of the Cyclops you have trodden. Recall your courage, put dull fear away. This too sometime we shall haply remember with delight. Through chequered fortunes, through many perilous ways, we steer for Latium, where destiny points us a quiet home. There the realm of Troy may rise again unforbidden. Keep heart, and endure till prosperous fortune come.'
Such words he utters, and sick with deep distress he feigns hope on his face, and keeps his anguish hidden deep in his breast. The others set to the spoil they are to feast upon, tear chine from ribs and lay bare the flesh; some cut it into pieces and pierce it still quivering with spits; others plant cauldrons on the beach and feed them with flame. Then they repair their strength with food, and lying along the grass take their fill of old wine and fat venison. After hunger is driven from the banquet, and the board cleared, they talk with lingering regret of their lost companions, swaying between hope and fear, whether they may believe them yet alive, or now in their last agony and deaf to mortal call. Most does good Aeneas inly wail the loss now of valiant Orontes, now of Amycus, the cruel doom of Lycus, of brave Gyas, and brave Cloanthus. [223-254]And now they ceased; when from the height of air Jupiter looked down on the sail-winged sea and outspread lands, the shores and broad countries, and looking stood on the cope of heaven, and cast down his eyes on the realm of Libya. To him thus troubled at heart Venus, her bright eyes brimming with tears, sorrowfully speaks:
'O thou who dost sway mortal and immortal things with eternal command and the terror of thy thunderbolt, how can my Aeneas have transgressed so grievously against thee? how his Trojans? on whom, after so many deaths outgone, all the world is barred for Italy's sake. From them sometime in the rolling years the Romans were to arise indeed; from them were to be rulers who, renewing the blood of Teucer, should hold sea and land in universal lordship. This thou didst promise: why, O father, is thy decree reversed? This was my solace for the wretched ruin of sunken Troy, doom balanced against doom. Now so many woes are spent, and the same fortune still pursues them; Lord and King, what limit dost thou set to their agony? Antenor could elude the encircling Achaeans, could thread in safety the Illyrian bays and inmost realms of the Liburnians, could climb Timavus' source, whence through nine mouths pours the bursting tide amid dreary moans of the mountain, and covers the fields with hoarse waters. Yet here did he set Patavium town, a dwelling-place for his Teucrians, gave his name to a nation and hung up the armour of Troy; now settled in peace, he rests and is in quiet. We, thy children, we whom thou beckonest to the heights of heaven, our fleet miserably cast away for a single enemy's anger, are betrayed and severed far from the Italian coasts. Is this the reward of goodness? Is it thus thou dost restore our throne?'
Smiling on her with that look which clears sky and [255-289]storms, the parent of men and gods lightly kissed his daughter's lips; then answered thus:
'Spare thy fear, Cytherean; thy people's destiny abides unshaken. Thine eyes shall see the city Lavinium, their promised home; thou shalt exalt to the starry heaven thy noble Aeneas; nor is my decree reversed. He thou lovest (for I will speak, since this care keeps torturing thee, and will unroll further the secret records of fate) shall wage a great war in Italy, and crush warrior nations; he shall appoint his people a law and a city; till the third summer see him reigning in Latium, and three winters' camps pass over the conquered Rutulians. But the boy Ascanius, whose surname is now Iuelus—Ilus he was while the Ilian state stood sovereign—thirty great circles of rolling months shall he fulfil in government; he shall carry the kingdom from its fastness in Lavinium, and make a strong fortress of Alba the Long. Here the full space of thrice an hundred years shall the kingdom endure under the race of Hector's kin, till the royal priestess Ilia from Mars' embrace shall give birth to a twin progeny. Thence shall Romulus, gay in the tawny hide of the she-wolf that nursed him, take up their line, and name them Romans after his own name. I appoint to these neither period nor boundary of empire: I have given them dominion without end. Nay, harsh Juno, who in her fear now troubles earth and sea and sky, shall change to better counsels, and with me shall cherish the lords of the world, the gowned race of Rome. Thus is it willed. A day will come in the lapse of cycles, when the house of Assaracus shall lay Phthia and famed Mycenae in bondage, and reign over conquered Argos. From the fair line of Troy a Caesar shall arise, who shall limit his empire with ocean, his glory with the firmament, Julius, inheritor of great Iuelus' name. Him one day, thy care done, thou shalt welcome to heaven loaded [290-321]with Eastern spoils; to him too shall vows be addressed. Then shall war cease, and the iron ages soften. Hoar Faith and Vesta, Quirinus and Remus brothers again, shall deliver statutes. The dreadful steel-riveted gates of war shall be shut fast; on murderous weapons the inhuman Fury, his hands bound behind him with an hundred fetters of brass, shall sit within, shrieking with terrible blood-stained lips.'
So speaking, he sends Maia's son down from above, that the land and towers of Carthage, the new town, may receive the Trojans with open welcome; lest Dido, ignorant of doom, might debar them her land. Flying through the depth of air on winged oarage, the fleet messenger alights on the Libyan coasts. At once he does his bidding; at once, for a god willed it, the Phoenicians allay their haughty temper; the queen above all takes to herself grace and compassion towards the Teucrians.
But good Aeneas, nightlong revolving many and many a thing, issues forth, so soon as bountiful light is given, to explore the strange country; to what coasts the wind has borne him, who are their habitants, men or wild beasts, for all he sees is wilderness; this he resolves to search, and bring back the certainty to his comrades. The fleet he hides close in embosoming groves beneath a caverned rock, amid shivering shadow of the woodland; himself, Achates alone following, he strides forward, clenching in his hand two broad-headed spears. And amid the forest his mother crossed his way, wearing the face and raiment of a maiden, the arms of a maiden of Sparta, or like Harpalyce of Thrace when she tires her coursers and outstrips the winged speed of Hebrus in her flight. For huntress fashion had she slung the ready bow from her shoulder, and left her blown tresses free, bared her knee, and knotted together her garments' flowing folds. 'Ha! my men,' she begins, 'shew me if [322-355]haply you have seen a sister of mine straying here girt with quiver and a lynx's dappled fell, or pressing with shouts on the track of a foaming boar.'
Thus Venus, and Venus' son answering thus began:
'Sound nor sight have I had of sister of thine, O maiden unnamed; for thy face is not mortal, nor thy voice of human tone; O goddess assuredly! sister of Phoebus perchance, or one of the nymphs' blood? Be thou gracious, whoso thou art, and lighten this toil of ours; deign to instruct us beneath what skies, on what coast of the world, we are thrown. Driven hither by wind and desolate waves, we wander in a strange land among unknown men. Many a sacrifice shall fall by our hand before thine altars.'
Then Venus: 'Nay, to no such offerings do I aspire. Tyrian maidens are wont ever to wear the quiver, to tie the purple buskin high above their ankle. Punic is the realm thou seest, Tyrian the people, and the city of Agenor's kin; but their borders are Libyan, a race unassailable in war. Dido sways the sceptre, who flying her brother set sail from the Tyrian town. Long is the tale of crime, long and intricate; but I will briefly follow its argument. Her husband was Sychaeus, wealthiest in lands of the Phoenicians, and loved of her with ill-fated passion; to whom with virgin rites her father had given her maidenhood in wedlock. But the kingdom of Tyre was in her brother Pygmalion's hands, a monster of guilt unparalleled. Between these madness came; the unnatural brother, blind with lust of gold, and reckless of his sister's love, lays Sychaeus low before the altars with stealthy unsuspected weapon; and for long he hid the deed, and by many a crafty pretence cheated her love-sickness with hollow hope. But in slumber came the very ghost of her unburied husband; lifting up a face pale in wonderful wise, he exposed the merciless altars and [356-387]his breast stabbed through with steel, and unwove all the blind web of household guilt. Then he counsels hasty flight out of the country, and to aid her passage discloses treasures long hidden underground, an untold mass of silver and gold. Stirred thereby, Dido gathered a company for flight. All assemble in whom hatred of the tyrant was relentless or fear keen; they seize on ships that chanced to lie ready, and load them with the gold. Pygmalion's hoarded wealth is borne overseas; a woman leads the work. They came at last to the land where thou wilt descry a city now great, New Carthage, and her rising citadel, and bought ground, called thence Byrsa, as much as a bull's hide would encircle. But who, I pray, are you, or from what coasts come, or whither hold you your way?'
At her question he, sighing and drawing speech deep from his breast, thus replied:
'Ah goddess, should I go on retracing from the fountain head, were time free to hear the history of our woes, sooner would the evening star lay day asleep in the closed gates of heaven. Us, as from ancient Troy (if the name of Troy hath haply passed through your ears) we sailed over alien seas, the tempest at his own wild will hath driven on the Libyan coast. I am Aeneas the good, who carry in my fleet the household gods I rescued from the enemy; my fame is known high in heaven. I seek Italy my country, my kin of Jove's supreme blood. With twenty sail did I climb the Phrygian sea; oracular tokens led me on; my goddess mother pointed the way; scarce seven survive the shattering of wave and wind. Myself unknown, destitute, driven from Europe and Asia, I wander over the Libyan wilderness.'
But staying longer complaint, Venus thus broke in on his half-told sorrows:
'Whoso thou art, not hated I think of the immortals [388-420]dost thou draw the breath of life, who hast reached the Tyrian city. Only go on, and betake thee hence to the courts of the queen. For I declare to thee thy comrades are restored, thy fleet driven back into safety by the shifted northern gales, except my parents were pretenders, and unavailing the augury they taught me. Behold these twelve swans in joyous line, whom, stooping from the tract of heaven, the bird of Jove fluttered over the open sky; now in long train they seem either to take the ground or already to look down on the ground they took. As they again disport with clapping wings, and utter their notes as they circle the sky in company, even so do these ships and crews of thine either lie fast in harbour or glide under full sail into the harbour mouth. Only go on, and turn thy steps where the pathway leads thee.'
Speaking she turned away, and her neck shone roseate, her immortal tresses breathed the fragrance of deity; her raiment fell flowing down to her feet, and the godhead was manifest in her tread. He knew her for his mother, and with this cry pursued her flight: 'Thou also merciless! Why mockest thou thy son so often in feigned likeness? Why is it forbidden to clasp hand in hand, to hear and utter true speech?' Thus reproaching her he bends his steps towards the city. But Venus girt them in their going with dull mist, and shed round them a deep divine clothing of cloud, that none might see them, none touch them, or work delay, or ask wherefore they came. Herself she speeds through the sky to Paphos, and joyfully revisits her habitation, where the temple and its hundred altars steam with Sabaean incense, and are fresh with fragrance of chaplets in her worship.
They meantime have hasted along where the pathway points, and now were climbing the hill which hangs enormous over the city, and looks down on its facing towers. [421-456]Aeneas marvels at the mass of building, pastoral huts once of old, marvels at the gateways and clatter of the pavements. The Tyrians are hot at work to trace the walls, to rear the citadel, and roll up great stones by hand, or to choose a spot for their dwelling and enclose it with a furrow. They ordain justice and magistrates, and the august senate. Here some are digging harbours, here others lay the deep foundations of their theatre, and hew out of the cliff vast columns, the lofty ornaments of the stage to be: even as bees when summer is fresh over the flowery country ply their task beneath the sun, when they lead forth their nation's grown brood, or when they press the liquid honey and strain their cells with nectarous sweets, or relieve the loaded incomers, or in banded array drive the idle herd of drones far from their folds; they swarm over their work, and the odorous honey smells sweet of thyme. 'Happy they whose city already rises!' cries Aeneas, looking on the town roofs below. Girt in the cloud he passes amid them, wonderful to tell, and mingling with the throng is descried of none.
In the heart of the town was a grove deep with luxuriant shade, wherein first the Phoenicians, buffeted by wave and whirlwind, dug up the token Queen Juno had appointed, the head of a war horse: thereby was their race to be through all ages illustrious in war and opulent in living. Here to Juno was Sidonian Dido founding a vast temple, rich with offerings and the sanctity of her godhead: brazen steps rose on the threshold, brass clamped the pilasters, doors of brass swung on grating hinges. First in this grove did a strange chance meet his steps and allay his fears; first here did Aeneas dare to hope for safety and have fairer trust in his shattered fortunes. For while he closely scans the temple that towers above him, while, awaiting the queen, he admires the fortunate city, the emulous hands and elaborate work of her craftsmen, he sees ranged in order the [457-491]battles of Ilium, that war whose fame was already rumoured through all the world, the sons of Atreus and Priam, and Achilles whom both found pitiless. He stopped and cried weeping, 'What land is left, Achates, what tract on earth that is not full of our agony? Behold Priam! Here too is the meed of honour, here mortal estate touches the soul to tears. Dismiss thy fears; the fame of this will somehow bring thee salvation.'
So speaks he, and fills his soul with the painted show, sighing often the while, and his face wet with a full river of tears. For he saw, how warring round the Trojan citadel here the Greeks fled, the men of Troy hard on their rear; here the Phrygians, plumed Achilles in his chariot pressing their flight. Not far away he knows the snowy canvas of Rhesus' tents, which, betrayed in their first sleep, the blood-stained son of Tydeus laid desolate in heaped slaughter, and turns the ruddy steeds away to the camp ere ever they tasted Trojan fodder or drunk of Xanthus. Elsewhere Troilus, his armour flung away in flight—luckless boy, no match for Achilles to meet!—is borne along by his horses, and thrown back entangled with his empty chariot, still clutching the reins; his neck and hair are dragged over the ground, and his reversed spear scores the dust. Meanwhile the Ilian women went with disordered tresses to unfriendly Pallas' temple, and bore the votive garment, sadly beating breast with palm: the goddess turning away held her eyes fast on the ground. Thrice had Achilles whirled Hector round the walls of Troy, and was selling the lifeless body for gold; then at last he heaves a loud and heart-deep groan, as the spoils, as the chariot, as the dear body met his gaze, and Priam outstretching unarmed hands. Himself too he knew joining battle with the foremost Achaeans, knew the Eastern ranks and swart Memnon's armour. Penthesilea leads her crescent-shielded Amazonian columns in furious heat with [492-524]thousands around her; clasping a golden belt under her naked breast, the warrior maiden clashes boldly with men.
While these marvels meet Dardanian Aeneas' eyes, while he dizzily hangs rapt in one long gaze, Dido the queen entered the precinct, beautiful exceedingly, a youthful train thronging round her. Even as on Eurotas' banks or along the Cynthian ridges Diana wheels the dance, while behind her a thousand mountain nymphs crowd to left and right; she carries quiver on shoulder, and as she moves outshines them all in deity; Latona's heart is thrilled with silent joy; such was Dido, so she joyously advanced amid the throng, urging on the business of her rising empire. Then in the gates of the goddess, beneath the central vault of the temple roof, she took her seat girt with arms and high enthroned. And now she gave justice and laws to her people, and adjusted or allotted their taskwork in due portion; when suddenly Aeneas sees advancing with a great crowd about them Antheus and Sergestus and brave Cloanthus, and other of his Trojans, whom the black squall had sundered at sea and borne far away on the coast. Dizzy with the shock of joy and fear he and Achates together were on fire with eagerness to clasp their hands; but in confused uncertainty they keep hidden, and clothed in the sheltering cloud wait to espy what fortune befalls them, where they are leaving their fleet ashore, why they now come; for they advanced, chosen men from all the ships, praying for grace, and held on with loud cries towards the temple.
After they entered in, and free speech was granted, aged Ilioneus with placid mien thus began:
'Queen, to whom Jupiter hath given to found this new city, and lay the yoke of justice upon haughty tribes, we beseech thee, we wretched Trojans storm-driven over all [525-559]the seas, stay the dreadful flames from our ships; spare a guiltless race, and bend a gracious regard on our fortunes. We are not come to deal slaughter through Libyan homes, or to drive plundered spoils to the coast. Such violence sits not in our mind, nor is a conquered people so insolent. There is a place Greeks name Hesperia, an ancient land, mighty in arms and foison of the clod; Oenotrian men dwelt therein; now rumour is that a younger race from their captain's name have called it Italy. Thither lay our course . . . when Orion rising on us through the cloudrack with sudden surf bore us on blind shoals, and scattered us afar with his boisterous gales and whelming brine over waves and trackless reefs. To these your coasts we a scanty remnant floated up. What race of men, what land how barbarous soever, allows such a custom for its own? We are debarred the shelter of the beach; they rise in war, and forbid us to set foot on the brink of their land. If you slight human kinship and mortal arms, yet look for gods unforgetful of innocence and guilt. Aeneas was our king, foremost of men in righteousness, incomparable in goodness as in warlike arms; whom if fate still preserves, if he draws the breath of heaven and lies not yet low in dispiteous gloom, fear we have none; nor mayest thou repent of challenging the contest of service. In Sicilian territory too is tilth and town, and famed Acestes himself of Trojan blood. Grant us to draw ashore our storm-shattered fleet, to shape forest trees into beams and strip them for oars; so, if to Italy we may steer with our king and comrades found, Italy and Latium shall we gladly seek; but if salvation is clean gone, if the Libyan gulf holds thee, dear lord of thy Trojans, and Iuelus our hope survives no more, seek we then at least the straits of Sicily, the open homes whence we sailed hither, and Acestes for our king.' Thus Ilioneus, and all the Dardanian company [560-593]murmured assent. . . . Then Dido, with downcast face, briefly speaks:
'Cheer your anxious hearts, O Teucrians; put by your care. Hard fortune in a strange realm forces me to this task, to keep watch and ward on my wide frontiers. Who can be ignorant of the race of Aeneas' people, who of Troy town and her men and deeds, or of the great war's consuming fire? Not so dull are the hearts of our Punic wearing, not so far doth the sun yoke his steeds from our Tyrian town. Whether your choice be broad Hesperia, the fields of Saturn's dominion, or Eryx for your country and Acestes for your king, my escort shall speed you in safety, my arsenals supply your need. Or will you even find rest here with me and share my kingdom? The city I establish is yours; draw your ships ashore; Trojan and Tyrian shall be held by me in even balance. And would that he your king, that Aeneas were here, storm-driven to this same haven! But I will send messengers along the coast, and bid them trace Libya to its limits, if haply he strays shipwrecked in forest or town.'
Stirred by these words brave Achates and lord Aeneas both ere now burned to break through the cloud. Achates first accosts Aeneas: 'Goddess-born, what purpose now rises in thy spirit? Thou seest all is safe, our fleet and comrades are restored. One only is wanting, whom our eyes saw whelmed amid the waves; all else is answerable to thy mother's words.'
Scarce had he spoken when the encircling cloud suddenly parts and melts into clear air. Aeneas stood discovered in sheen of brilliant light, like a god in face and shoulders; for his mother's self had shed on her son the grace of clustered locks, the radiant light of youth, and the lustre of joyous eyes; as when ivory takes beauty under the artist's hand, or when silver or Parian stone is inlaid in gold. [594-625]Then breaking in on all with unexpected speech he thus addresses the queen:
'I whom you seek am here before you, Aeneas of Troy, snatched from the Libyan waves. O thou who alone hast pitied Troy's untold agonies, thou who with us the remnant of the Grecian foe, worn out ere now by every suffering land and sea can bring, with us in our utter want dost share thy city and home! to render meet recompense is not possible for us, O Dido, nor for all who scattered over the wide world are left of our Dardanian race. The gods grant thee worthy reward, if their deity turn any regard on goodness, if aught avails justice and conscious purity of soul. What happy ages bore thee? what mighty parents gave thy virtue birth? While rivers run into the sea, while the mountain shadows move across their slopes, while the stars have pasturage in heaven, ever shall thine honour, thy name and praises endure in the unknown lands that summon me.' With these words he advances his right hand to dear Ilioneus, his left to Serestus; then to the rest, brave Gyas and brave Cloanthus.
Dido the Sidonian stood astonished, first at the sight of him, then at his strange fortunes; and these words left her lips:
'What fate follows thee, goddess-born, through perilous ways? what violence lands thee on this monstrous coast? Art thou that Aeneas whom Venus the bountiful bore to Dardanian Anchises by the wave of Phrygian Simois? And well I remember how Teucer came to Sidon, when exiled from his native land he sought Belus' aid to gain new realms; Belus my father even then ravaged rich Cyprus and held it under his conquering sway. From that time forth have I known the fall of the Trojan city, known thy name and the Pelasgian princes. Their very foe would extol the Teucrians with highest praises, and boasted himself a branch [626-661]of the ancient Teucrian stem. Come therefore, O men, and enter our house. Me too hath a like fortune driven through many a woe, and willed at last to find my rest in this land. Not ignorant of ill do I learn to succour the afflicted.'
With such speech she leads Aeneas into the royal house, and orders sacrifice in the gods' temples. Therewith she sends his company on the shore twenty bulls, an hundred great bristly-backed swine, an hundred fat lambs and their mothers with them, gifts of the day's gladness. . . . But the palace within is decked with splendour of royal state, and a banquet made ready amid the halls. The coverings are curiously wrought in splendid purple; on the tables is massy silver and deeds of ancestral valour graven in gold, all the long course of history drawn through many a heroic name from the nation's primal antiquity.
Aeneas—for a father's affection denied his spirit rest—sends Achates speeding to his ships, to carry this news to Ascanius, and lead him to the town: in Ascanius is fixed all the parent's loving care. Presents likewise he bids him bring saved from the wreck of Ilium, a mantle stiff with gold embroidery, and a veil with woven border of yellow acanthus-flower, that once decked Helen of Argos, the marvel of her mother Leda's giving; Helen had borne them from Mycenae, when she sought Troy towers and a lawless bridal; the sceptre too that Ilione, Priam's eldest daughter, once had worn, a beaded necklace, and a double circlet of jewelled gold. Achates, hasting on his message, bent his way towards the ships.
But in the Cytherean's breast new arts, new schemes revolve; if Cupid, changed in form and feature, may come in sweet Ascanius' room, and his gifts kindle the queen to madness and set her inmost sense aflame. Verily she fears the uncertain house, the double-tongued race of Tyre; [662-698]cruel Juno frets her, and at nightfall her care floods back. Therefore to winged Love she speaks these words:
'Son, who art alone my strength and sovereignty, son, who scornest the mighty father's Typhoian shafts, to thee I fly for succour, and sue humbly to thy deity. How Aeneas thy brother is driven about all the sea-coasts by bitter Juno's malignity, this thou knowest, and hast often grieved in our grief. Now Dido the Phoenician holds him stayed with soft words, and I tremble to think how the welcome of Juno's house may issue; she will not be idle in this supreme turn of fortune. Wherefore I counsel to prevent her wiles and circle the queen with flame, that, unalterable by any deity, she may be held fast to me by passionate love for Aeneas. Take now my thought how to do this. The boy prince, my chiefest care, makes ready at his dear father's summons to go to the Sidonian city, carrying gifts that survive the sea and the flames of Troy. Him will I hide deep asleep in my holy habitation, high on Cythera's hills or in Idalium, that he may not know nor cross our wiles. Do thou but for one night feign his form, and, boy as thou art, put on the familiar face of a boy; so when in festal cheer, amid royal dainties and Bacchic juice, Dido shall take thee to her lap, shall fold thee in her clasp and kiss thee close and sweet, thou mayest imbreathe a hidden fire and unsuspected poison.'
Love obeys his dear mother's words, lays by his wings, and walks rejoicingly with Iuelus' tread. But Venus pours gentle dew of slumber on Ascanius' limbs, and lifts him lulled in her lap to the tall Idalian groves of her deity, where soft amaracus folds him round with the shadowed sweetness of its odorous blossoms. And now, obedient to her words, Cupid went merrily in Achates' guiding, with the royal gifts for the Tyrians. Already at his coming the queen hath sate her down in the midmost on her golden [699-733]throne under the splendid tapestries; now lord Aeneas, now too the men of Troy gather, and all recline on the strewn purple. Servants pour water on their hands, serve corn from baskets, and bring napkins with close-cut pile. Fifty handmaids are within, whose task is in their course to keep unfailing store and kindle the household fire. An hundred others, and as many pages all of like age, load the board with food and array the wine cups. Therewithal the Tyrians are gathered full in the wide feasting chamber, and take their appointed places on the broidered cushions. They marvel at Aeneas' gifts, marvel at Iuelus, at the god's face aflame and forged speech, at the mantle and veil wrought with yellow acanthus-flower. Above all the hapless Phoenician, victim to coming doom, cannot satiate her soul, but, stirred alike by the boy and the gifts, she gazes and takes fire. He, when hanging clasped on Aeneas' neck he had satisfied all the deluded parent's love, makes his way to the queen; the queen clings to him with her eyes and all her soul, and ever and anon fondles him in her lap, ah, poor Dido! witless how mighty a deity sinks into her breast; but he, mindful of his mother the Acidalian, begins touch by touch to efface Sychaeus, and sows the surprise of a living love in the long-since-unstirred spirit and disaccustomed heart. Soon as the noise of banquet ceased and the board was cleared, they set down great bowls and enwreathe the wine. The house is filled with hum of voices eddying through the spacious chambers; lit lamps hang down by golden chainwork, and flaming tapers expel the night. Now the queen called for a heavy cup of jewelled gold, and filled it with pure wine; therewith was the use of Belus and all of Belus' race: then the hall was silenced. 'Jupiter,' she cries, 'for thou art reputed lawgiver of hospitality, grant that this be a joyful day to the Tyrians and the voyagers from Troy, a day to live in our children's memory. [734-756]Bacchus, the giver of gladness, be with us, and Juno the bountiful; and you, O Tyrians, be favourable to our assembly.' She spoke, and poured liquid libation on the board, which done, she first herself touched it lightly with her lips, then handed it to Bitias and bade him speed; he valiantly drained the foaming cup, and flooded him with the brimming gold. The other princes followed. Long-haired Iopas on his gilded lyre fills the chamber with songs ancient Atlas taught; he sings of the wandering moon and the sun's travails; whence is the human race and the brute, whence water and fire; of Arcturus, the rainy Hyades, and the twin Oxen; why wintry suns make such haste to dip in ocean, or what delay makes the nights drag lingeringly. Tyrians and Trojans after them redouble applause. Therewithal Dido wore the night in changing talk, alas! and drank long draughts of love, asking many a thing of Priam, many a thing of Hector; now in what armour the son of the Morning came; now of what fashion were Diomede's horses; now of mighty Achilles. 'Nay, come,' she cries, 'tell to us, O guest, from their first beginning the treachery of the Grecians, thy people's woes, and thine own wanderings; for this is now the seventh summer that bears thee a wanderer over all the earth and sea.'
THE STORY OF THE SACK OF TROY
All were hushed, and sate with steadfast countenance; thereon, high from his cushioned seat, lord Aeneas thus began:
'Dreadful, O Queen, is the woe thou bidst me recall, how the Grecians pitiably overthrew the wealth and lordship of Troy; and I myself saw these things in all their horror, and I bore great part in them. What Myrmidon or Dolopian, or soldier of stern Ulysses, could in such a tale restrain his tears! and now night falls dewy from the steep of heaven, and the setting stars counsel to slumber. Yet if thy desire be such to know our calamities, and briefly to hear Troy's last agony, though my spirit shudders at the remembrance and recoils in pain, I will essay.
'Broken in war and beaten back by fate, and so many years now slid away, the Grecian captains build by Pallas' divine craft a horse of mountainous build, ribbed with sawn fir; they feign it vowed for their return, and this rumour goes about. Within the blind sides they stealthily imprison chosen men picked out one by one, and fill the vast cavern of its womb full with armed soldiery.
'There lies in sight an island well known in fame, Tenedos, rich of store while the realm of Priam endured, [23-55]now but a bay and roadstead treacherous to ships. Hither they launch forth, and hide on the solitary shore: we fancied they were gone, and had run down the wind for Mycenae. So all the Teucrian land put her long grief away. The gates are flung open; men go rejoicingly to see the Doric camp, the deserted stations and abandoned shore. Here the Dolopian troops were tented, here cruel Achilles; here their squadrons lay; here the lines were wont to meet in battle. Some gaze astonished at the deadly gift of Minerva the Virgin, and wonder at the horse's bulk; and Thymoetes begins to advise that it be drawn within our walls and set in the citadel, whether in guile, or that the doom of Troy was even now setting thus. But Capys and they whose mind was of better counsel, bid us either hurl sheer into the sea the guileful and sinister gift of Greece, or heap flames beneath to consume it, or pierce and explore the hollow hiding-place of its womb. The wavering crowd is torn apart in high dispute.
'At that, foremost of all and with a great throng about him, Laocoon runs hotly down from the high citadel, and cries from far: "Ah, wretched citizens, what height of madness is this? Believe you the foe is gone? or think you any Grecian gift is free of treachery? is it thus we know Ulysses? Either Achaeans are hid in this cage of wood, or the engine is fashioned against our walls to overlook the houses and descend upon the city; some delusion lurks there: trust not the horse, O Trojans. Be it what it may, I fear the Grecians even when they offer gifts." Thus speaking, he hurled his mighty spear with great strength at the creature's side and the curved framework of the belly: the spear stood quivering, and the jarred cavern of the womb sounded hollow and uttered a groan. And had divine ordinance, had a soul not infatuate been with us, he had moved us to lay violent steel on the Argolic hiding place; [56-90]and Troy would now stand, and you, tall towers of Priam, yet abide.
'Lo, Dardanian shepherds meanwhile dragged clamorously before the King a man with hands tied behind his back, who to compass this very thing, to lay Troy open to the Achaeans, had gone to meet their ignorant approach, confident in spirit and doubly prepared to spin his snares or to meet assured death. From all sides, in eagerness to see, the people of Troy run streaming in, and vie in jeers at their prisoner. Know now the treachery of the Grecians, and from a single crime learn all. . . . For as he stood amid our gaze confounded, disarmed, and cast his eyes around the Phrygian columns, "Alas!" he cried, "what land now, what seas may receive me? or what is the last doom that yet awaits my misery? who have neither any place among the Grecians, and likewise the Dardanians clamour in wrath for the forfeit of my blood." At that lament our spirit was changed, and all assault stayed: we encourage him to speak, and tell of what blood he is sprung, or what assurance he brings his captors.
'"In all things assuredly," says he, "O King, befall what may, I will confess to thee the truth; nor will I deny myself of Argolic birth—this first—nor, if Fortune hath made Sinon unhappy, shall her malice mould him to a cheat and a liar. Hath a tale of the name of Palamedes, son of Belus, haply reached thine ears, and of his glorious rumour and renown; whom under false evidence the Pelasgians, because he forbade the war, sent innocent to death by wicked witness; now they bewail him when he hath left the light;—in his company, being near of blood, my father, poor as he was, sent me hither to arms from mine earliest years. While he stood unshaken in royalty and potent in the councils of the kings, we too wore a name and honour. When by subtle Ulysses' malice (no unknown tale do I tell) [91-124]he left the upper regions, my shattered life crept on in darkness and grief, inly indignant at the fate of my innocent friend. Nor in my madness was I silent: and, should any chance offer, did I ever return a conqueror to my native Argos, I vowed myself his avenger, and with my words I stirred his bitter hatred. From this came the first taint of ill; from this did Ulysses ever threaten me with fresh charges, from this flung dark sayings among the crowd and sought confederate arms. Nay, nor did he rest, till by Calchas' service—but yet why do I vainly unroll the unavailing tale, or why hold you in delay, if all Achaeans are ranked together in your mind, and it is enough that I bear the name? Take the vengeance deferred; this the Ithacan would desire, and the sons of Atreus buy at a great ransom."
'Then indeed we press on to ask and inquire the cause, witless of wickedness so great and Pelasgian craft. Tremblingly the false-hearted one pursues his speech:
'"Often would the Grecians have taken to flight, leaving Troy behind, and disbanded in weariness of the long war: and would God they had! as often the fierce sea-tempest barred their way, and the gale frightened them from going. Most of all when this horse already stood framed with beams of maple, storm clouds roared over all the sky. In perplexity we send Eurypylus to inquire of Phoebus' oracle; and he brings back from the sanctuary these words of terror: With blood of a slain maiden, O Grecians, you appeased the winds when first you came to the Ilian coasts; with blood must you seek your return, and an Argive life be the accepted sacrifice. When that utterance reached the ears of the crowd, their hearts stood still, and a cold shudder ran through their inmost sense: for whom is doom purposed? who is claimed of Apollo? At this the Ithacan with loud clamour drags Calchas the soothsayer forth amidst them, and demands of him what is this the gods signify. And now many an one [125-158]foretold me the villain's craft and cruelty, and silently saw what was to come. Twice five days he is speechless in his tent, and will not have any one denounced by his lips, or given up to death. Scarcely at last, at the loud urgence of the Ithacan, he breaks into speech as was planned, and appoints me for the altar. All consented; and each one's particular fear was turned, ah me! to my single destruction. And now the dreadful day was at hand; the rites were being ordered for me, the salted corn, and the chaplets to wreathe my temples. I broke away, I confess it, from death; I burst my bonds, and lurked all night darkling in the sedge of the marshy pool, till they might set their sails, if haply they should set them. Nor have I any hope more of seeing my old home nor my sweet children and the father whom I desire. Of them will they even haply claim vengeance for my flight, and wash away this crime in their wretched death. By the heavenly powers I beseech thee, the deities to whom truth is known, by all the faith yet unsullied that is anywhere left among mortals; pity woes so great; pity an undeserving sufferer."
'At these his tears we grant him life, and accord our pity. Priam himself at once commands his shackles and strait bonds to be undone, and thus speaks with kindly words: "Whoso thou art, now and henceforth dismiss and forget the Greeks: thou shalt be ours. And unfold the truth to this my question: wherefore have they reared this vast size of horse? who is their counsellor? or what their aim? what propitiation, or what engine of war is this?" He ended; the other, stored with the treacherous craft of Pelasgia, lifts to heaven his freed hands. "You, everlasting fires," he cries, "and your inviolable sanctity be my witness; you, O altars and accursed swords I fled, and chaplets of the gods I wore as victim! unblamed may I break the oath of Greek allegiance, unblamed hate them and bring all to light that they [159-191]conceal; nor am I bound by any laws of country. Do thou only keep by thy promise, O Troy, and preserve faith with thy preserver, as my news shall be true, as my recompense great.
'"All the hope of Greece, and the confidence in which the war began, ever centred in Pallas' aid. But since the wicked son of Tydeus, and Ulysses, forger of crime, made bold to tear the fated Palladium from her sanctuary, and cut down the sentries on the towered height; since they grasped the holy image, and dared with bloody hands to touch the maiden chaplets of the goddess; since then the hope of Greece ebbed and slid away backwards, their strength was broken, and the mind of the goddess estranged. Whereof the Tritonian gave token by no uncertain signs. Scarcely was the image set in the camp; flame shot sparkling from its lifted eyes, and salt sweat started over its body; thrice, wonderful to tell, it leapt from the ground with shield and spear quivering. Immediately Calchas prophesies that the seas must be explored in flight, nor may Troy towers be overthrown by Argive weapons, except they repeat their auspices at Argos, and bring back that divine presence they have borne away with them in the curved ships overseas. And now they have run down the wind for their native Mycenae, to gather arms and gods to attend them; they will remeasure ocean and be on you unawares. So Calchas expounds the omens. This image at his warning they reared in recompense for the Palladium and the injured deity, to expiate the horror of sacrilege. Yet Calchas bade them raise it to this vast size with oaken crossbeams, and build it up to heaven, that it may not find entry at the gates nor be drawn within the city, nor protect your people beneath the consecration of old. For if hand of yours should violate Minerva's offering, then utter destruction (the gods turn rather on himself his augury!) should be upon Priam's empire and [192-226]the Phrygian people. But if under your hands it climbed into your city, Asia should advance in mighty war to the walls of Pelops, and a like fate awaited our children's children."
'So by Sinon's wiles and craft and perjury the thing gained belief; and we were ensnared by treachery and forced tears, we whom neither the son of Tydeus nor Achilles of Larissa, whom not ten years nor a thousand ships brought down.
'Here another sight, greater, alas! and far more terrible meets us, and alarms our thoughtless senses. Laocoon, allotted priest of Neptune, was slaying a great bull at the accustomed altars. And lo! from Tenedos, over the placid depths (I shudder as I recall) two snakes in enormous coils press down the sea and advance together to the shore; their breasts rise through the surge, and their blood-red crests overtop the waves; the rest trails through the main behind and wreathes back in voluminous curves; the brine gurgles and foams. And now they gained the fields, while their bloodshot eyes blazed with fire, and their tongues lapped and flickered in their hissing mouths. We scatter, pallid at the sight. They in unfaltering train make towards Laocoon. And first the serpents twine in their double embrace his two little children, and bite deep in their wretched limbs; then him likewise, as he comes up to help with arms in his hand, they seize and fasten in their enormous coils; and now twice clasping his waist, twice encircling his neck with their scaly bodies, they tower head and neck above him. He at once strains his hands to tear their knots apart, his fillets spattered with foul black venom; at once raises to heaven awful cries; as when, bellowing, a bull shakes the wavering axe from his neck and runs wounded from the altar. But the two snakes glide away to the high sanctuary and seek the fierce Tritonian's citadel, [227-261]and take shelter under the goddess' feet beneath the circle of her shield. Then indeed a strange terror thrills in all our amazed breasts; and Laocoon, men say, hath fulfilled his crime's desert, in piercing the consecrated wood and hurling his guilty spear into its body. All cry out that the image must be drawn to its home and supplication made to her deity. . . . We sunder the walls, and lay open the inner city. All set to the work; they fix rolling wheels under its feet, and tie hempen bands on its neck. The fated engine climbs our walls, big with arms. Around it boys and unwedded girls chant hymns and joyfully lay their hand on the rope. It moves up, and glides menacing into the middle of the town. O native land! O Ilium, house of gods, and Dardanian city renowned in war! four times in the very gateway did it come to a stand, and four times armour rang in its womb. Yet we urge it on, mindless and infatuate, and plant the ill-ominous thing in our hallowed citadel. Even then Cassandra opens her lips to the coming doom, lips at a god's bidding never believed by the Trojans. We, the wretched people, to whom that day was our last, hang the shrines of the gods with festal boughs throughout the city. Meanwhile the heavens wheel on, and night rises from the sea, wrapping in her vast shadow earth and sky and the wiles of the Myrmidons; about the town the Teucrians are stretched in silence; slumber laps their tired limbs.
'And now the Argive squadron was sailing in order from Tenedos, and in the favouring stillness of the quiet moon sought the shores it knew; when the royal galley ran out a flame, and, protected by the gods' malign decrees, Sinon stealthily lets loose the imprisoned Grecians from their barriers of pine; the horse opens and restores them to the air; and joyfully issuing from the hollow wood, Thessander and Sthenelus the captains, and terrible Ulysses, [262-295]slide down the dangling rope, with Acamas and Thoas and Neoptolemus son of Peleus, and Machaon first of all, and Menelaus, and Epeues himself the artificer of the treachery. They sweep down the city buried in drunken sleep; the watchmen are cut down, and at the open gates they welcome all their comrades, and unite their confederate bands.
'It was the time when by the gift of God rest comes stealing first and sweetest on unhappy men. In slumber, lo! before mine eyes Hector seemed to stand by, deep in grief and shedding abundant tears; torn by the chariot, as once of old, and black with gory dust, his swoln feet pierced with the thongs. Ah me! in what guise was he! how changed from the Hector who returns from putting on Achilles' spoils, or launching the fires of Phrygia on the Grecian ships! with ragged beard and tresses clotted with blood, and all the many wounds upon him that he received around his ancestral walls. Myself too weeping I seemed to accost him ere he spoke, and utter forth mournful accents: "O light of Dardania, O surest hope of the Trojans, what long delay is this hath held thee? from what borders comest thou, Hector our desire? with what weary eyes we see thee, after many deaths of thy kin, after divers woes of people and city! What indignity hath marred thy serene visage? or why discern I these wounds?" He replies naught, nor regards my idle questioning; but heavily drawing a heart-deep groan, "Ah, fly, goddess-born," he says, "and rescue thyself from these flames. The foe holds our walls; from her high ridges Troy is toppling down. Thy country and Priam ask no more. If Troy towers might be defended by strength of hand, this hand too had been their defence. Troy commends to thee her holy things and household gods; take them to accompany thy fate; seek for them a city, which, after all the seas have known thy wanderings, thou shalt at last establish in [296-327]might." So speaks he, and carries forth in his hands from their inner shrine the chaplets and strength of Vesta, and the everlasting fire.
'Meanwhile the city is stirred with mingled agony; and more and more, though my father Anchises' house lay deep withdrawn and screened by trees, the noises grow clearer and the clash of armour swells. I shake myself from sleep and mount over the sloping roof, and stand there with ears attent: even as when flame catches a corn-field while south winds are furious, or the racing torrent of a mountain stream sweeps the fields, sweeps the smiling crops and labours of the oxen, and hurls the forest with it headlong; the shepherd in witless amaze hears the roar from the cliff-top. Then indeed proof is clear, and the treachery of the Grecians opens out. Already the house of Deiphobus hath crashed down in wide ruin amid the overpowering flames; already our neighbour Ucalegon is ablaze: the broad Sigean bay is lit with the fire. Cries of men and blare of trumpets rise up. Madly I seize my arms, nor is there so much purpose in arms; but my spirit is on fire to gather a band for fighting and charge for the citadel with my comrades. Fury and wrath drive me headlong, and I think how noble is death in arms.
'And lo! Panthus, eluding the Achaean weapons, Panthus son of Othrys, priest of Phoebus in the citadel, comes hurrying with the sacred vessels and conquered gods and his little grandchild in his hand, and runs distractedly towards my gates. "How stands the state, O Panthus? what stronghold are we to occupy?" Scarcely had I said so, when groaning he thus returns: "The crowning day is come, the irreversible time of the Dardanian land. No more are we a Trojan people; Ilium and the great glory of the Teucrians is no more. Angry Jupiter hath cast all into the scale of Argos. The Grecians are lords of the burning [328-362]town. The horse, standing high amid the city, pours forth armed men, and Sinon scatters fire, insolent in victory. Some are at the wide-flung gates, all the thousands that ever came from populous Mycenae. Others have beset the narrow streets with lowered weapons; edge and glittering point of steel stand drawn, ready for the slaughter; scarcely at the entry do the guards of the gates essay battle, and hold out in the blind fight."
'Heaven's will thus declared by the son of Othrys drives me amid flames and arms, where the baleful Fury calls, and tumult of shouting rises up. Rhipeus and Epytus, most mighty in arms, join company with me; Hypanis and Dymas meet us in the moonlight and attach themselves to our side, and young Coroebus son of Mygdon. In those days it was he had come to Troy, fired with mad passion for Cassandra, and bore a son's aid to Priam and the Phrygians: hapless, that he listened not to his raving bride's counsels. . . . Seeing them close-ranked and daring for battle, I therewith began thus: "Men, hearts of supreme and useless bravery, if your desire be fixed to follow one who dares the utmost; you see what is the fortune of our state: all the gods by whom this empire was upheld have gone forth, abandoning shrine and altar; your aid comes to a burning city. Let us die, and rush on their encircling weapons. The conquered have one safety, to hope for none."
'So their spirit is heightened to fury. Then, like wolves ravening in a black fog, whom mad malice of hunger hath driven blindly forth, and their cubs left behind await with throats unslaked; through the weapons of the enemy we march to certain death, and hold our way straight into the town. Night's sheltering shadow flutters dark around us. Who may unfold in speech that night's horror and death-agony, or measure its woes in weeping? The [363-397]ancient city falls with her long years of sovereignty; corpses lie stretched stiff all about the streets and houses and awful courts of the gods. Nor do Teucrians alone pay forfeit of their blood; once and again valour returns even in conquered hearts, and the victorious Grecians fall. Everywhere is cruel agony, everywhere terror, and the sight of death at every turn.
'First, with a great troop of Grecians attending him, Androgeus meets us, taking us in ignorance for an allied band, and opens on us with friendly words: "Hasten, my men; why idly linger so late? others plunder and harry the burning citadel; are you but now on your march from the tall ships?" He spoke, and immediately (for no answer of any assurance was offered) knew he was fallen among the foe. In amazement, he checked foot and voice; even as one who struggling through rough briers hath trodden a snake on the ground unwarned, and suddenly shrinks fluttering back as it rises in anger and puffs its green throat out; even thus Androgeus drew away, startled at the sight. We rush in and encircle them with serried arms, and cut them down dispersedly in their ignorance of the ground and seizure of panic. Fortune speeds our first labour. And here Coroebus, flushed with success and spirit, cries: "O comrades, follow me where fortune points before us the path of safety, and shews her favour. Let us exchange shields, and accoutre ourselves in Grecian suits; whether craft or courage, who will ask of an enemy? the foe shall arm our hands." Thus speaking, he next dons the plumed helmet and beautifully blazoned shield of Androgeus, and fits the Argive sword to his side. So does Rhipeus, so Dymas in like wise, and all our men in delight arm themselves one by one in the fresh spoils. We advance, mingling with the Grecians, under a protection not our own, and join many a battle [398-432]with those we meet amid the blind night; many a Greek we send down to hell. Some scatter to the ships and run for the safety of the shore; some in craven fear again climb the huge horse, and hide in the belly they knew. Alas that none may trust at all to estranged gods!
'Lo! Cassandra, maiden daughter of Priam, was being dragged with disordered tresses from the temple and sanctuary of Minerva, straining to heaven her blazing eyes in vain; her eyes, for fetters locked her delicate hands. At this sight Coroebus burst forth infuriate, and flung himself on death amid their columns. We all follow him up, and charge with massed arms. Here first from the high temple roof we are overwhelmed with our own people's weapons, and a most pitiful slaughter begins through the fashion of our armour and the mistaken Greek crests; then the Grecians, with angry cries at the maiden's rescue, gather from every side and fall on us; Ajax in all his valour, and the two sons of Atreus, and the whole Dolopian army: as oft when bursting in whirlwind West and South clash with adverse blasts, and the East wind exultant on the coursers of the Dawn; the forests cry, and fierce in foam Nereus with his trident stirs the seas from their lowest depth. Those too appear, whom our stratagem routed through the darkness of dim night and drove all about the town; at once they know the shields and lying weapons, and mark the alien tone on our lips. We go down, overwhelmed by numbers. First Coroebus is stretched by Peneleus' hand at the altar of the goddess armipotent; and Rhipeus falls, the one man who was most righteous and steadfast in justice among the Teucrians: the gods' ways are not as ours: Hypanis and Dymas perish, pierced by friendly hands; nor did all thy goodness, O Panthus, nor Apollo's fillet protect thy fall. O ashes of Ilium and death flames of my people! you I call to witness that in your ruin I [433-465]shunned no Grecian weapon or encounter, and my hand earned my fall, had destiny been thus. We tear ourselves away, I and Iphitus and Pelias, Iphitus now stricken in age, Pelias halting too under the wound of Ulysses, called forward by the clamour to Priam's house.
'Here indeed the battle is fiercest, as if all the rest of the fighting were nowhere, and no slaughter but here throughout the city, so do we descry the war in full fury, the Grecians rushing on the building, and their shielded column driving up against the beleaguered threshold. Ladders cling to the walls; and hard by the doors and planted on the rungs they hold up their shields in the left hand to ward off our weapons, and with their right clutch the battlements. The Dardanians tear down turrets and the covering of the house roof against them; with these for weapons, since they see the end is come, they prepare to defend themselves even in death's extremity: and hurl down gilded beams, the stately decorations of their fathers of old. Others with drawn swords have beset the doorway below and keep it in crowded column. We renew our courage, to aid the royal dwelling, to support them with our succour, and swell the force of the conquered.
'There was a blind doorway giving passage through the range of Priam's halls by a solitary postern, whereby, while our realm endured, hapless Andromache would often and often glide unattended to her father-in-law's house, and carry the boy Astyanax to his grandsire. I issue out on the sloping height of the ridge, whence wretched Teucrian hands were hurling their ineffectual weapons. A tower stood on the sheer brink, its roof ascending high into heaven, whence was wont to be seen all Troy and the Grecian ships and Achaean camp: attacking it with iron round about, where the joints of the lofty flooring yielded, we wrench it from its deep foundations and shake it free; it gives way, and [466-498]suddenly falls thundering in ruin, crashing wide over the Grecian ranks. But others swarm up; nor meanwhile do stones nor any sort of missile slacken. . . . Right before the vestibule and in the front doorway Pyrrhus moves rejoicingly in the sparkle of arms and gleaming brass: like as when a snake fed on poisonous herbs, whom chill winter kept hid and swollen underground, now fresh from his weeds outworn and shining in youth, wreathes his slippery body into the daylight, his upreared breast meets the sun, and his triple-cloven tongue flickers in his mouth. With him huge Periphas, and Automedon the armour-bearer, driver of Achilles' horses, with him all his Scyrian men climb the roof and hurl flames on the housetop. Himself among the foremost he grasps a poleaxe, bursts through the hard doorway, and wrenches the brazen-plated doors from the hinge; and now he hath cut out a plank from the solid oak and pierced a vast gaping hole. The house within is open to sight, and the long halls lie plain; open to sight are the secret chambers of Priam and the kings of old, and they see armed men standing in front of the doorway.
'But the inner house is stirred with shrieks and misery and confusion, and the court echoes deep with women's wailing; the golden stars are smitten with the din. Affrighted mothers stray about the vast house, and cling fast to the doors and print them with kisses. With his father's might Pyrrhus presses on; nor guards nor barriers can hold out. The gate totters under the hard driven ram, and the doors fall flat, rent from the hinge. Force makes way; the Greeks burst through the entrance and pour in, slaughtering the foremost, and filling the space with a wide stream of soldiers. Not so furiously when a foaming river bursts his banks and overflows, beating down the opposing dykes with whirling water, is he borne mounded over the fields, and sweeps herds and [499-529]pens all about the plains. Myself I saw in the gateway Neoptolemus mad in slaughter, and the two sons of Atreus, saw Hecuba and the hundred daughters of her house, and Priam polluting with his blood the altar fires of his own consecration. The fifty bridal chambers—so great was the hope of his children's children—their doors magnificent with spoils of barbaric gold, have sunk in ruin; where the fire fails the Greeks are in possession.
'Perchance too thou mayest inquire what was Priam's fate. When he saw the ruin of his captured city, the gates of his house burst open, and the enemy amid his innermost chambers, the old man idly fastens round his aged trembling shoulders his long disused armour, girds on the unavailing sword, and advances on his death among the thronging foe.
'Within the palace and under the bare cope of sky was a massive altar, and hard on the altar an ancient bay tree leaned clasping the household gods in its shadow. Here Hecuba and her daughters crowded vainly about the altar-stones, like doves driven headlong by a black tempest, and crouched clasping the gods' images. And when she saw Priam her lord with the armour of youth on him, "What spirit of madness, my poor husband," she cries, "hath stirred thee to gird on these weapons? or whither dost thou run? Not such the succour nor these the defenders the time requires: no, were mine own Hector now beside us. Retire, I beseech thee, hither; this altar will protect us all, or thou wilt share our death." With these words on her lips she drew the aged man to her, and set him on the holy seat.
'And lo, escaped from slaughtering Pyrrhus through the weapons of the enemy, Polites, one of Priam's children, flies wounded down the long colonnades and circles the empty halls. Pyrrhus pursues him fiercely with aimed [530-563]wound, just catching at him, and follows hard on him with his spear. As at last he issued before his parents' eyes and faces, he fell, and shed his life in a pool of blood. At this Priam, although even now fast in the toils of death, yet withheld not nor spared a wrathful cry: "Ah, for thy crime, for this thy hardihood, may the gods, if there is goodness in heaven to care for aught such, pay thee in full thy worthy meed, and return thee the reward that is due! who hast made me look face to face on my child's murder, and polluted a father's countenance with death. Ah, not such to a foe was the Achilles whose parentage thou beliest; but he revered a suppliant's right and trust, restored to the tomb Hector's pallid corpse, and sent me back to my realm." Thus the old man spoke, and launched his weak and unwounding spear, which, recoiling straight from the jarring brass, hung idly from his shield above the boss. Thereat Pyrrhus: "Thou then shalt tell this, and go with the message to my sire the son of Peleus: remember to tell him of my baleful deeds, and the degeneracy of Neoptolemus. Now die." So saying, he drew him quivering to the very altar, slipping in the pool of his child's blood, and wound his left hand in his hair, while in his right the sword flashed out and plunged to the hilt in his side. This was the end of Priam's fortunes; thus did allotted fate find him, with burning Troy and her sunken towers before his eyes, once magnificent lord over so many peoples and lands of Asia. The great corpse lies along the shore, a head severed from the shoulders and a body without a name.
'But then an awful terror began to encircle me; I stood in amaze; there rose before me the likeness of my loved father, as I saw the king, old as he, sobbing out his life under the ghastly wound; there rose Creuesa forlorn, my plundered house, and little Iuelus' peril. I look back [564-596]and survey what force is around me. All, outwearied, have given up and leapt headlong to the ground, or flung themselves wretchedly into the fire:
['Yes, and now I only was left; when I espy the daughter of Tyndarus close in the courts of Vesta, crouching silently in the fane's recesses; the bright glow of the fires lights my wandering, as my eyes stray all about. Fearing the Teucrians' anger for the overthrown towers of Troy, and the Grecians' vengeance and the wrath of the husband she had abandoned, she, the common Fury of Troy and her native country, had hidden herself and cowered unseen by the altars. My spirit kindles to fire, and rises in wrath to avenge my dying land and take repayment for her crimes. Shall she verily see Sparta and her native Mycenae unscathed, and depart a queen and triumphant? Shall she see her spousal and her home, her parents and children, attended by a crowd of Trojan women and Phrygians to serve her? and Priam have fallen under the sword? Troy blazed in fire? the shore of Dardania so often soaked with blood? Not so. For though there is no name or fame in a woman's punishment, nor honour in the victory, yet shall I have praise in quenching a guilty life and exacting a just recompense; and it will be good to fill my soul with the flame of vengeance, and satisfy the ashes of my people. Thus broke I forth, and advanced infuriate;]
'——When my mother came visibly before me, clear to sight as never till then, and shone forth in pure radiance through the night, gracious, evident in godhead, in shape and stature such as she is wont to appear to the heavenly people; she caught me by the hand and stayed me, and pursued thus with roseate lips:
'"Son, what overmastering pain thus wakes thy wrath? Why ravest thou? or whither is thy care for us fled? Wilt thou not first look to it, where thou hast left Anchises, [597-630]thine aged worn father; or if Creuesa thy wife and the child Ascanius survive? round about whom all the Greek battalions range; and without my preventing care, the flames ere this had made them their portion, and the hostile sword drunk their blood. Not the hated face of the Laconian woman, Tyndarus' daughter; not Paris is to blame; the gods, the gods in anger overturn this magnificence, and make Troy topple down. Look, for all the cloud that now veils thy gaze and dulls mortal vision with damp encircling mist, I will rend from before thee. Fear thou no commands of thy mother, nor refuse to obey her counsels. Here, where thou seest sundered piles of masonry and rocks violently torn from rocks, and smoke eddying mixed with dust, Neptune with his great trident shakes wall and foundation out of their places, and upturns all the city from her base. Here Juno in all her terror holds the Scaean gates at the entry, and, girt with steel, calls her allied army furiously from their ships. . . . Even now on the citadel's height, look back! Tritonian Pallas is planted in glittering halo and Gorgonian terror. Their lord himself pours courage and prosperous strength on the Grecians, himself stirs the gods against the arms of Dardania. Haste away, O son, and put an end to the struggle. I will never desert thee; I will set thee safe in the courts of thy father's house."
'She ended, and plunged in the dense blackness of the night. Awful faces shine forth, and, set against Troy, divine majesties . . .
'Then indeed I saw all Ilium sinking in flame, and Neptunian Troy uprooted from her base: even as an ancient ash on the mountain heights, hacked all about with steel and fast-falling axes, when husbandmen emulously strain to cut it down: it hangs threateningly, with shaken top and quivering tresses asway; till gradually, overmastered with [631-662]wounds, it utters one last groan, and rending itself away, falls in ruin along the ridge. I descend, and under a god's guidance clear my way between foe and flame; weapons give ground before me, and flames retire.
'And now, when I have reached the courts of my ancestral dwelling, our home of old, my father, whom it was my first desire to carry high into the hills, and whom first I sought, declines, now Troy is rooted out, to prolong his life through the pains of exile.
'"Ah, you," he cries, "whose blood is at the prime, whose strength stands firm in native vigour, do you take your flight. . . . Had the lords of heaven willed to prolong life for me, they should have preserved this my home. Enough and more is the one desolation we have seen, survivors of a captured city. Thus, oh thus salute me and depart, as a body laid out for burial. Mine own hand shall find me death: the foe will be merciful and seek my spoils: light is the loss of a tomb. This long time hated of heaven, I uselessly delay the years, since the father of gods and king of men blasted me with wind of thunder and scathe of flame."
'Thus held he on in utterance, and remained obstinate. We press him, dissolved in tears, my wife Creuesa, Ascanius, all our household, that our father involve us not all in his ruin, and add his weight to the sinking scale of doom. He refuses, and keeps seated steadfast in his purpose. Again I rush to battle, and choose death in my misery. For what had counsel or chance yet to give? Thoughtest thou my feet, O father, could retire and abandon thee? and fell so unnatural words from a parent's lips? "If heaven wills that naught be left of our mighty city, if this be thy planted purpose, thy pleasure to cast in thyself and thine to the doom of Troy; for this death indeed the gate is wide, and even now Pyrrhus will be here newly bathed in Priam's [663-695]blood, Pyrrhus who slaughters the son before the father's face, the father upon his altars. For this was it, bountiful mother, thou dost rescue me amid fire and sword, to see the foe in my inmost chambers, and Ascanius and my father, Creuesa by their side, hewn down in one another's blood? My arms, men, bring my arms! the last day calls on the conquered. Return me to the Greeks; let me revisit and renew the fight. Never to-day shall we all perish unavenged."
'Thereat I again gird on my sword, and fitting my left arm into the clasps of the shield, strode forth of the palace. And lo! my wife clung round my feet on the threshold, and held little Iuelus up to his father's sight. "If thou goest to die, let us too hurry with thee to the end. But if thou knowest any hope to place in arms, be this household thy first defence. To what is little Iuelus and thy father, to what am I left who once was called thy wife?"
'So she shrieked, and filled all the house with her weeping; when a sign arises sudden and marvellous to tell. For, between the hands and before the faces of his sorrowing parents, lo! above Iuelus' head there seemed to stream a light luminous cone, and a flame whose touch hurt not to flicker in his soft hair and play round his brows. We in a flutter of affright shook out the blazing hair and quenched the holy fires with spring water. But lord Anchises joyfully upraised his eyes; and stretching his hands to heaven: "Jupiter omnipotent," he cries, "if thou dost relent at any prayers, look on us this once alone; and if our goodness deserve it, give thine aid hereafter, O lord, and confirm this thine omen."
'Scarcely had the aged man spoken thus, when with sudden crash it thundered on the left, and a star gliding through the dusk shot from heaven drawing a bright trail of light. We watch it slide over the palace roof, leaving [696-730]the mark of its pathway, and bury its brilliance in the wood of Ida; the long drawn track shines, and the region all about fumes with sulphur. Then conquered indeed my father rises to address the gods and worship the holy star. "Now, now delay is done with: I follow, and where you lead, I come. Gods of my fathers, save my house, save my grandchild. Yours is this omen, and in your deity Troy stands. I yield, O my son, and refuse not to go in thy company."
'He ended; and now more loudly the fire roars along the city, and the burning tides roll nearer. "Up then, beloved father, and lean on my neck; these shoulders of mine will sustain thee, nor will so dear a burden weigh me down. Howsoever fortune fall, one and undivided shall be our peril, one the escape of us twain. Little Iuelus shall go along with me, and my wife follow our steps afar. You of my household, give heed to what I say. As you leave the city there is a mound and ancient temple of Ceres lonely on it, and hard by an aged cypress, guarded many years in ancestral awe: to this resting-place let us gather from diverse quarters. Thou, O father, take the sacred things and the household gods of our ancestors in thine hand. For me, just parted from the desperate battle, with slaughter fresh upon me, to handle them were guilt, until I wash away in a living stream the soilure. . . ." So spoke I, and spread over my neck and broad shoulders a tawny lion-skin for covering, and stoop to my burden. Little Iuelus, with his hand fast in mine, keeps uneven pace after his father. Behind my wife follows. We pass on in the shadows. And I, lately moved by no weapons launched against me, nor by the thronging bands of my Grecian foes, am now terrified at every breath, startled by every noise, thrilling with fear alike for my companion and my burden.
'And now I was nearing the gates, and thought I had [731-764]outsped all the way; when suddenly the crowded trampling of feet came to our ears, and my father, looking forth into the darkness, cries: "My son, my son, fly; they draw near. I espy the gleaming shields and the flicker of brass." At this, in my flurry and confusion, some hostile god bereft me of my senses. For while I plunge down byways, and swerve from where the familiar streets ran, Creuesa, alas! whether, torn by fate from her unhappy husband, she stood still, or did she mistake the way, or sink down outwearied? I know not; and never again was she given back to our eyes; nor did I turn to look for my lost one, or cast back a thought, ere we were come to ancient Ceres' mound and hallowed seat; here at last, when all gathered, one was missing, vanished from her child's and her husband's company. What man or god did I spare in frantic reproaches? or what crueller sight met me in our city's overthrow? I charge my comrades with Ascanius and lord Anchises, and the gods of Teucria, hiding them in the winding vale. Myself I regain the city, girding on my shining armour; fixed to renew every danger, to retrace my way throughout Troy, and fling myself again on its perils. First of all I regain the walls and the dim gateway whence my steps had issued; I scan and follow back my footprints with searching gaze in the night. Everywhere my spirit shudders, dismayed at the very silence. Thence I pass on home, if haply her feet (if haply!) had led her thither. The Grecians had poured in, and filled the palace. The devouring fire goes rolling before the wind high as the roof; the flames tower over it, and the heat surges up into the air. I move on, and revisit the citadel and Priam's dwelling; where now in the spacious porticoes of Juno's sanctuary, Phoenix and accursed Ulysses, chosen sentries, were guarding the spoil. Hither from all quarters is flung in masses the treasure of Troy torn from burning shrines, [765-798]tables of the gods, bowls of solid gold, and raiment of the captives. Boys and cowering mothers in long file stand round. . . . Yes, and I dared to cry abroad through the darkness; I filled the streets with calling, and again and yet again with vain reiterance cried piteously on Creuesa. As I stormed and sought her endlessly among the houses of the town, there rose before mine eyes a melancholy phantom, the ghost of very Creuesa, in likeness larger than her wont. I was motionless; my hair stood up, and the accents faltered on my tongue. Then she thus addressed me, and with this speech allayed my distresses: "What help is there in this mad passion of grief, sweet my husband? not without divine influence does this come to pass: nor may it be, nor does the high lord of Olympus allow, that thou shouldest carry Creuesa hence in thy company. Long shall be thine exile, and weary spaces of sea must thou furrow through; and thou shalt come to the land Hesperia, where Lydian Tiber flows with soft current through rich and populous fields. There prosperity awaits thee, and a kingdom, and a king's daughter for thy wife. Dispel these tears for thy beloved Creuesa. Never will I look on the proud homes of the Myrmidons or Dolopians, or go to be the slave of Greek matrons, I a daughter of Dardania, a daughter-in-law of Venus the goddess. . . . But the mighty mother of the gods keeps me in these her borders. And now farewell, and still love thy child and mine." This speech uttered, while I wept and would have said many a thing, she left me and retreated into thin air. Thrice there was I fain to lay mine arms round her neck; thrice the vision I vainly clasped fled out of my hands, even as the light breezes, or most like to fluttering sleep. So at last, when night is spent, I revisit my comrades.
'And here I find a marvellous great company, newly flocked in, mothers and men, a people gathered for exile, [799-804]a pitiable crowd. From all quarters they are assembled, ready in heart and fortune, to whatsoever land I will conduct them overseas. And now the morning star rose over the high ridges of Ida, and led on the day; and the Grecians held the gateways in leaguer, nor was any hope of help given. I withdrew, and raising my father up, I sought the mountain.'
THE STORY OF THE SEVEN YEARS' WANDERING
'After heaven's lords pleased to overthrow the state of Asia and Priam's guiltless people, and proud Ilium fell, and Neptunian Troy smokes all along the ground, we are driven by divine omens to seek distant places of exile in waste lands. Right under Antandros and the mountains of Phrygian Ida we build a fleet, uncertain whither the fates carry us or where a resting-place is given, and gather the people together. Scarcely had the first summer set in, when lord Anchises bids us spread our sails to fortune, and weeping I leave the shores and havens of my country, and the plains where once was Troy. I sail to sea an exile, with my comrades and son and the gods of household and state.
'A land of vast plains lies apart, the home of Mavors, in Thracian tillage, and sometime under warrior Lycurgus' reign; friendly of old to Troy, and their gods in alliance while our fortune lasted. Hither I pass, and on the winding shore I lay under thwarting fates the first foundations of a city, and from my own name fashion its name, Aeneadae.
'I was paying sacrifice to my mother, daughter of Dione, and to all the gods, so to favour the work begun, and slew a shining bull on the shore to the high lord of [22-54]the heavenly people. Haply there lay a mound hard at hand, crowned with cornel thickets and bristling dense with shafts of myrtle. I drew near; and essaying to tear up the green wood from the soil, that I might cover the altar with leafy boughs, I see a portent ominous and wonderful to tell. For from the first tree whose roots are rent away and broken from the ground, drops of black blood trickle, and gore stains the earth. An icy shudder shakes my limbs, and my blood curdles chill with terror. Yet from another I go on again to tear away a tough shoot, fully to fathom its secret; yet from another black blood follows out of the bark. With many searchings of heart I prayed the woodland nymphs, and lord Gradivus, who rules in the Getic fields, to make the sight propitious as was meet and lighten the omen. But when I assail a third spearshaft with a stronger effort, pulling with knees pressed against the sand; shall I speak or be silent? from beneath the mound is heard a pitiable moan, and a voice is uttered to my ears: "Woe's me, why rendest thou me, Aeneas? spare me at last in the tomb, spare pollution to thine innocent hands. Troy bore me; not alien to thee am I, nor this blood that oozes from the stem. Ah, fly the cruel land, fly the greedy shore! For I am Polydorus; here the iron harvest of weapons hath covered my pierced body, and shot up in sharp javelins." Then indeed, borne down with dubious terror, I was motionless, my hair stood up, and the accents faltered on my tongue.
'This Polydorus once with great weight of gold had hapless Priam sent in secret to the nurture of the Thracian king, when now he was losing trust in the arms of Dardania, and saw his city leaguered round about. The king, when the Teucrian power was broken and fortune withdrew, following Agamemnon's estate and triumphant arms, [55-87]severs every bond of duty; murders Polydorus, and lays strong hands on the gold. O accursed hunger of gold, to what dost thou not compel human hearts! When the terror left my senses, I lay the divine tokens before the chosen princes of the people, with my father at their head, and demand their judgment. All are of one mind, to leave the guilty land, and abandoning a polluted home, to let the gales waft our fleets. So we bury Polydorus anew, and the earth is heaped high over his mound; altars are reared to his ghost, sad with dusky chaplets and black cypress; and around are the Ilian women with hair unbound in their fashion. We offer bubbling bowls of warm milk and cups of consecrated blood, and lay the spirit to rest in her tomb, and with loud voice utter the last call.
'Thereupon, so soon as ocean may be trusted, and the winds leave the seas in quiet, and the soft whispering south wind calls seaward, my comrades launch their ships and crowd the shores. We put out from harbour, and lands and towns sink away. There lies in mid sea a holy land, most dear to the mother of the Nereids and Neptune of Aegae, which strayed about coast and strand till the Archer god in his affection chained it fast from high Myconos and Gyaros, and made it lie immoveable and slight the winds. Hither I steer; and it welcomes my weary crew to the quiet shelter of a safe haven. We disembark and worship Apollo's town. Anius the king, king at once of the people and priest of Phoebus, his brows garlanded with fillets and consecrated laurel, comes to meet us; he knows Anchises, his friend of old; we clasp hands in welcome, and enter his palace. I worshipped the god's temple, an ancient pile of stone. "Lord of Thymbra, give us an enduring dwelling-place; grant a house and family to thy weary servants, and a city to abide: keep Troy's second fortress, the remnant left of the Grecians and merciless Achilles. Whom follow [88-121]we? or whither dost thou bid us go, where fix our seat? Grant an omen, O lord, and inspire our minds."