THE ÆNEIDS OF VIRGIL
DONE INTO ENGLISH VERSE
AUTHOR OF 'THE EARTHLY PARADISE'
LONGMANS, GREEN, AND CO.
39 PATERNOSTER ROW, LONDON
NEW YORK AND BOMBAY
||ÆNEAS AND HIS TROJANS BEING DRIVEN TO LIBYA BY A TEMPEST, HAVE GOOD WELCOME OF DIDO, QUEEN OF CARTHAGE.
||ÆNEAS TELLETH TO DIDO AND THE TYRIANS THE STORY OF TROY'S OVERTHROW.
||ÆNEAS TELLS OF HIS WANDERINGS AND MISHAPS BY LAND AND BY SEA.
||HEREIN IS TOLD OF THE GREAT LOVE OF DIDO, QUEEN OF CARTHAGE, AND THE WOEFUL ENDING OF HER.
||ÆNEAS MAKING FOR ITALY IS STAYED BY CONTRARY WINDS, WHEREFORE HE SAILETH TO SICILY, AND, COMING TO THE TOMB OF HIS FATHER ANCHISES, HOLDETH SOLEMN GAMES THEREAT, AND IN THE END GOETH HIS WAY TO ITALY AGAIN.
||ÆNEAS COMETH TO THE SIBYL OF CUMÆ, AND BY HER IS LED INTO THE UNDER-WORLD, AND THERE BEHOLDETH MANY STRANGE THINGS, AND IN THE END MEETETH HIS FATHER, ANCHISES, WHO TELLETH HIM OF THE DAYS TO COME.
||ÆNEAS AND HIS TROJANS TAKE LAND BY THE TIBER-MOUTH, AND KING LATINUS PLIGHTETH PEACE WITH THEM; WHICH PEACE IS BROKEN BY THE WILL OF JUNO, AND ALL MEN MAKE THEM READY FOR WAR.
||THE LATINS SEEK HELP OF DIOMEDE, AND ÆNEAS OF EVANDER, TO WHOM HE GOETH AS A GUEST. VENUS CAUSETH VULCAN TO FORGE ARMOUR AND WEAPONS FOR HER SON ÆNEAS.
||IN THE MEANTIME THAT ÆNEAS IS AWAY, TURNUS AND THE LATINS BESET THE TROJAN ENCAMPMENT, AND MISS BUT A LITTLE OF BRINGING ALL THINGS TO RUIN.
||THE GODS TAKE COUNSEL: ÆNEAS COMETH TO HIS FOLK AGAIN, AND DOETH MANY GREAT DEEDS IN BATTLE.
||TRUCE IS MADE FOR THE BURYING OF THE DEAD: THE LATINS TAKE COUNSEL OF PEACE OR WAR. CAMILLA'S DEEDS AND DEATH.
||HEREIN ARE ÆNEAS AND TURNUS PLEDGED TO FIGHT THE MATTER OUT IN SINGLE COMBAT; BUT THE LATINS BREAK THE PEACE AND ÆNEAS IS WOUNDED: IN THE END ÆNEAS MEETETH TURNUS INDEED, AND SLAYETH HIM.
THE ÆNEIDS OF VIRGIL.
ÆNEAS AND HIS TROJANS BEING DRIVEN TO LIBYA BY A TEMPEST, HAVE GOOD WELCOME OF DIDO, QUEEN OF CARTHAGE.
Lo I am he who led the song through slender reed to cry,
And then, come forth from out the woods, the fields that are thereby
In woven verse I bade obey the hungry tillers' need:
Now I, who sang their merry toil, sing Mars and dreadful deed.
I sing of arms, I sing of him, who from the Trojan land
Thrust forth by Fate, to Italy and that Lavinian strand
First came: all tost about was he on earth and on the deep
By heavenly might for Juno's wrath, that had no mind to sleep:
And plenteous war he underwent ere he his town might frame
And set his Gods in Latian earth, whence is the Latin name, [Pg 2]
And father-folk of Alba-town, and walls of mighty Rome.
Say, Muse, what wound of godhead was whereby all this must come,
How grieving, she, the Queen of Gods, a man so pious drave
To win such toil, to welter on through such a troublous wave:
—Can anger in immortal minds abide so fierce and fell?
There was a city of old time where Tyrian folk did dwell,
Called Carthage, facing far away the shores of Italy
And Tiber-mouth; fulfilled of wealth and fierce in arms was she,
And men say Juno loved her well o'er every other land,
Yea e'en o'er Samos: there were stored the weapons of her hand,
And there her chariot: even then she cherished the intent
To make her Lady of all Lands, if Fate might so be bent;
Yet had she heard how such a stem from Trojan blood should grow,
As, blooming fair, the Tyrian towers should one day overthrow,
That thence a folk, kings far and wide, most noble lords of fight,
Should come for bane of Libyan land: such web the Parcæ dight.
The Seed of Saturn, fearing this, and mindful how she erst
For her beloved Argive walls by Troy the battle nursed—
—Nay neither had the cause of wrath nor all those hurts of old
Failed from her mind: her inmost heart still sorely did enfold
That grief of body set at nought in Paris' doomful deed,
The hated race, and honour shed on heaven-rapt Ganymede—
So set on fire, that Trojan band o'er all the ocean tossed,
Those gleanings from Achilles' rage, those few the Greeks had lost,
She drave far off the Latin Land: for many a year they stray
Such wise as Fate would drive them on by every watery way.
—Lo, what there was to heave aloft in fashioning of Rome!
Now out of sight of Sicily the Trojans scarce were come [Pg 3]
And merry spread their sails abroad and clave the sea with brass,
When Juno's heart, who nursed the wound that never thence would pass,
"And must I, vanquished, leave the deed I have begun,
Nor save the Italian realm a king who comes of Teucer's son?
The Fates forbid it me forsooth? And Pallas, might not she
Burn up the Argive fleet and sink the Argives in the sea
For Oileus' only fault and fury that he wrought?
She hurled the eager fire of Jove from cloudy dwelling caught,
And rent the ships and with the wind the heaped-up waters drew,
And him a-dying, and all his breast by wildfire smitten through,
The whirl of waters swept away on spiky crag to bide.
While I, who go forth Queen of Gods, the very Highest's bride
And sister, must I wage a war for all these many years
With one lone race? What! is there left a soul that Juno fears
Henceforth? or will one suppliant hand gifts on mine altar lay?"
So brooding in her fiery heart the Goddess went her way
Unto the fatherland of storm, full fruitful of the gale,
Æolia hight, where Æolus is king of all avail,
And far adown a cavern vast the bickering of the winds
And roaring tempests of the world with bolt and fetter binds:
They set the mountains murmuring much, a-growling angrily
About their bars, while Æolus sits in his burg on high,
And, sceptre-holding, softeneth them, and strait their wrath doth keep:
Yea but for that the earth and sea, and vault of heaven the deep,
They eager-swift would roll away and sweep adown of space:
For fear whereof the Father high in dark and hollow place
Hath hidden them, and high above a world of mountains thrown [Pg 4]
And given them therewithal a king, who, taught by law well known,
Now draweth, and now casteth loose the reins that hold them in:
To whom did suppliant Juno now in e'en such words begin:
"The Father of the Gods and men hath given thee might enow,
O Æolus, to smooth the sea, and make the storm-wind blow.
Hearken! a folk, my very foes, saileth the Tyrrhene main
Bearing their Troy to Italy, and Gods that were but vain:
Set on thy winds, and overwhelm their sunken ships at sea,
Or prithee scattered cast them forth, things drowned diversedly.
Twice seven nymphs are in my house of body passing fair:
Of whom indeed Deïopea is fairest fashioned there.
I give her thee in wedlock sure, and call her all thine own
To wear away the years with thee, for thy deserving shown
To me this day; of offspring fair she too shall make thee sire."
To whom spake Æolus: "O Queen, to search out thy desire
Is all thou needest toil herein; from me the deed should wend.
Thou mak'st my realm; the sway of all, and Jove thou mak'st my friend,
Thou givest me to lie with Gods when heavenly feast is dight,
And o'er the tempest and the cloud thou makest me of might."
Therewith against the hollow hill he turned him spear in hand
And hurled it on the flank thereof, and as an ordered band
By whatso door the winds rush out o'er earth in whirling blast,
And driving down upon the sea its lowest deeps upcast.
The East, the West together there, the Afric, that doth hold
A heart fulfilled of stormy rain, huge billows shoreward rolled.
Therewith came clamour of the men and whistling through the shrouds [Pg 5]
And heaven and day all suddenly were swallowed by the clouds
Away from eyes of Teucrian men; night on the ocean lies,
Pole thunders unto pole, and still with wildfire glare the skies,
And all things hold the face of death before the seamen's eyes.
Now therewithal Æneas' limbs grew weak with chilly dread,
He groaned, and lifting both his palms aloft to heaven, he said:
"O thrice and four times happy ye, that had the fate to fall
Before your fathers' faces there by Troy's beloved wall!
Tydides, thou of Danaan folk the mightiest under shield,
Why might I never lay me down upon the Ilian field,
Why was my soul forbid release at thy most mighty hand,
Where eager Hector stooped and lay before Achilles' wand,
Where huge Sarpedon fell asleep, where Simoïs rolls along
The shields of men, and helms of men, and bodies of the strong?"
Thus as he cried the whistling North fell on with sudden gale
And drave the seas up toward the stars, and smote aback the sail;
Then break the oars, the bows fall off, and beam on in the trough
She lieth, and the sea comes on a mountain huge and rough.
These hang upon the topmost wave, and those may well discern
The sea's ground mid the gaping whirl: with sand the surges churn.
Three keels the South wind cast away on hidden reefs that lie
Midmost the sea, the Altars called by men of Italy,
A huge back thrusting through the tide: three others from the deep
The East toward straits, and swallowing sands did miserably sweep,
And dashed them on the shoals, and heaped the sand around in ring:
And one, a keel the Lycians manned, with him, the trusty King
Orontes, in Æneas' sight a toppling wave o'erhung, [Pg 6]
And smote the poop, and headlong rolled, adown the helmsman flung;
Then thrice about the driving flood hath hurled her as she lay,
The hurrying eddy swept above and swallowed her from day:
And lo! things swimming here and there, scant in the unmeasured seas,
The arms of men, and painted boards, and Trojan treasuries.
And now Ilioneus' stout ship, her that Achates leal
And Abas ferried o'er the main, and old Aletes' keel
The storm hath overcome; and all must drink the baneful stream
Through opening leaky sides of them that gape at every seam.
But meanwhile Neptune, sorely moved, hath felt the storm let go,
And all the turmoil of the main with murmur great enow;
The deep upheaved from all abodes the lowest that there be:
So forth he put his placid face o'er topmost of the sea,
And there he saw Æneas' ships o'er all the main besprent,
The Trojans beaten by the flood and ruin from heaven sent.
But Juno's guile and wrathful heart her brother knew full well:
So East and West he called to him, and spake such words to tell:
"What mighty pride of race of yours hath hold upon your minds,
That earth and sea ye turmoil so without my will, O winds;
That such upheaval and so great ye dare without my will?
Whom I—But first it comes to hand the troubled flood to still:
For such-like fault henceforward though with nought so light ye pay.
Go get you gone, and look to it this to your king to say:
That ocean's realm and three-tined spear of dread are given by Fate
Not unto him but unto me? he holds the cliffs o'ergreat,
Thine houses, Eurus; in that hall I bid him then be bold,
Thine Æolus, and lord it o'er his winds in barred hold."
So saying and swifter than his word he layed the troubled main,
And put to flight the gathered clouds, and brought the sun again;
And with him Triton fell to work, and fair Cymothoë,
And thrust the ships from spiky rocks; with triple spear wrought he
To lift, and opened swallowing sands, and laid the waves alow.
Then on light wheels o'er ocean's face soft gliding did he go.
And, like as mid a people great full often will arise
Huge riot, and all the low-born herd to utter anger flies,
And sticks and stones are in the air, and fury arms doth find:
Then, setting eyes perchance on one of weight for noble mind,
And noble deeds, they hush them then and stand with pricked-up ears,
And he with words becomes their lord, and smooth their anger wears;
—In such wise fell all clash of sea when that sea-father rose,
And looked abroad: who turned his steeds, and giving rein to those,
Flew forth in happy-gliding car through heaven's all-open way.
Æneas' sore forewearied host the shores that nearest lay
Stretch out for o'er the sea, and turn to Libyan land this while.
There goes a long firth of the sea, made haven by an isle,
Against whose sides thrust out abroad each wave the main doth send
Is broken, and must cleave itself through hollow bights to wend:
Huge rocks on this hand and on that, twin horns of cliff, cast dread
On very heaven; and far and wide beneath each mighty head
Hushed are the harmless waters; lo, the flickering wood above
And wavering shadow cast adown by darksome hanging grove:
In face hereof a cave there is of rocks o'erhung, made meet
With benches of the living stone and springs of water sweet,
The house of Nymphs: a-riding there may way-worn ships be bold
To lie without the hawser's strain or anchor's hookèd hold.
That bight with seven of all his tale of ships Æneas gained,
And there, by mighty love of land the Trojans sore constrained,
Leap off-board straight, and gain the gift of that so longed-for sand,
And lay their limbs with salt sea fouled adown upon the strand:
And first Achates smote alive the spark from out the flint,
And caught the fire in tinder-leaves, and never gift did stint
Of feeding dry; and flame enow in kindled stuff he woke;
Then Ceres' body spoilt with sea, and Ceres' arms they took,
And sped the matter spent with toil, and fruit of furrows found
They set about to parch with fire and 'twixt of stones to pound.
Meanwhile Æneas scaled the cliff and far and wide he swept
The main, if anywhere perchance the sea his Antheus kept,
Tossed by the wind, if he might see the twi-banked Phrygians row;
If Capys, or Caïcus' arms on lofty deck might show.
Nor any ship there was in sight, but on the strand he saw
Three stags a-wandering at their will, and after them they draw
The whole herd following down the dales long strung out as they feed:
So still he stood, and caught in hand his bow and shafts of speed,
The weapons that Achates staunch was bearing then and oft;
And first the very lords of those, that bore their heads aloft
With branching horns, he felled, and then the common sort, and so
Their army drave he with his darts through leafy woods to go:
Nor held his hand till on the earth were seven great bodies strown,
And each of all his ships might have one head of deer her own.
Thence to the haven gat he gone with all his folk to share,
And that good wine which erst the casks Acestes made to bear,
And gave them as they went away on that Trinacrian beach,
He shared about; then fell to soothe their grieving hearts with speech:
"O fellows, we are used ere now by evil ways to wend;
O ye who erst bore heavier loads, this too the Gods shall end.
Ye, ye have drawn nigh Scylla's rage and rocks that inly roar,
And run the risk of storm of stones upon the Cyclops' shore:
Come, call aback your ancient hearts and put your fears away!
This too shall be for joy to you remembered on a day.
Through diverse haps, through many risks wherewith our way is strown,
We get us on to Latium, the land the Fates have shown
To be for peaceful seats for us: there may we raise up Troy.
Abide, endure, and keep yourselves for coming days of joy."
So spake his voice: but his sick heart did mighty trouble rack,
As, glad of countenance, he thrust the heavy anguish back.
But they fall to upon the prey, and feast that was to dight,
And flay the hide from off the ribs, and bare the flesh to sight.
Some cut it quivering into steaks which on the spits they run,
Some feed the fire upon the shore, and set the brass thereon.
And so meat bringeth might again, and on the grass thereby,
Fulfilled with fat of forest deer and ancient wine, they lie.
But when all hunger was appeased and tables set aside,
Of missing fellows how they fared the talk did long abide;
Whom, weighing hope and weighing fear, either alive they trow,
Or that the last and worst has come, that called they hear not now.
And chief of all the pious King Æneas moaned the pass
Of brisk Orontes, Amycus, and cruel fate that was
Of Lycus, and of Bias strong, and strong Cloanthus gone.
But now an end of all there was, when Jove a-looking down
From highest lift on sail-skimmed sea, and lands that round it lie, [Pg 10]
And shores and many folk about, in topmost burg of sky
Stood still, and fixed the eyes of God on Libya's realm at last:
To whom, as through his breast and mind such cares of godhead passed,
Spake Venus, sadder than her due with bright eyes gathering tears:
"O thou, who rulest with a realm that hath no days nor years,
Both Gods and men, and mak'st them fear thy thunder lest it fall,
What then hath mine Æneas done so great a crime to call?
What might have Trojan men to sin? So many deaths they bore
'Gainst whom because of Italy is shut the wide world's door.
Was it not surely promised me that as the years rolled round
The blood of Teucer come again should spring from out the ground,
The Roman folk, such very lords, that all the earth and sea
Their sway should compass? Father, doth the counsel shift in thee?
This thing indeed atoned to me for Troy in ashes laid,
And all the miserable end, as fate 'gainst fate I weighed:
But now the self-same fortune dogs men by such troubles driven
So oft and oft. What end of toil then giv'st thou, King of heaven?
Antenor was of might enow to 'scape the Achæan host,
And safe to reach the Illyrian gulf and pierce Liburnia's coast,
And through the inmost realms thereof to pass Timavus' head,
Whence through nine mouths midst mountain roar is that wild water shed,
To cast itself on fields below with all its sounding sea:
And there he made Patavium's town and Teucrian seats to be,
And gave the folk their very name and Trojan arms did raise:
Now settled in all peace and rest he passeth quiet days.
But we, thy children, unto whom thou giv'st with bowing head
The heights of heaven, our ships are lost, and we, O shame! betrayed,
Are driven away from Italy for anger but of one. [Pg 11]
Is this the good man's guerdon then? is this the promised throne?"
The Sower of the Gods and men a little smiled on her
With such a countenance as calms the storms and upper air;
He kissed his daughter on the lips, and spake such words to tell:
"O Cytherean, spare thy dread! unmoved the Fates shall dwell
Of thee and thine, and thou shalt see the promised city yet,
E'en that Lavinium's walls, and high amidst the stars shalt set
Great-souled Æneas: nor in me doth aught of counsel shift
But since care gnaws upon thine heart, the hidden things I lift
Of Fate, and roll on time for thee, and tell of latter days.
Great war he wars in Italy, and folk full wild of ways
He weareth down, and lays on men both laws and wallèd steads,
Till the third summer seeth him King o'er the Latin heads,
And the third winter's wearing brings the fierce Rutulians low.
Thereon the lad Ascanius, Iulus by-named now,
(And Ilus was he once of old, when Ilium's city was,)
Fulfilleth thirty orbs of rule with rolling months that pass,
And from the town Lavinium shifts the dwelling of his race,
And maketh Alba-town the Long a mighty fencèd place.
Here when for thrice an hundred years untouched the land hath been
Beneath the rule of Hector's folk, lo Ilia, priestess-queen,
Goes heavy with the love of Mars, and bringeth twins to birth.
'Neath yellow hide of foster-wolf thence, mighty in his mirth,
Comes Romulus to bear the folk, and Mavors' walls to frame,
And by the word himself was called the Roman folk to name.
On them I lay no bonds of time, no bonds of earthly part;
I give them empire without end: yea, Juno, hard of heart, [Pg 12]
Who wearieth now with fear of her the heavens and earth and sea,
Shall gather better counsel yet, and cherish them with me;
The Roman folk, the togaed men, lords of all worldly ways.
Such is the doom. As weareth time there come those other days,
Wherein Assaracus shall bind Mycenæ of renown,
And Phthia, and shall lord it o'er the Argives beaten down.
Then shall a Trojan Cæsar come from out a lovely name,
The ocean-stream shall bound his rule, the stars of heaven his fame,
Julius his name from him of old, the great Iulus sent:
Him too in house of heaven one day 'neath spoils of Eastlands bent
Thou, happy, shalt receive; he too shall have the prayers of men.
The wars of old all laid aside, the hard world bettereth then,
And Vesta and the hoary Faith, Quirinus and his twin
Now judge the world; the dreadful doors of War now shut within
Their iron bolts and strait embrace the godless Rage of folk,
Who, pitiless, on weapons set, and bound in brazen yoke
Of hundred knots aback of him foams fell from bloody mouth."
Such words he spake, and from aloft he sent down Maia's youth
To cause the lands and Carthage towers new-built to open gate
And welcome in the Teucrian men; lest Dido, fooled of fate,
Should drive them from her country-side. The unmeasured air he beat
With flap of wings, and speedily in Libya set his feet:
And straightway there his bidding wrought, and from the Tyrians fall,
God willing it, their hearts of war; and Dido first of all
Took peace for Teucrians to her soul, and quiet heart and kind.
Now good Æneas through the night had many things in mind,
And set himself to fare abroad at first of holy day
To search the new land what it was, and on what shore he lay [Pg 13]
Driven by the wind; if manfolk there abode, or nought but deer,
(For waste it seemed), and tidings true back to his folk to bear.
So in that hollow bight of groves beneath the cavern cleft,
All hidden by the leafy trees and quavering shades, he left
His ships: and he himself afoot went with Achates lone,
Shaking in hand two slender spears with broad-beat iron done.
But as he reached the thicket's midst his mother stood before,
Who virgin face, and virgin arms, and virgin habit bore,
A Spartan maid; or like to her who tames the Thracian horse,
Harpalyce, and flies before the hurrying Hebrus' course.
For huntress-wise on shoulder she had hung the handy bow,
And given all her hair abroad for any wind to blow,
And, naked-kneed, her kirtle long had gathered in a lap:
She spake the first:
"Ho youths," she said, "tell me by any hap
If of my sisters any one ye saw a wandering wide
With quiver girt, and done about with lynx's spotted hide,
Or following of the foaming boar with shouts and eager feet?"
So Venus; and so Venus' son began her words to meet:
"I have not seen, nor have I heard thy sisters nigh this place,
O maid:—and how to call thee then? for neither is thy face
Of mortals, nor thy voice of men: O very Goddess thou!
What! Phœbus' sister? or of nymphs whom shall I call thee now?
But whosoe'er thou be, be kind and lighten us our toil,
And teach us where beneath the heavens, which spot of earthly soil
We are cast forth; unlearned of men, unlearned of land we stray,
By might of wind and billows huge here driven from out our way.
Our right hands by thine altar-horns shall fell full many a host."
Spake Venus: "Nowise am I worth so much of honour's cost:
The Tyrian maids are wont to bear the quiver even as I,
And even so far upon the leg the purple shoe-thong tie.
The Punic realm thou seest here, Agenor's town and folk,
But set amidst of Libyan men unused to bear the yoke.
Dido is Lady of the Land, who fled from Tyre the old,
And from her brother: weary long were all the ill deed told,
And long its winding ways, but I light-foot will overpass.
Her husband was Sychæus hight, of land most rich he was
Of all Phoenicians: she, poor wretch! loved him with mighty love,
Whose father gave her, maid, to him, and first the rites did move
Of wedlock: but as King of Tyre her brother did abide,
Pygmalion, more swollen up in sin than any man beside:
Mad hatred yoked the twain of them, he blind with golden lust,
Godless with stroke of iron laid Sychæus in the dust
Unwares before the altar-horns; nor of the love did reck
His sister had, but with vain hope played on the lover sick,
And made a host of feignings false, and hid the matter long.
Till in her sleep the image came of that unburied wrong,
Her husband dead; in wondrous wise his face was waxen pale:
His breast with iron smitten through, the altar of his bale,
The hooded sin of evil house, to her he open laid,
And speedily to flee away from fatherland he bade;
And for the help of travel showed earth's hidden wealth of old,
A mighty mass that none might tell of silver and of gold.
Sore moved hereby did Dido straight her flight and friends prepare:
They meet together, such as are or driven by biting fear,
Or bitter hatred of the wretch: such ships as hap had dight
They fall upon and lade with gold; forth fare the treasures bright [Pg 15]
Of wretch Pygmalion o'er the sea, a woman first therein.
And so they come unto the place where ye may see begin
The towers of Carthage, and the walls new built that mighty grow,
And bought the Byrsa-field good cheap, as still the name shall show,
So much of land as one bull's hide might scantly go about
—But ye forsooth, what men are ye, from what land fare ye out,
And whither go ye on your ways?"
Her questioning in speech
He answered, and a heavy sigh from inmost heart did reach:
"O Goddess, might I tread again first footsteps of our way,
And if the annals of our toil thine hearkening ears might stay,
Yet Vesper first on daylight dead should shut Olympus' door.
From Troy the old, if yet perchance your ears have felt before
That name go by, do we come forth, and, many a water past,
A chance-come storm hath drifted us on Libyan shores at last.
I am Æneas, God-lover; I snatched forth from the foe
My Gods to bear aboard with me, a fame for heaven to know.
I seek the Italian fatherland, and Jove-descended line;
Twice ten the ships were that I manned upon the Phrygian brine,
My Goddess-mother led the way, we followed fate god-given;
And now scarce seven are left to me by wave and east-wind riven;
And I through Libyan deserts stray, a man unknown and poor,
From Asia cast, from Europe cast,"
She might abide no more
To hear his moan: she thrusts a word amidst his grief and saith:
"Nay thou art not God's castaway, who drawest mortal breath,
And fairest to the Tyrian town, if aught thereof I know. [Pg 16]
Set on to Dido's threshold then e'en as the way doth show.
For take the tidings of thy ships and folk brought back again
By shifting of the northern wind all safe from off the main:
Unless my parents learned me erst of soothsaying to wot
But idly. Lo there twice seven swans disporting in a knot,
Whom falling from the plain of air drave down the bird of Jove
From open heaven: strung out at length they hang the earth above,
And now seem choosing where to pitch, now on their choice to gaze,
As wheeling round with whistling wings they sport in diverse ways
And with their band ring round the pole and cast abroad their song.
Nought otherwise the ships and youth that unto thee belong
Hold haven now, or else full sail to harbour-mouth are come.
Set forth, set forth and tread the way e'en as it leadeth home."
She spake, she turned, from rosy neck the light of heaven she cast,
And from her hair ambrosial the scent of Gods went past
Upon the wind, and o'er her feet her skirts fell shimmering down,
And very God she went her ways. Therewith his mother known,
With such a word he followed up a-fleeing from his eyes:
"Ah cruel as a God! and why with images and lies
Dost thou beguile me? wherefore then is hand to hand not given
And we to give and take in words that come from earth and heaven?"
Such wise he chided her, and then his footsteps townward bent:
But Venus with a dusky air did hedge them as they went,
And widespread cloak of cloudy stuff the Goddess round them wrapped,
Lest any man had seen them there, or bodily had happed
Across their road their steps to stay, and ask their dealings there.
But she to Paphos and her home went glad amidst the air:
There is her temple, there they stand, an hundred altars meet, [Pg 17]
Warm with Sabæan incense-smoke, with new-pulled blossoms sweet.
But therewithal they speed their way as led the road along;
And now they scale a spreading hill that o'er the town is hung,
And looking downward thereupon hath all the burg in face.
Æneas marvels how that world was once a peasants' place,
He marvels at the gates, the roar and rattle of the ways.
Hot-heart the Tyrians speed the work, and some the ramparts raise,
Some pile the burg high, some with hand roll stones up o'er the ground;
Some choose a place for dwelling-house and draw a trench around;
Some choose the laws, and lords of doom, the holy senate choose.
These thereaway the havens dig, and deep adown sink those
The founding of the theatre walls, or cleave the living stone
In pillars huge, one day to show full fair the scene upon.
As in new summer 'neath the sun the bees are wont to speed
Their labour in the flowery fields, whereover now they lead
The well-grown offspring of their race, or when the cells they store
With flowing honey, till fulfilled of sweets they hold no more;
Or take the loads of new-comers, or as a watch well set
Drive off the lazy herd of drones that they no dwelling get;
Well speeds the work, and thymy sweet the honey's odour is.
"Well favoured of the Fates are ye, whose walls arise in bliss!"
Æneas cries, a-looking o'er the housetops spread below;
Then, wonderful to tell in tale, hedged round with cloud doth go
Amid the thickest press of men, and yet of none is seen.
A grove amid the town there is, a pleasant place of green,
Where erst the Tyrians, beat by waves and whirling of the wind, [Pg 18]
Dug out the token Juno once had bidden them hope to find,
An eager horse's head to wit: for thus their folk should grow
Far-famed in war for many an age, of victual rich enow.
There now did Dido, Sidon-born, uprear a mighty fane
To Juno, rich in gifts, and rich in present godhead's gain:
On brazen steps its threshold rose, and brass its lintel tied,
And on their hinges therewithal the brazen door-leaves cried.
And now within that grove again a new thing thrusting forth
'Gan lighten fear; for here to hope Æneas deemed it worth,
And trust his fortune beaten down that yet it might arise.
For there while he abode the Queen, and wandered with his eyes
O'er all the temple, musing on the city's fate to be,
And o'er the diverse handicraft and works of mastery,
Lo there, set out before his face the battles that were Troy's,
And wars, whereof all folk on earth had heard the fame and noise;
King Priam, the Atridæ twain, Achilles dire to both.
He stood, and weeping spake withal:
"Achates, lo! forsooth
What place, what land in all the earth but with our grief is stored?
Lo Priam! and even here belike deed hath its own reward.
Lo here are tears for piteous things that touch men's hearts anigh:
Cast off thy fear! this fame today shall yet thy safety buy."
And with the empty painted thing he feeds his mind withal,
Sore groaning, and a very flood adown his face did fall.
For there he saw, as war around of Pergamus they cast,
Here fled the Greeks, the Trojan youth for ever following fast;
There fled the Phrygians, on their heels high-helmed Achilles' car;
Not far off, fair with snowy cloths, the tents of Rhesus are; [Pg 19]
He knew them weeping: they of old in first of sleep betrayed,
Tydides red with many a death a waste of nothing made,
And led those fiery steeds to camp ere ever they might have
One mouthful of the Trojan grass, or drink of Xanthus' wave.
And lo again, where Troilus is fleeing weaponless,
Unhappy youth, and all too weak to bear Achilles' stress,
By his own horses, fallen aback, at empty chariot borne,
Yet holding on the reins thereof; his neck, his tresses torn
O'er face of earth, his wrested spear a-writing in the dust.
Meanwhile were faring to the fane of Pallas little just
The wives of Troy with scattered hair, bearing the gown refused,
Sad they and suppliant, whose own hands their very bosoms bruised,
While fixed, averse, the Goddess kept her eyes upon the ground.
Thrice had Achilles Hector dragged the walls of Troy around,
And o'er his body, reft of soul, was chaffering now for gold.
Deep groaned Æneas from his heart in such wise to behold
The car, the spoils, the very corpse of him, his fellow dead,
To see the hands of Priam there all weaponless outspread.
Yea, thrust amidst Achæan lords, his very self he knew;
The Eastland hosts he saw, and arms of Memnon black of hue.
There mad Penthesilea leads the maids of moony shield,
The Amazons, and burns amidst the thousands of the field,
And with her naked breast thrust out above the golden girth,
The warrior maid hath heart to meet the warriors of the earth.
But while Æneas, Dardan lord, beholds the marvels there,
And, all amazed, stands moving nought with eyes in one set stare,
Lo cometh Dido, very queen of fairest fashion wrought,
By youths close thronging all about unto the temple brought. [Pg 20]
Yea, e'en as on Eurotas' rim or Cynthus' ridges high
Diana leadeth dance about, a thousandfold anigh
The following Oreads gather round, with shoulder quiver-hung
She overbears the Goddesses her swift feet fare among,
And great Latona's silent breast the joys of godhead touch.
Lo, such was Dido; joyously she bore herself e'en such
Amidst them, eager for the work and ordered rule to come;
Then through the Goddess' door she passed, and midmost 'neath the dome,
High raised upon a throne she sat, with weapons hedged about,
And doomed, and fashioned laws for men, and fairly sifted out
And dealt their share of toil to them, or drew the lot as happed.
There suddenly Æneas sees amidst a concourse wrapped
Antheus, Sergestus, and the strong Cloanthus draw anigh,
And other Teucrians whom the whirl, wild, black, all utterly
Had scattered into other lands afar across the sea.
Amazed he stood, nor stricken was Achates less than he
By joy, by fear: they hungered sore hand unto hand to set;
But doubt of dealings that might be stirred in their hearts as yet;
So lurking, cloaked in hollow cloud they note what things betide
Their fellows there, and on what shore the ships they manned may bide,
And whence they come; for chosen out of all the ships they bear
Bidding of peace, and, crying out, thus temple-ward they fare.
But now when they were entered in, and gained the grace of speech,
From placid heart Ilioneus the elder 'gan beseech:
"O Queen, to whom hath Jove here given a city new to raise,
And with thy justice to draw rein on men of wilful ways,
We wretched Trojans, tossed about by winds o'er every main,
Pray thee forbid it from our ships, the dreadful fiery bane. [Pg 21]
Spare pious folk, and look on us with favouring kindly eyes!
We are not come with sword to waste the Libyan families,
Nor drive adown unto the strand the plunder of the strong:
No such high hearts, such might of mind to vanquished folk belong.
There is a place, Hesperia called of Greeks in days that are,
An ancient land, a fruitful soil, a mighty land in war.
Œnotrian folk first tilled the land, whose sons, as rumours run,
Now call it nought but Italy from him who led them on.
And thitherward our course was turned,
When sudden, stormy, tumbling seas, Orion rose on us,
And wholly scattering us abroad with fierce blasts from the south,
Drave us, sea-swept, by shallows blind, to straits with wayless mouth:
But to thy shores we few have swum, and so betake us here.
What men among men are ye then? what country's soil may bear
Such savage ways? ye grudge us then the welcome of your sand,
And fall to arms, and gainsay us a tide-washed strip of strand.
But if men-folk and wars of men ye wholly set at nought,
Yet deem the Gods bear memory still of good and evil wrought
Æneas was the king of us; no juster was there one,
No better lover of the Gods, none more in battle shone:
And if the Fates have saved that man, if earthly air he drink,
Nor 'neath the cruel deadly shades his fallen body shrink,
Nought need we fear, nor ye repent to strive in kindly deed
With us: we have in Sicily fair cities to our need.
And fields we have; Acestes high of Trojan blood is come.
Now suffer us our shattered ships in haven to bring home,
To cut us timber in thy woods, and shave us oars anew.
Then if the Italian cruise to us, if friends and king are due,
To Italy and Latium then full merry wend we on. [Pg 22]
But if, dear father of our folk, hope of thy health be gone,
And thee the Libyan water have, nor hope Iulus give,
Then the Sicanian shores at least, and seats wherein to live,
Whence hither came we, and the King Acestes let us seek."
So spake he, and the others made as they the same would speak,
The Dardan-folk with murmuring mouth.
But Dido, with her head hung down, in few words answer gave:
"Let fear fall from you, Teucrian men, and set your cares aside;
Hard fortune yet constraineth me and this my realm untried
To hold such heed, with guard to watch my marches up and down.
Who knoweth not Æneas' folk? who knoweth not Troy-town,
The valour, and the men, and all the flame of such a war?
Nay, surely nought so dull as this the souls within us are,
Nor turns the sun from Tyrian town, so far off yoking steed.
So whether ye Hesperia great, and Saturn's acres need,
Or rather unto Eryx turn, and King Acestes' shore,
Safe, holpen will I send you forth, and speed you with my store:
Yea and moreover, have ye will in this my land to bide.
This city that I build is yours: here leave your ships to ride:
Trojan and Tyrian no two wise at hands of me shall fare.
And would indeed the King himself, Æneas, with us were,
Driven by that self-same southern gale: but sure men will I send,
And bid them search through Libya from end to utmost end,
Lest, cast forth anywhere, he stray by town or forest part."
[Pg 23] Father Æneas thereupon high lifted up his heart,
Nor stout Achates less, and both were fain the cloud to break;
And to Æneas first of all the leal Achates spake:
"O Goddess-born, what thought hereof ariseth in thy mind?
All safe thou seest thy ships; thy folk fair welcomed dost thou find:
One is away, whom we ourselves saw sunken in the deep;
But all things else the promised word thy mother gave us keep."
Lo, even as he spake the word the cloud that wrapped them cleaves,
And in the open space of heaven no dusk behind it leaves;
And there Æneas stood and shone amid the daylight clear,
With face and shoulders of a God: for loveliness of hair
His mother breathed upon her son, and purple light of youth,
And joyful glory of the eyes: e'en as in very sooth
The hand gives ivory goodliness, or when the Parian stone,
Or silver with the handicraft of yellow gold is done:
And therewithal unto the Queen doth he begin to speak,
Unlooked-for of all men:
"Lo here the very man ye seek,
Trojan Æneas, caught away from Libyan seas of late!
Thou, who alone of toils of Troy hast been compassionate,
Who takest us, the leavings poor of Danaan sword, outworn
With every hap of earth and sea, of every good forlorn,
To city and to house of thine: to thank thee to thy worth,
Dido, my might may compass not; nay, scattered o'er the earth
The Dardan folk, for what thou dost may never give thee meed:
But if somewhere a godhead is the righteous man to heed,
If justice is, or any soul to note the right it wrought,
May the Gods give thee due reward. What joyful ages brought
Thy days to birth? what mighty ones gave such an one today? [Pg 24]
Now while the rivers seaward run, and while the shadows stray
O'er hollow hills, and while the pole the stars is pasturing wide,
Still shall thine honour and thy name, still shall thy praise abide
What land soever calleth me."
Therewith his right hand sought
His very friend Ilioneus, his left Serestus caught,
And then the others, Gyas strong, Cloanthus strong in fight.
Sidonian Dido marvelled much, first at the hero's sight,
Then marvelled at the haps he had, and so such word doth say:
"O Goddess-born, what fate is this that ever dogs thy way
With such great perils? What hath yoked thy life to this wild shore?
And art thou that Æneas then, whom holy Venus bore
Unto Anchises, Dardan lord, by Phrygian Simoïs' wave?
Of Teucer unto Sidon come a memory yet I have,
Who, driven from out his fatherland, was seeking new abode
By Belus' help: but Belus then, my father, over-rode
Cyprus the rich, and held the same as very conquering lord:
So from that tide I knew of Troy and bitter Fate's award,
I knew of those Pelasgian kings—yea, and I knew thy name.
He then, a foeman, added praise to swell the Teucrian fame,
And oft was glad to deem himself of ancient Teucer's line.
So hasten now to enter in 'neath roofs of me and mine.
Me too a fortune such as yours, me tossed by many a toil,
Hath pleased to give abiding-place at last upon this soil,
Learned in illhaps full wise am I unhappy men to aid."
Such tale she told, and therewith led to house full kingly made [Pg 25]
Æneas, bidding therewithal the Gods with gifts to grace;
Nor yet their fellows she forgat upon the sea-beat place,
But sendeth them a twenty bulls, an hundred bristling backs
Of swine, an hundred fatted lambs, whereof his ewe none lacks,
And gifts and gladness of the God.
Meanwhile the gleaming house within with kingly pomp is dight,
And in the midmost of the hall a banquet they prepare:
Cloths laboured o'er with handicraft, and purple proud is there;
Great is the silver on the board, and carven out of gold
The mighty deeds of father-folk, a long-drawn tale, is told,
Brought down through many and many an one from when their race began.
Æneas, through whose father's heart unquiet love there ran,
Sent on the swift Achates now unto the ships to speed,
To bear Ascanius all these haps, and townward him to lead;
For on Ascanius well beloved was all his father's thought:
And therewithal gifts good to give from Ilium's ruin caught
He bade him bring: a cope all stiff with golden imagery;
With saffron soft acanthus twine a veil made fair to see;
The Argive Helen's braveries, brought from Mycenæ erst,
When she was seeking Pergamos and wedding all accursed:
Her mother Leda gave her these and marvellous they were.
A sceptre too that Ilione in days agone did bear,
The eldest-born of Priam's maids; a neckchain pearl bestrown,
And, doubly wrought with gold and gems, a kingly-fashioned crown.
So to the ships Achates went these matters forth to speed.
But Cytherea in her heart turned over new-wrought rede,
New craft; how, face and fashion changed, her son the very Love [Pg 26]
For sweet Ascanius should come forth, and, gift-giving, should move
The Queen to madness, make her bones the yoke-fellows of flame.
Forsooth the doubtful house she dreads, the two-tongued Tyrian name;
And bitter Juno burneth her, and care the night doth wake:
Now therefore to the winged Love such words as this she spake:
"O son, my might, my only might, who fearest nought at all
How his, the highest Father's bolts, Typhœus' bane, may fall,
To thee I flee, and suppliant so thy godhead's power beseech:
Thy brother, e'en Æneas, tossed on every sea-side beach
Thou knowest; all the fashioning of wrongful Juno's hate
Thou knowest; oft upon my grief with sorrow wouldst thou wait.
Him now Phœnician Dido holds, and with kind words enow
Delays him there, but unto what Junonian welcomes grow
I fear me: will she hold her hand when thus the hinge is dight?
Now therefore am I compassing to catch their craft in flight,
To ring the Queen about with flame that her no power may turn,
That she may cling to me and sore for mine Æneas yearn.
Now hearken how I counsel thee to bring about my will:
The kingly boy his father calls, he whom I cherish still,
To that Sidonian city now is ready dight to fare,
And gifts, the gleanings of the sea and flames of Troy, doth bear,
Whom soaked in sleep forthwith will I in high Cythera hide,
Or in Idalium's holy place where I am wont to bide,
Lest any one the guile should know and thrust themselves between:
But thou with craft his fashion feign, and with his face be seen
Well known of all, for no more space than one night's wearing by;
And so, when Dido, gladdest grown, shall take thee up to lie
Upon her breast 'twixt queenly board and great Lyæus' wave, [Pg 27]
And thou the winding of her arms and kisses sweet shalt have,
Then breathe the hidden flame in her and forge thy venomed guile."
His lovesome mother Love obeyed, and doffed his wings awhile,
And as Iulus goeth now rejoicing on his way.
But Venus all Ascanius' limbs in quiet rest doth lay,
And cherished in her goddess' breast unto Idalian groves
She bears him, where the marjoram still soft about him moves
And breatheth sweet from scented shade and blossoms on the air.
Love wrought her will, and bearing now those royal gifts and rare,
Unto the Tyrians joyous went, e'en as Achates led.
But when he came into the house, there on her golden bed
With hangings proud Queen Dido lay amidmost of the place:
The father then, Æneas, then the youth of Trojan race,
There gather, and their bodies cast on purple spread abroad.
Folk serve them water for their hands, and speed the baskets stored
With Ceres, and the towels soft of close-clipped nap they bear.
Within were fifty serving-maids, whose long array had care
To furnish forth the meat and drink, and feed the house-gods' flame;
An hundred more, and youths withal of age and tale the same,
Set on the meat upon the board and lay the cups about.
And now through that wide joyous door came thronging from without
The Tyrians, and, so bidden, lie on benches painted fair.
They wonder at Æneas' gifts, and at Iulus there,
The flaming countenance of God, and speech so feigned and fine;
They wonder at the cope and veil with that acanthus twine.
And chiefly that unhappy one doomed to the coming ill,
Nor hungry hollow of her heart nor burning eyes may fill
With all beholding: gifts and child alike her heart do move. [Pg 28]
But he, when he had satisfied his feignèd father's love,
And clipped Æneas all about, and round his neck had hung,
Went to the Queen, who with her eyes and heart about him clung,
And whiles would strain him to her breast—poor Dido! knowing nought
What God upon her bosom sat; who ever had in thought
His Acidalian mother's word, and slowly did begin
To end Sychæus quite, and with a living love to win
Her empty soul at rest, and heart unused a weary tide.
But when the feasting first was stayed, and boards were done aside,
Great beakers there they set afoot, and straight the wine they crowned.
A shout goes up within the house, great noise they roll around
The mighty halls: the candles hang adown from golden roof
All lighted, and the torches' flame keeps dusky night aloof.
And now a heavy bowl of gold and gems the Queen bade bring
And fill with all unwatered wine, which erst used Belus king,
And all from Belus come: therewith through the hushed house she said:
"O Jupiter! they say by thee the guesting laws were made;
Make thou this day to Tyrian folk, and folk come forth from Troy,
A happy day, and may our sons remember this our joy!
Mirth-giver Bacchus, fail thou not from midst our mirth! be kind,
O Juno! and ye Tyrian folk, be glad this bond to bind!"
She spake, and on the table poured the glorious wave of wine,
Then touched the topmost of the bowl with dainty lip and fine,
And, egging on, to Bitias gave: nought slothful to be told
The draught he drained, who bathed himself within the foaming gold; [Pg 29]
Then drank the other lords of them: long-haired Iopas then
Maketh the golden harp to sing, whom Atlas most of men
Erst taught: he sings the wandering moon and toiling of the sun,
And whence the kind of men and beasts, how rain and fire begun,
Arcturus, the wet Hyades, and twin-wrought Northern Bears:
And why so swift the winter sun unto his sea-bath fares,
And what delayeth night so long upon the daylight's hem.
Then praise on praise the Tyrians shout, the Trojans follow them.
Meanwhile unhappy Dido wore the night-tide as it sank
In diverse talk, and evermore long draughts of love she drank,
And many a thing of Priam asked, of Hector many a thing:
With what-like arms Aurora's son had come unto the King;
What were the steeds of Diomed, how great Achilles was.
At last she said:
"But come, O guest, tell all that came to pass
From earliest tide; of Danaan craft, and how thy land was lorn,
And thine own wanderings; for as now the seventh year is worn
That thee a-straying wide away o'er earth and sea hath borne."
ÆNEAS TELLETH TO DIDO AND THE TYRIANS THE STORY OF TROY'S OVERTHROW.
All hearkened hushed, and fixed on him was every face of man,
As from the couch high set aloft Æneas thus began:
"Unutterable grief, O Queen, thou biddest me renew
The falling of the Trojan weal and realm that all shall rue
'Neath Danaan might; which thing myself unhappy did behold,
Yea, and was no small part thereof. What man might hear it told
Of Dolopes, or Myrmidons, or hard Ulysses' band,
And keep the tears back? Dewy night now falleth from the land
Of heaven, and all the setting stars are bidding us to sleep:
But if to know our evil hap thy longing is so deep,
If thou wilt hear a little word of Troy's last agony,
Though memory shuddereth, and my heart shrunk up in grief doth lie,
I will begin.
By battle broke, and thrust aback by Fate
Through all the wearing of the years, the Danaan lords yet wait
And build a horse up mountain-huge by Pallas' art divine, [Pg 31]
Fair fashioning the ribs thereof with timbers of the pine,
And feign it vowed for safe return, and let the fame fly forth.
Herein by stealth a sort of men chosen for bodies' worth
Amid its darkness do they shut; the caverns inly lost
Deep in the belly of the thing they fill with armed host.
In sight of Troy lies Tenedos, an island known of all,
And rich in wealth before the realm of Priam had its fall,
Now but a bay and roadstead poor, where scarcely ships may ride.
So thither now they sail away in desert place to hide.
We thought them gone, and that they sought Mycenæ on a wind,
Whereat the long-drawn grief of Troy fell off from every mind.
The gates are opened; sweet it is the Dorian camp to see,
The dwellings waste, the shore all void where they were wont to be:
Here dwelt the band of Dolopes, here was Achilles set,
And this was where their ships were beached; here edge to edge we met.
Some wonder at unwedded maid Minerva's gift of death,
That baneful mountain of a horse; and first Thymœtes saith
'Twere good in walls to lead the thing, on topmost burg to stand;
Whether such word the fate of Troy or evil treason planned
I know not: Capys and the rest, who better counsel have,
Bid take the fashioned guile of Greeks, the doubtful gift they gave,
To tumble it adown to sea, with piled-up fire to burn,
Or bore the belly of the beast its hidden holes to learn;
So cleft atwain is rede of men abiding there in doubt.
But first before all others now with much folk all about
Laocoon the fiery man runs from the burg adown, [Pg 32]
And shouts from far:
'O wretched men, how hath such madness grown?
Deem ye the foe hath fared away? Deem ye that Danaan gifts
May ever lack due share of guile? Are these Ulysses' shifts?
For either the Achæans lurk within this fashioned tree,
Or 'tis an engine wrought with craft bane of our walls to be,
To look into our very homes, and scale the town perforce:
Some guile at least therein abides: Teucrians, trust not the horse!
Whatso it is, the Danaan folk, yea gift-bearing I fear.'
Thus having said, with valiant might he hurled a huge-wrought spear
Against the belly of the beast swelled out with rib and stave;
It stood a-trembling therewithal; its hollow caverns gave
From womb all shaken with the stroke a mighty sounding groan.
And but for God's heart turned from us, for God's fate fixed and known,
He would have led us on with steel to foul the Argive den,
And thou, O Troy, wert standing now, thou Priam's burg as then!
But lo, where Dardan shepherds lead, with plenteous clamour round,
A young man unto Priam's place with hands behind him bound,
Who privily had thrust himself before their way e'en now
The work to crown, and into Troy an open way to show
Unto the Greeks; a steadfast soul, prepared for either end,
Or utterly to work his craft or unto death to bend.
Eager to see him as he went around the Trojans flock
On every side, and each with each contend the man to mock.
Lo now, behold the Danaan guile, and from one wrong they wrought
Learn ye what all are like to be.
For as he stood in sight of all, bewildered, weaponless, [Pg 33]
And let his eyes go all around the gazing Phrygian press,
'What land shall have me now, what sea my head shall hide?
What then is left of deed to do that yet I must abide?
No place I have among the Greeks, and Dardan folk withal
My foemen are, and bloody end, due doom, upon me call.'
And with that wail our hearts were turned, and somewhat backward hung
The press of men: we bade him say from whence his blood was sprung,
And what he did, and if indeed a captive we might trust;
So thus he spake when now all fear from off his heart was thrust:
'Whatso betide, to thee, O King, the matter's verity
Will I lay bare unto the end, nor Argive blood deny:
This firstly; for if Fate indeed shaped Sinon for all bale
To make him liar and empty fool her worst may not avail.
Perchance a rumour of men's talk about your ears hath gone,
Telling of Palamedes' fame and glory that he won,
The son of Belus: traitors' word undid him innocent;
By unjust doom for banning war the way of death he went,
Slain by Pelasgian men, that now his quenchèd light deplore.
Fellow to him, and nigh akin, I went unto the war,
Sent by my needy father forth, e'en from my earliest years;
Now while he reigned in health, a king fair blooming mid his peers
In council of the kings, I too had share of name and worth.
But after he had gone his way from land of upper earth,
Thrust down by sly Ulysses' hate, (I tell all men's belief),
Then beaten down I dragged my life through shadowy ways of grief,
And heavily I took the death of him my sackless friend, [Pg 34]
Nor held my peace, O fool! but vowed revenge if time should send
A happy tide; if I should come to Argos any more,
A victor then: so with my words I drew down hatred sore.
This was the first fleck of my ill; Ulysses ever now
Would threaten with some new-found guilt, and mid the folk would sow
Dark sayings, and knowing what was toward, sought weapons new at need;
Nor wearied till with Calchas now to help him to the deed.—
—But why upturn these ugly things, or spin out time for nought?
For if ye deem all Greekish men in one same mould are wrought:
It is enough. Come make an end; Ulysses' hope fulfil!
With great price would the Atridæ buy such working of their will.'
Then verily to know the thing and reach it deep we burned,
So little in Pelasgian guile and evil were we learned.
He takes the tale up; fluttering-voiced from lying heart he speaks:
'The longing to be gone from Troy fell oft upon the Greeks,
And oft they fain had turned their backs on war without an end,
(I would they had), and oft as they were e'en at point to wend
A tempest would forbid the sea, or southern gale would scare,
And chiefly when with maple-beams this horse that standeth here
They fashioned, mighty din of storm did all the heavens fulfil.
So held aback, Eurypylus we sent to learn the will
Of Phœbus: from the shrine he brought such heavy words as these:
With blood and with a virgin's death did ye the winds appease
When first ye came, O Danaan folk, unto the Ilian shore;
With blood and with an Argive soul the Gods shall ye adore
For your return.
'Now when that word men's ears had gone about [Pg 35]
Their hearts stood still, and tremors cold took all their bones for doubt
What man the Fates had doomed thereto, what man Apollo would.
Amidst us then the Ithacan drags in with clamour rude
Calchas the seer, and wearieth him the Gods' will to declare.
Of that craftsmaster's cruel guile had many bade beware
In words, and many silently foresaw the coming death.
Twice five days Calchas holdeth peace and, hidden, gainsayeth
To speak the word that any man to very death should cast,
Till hardly, by Ulysses' noise sore driven, at the last
He brake out with the speech agreed, and on me laid the doom;
All cried assent, and what each man feared on himself might come,
'Gainst one poor wretch's end of days with ready hands they bear.
Now came the evil day; for me the rites do men prepare,
The salted cakes, the holy strings to do my brows about.
I needs must say I brake my bonds, from Death's house gat me out,
And night-long lay amid the sedge by muddy marish side
Till they spread sail, if they perchance should win their sailing tide.
Nor have I hope to see again my fatherland of old;
My longed-for father and sweet sons I never shall behold;
On whom the guilt of me who fled mayhappen men will lay,
And with their death for my default the hapless ones shall pay.
But by the might of very God, all sooth that knoweth well,
By all the unstained faith that yet mid mortal men doth dwell,
If aught be left, I pray you now to pity such distress!
Pity a heart by troubles tried beyond its worthiness!'
His weeping won his life of us, and pity thereunto,
And Priam was the first who bade his irons to undo,
And hand-bonds, and in friendly words unto the man he speaks: [Pg 36]
'Whoso thou art, henceforward now forget thy missing Greeks;
Thou shalt be ours: but learn me now, who fain the sooth would wot,
Wherefore they built this world of horse, what craftsman him begot,
And what to do? What gift for Gods; what gin of war is he?'
He spake. The other, wise in guile and Greekish treachery,
Both palms of his from bonds new-freed raised toward the stars above,
And, 'O eternal fires!' he cried, 'O might that none may move,
Bear witness now! ye altar-stones, ye wicked swords I fled,
Ye holy fillets of the Gods bound round my fore-doomed head,
That I all hallowed Greekish rites may break and do aright,
That I may hate the men and bring all hidden things to light
If aught lie hid; nor am I held by laws my country gave!
But thou, O Troy, abide by troth, and well thy saviour save,
If truth I bear thee, if great things for great I pay thee o'er!
'All hope the Danaans had, all trust for speeding on the war
On Pallas' aid was ever set: yet came a day no less
When godless Diomed and he, well-spring of wickedness,
Ulysses, brake the holy place that they by stealth might gain
The fate-fulfilled Palladium, when, all the burg-guards slain,
They caught the holy image up, and durst their bloody hands
Lay on the awful Goddess there and touch her holy bands:
The flood-tide of the Danaan hope ebbed from that very day;
Might failed them, and the Goddess-maid turned all her heart away:
Token whereof Tritonia gave by portent none might doubt:
Scarce was the image set in camp when suddenly flashed out
Fierce fire from staring eyes of her, and salt sweat oozed and fell
O'er all her limbs, and she from earth, O wonderful to tell! [Pg 37]
Leapt thrice, still holding in her hand the quivering spear and shield:
Then Calchas bade us turn to flight across the wavy field,
Singing how ruin of Pergamos the Argive steel shall lack,
Till Argos give the signs again, and we the God bring back
In hollow of the curved keel across the tumbling main.
And this is why they sought their home, Mycenæ's land, again,
And there they dight them arms and God, and presently unwares
Will be on you across the sea—Calchas such doom declares.
So warned hereby for Godhead's hurt, in stolen Palladium's stead,
Atonement for their heavy guilt, this horse they fashionèd.
But him indeed did Calchas bid to pile so mountain-high
With such a might of mingled beams, and lead up to the sky,
Lest it within the gates should come, or mid the walls, and lest
Beneath their ancient Pallas-faith the people safe should rest.
For if upon Minerva's gift ye lay a godless hand,
Then mighty ruin (and would to God before his face might stand
That ruin instead) on Priam's might, and Phrygian folk shall fall.
But if your hands shall lead it up within the city wall,
Then Asia, free and willing it, to Pelops' house shall come
With mighty war; and that same fate our sons shall follow home.'
Caught by such snares and crafty guile of Sinon the forsworn,
By lies and lies, and tears forced forth there were we overborne;
We, whom Tydides might not tame, nor Larissæan king
Achilles; nor the thousand ships, and ten years' wearying.
But now another, greater hap, a very birth of fear,
Was thrust before us wretched ones, our sightless hearts to stir.
Laocoon, chosen out by lot for mighty Neptune's priest, [Pg 38]
Would sacrifice a mighty bull at altars of the feast;
When lo, away from Tenedos, o'er quiet of the main
(I tremble in the tale) we see huge coils of serpents twain
Breasting the sea, and side by side swift making for the shore;
Whose fronts amid the flood were strained, and high their crests upbore
Blood-red above the waves, the rest swept o'er the sea behind,
And all the unmeasured backs of them coil upon coil they wind,
While sends the sea great sound of foam. And now the meads they gained,
The burning eyes with flecks of blood and streaks of fire are stained,
Their mouths with hisses all fulfilled are licked by flickering tongue.
Bloodless we flee the sight, but they fare steadfastly along
Unto Laocoon; and first each serpent round doth reach
One little body of his sons, and knitting each to each,
And winding round and round about, the unhappy body gnaws:
And then himself, as sword in hand anigh for help he draws,
They seize and bind about in coils most huge, and presently
Are folded twice about his midst, twice round his neck they tie
Their scaly backs, and hang above with head and toppling mane,
While he both striveth with his hands to rend their folds atwain,
His fillets covered o'er with blood and venom black and fell,
And starward sendeth forth withal a cry most horrible,
The roaring of a wounded bull who flees the altar-horn
And shaketh from his crest away the axe unhandy borne.
But fleeing to the shrines on high do those two serpents glide,
And reach the hard Tritonia's house, and therewithin they hide
Beneath the Goddess' very feet and orbèd shield of dread;
Then through our quaking hearts indeed afresh the terror spread,
And all men say Laocoon hath paid but worthily [Pg 39]
For guilt of his, and hurt of steel upon the holy tree,
When that unhappy wicked spear against its flank he threw.
They cry to lead the image on to holy house and due,
And Pallas' godhead to adore.
We break adown our rampart walls and bare the very town:
All gird themselves unto the work, set wheels that it may glide
Beneath his feet, about his neck the hempen bond is tied
To warp it on: up o'er the walls so climbs the fateful thing
Fruitful of arms; and boys about and unwed maidens sing
The holy songs, and deem it joy hand on the ropes to lay.
It enters; through the city's midst it wends its evil way.
—O land! O Ilium, house of Gods! O glorious walls of war!
O Dardan walls!—four times amidst the threshold of our door
It stood: four times with sound of arms the belly of it rung;
But heedless, maddened hearts and blind, hard on the ropes we hung,
Nor but amidst the holy burg the monster's feet we stay.
And then Cassandra oped her mouth to tell the fateful day,—
Her mouth that by the Gods' own doom the Teucrians ne'er might trow.
Then on this day that was our last we bear the joyous bough,
Poor wretches! through the town to deck each godhead's holy place.
Meanwhile the heavens are faring round, night falls on ocean's face,
Enwrapping in her mighty shade all earthly things and sky,
And all the guile of Myrmidons: silent the Teucrians lie
Through all the town, and Sleep her arms o'er wearied bodies slips.
And now the Argive host comes forth upon its ordered ships
From Tenedos, all hushed amid the kind moon's silent ways,
Seeking the well-known strand, when forth there breaks the bale-fire's blaze [Pg 40]
On the king's deck: and Sinon, kept by Gods' unequal fate,
For Danaans hid in horse's womb undoes the piny gate
In stealthy wise: them now the horse, laid open to the air,
Gives forth again, and glad from out the hollow wood they fare;
Thessandrus, Sthenelus, the dukes, and dire Ulysses pass;
Slipped down along a hanging rope, Thoas and Acamas,
Peleian Neoptolemus, and Machaon the first,
And Menelaüs, and the man who forged the guile accursed,
Epeos. Through the city sunk in sleep and wine they break,
Slain are the guards, at gates all oped their fellows in they take,
Till all their bands confederate are met at last in one.
It was the time when that first peace of sick men hath begun,
By very gift of God o'er all in sweetest wise to creep,
When Hector comes before mine eyes amid the dreams of sleep,
Most sorrowful to see he was, and weeping plenteous flood,
And e'en as torn behind the car, black with the dust and blood,
His feet all swollen with the thong that pierced them through and through.
Woe worth the while for what he was! How changed from him we knew!
The Hector come from out the fight in arms Achilles lost,
The Hector that on Danaan decks the Phrygian firebrands tost.
Foul was his beard, and all his hair was matted up with gore,
And on his body were the wounds, the many wounds he bore
Around his Troy. I seemed in sleep, I weeping e'en as he,
To speak unto the hero first in voice of misery:
'O Light of Troy, most faithful hope of all the Teucrian men,
What stay hath held thee back so long? from what shore com'st thou then,
Long-looked-for Hector? that at last, so many died away, [Pg 41]
Such toil of city, toil of men, we see thy face today,
We so forewearied? What hath fouled in such an evil wise
Thy cheerful face? what mean these hurts thou showest to mine eyes?'
Nought: nor my questions void and vain one moment turned his speech;
Who from the inmost of his heart a heavy groan did reach:
'O Goddess-born, flee forth,' he said, 'and snatch thee from the fire!
The foeman hath the walls, and Troy is down from topmost spire.
For Priam and for country now enough. If any hand
Might have kept Pergamos, held up by mine it yet should stand.
Her holy things and household gods Troy gives in charge to thee;
Take these as fellows of thy fate: go forth the walls to see,
The great walls thou shalt build, when thou the sea hast wandered o'er.'
He spake, and from the inner shrine forth in his hands he bore
Great Vesta, and the holy bands, and fire that never dies.
Meanwhile the city's turmoiled woe was wrought in diverse wise,
And though my father's house aback apart from all was set,
And hedged about with many trees, clearer and clearer yet
The sounds grew on us, ever swelled the weapons' dread and din.
I shake off sleep and forthwithal climb up aloft and win
To topmost roof: with ears pricked up I stand to hearken all.
As when before the furious South the driven flame doth fall
Among the corn: or like as when the hill-flood rolls in haste
To waste the fields and acres glad, the oxen's toil to waste,
Tearing the headlong woods along, while high upon a stone
The unready shepherd stands amazed, and hears the sound come on. [Pg 42]
Then was their faith made manifest, then Danaan guile lay bare;
Deïphobus' wide house e'en now, o'ertopped by Vulcan's flare,
Shows forth its fall; Ucalegon's is burning by its side:
The narrow seas Sigæum guards gleam litten far and wide.
The shout of men ariseth now, and blaring of the horn,
And mad, I catch my weapons up though idly they be borne;
But burned my heart to gather folk for battle, and set forth
Upon the burg in fellowship; for fury and great wrath
Thrust on my heart: to die in arms, it seemed a good reward.
But lo, now Panthus newly slipped from 'neath the Achean sword,
Panthus the son of Othrys, priest of Phœbus' house on high;
His holy things and vanquished Gods, his little lad thereby
He drags, and as a madman runs, to gain our doorway set.
'Panthus, how fares it at the worst? what stronghold keep we yet?'
Scarce had I said, when from his mouth a groan and answer fares:
'Troy's latest day has come on us, a tide no struggling wears:
Time was, the Trojans were; time was, and Ilium stood; time was,
And glory of the Teucrian folk! Jove biddeth all to pass
To Argos now: in Troy afire the Danaans now are lords;
The horse high set amidst the town pours forth a flood of swords,
And Sinon, of the victors now, the flame is driving home
High mocking: by the open gates another sort is come,
As many thousands as ere flocked from great Mycenæ yet:
Others with weapons ready dight the narrow ways beset,
And ban all passage; point and edge are glittering drawn and bare
Ready for death: and scarcely now the first few gatewards dare
The battle, and blind game of Mars a little while debate.' [Pg 43]
Spurred by such speech of Othrys' son, and force of godhead great,
Mid fire and steel I follow on as grim Erinnys shows,
Where call the cries, where calls the shout that ever heavenward goes,
Rhipeus therewith, and Epytus the mighty under shield,
Dymas and Hypanis withal their fellowship now yield;
Met by the moon they join my side with young Corœbus; he
The son of Mygdon, at that tide in Troy-town chanced to be;
Drawn thither by Cassandra's love that burned within his heart.
So he to Priam service gave, and helped the Phrygian part:
Unhappy! that the warning word of his God-maddened love
He might not hearken on that day.
Now when I see them gathered so to dare the battle's pain,
Thus I begin:
'O fellows fair, O hardy hearts in vain!
If now ye long to follow me who dares the utterance
And certain end, ye see indeed what wise our matters chance.
The Gods, who in the other days our lordship mighty made,
Are gone from altar and from shrine: a town of flames ye aid.
Fall on a very midst the fire and die in press of war!
One hope there is for vanquished men, to cherish hope no more.'
Therewith the fury of their minds I feed, and thence away,
As ravening wolves by night and cloud their bellies' lust obey,
That bitter-sharp is driving on, the while their whelps at home
Dry-jawed await them, so by steel, by crowd of foes we come
Into the very death; we hold the city's midmost street,
Black night-tide's wings with hollow shade about our goings meet.
O ruin and death of that ill night, what tongue may set it forth! [Pg 44]
Or who may pay the debt of tears that agony was worth!
The ancient city overthrown, lord for so many a year,
The many bodies of the slain, that, moveless, everywhere
Lie in the street, in houses lie, lie round the holy doors
Of Gods. But not alone that night the blood of Teucrians pours,
For whiles the valour comes again in vanquished hearts to bide,
And conquering Danaans fall and die: grim grief on every side,
And fear on every side there is, and many-faced is death.
Androgeus, whom a mighty band of Danaans followeth,
First falleth on the road of us, and, deeming us to be
His fellow-folk, in friendly words he speaketh presently:
'Haste on, O men! what sloth is this delayeth so your ways?
While others hand and haul away in Pergamos ablaze;
What! fellows, from the lofty ships come ye but even now?'
But with the word, no answer had wherein at all to trow,
He felt him fallen amid the foe, and taken in the snare;
Then foot and voice aback he drew, and stood amazèd there,
As one who through the thicket thrusts, and unawares doth tread
Upon a snake, and starts aback with sudden rush of dread
From gathering anger of the thing and swelling neck of blue:
So, quaking at the sight of us, Androgeus backward drew.
But we fall on with serried arms and round their rout we crowd,
And fell them knowing nought the place, and with all terror cowed:
So sweet the breath of fortune was on our first handicraft.
But with good-hap and hardihood Corœbus' spirit laughed; [Pg 45]
'Come, fellows, follow up,' he cries, 'the way that fortune shows
This first of times, and where belike a little kind she grows.
Change we our shields, and do on us the tokens of the Greeks;
Whether with fraud or force he play what man of foeman seeks,
Yea, these themselves shall give us arms.'
He spake, and forth did bear
Androgeus' high-crested helm and shield emblazoned fair,
And did it on, and Argive sword he girt unto his thigh:
So Rhipeus did, and Dymas did, and all did joyously,
And each man wholly armed himself with plunder newly won.
Then mingled with the Greeks we fare, and no God helps us on,
And many a battle there we join amid the eyeless night,
And many a Danaan send adown to Orcus from the light:
Some fled away unto the ships, some to the safe sea-shore,
Or smitten with the coward's dread climbed the great horse once more
And there they lie all close within the well-known womb of wood.
Alas! what skills it man to trust in Gods compelled to good?
For lo, Cassandra, Priam's maid, with hair cast all about,
From Pallas' house and innermost of holy place dragged out,
And straining with her burning eyes in vain to heaven aloft;
Her eyes, for they in bonds had bound her tender palms and soft.
Nought bore Corœbus' maddened mind to see that show go by,
And in the middle of their host he flung himself to die,
And all we follow and fall on with points together set.
And first from that high temple-top great overthrow we get
From weapons of our friends, and thence doth hapless death arise
From error of the Greekish crests and armour's Greekish guise;
Then crying out for taken maid, fulfilled thereat with wrath, [Pg 46]
The gathered Greeks fall in on us: comes keenest Ajax forth;
The sons of Atreus, all the host of Dolopes are there:—
As whiles, the knit whirl broken up, the winds together bear
And strive, the West wind and the South, the East wind glad and free
With Eastland steeds; sore groan the woods; and Nereus stirs the sea
From lowest deeps, and trident shakes, and foams upon the wave:—
They even to whom by night and cloud great overthrow we gave,
Through craft of ours, and drave about through all the town that while,
Now show themselves, and know our shields and weapons worn for guile
The first of all; our mouths unmeet for Greekish speech they tell
Then o'er us sweeps the multitude; and first Corœbus fell
By Peneleus before the Maid who ever in the fight
Prevaileth most; fell Rhipeus there, the heedfullest of right
Of all among the Teucrian folk, the justest man of men;
The Gods deemed otherwise. Dymas and Hypanis died then,
Shot through by friends, and not a whit availed to cover thee,
O Panthus, thine Apollo's bands or plenteous piety.
Ashes of Ilium, ye last flames where my beloved ones burned,
Bear witness mid your overthrow my face was never turned
From Danaan steel and Danaan deed! if fate had willed it so
That I should fall, I earned my wage.
Borne thence away, we go
Pelias and Iphitus and I; but Iphitus was spent
By eld, and by Ulysses' hurt half halting Pelias went.
So unto Priam's house we come, called by the clamour there,
Where such a mighty battle was as though none otherwhere
Yet burned: as though none others fell in all the town beside.
There all unbridled Mars we saw, the Danaans driving wide
Against the house; with shield-roofs' rush the doors thereof beset. [Pg 47]
The ladders cling unto the walls, men by the door-posts get
Some foothold up; with shielded left they meet the weapons' rain,
While on the battlements above grip with the right they gain.
The Dardans on the other side pluck roof and pinnacle
From off the house; with such-like shot they now, beholding well
The end anigh, all death at hand, make ready for the play:
And gilded beams, the pomp and joy of fathers passed away.
They roll adown, and other some with naked point and edge
The nether doorways of the place in close arrayment hedge.
Blazed up our hearts again to aid this palace of a king,
To stead their toil, to vanquished men a little help to bring.
A door there was, a secret pass into the common way
Of all King Priam's houses there, that at the backward lay
As one goes by: in other days, while yet the lordship was,
Hapless Andromache thereby unto the twain would pass
Alone, or leading to the king Astyanax her boy.
And thereby now I gain the tower, whence wretched men of Troy
In helpless wise from out their hands were casting darts aloof.
There was a tower, a sheer hight down, builded from highest roof
Up toward the stars; whence we were wont on Troy to look adown,
And thence away the Danaan ships, the Achæan tented town.
Against the highest stage hereof the steel about we bear,
Just where the joints do somewhat give: this from its roots we tear,
And heave it up and over wall, whose toppling at the last
Bears crash and ruin, and wide away the Danaans are down cast
Beneath its fall: but more come on: nor drift of stones doth lack,
Nor doth all kind of weapon-shot at any while grow slack. [Pg 48]
Lo, Pyrrhus in the very porch forth to the door doth pass
Exulting; bright with glittering points and flashing of the brass;
—E'en as a snake to daylight come, on evil herbage fed,
Who, swollen, 'neath the chilly soil hath had his winter bed,
And now, his ancient armour doffed, and sleek with youth new found,
With front upreared his slippery back he coileth o'er the ground
Up 'neath the sun; his three-cleft tongue within his mouth gleams clear:—
And with him Periphas the huge, Achilles' charioteer,
Now shield-bearer Automedon and all the Scyrian host
Closed on the walls and on the roof the blazing firebrands tost.
Pyrrhus in forefront of them all catches a mighty bill,
Beats in the hardened door, and tears perforce from hinge and sill
The brazen leaves; a beam hewn through, wide gaped the oak hard knit
Into a great-mouthed window there, and through the midst of it
May men behold the inner house; the long halls open lie;
Bared is the heart of Priam's home, the place of kings gone by;
And close against the very door all armèd men they see
That inner house indeed was mazed with wail and misery,
The inmost chambers of the place an echoing hubbub hold
Of women's cries, whose clamour smites the far-off stars of gold,
And through the house so mighty great the fearful mothers stray,
And wind their arms about the doors, and kisses on them lay.
But Pyrrhus with his father's might comes on; no bolt avails,
No man against the might of him; the door all battered fails,
The door-leaves torn from off of hinge tumble and lie along:
Might maketh road; through passage forced the entering Danaans throng,
And slay the first and fill the place with armour of their ranks. [Pg 49]
Nay nought so great is foaming flood that through its bursten banks
Breaks forth, and beateth down the moles that 'gainst its going stand.
And falls a fierce heap on the plain, and over all the land
Drags off the herds and herd-houses.
There saw I Pyrrhus wild
With death of men amidst the door, and either Atreus' child;
And Hecuba and hundred wives her sons wed saw I there,
And Priam fouling with his blood the very altars fair
Whose fires he hallowed: fifty beds the hope of house to be,
The doorways proud with outland gold and war-got bravery
Sunk into ash; where fire hath failed the Danaans are enow.
Belike what fate on Priam fell thou askest me to show:
For when he saw the city lost, and his own house-door stormed,
And how in bowels of his house the host of foemen swarmed,
The ancient man in vain does on the arms long useless laid
About his quaking back of eld, and girds himself with blade
Of no avail, and fareth forth amid the press to die.
A very midmost of the courts beneath the naked sky
A mighty altar stood: anear a bay exceeding old,
The altar and the Gods thereof did all in shadow hold;
And round about that altar-stead sat Hecuba the queen,
And many daughters: e'en as doves all huddled up are seen
'Neath the black storm they cling about the dear God's images.
But when in arms of early days King Priam now she sees,
She crieth: 'O unhappy spouse! what evil heart hast thou,
With weapons thus to gird thyself, or whither wilt thou now?
Today availeth no such help, and no such warder's stay [Pg 50]
May better aught; not even were my Hector here today.
But come thou hither unto me; this altar all shall save,
Or we shall die together here!'
Her arms about she gave
And took him, and the elder set adown in holy stead.
But lo! now one of Priam's sons, Polites, having fled
From Pyrrhus' murder through the swords and through the foeman's throng,
Runs wounded through the empty hall from out the cloister long,
And burning Pyrrhus, hard at heel, the deadly hurt doth bear,
And grip of hand is on him now, and now the point of spear.
But as he rushed before their eyes, his parents' face beneath
He fell, and with most plenteous blood shed forth his latest breath;
Then Priam, howsoever nigh the very death might grip,
Refrained him nothing at the sight, but voice and wrath let slip:
'Ah, for such wickedness,' he cried, 'for daring such a deed,
If aught abide in heaven as yet such things as this to heed,
May the Gods give thee worthy thanks, and pay thee well-earned prize,
That thou hast set the death of sons before my father's eyes,
That thou thy murder's fouling thus in father's face hast flung.
Not he, Achilles, whence indeed thou liar hast never sprung,
Was such a foe to Priam erst; for shamfast meed he gave
To law and troth of suppliant men, and rendered to the grave
The bloodless Hector dead, and me sent to mine own again.'
So spake the elder, and cast forth a toothless spear and vain,
That forthwith from the griding brass was put aback all spent,
And from the shield-boss' outer skin hung down, for nothing sent.
Then Pyrrhus cried: 'Yea tell him this, go take the tidings down [Pg 51]
To Peleus' son my father then, of Pyrrhus worser grown
And all these evil deeds of mine! take heed to tell the tale!
And to the altar-stone him quivering did he hale,
And sliding in his own son's blood so plenteous: in his hair
Pyrrhus his left hand wound, his right the gleaming sword made bare,
That even to the hilts thereof within his flank he hid.
Such was the end of Priam's day, such faring forth fate bid,
Troy all aflame upon the road, all Pergamus adown.
He, of so many peoples once the mighty lord and crown,
So many lands of Asia once, a trunk beside the sea
Huge with its headless shoulders laid, a nameless corpse is he.
Then first within the compassing of bitter fear I was;
The image of my father dear by me all mazed did pass,
When I beheld the like-aged king gasping his life away
Through cruel wound: upon mine eyes forlorn Creusa lay,
The wasted house, my little one, Iulus', evil end.
I look aback to see what folk about me yet do wend,
But all, foredone, had fallen away, their weary bodies spent,
Some all amid the fire had cast, some unto earth had sent.
Alone was I of all men now, when lo, in Vesta's house
Abiding, and in inmost nook silent and lurking close,
Helen the seed of Tyndarus! the clear fires give her light
As there she strayeth, turning eyes on every shifting sight;
She, fearful of the Teucrian wrath for Pergamus undone,
And fearful of the Danaan wrath and husband left alone,
The wasting fury both of Troy and land where she was born, [Pg 52]
She hid her by the altar-stead, a thing of Gods forlorn.
Forth blazed the wildfire in my soul, wrath stirred me up to slake
My vengeance for my dying home, and ill's atonement take.
What! should she come to Sparta safe, and her Mycenæ then,
And in the hard-won triumphing go forth a Queen of men,
And see her husband and her home, her parents and her sons,
Served by the throng of Ilian wives and Phrygian vanquished ones?
Shall Priam so be slain with sword; shall Troy so blaze aloft;
Shall the sea-beach the Dardan blood have sweat so oft and oft
For this? Nay, nay: and though forsooth no deed to blaze abroad
The slaying of a woman be, nor gaineth fame's reward,
Yet still to quench an evil thing and pay the well-earned meed
Is worthy praise, and joy it were unto the full to feed
My heart's fell flame, and satisfy these ashes well beloved.
Such things my soul gave forth; such things in furious heart I moved.
When lo, my holy mother now, ne'er seen by eyes of mine
So clear before, athwart the dark in simple light did shine;
All God she was; of countenance and measure was she nought,
But her the heaven-abiders see; so my right hand she caught,
And held me, and from rosy mouth moreover added word:
'O son, what anger measureless thy mighty grief hath stirred?
Why ragest thou? or whither then is gone thy heed of me?
Wilt thou not first behold the place where worn by eld is he,
Anchises, left? Wilt thou not see if yet thy wife abide
Creusa, or Ascanius yet? The Greekish bands fare wide
About them now on every hand, and but my care withstood [Pg 53]
The fire had wafted them away or sword had drunk their blood.
Laconian Helen's beauty cursed this overthrow ne'er wrought.
Nor guilty Paris; nay, the Gods, the Gods who pity nought,
Have overturned your lordship fair, and laid your Troy alow.
Behold! I draw aside the cloud that all abroad doth flow,
Dulling the eyes of mortal men, and darkening dewily
The world about. And look to it no more afeard to be
Of what I bid, nor evermore thy mother's word disown.
There where thou seest the great walls cleft, and stone torn off from stone,
And seest the waves of smoke go by with mingled dust-cloud rolled,—
There Neptune shakes the walls and stirs the foundings from their hold
With mighty trident, tumbling down the city from its base.
There by the Scæan gates again hath bitter Juno place
The first of all, and wild and mad, herself begirt with steel,
Calls up her fellows from the ships.
Look back! Tritonian Pallas broods o'er topmost burg on high,
All flashing bright with Gorgon grim from out her stormy sky;
The very Father hearteneth on, and stays with happy might
The Danaans, crying on the Gods against the Dardan fight.
Snatch flight, O son, whiles yet thou may'st, and let thy toil be o'er,
I by thy side will bring thee safe unto thy father's door.'
She spake, and hid herself away where thickest darkness poured.
Then dreadful images show forth, great Godheads are abroad,
The very haters of our Troy.
And then indeed before mine eyes all Ilium sank in flame,
And overturned was Neptune's Troy from its foundations deep.
E'en as betideth with an ash upon the mountain steep,
Round which sore smitten by the steel the acre-biders throng, [Pg 54]
And strive in speeding of the axe: and there it threateneth long,
And, shaken, trembleth nodding still with heavy head of leaf;
Till overcome by many hurts it groans its latest grief,
And torn from out the ridgy hill, drags all its ruin alow.
I get me down, and, Goddess-led, speed on 'twixt fire and foe,
And point and edge give place to me, before me sinks the flame;
But when unto my father's door and ancient house I came,
And I was fain of all things first my father forth to bear
Unto the mountain-tops, and first I sought to find him there,
Still he gainsayed to spin out life now Troy was lost and dead,
Or suffer exile: 'Ye whose blood is hale with youth,' he said,
'Ye other ones, whose might and main endureth and is stout,
See ye to flight while yet ye may!
Full surely if the heavenly ones my longer life had willed,
They would have kept me this abode: the measure is fulfilled
In that the murder I have seen, and lived when Troy-town fell.
O ye, depart, when ye have bid my body streaked farewell.
My hand itself shall find out death, or pity of my foes,
Who seek my spoils: the tomb methinks a little thing to lose.
Forsooth I tarry overlong, God-cursed, a useless thing,
Since when the Father of the Gods, the earth-abiders' King,
Blew on me blast of thunder-wind and touched me with his flame.'
His deed was stubborn as his word, no change upon him came.
But all we weeping many tears, my wife Creusa there,
Ascanius, yea and all the house, besought him not to bear
All things to wrack with him, nor speed the hastening evil tide.
He gainsaith all, and in his will and home will yet abide. [Pg 55]
So wretchedly I rush to arms with all intent to die;
For what availeth wisdom now, what hope in fate may lie?
'And didst thou hope, O father, then, that thou being left behind,
My foot would fare? Woe worth the word that in thy mouth I find!
But if the Gods are loth one whit of such a town to save,
And thou with constant mind wilt cast on dying Troy-town's grave
Both thee and thine, wide is the door to wend adown such ways;
For Pyrrhus, red with Priam's blood, is hard at hand, who slays
The son before the father's face, the father slays upon
The altar. Holy Mother, then, for this thou ledst me on
Through fire and sword!—that I might see our house filled with the foe,
My father old, Ascanius, Creusa lying low,
All weltering in each other's blood, and murdered wretchedly.
Arms, fellows, arms! the last day's light on vanquished men doth cry.
Ah! give me to the Greeks again, that I may play the play
Another while: not unavenged shall all we die today.'
So was I girt with sword again, and in my shield would set
My left hand now, and was in point from out of doors to get,
When lo, my wife about my feet e'en in the threshold clung,
Still to his father reaching out Iulus tender-young:
'If thou art on thy way to die, then bear us through it all;
But if to thee the wise in arms some hope of arms befall,
Then keep this house first! Unto whom giv'st thou Iulus' life,
Thy father's, yea and mine withal, that once was called thy wife?'
[Pg 56]So crying out, the house she filled with her exceeding moan,
When sudden, wondrous to be told, a portent was there shown;
For as his woeful parents' hands and lips he hangs between,
On topmost of Iulus' head a thin peaked flame is seen,
That with the harmless touch of fire, whence clearest light is shed,
Licks his soft locks and pastures round the temples of his head.
Quaking with awe from out his hair we fall the fire to shake,
And bring the water of the well the holy flame to slake.
But joyous to the stars aloft Anchises raiseth eyes,
And with his hands spread out abroad to very heaven he cries:
'Almighty Jove, if thou hast will toward any prayers to turn,
Look down on us this while alone; if aught our goodness earn,
Father, give help and strengthen us these omens from the sky!'
Scarce had the elder said the word ere crashing suddenly
It thundered on the left, and down across the shades of night
Ran forth a great brand-bearing star with most abundant light;
And clear above the topmost house we saw it how it slid
Lightening the ways, and at the last in Ida's forest hid.
Then through the sky a furrow ran drawn out a mighty space,
Giving forth light, and sulphur-fumes rose all about the place.
My father vanquished therewithal his visage doth upraise,
And saith a word unto the Gods that holy star to praise:
'Now, now, no tarrying is at all, I follow where ye lead;
O Father-Gods heed ye our house and this my son's son heed!
This is your doom; and Troy is held beneath your majesty.
I yield, O son, nor more gainsay to go my ways with thee.'
He spake; and mid the walls meanwhile we hear the fire alive
Still clearer, and the burning place more nigh the heat doth drive. [Pg 57]
'O hasten, father well-beloved, to hang about my neck!
Lo, here my shoulders will I stoop, nor of the labour reck.
And whatsoever may befall, the two of us shall bide
One peril and one heal and end: Iulus by my side
Shall wend, and after us my wife shall follow on my feet
Ye serving-folk, turn ye your minds these words of mine to meet:
Scant from the city is a mound and temple of old tide,
Of Ceres' lone, a cypress-tree exceeding old beside.
Kept by our fathers' worshipping through many years agone:
Thither by divers roads go we to meet at last in one.
Now, father, take thy fathers' Gods and holy things to hold,
For me to touch them fresh from fight and murder were o'erbold,
A misdeed done against the Gods, till in the living flood
I make a shift to wash me clean.'
I stooped my neck and shoulders broad e'en as the word I said,
A forest lion's yellow fell for cloth upon them laid,
And took my burden up: my young Iulus by my side,
Holding my hand, goes tripping short unto his father's stride;
My wife comes after: on we fare amidst a mirky world.
And I, erewhile as nothing moved by storm of weapons hurled,
I, who the gathering of the Greeks against me nothing feared,
Now tremble at each breath of wind, by every sound am stirred,
Sore troubled for my fellows both, and burden that I bore.
And now we draw anigh the gates, and all the way seemed o'er,
When sudden sound of falling feet was borne upon our ears,
And therewithal my father cries, as through the dusk he peers,
'Haste, son, and get thee swift away, for they are on us now; [Pg 58]
I see the glittering of the brass and all their shields aglow.'
What Godhead nought a friend to me amidst my terror there
Snatched wit away I nothing know: for while I swiftly fare
By wayless places, wandering wide from out the road I knew,
Creusa, whether her the Fates from me unhappy drew,
Whether she wandered from the way, or weary lagged aback,
Nought know I, but that her henceforth mine eyes must ever lack.
Nor turned I round to find her lost, nor had it in my thought,
Till to that mound and ancient house of Ceres we were brought;
Where, all being come together now, there lacked but her alone,
And there her fellows' hopes, her son's, her husband's were undone.
On whom of men, on whom of Gods, then laid I not the guilt?
What saw I bitterer to be borne in all the city spilt?
Ascanius and Anchises set the Teucrian Gods beside,
I give unto my fellows there in hollow dale to hide,
But I unto the city turn with glittering weapons girt;
Needs must I search all Troy again, and open every hurt,
And into every peril past must thrust my head once more.
And first I reach the walls again and mirk ways of the door
Whereby I wended out erewhile; and my old footsteps' track
I find, and mid the dusk of night with close eyes follow back;
While on the heart lies weight of fear, and e'en the hush brings dread,
Thence to the house, if there perchance, if there again she tread,
I go: infall of Greeks had been, and all the house they hold,
And 'neath the wind the ravening fire to highest ridge is rolled.
[Pg 59]The flames hang o'er, with raging heat the heavens are hot withal;
Still on: I look on Priam's house and topmost castle-wall;
And in the desert cloisters there and Juno's very home
Lo, Phœnix and Ulysses cursed, the chosen wards, are come
To keep the spoil; fair things of Troy, from everywhither brought,
Rapt from the burning of the shrines, Gods' tables rudely caught,
And beakers utterly of gold and raiment snatched away
Are there heaped up; and boys and wives drawn out in long array
Stand trembling round about the heap.
And now withal I dared to cast my cries upon the dark,
I fill the streets with clamour great, and, groaning woefully,
'Creusa,' o'er and o'er again without avail I cry.
But as I sought and endlessly raved all the houses through
A hapless shape, Creusa's shade, anigh mine eyen drew,
And greater than the body known her image fashioned was;
I stood amazed, my hair rose up, nor from my jaws would pass
My frozen voice, then thus she spake my care to take away:
'Sweet husband, wherefore needest thou with such mad sorrow play?
Without the dealing of the Gods doth none of this betide;
And they, they will not have thee bear Creusa by thy side,
Nor will Olympus' highest king such fellowship allow.
Long exile is in store for thee, huge plain of sea to plough,
Then to Hesperia shalt thou come, where Lydian Tiber's wave
The wealthiest meads of mighty men with gentle stream doth lave:
There happy days and lordship great, and kingly wife, are born
For thee. Ah! do away thy tears for loved Creusa lorn.
I shall not see the Myrmidons' nor Dolopes' proud place,
Nor wend my ways to wait upon the Greekish women's grace;
I, daughter of the Dardan race, I, wife of Venus' son;
Me the great Mother of the Gods on Trojan shore hath won. [Pg 60]
Farewell, and love the son we loved together once, we twain.'
She left me when these words were given, me weeping sore, and fain
To tell her much, and forth away amid thin air she passed:
And there three times about her neck I strove mine arms to cast,
And thrice away from out my hands the gathered image streams,
E'en as the breathing of the wind or wingèd thing of dreams.
And so at last, the night all spent, I meet my folk anew;
And there I found great multitude that fresh unto us drew,
And wondered thereat: wives were there, and men, and plenteous youth;
All gathered for the faring forth, a hapless crowd forsooth:
From everywhere they draw to us, with goods and courage set,
To follow o'er the sea where'er my will may lead them yet.
And now o'er Ida's topmost ridge at last the day-star rose
With dawn in hand: all gates and doors by host of Danaan foes
Were close beset, and no more hope of helping may I bide.
I turned and took my father up and sought the mountain-side.
ÆNEAS TELLS OF HIS WANDERINGS AND MISHAPS BY LAND AND BY SEA.
Now after it had pleased the Gods on high to overthrow
The Asian weal and sackless folk of Priam, and alow
Proud Ilium lay, and Neptune's Troy was smouldering on the ground,
For diverse outlands of the earth and waste lands are we bound,
Driven by omens of the Gods. Our fleet we built beneath
Antandros, and the broken steeps of Phrygian Ida's heath,
Unwitting whither Fate may drive, or where the Gods shall stay
And there we draw together men.
Now scarce upon the way
Was summer when my father bade spread sails to Fate at last.
Weeping I leave my fatherland, and out of haven passed
Away from fields where Troy-town was, an outcast o'er the deep,
With folk and son and Household Gods and Greater Gods to keep.
Far off a peopled land of Mars lies midst its mighty plain,
Tilled of the Thracians; there whilom did fierce Lycurgus reign.
'Twas ancient guesting-place of Troy: our Gods went hand in hand [Pg 62]
While bloomed our weal: there are we borne, and on the hollow strand
I set my first-born city down, 'neath evil fates begun,
And call the folk Æneadæ from name myself had won.
Unto Dione's daughter there, my mother, and the rest,
I sacrificed upon a day to gain beginning blest,
And to the King of Heavenly folk was slaying on the shore
A glorious bull: at hand by chance a mound at topmost bore
A cornel-bush and myrtle stiff with shafts close set around:
Thereto I wend and strive to pluck a green shoot from the ground,
That I with leafy boughs thereof may clothe the altars well;
When lo, a portent terrible and marvellous to tell!
For the first stem that from the soil uprooted I tear out
Oozes black drops of very blood, that all the earth about
Is stained with gore: but as for me, with sudden horror chill
My limbs fall quaking, and my blood with freezing fear stands still.
Yet I go on and strive from earth a new tough shoot to win,
That I may search out suddenly what causes lurk within;
And once again from out the bark blood followeth as before.
I turn the matter in my mind: the Field-Nymphs I adore,
And him, Gradivus, father dread, who rules the Thracian plain,
And pray them turn the thing to good and make its threatenings vain.
But when upon a third of them once more I set my hand,
And striving hard thrust both my knees upon the opposing sand—
—Shall I speak now or hold my peace?—a piteous groan is heard
From out the mound, and to mine ears is borne a dreadful word:
'Why manglest thou a wretched man? O spare me in my tomb!
Spare to beguilt thy righteous hand, Æneas! Troy's own womb [Pg 63]
Bore me, thy kinsman; from this stem floweth no alien gore:
Woe's me! flee forth the cruel land, flee forth the greedy shore;
For I am Polydore: pierced through, by harvest of the spear
O'ergrown, that such a crop of shafts above my head doth bear.'
I stood amazed: the wildering fear the heart in me down-weighed.
My hair rose up, my frozen breath within my jaws was stayed.
Unhappy Priam privily had sent this Polydore,
For fostering to the Thracian king with plenteous golden store.
In those first days when he began to doubt the Dardan might,
Having the leaguered walls of Troy for ever in his sight.
This king, as failed the weal of Troy and fortune fell away,
Turned him about to conquering arms and Agamemnon's day.
He brake all right, slew Polydore, and all the gold he got
Perforce: O thou gold-hunger cursed, and whither driv'st thou not
The hearts of men?
But when at length the fear from me did fall,
Unto the chosen of the folk, my father first of all,
I show those portents of the Gods and ask them of their will,
All deem it good that we depart that wicked land of ill,
And leave that blighted guesting-place and give our ships the breeze.
Therefore to Polydore we do the funeral services,
The earth is heaped up high in mound; the Death-Gods' altars stand
Woeful with bough of cypress black and coal-blue holy band;
The wives of Ilium range about with due dishevelled hair;
Cups of the warm and foaming milk unto the dead we bear,
And bowls of holy blood we bring, and lay the soul in grave,
And cry a great farewell to him, the last that he shall have. [Pg 64]
But now, when we may trust the sea and winds the ocean keep
Unangered, and the South bids on light whispering to the deep,
Our fellows crowd the sea-beach o'er and run the ships adown,
And from the haven are we borne, and fadeth field and town.
Amid the sea a land there lies, sweet over everything,
Loved of the Nereids' mother, loved by that Ægean king
Great Neptune: this, a-wandering once all coasts and shores around,
The Bow-Lord good to Gyaros and high Myconos bound,
And bade it fixed to cherish folk nor fear the wind again:
There come we; and that gentlest isle receives us weary men;
In haven safe we land, and thence Apollo's town adore;
King Anius, who, a king of men, Apollo's priesthood bore,
His temples with the fillets done and crowned with holy bays,
Meets us, and straight Anchises knows, his friend of early days.
So therewith hand to hand we join and houseward get us gone.
There the God's fane I pray unto, the place of ancient stone:
'Thymbræan, give us house and home, walls to the weary give,
In folk and city to endure: let Pergamus twice live,
In Troy twice built, left of the Greeks, left of Achilles' wrath!
Ah, whom to follow? where to go? wherein our home set forth?
O Father, give us augury and sink into our heart!
Scarce had I said the word, when lo all doors with sudden start
Fell trembling, and the bay of God, and all the mountain side,
Was stirred, and in the opened shrine the holy tripod cried:
There as a voice fell on our ears we bowed ourselves to earth:
'O hardy folk of Dardanus, the land that gave you birth [Pg 65]
From root and stem of fathers old, its very bosom kind,
Shall take you back: go fare ye forth, your ancient mother find:
There shall Æneas' house be lords o'er every earth and sea,
The children of his children's sons, and those that thence shall be.'
So Phœbus spake, and mighty joy arose with tumult mixed,
As all fell wondering where might be that seat of city fixed,
Where Phœbus called us wandering folk, bidding us turn again.
Thereat my father, musing o'er the tales of ancient men,
Saith: 'Hearken, lords, and this your hope a little learn of me!
There is an isle of mightiest Jove called Crete amid the sea;
An hundred cities great it hath, that most abundant place;
And there the hill of Ida is, and cradle of our race.
Thence Teucer our first father came, if right the tale they tell,
When borne to those Rhœtean shores he chose a place to dwell
A very king: no Ilium was, no Pergamus rose high;
He and his folk abode as then in dales that lowly lie:
Thence came Earth-mother Cybele and Corybantian brass,
And Ida's thicket; thence the hush all hallowed came to pass,
And thence the lions yoked and tame, the Lady's chariot drag.
On then! and led by God's command for nothing let us lag!
Please we the winds, and let our course for Gnosian land be laid;
Nor long the way shall be for us: with Jupiter to aid,
The third-born sun shall stay our ships upon the Cretan shore.'
So saying, all the offerings due he to the altar bore,
[Pg 66]A bull to Neptune, and a bull to thee, Apollo bright,
A black ewe to the Storm of sea, to Zephyr kind a white.
Fame went that Duke Idomeneus, thrust from his fathers' land,
Had gone his ways, and desert now was all the Cretan strand,
That left all void of foes to us those habitations lie.
Ortygia's haven then we leave, and o'er the sea we fly
By Naxos of the Bacchus ridge, Donusa's green-hued steep,
And Olearon, and Paros white, and scattered o'er the deep
All Cyclades; we skim the straits besprent with many a folk;
And diverse clamour mid the ships seafarers striving woke;
Each eggs his fellow; On for Crete, and sires of time agone!
And rising up upon our wake a fair wind followed on.
And so at last we glide along the old Curetes' strand,
And straightway eager do I take the city wall in hand,
And call it Pergamea, and urge my folk that name who love,
For love of hearth and home to raise a burg their walls above.
And now the more part of the ships are hauled up high and dry,
To wedding and to work afield the folk fall presently,
And I give laws and portion steads; when suddenly there fell
From poisoned heaven a wasting plague, a wretched thing to tell,
On limbs of men, on trees and fields; and deadly was the year,
And men must leave dear life and die, or weary sick must bear
Their bodies on: then Sirius fell to burn the acres dry;
The grass was parched, the harvest sick all victual did deny.
Then bids my father back once more o'er the twice-measured main,
To Phœbus and Ortygia's strand, some grace of prayer to gain:
What end to our outworn estate he giveth? whence will he
That we should seek us aid of toil; where turn to o'er the sea? [Pg 67]
Night falleth, and all lives of earth doth sleep on bosom bear,
When lo, the holy images, the Phrygian House-gods there,
E'en them I bore away from Troy and heart of burning town,
Were present to the eyes of me in slumber laid adown,
Clear shining in the plenteous light that over all was shed
By the great moon anigh her full through windows fashionèd.
Then thus they fall to speech with me, end of my care to make:
'The thing that in Ortygia erst the seer Apollo spake
Here telleth he, and to thy doors come we of his good will:
Thee and thine arms from Troy aflame fast have we followed still.
We 'neath thy care and in thy keel have climbed the swelling sea,
And we shall bear unto the stars thy sons that are to be,
And give thy city majesty: make ready mighty wall
For mighty men, nor toil of way leave thou, though long it fall.
Shift hence abode; the Delian-born Apollo ne'er made sweet
These shores for thee, nor bade thee set thy city down in Crete:
There is a place, the Westland called of Greeks in days that are,
An ancient land, a fruitful soil, a mighty land of war;
Œnotrian folk first tilled the land, whose sons, as rumours run,
Now call it nought but Italy, from him who led them on.
This is our very due abode: thence Dardanus outbroke,
Iasius our father thence, beginner of our folk.
Come rise, and glad these tidings tell unto thy father old,
No doubtful tale: now Corythus, Ausonian field and fold
Let him go seek, for Jupiter banneth Dictæan mead.'
All mazed was I with sight and voice of Gods; because indeed
This was not sleep, but face to face, as one a real thing sees. [Pg 68]
I seemed to see their coifèd hair and very visages,
And over all my body too cold sweat of trembling flowed.
I tore my body from the bed, and, crying out aloud,
I stretched my upturned hands to heaven and unstained gifts I spilled
Upon the hearth, and joyfully that worship I fulfilled.
Anchises next I do to wit and all the thing unlock;
And he, he saw the twi-branched stem, twin fathers of our stock,
And how by fault of yesterday through steads of old he strayed.
'O son, well learned in all the lore of Ilium's fate,' he said,
'Cassandra only of such hap would sing; I mind me well
Of like fate meted to our folk full oft would she foretell;
And oft would call to Italy and that Hesperian home.
But who believed that Teucrian folk on any day might come
Unto Hesperia's shores? or who might trow Cassandra then?
Yield we to Phœbus, follow we as better counselled men
The better part.'
We, full of joy, obey him with one mind;
From this seat too we fare away and leave a few behind;
With sail abroad in hollow tree we skim the ocean o'er.
But when our keels the deep sea made, nor had we any more
The land in sight, but sea around, and sky around was spread,
A coal-blue cloud drew up to us that, hanging overhead,
Bore night and storm, and mirky gloom o'er all the waters cast:
Therewith the winds heap up the waves, the seas are rising fast
And huge; and through the mighty whirl scattered we toss about;
The storm-clouds wrap around the day, and wet mirk blotteth out
The heavens, and mid the riven clouds the ceaseless lightnings live. [Pg 69]
So are we blown from out our course, through might of seas we drive,
Nor e'en might Palinurus self the day from night-tide sift,
Nor have a deeming of the road atwixt the watery drift.
Still on for three uncertain suns, that blind mists overlay,
And e'en so many starless nights, across the sea we stray;
But on the fourth day at the last afar upon us broke
The mountains of another land, mid curling wreaths of smoke.
Then fall the sails, we rise on oars, no sloth hath any place,
The eager seamen toss the spray and sweep the blue sea's face;
And me first saved from whirl of waves the Strophades on strand
Now welcome; named by Greekish name Isles of the Sea, they stand
Amid the great Ionian folk: Celæno holds the shores,
And others of the Harpies grim, since shut were Phineus' doors
Against them, and they had to leave the tables they had won.
No monster woefuller than they, and crueller is none
Of all God's plagues and curses dread from Stygian waters sent.
A wingèd thing with maiden face, whose bellies' excrement
Is utter foul; and hookèd hands, and face for ever pale
With hunger that no feeding stints.
Borne thither, into haven come, we see how everywhere
The merry wholesome herds of neat feed down the meadows fair,
And all untended goatish flocks amid the herbage bite.
With point and edge we fall on them, and all the Gods invite,
Yea very Jove, to share the spoil, and on the curvèd strand
We strew the beds, and feast upon rich dainties of the land.
When lo, with sudden dreadful rush from out the mountains hap
The Harpy folk, and all about their clanging wings they flap,
And foul all things with filthy touch as at the food they wrench, [Pg 70]
And riseth up their grisly voice amid the evilest stench.
Once more then 'neath a hollow rock at a long valley's head,
Where close around the boughs of trees their quavering shadows shed,
We dight the boards, and once again flame on the altars raise.
Again from diverse parts of heaven, from dusky lurking-place,
The shrieking rout with hookèd feet about the prey doth fly,
Fouling the feast with mouth: therewith I bid my company
To arms, that with an evil folk the war may come to pass.
They do no less than my commands, and lay along the grass
Their hidden swords, and therewithal their bucklers cover o'er.
Wherefore, when swooping down again, they fill the curvèd shore
With noise, Misenus blows the call from off a watch-stead high
With hollow brass; our folk fall on and wondrous battle try,
Striving that sea-fowl's filthy folk with point and edge to spill.
But nought will bite upon their backs, and from their feathers still
Glanceth the sword, and swift they flee up 'neath the stars of air,
Half-eaten meat and token foul leaving behind them there.
But on a rock exceeding high yet did Celæeno rest,
Unhappy seer! there breaks withal a voice from out her breast:
'What, war to pay for slaughtered neat, war for our heifers slain?
O children of Laomedon, the war then will ye gain?
The sackless Harpies will ye drive from their own land away?
Then let this sink into your souls, heed well the words I say;
The Father unto Phœbus told a tale that Phœbus told
To me, and I the first-born fiend that same to you unfold:
Ye sail for Italy, and ye, the winds appeased by prayer,
Shall come to Italy, and gain the grace of haven there: [Pg 71]
Yet shall ye gird no wall about the city granted you,
Till famine, and this murder's wrong that ye were fain to do,
Drive you your tables gnawed with teeth to eat up utterly.'
She spake, and through the woody deeps borne off on wings did fly.
But sudden fear fell on our folk, and chilled their frozen blood;
Their hearts fell down; with weapon-stroke no more they deem it good
To seek for peace: but rather now sore prayers and vows they will,
Whether these things be goddesses or filthy fowls of ill.
Father Anchises on the strand stretched both his hands abroad,
And, bidding all their worship due, the Mighty Ones adored:
'Gods, bring their threats to nought! O Gods, turn ye the curse, we pray!
Be kind, and keep the pious folk!'
Then bade he pluck away
The hawser from the shore and slack the warping cable's strain:
The south wind fills the sails, we fare o'er foaming waves again,
E'en as the helmsman and the winds have will that we should fare.
And now amidmost of the flood Zacynthus' woods appear,
Dulichium, Samos, Neritos, with sides of stony steep:
Wide course from cliffs of Ithaca, Laertes' land, we keep,
Cursing the soil that bore and nursed Ulysses' cruelty.
Now open up Leucata's peaks, that fare so cloudy high
Over Apollo, mighty dread to all seafarers grown;
But weary thither do we steer and make the little town,
We cast the anchors from the bows and swing the sterns a-strand.
And therewithal since we at last have gained the longed-for land,
[Pg 72]We purge us before Jupiter and by the altars pray,
Then on the shores of Actium's head the Ilian plays we play.
Anointed with the sleeking oil there strive our fellows stripped
In wrestling game of fatherland: it joys us to have slipped
By such a host of Argive towns amidmost of the foe.
Meanwhile, the sun still pressing on, the year about doth go,
And frosty winter with his north the sea's face rough doth wear;
A buckler of the hollow brass of mighty Abas' gear
I set amid the temple-doors with singing scroll thereon,
Æneas hangeth armour here from conquering Danaans won.
And then I bid to leave the shore and man the thwarts again.
Hard strive the folk in smiting sea, and oar-blades brush the main.
The airy high Phæacian towers sink down behind our wake,
And coasting the Epirote shores Chaonia's bay we make,
And so Buthrotus' city-walls high set we enter in.
There tidings hard for us to trow unto our ears do win,
How Helenus, e'en Priam's son, hath gotten wife and crown
Of Pyrrhus come of Æacus, and ruleth Greekish town,
And that Andromache hath wed one of her folk once more.
All mazed am I; for wondrous love my heart was kindling sore
To give some word unto the man, of such great things to learn:
So from the haven forth I fare, from ships and shore I turn.
But as it happed Andromache was keeping yearly day,
Pouring sad gifts unto the dead, amidst a grove that lay
Outside the town, by wave that feigned the Simoïs that had been,
Blessing the dead by Hector's mound empty and grassy green,
Which she with altars twain thereby had hallowed for her tears.
But when she saw me drawing nigh with armour that Troy bears [Pg 73]
About me, senseless, throughly feared with marvels grown so great,
She stiffens midst her gaze; her bones are reft of life-blood's heat,
She totters, scarce, a long while o'er, this word comes forth from her:
'Is the show true, O Goddess-born? com'st thou a messenger
Alive indeed? or if from thee the holy light is fled,
Where then is Hector?'
Flowed the tears e'en as the word she said,
And with her wailing rang the place: sore moved I scarce may speak
This word to her, grown wild with grief, in broken voice and weak:
'I live indeed, I drag my life through outer ways of ill;
Doubt not, thou seest the very sooth.
Alas! what hap hath caught thee up from such a man downcast?
Hath any fortune worthy thee come back again at last?
Doth Hector's own Andromache yet serve in Pyrrhus' bed?'
She cast her countenance adown, and in a low voice said:
'O thou alone of Trojan maids that won a little joy,
Bidden to die on foeman's tomb before the walls of Troy!
Who died, and never had to bear the sifting lot's award,
Whose slavish body never touched the bed of victor lord!
We from our burning fatherland carried o'er many a sea,
Of Achillæan offspring's pride the yoke-fellow must be,
Must bear the childbed of a slave: thereafter he, being led
To Leda's child Hermione and that Laconian bed,
To Helenus his very thrall me very thrall gave o'er:
But there Orestes, set on fire by all the love he bore
His ravished wife, and mad with hate, comes on him unaware
Before his fathers' altar-stead and slays him then and there. [Pg 74]
By death of Neoptolemus his kingdom's leavings came
To Helenus, who called the fields Chaonian fields by name,
And all the land Chaonia, from Chaon of Troy-town;
And Pergamus and Ilian burg on ridgy steep set down.
What winds, what fates gave thee the road to cross the ocean o'er?
Or what of Gods hath borne thee on unwitting to our shore?
What of the boy Ascanius? lives he and breathes he yet?
Whom unto thee when Troy yet was——
The boy then, of his mother lost, hath he a thought of her?
Do him Æneas, Hector gone, father and uncle, stir,
To valour of the ancient days, and great hearts' glorious gain?'
Such tale she poured forth, weeping sore, and long she wept in vain
Great floods of tears: when lo, from out the city draweth nigh
Lord Helenus the Priam-born midst mighty company,
And knows his kin, and joyfully leads onward to his door,
Though many a tear 'twixt broken words the while doth he outpour.
So on; a little Troy I see feigned from great Troy of fame,
A Pergamus, a sandy brook that hath the Xanthus name,
On threshold of a Scæan gate I stoop to lay a kiss.
Soon, too, all Teucrian folk are wrapped in friendly city's bliss,
And them the King fair welcomes in amid his cloisters broad,
And they amidmost of the hall the bowls of Bacchus poured,
The meat was set upon the gold, and cups they held in hand.
So passed a day and other day, until the gales command
The sails aloft, and canvas swells with wind from out the South:
Therewith I speak unto the seer, such matters in my mouth:
'O Troy-born, O Gods' messenger, who knowest Phœbus' will, [Pg 75]
The tripods and the Clarian's bay, and what the stars fulfil,
And tongues of fowl, and omens brought by swift foreflying wing,
Come, tell the tale! for of my way a happy heartening thing
All shrines have said, and all the Gods have bid me follow on
To Italy, till outland shores, far off, remote were won:
Alone Celæno, Harpy-fowl, new dread of fate set forth,
Unmeet to tell, and bade us fear the grimmest day of wrath,
And ugly hunger. How may I by early perils fare?
Or doing what may I have might such toil to overbear?'
So Helenus, when he hath had the heifers duly slain,
Prays peace of Gods, from hallowed head he doffs the bands again,
And then with hand he leadeth me, O Phœbus, to thy door,
My fluttering soul with all thy might of godhead shadowed o'er.
There forth at last from God-loved mouth the seer this word did send:
'O Goddess-born, full certainly across the sea ye wend
By mightiest bidding, such the lot the King of Gods hath found
All fateful; so he rolls the world, so turns its order round.
Few things from many will I tell that thou the outland sea
May'st sail the safer, and at last make land in Italy;
The other things the Parcæ still ban Helenus to wot,
Saturnian Juno's will it is that more he utter not.
First, from that Italy, which thou unwitting deem'st anigh,
Thinking to make in little space the haven close hereby,
Long is the wayless way that shears, and long the length of land;
And first in the Trinacrian wave must bend the rower's wand.
On plain of that Ausonian salt your ships must stray awhile,
And thou must see the nether meres, Ææan Circe's isle, [Pg 76]
Ere thou on earth assured and safe thy city may'st set down.
I show thee tokens; in thy soul store thou the tokens shown.
When thou with careful heart shalt stray the secret stream anigh,
And 'neath the holm-oaks of the shore shalt see a great sow lie,
That e'en now farrowed thirty head of young, long on the ground
She lieth white, with piglings white their mother's dugs around,—
That earth shall be thy city's place, there rest from toil is stored.
Nor shudder at the coming curse, the gnawing of the board,
The Fates shall find a way thereto; Apollo called shall come.
But flee these lands of Italy, this shore so near our home,
That washing of the strand thereof our very sea-tide seeks;
For in all cities thereabout abide the evil Greeks.
There now have come the Locrian folk Narycian walls to build;
And Lyctian Idomeneus Sallentine meads hath filled
With war-folk; Philoctetes there holdeth Petelia small,
Now by that Melibœan duke fenced round with mighty wall.
Moreover, when your ships have crossed the sea, and there do stay,
And on the altars raised thereto your vows ashore ye pay,
Be veiled of head, and wrap thyself in cloth of purple dye,
Lest 'twixt you and the holy fires ye light to God on high
Some face of foeman should thrust in the holy signs to spill.
Now let thy folk, yea and thyself, this worship thus fulfil,
And let thy righteous sons of sons such fashion ever mind.
But when, gone forth, to Sicily thou comest on the wind,
And when Pelorus' narrow sea is widening all away,
Your course for leftward lying land and leftward waters lay,
How long soe'er ye reach about: flee right-hand shore and wave.
In time agone some mighty thing this place to wrack down drave,
So much for changing of the world doth lapse of time avail. [Pg 77]
It split atwain, when heretofore the two lands, saith the tale,
Had been but one, the sea rushed in and clave with mighty flood
Hesperia's side from Italy, and field and city stood
Drawn back on either shore, along a sundering sea-race strait.
There Scylla on the right hand lurks, the left insatiate
Charybdis holds, who in her maw all whirling deep adown
Sucketh the great flood tumbling in thrice daily, which out-thrown
Thrice daily doth she spout on high, smiting the stars with brine.
But Scylla doth the hidden hole of mirky cave confine;
With face thrust forth she draweth ships on to that stony bed;
Manlike above, with maiden breast and lovely fashioned
Down to the midst, she hath below huge body of a whale,
And unto maw of wolfish heads is knit a dolphin's tail.
'Tis better far to win about Pachynus, outer ness
Of Sicily, and reach long round, despite the weariness,
Than have that ugly sight of her within her awful den,
And hear her coal-blue baying dogs and rocks that ring again.
Now furthermore if Helenus in anything have skill,
Or aught of trust, or if his soul with sooth Apollo fill,
Of one thing, Goddess-born, will I forewarn thee over all,
And spoken o'er and o'er again my word on thee shall fall:
The mighty Juno's godhead first let many a prayer seek home;
To Juno sing your vows in joy, with suppliant gifts o'ercome
That Lady of all Might; and so, Trinacria overpast,
Shalt thou be sped to Italy victorious at the last.
When there thou com'st and Cumæ's town amidst thy way hast found,
The Holy Meres, Avernus' woods fruitful of many a sound,
There the wild seer-maid shalt thou see, who in a rock-hewn cave [Pg 78]
Singeth of fate, and letteth leaves her names and tokens have:
But whatso song upon those leaves the maiden seer hath writ
She ordereth duly, and in den of live stone leaveth it:
There lie the written leaves unmoved, nor shift their ordered rows.
But when the hinge works round, and thence a light air on them blows,
Then, when the door doth disarray among the frail leaves bear,
To catch them fluttering in the cave she never hath a care,
Nor will she set them back again nor make the song-words meet;
So folk unanswered go their ways and loathe the Sibyl's seat.
But thou, count not the cost of time that there thou hast to spend;
Although thy fellows blame thee sore, and length of way to wend
Call on thy sails, and thou may'st fill their folds with happy gale,
Draw nigh the seer, and strive with prayers to have her holy tale;
Beseech her sing, and that her words from willing tongue go free:
So reverenced shall she tell thee tale of folk of Italy
And wars to come; and how to 'scape, and how to bear each ill,
And with a happy end at last thy wandering shall fulfil.
Now is this all my tongue is moved to tell thee lawfully:
Go, let thy deeds Troy's mightiness exalt above the sky!'
So when the seer from loving mouth such words as this had said,
Then gifts of heavy gold and gifts of carven tooth he bade
Be borne a-shipboard; and our keels he therewithal doth stow
With Dodonæan kettle-ware and silver great enow,
A coat of hookèd woven mail and triple golden chain,
A helm with noble towering crest crowned with a flowing mane,
The arms of Pyrrhus: gifts most meet my father hath withal;
And steeds he gives and guides he gives,
Fills up the tale of oars, and arms our fellows to their need. [Pg 79]
Anchises still was bidding us meanwhile to have a heed
Of setting sail, nor with the wind all fair to make delay;
To whom with words of worship now doth Phœbus' servant say:
'Anchises, thou whom Venus' bed hath made so glorious,
Care of the Gods, twice caught away from ruin of Pergamus,
Lo, there the Ausonian land for thee, set sail upon the chase:
Yet needs must thou upon the sea glide by its neighbouring face.
Far off is that Ausonia yet that Phœbus open lays.
Fare forth, made glad with pious son! why tread I longer ways
Of speech, and stay the rising South with words that I would tell?'
And therewithal Andromache, sad with the last farewell,
Brings for Ascanius raiment wrought with picturing wool of gold,
And Phrygian coat; nor will she have our honour wax acold,
But loads him with the woven gifts, and such word sayeth she:
'Take these, fair boy; keep them to be my hands' last memory,
The tokens of enduring love thy younger days did win
From Hector's wife Andromache, the last gifts of thy kin.
O thou, of my Astyanax the only image now!
Such eyes he had, such hands he had, such countenance as thou,
And now with thee were growing up in equal tale of years.'
Then I, departing, spake to them amid my rising tears:
'Live happy! Ye with fortune's game have nothing more to play,
While we from side to side thereof are hurried swift away.
Your rest hath blossomed and brought forth; no sea-field shall ye till,
Seeking the fields of Italy that fade before you still.
Ye see another Xanthus here, ye see another Troy,
Made by your hands for better days mehopes, and longer joy: [Pg 80]
And soothly less it lies across the pathway of the Greek,
If ever I that Tiber flood and Tiber fields I seek
Shall enter, and behold the walls our folk shall win of fate.
Twin cities some day shall we have, and folks confederate,
Epirus and Hesperia; from Dardanus each came,
One fate had each: them shall we make one city and the same,
One Troy in heart: lo, let our sons of sons' sons see to it!'
Past nigh Ceraunian mountain-sides thence o'er the sea we flit,
Whence the sea-way to Italy the shortest may be made.
But in the meanwhile sets the sun, the dusk hills lie in shade,
And, choosing oar-wards, down we lie on bosom of the land
So wished for: by the water-side and on the dry sea-strand
We tend our bodies here and there; sleep floodeth every limb.
But ere the hour-bedriven night in midmost orb did swim,
Nought slothful Palinurus rose, and wisdom strives to win
Of all the winds: with eager ear the breeze he drinketh in;
He noteth how through silent heaven the stars soft gliding fare,
Arcturus, the wet Hyades, and either Northern Bear,
And through and through he searcheth out Orion girt with gold.
So when he sees how everything a peaceful sky foretold,
He bloweth clear from off the poop, and we our campment shift,
And try the road and spread abroad our sail-wings to the lift.
And now, the stars all put to flight, Aurora's blushes grow,
When we behold dim fells afar and long lands lying low,
—E'en Italy. Achates first cries out on Italy;
To Italy our joyous folk glad salutation cry.
Anchises then a mighty bowl crowned with a garland fair, [Pg 81]
And filled it with unwatered wine and called the Gods to hear,
High standing on the lofty deck:
'O Gods that rule the earth and sea, and all the tides of storm,
Make our way easy with the wind, breathe on us kindly breath!'
Then riseth up the longed-for breeze, the haven openeth
As nigh we draw, and on the cliff a fane of Pallas shows:
Therewith our fellow-folk furl sail and shoreward turn the prows.
Bow-wise the bight is hollowed out by eastward-setting flood,
But over-foamed by salt-sea spray thrust out its twin horns stood,
While it lay hidden; tower-like rocks let down on either hand
Twin arms of rock-wall, and the fane lies backward from the stand.
But I beheld upon the grass four horses, snowy white,
Grazing the meadows far and wide, first omen of my sight.
Father Anchises seeth and saith: 'New land, and bear'st thou war?
For war are horses dight; so these war-threatening herd-beasts are.
Yet whiles indeed those four-foot things in car will well refrain,
And tamed beneath the yoke will bear the bit and bridle's strain,
So there is yet a hope of peace.'
Then on the might we call
Of Pallas of the weapon-din, first welcomer of all,
And veil our brows before the Gods with cloth of Phrygian dye;
And that chief charge of Helenus we do all rightfully,
And Argive Juno worship there in such wise as is willed.
We tarry not, but when all vows are duly there fulfilled,
[Pg 82] Unto the wind our sail-yard horns we fall to turn about,
And leave the houses of the Greeks, and nursing fields of doubt.
And next is seen Tarentum's bay, the Herculean place
If fame tell true; Lacinia then, the house of Gods, we face;
And Caulon's towers, and Scylaceum, of old the shipman's bane.
Then see we Ætna rise far off above Trinacria's main;
Afar the mighty moan of sea, and sea-cliffs beaten sore,
We hearken, and the broken voice that cometh from the shore:
The sea leaps high upon the shoals, the eddy churns the sand.
Then saith Anchises: 'Lo forsooth, Charybdis is at hand,
Those rocks and stones the dread whereof did Helenus foretell.
Save ye, O friends! swing out the oars together now and well!'
Nor worser than his word they do, and first the roaring beaks
Doth Palinurus leftward wrest; then all the sea-host seeks
With sail and oar the waters wild upon the left that lie:
Upheaved upon the tossing whirl we fare unto the sky,
Then down unto the nether Gods we sink upon the wave:
Thrice from the hollow-carven rocks great roar the sea-cliffs gave;
Thrice did we see the spray cast forth and stars with sea-dew done;
But the wind left us weary folk at sinking of the sun,
And on the Cyclops' strand we glide unwitting of the way.
Locked from the wind the haven is, itself an ample bay;
But hard at hand mid ruin and fear doth Ætna thunder loud;
And whiles it blasteth forth on air a black and dreadful cloud,
That rolleth on a pitchy wreath, where bright the ashes mix,
And heaveth up great globes of flame and heaven's high star-world licks,
And other whiles the very cliffs, and riven mountain-maw
It belches forth; the molten stones together will it draw [Pg 83]
Aloft with moan, and boileth o'er from lowest inner vale.
This world of mountain presseth down, as told it is in tale,
Enceladus the thunder-scorched; huge Ætna on him cast,
From all her bursten furnaces breathes out his fiery blast;
And whensoe'er his weary side he shifteth, all the shore
Trinacrian trembleth murmuring, and heaven is smoke-clad o'er.
In thicket close we wear the night amidst these marvels dread,
Nor may we see what thing it is that all that noise hath shed:
For neither showed the planet fires, nor was the heaven bright
With starry zenith; mirky cloud hung over all the night,
In mist of dead untimely tide the moon was hidden close.
But when from earliest Eastern dawn the following day arose,
And fair Aurora from the heaven the watery shades had cleared,
Lo, suddenly from out the wood new shape of man appeared.
Unknown he was, most utter lean, in wretchedest of plight:
Shoreward he stretched his suppliant hands; we turn back at the sight,
And gaze on him: all squalor there, a mat of beard we see,
And raiment clasped with wooden thorns; and yet a Greek is he,
Yea, sent erewhile to leaguered Troy in Greekish weed of war.
But when he saw our Dardan guise and arms of Troy afar,
Feared at the sight he hung aback at first a little space,
But presently ran headlong down into our sea-side place
With tears and prayers:
'O Teucrian men, by all the stars,' he cried,
'By all the Gods, by light of heaven ye breathe, O bear me wide
Away from here! to whatso land henceforth ye lead my feet
It is enough. That I am one from out the Danaan fleet, [Pg 84]
And that I warred on Ilian house erewhile, most true it is;
For which, if I must pay so much wherein I wrought amiss,
Then strew me on the flood and sink my body in the sea!
To die by hands of very men shall be a joy to me.'
He spake with arms about our knees, and wallowing still he clung
Unto our knees: but what he was and from what blood he sprung
We bade him say, and tell withal what fate upon him drave.
His right hand with no tarrying then Father Anchises gave
Unto the youth, and heartened him with utter pledge of peace.
So now he spake when fear of us amid his heart did cease:
'Luckless Ulysses' man am I, and Ithaca me bore,
Hight Achemenides, who left that Adamastus poor
My father (would I still were there!) by leaguered Troy to be.
Here while my mates aquake with dread the cruel threshold flee,
They leave me in the Cyclops' den unmindful of their friend;
A house of blood and bloody meat, most huge from end to end,
Mirky within: high up aloft star-smiting to behold
Is he himself;—such bane, O God, keep thou from field and fold!
Scarce may a man look on his face; no word to him is good;
On wretches' entrails doth he feed and black abundant blood.
Myself I saw him of our folk two hapless bodies take
In his huge hand, whom straight he fell athwart a stone to break
As there he lay upon his back; I saw the threshold swim
With spouted blood, I saw him grind each bloody dripping limb,
I saw the joints amidst his teeth all warm and quivering still.
—He payed therefore, for never might Ulysses bear such ill,
Nor was he worser than himself in such a pinch bestead: [Pg 85]
For when with victual satiate, deep sunk in wine, his head
Fell on his breast, and there he lay enormous through the den,
Snorting out gore amidst his sleep, with gobbets of the men
And mingled blood and wine; then we sought the great Gods with prayer
And drew the lots, and one and all crowded about him there,
And bored out with a sharpened pike the eye that used to lurk
Enormous lonely 'neath his brow overhanging grim and mirk,
As great a shield of Argolis, or Phœbus' lamp on high;
And so our murdered fellows' ghosts avenged we joyously.
—But ye, O miserable men, flee forth! make haste to pluck
The warping hawser from the shore!
For even such, and e'en so great as Polypheme in cave
Shuts in the wealth of woolly things and draws the udders' wave,
An hundred others commonly dwell o'er these curving bights,
Unutterable Cyclop folk, or stray about the heights.
Thrice have the twin horns of the moon fulfilled the circle clear
While I have dragged out life in woods and houses of the deer,
And gardens of the beasts; and oft from rocky place on high
Trembling I note the Cyclops huge, hear foot and voice go by.
And evil meat of wood-berries, and cornel's flinty fruit
The bush-boughs give; on grass at whiles I browse, and plucked-up root
So wandering all about, at last I see unto the shore
Your ships a-coming: thitherward my steps in haste I bore:
Whate'er might hap enough it was to flee this folk of ill;
Rather do ye in any wise the life within me spill.'
And scarcely had he said the word ere on the hill above
The very shepherd Polypheme his mountain mass did move,
A marvel dread, a shapeless trunk, an eyeless monstrous thing, [Pg 86]
Who down unto the shore well known his sheep was shepherding;
A pine-tree in the hand of him leads on and stays his feet;
The woolly sheep his fellows are, his only pleasure sweet,
The only solace of his ill.
But when he touched the waters deep, and mid the waves was come,
He falls to wash the flowing blood from off his eye dug out;
Gnashing his teeth and groaning sore he walks the sea about,
But none the less no wave there was up to his flank might win.
Afeard from far we haste to flee, and, having taken in
Our suppliant, who had earned it well, cut cable silently,
And bending to the eager oars sweep out along the sea.
He heard it, and his feet he set to follow on the sound;
But when his right hand failed to reach, and therewithal he found
He might not speed as fast as fares the Ionian billow lithe,
Then clamour measureless he raised, and ocean quaked therewith
Through every wave, and inwardly the land was terrified
Of Italy, and Ætna boomed from many-hollowed side.
But all the race of Cyclops stirred from woods and lofty hills,
Down rushes to the haven-side and all the haven fills;
And Ætna's gathered brethren there we see; in vain they stand
Glowering grim-eyed with heads high up in heaven, a dreadful band
Of councillors: they were as when on ridge aloft one sees
The oaks stand thick against the sky, and cone-hung cypresses,
Jove's lofty woods, or thicket where Diana's footsteps stray.
Then headlong fear fell on our folk in whatsoever way
To shake the reefs out spreading sail to any wind that blew;
But Helenus had bid us steer a midmost course and true
'Twixt Scylla and Charybdis, lest to death we sail o'er-close: [Pg 87]
So safest seemed for backward course to let the sails go loose.
But lo, from out Pelorus' strait comes down the northern flaw,
And past Pantagia's haven-mouth of living stone we draw,
And through the gulf of Megara by Thapsus lying low.
Such names did Achemenides, Ulysses' fellow, show,
As now he coasted back again the shore erst wandered by.
In jaws of the Sicanian bay there doth an island lie
Against Plemyrium's wavy face; folk called it in old days
Ortygia: there, as tells the tale, Alpheus burrowed ways
From his own Elis 'neath the sea, and now by mouth of thine,
O Arethusa, blendeth him with that Sicilian brine.
We pray the isle's great deities, e'en as we bidden were:
And thence we pass the earth o'erfat about Helorus' mere;
Then by Pachynus' lofty crags and thrust-forth rocks we skim,
And Camarina showeth next a long way off and dim;
Her whom the Fates would ne'er be moved: then comes the plain in sight
Of Gela, yea, and Gela huge from her own river hight:
Then Acragas the very steep shows great walls far away,
Begetter of the herds of horse high-couraged on a day.
Then thee, Selinus of the palms, I leave with happy wind,
And coast the Lilybean shoals and tangled skerries blind.
But next the firth of Drepanum, the strand without a joy,
Will have me. There I tossed so sore, the tempests' very toy,
O woe is me! my father lose, lightener of every care,
Of every ill: me all alone, me weary, father dear,
There wouldst thou leave; thou borne away from perils all for nought!
Ah, neither Helenus the seer, despite the fears he taught, [Pg 88]
Nor grim Celæno in her wrath, this grief of soul forebode.
This was the latest of my toils, the goal of all my road,
For me departed thence some God to this your land did bear."
So did the Father Æneas, with all at stretch to hear,
Tell o'er the fateful ways of God, and of his wanderings teach:
But here he hushed him at the last and made an end of speech.
HEREIN IS TOLD OF THE GREAT LOVE OF DIDO, QUEEN OF CARTHAGE, AND THE WOEFUL ENDING OF HER.
Meanwhile the Queen, long smitten sore with sting of all desire,
With very heart's blood feeds the wound and wastes with hidden fire.
And still there runneth in her mind the hero's valiancy,
And glorious stock; his words, his face, fast in her heart they lie:
Nor may she give her body peace amid that restless pain.
But when the next day Phœbus' lamp lit up the lands again,
And now Aurora from the heavens had rent the mist apart,
Sick-souled her sister she bespeaks, the sharer of her heart:
"Sister, O me, this sleepless pain that fears me with unrest!
O me, within our house and home this new-come wondrous guest!
Ah, what a countenance and mien! in arms and heart how strong!
Surely to trow him of the Gods it doth no wisdom wrong;
For fear it is shows base-born souls. Woe's me! how tossed about
By fortune was he! how he showed war's utter wearing out!
And, but my heart for ever now were set immovably
Never to let me long again the wedding bond to tie, [Pg 90]
Since love betrayed me first of all with him my darling dead,
And were I not all weary-sick of torch and bridal bed,
This sin alone of all belike my falling heart might trap;
For, Anna, I confess it thee, since poor Sychæus' hap,
My husband dead, my hearth acold through murderous brother's deed,
This one alone hath touched the quick; this one my heart may lead
Unto its fall: I feel the signs of fire of long agone.
And yet I pray the deeps of earth beneath my feet may yawn,
I pray the Father send me down bolt-smitten to the shades,
The pallid shades of Erebus, the night that never fades,
Before, O Shame, I shame thy face, or loose what thou hast tied!
He took away the love from me, who bound me to his side
That first of times. Ah, in the tomb let love be with him still!"
The tears arisen as she spake did all her bosom fill.
But Anna saith: "Dearer to me than very light of day,
Must thou alone and sorrowing wear all thy youth away,
Nor see sweet sons, nor know the joys that gentle Venus brings?
Deem'st thou dead ash or buried ghosts have heed of such-like things?
So be it that thy sickened soul no man to yield hath brought
In Libya as in Tyre; let be Iarbas set at nought,
And other lords, whom Africa, the rich in battle's bliss,
Hath nursed: but now, with love beloved,—must thou be foe to this?
Yea, hast thou not within thy mind amidst whose bounds we are?
Here the Gætulian cities fierce, a folk unmatched in war,
And hard Numidia's bitless folk, and Syrtes' guestless sand
Lie round thee: there Barcæans wild, the rovers of the land,
Desert for thirst: what need to tell of wars new-born in Tyre,
And of thy murderous brother's threats? [Pg 91]
Meseems by very will of Gods, by Juno's loving mind,
The Ilian keels run down their course before the following wind.
Ah, what a city shalt thou see! how shall the lordship wax
With such a spouse! with Teucrian arms our brothers at our backs
Unto what glory of great deeds the Punic realm may reach!
But thou, go seek the grace of Gods, with sacrifice beseech;
Then take thy fill of guest-serving; weave web of all delays:
The wintry raging of the sea, Orion's watery ways,
The way-worn ships, the heavens unmeet for playing seaman's part."
So saying, she blew the flame of love within her kindled heart,
And gave her doubtful soul a hope and loosed the girth of shame.
Then straight they fare unto the shrines, by every altar's flame
Praying for peace; and hosts they slay, chosen as custom would,
To Phœbus, Ceres wise of law, Father Lyæus good,
But chiefest unto Juno's might, that wedlock hath in care.
There bowl in hand stands Dido forth, most excellently fair,
And pours between the sleek cow's horns; or to and fro doth pace
Before the altars fat with prayer, 'neath very godhead's face,
And halloweth in the day with gifts, and, gazing eagerly
Amid the host's yet beating heart, for answering rede must try.
—Woe's me! the idle mind of priests! what prayer, what shrine avails
The wild with love!—and all the while the smooth flame never fails
To eat her heart: the silent wound lives on within her breast:
Unhappy Dido burneth up, and, wild with all unrest,
For ever strays the city through: as arrow-smitten doe,
Unwary, whom some herd from far hath drawn upon with bow
Amid the Cretan woods, and left the swift steel in the sore, [Pg 92]
Unknowing: far in flight she strays the woods and thickets o'er,
'Neath Dictæ's heights; but in her flank still bears the deadly reed.
Now midmost of the city-walls Æneas doth she lead,
And shows him the Sidonian wealth, the city's guarded ways;
And now she falls to speech, and now amidst a word she stays.
Then at the dying of the day the feast she dights again,
And, witless, once again will hear the tale of Ilium's pain;
And once more hangeth on the lips that tell the tale aloud.
But after they were gone their ways, and the dusk moon did shroud
Her light in turn, and setting stars bade all to sleep away,
Lone in the empty house she mourns, broods over where he lay,
Hears him and sees him, she apart from him that is apart
Or, by his father's image smit, Ascanius to her heart
She taketh, if her utter love she may thereby beguile.
No longer rise the walls begun, nor play the youth this while
In arms, or fashion havens forth, or ramparts of the war:
Broken is all that handicraft and mastery; idle are
The mighty threatenings of the walls and engines wrought heaven high.
Now when the holy wife of Jove beheld her utterly
Held by that plague, whose madness now not e'en her fame might stay,
Then unto Venus, Saturn's seed began such words to say:
"Most glorious praise ye carry off, meseems, most wealthy spoil,
Thou and thy Boy; wondrous the might, and long to tell the toil,
Whereas two Gods by dint of craft one woman have o'erthrown.
But well I wot, that through your fear of walls I call mine own,
In welcome of proud Carthage doors your hearts may never trow.
But what shall be the end hereof? where wends our contest now? [Pg 93]
What if a peace that shall endure, and wedlock surely bound,
We fashion? That which all thine heart was set on thou hast found.
For Dido burns: bone of her bone thy madness is today:
So let us rule these folks as one beneath an equal sway:
Let the doom be that she shall take a Phrygian man for lord,
And to thine hand for dowry due her Tyrian folk award."
But Venus felt that Juno's guile within the word did live,
Who lordship due to Italy to Libya fain would give,
So thus she answered her again: "Who were so overbold
To gainsay this? or who would wish war against thee to hold,
If only this may come to pass, and fate the deed may seal?
But doubtful drifts my mind of fate, if one same town and weal
Jove giveth to the Tyrian folk and those from Troy outcast,
If he will have those folks to blend and bind the treaty fast
Thou art his wife: by prayer mayst thou prove all his purpose weighed.
Set forth, I follow."
Juno then took up the word and said:
"Yea, that shall be my very work: how that which presseth now
May be encompassed, hearken ye, in few words will I show:
Æneas and the hapless queen are minded forth to fare
For hunting to the thicket-side, when Titan first shall bear
Tomorrow's light aloft, and all the glittering world unveil:
On them a darkening cloud of rain, blended with drift of hail,
Will I pour down, while for the hunt the feathered snare-lines shake,
And toils about the thicket go: all heaven will I awake
With thunder, and their scattered folk the mid-mirk shall enwrap:
Then Dido and the Trojan lord on one same cave shall hap;
I will be there, and if to me thy heart be stable grown, [Pg 94]
In wedlock will I join the two and deem her all his own:
And there shall be their bridal God."
Then Venus nought gainsaid,
But, nodding yea, she smiled upon the snare before her laid.
Meanwhile Aurora risen up had left the ocean stream,
And gateward throng the chosen youth in first of morning's beam,
And wide-meshed nets, and cordage-toils and broad-steeled spears abound,
Massylian riders go their ways with many a scenting hound.
The lords of Carthage by the door bide till the tarrying queen
Shall leave her chamber: there, with gold and purple well beseen,
The mettled courser stands, and champs the bit that bids him bide.
At last she cometh forth to them with many a man beside:
A cloak of Sidon wrapped her round with pictured border wrought,
Her quiver was of fashioned gold, and gold her tresses caught;
The gathering of her purple gown a golden buckle had.
Then come the Phrygian fellows forth; comes forth Iulus glad;
Yea and Æneas' very self is of their fellowship,
And joins their band: in goodliness all those did he outstrip:
E'en such as when Apollo leaves the wintry Lycian shore,
And Xanthus' stream, and Delos sees, his mother's isle once more;
And halloweth in the dance anew, while round the altars shout
The Cretans and the Dryopes, and painted Scythian rout:
He steps it o'er the Cynthus' ridge, and leafy crown to hold
His flowing tresses doth he weave, and intertwines the gold,
And on his shoulders clang the shafts. Nor duller now passed on
Æneas, from his noble face such wondrous glory shone.
So come they to the mountain-side and pathless deer-fed ground, [Pg 95]
And lo, from hill-tops driven adown, how swift the wild goats bound
Along the ridges: otherwhere across the open lea
Run hart and hind, and gathering up their hornèd host to flee,
Amid a whirling cloud of dust they leave the mountain-sides.
But here the boy Ascanius the midmost valley rides,
And glad, swift-horsed, now these he leaves, now those he flees before,
And fain were he mid deedless herds to meet a foaming boar,
Or see some yellow lion come the mountain-slopes adown.
Meanwhile with mighty murmuring sound confused the heavens are grown,
And thereupon the drift of rain and hail upon them broke;
Therewith the scattered Trojan youth, the Tyrian fellow-folk,
The son of Venus' Dardan son, scared through the meadows fly
To diverse shelter, while the streams rush from the mountains high.
Then Dido and the Trojan lord meet in the self-same cave;
Then Earth, first-born of everything, and wedding Juno gave
The token; then the wildfires flashed, and air beheld them wed,
And o'er their bridal wailed the nymphs in hill-tops overhead.
That day began the tide of death; that day the evil came;
No more she heedeth eyes of men; no more she heedeth fame;
No more hath Dido any thought a stolen love to win,
But calls it wedlock: yea, e'en so she weaveth up the sin.
Straight through the mighty Libyan folks is Rumour on the wing—
Rumour, of whom nought swifter is of any evil thing:
She gathereth strength by going on, and bloometh shifting oft!
A little thing, afraid at first, she springeth soon aloft; [Pg 96]
Her feet are on the worldly soil, her head the clouds o'erlay.
Earth, spurred by anger 'gainst the Gods, begot her as they say,
Of Cœus and Enceladus the latest sister-birth.
Swift are her wings to cleave the air, swift-foot she treads the earth:
A monster dread and huge, on whom so many as there lie
The feathers, under each there lurks, O strange! a watchful eye;
And there wag tongues, and babble mouths, and hearkening ears upstand
As many: all a-dusk by night she flies 'twixt sky and land
Loud clattering, never shutting eye in rest of slumber sweet.
By day she keepeth watch high-set on houses of the street,
Or on the towers aloft she sits for mighty cities' fear!
And lies and ill she loves no less than sooth which she must bear.
She now, rejoicing, filled the folk with babble many-voiced,
And matters true and false alike sang forth as she rejoiced:
How here was come Æneas now, from Trojan blood sprung forth,
Whom beauteous Dido deemed indeed a man to mate her worth:
How winter-long betwixt them there the sweets of sloth they nursed,
Unmindful of their kingdoms' weal, by ill desire accursed.
This in the mouth of every man the loathly Goddess lays,
And thence to King Iarbas straight she wendeth on her ways,
To set his mind on fire with words, and high his wrath to lead.
He, sprung from Garamantian nymph and very Ammon's seed,
An hundred mighty fanes to Jove, an hundred altars fair,
Had builded in his wide domain, and set the watch-fire there,
The everlasting guard of God: there fat the soil was grown
With blood of beasts; the threshold bloomed with garlands diverse blown.
He, saith the tale, all mad at heart, and fired with bitter fame, [Pg 97]
Amidmost of the might of God before the altars came,
And prayed a many things to Jove with suppliant hands outspread:
"O Jupiter, almighty lord, to whom from painted bed
The banqueting Maurusian folk Lenæan joy pours forth,
Dost thou behold? O Father, is our dread of nothing worth
When thou art thundering? Yea, forsooth, a blind fire of the clouds,
An idle hubbub of the sky, our souls with terror loads!
A woman wandering on our shore, who set her up e'en now
A little money-cheapened town, to whom a field to plough
And lordship of the place we gave, hath thrust away my word
Of wedlock, and hath taken in Æneas for her lord:
And now this Paris, hedged around with all his gelding rout,
Mæonian mitre tied to chin, and wet hair done about,
Sits on the prey while to thine house a many gifts we bear,
Still cherishing an idle tale who our begetters were."
The Almighty heard him as he prayed holding the altar-horns,
And to the war-walls of the Queen his eyes therewith he turns,
And sees the lovers heeding nought the glory of their lives;
Then Mercury he calls to him, and such a bidding gives:
"Go forth, O Son, the Zephyrs call, and glide upon the wing
Unto the duke of Dardan men in Carthage tarrying,
Who hath no eyes to see the walls that fate to him hath given:
Speak to him, Son, and bear my words down the swift air of heaven:
His fairest mother promised us no such a man at need,
Nor claimed him twice from Greekish sword to live for such a deed.
[Pg 98]But Italy, the fierce in war, the big with empire's brood,
Was he to rule; to get for us from glorious Teucer's blood
That folk of folks, and all the world beneath his laws to lay.
But if such glory of great deeds nought stirreth him today,
Nor for his own fame hath he heart the toil to overcome,
Yet shall the father grudge the son the towered heights of Rome?
What doth he? tarrying for what hope among the enemy?
And hath no eyes Ausonian sons, Lavinian land to see?
Let him to ship! this is the doom; this word I bid thee bear."
He spake: his mighty father's will straight did the God prepare
To compass, and his golden shoes first bindeth on his feet,
E'en those which o'er the ocean plain aloft on feathers fleet,
Or over earth swift bear him on before the following gale:
And then his rod he takes, wherewith he calleth spirits pale
From Orcus, or those others sends sad Tartarus beneath,
And giveth sleep and takes away, and openeth eyes to death;
The rod that sways the ocean-winds and rules the cloudy rack.
Now winging way he comes in sight of peak and steepy back
Of flinty Atlas, on whose head all heaven is set adown—
Of Atlas with the piny head, and never-failing crown
Of mirky cloud, beat on with rain and all the winds that blow:
A snow-cloak o'er his shoulders falls, and headlong streams overflow
His ancient chin; his bristling beard with plenteous ice is done.
There hovering on his poisèd wings stayed that Cyllenian one,
And all his gathered body thence sent headlong toward the waves;
Then like a bird the shores about, about the fishy caves,
Skims low adown upon the wing the sea-plain's face anigh,
Not otherwise 'twixt heaven and earth Cyllene's God did fly;
And now, his mother's father great a long way left behind,
Unto the sandy Libya's shore he clave the driving wind. [Pg 99]
But when the cot-built place of earth he felt beneath his feet,
He saw Æneas founding towers and raising houses meet:
Starred was the sword about him girt with yellow jasper stone,
The cloak that from his shoulders streamed with Tyrian purple shone:
Fair things that wealthy Dido's hand had given him for a gift,
Who with the gleam of thready gold the purple web did shift.
Then brake the God on him: "Forsooth, tall Carthage wilt thou found,
O lover, and a city fair raise up from out the ground?
Woe's me! thy lordship and thy deeds hast thou forgotten quite?
The very ruler of the Gods down from Olympus bright
Hath sent me, he whose majesty the earth and heavens obey;
This was the word he bade me bear adown the windy way.
What dost thou? hoping for what hope in Libya dost thou wear
Thy days? if glorious fated things thine own soul may not stir,
And heart thou lackest for thy fame the coming toil to wed,
Think on Ascanius' dawn of days and hope inherited,
To whom is due the Italian realm and all the world of Rome!"
But when from out Cyllenius' mouth such word as this had come,
Amidst his speech he left the sight of men that die from day,
And mid thin air from eyes of folk he faded far away.
But sore the sight Æneas feared, and wit from out him drave;
His hair stood up, amidst his jaws the voice within him clave.
Bewildered by that warning word, and by that God's command,
He yearneth to depart and flee, and leave the lovely land.
Ah, what to do? and with what word may he be bold to win
Peace of the Queen all mad with love? what wise shall he begin?
Hither and thither now he sends his mind all eager-swift, [Pg 100]
And bears it diversely away and runs o'er every shift:
At last, as many things he weighed, this seemed the better rede.
Mnestheus, Sergestus, straight he calls, Sergestus stout at need,
And bids them dight ship silently and bring their folk to shore,
And dight their gear, and cause thereof with lying cover o'er;
While he himself, since of all this kind Dido knoweth nought,
Nor of the ending of such love may ever have a thought,
Will seek to draw anigh the Queen, seek time wherein the word
May softliest be said to her, the matter lightliest stirred.
So all they glad his bidding do, and get them to the work.
But who may hoodwink loving eyes? She felt the treason lurk
About her life, and from the first saw all that was to be;
Fearing indeed where no fear was. That Rumour wickedly
Told her wild soul of ship-host armed and ready to set out;
The heart died in her; all aflame she raves the town about,
E'en as a Thyad, who, soul-smit by holy turmoil, hears
The voice of Bacchus on the day that crowns the triple years,
And mirk Cithæron through the night hath called her clamorous.
Unto Æneas at the last herself she speaketh thus:
"O thou forsworn! and hast thou hoped with lies to cover o'er
Such wickedness, and silently to get thee from my shore?
Our love, it hath not held thee back? nor right hand given in faith
Awhile agone? nor Dido doomed to die a bitter death?
Yea, e'en beneath the winter heavens thy fleet thou gatherest
In haste to fare across the main amid the north's unrest
O cruel! What if land unknown and stranger field and fold
Thou sought'st not; if the ancient Troy stood as in days of old; [Pg 101]
Wouldst thou not still be seeking Troy across the wavy brine?
—Yea, me thou fleest. O by these tears, by that right hand of thine,
Since I myself have left myself unhappy nought but this,
And by our bridal of that day and early wedding bliss,
If ever I were worthy thanks, if sweet in aught I were,
Pity a falling house! If yet be left a space for prayer,
O then I pray thee put away this mind of evil things!
Because of thee the Libyan folks, and those Numidian kings,
Hate me, and Tyrians are my foes: yea, and because of thee
My shame is gone, and that which was my heavenward road to be.
My early glory.—Guest, to whom leav'st thou thy dying friend?
Since of my husband nought but this is left me in the end.
Why bide I till Pygmalion comes to lay my walls alow,
Till taken by Getulian kings, Iarbas' slave I go?
Ah! if at least ere thou wert gone some child of thee I had!
If yet Æneas in mine house might play a little lad,
E'en but to bring aback the face of that beloved one,
Then were I never vanquished quite, nor utterly undone."
She spake: he, warned by Jove's command, his eyes still steadfast held,
And, striving, thrust his sorrow back, howso his heart-strings swelled:
At last he answered shortly thus:
"O Queen, though words may fail
To tell thy lovingkindness, ne'er my heart belies the tale:
Still shall it be a joy to think of sweet Elissa's days
While of myself I yet may think, while breath my body sways.
Few words about the deed in hand: ne'er in my mind it came
As flees a thief to flee from thee; never the bridal flame
Did I hold forth, or plight my troth such matters to fulfil. [Pg 102]
If fate would let me lead a life according to my will,
Might I such wise as pleaseth me my troubles lay to rest,
By Troy-town surely would I bide among the ashes blest
Of my beloved, and Priam's house once more aloft should stand;
New Pergamus for vanquished men should rise beneath my hand.
But now Grynean Phœbus bids toward Italy the great
To reach my hand; to Italy biddeth the Lycian fate:
There is my love, there is my land. If Carthage braveries
And lovely look of Libyan walls hold fast thy Tyrian eyes,
Why wilt thou grudge the Teucrian men Ausonian dwelling-place?
If we too seek the outland realm, for us too be there grace!
Father Anchises, whensoever night covereth up the earth
With dewy dark, and whensoe'er the bright stars come to birth,
His troubled image midst of sleep brings warning word and fear.
Ascanius weigheth on my heart with wrong of head so dear,
Whom I beguile of fateful fields and realm of Italy.
Yea, even now God's messenger sent from the Jove on high,
(Bear witness either head of us!) bore doom of God adown
The eager wind: I saw the God enter the fair-walled town
In simple light: I drank his voice, yea with these ears of mine.
Cease then to burn up with thy wail my burdened heart and thine!
Perforce I follow Italy."
But now this long while, as he spake, athwart and wild she gazed,
And here and there her eyeballs rolled, and strayed with silent look
His body o'er; and at the last with heart of fire outbroke:
"Traitor! no Goddess brought thee forth, nor Dardanus was first
Of thine ill race; but Caucasus on spiky crags accurst
Begot thee; and Hyrcanian dugs of tigers suckled thee. [Pg 103]
Why hide it now? why hold me back lest greater evil be?
For did he sigh the while I wept? his eyes—what were they moved?
Hath he been vanquished unto tears, or pitied her that loved?
—Ah, is aught better now than aught, when Juno utter great,
Yea and the Father on all this with evil eyen wait?
All faith is gone! I took him in a stranded outcast, bare:
Yea in my very throne and land, ah fool! I gave him share.
His missing fleet I brought aback; from death I brought his friends.
—Woe! how the furies burn me up!—Now seer Apollo sends,
Now bidding send the Lycian lots; now sendeth Jove on high
His messenger to bear a curse adown the windy sky!
Such is the toil of Gods aloft; such are the cares that rack
Their souls serene.—I hold thee not, nor cast thy words aback.
Go down the wind to Italy! seek lordship o'er the sea!
Only I hope amid the rocks, if any God there be,
Thou shalt drink in thy punishment and call on Dido's name
Full oft: and I, though gone away, will follow with black flame;
And when cold death from out my limbs my soul hath won away,
I will be with thee everywhere; O wretch, and thou shalt pay.
Ah, I shall hear; the tale of all shall reach me midst the dead."
Therewith she brake her speech athwart, and sick at heart she fled
The outer air, and turned away, and gat her from his eyes;
Leaving him dallying with his fear, and turning many wise
The words to say. Her serving-maids the fainting body weak,
Bear back unto the marble room and on the pillows streak.
But god-fearing Æneas now, however fain he were
To soothe her grief and with soft speech assuage her weary care, [Pg 104]
Much groaning, and the heart of him shaken with loving pain.
Yet went about the God's command and reached his ships again.
Then fall the Teucrians on indeed, and over all the shore
Roll the tall ships; the pitchy keel swims in the sea once more:
They bear the oars still leaf-bearing: they bring the might of wood,
Unwrought, so fain of flight they are,
Lo now their flitting! how they run from all the town in haste!
E'en as the ants, the winter-wise, are gathered whiles to waste
A heap of corn, and toil that same beneath their roof to lay,
Forth goes the black troop mid the mead, and carries forth the prey
Over the grass in narrow line: some strive with shoulder-might
And push along a grain o'ergreat, some drive the line aright,
Or scourge the loiterers: hot the work fares all along the road.
Ah Dido, when thou sawest all what heart in thee abode!
What groans thou gavest when thou saw'st from tower-top the long strand
A-boil with men all up and down; the sea on every hand
Before thine eyes by stir of men torn into all unrest!
O evil Love, where wilt thou not drive on a mortal breast?
Lo, she is driven to weep again and pray him to be kind,
And suppliant, in the bonds of love her lofty heart to bind,
Lest she should leave some way untried and die at last for nought.
"Anna, thou seest the strand astir, the men together brought
From every side, the canvas spread calling the breezes down.
While joyful on the quarter-deck the sea-folk lay the crown.
Sister, since I had might to think that such a thing could be,
I shall have might to bear it now: yet do one thing for me,
Poor wretch, O Anna: for to thee alone would he be kind, [Pg 105]
That traitor, and would trust to thee the inmost of his mind;
And thou alone his softening ways and melting times dost know.
O sister, speak a suppliant word to that high-hearted foe:
I never swore at Aulis there to pluck up root and branch
The Trojan folk; for Pergamus no war-ship did I launch:
Anchises' buried ghost from tomb I never tore away:
Why will his ears be ever deaf to any word I say?
Where hurrieth he? O let him give his wretched love one gift;
Let him but wait soft sailing-tide, when fair the breezes shift.
No longer for the wedding past, undone, I make my prayer,
Nor that he cast his lordship by, and promised Latium fair.
For empty time, for rest and stay of madness now I ask,
Till Fortune teach the overthrown to learn her weary task.
Sister, I pray this latest grace; O pity me today,
And manifold when I am dead the gift will I repay."
So prayed she: such unhappy words of weeping Anna bears,
And bears again and o'er again: but him no weeping stirs,
Nor any voice he hearkeneth now may turn him from his road:
God shut the hero's steadfast ears; fate in the way abode.
As when against a mighty oak, strong growth of many a year,
On this side and on that the blasts of Alpine Boreas bear,
Contending which shall root it up: forth goes the roar, deep lie
The driven leaves upon the earth from shaken bole on high.
But fast it clingeth to the crag, and high as goes its head
To heaven aloft, so deep adown to hell its roots are spread.
E'en so by ceaseless drift of words the hero every wise
Is battered, and the heavy care deep in his bosom lies;
Steadfast the will abides in him; the tears fall down for nought. [Pg 106]
Ah, and unhappy Dido then the very death besought,
Outworn by fate: the hollow heaven has grown a sight to grieve.
And for the helping of her will, that she the light may leave,
She seeth, when mid the frankincense her offering she would lay,
The holy water blackening there, O horrible to say!
The wine poured forth turned into blood all loathly as it fell.
Which sight to none, not e'en unto her sister, would she tell.
Moreover, to her first-wed lord there stood amidst the house
A marble shrine, the which she loved with worship marvellous,
And bound it was with snowy wool and leafage of delight;
Thence heard she, when the earth was held in mirky hand of night,
Strange sounds come forth, and words as if her husband called his own.
And o'er and o'er his funeral song the screech-owl wailed alone,
And long his lamentable tale from high aloft was rolled.
And many a saying furthermore of god-loved seers of old
Fears her with dreadful memory: all wild amid her dreams
Cruel Æneas drives her on, and evermore she seems
Left all alone; and evermore a road that never ends,
Mateless, and seeking through the waste her Tyrian folk, she wends.
As raving Pentheus saw the rout of that Well-willing Folk,
When twofold sun and twofold Thebes upon his eyes outbroke:
Or like as Agamemnon's son is driven across the stage,
Fleeing his mother's fiery hand that bears the serpent's rage,
While there the avenging Dreadful Ones upon the threshold sit.
But when she gave the horror birth, and, grief-worn, cherished it,
And doomed her death, then with herself she planned its time and guise,
And to her sister sorrowing sore spake word in such a wise,
Covering her end with cheerful face and calm and hopeful brow: [Pg 107]
"Kinswoman, I have found a way, (joy with thy sister now!)
Whereby to bring him back to me or let me loose from him.
Adown beside the setting sun, hard on the ocean's rim,
Lies the last world of Æthiops, where Atlas mightiest grown
Upon his shoulder turns the pole with burning stars bestrown.
A priestess thence I met erewhile, come of Massylian seed,
The warden of the West-maid's fane, and wont the worm to feed,
Mingling for him the honey-juice with poppies bearing sleep,
Whereby she maketh shift on tree the hallowed bough to keep.
She by enchantment takes in hand to loose what hearts she will,
But other ones at need will she with heavy sorrows fill;
And she hath craft to turn the stars and back the waters beat,
Call up the ghosts that fare by night, make earth beneath thy feet
Cry out, and ancient ash-trees draw the mountain-side adown.
Dear heart, I swear upon the Gods, I swear on thee, mine own
And thy dear head, that I am loath with magic craft to play.
But privily amid the house a bale for burning lay
'Neath the bare heaven, and pile on it the arms that evil one
Left in the chamber: all he wore, the bridal bed whereon
My days were lost: for so 'tis good: the priestess showeth me
All tokens of the wicked man must perish utterly."
No more she spake, but with the word her face grew deadly white.
But Anna sees not how she veiled her death with new-found rite,
Nor any thought of such a deed her heart encompasseth;
Nor fears she heavier things to come than at Sychæus' death.
Wherefore she takes the charge in hand.
But now the Queen, that bale being built amid the inner house [Pg 108]
'Neath the bare heavens, piled high with fir and cloven oak enow,
Hangeth the garlands round the place, and crowns the bale with bough
That dead men use: the weed he wore, his very effigy,
His sword, she lays upon the bed, well knowing what shall be.
There stand the altars, there the maid, wild with her scattered hair,
Calls Chaos, Erebus, and those three hundred godheads there,
And Hecate triply fashionèd to maiden Dian's look;
Water she scattered, would-be wave of dark Avernus' brook;
And herbs she brought, by brazen shears 'neath moonlight harvested,
All downy-young, though inky milk of venomed ill they shed.
She brings the love-charm snatched away from brow of new-born foal
Ere yet the mother snatcheth it.
Dido herself the altars nigh, meal in her hallowed hands,
With one foot of its bindings bare, and ungirt raiment stands,
And dying calls upon the Gods, and stars that fateful fare;
And then if any godhead is, mindful and just to care
For unloved lovers, unto that she sendeth up the prayer.
Now night it was, and everything on earth had won the grace
Of quiet sleep: the woods had rest, the wildered waters' face:
It was the tide when stars roll on amid their courses due,
And all the tilth is hushed, and beasts, and birds of many a hue;
And all that is in waters wide, and what the waste doth keep
In thicket rough, amid the hush of night-tide lay asleep,
And slipping off the load of care forgat their toilsome part.
But ne'er might that Phœnician Queen, that most unhappy heart,
Sink into sleep, or take the night unto her eyes and breast:
Her sorrows grow, and love again swells up with all unrest,
And ever midst her troubled wrath rolls on a mighty tide; [Pg 109]
And thus she broods and turns it o'er and o'er on every side.
"Ah, whither now? Shall I bemocked my early lovers try,
And go Numidian wedlock now on bended knee to buy:
I, who so often scorned to take their bridal-bearing hands?
Or shall I, following Ilian ships, bear uttermost commands
Of Teucrian men, because my help their lightened hearts makes kind;
Because the thank for deed I did lies ever on their mind?
But if I would, who giveth leave, or takes on scornful keel
The hated thing? Thou knowest not, lost wretch, thou may'st not feel,
What treason of Laomedon that folk for ever bears.
What then? and shall I follow lone the joyous mariners?
Or, hedged with all my Tyrian host, upon them shall I bear,
Driving again across the sea those whom I scarce might tear
From Sidon's city, forcing them to spread their sails abroad?
Nay, stay thy grief with steel, and die, and reap thy due reward!
Thou, sister, conquered by my tears, wert first this bane to lay
On my mad soul, and cast my heart in that destroyer's way.
Why was I not allowed to live without the bridal bed,
Sackless and free as beasts afield, with no woes wearièd?
Why kept I not the faith of old to my Sychæus sworn?"
Such wailing of unhappy words from out her breast was torn.
Æneas on the lofty deck meanwhile, assured of flight,
Was winning sleep, since every need of his was duly dight;
When lo! amid the dreams of sleep that shape of God come back,
Seemed once again to warn him thus: nor yet the face did lack
[Pg 110]Nor anything of Mercury; both voice and hue was there,
And loveliness of youthful limbs and length of yellow hair:
"O Goddess-born, and canst thou sleep through such a tide as this?
And seest thou not how round about the peril gathered is?
And, witless, hear'st not Zephyr blow with gentle, happy wind?
For treason now and dreadful deed she turneth in her mind,
Assured of death; and diversely the tide of wrath sets in.
Why fleest thou not in haste away, while haste is yet to win?
Thou shalt behold the sea beat up with oar-blade, and the brand
Gleam dire against thee, and one flame shall run adown the strand,
If thee tomorrow's dawn shall take still lingering on this shore.
Up! tarry not! for woman's heart is shifting evermore."
So saying, amid the mirk of night he mingled and was lost.
And therewithal Æneas, feared by sudden-flitting ghost,
Snatching his body forth from sleep, stirs up his folk at need:
"Wake ye, and hurry now, O men! get to the thwarts with speed,
And bustle to unfurl the sails! here sent from heaven again
A God hath spurred us on to flight, and biddeth hew atwain
The hempen twine. O holy God, we follow on thy way,
Whatso thou art; and glad once more thy bidding we obey.
O be with us! give gracious aid; set stars the heaven about
To bless our ways!"
And from the sheath his lightning sword flew out
E'en as he spake: with naked blade he smote the hawser through,
And all are kindled at his flame; they hurry and they do.
The shore is left, with crowd of keels the sight of sea is dim;
Eager they whirl the spray aloft, as o'er the blue they skim.
And now Aurora left alone Tithonus' saffron bed,
And first light of another day across the world she shed. [Pg 111]
But when the Queen from tower aloft beheld the dawn grow white,
And saw the ships upon their way with fair sails trimmed aright,
And all the haven shipless left, and reach of empty strand,
Then thrice and o'er again she smote her fair breast with her hand,
And rent her yellow hair, and cried, "Ah, Jove! and is he gone?
And shall a very stranger mock the lordship I have won?
Why arm they not? Why gather not from all the town in chase?
Ho ye! why run ye not the ships down from their standing-place?
Quick, bring the fire! shake out the sails! hard on the oars to sea!
—What words are these, or where am I? What madness changeth me?
Unhappy Dido! now at last thine evil deed strikes home.
Ah, better when thou mad'st him lord—lo whereunto are come
His faith and troth who erst, they say, his country's house-gods held
The while he took upon his back his father spent with eld?
Why! might I not have shred him up, and scattered him piecemeal
About the sea, and slain his friends, his very son, with steel,
Ascanius on his father's board for dainty meat to lay?
But doubtful, say ye, were the fate of battle? Yea, O yea!
What might I fear, who was to die?—if I had borne the fire
Among their camp, and filled his decks with flame, and son and sire
Quenched with their whole folk, and myself had cast upon it all!
—O Sun, whose flames on every deed earth doeth ever fall,
O Juno, setter-forth and seer of these our many woes,
Hecate, whose name howled out a-nights o'er city crossway goes,
Avenging Dread Ones, Gods that guard Elissa perishing,
O hearken! turn your might most meet against the evil thing!
O hearken these our prayers! and if the doom must surely stand,
And he, the wicked head, must gain the port and swim aland,
If Jove demand such fixèd fate and every change doth bar, [Pg 112]
Yet let him faint mid weapon-strife and hardy folk of war!
And let him, exiled from his house, torn from Iulus, wend,
Beseeching help mid wretched death of many and many a friend.
And when at last he yieldeth him to pact of grinding peace,
Then short-lived let his lordship be, and lovèd life's increase.
And let him fall before his day, unburied on the shore!
Lo this I pray, this last of words forth with my blood I pour.
And ye, O Tyrians, 'gainst his race that is, and is to be,
Feed full your hate! When I am dead send down this gift to me:
No love betwixt the peoples twain, no troth for anything!
And thou, Avenger of my wrongs, from my dead bones outspring,
To bear the fire and the sword o'er Dardan-peopled earth
Now or hereafter; whensoe'er the day brings might to birth.
I pray the shore against the shore, the sea against the sea,
The sword 'gainst sword—fight ye that are, and ye that are to be!"
So sayeth she, and everywise she turns about her mind
How ending of the loathèd light she speediest now may find.
And few words unto Barce spake, Sychæus' nurse of yore;
For the black ashes held her own upon the ancient shore:
"Dear nurse, my sister Anna now bring hither to my need,
And bid her for my sprinkling-tide the running water speed;
And bid her have the hosts with her, and due atoning things:
So let her come; but thou, thine head bind with the holy strings;
For I am minded now to end what I have set afoot,
And worship duly Stygian Jove and all my cares uproot;
Setting the flame beneath the bale of that Dardanian head."
She spake; with hurrying of eld the nurse her footsteps sped. [Pg 113]
But Dido, trembling, wild at heart with her most dread intent,
Rolling her blood-shot eyes about, her quivering cheeks besprent
With burning flecks, and otherwhere dead white with death drawn nigh
Burst through the inner doorways there and clomb the bale on high,
Fulfilled with utter madness now, and bared the Dardan blade,
Gift given not for such a work, for no such ending made.
There, when upon the Ilian gear her eyen had been set,
And bed well known, 'twixt tears and thoughts awhile she lingered yet;
Then brooding low upon the bed her latest word she spake:
"O raiment dear to me while Gods and fate allowed, now take
This soul of mine and let me loose from all my woes at last!
I, I have lived, and down the way fate showed to me have passed;
And now a mighty shade of me shall go beneath the earth!
A glorious city have I raised, and brought my walls to birth,
Avenged my husband, made my foe, my brother, pay the pain:
Happy, ah, happy overmuch were all my life-days' gain,
If never those Dardanian keels had drawn our shores anigh."
She spake: her lips lay on the bed: "Ah, unavenged to die!
But let me die! Thus, thus 'tis good to go into the night!
Now let the cruel Dardan eyes drink in the bale-fire's light,
And bear for sign across the sea this token of my death."
Her speech had end: but on the steel, amid the last word's breath,
They see her fallen; along the blade they see her blood foam out,
And all her hands besprent therewith: wild fly the shrieks about
The lofty halls, and Rumour runs mad through the smitten town.
The houses sound with women's wails and lamentable groan; [Pg 114]
The mighty clamour of their grief rings through the upper skies.
'Twas e'en as if all Carthage fell mid flood of enemies,
Or mighty Tyre of ancient days,—as if the wildfire ran
Rolling about the roof of God and dwelling-place of man.
Half dead her sister heard, and rushed distraught and trembling there,
With nail and fist befouling all her face and bosom fair:
She thrust amidst them, and by name called on the dying Queen:
"O was it this my sister, then! guile in thy word hath been!
And this was what the bale, the fire, the altars wrought for me!
Where shall I turn so left alone? Ah, scorned was I to be
For death-fellow! thou shouldst have called me too thy way to wend.
One sword-pang should have been for both, one hour to make an end.
Built I with hands, on Father-Gods with crying did I cry
To be away, a cruel heart, from thee laid down to die?
O sister, me and thee, thy folk, the fathers of the land,
Thy city hast thou slain——O give, give water to my hand,
And let me wash the wound, and if some last breath linger there,
Let my mouth catch it!"
Saying so she reached the topmost stair,
And to her breast the dying one she fondled, groaning sore,
And with her raiment strove to staunch the black and flowing gore.
Then Dido strove her heavy lids to lift, but back again
They sank, and deep within her breast whispered the deadly bane:
Three times on elbow struggling up a little did she rise,
And thrice fell back upon the bed, and sought with wandering eyes
The light of heaven aloft, and moaned when it was found at last.
Then on her long-drawn agony did Juno pity cast, [Pg 115]
Her hard departing; Iris then she sent from heaven on high,
And bade her from the knitted limbs the struggling soul untie.
For since by fate she perished not, nor waited death-doom given,
But hapless died before her day by sudden fury driven,
Not yet the tress of yellow hair had Proserpine off-shred,
Nor unto Stygian Orcus yet had doomed her wandering head.
So Iris ran adown the sky on wings of saffron dew,
And colours shifting thousandfold against the sun she drew,
And overhead she hung: "So bid, from off thee this I bear,
Hallowed to Dis, and charge thee now from out thy body fare."
She spake and sheared the tress away; then failed the life-heat spent
And forth away upon the wind the spirit of her went.
ÆNEAS MAKING FOR ITALY IS STAYED BY CONTRARY WINDS, WHEREFORE HE SAILETH TO SICILY, AND, COMING TO THE TOMB OF HIS FATHER ANCHISES, HOLDETH SOLEMN GAMES THEREAT, AND IN THE END GOETH HIS WAY TO ITALY AGAIN.
Meanwhile Æneas with his ships the mid-sea way did hold
Steadfast, and cut the dusky waves before the north wind rolled,
Still looking back upon the walls now litten by the flame
Of hapless Dido: though indeed whence so great burning came
They knew not; but the thought of grief that comes of love defiled
How great it is, what deed may come of woman waxen wild,
Through woeful boding of the sooth the Teucrians' bosoms bore.
But when the ships the main sea held, nor had they any more
The land in sight, but sea around and sky around was spread,
A coal-blue cloud drew up to them, that hanging overhead
Bore night and storm: feared 'neath the dark the waters trembling lie.
Then called the helmsman Palinure from lofty deck on high:
"Ah, wherefore doth such cloud of storm gird all the heavens about?
What will ye, Father Neptune, now?" [Pg 117]
Therewith he crieth out
To gather all the tackling in, and hard on oars to lay,
And slopeth sail across the wind; and so such word doth say:
"Great-souled Æneas, e'en if Jove my borrow now should be,
'Neath such a sky I might not hope to make our Italy:
The changed winds roar athwart our course, and from the west grown black
They rise; while o'er the face of heaven gathers the cloudy rack.
Nor have we might to draw a-head, nor e'en to hold our own.
Wherefore since Fortune hath prevailed, by way that she hath shown,
Whither she calleth, let us turn: methinks the way but short
To brother-land of Eryx leal and safe Sicanian port,
If I may read the stars aright that erst I bare in mind."
Quoth good Æneas: "Now for long that suchwise would the wind
I saw, and how thou heldest head against it all in vain:
Shift sail and go about; what land may sweeter be to gain,
Or whither would I liefer turn my keels from beat of sea,
Than that which yet the Dardan lord Acestes holds for me,
That holds my very father's bones, Anchises, in its breast?"
They seek the haven therewithal, and fair and happy west
Swelleth the sails: o'er whirl of waves full speedily they wend,
And glad to that familiar sand they turn them in the end:
But there Acestes meeteth them, who from a mountain high
All wondering had seen afar the friendly ships draw nigh.
With darts he bristled, and was clad in fell of Libyan bear.
Him erst unto Crimisus' flood a Trojan mother fair
[Pg 118]Brought forth: and now, forgetting nought his mother's folk of old,
He welcomes them come back again with wealth of field and fold,
And solaces the weary men with plenteous friendly cheer.
But when the stars in first of dawn fled from the morrow clear,
Æneas called upon the shore assembly of his folk,
And standing high aloft on mound such words to tell he spoke:
"O mighty Dardan men, O folk from blood of Godhead born,
The yearly round is all fulfilled, with lapse of months outworn,
Since when my godlike father's husk and bones of him we laid
Amid the mould, and heavy sad the hallowed altars made:
And now meseems the day is here, for evermore to me
A bitter day, a worshipped day.—So God would have it be!
Yea should it find me outcast man on great Getulia's sand,
Or take me in the Argive sea, or mid Mycenæ's land,
Yet yearly vows, and pomps that come in due recurring while,
Still should I pay, and gifts most meet upon the altar pile.
Now to my father's bones, indeed, and ashes are we brought
By chance; yet not, meseems, without the Godhead's will and thought
Are we come here, to lie in peace within a friendly bay.
So come, and let all worship here the glory of the day;
Pray we the winds, that year by year this worship may be done
In temples dedicate to him within my city won.
Troy-born Acestes giveth you two head of hornèd beasts
For every ship; so see ye bid the House-gods to your feasts,
Both them of Troy and them our host Acestes loveth here.
Moreover, if the ninth dawn hence Aurora shall uprear
For health of men, and with her rays earth's coverlit shall lift,
For Teucrians will I fast set forth the race for galleys swift:
Then whosoe'er is fleet of foot, or bold of might and main,
Or with the dart or eager shaft a better prize may gain, [Pg 119]
Or whoso hath the heart to play in fight-glove of raw hide,
Let all be there, and victory's palm and guerdon due abide.
Clean be all mouths! and gird with leaves the temple of the head."
His mother's bush he did on brow e'en as the word he said;
The like did Helymus, the like Acestes ripe of eld,
The like the boy Ascanius, yea, and all that manner held.
Then from that council to the tomb that duke of men did pass;
Mid many thousands, he the heart of all that concourse was.
There, worshipping, on earth he pours in such wise as was good
Two cups of mere wine, two of milk, and two of holy blood,
And scatters purple flowers around; and then such words he said:
"Hail, holy father! hail once more! hail, ashes visited
Once more for nought! hail, father-shade and spirit sweet in vain!
Forbid with me that Italy to seek, that fated plain,
With me Ausonian Tiber-flood, whereso it be, to seek."
He spake: but from the lowest mound a mighty serpent sleek
Drew seven great circles o'er the earth, and glided sevenfold,
Passing in peace the tomb around, and o'er the altars rolled:
Blue stripèd was the back of him, and all his scales did glow
With glitter of fine flecks of gold; e'en as the cloud-hung bow
A thousand shifting colours fair back from the sun he cast.
Æneas wondered at the sight; but on the serpent passed,
And 'twixt the bowls and smoothèd cups his long array he wound,
Tasting the hallowed things; and so he gat him underground
Beneath the tomb again, and left the altars pastured o'er.
Heartened hereby, his father's soul Æneas worshipped more, [Pg 120]
And, doubtful, deemeth it to be Anchises' guardian ghost
Or godhead of the place: so there he slayeth double host,
As custom would; two black-backed steers, and e'en as many swine,
And calleth on his father's soul with pouring of the wine,
On great Anchises' glorious ghost from Acheron set free.
From out their plenty therewithal his fellows joyfully
Give gifts, and load the altar-stead, and smite the steers adown.
While others serve the seething brass, and o'er the herbage strown
Set coaly morsels 'neath the spit, and roast the inner meat.
And now the looked-for day was come with simple light and sweet,
And Phaeton's horses shining bright the ninth dawn in did bear.
Fame and the name Acestes had the neighbouring people stir
To fill the shore with joyful throng, Æneas' folk to see:
But some were dight amid the games their strife-fellows to be.
There first before the eyes of men the gifts to come they lay
Amid the course; as hallowed bowls, and garlands of green bay,
And palms, the prize of victory, weapons, and raiment rolled
In purple, and a talent's weight of silver and of gold;
Then blast of horn from midst the mound the great games halloweth in:
Four ships from all the fleet picked out will first the race begin
With heavy oars; well matched are they for speed and rowers' tale:
Hereof did Mnestheus' eager oars drive on the speedy Whale,
Mnestheus to be of Italy, whence cometh Memmius' name.
The huge Chimæra's mountain mass was Gyas set to tame;
There on that city of a ship threesome its rowing plies
The Dardan youth; the banks of oars in threefold order rise.
Sergestus next, the name whereof the Sergian house yet bears,
Is ferried by the Centaur great: last in blue Scylla steers [Pg 121]
Cloanthus, whence the name of thee, Cluentius, man of Rome.
Far mid the sea a rock there is, facing the shore-line's foam,
Which, beat by overtoppling waves, is drowned and hidden oft,
What time the stormy North-west hides the stars in heaven aloft:
But otherwhiles it lies in peace when nought the sea doth move,
And riseth up a meadow fair that sunning sea-gulls love.
There a green goal Æneas raised, dight of a leafy oak,
To be a sign of turning back to that sea-faring folk,
That fetching compass round the same their long course they might turn.
So then by lot they take their place: there on the deck they burn.
The captains, goodly from afar in gold and purple show:
The other lads with poplar-leaf have garlanded the brow,
And with the oil poured over them their naked shoulders shine.
They man the thwarts; with hearts a-stretch they hearken for the sign,
With arms a-stretch upon the oars; hard tugs the pulse of fear
About their bounding hearts, hard strains the lust of glory dear.
But when the clear horn gives the sound, forthwith from where they lie
They leap away; the seamen's shouts smite up against the sky,
The upturned waters froth about as home the arms are borne:
So timely they the furrows cut, and all the sea uptorn
Is cloven by the sweep of oars and bows' three-headed push.
—Nay, nought so swift in twi-yoke race forth from the barriers rush
The scattered headlong chariots on to wear the space of plain,
Nor eager so the charioteers shake waves along the rein
Above the hurrying yoke, as hung over the lash they go.
—Then with the shouts and praise of men, and hope cast to and fro,
Rings all the grove; the cliff-walled shore rolleth great voice around, [Pg 122]
And beating 'gainst the mountain-side the shattering shouts rebound.
Before the others Gyas flies, and first the waves doth skim
Betwixt the throng and roar, but hard Cloanthus presseth him;
Who, better manned, is held aback by sluggish weight of pine.
'Twixt Whale and Centaur after these the edge of strife is fine,
And hard they struggle each with each to win the foremost place.
Now the Whale hath it; beaten now is foregone in the race
By the huge Centaur; head and head now follow on the two,
As the long keel of either one the salt sea furrows through.
But now they drew anigh the holm, the goal close on them gave,
When Gyas first and conquering there amid the whirl of wave
Unto the helmsman of his ship, Menœtes, cries command:
"And why so far unto the right? turn hither to this hand!
Hug thou the shore; let the blades graze the very rocks a-lee.
Let others hold the deep!"
No less unto the wavy sea
Menœtes, fearing hidden rocks, still turns away the bow:
Gyas would shout him back again: "Menœtes, whither now?
Steer for the rocks!"
And therewithal, as back his eyes he cast.
He sees Cloanthus hard at heel and gaining on him fast;
Who, grazing on this hand and that the rocks and Gyas' ship,
Now suddenly by leeward course a-head of all doth slip,
And leaving clear the goal behind hath open water's gain.
Then unto Gyas' very bones deep burns the wrathful pain;
Nor did his cheeks lack tears indeed: forgetting honour's trust,
Forgetting all his fellows' weal, Menœtes doth he thrust [Pg 123]
Headlong from off the lofty deck into the sea adown,
And takes the tiller, helmsman now and steering-master grown;
He cheers his men, and toward the shore the rudder wresteth round.
Menœtes, heavy, hardly won up from the ocean's ground,
(For he was old, and floods enow fulfilled his dripping gear,)
Made for the holm and sat him down upon the dry rock there:
The Teucrians laughed to see him fall, and laughed to see him swim,
And laugh to see him spue the brine back from the heart of him.
Now Mnestheus' and Sergestus' hope began anew to spring,
That they might outgo Gyas yet amid his tarrying:
Of whom Sergestus draws ahead and nears the rocky holm;
But not by all his keel indeed the other did o'ercome,
But by the half; the eager Whale amidships held her place,
Where Mnestheus midst the men themselves now to and fro did pace,
Egging them on: "Now, now!" he cries; "up, up, on oar-heft high!
Fellows of Hector, whom I chose when Troy last threw the die!
Now put ye forth your ancient heart, put forth the might of yore,
Wherewith amid Getulian sand, Ionian sea ye bore;
The heart and might ye had amidst Malea's following wave!
I, Mnestheus, seek not victory now, nor foremost place to save.
—Yet, O my heart! but let them win to whom thou giv'st the crown,
O Neptune!—but the shameful last! O townsmen, beat it down.
And ban such horror!"
Hard on oars they lie mid utter throes,
And quivereth all the brazen ship beneath their mighty blows;
The sea's floor slippeth under them; the ceaseless pantings shake
Their limbs and parchèd mouths, and still the sweat-streams never slake.
But very chance those strivers gave the prize they struggled for, [Pg 124]
Since now Sergestus, hot at heart, while to the stony shore
He clingeth innerward, is come into the treacherous strait,
And hapless driveth on the rocks thrust forth for such a fate:
The cliffs are shaken and the oars against the flinty spikes
Snap crashing, and the prow thrust up yet hangeth where it strikes:
Up start the seafarers, and raise great hubbub tarrying;
Then sprits all iron-shod and poles sharp-ended forth they bring
To bear her off, and gather oars a-floating in the wash.
But Mnestheus, whetted by his luck, joyful, with hurrying dash
Of timely-beating oars, speeds forth, and praying breezes on,
O'er waters' slope adown the sea's all open way doth run:
—E'en as a pigeon in a cave stirred suddenly from rest,
Who in the shady pumice-rock hath house and happy nest;
Scared 'neath the roof she beateth forth with mighty flap of wings,
And flieth, borne adown the fields, till in soft air she swings,
And floateth on the flowing way, nor scarce a wing doth move;
—So Mnestheus, so the Whale herself, the latter waters clove,
So with the way erst made on her she flew on swift and soft;
And first Sergestus doth she leave stayed on the rock aloft,
Striving in shallows' tanglement, calling for help in vain,
And learning with his broken oars a little way to gain.
Then Gyas and Chimæra's bulk he holdeth hard in chase,
Who, from her lack of helmsman lost, must presently give place.
And now at very end of all Cloanthus is the last
With whom to deal: his most he strives, and presseth on him fast.
Then verily shout thrusts on shout, and all with all goodwill
Cry on the chase; their echoing noise the very lift doth fill.
These, thinking shame of letting fall their hardly-gotten gain [Pg 125]
Of glory's meed, to buy the praise with very life are fain;
Those, fed on good-hap, all things may, because they deem they may:
The twain, perchance, head laid to head, had won the prize that day,
But if Cloanthus both his palms had stretched to seaward there,
And called upon the Gods to aid and poured forth eager prayer:
"O Gods, whose lordship is the sea, whose waters I run o'er,
Now glad will I, your debtor bound, by altars on the shore
Bring forth for you a snow-white bull, and cast amid the brine
His inner meat, and pour abroad a flowing of fair wine."
He spake, and all the Nereids' choir hearkened the words he said
Down 'neath the waves, and Phorcus' folk, and Panopea the maid;
Yea, and the sire Portunus thrust the keel with mighty hand
Upon its way, and arrow-swift it flew on toward the land,
Swift as the South, and there at rest in haven deep it lies.
But now Anchises' seed, all men being summoned in due wise,
Proclaims Cloanthus victor there by loud-voiced herald's shout,
And with green garland of the bay he does his brows about;
Then biddeth them to choose the gifts, for every ship three steers,
And wine, and every crew therewith great weight of silver bears.
And glorious gifts he adds withal to every duke of man:
A gold-wrought cloak the victor hath, about whose rim there ran
A plenteous double wavy stream of Melibœan shell,
And leafy Ida's kingly boy thereon was pictured well.
A-following up the fleeing hart with spear and running fleet;
Eager he seemed as one who pants; then him with hookèd feet
Jove's shield-bearer hath caught, and up with him from Ida flies, [Pg 126]
And there the ancient masters stretch vain palms unto the skies,
While bark of staring hunting-hound beats fierce at upper air.
Then next for him who second place of might and valour bare
A mail-coat wove of polished rings with threefold wire of gold,
Which from Demoleos the King had stripped in days of old,
A conqueror then by Simoïs swift beneath high-builded Troy,
He giveth now that lord to have a safeguard and a joy;
Its many folds his serving-men, Phegeus and Sagaris,
Scarce bore on toiling shoulders joined, yet clad in nought but this
Swift ran Demoleos following on the Trojans disarrayed.
A third gift then he setteth forth, twin cauldrons brazen made,
And silver bowls with picturing fret and wrought with utter pain.
And now when all had gotten gifts, and glorying in their gain,
Were wending with the filleting of purple round the brow,
Lo, gotten from the cruel rock with craft and toil enow,
With missing oars, and all one board unhandy and foredone,
His ship inglorious and bemocked, Sergestus driveth on.
—As with an adder oft it haps caught on the highway's crown,
Aslant by brazen tire of wheel, or heavy pebble thrown
By wayfarer, hath left him torn and nigh unto his end:
Who writhings wrought for helpless flight through all his length doth send,
And one half fierce with burning eyes uprears a hissing crest,
The other half, with wounds all halt, still holding back the rest;
He knitteth him in many a knot and on himself doth slip.
—E'en such the crawling of the oars that drave the tarrying ship.
But they hoist sail on her, and so the harbour-mouth make shift [Pg 127]
To win: and there Æneas gives Sergestus promised gift,
Blithe at his saving of the ship, and fellows brought aback:
A maid he hath, who not a whit of Pallas' art doth lack.
Of Crete she is, and Pholoë called, and twins at breast she bears.
Now all that strife being overpast, the good Æneas fares
To grassy meads girt all about by hollow wooded hills,
Where theatre-wise the racing-course the midmost valley fills.
Thereto the hero, very heart of many a thousand men,
Now wendeth, and on seat high-piled he sits him down again.
There whosoever may have will to strive in speedy race
He hearteneth on with hope of gift, and shows the prize and grace.
So from all sides Sicilians throng, and Trojan fellowship.
Euryalus and Nisus first.
Euryalus for goodliness and youth's first blossom famed,
Nisus for fair love of the youth; then after these are named
Diores, of the blood of kings from Priam's glorious race;
Salius and Patron next; the one of Acarnanian place,
The other from Arcadian blood of Tegeæa outsprung:
Then two Trinacrians, Helymus and Panopes the young,
In woodcraft skilled, who ever went by old Acestes' side;
And many others else there were whom rumour dimmed doth hide.
And now amidmost of all these suchwise Æneas spake:
"Now hearken; let your merry hearts heed of my saying take:
No man of all the tale of you shall henceforth giftless go;
Two Gnosian spears to each I give with polished steel aglow,
An axe to carry in the war with silver wrought therein.
This honour is for one and all: the three first prize shall win, [Pg 128]
And round about their heads shall do the olive dusky-grey.
A noble horse with trappings dight the first shall bear away;
A quiver of the Amazons with Thracian arrows stored
The second hath; about it goes a gold belt broidered broad,
With gem-wrought buckle delicate to clasp it at the end.
But gladdened with this Argive helm content the third shall wend."
All said, they take their places due, and when the sign they hear,
Forthwith they leave the bar behind and o'er the course they bear,
Like drift of storm-cloud; on the goal all set their eager eyes:
But far before all shapes of man shows Nisus, and outflies
The very whistling of the winds or lightning on the wing.
Then, though the space be long betwixt, comes Salius following;
And after Salius again another space is left,
And then Euryalus is third;
And after him is Helymus: but lo, how hard on heel
Diores scuds! foot on his foot doth Helymus nigh feel,
Shoulder on shoulder: yea, and if the course held longer out,
He would slip by him and be first, or leave the thing in doubt.
Now, spent, unto the utmost reach and very end of all
They came, when in the slippery blood doth luckless Nisus fall,
E'en where the ground was all a-slop with bullocks slain that day,
And all the topmost of the grass be-puddled with it lay:
There, as he went the victor now, exulting, failed his feet
From off the earth, and forth he fell face foremost down to meet
The midst of all the filthy slime blent with the holy gore:
Yet for Euryalus his love forgat he none the more,
For rising from the slippery place in Salius' way he thrust, [Pg 129]
Who, rolling over, lay along amid the thickened dust.
Forth flies Euryalus, and flies to fame and foremost place,
His own friend's gift, mid beat of hands and shouts that bear him grace.
Next came in Helymus, and next the palm Diores bore.
But over all the concourse set in hollow dale, and o'er
The heads of those first father-lords goes Salius' clamouring speech,
Who for his glory reft away by guile doth still beseech.
But safe goodwill and goodly tears Euryalus do bear,
And lovelier seemeth valour set in body wrought so fair.
Him too Diores backeth now, and crieth out on high,
Whose palm of praise and third-won place shall fail and pass him by,
If the first glory once again at Salius' bidding shift.
Then sayeth Father Æneas: "O fellows, every gift
Shall bide unmoved: the palm of praise shall no man now displace.
Yet for my sackless friend's mishap give me some pity's grace."
He spake, and unto Salius gave a mighty lion's hide,
Getulian born, with weight of hair and golden claws beside:
Then Nisus spake: "If such great gifts are toward for beaten men,
And thou must pity those that fall, what gift is worthy then
Of Nisus? I, who should have gained the very victory's crown,
If me, as Salius, Fate my foe had never overthrown."
And even as he speaks the word he showeth face and limb
Foul with the mud. The kindest lord, the Father, laughed on him,
And bade them bring a buckler forth, wrought of Didymaon,
Spoil of the Greeks, from Neptune's house and holy doors undone;
And there unto the noble youth he gives that noble thing. [Pg 130]
But now, the race all overpassed and all the gift-giving,
Quoth he: "If any valour hath, or heart that may withstand,
Let him come forth to raise his arm with hide-begirded hand."
So saying, for the fight to come he sets forth glories twain;
A steer gilt-horned and garlanded the conquering man should gain,
A sword and noble helm should stay the vanquished in his woe.
No tarrying was there: Dares straight his face to all doth show,
And riseth in his mighty strength amidst the murmur great:
He who alone of all men erst with Paris held debate,
And he who at the mound wherein that mightiest Hector lay,
Had smitten Butes' body huge, the winner of the day,
Who called him come of Amycus and that Bebrycian land:
But Dares stretched him dying there upon the yellow sand.
Such was the Dares that upreared his head against the fight,
And showed his shoulders' breadth and drave his fists to left and right,
With arms cast forth, as heavy strokes he laid upon the air.
But when they sought a man for him, midst all the concourse there
Was none durst meet him: not a hand the fighting-glove would don:
Wherefore, high-hearted, deeming now the prize from all was won,
He stood before Æneas' feet nor longer tarrièd,
But with his left hand took the steer about the horn and said:
"O Goddess-born, if no man dares to trust him in the play,
What end shall be of standing here; must I abide all day?
Bid them bring forth the gifts."
Therewith they cried out one and all,
The Dardan folk, to give the gifts that due to him did fall.
But with hard words Acestes now Entellus falls to chide,
As on the bank of grassy green they sat there side by side, [Pg 131]
"Entellus, bravest hero once of all men, and for nought,
If thou wilt let them bear away without a battle fought
Such gifts as these. And where is he, thy master then, that God,
That Eryx, told of oft in vain? where is thy fame sown broad
Through all Trinacria, where the spoils hung up beneath thy roof?"
"Nay," said he, "neither love of fame nor glory holds aloof
Beaten by fear, but cold I grow with eld that holdeth back.
My blood is dull, my might gone dry with all my body's lack.
Ah, had I that which once I had, that which the rascal there
Trusts in with idle triumphing, the days of youth the dear,
Then had I come into the fight by no gift-giving led,
No goodly steer: nought heed I gifts."
And with the last word said,
His fighting gloves of fearful weight amidst of them he cast,
Wherewith the eager Eryx' hands amid the play had passed
Full oft; with hardened hide of them his arms he used to bind.
Men's hearts were mazed; such seven bull-hides each other in them lined,
So stiff they were with lead sewn in and iron laid thereby;
And chief of all was Dares mazed, and drew back utterly.
But the great-souled Anchises' seed that weight of gauntlets weighed,
And here and there he turned about their mighty folds o'erlaid.
Then drew the elder from his breast words that were like to these:
"Ah, had ye seen the gloves that armed the very Hercules,
And that sad battle foughten out upon this country shore!
For these are arms indeed that erst thy kinsmen Eryx bore:
Lo, ye may see them even now flecked with the blood and brain.
With these Alcides he withstood; with these I too was fain [Pg 132]
Of war, while mightier blood gave might, nor envious eld as yet
On either temple of my head the hoary hairs had set.
But if this Dares out of Troy refuse our weapons still,
And good Æneas doom it so, and so Acestes will,
My fight-lord; make the weapons like: these gloves of Eryx here
I take aback: be not afraid, but doff thy Trojan gear."
He spake, and from his back he cast his twifold cloak adown,
And naked his most mighty limbs and shoulders huge were shown,
And on the midmost of the sand a giant there he stood.
Wherewith Anchises' seed brought forth gloves even-matched and good,
And so at last with gear alike the arms of each he bound,
Then straightway each one stretched aloft on tip-toe from the ground:
They cast their mighty arms abroad, nor any fear they know,
The while their lofty heads they draw abackward from the blow:
And so they mingle hands with hands and fall to wake the fight.
The one a-trusting in his youth and nimbler feet and light;
The other's bulk of all avail, but, trembling, ever shrank
His heavy knees, and breathing short for ever shook his flank.
Full many a stroke those mighty men cast each at each in vain;
Thick fall they on the hollow sides; the breasts ring out again
With mighty sound; and eager-swift the hands full often stray
Round ears and temples; crack the jaws beneath that heavy play:
In one set strain, not moving aught, heavy Entellus stands,
By body's sway and watchful eye shunning the dart of hands:
But Dares is as one who brings the gin 'gainst high-built town,
Or round about some mountain-hold the leaguer setteth down:
Now here now there he falleth on, and putteth art to pain
At every place, and holds them strait with onset all in vain. [Pg 133]
Entellus, rising to the work, his right hand now doth show
Upreared; but he, the nimble one, foresaw the falling blow
Above him, and his body swift writhed skew-wise from the fall.
Entellus spends his stroke on air, and, overborne withal,
A heavy thing, falls heavily to earth, a mighty weight:
As whiles a hollow-eaten pine on Erymanthus great,
Or mighty Ida, rooted up, to earthward toppling goes.
Then Teucrian and Trinacrian folk with wondrous longing rose,
And shouts went skyward: thither first the King Acestes ran,
And pitying his like-aged friend raised up the fallen man;
Who neither slackened by his fall, nor smit by any fear,
Gets back the eagerer to the fight, for anger strength doth stir,
And shame and conscious valour lights his ancient power again.
In headlong flight his fiery wrath drives Dares o'er the plain,
And whiles his right hand showereth strokes, his left hand raineth whiles.
No tarrying and no rest there is; as hail-storm on the tiles
Rattleth, so swift with either hand the eager hero now
Beats on and batters Dares down, and blow is laid on blow.
But now the Father Æneas no longer might abide
Entellus' bitter rage of soul or lengthening anger's tide,
But laid an end upon the fight therewith, and caught away
Dares foredone, and soothing words in such wise did he say:
"Unhappy man, what madness then hath hold upon thine heart?
Feel'st not another might than man's, and Heaven upon his part?
Yield to the Gods!"
So 'neath his word the battle sank to peace.
But Dares his true fellows took, trailing his feeble knees,
Lolling his head from side to side, the while his sick mouth sent [Pg 134]
The clotted blood from out of it wherewith the teeth were blent.
They lead him to the ships; then, called, they take the helm and sword,
But leave Entellus' bull and palm, the victory's due reward;
Who, high of heart, proud in the beast his conquering hand did earn,
"O Goddess-born," he said, "and ye, O Teucrians, look, and learn
What might was in my body once, ere youth it had to lack,
And what the death whence Dares saved e'en now ye draw aback."
He spake, and at the great bull's head straightway he took his stand,
As there it bode the prize of fight, and drawing back his hand
Rose to the blow, and 'twixt the horns sent forth the hardened glove,
And back upon his very brain the shattered skull he drove.
Down fell the beast and on the earth lay quivering, outstretched, dead,
While over him from his inmost breast such words Entellus said:
"Eryx, this soul, a better thing, for Dares doomed to die,
I give thee, and victorious here my gloves and craft lay by."
Forth now Æneas biddeth all who have a mind to strive
At speeding of the arrow swift, and gifts thereto doth give,
And with his mighty hand the mast from out Serestus' keel
Uprears; and there a fluttering dove, mark for the flying steel,
Tied to a string he hangeth up athwart the lofty mast.
Then meet the men; a brazen helm catches the lots down cast:
And, as from out their favouring folk ariseth up the shout,
Hippocoon, son of Hyrtacus, before the rest leaps out;
Then Mnestheus, who was victor erst in ship upon the sea,
Comes after: Mnestheus garlanded with olive greenery.
The third-come was Eurytion, thy brother, O renowned,
O Pandarus, who, bidden erst the peace-troth to confound, [Pg 135]
Wert first amid Achæan host to send a wingèd thing.
But last, at bottom of the helm, Acestes' name did cling,
Who had the heart to try the toil amid the youthful rout.
Then with their strength of all avail they bend the bows about
Each for himself: from quiver then the arrows forth they take:
And first from off the twanging string through heaven there went the wake
Of shaft of young Hyrtacides, and clave the flowing air,
And, flying home, amid the mast that stood before it there
It stuck: the mast shook therewithal; the frighted, timorous bird,
Fluttered her wings; and mighty praise all round about was heard.
Then stood forth Mnestheus keen, and drew his bow unto the head,
Aiming aloft; and shaft and eyes alike therewith he sped;
But, worthy of all pitying, the very bird he missed,
But had the hap to shear the knots and lines of hempen twist
Whereby, all knitted to her foot, she to the mast was tied:
But flying toward the winds of heaven and mirky mist she hied.
Then swift Eurytion, who for long had held his arrow laid
On ready bow-string, vowed, and called his brother unto aid,
And sighted her all joyful now amidst the void of sky,
And smote her as she clapped her wings 'neath the black cloud on high:
Then dead she fell, and mid the stars of heaven her life she left,
And, falling, brought the shaft aback whereby her heart was cleft.
Acestes now was left alone, foiled of the victory's prize.
No less the father sent his shot aloft unto the skies,
Fain to set forth his archer-craft and loud-resounding bow.
Then to men's eyes all suddenly a portent there did show,
A mighty sign of things to come, the ending showed how great [Pg 136]
When seers, the shakers of men's hearts, sang over it too late.
For, flying through the flowing clouds, the swift reed burned about,
And marked its road with flaming wake, and, eaten up, died out
Mid the thin air: as oft the stars fly loose from heaven's roof,
And run adown the space of sky with hair that flies aloof.
Trinacrian men and Teucrian men, staring aghast they stood,
Praying the Gods: but mightiest Æneas held for good
That tokening, and Acestes takes as one all glad at heart,
And loadeth him with many gifts, and suchwise speaks his part:
"Take them, O father, for indeed by such a sign I wot
Olympus' King will have thee win all honour without lot.
This gift thou hast, Anchises' self, the ancient, had before,
A bowl all stamped with images, which Cisseus once of yore,
The Thracian, to my father gave, that he might bear the same
A very tokening of his love and memory of his name."
So saying, a garland of green bay he doth his brows about,
And victor over all the men Acestes giveth out:
Nor did the good Eurytion grudge his honour so preferred,
Though he alone from height of heaven had brought adown the bird:
But he came next in gift-giving who sheared the string, and last
Was he who set his wingèd reed amidmost of the mast.
Now had Æneas called to him, ere yet the match was done,
The child of Epytus, the guard, and fellow of his son,
Beardless Iulus, and so spake into his faithful ear:
"Go thou and bid Asœnius straight, if ready dight with gear
He hath that army of the lads, and fair array of steeds, [Pg 137]
To bring unto his grandsire now, himself in warlike weeds,
That host of his."
The lord meanwhile biddeth all folk begone
Who into the long course had poured, and leave the meadow lone.
Then come the lads: in equal ranks before their fathers' eyes
They shine upon their bitted steeds, and wondering murmurs rise
From men of Troy and Sicily as on their ways they fare.
Due crown of well-ordainèd leaves bindeth their flowing hair,
And each a pair of cornel shafts with iron head doth hold;
And some the polished quiver bear at shoulder: limber gold,
Ringing the neck with twisted stem, high on the breast is shown.
Three companies of horse they are by tale, and up and down
Three captains ride, and twice six lads each leadeth to the war:
In bands of even tale they shine, and like their leaders are.
Their first array all glad at heart doth little Priam lead,
Who from his grandsire had his name, thy well-renowned seed,
Polites, fated to beget Italian folk: him bore
A Thracian piebald flecked with white, whose feet were white before,
And white withal the crest of him that high aloft he flung.
Next Atys came, from whence the stem of Latin Atii sprung;
Young Atys, whom Iulus young most well-beloved did call:
Iulus last, in goodliness so far excelling all,
Upon a horse of Sidon came, whom that bright Dido gave
To be a token of her love, her memory to save.
On horses of Acestes old, Trinacrian-nurtured beasts,
The others of the youth are borne.
With praise they greet their fluttering hearts and look on them with joy,
Those Dardan folk, who see in them the ancient eyes of Troy. [Pg 138]
But after they had fared on steed the concourse all about
Before the faces of their folk, Epytides did shout
The looked-for sign afar to them, and cracked withal his whip:
Then evenly they fall apart, in threesome order slip
Their cloven ranks; but, called again, aback upon their way
They turn, and threatening levelled spears against each other lay.
Then they to other onset now and other wheeling take,
In bands opposed, and tanglements of ring on ring they make;
So with their weapons every show of very fight they stir,
And now they bare their backs in flight, and now they turn the spear
In hostile wise; now side by side in plighted peace they meet.
—E'en as they tell of Labyrinth that lies in lofty Crete,
A road with blind walls crossed and crossed, an ever-shifting trap
Of thousand ways, where he who seeks upon no sign may hap,
But midst of error, blind to seize or follow back, 'tis gone.
Not otherwise Troy's little ones the tangle follow on
At top of speed, and interweave the flight and battle's play;
E'en as the dolphins, swimming swift amid the watery way,
Cleave Libyan or Carpathian sea and sport upon the wave.
This guise of riding, such-like play, his folk Ascanius gave
Once more, when round the Long White Stead the walls of war he drew:
Withal the Ancient Latin Folk he taught the games to do,
Suchwise as he a lad had learned with lads from Troy that came:
That same the Albans taught their sons; most mighty Rome that same
Took to her thence, and honoured so her sires of yore agone:
Now name of Troy and Trojan host the play and boys have won.
Thus far unto the Holy Sire the games were carried through, [Pg 139]
When Fortune turned her faith at last and changed her mind anew:
For while the diverse hallowed games about the tomb they spent,
Saturnian Juno Iris fair from heights of heaven hath sent
Unto the Ilian ships, and breathed fair wind behind her ways,
For sore she brooded, nor had spent her wrath of ancient days.
So now the maid sped swift along her thousand-coloured bow,
And swiftly ran adown the path where none beheld her go.
And there she saw that gathering great, and swept the strand with eye,
And saw the haven void of folk, the ships unheeded lie.
But far away on lonely beach the Trojan women weep
The lost Anchises; and all they look ever on the deep
Amid their weeping: "Woe are we! what waters yet abide!
What ocean-waste for weary folk!" So one and all they cried,
And all they yearn for city's rest: sea-toil is loathsome grown.
So she, not lacking craft of guile, amidst them lighted down,
When she hath put away from her God's raiment and God's mien,
And but as wife of Doryclus, the Tmarian man, is seen,
Old Beroë, who once had sons and lordly race and name;
Amid the Dardan mother-folk such wise the Goddess came:
"O wretched ones!" she said, "O ye whom armed Achæan hand
Dragged not to death before the walls that stayed your fatherland!
Unhappy folk! and why hath Fate held back your doom till now?
The seventh year is on the turn since Troy-town's overthrow;
And we all seas the while, all lands, all rocks and skies that hate
The name of guest, have wandered o'er, and through the sea o'ergreat
[Pg 140]Still chase that fleeing Italy mid wallowing waters tossed.
Lo, here is Eryx' brother-land; Acestes is our host;
What banneth us to found our walls and lawful cities gain?
O Fatherland! O House-Gods snatched from midst the foe in vain!
Shall no walls more be called of Troy? Shall I see never more
Xanthus or Simoïs, like the streams where Hector dwelt of yore?
Come on, and those unhappy ships burn up with aid of me;
For e'en now mid the dreams of sleep Cassandra did I see,
Who gave me burning brand, and said, 'Here seek your Troy anew:
This is the house that ye shall have.'—And now is time to do!
No tarrying with such tokens toward! Lo, altars four are here
Of Neptune: very God for us heart and the fire doth bear!"
So saying, first she caught upon the fiery bane, and raised
Her hand aloft, and mightily she whirled it as it blazed
And cast it: but the Ilian wives, their straining hearts are torn,
Their souls bewildered: one of them, yea, and their eldest-born,
Pyrgo, the queenly fosterer of many a Priam's son,
Cried: "Mothers, nay no Beroë, nay no Rhoeteian one,
The wife of Doryclus is this: lo, Godhead's beauty there!
Behold the gleaming of her eyes, note how she breathes the air;
Note ye her countenance and voice, the gait wherewith she goes.
Yea, I myself left Beroë e'en now amidst her woes;
Sick, sad at heart that she alone must fail from such a deed,
Nor bear unto Anchises' ghost his glory's righteous meed."
Such were the words she spake to them.
But now those mothers, at the first doubtful, with evil eyes
Gazed on the ships awhile between unhappy craving stayed
For land they stood on, and the thought of land that Fortune bade:
When lo! with even spread of wings the Goddess rose to heaven, [Pg 141]
And in her flight the cloudy lift with mighty bow was riven.
Then, wildered by such tokens dread, pricked on by maddened hearts,
Shrieking they snatch the hearthstone's fire and brand from inner parts;
While some, they strip the altars there, and flaming leaf and bough
Cast forth: and Vulcan, let aloose, is swiftly raging now
Along the thwarts, along the oars, and stems of painted fir.
But now with news of flaming ships there goes a messenger,
Eumelus, to Anchises' tomb, and theatre-seats, and they
Look round themselves and see the soot black in the smoke-cloud play.
Then first Ascanius, e'en as blithe the riding-play he led,
So eager now he rode his ways to camp bewilderèd,
And nowise might they hold him back, his masters spent of breath.
"O what new madness then is this? What, what will ye?" he saith.
"O wretched townswomen, no foe, no camp of Argive men
Ye burn, but your own hopes ye burn. Lo, your Ascanius then!"
Therewith before their feet he cast his empty helm afar,
Dight wherewithal he stirred in sport that image of the war.
And thither now Æneas sped, and crowd of Teucrian folk;
Whereat the women diversely along the sea-shore broke,
Fleeing afeard, and steal to woods and whatso hollow den,
And loathe their deed, and loathe the light, as changed they know again
Their very friends, and Juno now from every heart is cast.
But none the less the flaming rage for ever holdeth fast
With might untamed; the fire lives on within the timbers wet,
The caulking sends forth sluggish smoke, the slow heat teeth doth set [Pg 142]
Upon the keel; to inmost heart down creeps the fiery bale;
Nor all the might of mighty men nor rivers poured avail.
Then good Æneas from his back the raiment off him tore,
And called the Gods to aid, and high his palms to heaven upbore:
"Great Jove, if not all utterly a hater thou art grown
Of Trojan folk, and if thy love of old yet looketh down
On deeds of men, give to our ships to win from out the flame,
O Father, now, and snatch from death the feeble Teucrian name,
Or else thrust down the remnant left, if so we merit aught,
With bolt of death, and with thine hand sweep us away to nought!"
Scarce had he given forth the word, ere midst outpouring rain,
The black storm rageth measureless, and earthly height and plain
Shake to the thundering; all the sky casts forth confusèd flood,
Most black with gathering of the South: then all the ship-hulls stood
Fulfilled with water of the heavens; the half-burned oak was drenched,
Until at last to utmost spark the smouldering fire is quenched,
And all the ships escaped the bane of fiery end save four.
But, shaken by such bitter hap, Father Æneas bore
This way and that; and turned the cares on all sides in his breast:
Whether amid Sicilian fields to set him down in rest,
Forgetting Fate, or yet to strive for shores of Italy.
Then the old Nautes, whom erewhile had Pallas set on high
By her exceeding plenteous craft and lore that she had taught:—
She gave him answers; telling him how wrath of God was wrought,
And how it showed, and what the law of fate would ask and have:—
This man unto Æneas now such words of solace gave: [Pg 143]
"O Goddess-born, Fate's ebb and flow still let us follow on,
Whate'er shall be, by bearing all must Fortune's fight be won.
Dardan Acestes have ye here, sprung of the Godhead's seed;
Take his goodwill and fellowship to help thee in thy rede.
Give him the crews of those burnt ships; to him let such-like go
As faint before thy mighty hope and shifting weal and woe.
The mothers weary of the sea, the elders spent with years,
And whatsoever feeble is and whatsoever fears,
Choose out, and in this land of his walls let the weary frame;
And they their town by leave of thee shall e'en Acesta name."
So was he kindled by the speech of that wise ancient friend,
Yet still down every way of care his thought he needs must send.
But now the wain of mirky night was holding middle sky,
When lo, his father's image seemed to fall from heaven the high,
And suddenly Anchises' lips such words to him poured forth:
"O son, that while my life abode more than my life wert worth;
O son, well learned in Ilium's fates, hither my ways I take
By Jove's commands, who even now the fiery bane did slake
Amid thy ships, and now at last in heaven hath pitied thee:
Yield thou to elder Nautes' redes; exceeding good they be:
The very flower of all thy folk, the hearts that hardiest are,
Take thou to Italy; for thee in Latium bideth war
With hardy folk of nurture rude: but first must thou be gone
To nether dwelling-place of Dis: seek thou to meet me, son,
Across Avernus deep: for me the wicked house of hell
The dusk unhappy holdeth not; in pleasant place I dwell, [Pg 144]
Elysium, fellowship of good: there shall the holy Maid,
The Sibyl, bring thee; plenteous blood of black-wooled ewes being paid:
There shalt thou learn of all thy race, and gift of fated walls.
And now farewell: for dewy night from mid way-faring falls,
The panting steeds of cruel dawn are on me with their breath."
He spake, and midst thin air he fled as smoke-wreath vanisheth.
"Where rushest thou?" Æneas cried: "where hurriest thou again?
Whom fleest thou? who driveth thee from these embraces fain?"
So saying, the flame asleep in ash he busied him to wake,
And worshipped with the censer full and holy-kneaded cake
The sacred Vesta's shrine and God of Pergamean wall.
Then for his fellows doth he send, Acestes first of all,
And teacheth them of Jove's command, and what his sire beloved
Had bidden him, and whitherwise his heart thereto was moved.
No tarrying there was therein, Acestes gainsaid nought;
They write the mothers on the roll; thither a folk is brought,
Full willing hearts, who nothing crave the great reward of fame:
But they themselves shape thwarts anew; and timbers gnawed by flame
Make new within their ships again, and oars and rudders fit.
A little band it is by tale, but valour lives in it.
Meanwhile Æneas marketh out the city with the plough,
And, portioning the houses out, bids Troy and Ilium grow:
Therewith Acestes, Trojan king, joys in his lordship fair;
Sets forth the court, and giveth laws to fathers gathered there:
[Pg 145]Then on the head of Eryx huge a house that neareth heaven
To Venus of Idalia is reared: a priest is given
And holy grove wide spread around, where old Anchises lay.
Now all the folk for nine days' space have made them holyday
And worshipped God; and quiet winds have lowly laid the main,
And ever gentle Southern breath woos to the deep again:
Then all along the hollow shore ariseth weeping great,
And 'twixt farewells and many a kiss a night and day they wait:
Yea e'en the mothers, yea e'en they to whom so hard and drear
The sea had seemed, a dreadful name they had no heart to bear,
Are fain to go, are fain to take all toil the way may find.
Whom good Æneas solaceth with friendly words and kind,
As to Acestes' kindred heart weeping he giveth them.
Three calves to Eryx then he bids slay on the ocean's hem;
To wind and weather an ewe lamb; then biddeth cast aloose:
And he himself, begarlanded with olive clippèd close,
Stands, cup in hand, on furthest prow, and casts upon the brine
The inner meat, and poureth forth the flowing of the wine.
They gather way; springs up astern the fair and following breeze;
The fellows strive in smiting brine and sweep the level seas.
But meanwhile Venus, sorely stirred by cares and all unrest,
Hath speech of Neptune, pouring forth complaining from her breast:
"The cruel wrath that Juno bears, and heart insatiate,
Drive me, O Neptune, prayer-fulfilled upon thy power to wait:
She softeneth not by lapse of days nor piety's increase,
Nor yielding unto Jove and Fate from troubling will she cease.
'Tis not enough to tear away from heart of Phrygian folk
Their city by her cruel hate; nor with all ills to yoke [Pg 146]
Troy's remnant; but its ash and bones through death she followeth on.
What! doth her own heart know the deed that all this wrath hath won?
Be thou my witness how of late she stirred up suddenly
Wild tumult of the Libyan sea! all waters with the sky
She mingled, trusting all in vain to storm of Æolus:
This in thy very realm she dared.
E'en now mad hearts to Trojan wives by wickedness she gave,
And foully burned his ships; and him with crippled ship-host drave
To leave his fellow-folk behind upon an outland shore.
I pray thee let the remnant left sail safe thine ocean o'er,
And let them come where into sea Laurentian Tiber falls,
If right I ask, and unto these Fate giveth fateful walls."
Then Saturn's son, the sea-tamer, gave forth such words as these:
"'Tis utter right, O Cytherean, to trust thee to my seas,
Whence thou wert born; and I myself deserve no less; e'en I,
Who oft for thee refrain the rage of maddened sea and sky.
Nor less upon the earth my care Æneas did embrace;
Xanthus and Simoïs witness it!—When, following up the chace,
The all-unheartened host of Troy 'gainst Troy Achilles bore,
And many a thousand gave to death; choked did the rivers roar
Nor any way might Xanthus find to roll his flood to sea:
Æneas then in hollow cloud I caught away, when he
Would meet Pelides' might with hands and Gods not strong enow.
Yea, that was when from lowest base I wrought to overthrow
The walls of that same Troy forsworn my very hands had wrought.
And now cast all thy fear away, my mind hath shifted nought;
Avernus' haven shall he reach, e'en as thou deemest good, [Pg 147]
And one alone of all his folk shall seek amidst the flood;
One head shall pay for all the rest."
So when these words had brought to peace the Goddess' joyful heart,
The Father yokes his steeds with gold, and bridles the wild things
With o'erfoamed bit, and loose in hand the rein above them flings,
And light in coal-blue car he flies o'er topmost of the sea:
The waves sink down, the heaped main lays his waters peacefully
Before the thunder of his wheels; from heaven all cloud-flecks fail.
Lo, diverse bodies of his folk; lo, many a mighty whale;
And Glaucus' ancient fellowship, Palæmon Ino's son,
And Tritons swift, and all the host that Phorcus leadeth on;
Maid Panopea and Melite, Cymodoce the fair,
Nesæa, Spio, and Thalia, with Thetis leftward bear.
Now to Æneas' overstrained heart the kindly joy and soft
Sinks deep: herewith he biddeth men raise all the masts aloft
At swiftest, and along the yards to spread the sails to wind:
So all sheet home together then; then leftward with one mind
They tack; then tack again to right: the yard-horns up in air
They shift and shift, while kindly winds seaward the ship-host bear.
But first before all other keels did Palinurus lead
The close array, and all were charged to have his course in heed.
And now the midmost place of heaven had dewy night drawn nigh,
And 'neath the oars on benches hard scattered the shipmen lie,
Who all the loosened limbs of them to gentle rest had given;
When lo, the very light-winged Sleep stooped from the stars of heaven,
Thrusting aside the dusky air and cleaving night atwain: [Pg 148]
The sackless Palinure he sought with evil dreams and vain.
So on the high poop sat the God as Phorbas fashionèd,
And as he sat such-like discourse from out his mouth he shed:
"Iasian Palinure, unasked the waves our ship-host bear;
Soft blow the breezes steadily; the hour for rest is here:
Lay down thine head, steal weary eyes from toil a little space,
And I will do thy deeds awhile and hold me in thy place."
But Palinure with scarce-raised eyes e'en such an answer gave:
"To gentle countenance of sea and quiet of the wave
Deem'st thou me dull? would'st have me trow in such a monster's truth?
And shall I mine Æneas trust to lying breeze forsooth,
I, fool of peaceful heaven and sea so many times of old?"
So saying to the helm he clung, nor ever left his hold,
And all the while the stars above his eyen toward them drew.
But lo, the God brought forth a bough wet with Lethean dew,
And sleepy with the might of Styx, and shook it therewithal
Over his brow, and loosed his lids delaying still to fall:
But scarce in first of stealthy sleep his limbs all loosened lay,
When, weighing on him, did he tear a space of stern away,
And rolled him, helm and wrack and all, into the flowing wave
Headlong, and crying oft in vain for fellowship to save:
Then Sleep himself amid thin air flew, borne upon the wing.
No less the ship-host sails the sea, its safe way following
Untroubled 'neath the plighted word of Father Neptune's mouth.
So to the Sirens' rocks they draw, a dangerous pass forsooth [Pg 149]
In yore agone, now white with bones of many a perished man.
Thence ever roared the salt sea now as on the rocks it ran;
And there the Father felt the ship fare wild and fitfully,
Her helmsman lost; so he himself steered o'er the night-tide sea,
Sore weeping; for his fellow's end his inmost heart did touch:
"O Palinure, that trowed the sky and soft seas overmuch,
Now naked on an unknown shore thy resting-place shall be!"
ÆNEAS COMETH TO THE SIBYL OF CUMÆ, AND BY HER IS LED INTO THE UNDER-WORLD, AND THERE BEHOLDETH MANY STRANGE THINGS, AND IN THE END MEETETH HIS FATHER, ANCHISES, WHO TELLETH HIM OF THE DAYS TO COME.
So spake he weeping, and his host let loose from every band,
Until at last they draw anigh Cumæ's Euboean strand.
They turn the bows from off the main; the toothèd anchors' grip
Makes fast the keels; the shore is hid by many a curvèd ship.
Hot-heart the youthful company leaps on the Westland's shore;
Part falleth on to seek them out the seed of fiery store
That flint-veins hide; part runneth through the dwellings of the deer,
The thicket steads, and each to each the hidden streams they bare.
But good Æneas seeks the house where King Apollo bides,
The mighty den, the secret place set far apart, that hides
The awful Sibyl, whose great soul and heart he seeketh home,
The Seer of Delos, showing her the hidden things to come:
And so the groves of Trivia and golden house they gain.
Now Dædalus, as tells the tale, fleeing from Minos' reign, [Pg 151]
Durst trust himself to heaven on wings swift hastening, and swim forth
Along the road ne'er tried before unto the chilly north;
So light at last o'er Chalcis' towers he hung amid the air,
Then, come adown to earth once more, to thee he hallowed here,
O Phœbus, all his wingèd oars, and built thee mighty fane:
Androgeus' death was on the doors; then paying of the pain
By those Cecropians; bid, alas, each year to give in turn
Seven bodies of their sons;—lo there, the lots drawn from the urn.
But facing this the Gnosian land draws up amid the sea:
There is the cruel bull-lust wrought, and there Pasiphaë
Embraced by guile: the blended babe is there, the twiformed thing,
The Minotaur, that evil sign of Venus' cherishing;
And there the tangled house and toil that ne'er should be undone:
But ruth of Dædalus himself a queen's love-sorrow won,
And he himself undid the snare and winding wilderment.
Guiding the blind feet with the thread. Thou, Icarus, wert blent
Full oft with such a work be sure, if grief forbade it not;
But twice he tried to shape in gold the picture of thy lot,
And twice the father's hands fell down.
Long had their eyes read o'er
Such matters, but Achates, now, sent on a while before,
Was come with that Deïphobe, the Glaucus' child, the maid
Of Phœbus and of Trivia, and such a word she said:
"The hour will have no tarrying o'er fair shows for idle eyes;
'Twere better from an unyoked herd seven steers to sacrifice,
And e'en so many hosts of ewes in manner due culled out."
She spake; her holy bidding then the warriors go about,
Nor tarry: into temple high she calls the Teucrian men, [Pg 152]
Where the huge side of Cumæ's rock is carven in a den,
Where are an hundred doors to come, an hundred mouths to go,
Whence e'en so many awful sounds, the Sibyl's answers flow.
But at the threshold cried the maid: "Now is the hour awake
For asking—Ah, the God, the God!"
And as the word she spake
Within the door, all suddenly her visage and her hue
Were changed, and all her sleekèd hair, and gasping breath she drew,
And with the rage her wild heart swelled, and greater was she grown,
Nor mortal-voiced; for breath of God upon her heart was blown
As He drew nigher:
"Art thou dumb of vows and prayers, forsooth,
Trojan Æneas, art thou dumb? unprayed, the mighty mouth
Of awe-mazed house shall open not."
Even such a word she said,
Then hushed: through hardened Teucrian bones swift ran the chilly dread,
And straight the king from inmost heart the flood of prayers doth pour:
"Phœbus, who all the woe of Troy hast pitied evermore,
Who Dardan shaft and Paris' hands in time agone didst speed
Against Achilles' body there, who me withal didst lead
Over the seas that go about so many a mighty land,
Through those Massylian folks remote, and length of Syrtes' sand,
Till now I hold that Italy that ever drew aback;
And now perchance a Trojan fate we, even we may lack.
Ye now, O Gods and Goddesses, to whom a stumbling-stone
Was Ilium in the days of old, and Dardan folk's renown,
May spare the folk of Pergamus. But thou, O holiest,
O Maid that knowest things to come, grant thou the Latin rest
To Teucrian men, and Gods of Troy, the straying way-worn powers! [Pg 153]
For surely now no realm I ask but such as Fate makes ours.
To Phœbus and to Trivia then a temple will I raise,
A marble world; in Phœbus' name will hallow festal days:
Thee also in our realm to be full mighty shrines await,
There will I set thine holy lots and hidden words of fate
Said to my folk, and hallow there well-chosen men for thee,
O Holy One: But give thou not thy songs to leaf of tree,
Lest made a sport to hurrying gales confusedly they wend;
But sing them thou thyself, I pray!"
Therewith his words had end.
Meanwhile the Seer-maid, not yet tamed to Phœbus, raves about
The cave, still striving from her breast to cast the godhead out;
But yet the more the mighty God her mouth bewildered wears,
Taming her wild heart, fashioning her soul with weight of fears.
At last the hundred mighty doors fly open, touched of none,
And on the air the answer floats of that foreseeing one:
"O Thou, who dangers of the sea hast throughly worn away,
Abides thee heavier toil of earth: the Dardans on a day
Shall come to that Lavinian land,—leave fear thereof afar:
Yet of their coming shall they rue. Lo, war, war, dreadful war!
And Tiber bearing plenteous blood upon his foaming back.
Nor Simoïs there, nor Xanthus' stream, nor Dorian camp shall lack:
Yea, once again in Latin land Achilles is brought forth,
God-born no less: nor evermore shall mighty Juno's wrath
Fail Teucrian men. Ah, how shalt thou, fallen on evil days,
To all Italian lands and folks thine hands beseeching raise!
Lo, once again a stranger bride brings woeful days on Troy,
Once more the wedding of a foe. [Pg 154]
But thou, yield not to any ill, but set thy face, and wend
The bolder where thy fortune leads; the dawn of perils' end,
Whence least thou mightest look for it, from Greekish folk shall come."
Suchwise the Seer of Cumæ sang from out her inner home
The dreadful double words, wherewith the cavern moans again,
As sooth amid the mirk she winds: Apollo shakes the rein
Over the maddened one, and stirs the strings about her breast;
But when her fury lulled awhile and maddened mouth had rest,
Hero Æneas thus began:
"No face of any care,
O maiden, can arise on me in any wise unware:
Yea, all have I forecast; my mind hath worn through everything.
One prayer I pray, since this they call the gateway of the King
Of Nether-earth, and Acheron's o'erflow this mirky mere:
O let me meet the eyes and mouth of my dead father dear;
O open me the holy gate, and teach me where to go!
I bore him on these shoulders once from midmost of the foe,
From flame and weapons thousandfold against our goings bent;
My yoke-fellow upon the road o'er every sea he went,
'Gainst every threat of sea and sky a hardy heart he held,
Though worn and feeble past decay and feebleness of eld.
Yea, he it was who bade me wend, a suppliant, to thy door,
And seek thee out: O holy one, cast thou thy pity o'er
Father and son! All things thou canst, nor yet hath Hecaté
Set thee to rule Avernus' woods an empty Queen to be.
Yea, Orpheus wrought with Thracian harp and strings of tuneful might
To draw away his perished love from midmost of the night.
Yea, Pollux, dying turn for turn, his brother borrowed well, [Pg 155]
And went and came the road full oft—Of Theseus shall I tell?
Or great Alcides? Ah, I too from highest Jove am sprung."
Such were the words he prayed withal and round the altars clung:
Then she fell speaking:
"Man of Troy, from blood of Godhead grown,
Anchises' child, Avernus' road is easy faring down;
All day and night is open wide the door of Dis the black;
But thence to gain the upper air, and win the footsteps back,
This is the deed, this is the toil: Some few have had the might,
Beloved by Jove the just, upborne to heaven by valour's light,
The Sons of God. 'Twixt it and us great thicket fills the place
That slow Cocytus' mirky folds all round about embrace;
But if such love be in thine heart, such yearning in thee lie,
To swim twice o'er the Stygian mere and twice to see with eye
Black Tartarus, and thou must needs this idle labour win,
Hearken what first there is to do: the dusky tree within
Lurks the gold bough with golden leaves and limber twigs of gold,
To nether Juno consecrate; this all these woods enfold,
Dim shadowy places cover it amid the hollow dale;
To come unto the under-world none living may avail
Till he that growth of golden locks from off the tree hath shorn;
For this fair Proserpine ordained should evermore be borne
Her very gift: but, plucked away, still faileth not the thing,
Another golden stem instead hath leafy tide of spring.
So throughly search with eyes: thine hand aright upon it lay
When thou hast found: for easily 'twill yield and come away
If the Fates call thee: otherwise no might may overbear
Its will, nor with the hardened steel the marvel mayst thou shear. [Pg 156]
—Ah! further,—of thy perished friend as yet thou nothing know'st,
Whose body lying dead and cold defileth all thine host,
While thou beseechest answering words, and hangest on our door:
Go, bring him to his own abode and heap the grave mound o'er;
Bring forth the black-wooled ewes to be first bringing back of grace:
So shalt thou see the Stygian groves, so shalt thou see the place
That hath no road for living men."
So hushed her mouth shut close:
But sad-faced and with downcast eyes therefrom Æneas goes,
And leaves the cave, still turning o'er those coming things, so dim,
So dark to see. Achates fares nigh fellow unto him,
And ever 'neath like load of cares he lets his footsteps fall:
And many diverse words they cast each unto each withal,
What was the dead friend and the grave whereof the seer did teach.
But when they gat them down at last upon the barren beach,
They saw Misenus lying dead by death but lightly earned;
Misenus, son of Æolus; no man more nobly learned
In waking up the war with brass and singing Mars alight.
Great Hector's fellow was he erst, with Hector through the fight
He thrust, by horn made glorious, made glorious by the spear.
But when from Hector life and all Achilles' hand did tear,
Dardan Æneas' man became that mightiest under shield,
Nor unto any worser lord his fellowship would yield.
Now while by chance through hollow shell he blew across the sea,
And witless called the very Gods his singing-foes to be,
The envious Triton caught him up, if ye the tale may trow,
And sank the hero 'twixt the rocks in foaming waters' flow.
Wherefore about him weeping sore were gathered all the men,
And good Æneas chief of all: the Sibyl's bidding then [Pg 157]
Weeping they speed, and loiter not, but heap the tree-boughs high
Upon the altar of the dead to raise it to the sky:
Then to the ancient wood they fare, high dwelling of wild things;
They fell the pine, and 'neath the axe the smitten holm-oak rings;
With wedge they cleave the ashen logs, and knitted oaken bole,
Full fain to split; and mighty elms down from the mountains roll.
Amid the work Æneas is, who hearteneth on his folk,
As with such very tools as they he girds him for the stroke;
But through the sorrow of his heart such thought as this there strays,
And looking toward the waste of wood such word as this he prays:
"O if that very golden bough would show upon the tree,
In such a thicket and so great; since all she told of thee,
The seer-maid, O Misenus lost, was true and overtrue!"
But scarcely had he spoken thus, when lo, from heaven there flew
Two doves before his very eyes, who settled fluttering
On the green grass: and therewithal that mightiest battle-king
Knoweth his mother's birds new-come, and joyful poureth prayer:
"O, if a way there be at all, lead ye amid the air,
Lead on unto the thicket place where o'er the wealthy soil
The rich bough casteth shadow down! Fail not my eyeless toil,
So he saith, and stays his feet to heed
What token they may bring to him, and whitherward they speed.
So on they flutter pasturing, with such a space between,
As they by eyes of following folk may scantly well be seen;
But when Avernus' jaws at last, the noisome place, they reach,
They rise aloft and skim the air, and settle each by each [Pg 158]
Upon the very wished-for place, yea high amid the tree,
Where the changed light through twigs of gold shines forth diversedly;
As in the woods mid winter's chill puts forth the mistletoe,
And bloometh with a leafage strange his own tree ne'er did sow,
And with his yellow children hath the rounded trunk in hold,
So in the dusky holm-oak seemed that bough of leafy gold,
As through the tinkling shaken foil the gentle wind went by:
Then straight Æneas caught and culled the tough stem greedily,
And to the Sibyl's dwelling-place the gift in hand he bore.
Nor less meanwhile the Teucrians weep Misenus on the shore,
And do last service to the dead that hath no thanks to pay.
And first fat fagots of the fir and oaken logs they lay,
And pile a mighty bale and rich, and weave the dusk-leaved trees
Between its sides, and set before the funeral cypresses,
And over all in seemly wise the gleaming weapons pile:
But some speed fire bewavèd brass and water's warmth meanwhile,
And wash all o'er and sleek with oil the cold corpse of the dead:
Goes up the wail; the limbs bewept they streak upon the bed,
And cast thereon the purple cloths, the well-known noble gear.
Then some of them, they shoulder up the mighty-fashioned bier,
Sad service! and put forth the torch with faces from him turned,
In fashion of the fathers old: there the heaped offerings burned,
The frankincense, the dainty meats, the bowls o'erflowed with oil.
But when the ashes were sunk down and fire had rest from toil,
The relics and the thirsty ash with unmixed wine they wet.
Then the gleaned bones in brazen urn doth Corynæus set,
Who thrice about the gathered folk the stainless water bore.
As from the fruitful olive-bough light dew he sprinkled o'er,
And cleansed the men, and spake withal last farewell to the dead.
But good Æneas raised a tomb, a mound huge fashionèd,
And laid thereon the hero's arms and oar and battle-horn,
Beneath an airy hill that thence Misenus' name hath borne,
And still shall bear it, not to die till time hath faded out.
This done, those deeds the Sibyl bade he setteth swift about:
A deep den is there, pebble-piled, with mouth that gapeth wide;
Black mere and thicket shadowy-mirk the secret of it hide.
And over it no fowl there is may wend upon the wing
And 'scape the bane; its blackened jaws bring forth such venoming.
Such is the breath it bears aloft unto the hollow heaven;
So to the place the Greekish folk have name of Fowl-less given.
Here, first of all, four black-skinned steers the priestess sets in line,
And on the foreheads of all these out-pours the bowl of wine.
Then 'twixt the horns she culleth out the topmost of the hair,
And lays it on the holy fire, the first-fruits offered there,
And cries aloud on Hecaté, of might in heaven and hell;
While others lay the knife to throat and catch the blood that fell
Warm in the bowls: Æneas then an ewe-lamb black of fleece
Smites down with sword to her that bore the dread Eumenides,
And her great sister; and a cow yet barren slays aright
To thee, O Proserpine, and rears the altars of the night
Unto the Stygian King, and lays whole bulls upon the flame,
Pouring rich oil upon the flesh that rush of fire o'ercame.
But now, when sunrise is at hand, and dawning of the day,
The earth falls moaning 'neath their feet, the wooded ridges sway, [Pg 160]
And dogs seem howling through the dusk as now she drew anear
The Goddess. "O be far away, ye unclean!" cries the seer.
"Be far away! ah, get ye gone from all the holy wood!
But thou, Æneas, draw thy steel and take thee to the road;
Now needeth all thine hardihood and steadfast heart and brave."
She spake, and wildly cast herself amidst the hollow cave,
But close upon her fearless feet Æneas followeth.
O Gods, who rule the ghosts of men, O silent shades of death,
Chaos and Phlegethon, hushed lands that lie beneath the night!
Let me speak now, for I have heard: O aid me with your might
To open things deep sunk in earth, and mid the darkness blent.
All dim amid the lonely night on through the dusk they went,
On through the empty house of Dis, the land of nought at all.
E'en as beneath the doubtful moon, when niggard light doth fall
Upon some way amid the woods, when God hath hidden heaven,
And black night from the things of earth the colours dear hath driven.
Lo, in the first of Orcus' jaws, close to the doorway side,
The Sorrows and Avenging Griefs have set their beds to bide;
There the pale kin of Sickness dwells, and Eld, the woeful thing,
And Fear, and squalid-fashioned Lack, and witless Hungering,
Shapes terrible to see with eye; and Toil of Men, and Death,
And Sleep, Death's brother, and the Lust of Soul that sickeneth:
And War, the death-bearer, was set full in the threshold's way,
And those Well-willers' iron beds: there heartless Discord lay,
Whose viper-breeding hair about was bloody-filleted. [Pg 161]
But in the midst a mighty elm, dusk as the night, outspread
Its immemorial boughs and limbs, where lying dreams there lurk,
As tells the tale, still clinging close 'neath every leaf-side mirk.
Withal most wondrous, many-shaped are all the wood-beasts there;
The Centaurs stable by the porch, and twi-shaped Scyllas fare,
And hundred-folded Briareus, and Lerna's Worm of dread
Fell hissing; and Chimæra's length and fire-behelmèd head,
Gorgons and Harpies, and the shape of that three-bodied Shade.
Then smitten by a sudden fear Æneas caught his blade,
And turned the naked point and edge against their drawing nigh;
And but for her wise word that these were thin lives flitting by
All bodiless, and wrapped about in hollow shape and vain,
With idle sword had he set on to cleave the ghosts atwain.
To Acheron of Tartarus from hence the road doth go,
That mire-bemingled, whirling wild, rolls on his desert flow,
And all amid Cocytus' flood casteth his world of sand.
This flood and river's ferrying doth Charon take in hand,
Dread in his squalor: on his chin untrimmed the hoar hair lies
Most plenteous; and unchanging flame bides in his staring eyes:
Down from his shoulders hangs his gear in filthy knot upknit;
And he himself poles on his ship, and tends the sails of it,
And crawls with load of bodies lost in bark all iron-grey,
Grown old by now: but fresh and green is godhead's latter day.
Down thither rushed a mighty crowd, unto the flood-side borne;
Mothers and men, and bodies there with all the life outworn
Of great-souled heroes; many a boy and never-wedded maid,
And youths before their fathers' eyes upon the death-bale laid: [Pg 162]
As many as the leaves fall down in first of autumn cold;
As many as the gathered fowl press on to field and fold,
From off the weltering ocean-flood, when the late year and chill
Hath driven them across the sea the sunny lands to fill.
There stood the first and prayed him hard to waft their bodies o'er,
With hands stretched out for utter love of that far-lying shore.
But that grim sailor now takes these, now those from out the band,
While all the others far away he thrusteth from the sand.
Æneas wondered at the press, and moved thereby he spoke:
"Say, Maid, what means this river-side, and gathering of the folk?
What seek the souls, and why must some depart the river's rim,
While others with the sweep of oars the leaden waters skim?"
Thereon the ancient Maid of Days in few words answered thus:
"Anchises' seed, thou very child of Godhead glorious,
Thou seest the deep Cocytus' pools, thou seest the Stygian mere,
By whose might Gods will take the oath, and all forswearing fear:
But all the wretched crowd thou seest are they that lack a grave,
And Charon is the ferryman: those borne across the wave
Are buried: none may ever cross the awful roaring road
Until their bones are laid at rest within their last abode.
An hundred years they stray about and wander round the shore,
Then they at last have grace to gain the pools desired so sore."
There tarried then Anchises' child and stayed awhile his feet,
Mid many thoughts, and sore at heart, for such a doom unmeet:
And there he saw all sorrowful, without the death-dues dead, [Pg 163]
Leucaspis, and Orontes, he that Lycian ship-host led;
Whom, borne from Troy o'er windy plain, the South wind utterly
O'erwhelming, sank him, ships and men, in swallow of the sea.
And lo ye now, where Palinure the helmsman draweth nigh,
Who lately on the Libyan sea, noting the starry sky,
Fell from the high poop headlong down mid wavy waters cast.
His sad face through the plenteous dusk Æneas knew at last,
"What God, O Palinure, did snatch thee so away
From us thy friends and drown thee dead amidst the watery way?
Speak out! for Seer Apollo, found no guileful prophet erst,
By this one answer in my soul a lying hope hath nursed;
Who sang of thee safe from the deep and gaining field and fold
Of fair Ausonia: suchwise he his plighted word doth hold!"
The other spake: "Apollo's shrine in nowise lied to thee,
King of Anchises, and no God hath drowned me in the sea:
But while I clung unto the helm, its guard ordained of right,
And steered thee on, I chanced to fall, and so by very might
Seaward I dragged it down with me. By the rough seas I swear
My heart, for any hap of mine, had no so great a fear
As for thy ship; lest, rudderless, its master from it torn,
Amid so great o'ertoppling seas it yet might fail forlorn.
Three nights of storm I drifted on, 'neath wind and water's might,
Over the sea-plain measureless; but with the fourth day's light
There saw I Italy rise up from welter of the wave.
And striving with my hookèd hands hold on the rocks to get:
Then slow I swam unto the land, that me well-nigh did save,
But fell the cruel folk on me, heavy with raiment wet,
[Pg 164] The fools, they took me for a prey, and steel against me bore.
Now the waves have me, and the winds on sea-beach roll me o'er.
But by the breath of heaven above, by daylight's joyous ways,
By thine own father, by the hope of young Iulus' days,
Snatch me, O dauntless, from these woes, and o'er me cast the earth!
As well thou may'st when thou once more hast gained the Veline firth.
Or if a way there be, if way thy Goddess-mother show,—
For not without the will of Gods meseemeth wouldst thou go
O'er so great floods, or have a mind to swim the Stygian mere,—
Then give thine hand, and o'er the wave me woeful with thee bear,
That I at least in quiet place may rest when I am dead."
So spake he, but the priestess straight such word unto him said:
"O Palinure, what godless mind hath gotten hold of thee,
That thou the grim Well-willers' stream and Stygian flood wouldst see
Unburied, and unbidden still the brim wilt draw anear?
Hope not the Fates of very God to change by any prayer.
But take this memory of my words to soothe thy wretched case:
Through all their cities far and wide the people of the place,
Driven by mighty signs from heaven, thy bones shall expiate
And raise thee tomb, and year by year with worship on thee wait;
And there the name of Palinure shall dwell eternally."
So at that word his trouble lulled, his grief of heart passed by,
A little while he joyed to think of land that bore his name.
So forth upon their way they went and toward the river came;
But when from Stygian wave their path the shipman's gaze did meet,
As through the dead hush of the grove shoreward they turned their feet, [Pg 165]
He fell upon them first with words and unbid chided them:
"Whoe'er ye be who come in arms unto our river's hem,
Say what ye be! yea, speak from thence and stay your steps forthright!
This is the very place of shades, and sleep, and sleepful night;
And living bodies am I banned in Stygian keel to bear.
Nor soothly did I gain a joy, giving Alcides fare,
Or ferrying of Pirithoüs and Theseus time agone,
Though come of God they were and matched in valiancy of none:
He sought the guard of Tartarus chains on his limbs to lay,
And from the King's own seat he dragged the quaking beast away:
Those strove to carry off the Queen from great Dis' very bed."
The Amphrysian prophet answering, few words unto him said:
"But here are no such guiles as this, so let thy wrath go by:
Our weapons bear no war; for us still shall the door-ward lie
And bark in den, and fright the ghosts, the bloodless, evermore:
Nor shall chaste Proserpine for us pass through her kinsman's door:
Trojan Æneas, great in arms and great in godly grace,
Goes down through dark of Erebus to see his father's face.
But if such guise of piety may move thine heart no whit,
At least this bough "—(bared from her weed therewith she showeth it)—
Then in his swelling heart adown the anger sank,
Nor spake he more; but wondering at that gift a God might thank,
The fateful stem, now seen once more so long a time worn by,
He turned about his coal-blue keel and drew the bank anigh
The souls upon the long thwarts set therewith he thrusteth out,
And clears the gangway, and withal takes in his hollow boat [Pg 166]
The huge Æneas, 'neath whose weight the seamed boat groans and creaks,
And plenteous water of the mere lets in at many leaks.
At last the Hero and the Maid safe o'er the watery way
He leaveth on the ugly mire and sedge of sorry grey.
The three-mouthed bark of Cerberus here filleth all the place,
As huge he lieth in a den that hath them full in face:
But when the adders she beheld upon his crest upborne,
A sleepy morsel honey-steeped, and blent of wizards' corn,
She cast him: then his threefold throat, all wild with hunger's lack,
He opened wide, and caught at it, and sank his monstrous back,
And there he lay upon the earth enormous through the cave.
Æneas caught upon the pass the door-ward's slumber gave,
And fled the bank of that sad stream no man may pass again.
And many sounds they heard therewith, a wailing vast and vain;
For weeping souls of speechless babes round the first threshold lay,
Whom, without share of life's delight, snatched from the breast away,
The black day hurried off, and all in bitter ending hid.
And next were those condemned to die for deed they never did:
For neither doom nor judge nor house may any lack in death:
The seeker Minos shakes the urn, and ever summoneth
The hushed-ones' court, and learns men's lives and what against them stands.
The next place is of woeful ones, who sackless, with their hands
Compassed their death, and weary-sick of light without avail
Cast life away; but now how fain to bear the poor man's bale
Beneath the heaven, the uttermost of weary toil to bear!
But law forbiddeth: the sad wave of that unlovely mere
Is changeless bond; and ninefold Styx compelleth to abide. [Pg 167]
Nor far from thence behold the meads far spread on every side,
The Mourning Meads—in tale have they such very name and sign.
There those whom hard love ate away with cruel wasting pine
Are hidden in the lonely paths with myrtle-groves about,
Nor in the very death itself may wear their trouble out:
Phædra he saw, Procris he saw, and Eriphyle sad.
Baring that cruel offspring's wound her loving body had:
Evadne and Pasiphaë, Laodamia there
He saw, and Cænis, once a youth and then a maiden fair,
And shifted by the deed of fate to his old shape again.
Midst whom Phoenician Dido now, fresh from the iron bane,
Went wandering in the mighty wood: and when the Trojan man
First dimly knew her standing by amid the glimmer wan
—E'en as in earliest of the month one sees the moon arise,
Or seems to see her at the least in cloudy drift of skies—
He spake, and let the tears fall down by all love's sweetness stirred:
"Unhappy Dido, was it true, that bitter following word,
That thou wert dead, by sword hadst sought the utter end of all?
Was it thy very death I wrought? Ah! on the stars I call,
I call the Gods and whatso faith the nether earth may hold,
To witness that against my will I left thy field and fold!
But that same bidding of the Gods, whereby e'en now I wend
Through dark, through deserts rusty-rough, through night without an end,
Drave me with doom. Nor held my heart in anywise belief
That my departure from thy land might work thee such a grief.
O stay thy feet! nor tear thyself from my beholding thus.
Whom fleest thou? this word is all that Fate shall give to us." [Pg 168]
Such were the words Æneas spake to soothe her as she stood
With stern eyes flaming, while his heart swelled with the woeful flood:
But, turned away, her sick eyes still she fixed upon the earth;
Nor was her face moved any more by all his sad words' birth
Than if Marpesian crag or flint had held her image so:
At last she flung herself away, and fled, his utter foe,
Unto the shady wood, where he, her husband of old days,
Gives grief for grief, and loving heart beside her loving lays.
Nor less Æneas, smitten sore by her unworthy woes,
With tears and pity followeth her as far away she goes.
But thence the meted way they wear, and reach the outer field,
Where dwell apart renownèd men, the mighty under shield:
There Tydeus meets him; there he sees the great fight-glorious man,
Parthenopæus; there withal Adrastus' image wan;
And there the Dardans battle-slain, for whom the wailing went
To very heaven: their long array he saw with sad lament:
Glaucus and Medon there he saw, Thersilochus, the three
Antenor-sons, and Polyphoete, by Ceres' mystery
Made holy, and Idæus still in car with armèd hand:
There on the right side and the left the straying spirits stand.
Nor is one sight of him enough; it joyeth them to stay
And pace beside, asking for why he wendeth such a way.
But when the lords of Danaan folk, and Agamemnon's hosts,
Behold the man and gleaming arms amid the dusky ghosts,
They fall a-quaking full of fear: some turn their back to fly
As erst they ran unto the ships; some raise a quavering cry,
But never from their gaping vain will swell the shout begun. [Pg 169]
And now Deïphobus he sees, the glorious Priam's son;
But all his body mangled sore, his face all evilly hacked,
His face and hands; yea, and his head, laid waste, the ear-lobes lacked,
And nostrils cropped unto the root by wicked wound and grim.
Scarcely he knew the trembling man, who strove to hide from him
Those torments dire, but thus at last he spake in voice well known:
"O great in arms, Deïphobus, from Teucer's blood come down,
Who had the heart to work on thee such bitter wicked bale?
Who had the might to deal thee this? Indeed I heard the tale,
That, tired with slaying of the Greeks on that last night of all,
Upon a heap of mingled death thou didst to slumber fall:
And I myself an empty tomb on that Rhœtean coast
Set up to thee, and thrice aloud cried blessing on thy ghost:
Thy name and arms still keep the place; but thee I found not, friend,
To set thee in thy fathers' earth ere I too needs must wend."
To him the child of Priam spake: "Friend, nought thou left'st undone;
All things thou gav'st Deïphobus, and this dead shadowy one:
My Fates and that Laconian Bane, the Woman wicked-fair,
Have drowned me in this sea of ills: she set these tokens here.
How midst a lying happiness we wore the last night by
'Thou know'st: yea; overwell belike thou hold'st that memory
Now when the baneful Horse of Fate high Pergamus leapt o'er,
With womb come nigh unto the birth of weaponed men of war,
She, feigning hallowed dance, led on a holy-shouting band
Of Phrygian maids, and midst of them, the bale-fire in her hand,
[Pg 170]Called on the Danaan men to come, high on the castle's steep:
But me, outworn with many cares and weighed adown with sleep,
The hapless bride-bed held meanwhile, and on me did there press
Deep rest and sweet, most like indeed to death's own quietness.
Therewith my glorious wife all arms from out the house withdrew,
And stole away from o'er my head the sword whose faith I knew,
Called Menelaüs to the house and opened him the door,
Thinking, forsooth, great gift to give to him who loved so sore,
To quench therewith the tale gone by of how she did amiss.
Why linger? They break in on me, and he their fellow is,
Ulysses, preacher of all guilt.—O Gods, will ye not pay
The Greeks for all? belike with mouth not godless do I pray.
—But tell me, thou, what tidings new have brought thee here alive?
Is it blind strayings o'er the sea that hither doth thee drive,
Or bidding of the Gods? Wherein hath Fortune worn thee so,
That thou, midst sunless houses sad, confused lands, must go?"
But as they gave and took in talk, Aurora at the last
In rosy wain the topmost crown of upper heaven had passed,
And all the fated time perchance in suchwise had they spent;
But warning of few words enow the Sibyl toward him sent:
"Night falls, Æneas, weeping here we wear the hours in vain;
And hard upon us is the place where cleaves the road atwain;
On by the walls of mighty Dis the right-hand highway goes,
Our way to that Elysium: the left drags on to woes
Ill-doers' souls, and bringeth them to godless Tartarus."
Then spake Deïphobus: "Great seer, be not o'erwroth with us:
I will depart and fill the tale, and unto dusk turn back:
Go forth, our glory, go and gain the better fate I lack!" [Pg 171]
And even with that latest word his feet he tore away.
But suddenly Æneas turned, and lo, a city lay
Wide-spread 'neath crags upon the left, girt with a wall threefold;
And round about in hurrying flood a flaming river rolled,
E'en Phlegethon of Tartarus, with rattling, stony roar:
In face with adamantine posts was wrought the mighty door,
Such as no force of men nor might of heaven-abiders high
May cleave with steel; an iron tower thence riseth to the sky:
And there is set Tisiphone, with girded blood-stained gown,
Who, sleepless, holdeth night and day the doorway of the town.
Great wail and cruel sound of stripes that city sendeth out,
And iron clanking therewithal of fetters dragged about.
Then fearfully Æneas stayed, and drank the tumult in:
"O tell me, Maiden, what is there? What images of sin?
What torments bear they? What the wail yon city casts abroad?"
Then so began the seer to speak: "O glorious Teucrian lord,
On wicked threshold of the place no righteous foot may stand:
But when great Hecate made me Queen of that Avernus land,
She taught me of God's punishments and led me down the path.
—There Gnosian Rhadamanthus now most heavy lordship hath,
And heareth lies, and punisheth, and maketh men confess
Their deeds of earth, whereof made glad by foolish wickedness,
They thrust the late repentance off till death drew nigh to grip:
Those guilty drives Tisiphone, armed with avenging whip,
And mocks their writhings, casting forth her other dreadful hand
Filled with the snakes, and crying on her cruel sister's band.
And then at last on awful hinge loud-clanging opens wide [Pg 172]
The Door of Doom:—and lo, behold what door-ward doth abide
Within the porch, what thing it is the city gate doth hold!
More dreadful yet the Water-worm, with black mouth fiftyfold,
Hath dwelling in the inner parts. Then Tartarus aright
Gapes sheer adown; and twice so far it thrusteth under night
As up unto the roof of heaven Olympus lifteth high:
And there the ancient race of Earth, the Titan children, lie,
Cast down by thunder, wallowing in bottomless abode.
There of the twin Aloidæ the monstrous bodies' load
I saw; who fell on mighty heaven to cleave it with their hands,
That they might pluck the Father Jove from out his glorious lands;
And Salmoneus I saw withal, paying the cruel pain
That fire of Jove and heaven's own voice on earth he needs must feign:
He, drawn by fourfold rush of steeds, and shaking torches' glare,
Amidmost of the Grecian folks, amidst of Elis fair,
Went glorying, and the name of God and utter worship sought.
O fool! the glory of the storm, and lightning like to nought,
He feigned with rattling copper things and beat of horny hoof.
Him the Almighty Father smote from cloudy rack aloof,
But never brand nor pitchy flame of smoky pine-tree cast,
As headlong there he drave him down amid the whirling blast.
And Tityon, too, the child of Earth, great Mother of all things,
There may ye see: nine acres' space his mighty frame he flings;
His deathless liver still is cropped by that huge vulture's beak
That evermore his daily meat doth mid his inwards seek,
Fruitful of woe, and hath his home beneath his mighty breast:
Whose heart-strings eaten, and new-born shall never know of rest.
Of Lapithæ, Pirithoüs, Ixion, what a tale!
O'er whom the black crag hangs, that slips, and slips, and ne'er shall fail [Pg 173]
To seem to fall. The golden feet of feast beds glitter bright,
And there in manner of the kings is glorious banquet dight.
But lo, the Furies' eldest-born is crouched beside it there,
And banneth one and all of them hand on the board to bear,
And riseth up with tossing torch, and crieth, thundering loud.
Here they that hated brethren sore while yet their life abode,
The father-smiters, they that drew the client-catching net,
The brooders over treasure found in earth, who never yet
Would share one penny with their friends—and crowded thick these are—
Those slain within another's bed; the followers up of war
Unrighteous; they no whit ashamed their masters' hand to fail,
Here prisoned bide the penalty: seek not to know their tale
Of punishment; what fate it is o'erwhelmeth such a folk.
Some roll huge stones; some hang adown, fast bound to tire or spoke
Of mighty wheels. There sitteth now, and shall sit evermore
Theseus undone: wretch Phlegyas is crying o'er and o'er
His warning, and in mighty voice through dim night testifies:
'Be warned, and learn of righteousness, nor holy Gods despise.'
This sold his fatherland for gold; this tyrant on it laid;
This for a price made laws for men, for price the laws unmade:
This broke into his daughter's bed and wedding-tide accursed:
All dared to think of monstrous deed, and did the deed they durst.
Nor, had I now an hundred mouths, an hundred tongues at need,
An iron voice, might I tell o'er all guise of evil deed,
Or run adown the names of woe those evil deeds are worth."
So when Apollo's ancient seer such words had given forth:
"Now to the road! fulfil the gift that we so far have brought!
Haste on!" she saith, "I see the walls in Cyclops' furnace wrought; [Pg 174]
And now the opening of the gates is lying full in face,
Where we are bidden lay adown the gift that brings us grace."
She spake, and through the dusk of ways on side by side they wend,
And wear the space betwixt, and reach the doorway in the end.
Æneas at the entering in bedews his body o'er
With water fresh, and sets the bough in threshold of the door.
So, all being done, the Goddess' gift well paid in manner meet,
They come into a joyous land, and green-sward fair and sweet
Amid the happiness of groves, the blessèd dwelling-place.
Therein a more abundant heaven clothes all the meadows' face
With purple light, and their own sun and their own stars they have.
Here some in games upon the grass their bodies breathing gave;
Or on the yellow face of sand they strive and play the play;
Some beat the earth with dancing foot, and some, the song they say:
And there withal the Thracian man in flowing raiment sings
Unto the measure of the dance on seven-folded strings;
And now he smites with finger-touch, and now with ivory reed.
And here is Teucer's race of old, most lovely sons indeed;
High-hearted heroes born on earth in better days of joy:
Ilus was there, Assaracus, and he who builded Troy,
E'en Dardanus. Far off are seen their empty wains of war
And war-weed: stand the spears in earth, unyoked the horses are,
And graze the meadows all about; for even as they loved
Chariot and weapons, yet alive, and e'en as they were moved
To feed sleek horses, under earth doth e'en such joy abide.
Others he saw to right and left about the meadows wide
Feasting; or joining merry mouths to sing the battle won
Amidst the scented laurel grove, whence earthward rolleth on [Pg 175]
The full flood that Eridanus athwart the wood doth pour.
Lo, they who in their country's fight sword-wounded bodies bore;
Lo, priests of holy life and chaste, while they in life had part;
Lo, God-loved poets, men who spake things worthy Phœbus' heart:
And they who bettered life on earth by new-found mastery;
And they whose good deeds left a tale for men to name them by:
And all they had their brows about with snowy fillets bound.
Now unto them the Sibyl spake as there they flowed around,—
Unto Musæus first; for him midmost the crowd enfolds
Higher than all from shoulders up, and reverently beholds:
"Say, happy souls, and thou, O bard, the best earth ever bare,
What land, what place Anchises hath? for whose sake came we here,
And swam the floods of Erebus and every mighty wave."
Then, lightly answering her again, few words the hero gave:
"None hath a certain dwelling-place; in shady groves we bide,
And meadows fresh with running streams, and beds by river-side:
But if such longing and so sore the heart within you hath,
O'ertop yon ridge and I will set your feet in easy path.
He spake and footed it afore, and showeth from above
The shining meads; and thence away from hill-top down they move.
But Sire Anchises deep adown in green-grown valley lay,
And on the spirits prisoned there, but soon to wend to day,
Was gazing with a fond desire: of all his coming ones
There was he reckoning up the tale, and well-loved sons of sons:
Their fate, their haps, their ways of life, their deeds to come to pass. [Pg 176]
But when he saw Æneas now draw nigh athwart the grass,
He stretched forth either palm to him all eager, and the tears
Poured o'er his cheeks, and speech withal forth from his mouth there fares:
"O come at last, and hath the love, thy father hoped for, won
O'er the hard way, and may I now look on thy face, O son,
And give and take with thee in talk, and hear the words I know?
So verily my mind forebode, I deemed 'twas coming so,
And counted all the days thereto; nor was my longing vain.
And now I have thee, son, borne o'er what lands, how many a main!
How tossed about on every side by every peril still!
Ah, how I feared lest Libyan land should bring thee unto ill!"
Then he: "O father, thou it was, thine image sad it was,
That, coming o'er and o'er again, drave me these doors to pass:
My ships lie in the Tyrrhene salt—ah, give the hand I lack!
Give it, my father; neither thus from my embrace draw back!"
His face was wet with plenteous tears e'en as the word he spake,
And thrice the neck of him beloved he strove in arms to take;
And thrice away from out his hands the gathered image streams,
E'en as the breathing of the wind or wingèd thing of dreams.
But down amid a hollow dale meanwhile Æneas sees
A secret grove, a thicket fair, with murmuring of the trees,
And Lethe's stream that all along that quiet place doth wend;
O'er which there hovered countless folks and peoples without end:
And as when bees amid the fields in summer-tide the bright
Settle on diverse flowery things, and round the lilies white [Pg 177]
Go streaming; so the fields were filled with mighty murmuring.
Unlearned Æneas fell aquake at such a wondrous thing,
And asketh what it all may mean, what rivers these may be,
And who the men that fill the banks with such a company.
Then spake Anchises: "These are souls to whom fate oweth now
New bodies: there they drink the draught by Lethe's quiet flow,
The draught that is the death of care, the long forgetfulness.
And sure to teach thee of these things, and show thee all their press,
And of mine offspring tell the tale, for long have I been fain,
That thou with me mightst more rejoice in thine Italia's gain."
"O Father, may we think it then, that souls may get them hence
To upper air and take once more their bodies' hinderance?
How can such mad desire be to win the worldly day?"
"Son, I shall tell thee all thereof, nor hold thee on the way."
Therewith he takes the tale and all he openeth orderly:
"In the beginning: earth and sky and flowing fields of sea,
And stars that Titan fashioned erst, and gleaming moony ball,
An inward spirit nourisheth, one soul is shed through all,
That quickeneth all the mass, and with the mighty thing is blent:
Thence are the lives of men and beasts and flying creatures sent,
And whatsoe'er the sea-plain bears beneath its marble face;
Quick in these seeds is might of fire and birth of heavenly place,
Ere earthly bodies' baneful weight upon them comes to lie,
Ere limbs of earth bewilder them and members made to die.
Hence fear they have, and love, and joy, and grief, and ne'er may find [Pg 178]
The face of heaven amid the dusk and prison strait and blind:
Yea, e'en when out of upper day their life at last is borne,
Not all the ill of wretched men is utterly outworn,
Not all the bane their bodies bred; and sure in wondrous wise
The plenteous ill they bore so long engrained in them it lies:
So therefore are they worn by woes and pay for ancient wrong:
And some of them are hung aloft the empty winds among;
And some, their stain of wickedness amidst the water's heart
Is washed away; amidst the fire some leave their worser part;
And each his proper death must bear: then through Elysium wide
Are we sent forth; a scanty folk in joyful fields we bide,
Till in the fulness of the time, the day that long hath been
Hath worn away the inner stain and left the spirit clean,
A heavenly essence, a fine flame of all unmingled air.
All these who now have turned the wheel for many and many a year
God calleth unto Lethe's flood in mighty company,
That they, remembering nought indeed, the upper air may see
Once more, and long to turn aback to worldly life anew."
Anchises therewithal his son, and her the Sibyl drew
Amid the concourse, the great crowd that such a murmuring sent,
And took a mound whence they might see the spirits as they went
In long array, and learn each face as 'neath their eyes it came.
"Come now, and I of Dardan folk will tell the following fame,
And what a folk from Italy the world may yet await,
Most glorious souls, to bear our name adown the ways of fate.
[Pg 179]Yea, I will set it forth in words, and thou thy tale shalt hear:
Lo ye, the youth that yonder leans upon the headless spear,
Fate gives him nighest place today; he first of all shall rise,
Blent blood of Troy and Italy, unto the earthly skies:
Silvius is he, an Alban name, thy son, thy latest born;
He whom thy wife Lavinia now, when thin thy life is worn,
Beareth in woods to be a king and get a kingly race,
Whence comes the lordship of our folk within the Long White Place.
And Procas standeth next to him, the Trojan people's fame;
Then Capys, Numitor, and he who bringeth back thy name,
Silvius Æneas, great in war, and great in godliness,
If ever he in that White Stead may bear the kingdom's stress.
Lo ye, what youths! what glorious might unto thine eyes is shown!
But they who shade their temples o'er with civic oaken crown,
These build for thee Nomentum's walls, and Gabii, and the folk
Fidenian, and the mountains load with fair Collatia's yoke:
Pometii, Bola, Cora, there shall rise beneath their hands,
And Inuus' camp: great names shall spring amid the nameless lands.
"Then Mavors' child shall come on earth, his grandsire following,
When Ilia's womb, Assaracus' own blood, to birth shall bring
That Romulus:—lo, see ye not the twin crests on his head,
And how the Father hallows him for day with his own dread
E'en now? Lo, son! those signs of his; lo, that renownèd Rome!
Whose lordship filleth all the earth, whose heart Olympus' home,
And with begirdling of her wall girds seven great burgs to her,
Rejoicing in her man-born babes: e'en as the Earth-Mother
Amidst the Phrygian cities goes with car and towered crown,
Glad in the Gods, whom hundred-fold she kisseth for her own.
All heaven-abiders, all as kings within the house of air.
Ah, turn thine eyeballs hitherward, look on this people here, [Pg 180]
Thy Roman folk! Lo Cæsar now! Lo all Iulus' race,
Who 'neath the mighty vault of heaven shall dwell in coming days.
And this is he, this is the man thou oft hast heard foretold,
Augustus Cæsar, sprung from God to bring the age of gold
Aback unto the Latin fields, where Saturn once was king.
Yea, and the Garamantian folk and Indians shall he bring
Beneath his sway: beyond the stars, beyond the course of years,
Beyond the Sun-path lies the land, where Atlas heaven upbears,
And on his shoulders turns the pole with burning stars bestrown.
Yea, and e'en now the Caspian realms quake at his coming, shown
By oracles of God; and quakes the far Mæotic mere,
And sevenfold Nile through all his mouths quakes in bewildered fear.
Not so much earth did Hercules o'erpass, though he prevailed
To pierce the brazen-footed hind, and win back peace that failed
The Erymanthus' wood, and shook Lerna with draught of bow;
Nor Liber turning vine-wreathed reins when he hath will to go
Adown from Nysa's lofty head in tiger-yokèd car.—
Forsooth then shall we doubt but deeds shall spread our valour far?
Shall fear forsooth forbid us rest in that Ausonian land?
"But who is this, the olive-crowned, that beareth in his hand
The holy things? I know the hair and hoary beard of eld
Of him, the Roman king, who first a law-bound city held,
Sent out from little Cures' garth, that unrich land of his,
Unto a mighty lordship: yea, and Tullus next is this,
Who breaks his country's sleep and stirs the slothful men to fight;
And calleth on the weaponed hosts unused to war's delight
But next unto him Ancus fares, a boaster overmuch;
Yea and e'en now the people's breath too nigh his heart will touch. [Pg 181]
And wilt thou see the Tarquin kings and Brutus' lofty heart,
And fasces brought aback again by his avenging part?
He first the lordship consular and dreadful axe shall take;
The father who shall doom the sons, that war and change would wake,
To pain of death, that he thereby may freedom's fairness save.
Unhappy! whatso tale of thee the after-time may have,
The love of country shall prevail, and boundless lust of praise.
"Drusi and Decii lo afar! On hard Torquatus gaze,
He of the axe: Camillus lo, the banner-rescuer!
But note those two thou seest shine in arms alike and clear,
Now souls of friends, and so to be while night upon them weighs:
Woe's me! what war shall they awake if e'er the light of days
They find: what host each sets 'gainst each, what death-field shall they dight!
The father from the Alpine wall, and from Monœcus' height
Comes down; the son against him turns the East's embattlement.
O children, in such evil war let not your souls be spent,
Nor turn the valour of your might against the heart of home.
Thou first, refrain, O thou my blood from high Olympus come;
Cast thou the weapons from thine hand!
"Lo to the Capitol aloft, for Corinth triumphing,
One glorious with Achæan deaths in victor's chariot goes;
Mycenæ, Agamemnon's house, and Argos he o'erthrows,
Yea and Æacides himself the great Achilles' son;
Avenging so the sires of Troy and Pallas' house undone.
Great Cato, can I leave thee then untold? pass Cossus o'er?
Or house of Gracchus? Yea, or ye, twin thunderbolts of war,
Ye Scipios, bane of Libyan land? Fabricius, poor and strong? [Pg 182]
Or thee, Serranus, casting seed adown the furrows long?
Fabii, where drive ye me outworn? Thou Greatest, thou art he,
Who bringest back thy country's weal by tarrying manfully.
"Others, I know, more tenderly may beat the breathing brass,
And better from the marble block bring living looks to pass;
Others may better plead the cause, may compass heaven's face,
And mark it out, and tell the stars, their rising and their place:
But thou, O Roman, look to it the folks of earth to sway;
For this shall be thine handicraft, peace on the world to lay,
To spare the weak, to wear the proud by constant weight of war."
So mid their marvelling he spake, and added furthermore:
"Marcellus lo! neath Spoils of Spoils how great and glad he goes,
And overtops all heroes there, the vanquisher of foes:
Yea, he shall prop the Roman weal when tumult troubleth all,
And ride amid the Punic ranks, and crush the rising Gaul,
And hang in sire Quirinus' house the third war-taken gear."
Then spake Æneas, for he saw following Marcellus near
A youth of beauty excellent, with gleaming arms bedight,
Yet little glad of countenance with eyes that shunned the light:
"O father, who is he that wends beside the hero's hem,
His son belike, or some one else from out that mighty stem?
What murmuring of friends about! How mighty is he made!
But black Night fluttereth over him with woeful mirky shade."
Then midst the rising of his tears father Anchises spoke:
"O son, search not the mighty woe and sorrow of thy folk! [Pg 183]
The Fates shall show him to the world, nor longer blossoming
Shall give. O Gods that dwell on high, belike o'ergreat a thing
The Roman tree should seem to you, should this your gift endure!
How great a wail of mighty men that Field of Fame shall pour
On Mavors' mighty city walls: what death-rites seest thou there,
O Tiber, as thou glidest by his new-wrought tomb and fair!
No child that is of Ilian stock in Latin sires shall raise
Such glorious hope; nor shall the land of Romulus e'er praise
So fair and great a nursling child mid all it ever bore.
Goodness, and faith of ancient days, and hand unmatched in war,
Alas for all! No man unhurt had raised a weaponed hand
Against him, whether he afoot had met the foeman's band,
Or smitten spur amid the flank of eager foaming horse.
O child of all men's ruth, if thou the bitter Fates mayst force,
Thou art Marcellus. Reach ye hands of lily-blooms fulfilled;
For I will scatter purple flowers, and heap such offerings spilled
Unto the spirit of my child, and empty service do."
Thereafter upon every side they strayed that country through,
Amid wide-spreading airy meads, and sight of all things won.
But after old Anchises now through all had led his son,
And kindled love within his heart of fame that was to be,
Then did he tell him of the wars that he himself should see,
And of Laurentian peoples taught, and town of Latin folk;
And how from every grief to flee, or how to bear its stroke.
Now twofold are the Gates of Sleep, whereof the one, men say,
Is wrought of horn, and ghosts of sooth thereby win easy way,
The other clean and smooth is wrought of gleaming ivory, [Pg 184]
But lying dreams the nether Gods send up to heaven thereby.
All said, Anchises on his son and Sibyl-maid doth wait
Unto the last, and sends them up by that same ivory gate.
He wears the way and gains his fleet and fellow-folk once more.
So for Caieta's haven-mouth by straightest course they bore,900
Till fly the anchors from the bows and sterns swing round ashore.
ÆNEAS AND HIS TROJANS TAKE LAND BY THE TIBER-MOUTH, AND KING LATINUS PLIGHTETH PEACE WITH THEM; WHICH PEACE IS BROKEN BY THE WILL OF JUNO, AND ALL MEN MAKE THEM READY FOR WAR.
Thou also, O Æneas' nurse, Caieta, didst avail,
E'en dying, unto these our shores to leave a deathless tale:
And yet thy glory guards the place, thy bones have won it name
Within the great Hesperian land, if that be prize of fame.
But good Æneas, when at last all funeral rites were paid
And the grave heaped, when in a while the ocean's face was laid,
Went on his way with sails aloft, and left the port behind:
The faint winds breathe about the night, the moon shines clear and kind;
Beneath the quivering shining road the wide seas gleaming lie.
But next the beach of Circe's land their swift ships glide anigh,
Where the rich daughter of the Sun with constant song doth rouse
The groves that none may enter in, or in her glorious house
Burneth the odorous cedar-torch amidst the dead of night,
While through the slender warp she speeds the shrilling shuttle light.
And thence they hear the sound of groans, and wrath of lions dread [Pg 186]
Fretting their chains; and roaring things o'er night-tide fallen dead;
And bristled swine and cagèd bears cried bitter-wild, and sore;
And from the shapes of monstrous wolves the howling seaward bore.
These from the likeness of mankind had cruel Circe won
By herbs of might, and shape and hide of beasts upon them done.
But lest the godly Trojan folk such wickedness should bear,
Lest borne into the baneful bay they bring their keels o'er near,
Their sails did Father Neptune fill with fair and happy breeze,
And sped their flight and sent them swift across the hurrying seas.
Now reddened all the sea with rays, and from the heavenly plain
The golden-hued Aurora shone amidst her rosy wain,
Then fell the winds and every air sank down in utter sleep,
And now the shaven oars must strive amid the sluggish deep:
Therewith Æneas sees a wood rise from the water's face,
And there it is the Tiber's flood amidst a pleasant place,
With many a whirling eddy swift and yellowing with sand
Breaks into sea; and diversely above on either hand
The fowl that love the river-bank and haunt the river-bed
Sweetened the air with plenteous song and through the thicket fled.
So there Æneas bids his folk shoreward their bows to lay,
And joyfully he entereth in the stream's o'ershadowed way.
To aid, Erato! while I tell what kings, what deedful tide,
What manner life, in Latin land did anciently abide
When first the stranger brought his ships to that Ausonian shore;
Yea help me while I call aback beginnings of the war.
O Goddess, hearten thou thy seer! dread war my song-speech saith:
It tells the battle in array, and kings full fain of death, [Pg 187]
The Tyrrhene host, all Italy, spurred on the sword to bear:
Yea, greater matters are afoot, a mightier deed I stir.
The king Latinus, old of days, ruled o'er the fields' increase,
And cities of the people there at rest in long-drawn peace:
Of Faunus and Laurentian nymph, Marica, do we learn
That he was born: but Faunus came of Picus, who must turn
To thee, O Saturn, for his sire: 'twas he that blood began.
Now, as God would, this king had got no son to grow a man,
For he who first had dawned on him in earliest youth had waned:
A daughter only such a house, so great a world sustained,
Now ripe for man, the years fulfilled that made her meet for bed:
And her much folk of Latin land were fain enow to wed,
And all Ausonia: first of whom, and fairest to be seen,
Was Turnus, great from fathers great; and him indeed the queen
Was fain of for her son-in-law with wondrous love of heart:
But dreadful portents of the Gods the matter thrust apart.
Amidmost of the inner house a laurel-tree upbore
Its hallowed leaves, that fear of God had kept through years of yore:
Father Latinus first, they said, had found it there, when he
Built there his burg and hallowed it to Phœbus' deity,
And on Laurentian people thence the name thereof had laid;
On whose top now the gathered bees, O wondrous to be said!
Borne on with mighty humming noise amid the flowing air,
Had settled down, and foot to foot all interwoven there,
In sudden swarm they hung adown from off the leafy bough.
But straight the seer cries out: "Ah me! I see him coming now,
The stranger man; I see a host from that same quarter come [Pg 188]
To this same quarter, to be lords amidst our highest home."
But further, while the altar-fires she feeds with virgin brands,
The maid Lavinia, and beside her ancient father stands,
Out! how along her length of hair the grasp of fire there came,
And all the tiring of her head was caught in crackling flame.
And there her royal tresses blazed, and blazed her glorious crown
Gem-wrought, and she one cloud of smoke and yellow fire was grown:
And wrapped therein, the fiery God she scattered through the house:
And sure it seemed a dreadful thing, a story marvellous:
For they fell singing she should grow glorious of fame and fate,
But unto all her folk should be the seed of huge debate.
So troubled by this tokening dread forth fareth now the king
To Faunus' fane, his father-seer, to ask him counselling
'Neath Albunea the high, whose wood, the thicket most of worth,
Resoundeth with the holy well and breathes the sulphur forth.
From whence the folk of Italy and all Œnotrian land
Seek rede amidst of troublous time. Here, when the priest in hand
Hath borne the gifts, and laid him down amidst the hush of night
On the strown fells of slaughtered ewes, and sought him sleep aright,
He seeth wondrous images about him flit and shift,
He hearkeneth many a changing voice, of talk with Gods hath gift,
And holdeth speech with Acheron, from deep Avernus come.
There now the sire Latinus went seeking the answers home,
And there an hundred woolly ewes in order due did slay,
And propped upon the fells thereof on bed of fleeces lay,
Till from the thickets inner depths the sudden answer came: [Pg 189]
"Seek not thy daughter, O my son, to wed to Latin name;
Unto the bridal set on foot let not thy troth be given:
Thy sons are coming over sea to raise our blood to heaven,
And sons of sons' sons from their stem shall see beneath their feet
All things for them to shift and doom; all things the sun may meet,
As to and fro he wendeth way 'twixt either ocean wave."
Such warnings of the silent night that father Faunus gave,
Shut up betwixt his closed lips Latinus held no whit,
But through Ausonia flying fame had borne the noise of it,
When that Laomedontian folk at last had moored their ships
Unto the grassy-mounded bank whereby the river slips.
Æneas and Iulus fair, and all their most and best,
Beneath a tall tree's boughs had laid their bodies down to rest:
They dight the feast; about the grass on barley-cakes they lay
What meat they had,—for even so Jove bade them do that day,—
And on the ground that Ceres gave the woodland apples pile.
And so it happed, that all being spent, they turn them in a while
To Ceres' little field, and eat, egged on by very want,
And dare to waste with hands and teeth the circle thin and scant
Where fate lay hid, nor spare upon the trenchers wide to fall.
"Ah!" cries Iulus, "so today we eat up board and all."
'Twas all his jest-word; but its sound their labour slew at last,
And swift his father caught it up, as from his mouth it passed,
And stayed him, by the might of God bewildered utterly.
Then forthwith: "Hail," he cried, "O land that Fate hath owed to me! [Pg 190]
And ye, O House-gods of our Troy, hail ye, O true and kind!
This is your house, this is your land: my father, as I mind,
Such secrets of the deeds of Fate left me in days of yore:
'O son, when hunger driveth thee stranded on outland shore
To eat the very boards beneath thy victual scant at need,
There hope for house, O weary one, and in that place have heed
To set hand first unto the roof, and heap the garth around.'
So this will be that hunger-tide: this waited us to bound
Our wasting evils at the last.
So come, and let us joyfully upon the first of dawn
Seek out the land, what place it is, what men-folk there abide,
And where their city; diversely leaving the haven-side.
But now pour out the bowls to Jove, send prayer upon the way
To sire Anchises, and the wine again on table lay."
He spake, and with the leafy bough his temples garlanded,
And to the Spirit of the Soil forthwith the prayer he said,
To Earth, the eldest-born of Gods, to Nymphs, to Streams unknown
As yet: he called upon the Night, and night-tide's signs new shown;
Idæan Jove, the Phrygian Queen, the Mother, due and well
He called on; and his parents twain in Heaven and in Hell.
But thrice the Almighty Father then from cloudless heaven on high
Gave thunder, showing therewithal the glory of his sky
All burning with the golden gleam, and shaken by his hand.
Then sudden rumour ran abroad amid the Trojan band,
That now the day was come about their fateful walls to raise;
So eagerly they dight the feast, gladdened by omen's grace,
And bring the beakers forth thereto and garland well the wine. [Pg 191]
But when the morrow's lamp of dawn across the earth 'gan shine,
The shore, the fields, the towns of folk they search, wide scattering:
And here they come across the pools of that Numician spring:
This is the Tiber-flood; hereby the hardy Latins dwell.
But therewithal Anchises' seed from out them chose him well
An hundred sweet-mouthed men to go unto the walls renowned,
Where dwelt the king, and every one with Pallas' olive crowned,
To carry gifts unto the lord and peace for Teucrians pray.
So, bidden, nought they tarry now, but swift-foot wear the way.
But he himself marks out the walls with shallow ditch around,
And falls to work upon the shore his first abode to found,
In manner of a camp, begirt with bank and battlement.
Meanwhile his men beheld at last, when all the way was spent,
The Latin towers and roofs aloft, and drew the walls anigh:
There were the lads and flower of youth afield the city by
Backing the steed, or mid the dust a-steering of the car,
Or bending of the bitter bow, hurling tough darts afar
By strength of arm; for foot or fist crying the challenging.
Then fares a well-horsed messenger, who to the ancient king
Bears tidings of tall new-comers in outland raiment clad:
So straight Latinus biddeth them within his house be had,
And he upon his father's throne sat down amidmost there.
High on an hundred pillars stood that mighty house and fair,
High in the burg, the dwelling-place Laurentian Picus won,
Awful with woods, and worshipping of sires of time agone:
Here was it wont for kings to take the sceptre in their hand, [Pg 192]
Here first to raise the axe of doom: 'twas court-house of the land,
This temple, and the banquet-hall; here when the host was slain
The fathers at the endlong boards would sit the feast to gain.
There too were dight in cedar old the sires of ancient line
For there was fashioned Italus, and he who set the vine,
Sabinus, holding yet in hand the image of the hook;
And Saturn old, and imaging of Janus' double look,
Stood in the porch; and many a king was there from ancient tide,
Who in their country's battle erst the wounds of Mars would bide:
And therewithal were many arms hung on the holy door.
There hung the axes crookèd-horned, and taken wains of war,
And crested helms, and bolts and locks that city-gates had borne;
And spears and shields, and thrusting-beaks from ships of battle torn.
There with Quirinus' crooked staff, girt in the shortened gown,
With target in his left hand held, was Picus set adown,—
The horse-tamer, whom Circe fair, caught with desire erewhile,
Smote with that golden rod of hers, and, sprinkling venom's guile,
Made him a fowl, and colours fair blent on his shifting wings.
In such a temple of the Gods, in such a house of kings,
Latinus sat when he had called those Teucrian fellows in,
And from his quiet mouth and grave such converse did begin:
"What seek ye, sons of Dardanus? for not unknown to me
Is that your city or your blood; and how ye crossed the sea,
That have I heard. But these your ships, what counsel or what lack
Hath borne them to Ausonian strand o'er all the blue sea's back?
If ye have strayed from out your course, or, driven by stormy tide
(For such things oft upon the sea must seafarers abide),
Have entered these our river-banks in haven safe to lie, [Pg 193]
Flee not our welcome, nor unknown the Latin folk pass by;
The seed of Saturn, bound to right by neither law nor chain,
But freely following in the ways whereof the God was fain.
Yea now indeed I mind a tale, though now with years outworn,
How elders of Aurunce said that mid these fields was born
That Dardanus, who reached at last the Phrygian Ida's walls,
And Thracian Samos, that the world now Samothracia calls:
From Tuscan stead of Corythus he went upon his ways;
Whose throne is set in golden heaven, the star-besprinkled place,
Who adds one other to the tale of altared deities."
He ended, but Ilioneus followed in words like these:
"O king, O glorious Faunus' child, no storm upon the main
Drave us amid the drift of waves your country coast to gain;
And neither star nor strand made blind the region of our road;
But we by counsel and free will have sought out thine abode,
Outcast from such a realm as once was deemed the mightiest
The Sun beheld, as o'er the heaven she ran from east to west.
Jove is the well-spring of our race; the Dardan children joy
In Jove for father; yea, our king, Æneas out of Troy,
Who sends us to thy door, himself is of the Highest's seed.
How great a tempest was let loose o'er our Idæan mead,
From dire Mycenæ Sent; what fate drave either clashing world,
Europe and Asia, till the war each against each they hurled,
His ears have heard, who dwells afar upon the land alone
That ocean beats; and his no less the bondman of the zone,
That midmost lieth of the four, by cruel sun-blaze worn.
Lo, from that flood we come to thee, o'er waste of waters borne,
Praying a strip of harmless shore our House-Gods' home to be, [Pg 194]
And grace of water and of air to all men lying free.
We shall not foul our land's renown; and thou, thy glory fair
We know, and plenteous fruit of thanks this deed of thine shall bear:
Nor ever may embrace of Troy Ausonia's soul despite.
Now by Æneas' fates I swear, and by his hand of might,
Whether in troth it hath been tried, or mid the hosts of war,
That many folks—yea, scorn us not that willingly we bore
These fillets in our hands today with words beseeching peace—
That many lands have longed for us, and yearned for our increase.
But fate of Gods and Gods' command would ever drive us home
To this your land: this is the place whence Dardanus was come,
And hither now he comes again: full sore Apollo drave
To Tuscan Tiber, and the place of dread Numicius' wave.
Moreover, here some little gifts of early days of joy
Giveth our king, a handful gleaned from burning-tide of Troy:
Anchises at the altar erst would pour from out this gold;
This was the gear that Priam used when in the guise of old
He gave his gathered folk the law; sceptre, and holy crown,
And weed the work of Ilian wives."
Now while Ilioneus so spake Latinus held his face,
Musing and steadfast, on the ground setting his downcast gaze,
Rolling his eyes all thought-fulfilled; nor did the broidered gear
Of purple move the King so much, nor Priam's sceptre fair,
As on his daughter's bridal bed the thoughts in him had rest,
For ancient Faunus' fateful word he turned within his breast.
Here was the son, the fate-foretold, the outland wanderer,
Called on by equal doom of God the equal throne to share;
He from whose loins those glorious sons of valour should come forth [Pg 195]
To take the whole world for their own by utter might of worth.
At last he spake out joyfully: "God grace our deed begun,
And his own bidding! man of Troy, thine asking shall be done:
I take your gifts: nought shall ye lack from King Latinus' hand,
Riches of Troy, nor health and wealth of fat and fruitful land.
But let Æneas come himself if he so yearn for me,
If he be eager for our house, and would our fellow be;
Nor let him fear to look upon friends' faces close anigh,
Part of the peace-troth shall be this, my hand in his to lie.
And now bear back unto your king this bidding that I send:
I have a daughter; her indeed with countryman to blend
The answers of my father's house forbid, and many a sign
Sent down from heaven: from over sea comes one to wed our line;
They say this bideth Latin Land; a man to raise our blood
Up to the very stars of heaven: that this is he fate would,
I think, yea hope, if any whit my heart herein avail."
He spake, and bade choose horses out from all his noble tale,
Whereof three hundred sleek and fair stood in the stables high:
These biddeth he for Teucrian men be led forth presently,
Wing-footed purple-bearing beasts, with pictures o'er them flung
Of woven stuff, and, on their breasts are golden collars hung:
Gold-housed are they, and champ in teeth the yellow-golden chain
But to Æneas, absent thence, a car and yoke-beasts twain
He sends: the seed of heaven are they, and breathing very fire,
The blood of those that Circe stole when she beguiled her sire,
That crafty mistress, winning them, bastards, from earthy mare. [Pg 196]
So back again Æneas' folk high on their horses fare,
Bearing Latinus' gifts and words, and all the tale of peace.
But lo, where great Jove's bitter wife comes from the town of Greece,
From Argos wrought of Inachus, and holds the airy way.
Far off she sees Æneas' joy, and where the ship-host lay
Of Dardans: yea from Sicily and far Pachynus head
She seeth him on earth at last and raising roofèd stead,
And all the ships void: fixed she stood, smit through with bitter wrath,
And shook her head: then from her breast the angry words came forth:
"Ah, hated race! Ah, Phrygian fates that shear my fates atwain!
Was there no dead man's place for you on that Sigean plain?
Had ye no might to wend as slaves? gave Troy so poor a flame
To burn her men, that through the fire and through the swords ye came?
I think at last my godhead's might is wearied and gone by,
That I have drunk enough of hate, and now at rest may lie:— I,
who had heart to follow up those outcasts from their land,
And as they fled o'er all the sea still in their path would stand.
Against these Teucrians sea and sky have spent their strength for nought:
Was Syrtes aught, or Scylla aught, or huge Charybdis aught?
Lo now the longed-for Tiber's breast that nation cherisheth
Safe from the deep and safe from me: while Mars might do to death
Those huge-wrought folk of Lapithæ: the very Father-God
Gave up the ancient Calydon to Dian's wrath and rod.
What was the guilt of Lapithæ? what crime wrought Calydon?
But I, the mighty spouse of Jove, who nought have left undone
[Pg 197]My evil hap might compass, I who ran through all craft's tale
Am vanquished of Æneas now. But if of no avail
My godhead be, I will not spare to pray what is of might,
Since Heaven I move not, needs must I let loose the Nether Night.
Ah! say it is not fated me the Latin realm to ban,
Lavinia must be fated wife of this same Trojan man,
Yet may I draw out time at least, and those great things delay;
At least may I for either king an host of people slay:
For father and for son-in-law shall plenteous price be paid,
With Trojan and Rutulian blood shalt thou be dowered, O maid;
Bellona's self shall bridal thee; not Cisseus' seed alone
Was big with brand; not she alone with wedding-ring has shone:
Yea, and this too is Venus' child; another Paris comes
To kindle deadly torch again in new-born Trojan homes."
So spake she terrible, and sank into the earth below,
Yea to the nether night, and stirred Alecto, forge of woe,
From the dread Goddesses' abode: sad wars she loveth well,
And murderous wrath, and lurking guile, and evil deeds and fell:
E'en Pluto loathes her; yea, e'en they of that Tartarean place,
Her sisters, hate her: sure she hath as many a changing face,
As many a cruel body's form, as her black snakes put forth.
To whom in such wise Juno spake and whetted on her wrath:
"Win me a work after thine heart, O Virgin of the night,
Lest all my fame, unstained of old, my glory won aright,
Give place: lest there Æneas' sons Latinus overcome
By wedlock, and in Italy set up their house and home:
Thou, who the brothers of one heart canst raise up each 'gainst each,
And overturn men's homes with hate, and through the house-walls' breach
Bear in the stroke and deadly brand—a thousand names hast thou, [Pg 198]—
A thousand arts of ill: Stir up thy fruitful bosom now;
Be render of the plighted peace; of war-seed be the sower;
That men may yearn for arms, and ask, and snatch in one same hour."
Thereon Alecto, steeped at heart with Gorgon venoming.
Sought Latium first and high-built house of that Laurentian king,
And by the silent threshold stood whereby Amata lay,
In whose hot heart a woman's woe and woman's wrath did play,
About those Teucrian new-comers and Turnus' bridal bed:
On her she cast an adder blue, a tress from off her head,
And sent it to her breast to creep her very heart-strings through,
That she, bewildered by the bane, may all the house undo.
So he betwixt her bosom smooth and dainty raiment slid,
And crawled as if he touched her not, and maddened her yet hid,
And breathed the adder's soul in her: the dreadful wormy thing
Seemed the wrought gold about her neck, or the long silken string
That knit her hair, and slippery soft it glided o'er her limbs.
And now while first the plague begins, and soft the venom swims,
Touching her sense, and round her bones the fiery web is pressed,
Nor yet her soul had caught the flame through all her poisoned breast,
Still soft, and e'en as mothers will, she spake the word and said
Her woes about her daughter's case, and Phrygian bridal bed.
"To Teucrian outcasts shall our maid, Lavinia, wedded be?
O Father, hast thou nought of ruth of her, forsooth, and thee?
Nor of the mother, whom that man forsworn shall leave behind,
Bearing the maiden o'er the sea with the first northern wind?
Nay, not e'en so the Phrygian herd pierced Lacedæmon's fold,
And bore Ledæan Helen off unto the Trojan hold. [Pg 199]
Nay, where is gone thine hallowed faith, thy kinsomeness of yore?
Thine hand that oft to Turnus' hand, thy kinsman, promise bore?
Lo, if we needs must seek a son strange to the Latin folk,
And Father Faunus' words on thee are e'en so strait a yoke,
I deem, indeed, that every land free from our kingdom's sway
Is stranger land, and even so I deem the Gods would say:
And Turnus comes, if we shall seek beginning of his race.
From Inachus, Acrisius old, and mid Mycenæ's place."
But when she thus had said in vain, and saw Latinus still
Withstand her: when all inwardly the maddening serpent's ill
Hath smitten through her heart of hearts and passed through all her frame,
Then verily the hapless one, with dreadful things aflame,
Raves through the city's length and breadth in God-wrought agonies:
As 'neath the stroke of twisted lash at whiles the whip-top flies,
Which lads all eager for the game drive, ever circling wide
Round some void hall; it, goaded on beneath the strip of hide,
From circle unto circle goes; the silly childish throng
Still hanging o'er, and wondering how the box-tree spins along,
The while their lashes make it live: no quieter she ran
Through the mid city, borne amid fierce hearts of many a man.
Then in the wilderness she feigns the heart that Bacchus fills,
And stirs a greater madness up, beginning greater ills,
And mid the leafy mountain-side her daughter hides away,
To snatch her from the Teucrian bed, the bridal torch to stay;
Foaming: "Hail, Bacchus! thou alone art worthy lord to wed
This virgin thing: for thee she takes the spear's soft-fruited head,
For thee she twinkleth dancing feet, and feeds her holy hair." [Pg 200]
The rumour flies, and one same rage all mother-folk doth bear,
Heart-kindled by the Fury's ill, to roofs of all unrest:
They flee the house and let the wind play free o'er hair and breast:
While others fill the very heavens with shrilly quivering wail,
And skin-clad toss about the spear the wreathing vine-leaves veil:
But she ablaze amidst of them upholds the fir-lit flame,
And sings her daughter's bridal song, and sings of Turnus' name,
Rolling her blood-shot eyes about; then eager suddenly
She shouts: "Ho, mothers! Latin wives, wherever ye may be,
Hearken! if in your righteous souls abideth any love
Of lorn Amata; if your souls a mother's right may move,
Cast off the fillets from your locks, with me the madness bear."
So through the woodland wilderness and deserts of the deer
Alecto drave the Queen around, with Bacchus' stings beset
But when she deemed enough was wrought that rage of hers to whet,
And that Latinus' rede and house was utterly undone,
Forthwith away on dusky wings is borne that evil one
Unto the bold Rutulian's wall: a city, saith the tale,
Raised up by Danaë for her Acrisian folks' avail
When on the hurrying South she fled: Ardea in days of yore
Our fathers called it; nor as yet is name thereof passed o'er,
Though wealth be gone: there Turnus lay within his house on high,
And midmost sleep of dusky night was winning peacefully.
When there Alecto cruel face and hellish body shed,
And to an ancient woman's like her shape she fashionèd,
Wrinkling her forehead villanous; and hoary coifèd hair
She donned, and round about it twined the olive-garland fair,
And seemed the ancient Calybé of Juno's holy place; [Pg 201]
And so with such a word she thrust before the hero's face:
"Turnus, and wilt thou bear it now, such labour spent in vain,
And give thy folk to Dardan men, the outcasts of the main?
The King gainsays thy wedding couch, and dowry justly bought
By very blood, and for his throne an outland heir is sought.
Go, thou bemocked, and thrust thyself mid perils none shall thank;
For cloaking of the Latin peace o'erthrow the Tuscan rank!
The mighty Saturn's Seed herself hath bid me openly
To bear thee this, while thou in peace of middle night shouldst lie.
So up! be merry! arm the lads! bid wend from out the gate.
Up, up, and arm! The Phrygian folk who in the fair stream wait,
Burn thou their dukes of men with fire! burn every painted keel!
'Tis heavenly might that biddeth this. Let King Latinus feel
Thy strength, and learn to know at last what meaneth Turnus' sword,
Unless he grant the wedding yet, and hold his plighted word."
But therewithal the young man spake, and answered her in scorn:
"Thou errest: tidings of all this failed nowise to be borne
Unto mine ears, how stranger ships the Tiber-flood beset.
Nay, make me not so sore afeared,—belike she minds me yet,
Juno, the Queen of Heaven aloft.
Nay, mother, Eld the mouldy-dull, the empty of all sooth,
Tormenteth thee with cares in vain, and mid the arms of kings
Bemocks the seer with idle shows of many fearful things.
Nay, 'tis for thee to watch God's house, and ward the images,
And let men deal with peace and war; for they were born for these."
But at such word Alecto's wrath in utter fire outbrake; [Pg 202]
A tremor ran throughout his limbs e'en as the word he spake;
Fixed stared his eyes, the Fury hissed with Serpent-world so dread,
And such a mighty body woke: then rolling in her head
Her eyes of flame, she thrust him back, stammering and seeking speech,
As on her head she reared aloft two adders each by each,
And sounded all her fearful whip, and cried from raving mouth:
"Lo, I am she, the mouldy-dull, whom Eld, the void of sooth,
Bemocks amid the arms of kings with empty lies of fear!
Look, look! for from the Sisters' House, the Dread Ones, come I here;
And war and death I have in hand."
She spake, and on the youth she cast her torch and set its blaze,
A mirky gleam of smoke-wreathed flame, amidmost of his heart:
And mighty dread his slumber brake, and forth from every part,
From bones and body, burst the sweat, and o'er his limbs 'gan fall;
And wild he cries for arms, and seeks for arms from bed and wall:
The sword-lust rageth in his soul, and wicked thirst of war.
So was it as at whiles it is, when with a mighty roar
The twiggen flame goes up about the hollow side of brass;
The water leapeth up therewith, within comes rage to pass,
The while the cloudy foaming flood spouts up a bubbling stir,
Until the sea refrains no more; the black cloud flies in air.
So to the dukes of men he shows how peace hath evil end,
And on Latinus biddeth them in weed of war to wend;
That they may save their Italy, and thrust the foemen forth.
And he will fare unto the field more than the twain of worth,
Teucrians and Latins: so he saith, and calls the Gods to aid.
Then eagerly Rutulian men to war and battle bade: [Pg 203]
For some his glorious beauty stirred, and some his youth drave on,
And some his sires; and some were moved by deeds his hand had done.
But while he fills Rutulian souls with love for glorious things,
Alecto to the Teucrians wends on Stygian-fashioned wings,
With fresh guile spying out the place where goodly on the shore,
With toils and speed 'gainst woodland beasts, Iulus waged the war.
Here for his hounds Cocytus' Maid a sudden madness blent,
Crossing the nostrils of the beasts with long familiar scent,
As eagerly they chased a hart. This first began the toil,
And kindled field-abiders' souls to war and deadly broil.
There was a hart most excellent, a noble hornèd thing,
That Tyrrheus' sons had stolen from its own dam's cherishing,
And fostered: he, their father, had the kingly herd to heed,
And well was trusted far and wide, the warden of the mead.
But to their sister Sylvia's hand the beast was used, and oft
She decked him lovingly, and wreathed his horns with leafage soft,
And combed him oft, and washed him oft in water of the well.
Tame to her hand, and used enow amid manfolk to dwell,
He strayed the woods; but day by day betook him evermore,
Of his own will at twilight-tide, to that familiar door.
Him now Iulus' hunting hounds mad-eager chanced to stir
Afar from home, and floating whiles adown the river fair,
Or whiles on bank of grassy green beguiling summer's flame.
Therewith Ascanius, all afire with lust of noble fame,
Turned on the beast the spiky reed from out the curvèd horn;
Nor lacked the God to his right hand; on was the arrow borne
With plenteous whirr, and smote the hart through belly and through flank; [Pg 204]
Who, wounded, to the well-known house fled fast, and groaning shrank
Into the stalls of his abode, and bloody, e'en as one
Who cries for pity, filled the place with woefulness of moan.
Then first the sister Sylvia there, smiting her breast, cried out,
Calling to aid the hardy hearts of field-folk thereabout;
And swifter than the thought they came; for still that bitter Bane
Lurked in the silent woods: this man a half-burned brand did gain
For weapon; that a knotted stake: whate'er came first to hand,
The seeker's wrath a weapon made: there Tyrrheus cheers his band,
Come from the cleaving of an oak with foursome driven wedge,
Panting and fierce he tossed aloft the wood-bill's grinded edge.
But she, that Evil, on the watch, noting the death anigh,
Climbs up upon the stall-house loft, and from its roof on high
Singeth the shepherd's gathering sign, and through the crookèd horn
Sends voice of hell: and e'en therewith, as forth the notes were borne,
The forest trembled; the deep woods resounded; yea afar
The mere of Trivia heard the sound, and that white water, Nar,
That bears the sulphur down its stream; the Veline well-springs heard:
Mothers caught up their little ones, and trembled sore afeard.
Then hurrying at the voice sent forth by the dread war-horn's song,
The hardy-hearted folk of fields from everywhither throng,
With weapons caught in haste: and now the Trojan folk withal
Pour from their opened gates, and on to aid Ascanius fall.
And there the battle is arrayed; and now no war they wake,
Where field-folk strive with knotty club or fire-behardened stake;
But with the two-edged sword they strive: the meadows bristle black
With harvest of the naked steel: the gleaming brass throws back
Unto the clouds that swim aloft the smiting of the sun: [Pg 205]
As when the whitening of the wind across the flood doth run,
And step by step the sea gets up, and higher heaps the wave,
Until heaven-high it sweeps at last up from its lowest cave.
And here, by dint of whistling shaft in forefront of the fight,
A youth, e'en Tyrrheus' eldest son, by name of Almo hight,
Was laid alow: there in his throat the reedy bane abode,
And shut with blood the path of speech, the tender life-breath's road.
And many a body fell around: there, thrusting through the press
With peaceful word, Galæsus old died in his righteousness;
Most just of men; most rich erewhile of all Ausonian land:
Five flocks of bleaters once he had: five-fold came home to hand
His herds of neat: an hundred ploughs turned up the earth for him.
But while they wrought these deeds of Mars mid doubtful fate and dim,
The Goddess, strong in pledge fulfilled, since she the war had stained
With very blood, and death of men in that first battle gained,
Leaveth the Westland, and upborne along the hollow sky,
To Juno such a word of pride sets forth victoriously:
"Lo thou, the discord fashioned fair with misery of fight!
Come let them join in friendship now, and troth together plight!
But now, since I have sprinkled Troy with that Ausonian blood,
I will do more, if thereunto thy will abideth good;
For all the cities neighbouring to war my word shall bring,
And in their souls the love of Mars and maddening fire shall fling
Till all strike in, and all the lea crops of my sowing bear."
But Juno answered: "Full enough there is of fraud and fear; [Pg 206]
Fast stands the stumbling-block of war, and hand to hand they fight:
The sword that Fate first gave to them hath man's death stained aright
Forsooth let King Latinus now and Venus' noble son
Join hand to hand, and hold high feast for such a wedding won.
But thee, the Father of the Gods, lord of Olympus high,
Will nowise have a-wandering free beneath the worldly sky:
Give place; and whatso more of toil Fortune herein may make
Myself shall rule."
Such words as these Saturnian Juno spake,
And on the wing the Evil rose, with snaky sweeping whirr,
Seeking Cocytus' house, and left the light world's steep of air.
Midst Italy a place there is 'neath mountains high set down,
Whose noble tale in many a land hath fame and great renown,
The valley of Amsanctus called, hemmed in by woody steep
On either side, and through whose midst a rattling stream doth leap,
With clattering stones and eddying whirl: a strange den gapeth there,
The very breathing-hole of Dis; an awful place of fear,
A mighty gulf of baneful breath that Acheron hath made
When he brake forth: therein as now the baneful Fury laid
Her hated godhead, lightening so the load of earth and heaven.
No less meanwhile did Saturn's Queen still turn her hand to leaven
That war begun. The shepherd folk rush from the battle-wrack
Into the city of the king, bearing their dead aback,
Almo the lad, Galæsus slain with changed befoulèd face.
They bid Latinus witness bear, and cry the Gods for grace.
Turnus is there, and loads the tale of bale-fire and the sword,
And swells the fear: "The land shall have a Teucrian host for lord:
With Phrygians shall ye foul your race and drive me from your door." [Pg 207]
Then they, whose mothers midst the wood God Bacchus overbore,
To lead the dance—Amata's name being held in nowise light—
Together draw from every side, and weary for the fight.
Yea, all with froward heart and voice cry out for war and death,
That signs of heaven forbid so sore, that high God gainsayeth,
And King Latinus' house therewith beset they eagerly;
But he unmoved against them stands as crag amid the sea;
As crag amid the sea, that stands unmoved and huge to meet
The coming crash, while plenteously the waves bark round its feet:
Vain is the roaring on the rocks and rattling shingly crash,
The wrack from off its smitten sides falls down amid the wash.
But when no might is given him their blindness to o'ercome,
And by the road fell Juno would the matter must win home,
Sore called the father on the Gods and emptiness of air:
"Ah, broken by the Fates," he cried, "amid the storm we bear!
Ye with your godless blood yourselves shall pay the penalty,
Unhappy men! But Turnus, thou, thine ill deed bideth thee
With woe enough, and overlate the Gods shalt thou adore.
For me, my rest is gained, my foot the threshold passeth o'er;
Yet is my happy ending spilled."
Nor further would he say;
But, hedged within his house, he cast the reins of rule away.
In Latium of the Westland world a fashion was whilome,
Thence hallowed of the Alban folk, held holy thence by Rome,
Earth's mightiest thing: and this they used what time soe'er they woke
Mars unto battle; whether they against the Getic folk,
Ind, Araby, Hyrcanian men, fashioned the woeful wrack, [Pg 208]
Or mid the dawn from Parthian men the banners bade aback.
For twofold are the Gates of War—still bear they such a name—
Hallowed by awe of Mars the dread, and worship of his fame,
Shut by an hundred brazen bolts, and iron whose avail
Shall never die: nor ever thence doth door-ward Janus fail.
Now when amid the Fathers' hearts fast is the war-rede grown,
The Consul, girt in Gabine wise, and with Quirinus gown
Made glorious, doth himself unbar the creaking door-leaves great,
And he himself cries on the war; whom all men follow straight,
The while their brazen yea-saying the griding trumpets blare.
In e'en such wise Latinus now was bidden to declare
The battle 'gainst Æneas' folk, and ope the gates of woe.
But from their touch the Father shrank, and fleeing lest he do
The evil deed, in eyeless dark he hideth him away.
Then slipped the Queen of Gods from heaven, and ended their delay;
For back upon their hinges turned the Seed of Saturn bore
The tarrying leaves, and burst apart the iron Gates of War,
And all Ausonia yet unstirred brake suddenly ablaze:
And some will go afoot to field, and some will wend their ways
Aloft on horses dusty-fierce: all seek their battle-gear.
Some polish bright the buckler's face and rub the pike-point clear
With fat of sheep; and many an axe upon the wheel is worn.
They joy to rear the banners up and hearken to the horn.
And now five mighty cities forge the point and edge anew
On new-raised anvils; Tibur proud, Atina staunch to do,
Ardea and Crustumerium's folk, Antemnæ castle-crowned.
They hollow helming for the head; they bend the withe around
For buckler-boss: or other some beat breast-plates of the brass, [Pg 209]
Or from the toughened silver bring the shining greaves to pass.
Now fails all prize of share and hook, all yearning for the plough;
The swords their fathers bore afield anew they smithy now.
Now is the gathering-trumpet blown; the battle-token speeds;
And this man catches helm from wall; this thrusteth foaming steeds
To collar; this his shield does on, and mail-coat threesome laid
Of golden link, and girdeth him with ancient trusty blade.
O Muses, open Helicon, and let your song awake
To tell what kings awoke to war, what armies for whose sake
Filled up the meads; what men of war sweet mother Italy
Bore unto flower and fruit as then; what flame of fight ran high:
For ye remember, Holy Ones, and ye may tell the tale;
But we—a slender breath of fame scarce by our ears may sail.
Mezentius first, the foe of Gods, fierce from the Tuscan shore
Unto the battle wends his way, and armeth host of war:
Lausus, his son, anigh him wends;—no lovelier man than he,
Save Turnus, the Laurentine-born, the crown of all to see.—
Lausus, the tamer of the horse, the wood-deer's following bane,
Who led from Agyllina's wall a thousand men in vain.
Worthy was he to have more mirth than 'neath Mezentius' sway;
Worthy that other sire than he had given him unto day.
The goodly Aventinus next, glorious with palm of prize,
Along the grass his chariot shows and steeds of victories,
Sprung from the goodly Hercules, marked by his father's shield,
Where Hydra girded hundred-fold with adders fills the field:
Him Rhea the priestess on a day gave to the sun-lit earth, [Pg 210]
On wooded bent of Aventine, in secret stolen birth;
The woman mingled with a God, what time that, Geryon slain,
The conquering man of Tiryns touched the fair Laurentian plain,
And washed amidst the Tuscan stream the bulls Iberia bred.
These bear in war the bitter glaive and darts with pilèd head:
With slender sword and Sabine staff the battle they abide;
But he afoot and swinging round a monstrous lion's hide,
Whose bristly brow and terrible with sharp white teeth a-row
Hooded his head, beneath the roof where dwelt the king did go
All shaggy rough, his shoulders clad with Herculean cloak.
Then next twin brethren wend away from Tibur's town and folk,
Whose brother-born, Tiburtus, erst had named that citied place;
Catillus, eager Coras they, men of the Argive race;
In forefront of the battle-wood, mid thick of sleet they fare,
Like as two centaurs cloud-begot, that down the mountains bear,
Leaving the high-piled Homole, and Othrys of the snow
With hurrying hoofs: the mighty wood yields to them as they go;
The tangle of the thicket-place before them gives aback.
Nor did Præneste's raiser-up from field of battle lack,
That Cæculus, whom king of men mid cattle of the mead,
All ages of the world have trowed was Vulcan's very seed
Found on the hearth: from wide away gathered his rustic band:
Those housed upon Præneste's steep; they of the Juno land
Of Gabii: abiders near cool Anio, they that dwell
On Hernic rocks, the stream-bedewed: they whom thou feedest well,
Anagnia rich; the foster-sons of Amasenus' coast.
Not all had arms, or clash of shield, or war-wain; but the most [Pg 211]
Cast the grey plummets forth, and some, the dart in hand they bear,
And on the head the fallow fell of woodland wolf they wear
For helming: now with all of them the left foot goes aground,
Naked and bare; but with the hide untanned the left is bound.
Messapus lo, the horse-tamer, a child by Neptune won,
Ne'er by the fire to be spilled, nor by the steel undone;
His folk this long while sunk in peace, a battle-foolish band,
He calleth suddenly to fight, and taketh sword in hand;
Æqui Falisci are of these, Fescennium's folk of fight,
These lie upon Flavinium's lea, and hold Soracte's hight,
And mere and mound of Ciminus, Capena's woodland broad.
With measured footfalls on they go, a-singing of their lord:
As whiles the snowy swans will fare amid the world of cloud,
Returning from their feeding-field; far goes the song and loud,
Whose notes along their necks they pour: the flood resounds, and all
The Asian marish beat with song.
Scarce might ye deem the brazen ranks of such a mighty host
Were gathered there: but rather fowl a-driving toward the coast,
An airy cloud of hoarse-voiced things drawn from the wallowing sea.
Lo sprung from ancient Sabine blood comes Clausus presently,
Leading a mighty host, himself a very host of war;
From whom the Claudian tribe and race hath spread itself afar
Through Latium, since the Sabine folk was given a share in Rome:
With him the Amiternian host and old Quirites come;
Eretus' host and they that keep Mutusca's olive gain,
The biders in Nomentum's wall, and Veline Rosea's plain,
The bristling rocks of Tetricæ and high Severus' flank, [Pg 212]
Casperia and Foruli and wet Himella's bank;
The drinkers of the Tiber-stream and Fabaris, and folk
Cool Nursia sends, and Horta's troop, and men of Latin yoke;
And they whom hapless Allia parts with wash of waters wan:
As many as on Lybian main the tumbling waves roll on
When fierce Orion falls to sleep in wintry waters' lair;
Or thick as stand the wheaten ears the young sun burneth there
On Hermus' plain or Lycia's lea a-yellowing for the hook:
Loud clashed the shields, and earth afeared beneath their footfalls shook.
Halæsus, Agamemnon's blood, a foe to Troy inbred,
Next yoked the horses to the car; a thousand men he led,
Fierce folk for Turnus: they that hoe the vine-fair Massic soil;
And they that from their lofty hills adown unto the broil
Aruncan fathers sent, and they of Sidicinum's lea;
All who leave Cales, all whose homes beside Vulturnus be,
The shoally water: with them went Saticula's fierce band,
And host of Oscans: slender shafts are weapons of their hand,
Which same to toughened casting-thong amid the fight they tie;
With bucklered left and scanty blade they come to blows anigh.
Nor, Œbalus, shalt thou unsung from this our story fail,
Whom Telon on nymph Sebethis begat as tells the tale
When Teleboan Capreæ he reigned o'er waxen old;
Whose son might not abide to sit within his father's fold;
But even then held neath his sway the country far and wide,
Sarrastes' folk, and all the plain along the Sarnus side.
[Pg 213]Celenna's lea, and Batulum, and folk of Rufra's town,
And those on whom Abella's walls, the apple-rich, look down.
But these are wont to hurl the spear after the Teuton wise,
Their heads are helmed with e'en such bark as on the holm-oak lies:
All brazen-wrought their targets gleam, their brazen sword-blades flash.
'Twas Nursæ in the heart of hills sent thee to battle-clash,
O Ufens, well renowned of fame, and rich in battle's grace;
Whose folk are roughest lived of men, eager for woodland chase;
Æquiculi they hight; who dwell on land of little gain,
And ever armed they till the earth, and ever are they fain
To drive the spoil from hour to hour, and live upon the prey.
Then Umbro of the hardy heart went on the battle-way;
Priest was he of Marruvian folk; about his helm was bent
The happy olive, leaf and twig: him King Archippus sent:
Wont was he with his hand and voice the bitter viper-kind
And water-worms of evil breath in bonds of sleep to bind;
And he would soothe the wrath of them, and dull their bite by craft,
Yet nothing might he heal the hurt that came of Dardan shaft;
Nay, nothing might the sleepy song avail against his bane,
All herbs on Marsian mountains plucked were nought thereto and vain.
Anguitia's thicket wept for thee, Fucinus wave of glass,
The thin wan waters wept for thee.
Most goodly Virbius went to war, Hippolytus' own son:
His mother fair Aricia sent this battle-glorious one
From fostering of Egeria's wood, from out the marish place
Where standeth Dian's altar rich fulfilled of plenteous grace.
For folk say, when Hippolytus, undone by step-dame's lie,
Had paid unto his father's wrath that utmost penalty, [Pg 214]
He, piecemeal torn by maddened steeds, yet came aback to live
Beneath the starry firmament, and air that heaven doth give,
Brought back to life by healing herbs and Dian's cherishing:
Then the Almighty Father, wroth that any mortal thing
Should rise again to light of life from nether shadows wan,
Beat down with bolt to Stygian wave the Phœbus-gotten man,
The finder of such healing craft, the wise in such an art.
But Trivia's lovingkindness hid Hippolytus apart,
And in the nymph Egeria's wood she held him many a day:
Alone in woods of Italy he wore his life away,
Deedless, his very name all changed, and Virbius by-named then.
So for this cause to Trivia's fane and hallowed grove do men
Drive horn-foot steeds, because, o'ercome by sea-beasts dread of yore,
Piecemeal the chariot and the man they strewed about the shore.
No less his son would drive the steeds across the level plain
For all their heat, and rush to war aloft in battle-wain.
Now mid the forefront Turnus self of body excellent,
Strode sword in hand: there by the head all others he outwent:
His threefold crested helm upbore Chimæra in her wrath;
Where very flame of Ætna's womb her jaws were pouring forth;
And fiercer of her flames was she, and madder of her mood
As bloomed the battle young again with more abundant blood.
But on the smoothness of his shield was golden Io shown
With upraised horns, with hairy skin, a very heifer grown,—
A noble tale;—and Argus there was wrought, the maiden's ward;
And father Inachus from bowl well wrought the river poured.
A cloud of foot-folk follow him; his shielded people throng [Pg 215]
The meadows all about; forth goes the Argive manhood strong;
Aruncan men and Rutuli, Sicanians of old years,
Sacranian folk, Labicus' band the blazoned shield-bearers:
Thy thicket-biders, Tiber; those that holy acres till
Beside Numicus, those that plough Rutulian holt and hill,
And ridges of Circæi: they whose meadows Anxur Jove
Looks down on, where Feronia joys amid her fair green grove;
Where Satura's black marish lies, where chilly Ufens glides,
Seeking a way through lowest dales, till in the sea he hides.
And after these from Volscian folk doth fair Camilla pass,
Leading a mighty host of horse all blossoming with brass;
A warrior maid, whose woman's hands unused to ply the rock,
Unused to bear Minerva's crate, were wise in battle's shock.
The very winds might she outgo with hurrying maiden feet,
Or speed across the topmost blades of tall unsmitten wheat,
Nor ever hurt the tender ears below her as she ran;
Or she might walk the middle sea, and cross the welter wan,
Nor dip the nimble soles of her amid the wavy ways.
From house and field the youth pours forth to wonder and to gaze;
The crowd of mothers stands at stare all marvelling, and beholds
Her going forth; how kingly cloak of purple dye enfolds
Her shining shoulders, how the clasp of gold knots up her hair,
And how a quiver Lycian-wrought the Queen herself doth bear,
And shepherd's staff of myrtle-wood steel-headed to a spear.
THE LATINS SEEK HELP OF DIOMEDE, AND ÆNEAS OF EVANDER, TO WHOM HE GOETH AS A GUEST. VENUS CAUSETH VULCAN TO FORGE ARMOUR AND WEAPONS FOR HER SON ÆNEAS.
When Turnus from Laurentum's burg the battle-sign upreared,
When with their voices hard and shrill the gathering trumpets blare,
When he had stirred his war-steeds on and clashed his weed of war,
All troubled were the minds of men, and midst of tumult sore
All Latium swore the battle oath, and rage of men outbroke;
Messapus then, and Ufens great, the dukes of warring folk,
Mezentius, scorner of the Gods, these drive from every side
The folk to war, and waste the fields of tillers far and wide.
And Venulus is sent withal to Diomedes' town
To pray for aid, and tell him how the Teucrians are come down
On Latium: how Æneas comes with ship-host, carrying
His vanquished House-Gods, calling him the Fate-ordainèd King;
How many a folk of Italy hath joined the Dardan lord,
How that his name in Latin land is grown a mighty word—
'What thing the man will build from this, what way the prize of fight,
If Fortune aid him he shall turn—through this thou see'st more light [Pg 217]
Than cometh to King Turnus yet or King Latinus eyes.
So goes the world in Latium now, and noting how all lies,
The Trojan hero drifts adown a mighty tide of care,
And hither now his swift thought speeds, now thither bids it fare,
And sends it diversely about by every way to slip:
As quivering light of water is in brazen vessel's lip,
Smit by the sun, or casting back the image of the moon.
It flitteth all about the place, and rising upward soon
Smiteth the fashioned ceiling spread beneath the tiling steep.
Night fell, and over all the world the earthly slumber deep
Held weary things, the fowl of air, the cattle of the wold,
And on the bank beneath the crown of heaven waxen cold,
Father Æneas, all his heart with woeful war oppressed,
Lay stretched along and gave his limbs the tardy meed of rest:
When lo, between the poplar-leaves the godhead of the place,
E'en Tiber of the lovely stream, arose before his face,
A veil of linen grey and thin the elder's body clad,
And garlanding of shady sedge the tresses of him had;
And thus Æneas he bespeaks to take away his woe:
"O Seed of Gods, who bearest us Troy-town from midst the foe,
Who savest Pergamus new-born no more to die again,
Long looked-for on Laurentine earth and fields of Latin men;
This is your sure abiding-place, your House-Gods' very stead;
Turn not, nor fear the battle-threats, for now hath fallen dead
The swelling storm of godhead's wrath.
And lest thou think I forge for thee an idle dream of sleep, [Pg 218]
Amid the holm-oaks of the shore a great sow shalt thou see,
Who e'en now farrowed thirty head of young; there lieth she
All white along, with piglings white around her uddered sides:
That earth shall be thy dwelling-place; there rest from toil abides.
From thence Ascanius, when the year hath thrice ten times rolled round,
Shall raise a city, calling it by Alba's name renowned.
No doubtful matters do I sing,—but how to speed thee well,
And win thee victor from all this, in few words will I tell:
Arcadian people while agone, a folk from Pallas come,
Following Evander for their king, have borne his banners home,
And chosen earth, and reared their town amid a mountain place
E'en Pallanteum named, from him who first began their race:
This folk against the Latin men for ever wages fight,
Bid them as fellows to thy camp, and treaty with them plight;
But I by bank and flow of flood will straightly lead thee there,
While thou with beating of the oars the stream dost overbear.
Arise, arise, O Goddess-born, when the first star-world sets,
Make prayer to Juno in due wise; o'ercome her wrath and threats
With suppliant vows: victorious grown, thou yet shalt worship me;
For I am that abundant flood whom thou today dost see
Sweeping the bank and cleaving way amid the plenteous earth,
Blue Tiber, sweetest unto heaven of all the streams of worth.
This is my mighty house; my head from lofty cities sweeps."
The River spake, and hid himself amid the watery deeps;
But night and slumber therewithal Æneas' eyes forsook;
He rose and toward the dawning-place and lights of heaven 'gan look,
And duly in his hollow hand he lifted water fair
From out the stream, and unto heaven in such wise poured his prayer: [Pg 219]
"O Nymphs, Laurentian Nymphs, from whence the race of rivers springs,
And thou, O father Tiber fair, with holy wanderings,
Cherish Æneas; thrust from me the bitter following bane,
What pool soe'er may nurse thy spring, O pityer of my pain,
From whatso land, O loveliest, thy stream may issue forth.
For ever will I give thee gifts, and worship well thy worth,
Horned river, of all Westland streams the very king and lord;
Only be with me; faster bind thy great God-uttered word."
Thus having said, two twi-banked keels he chooseth from the fleet,
And mans the oars and dights his folk with gear and weapons meet.
But lo meanwhile a wondrous sign is thrust before his eyes;
For on the green-sward of the wood a snow-white sow there lies
Down by the strand, her little ones, like-hued, about her pressed;
Whom god-loving Æneas slays to thee, O mightiest,
O Juno, at thine altar-fires hallowing both dam and brood.
Now while the long night wore away, the swelling of his flood
Had Tiber soothed, and eddying back in peace the stream was stayed,
And in the manner of a mere the water's face was laid,
Or as a pool, that so the oars unstrained their work may ply.
So now they speed their journey forth amid a happy cry;
The oiled fir slips along the seas, the waves fall wondering then,—
The woods, unused, fall wondering sore to see the shields of men
Shine far up stream; to see the keels bepainted swimming there:
But day and night, with beat of oars, the watery way they wear,
And conquer reaches long, o'erlaid with many a shifting tree,
And cleave the forest fair and green along the waveless sea. [Pg 220]
Unto the midmost crown of heaven had climbed the fiery sun,
By then the walls, and far-off burg, and few roofs one by one
They see; the place raised high as heaven by mightiness of Rome,
Where in those days Evander had an unrich, scanty home:
So thither swift they turned their prows, and toward the city drew.
That day it chanced the Arcadian King did yearly honour do
Unto Amphitryon's mighty son, and on the God did call
In grove before the city-walls: Pallas, his son, withal,
The battle-lords, the senate poor of that unwealthy folk
Cast incense there; with yet warm blood the altars were a-smoke.
But when they saw the tall ships glide amidst the dusky shade
Of woody banks, and might of men on oars all silent laid,
Scared at the sudden sight they rise, and all the boards forsake:
But Pallas, of the hardy heart, forbids the feast to break,
While he, with weapon caught in haste, flies forth to meet the men,
And crieth from a mound afar:
"Fellows, what drave you then?
And whither wend ye on your ways by road untried before?
What folk and from what home are ye? and is it peace or war?"
Then spake the father Æneas the lofty deck aboard,
As with the peaceful olive-bough he reached his hand abroad;
"Troy's folk ye see and weapons whet against the Latin side,
Whom they have driven forth by war amid their plenteous pride.
We seek Evander: go ye forth and tell him this, and say
That chosen dukes of Troy are come for plighted troth to pray."
The sound of such a mighty name smote Pallas with amaze: [Pg 221]
"Come forth," he said, "whoso ye be: before my father's face
Say what ye would; come to our Gods and in our house be guest."
So saying he gave his hand to him, and hard his right hand pressed;
Therewith they leave the river-bank, and wend amidst the wood:
But spake Æneas to the king fair friendly words and good:
"O best of Greeks, whom fortune wills that I should now beseech,
And unto thee the suppliant staff of olive garlands reach,
I feared thee not for Arcas' seed or Duke of Danai,
Nor for thy being to Atreus' twins a kinsman born anigh:
Rather my heart, and holy words that Gods have given forth,
Our fathers' kin, the world-wide tale that goeth of thy worth,
Bind me to thee, and make me fain of what Fate bids befall.
Now Dardanus, first setter-up and sire of Ilian wall,
Born of Electra, Atlas' child, as Greekish stories say,
Came to the Teucrians: Atlas huge Electra gave today,
Atlas, who on his shoulders rears the round-wrought heavenly house:
But Mercury thy father is, whom Maia glorious
Conceived, and shed on earth one day on high Cyllene cold;
But Atlas Maia too begot, if we may trow tale told,
That very Atlas who the stars of heavenly house doth raise,
So from one root the race of us wends on its twofold ways.
Stayed by these things none else I sent, nor guilefully have sought,
Assaying of thee, but myself unto thyself I brought,
And mine own head; and here I stand a suppliant at thy door.
And that same Daunian folk of men drive us with bitter war
As fall on thee: if us they chase, what stay but utterly,
(So deem they) all the Westland earth beneath their yoke shall lie, [Pg 222]
With all the upper flood of sea, and nether waters' wash.
Take troth and give it: hearts are we stout in the battle's clash,
High-counselled souls, men well beheld in deeds that try the man."
He ended: but Evander's look this long while overran
His face, his speaking eyes, and all his body fair to see;
Then in few words he answered thus:
"How sweet to welcome thee,
Best heart of Troy! and how I mind the words, and seem to hear
Anchises' voice, and see the face that mighty man did bear:
For I remember Priam erst, child of Laomedon,
Came to Hesione's abode, to Salamis passed on,
And thence would wend his ways to seek Arcadia's chilly place.
The blossom of the spring of life then bloomed upon my face,
When on the Teucrian lords I looked with joy and wonderment;
On Priam, too: but loftier there than any other went
Anchises; and his sight in me struck youthful love awake.
I yearned to speak unto the man, and hand in hand to take:
So fain I met him, led him in to Phineus' wallèd place;
And he, departing, gave to me a noble arrow-case
And Lycian shafts; a cloak thereto, all shot across with gold,
And golden bridles twain, that now Pallas, my son, doth hold.
Lo, then, the right hand that ye sought is joined in troth to thine;
And when tomorrow's light once more upon the world shall shine,
Glad, holpen, shall I send you forth and stay you with my store.
Meanwhile, since here ye come our friends, with us the Gods adore
At this our hallowed yearly feast, which ill it were to stay:
Be kind, and with your fellows' boards make friends without delay." [Pg 223]
Therewith he bids bring forth once more the wine-cups and the meat,
And he himself sets down the men upon a grassy seat;
But chiefly to the bed bedight with shaggy lion's skin
He draws Æneas, bidding him the throne of maple win.
Then vie the chosen youth-at-arms, the altar-priest brings aid;
They bear in roasted flesh of bulls, and high the baskets lade
With gifts of Ceres fashioned well, and serve the Bacchus' joy;
So therewithal Æneas eats and men-at-arms of Troy
Of undivided oxen chines and inwards of the feast.
But when the lust of meat was dulled and hunger's gnawing ceased,
Saith King Evander:
"This high-tide that we are holding thus,
This ordered feast, this altar raised to God all-glorious,
No idle task of witch-work is, that knoweth not the Gods
Of ancient days: O Trojan chief, we, saved from fearful odds,
Here worship, and give glory new to deeds done gloriously.
Note first the crag, whose world of stones o'ertoppleth there anigh;
What stone-heaps have been cast afar, how waste and wild is grown
The mountain-house, what mighty wrack the rocks have dragged adown.
Therein a cave was erst, that back a long way burrowing ran,
Held by the dreadful thing, the shape of Cacus, monster-man.
A place the sun might never see, for ever warm and wet
With reek of murder newly wrought; o'er whose proud doorways set
The heads of men were hanging still wan mid the woeful gore.
Vulcan was father of this fiend; his black flame did he pour
Forth from his mouth, as monster-great he wended on his ways.
But to our aid, as whiles it will, brought round the lapse of days
The help and coming of a God: for that most mighty one,
All glorious with the death and spoils of threefold Geryon, [Pg 224]
Alcides, our avenger came, driving the victor's meed,
His mighty bulls, who down the dale and river-bank did feed.
But Cacus, mad with furious heart, that nought undared might be
Of evil deeds, or nought untried of guile and treachery,
Drave from the fold four head of bulls of bodies excellent,
And e'en so many lovely kine, whose fashion all outwent;
Which same, that of their rightful road the footprints clean might lack,
Tail-foremost dragged he to his den, turning their way-marks back;
And so he hid them all away amid that stonydark,
Nor toward the cave might he that sought find any four-foot mark.
"Meanwhile, his beasts all satiate, from fold Amphitryon's son
Now gets them ready for the road, and busks him to be gone;
When lo, the herd falls bellowing, and with its sorrow fills
The woodland as it goes away, and lowing leaves the hills.
Therewith a cow gave back the sound, and in the cavern hid
Lowed out, and in despite his heed all Cacus' hope undid.
Then verily Alcides' ire and gall of heart outbroke
In fury, and his arms he caught and weight of knotty oak,
And running, sought the hill aloft that thrusteth toward the skies.
Then first our folk saw Cacus scared and trouble in his eyes,
And in a twinkling did he flee, no eastern wind as fleet,
Seeking his den, and very fear gave wings unto his feet;
But scarcely was he shut therein, and, breaking down the chains,
Had dropped the monstrous rock that erst his crafty father's pains
Hung there with iron; scarce had he blocked the doorway with the same,
When lo, the man of Tiryns there, who with his heart aflame
[Pg 225]Eyed all the entries, here and there turning about his face,
Gnashing his teeth: afire with wrath, thrice all that hilly place
Of Aventine he eyeth o'er, thrice tries without avail
The rocky door, thrice sits him down awearied in the dale.
"There was a peakèd rock of flint with ragged edges dight,
Which at the cave's back rose aloft exceeding high to sight,
A dwelling meet for evil fowl amidst their nests to bide;
This, that hung o'er the brow above the river's leftward side,
Hard from the right he beareth on, and shakes, and from its roots
Wrencheth it loose, and suddenly adown the bent side shoots.
Then ringeth all the mighty heaven with thunder of its wrack,
The banks are rent, the frighted stream its waters casteth back;
But Cacus' den and kingly house showed all uncovered there,
The inmost of the shadowy cave was laid undoored and bare:
As if the inner parts of earth 'neath mighty stroke should gape,
Unlocking all the house of hell, showing that country's shape,
The wan land all forlorn of God: there shows the unmeasured pit,
And ghosts aquake with light of day shot through the depths of it.
"But Cacus, caught unwares by day whereof he had no doubt,
Imprisoned in the hollow rock, in strange voice bellowing out,
Alcides fell on from above, calling all arms to aid,
And plenteous cast of boughs and stones upon the monster laid;
While he, since now no flight availed to 'scape that peril's hold,
Pours from his mouth a mighty smoke, O wondrous to be told!
Enwrapping all the house about with blinding misty shroud,
Snatching the sight from eyes of men, and rolling on the cloud,
A reeking night with heart of fire and utter blackness blent.
Alcides' spirit bore it nought; his body swift he sent
With headlong leap amid the fire where thickest rolled the wave [Pg 226]
Of smoke, and with its pitchy mist was flooding all the cave;
Cacus he catcheth in the dark spueing out fire in vain,
And knitteth him in knot about, and, strangling him, doth strain
The starting eyes from out of him, and throat that blood doth lack:
Then the mirk house is opened wide; the doors are torn aback;
The stolen kine, that prey his oath foreswore to heaven are shown,
And by the feet is dragged today the body hideous grown;
Nor may men satiate their hearts by gazing on the thing;
His fearful eyes, the face of him, the man-beast's fashioning
Of bristled breast; those jaws of his, whence faded is the flame.
"Hence is this honour celebrate, and they that after came
Still kept the day all joyfully; Potitius wrought it first,
This feast of mighty Hercules; the house Pinarian nursed,
The altar of the grove he reared, which Mightiest yet we call,
And ever more, in very sooth, shall mightiest be of all.
So come, O youths, these glorious deeds I bid you glorify:
Wreathe round your hair, put forth your hands and raise the cup on high!
Call on the God whom all we love, and give the wine full fain!"
He spake: the leaf of Hercules, the poplar coloured twain,
Shaded his hair; the leaves entwined hung down aback his head;
The holy beaker filled his hand: then merry all men sped,
And on the table poured their gift, and called the Gods to hear.
Meanwhile unto the slopes of heaven the Western Star drew near,
And then the priests, and chief thereof, Potitius, thither came,
All clad in skins, as due it was, and bearing forth the flame.
New feast they dight, and gifts beloved of second service bring, [Pg 227]
And on the altar pile again the plates of offering.
The Salii then to singing-tide heart-kindled go around
The altars; every brow of them with poplar leafage bound:
And here the youths, the elders there, set up the song of praise,
And sing the deeds of Hercules: How, on his first of days,
The monsters twain his stepdame sent, the snakes, he crushed in hand;
And how in war he overthrew great cities of the land,
Troy and Œchalia: how he won through thousand toils o'ergreat,
That King Eurystheus laid on him by bitter Juno's fate.
"O thou Unconquered, thou whose hand beat down the cloud-born two,
Pholeus, Hylæus, twin-wrought things, and Cretan monsters slew:
O thou who slew'st the lion huge 'neath that Nemean steep,
The Stygian mere hath quaked at thee, the ward of Orcus deep
Quaked in his den above his bed of half-gnawed bones and blood.
At nothing fashioned wert thou feared; not when Typhœus stood
Aloft in arms: nor from thine heart fell any rede away
When round thee headed-manifold the Worm of Lerna lay.
O very child of Jupiter, O Heaven's new glory, hail!
Fail not thy feast with friendly foot, nor us, thy lovers, fail!"
With such-like song they sing the praise, and add to all the worth
The cave of Cacus, and the beast that breathed the wildfire forth.
The woods sing with them as they sing; the hills are light with song.
So, all the holy things fulfilled, they wend their ways along
Unto the city: the old king afoot was with them there,
And bade Æneas and his son close to his side to fare,
[Pg 228]And as he went made light the way with talk of many a thing.
Æneas wonders, and his eyes go lightly wandering
O'er all; but here and there they stay, as, joyful of his ways,
He asks and hears of tokens left by men of earlier days.
Then spake the King Evander, he who built up Rome of old:
"These woods the earth-born Fauns and Nymphs in time agone did hold,
And men from out the tree-trunk born and very heart of oak;
No fashion of the tilth they knew, nor how the bulls to yoke,
Nor how to win them store of wealth, or spare what they had got;
The tree-boughs only cherished them and rugged chase and hot.
Then from Olympus of the heavens first Saturn came adown,
Fleeing the war of Jupiter and kingdom overthrown:
He laid in peace the rugged folk amid the mountains steep
Scattered about, and gave them laws, and willed them well to keep
The name of Latium, since he lay safe hidden on that shore.
They call the days the Golden Days that 'neath that king outwore,
Amid such happiness of peace o'er men-folk did he reign.
But worsened time as on it wore, and gathered many a stain;
And then the battle-rage was born, and lust of gain outbroke:
Then came the host Ausonian; then came Sicanian folk;
And oft and o'er again the land of Saturn cast its name.
Then kings there were, and Thybris fierce, of monstrous body came,
From whom the Tiber flood is named by us of Italy,
Its old true name of Albula being perished and gone by.
Me, driven from my land, and strayed about the ocean's ends,
Almighty Fortune and the Fate no struggling ever bends
Set in these steads; my mother's word well worshipped hither drave,
The nymph Carmentis; and a god, Apollo, wayfare gave."
Now, as he spake, hard thereunto the altar-stead doth show, [Pg 229]
And gate that by Carmentis' name the Roman people know;
An honour of the olden time to nymph Carmentis, she,
The faithful seer, who first foretold what mighty men should be
Æneas' sons; how great a name from Pallanteum should come.
Then the great grove that Romulus hallowed the fleer's home
He showeth, and Lupercal set beneath the cliff acold,
Called of Lycæan Pan in wise Parrhasia used of old.
Thereafter Argiletum's grove he shows and bids it tell,
A very witness, where and how the guesting Argus fell.
Next, then, to the Tarpeian stead and Capitol they went,
All golden now, but wild of yore with thickets' tanglement:
E'en then at its dread holiness the folk afield would quake
And tremble sore to look upon its cliff-besetting brake.
"This grove," saith he, "this hill thou seest with thicket-covered brow,
Some godhead haunts, we know not who: indeed Arcadians trow
That very Jove they there have seen, when he his blackening shield
Hath shaken whiles and stirred the storm amidst the heavenly field.
Look therewithal on those two burgs with broken walls foredone!
There thou beholdest tokens left by folk of long agone:
For one did Father Janus old, and one did Saturn raise,
Janiculum, Saturnia, they hight in ancient days."
Amid such talk they reach the roofs whereunder did abide
Unrich Evander; and they see the herd-beasts feeding wide
And lowing through the Roman Courts amid Carinæ's shine.
But when they came unto the house, "Beneath these doors of mine
Conquering Alcides went," he said; "this king's house took him in. [Pg 230]
Have heart to scorn world's wealth, O guest, and strive thou too to win
A godhead's worth: take thou no scorn of our unrich estate."
He spake, and 'neath the narrow roof Æneas' body great
He led withal, and set him down; and such a bed was there
As 'twas of leaves, and overlaid with skin of Libyan bear.
Night falleth, and its dusky wings spreads o'er the face of earth,
When Venus, fearful in her soul (nor less than fear 'twas worth),
Sore troubled by Laurentine threats and all the tumult dread,
Bespeaketh Vulcan, as she lay upon his golden bed,
And holiness of very love amidst her words she bore:
"When Argive kings were wasting Troy predestined with their war,
Were wracking towers foredoomed to fall mid flames of hating men,
No help of thine for hapless ones, no arms I asked for then,
Wrought by thy craft and mastery: nor would I have thee spend
Thy labour, O beloved spouse, to win no happy end;
Though many things to Priam's house meseemeth did I owe,
And oftentimes I needs must weep Æneas' pain and woe.
But now that he by Jove's command Rutulian shores hath won,
I am thy suppliant, asking arms, a mother for her son,
Praying thy godhead's holiness: time was when Nereus' seed,
Tithonus' wife, with many tears could bend thee to thy need.
Look round, what peoples gather now; what cities shut within
Their barrèd gates are whetting sword to slay me and my kin."
She spake: with snowy arms of God she fondled him about,
And wound him in her soft embrace, while yet he hung in doubt: [Pg 231]
Sudden the wonted fire struck home; unto his inmost drew
The old familiar heat, and all his melting bones ran through:
No otherwise than whiles it is when rolls the thunder loud,
And gleaming of the fiery rent breaks up the world of cloud.
In glory of her loveliness she felt her guile had gained.
Then spake the Father, overcome by Love that ne'er hath waned:
"Why fish thy reasons from the deep? where is thy trust in me,
I prithee, O my God and Love? Had such wish weighed on thee,
Then, also, had it been my part to arm the Teucrian hand,
Nor had the Almighty Sire nor Fate forbidden Troy to stand,
And Priam might have held it out another ten years yet.
And now if thou wouldst wage the war, if thus thy soul is set,
Thy longing shall have whatsoe'er this craft of mine may lend;
Whatever in iron may be done, or silver-golden blend;
Whatever wind and fire may do: I prithee pray no more,
But trust the glory of thy might."
So when his words wore o'er
He gave the enfolding that she would, and shed upon her breast
He lay, and over all his limbs he drew the sleepy rest.
But when the midmost night was worn, and slumber, past its prime,
Had faded out, in sooth it was that woman's rising-time,
Who needs must prop her life with rock and slender mastery
That Pallas gives: she wakes the ash and flames that smouldering lie,
And, adding night unto her toil, driveth her maids to win
Long task before its kindled light, that she may keep from sin
Her bride-bed; that her little ones well waxen-up may be.
Not otherwise that Might of Fire, no sluggard more than she,
To win his art and handicraft from that soft bed arose. [Pg 232]
Upon the flank of Sicily there hangs an island close
To Lipari of Æolus, with shear-hewn smoky steep;
Beneath it thunder caves and dens Ætnæan, eaten deep
With forges of the Cyclops: thence men hear the anvils cry
'Neath mighty strokes, and through the cave the hissing sparkles fly
From iron of the Chalybes, and pants the forge with flame.
The house is Vulcan's, and the land Vulcania hath to name.
Thither the Master of the Fire went down from upper air,
Where Cyclop folk in mighty den were forging iron gear;
Pyracmon of the naked limbs, Brontes and Steropes.
A thunderbolt half-fashioned yet was in the hands of these,
Part-wrought, suchwise as many an one the Father casts on earth
From all the heaven, but otherwhere unfinished from the birth,
Three rays they wrought of writhen storm, three of the watery wrack;
Nor do the three of ruddy flame nor windy winging lack:
And now the work of fearful flash, and roar, and dread they won,
And blent amid their craftsmanship the flame that followeth on.
But otherwhere they dight the wain and wingèd wheels of Mars,
Wherewith the men and walls of men he waketh up to wars.
There angry Pallas's arms they wrought and Ægis full of fear,
And set the gold and serpent scales, and did with mighty care
The knitted adders, and for breast of very God did deck
The Gorgon rolling eyen still above her severed neck.
"Do all away," he said, "lay by the labour so far done;
Cyclops of Ætna, turn your minds to this one thing alone:
Arms for a great man must be wrought; betake ye to your might;
Betake ye to your nimble hands and all your mastery's sleight,
And hurry tarrying into haste." [Pg 233]
No more he spake: all they
Fall swift to work and portion out the labour of the day:
The brazen rivers run about with metal of the gold,
And soft the Chalyb bane-master flows in the forges' hold.
A mighty shield they set on foot to match all weapons held
By Latin men, and sevenfold ring on ring about it weld.
Meanwhile, in windy bellows' womb some in the breezes take
And give them forth, some dip the brass all hissing in the lake,
And all the cavern is agroan with strokes on anvil laid.
There turn and turn about betwixt, with plenteous might to aid,
They rear their arms; with grip of tongs they turn the iron o'er.
But while the Lemnian Father thus speeds on the Æolean shore
The lovely light Evander stirs amid his lowly house,
And morning song of eave-dwellers from sleep the king doth rouse.
Riseth that ancient man of days and on his kirtle does,
And both his feet he binds about with bonds of Tyrrhene shoes;
Then Tegeæan sword he girds to shoulder and to side,
And on the left he flings aback the cloak of panther-hide.
Moreover, from the threshold step goes either watchful ward,
Two dogs to wit, that follow close the footsteps of their lord.
So to the chamber of his guest the hero goes his way,
Well mindful of his spoken word and that well-promised stay.
Nor less Æneas was afoot betimes that morning-tide,
And Pallas and Achates went each one their lord beside.
So met, they join their right hands there and in the house sit down,
And win the joy of spoken words, that lawful now hath grown;
And thuswise speaks Evander first: [Pg 234]
"O mightiest duke of Trojan men,—for surely, thou being safe,
My heart may never more believe in Troy-town's vanquishing,—
The battle-help that I may give is but a little thing
For such a name: by Tuscan stream on this side are we bound;
On that side come Rutulian arms to gird our walls with sound.
But 'tis my rede to join to you a mighty folk of fight,
A wealthy lordship: chance unhoped this hope for us hath dight;
So draw thou thither whereunto the Fates are calling on.
Not far hence is a place of men, on rock of yore agone
Built up; Agylla's city 'tis, where glorious folk of war,
The Lydian folk, on Tuscan hills pitched their abode of yore.
A many years of blooming once they had, until the king
Mezentius held them 'neath his pride and cruel warfaring.
Why tell those deaths unspeakable, and many a tyrant's deed?
May the Gods store them for the heads of him and all his seed!
Yea, yea, dead corpses would he join to bodies living yet,
And hand to hand, O misery! and mouth to mouth would set;
There, drenched with gore and drenched with dew of death, must they abide,
A foul embrace unspeakable, and long and long they died.
Worn out at last, his folk in arms beset his house about,
And him therein all mad with rage, cut of his following rout,
And cast the wildfire therewithal over his roof on high:
But he, amidst the slaughter slipped, to fields of Rutuli
Made shift to flee, and there is held a guest by Turnus' sword.
So by just anger raised today Etruria is abroad,
Crying with Mars to aid, 'Give back the king to pay the cost!'
Æneas, I will make thee now the captain of their host:
For down the whole coast goes the roar from out their ship-host's pack;
They cry to bear the banners forth; but them still holdeth back [Pg 235]
The ancient seer, thus singing Fate: Mæonia's chosen peers,
The heart and flower of men of old, whom grief's just measure bears
Against the foe; souls that your king hath stirred to righteous wrath,
No man of Italy is meet to lead this army forth;
Seek outland captains. Then, indeed, the Tuscan war array,
Feared by such warnings of the Gods, amidst these meadows lay.
Tarchon himself hath hither sent sweet speakers, bearing me
Their lordships' kingly staff and crown, and signs of royalty;
And bidding take the Tuscan land and join their camp of war.
But eld adull with winter frost and spent with days of yore,
My body over-old for deeds begrudged such government.
I would have stirred my son, but he, with Sabine mother blent,
Shared blood of this Italian land: but thee the Fates endow
With years and race full meet hereto; the Gods call on thee now.
Go forth, O captain valorous of Italy and Troy.
Yea, I will give thee Pallas here, my hope and darling joy,
And bid him 'neath thy mastery learn in battle to be bold,
And win the heavy work of Mars, and all thy deeds behold;
And, wondering at thy valiancy, win through his earliest years.
Two hundred knights of Arcady, the bloom of all it bears,
I give thee; in his own name, too, like host shall Pallas bring."
Scarce had he said, and still their gaze unto the earth did cling,
Æneas of Anchises born and his Achates true,
For many thoughts of matters hard their minds were running through,
When Cytherea gave a sign amid the open sky;
For from the left a flash of light went quivering suddenly,
And sound went with it, and all things in utter turmoil fared,
And clangour of the Tyrrhene trump along the heavens blared. [Pg 236]
They look up; ever and anon a mighty clash they hear,
And gleams they see betwixt the clouds, amid the sky-land clear,
The glitter of the arms of God, the thunder of their clang.
The man of Troy, while others' hearts amazed and fearful hang,
Knoweth the sound, the promised help, his Goddess-mother's meed.
He saith: "Yea, verily, O host, to ask is little need
What hap this portent draweth on: the Gods will have me wend;
The God that made me promised erst such heavenly signs to send
If war were toward; and through the sky she promised to bear down
Arms Vulcan-fashioned for my need.
Woe's me for poor Laurentium's folk! what death, what bloody graves!
—Ah, Turnus, thou shalt pay it me!—how many 'neath thy waves,
O Father Tiber, shalt thou roll the shields and helms of men,
And bodies of the mighty ones! Cry war, oath-breakers, then!"
And as he spake the word he rose from off the lofty throne,
And the slaked fire of Hercules roused on the altar-stone;
And joyfully he drew anear the God of yesterday
And little House-Gods: chosen ewes in manner due they slay,
Evander and the youth of Troy together side by side.
Then to the ships they wend their ways, where yet their fellows bide:
There men to follow him in fight he chooseth from the peers,
The flower of hardy hearts; the rest the downlong water bears;
Deedless they swim adown the stream, Ascanius home to bring
The tidings of his coming sire and matters flourishing.
But horses get such Teucrian men as are for Tyrrhene mead;
By lot they choose Æneas one which yellow lion's weed [Pg 237]
Goes all about; full fair it shone, for it was golden-clawed.
Then sudden through the little town the rumour flies abroad,
That knights will speedily ride forth to Tyrrhene kingly stead.
Then fear redoubleth mothers' prayers, and nigher draweth dread
In peril's hand, and greater still the face of Mars doth grow.
Father Evander strains the hand of him that needs must go,
Clinging with tears insatiate, and such a word doth say:
"O me! would Jove bring back again the years long worn away!
Were I as when the foremost foes upon Præneste's field
I felled, and burnt victoriously a heap of shield on shield:
When with this very hand I sent King Herilus to Hell,
Whose dam, Feronia, at his birth,—wild is the tale to tell,—
Had given him gift of threefold life; three times the sword to shake,
And thrice to fall upon the field: yet did this right hand take
That threefold life away from him, thrice spoiled him of his gear.
O were I such, ne'er would I break from thine embracing dear,
O son; nor had Mezentius erst, the tyrant neighbour lord,
In my despite so many deaths wrought with his cruel sword,
Nor widowed this our city here of such a host of sons.
But ye, O Gods!—thou Mightiest, King of all heavenly ones,
O Jove, have pity now, I pray, upon the Arcadian King,
And hear a father's prayers! for if your mighty governing,—
If Fate shall keep my Pallas safe, and I may live to see
His face again,—if he return to keep our unity,
Then may I live, and any toil, such as ye will, abide!
But, Fortune, if thou threatenest ill, and misery betide,
Then let me now, yea, now indeed, the cruel life break through,
[Pg 238]While yet my fear is unfulfilled and hope may yet come true;
While thee, belovèd joy of eld, I wrap mine arms around,
Ere yet the tale of evil hap mine ancient ears may wound."
Thus at their last departing-tide the father poured the prayer,
Whom, fainting now, the serving-men back within doors must bear;
While forth from out the open gate the host of horsemen ride,
Æneas and Achates leal in forefront of their pride,
And then the other Trojan lords: amidst the company,
In cloak adorned and painted arms, was Pallas fair to see:
E'en such as Lucifer, when he bathed in the ocean stream,
The light beloved of Venus well o'er every starry beam,
Hath raised his holy head in heaven and down the darkness rent.
The fearful mothers on the walls their eyen after sent,
Following the dusty cloud of them and ranks of glittering brass.
But mid the thicket places there by nighest road they pass
Unto their end in weed of war: with shout and serried band
The clattering hooves of four-foot things shake down the dusty land.
There is a mighty thicket-place by chilly Cæres' side,
By ancient dread of fathers gone held holy far and wide:
A place that hollow hills shut in and pine-wood black begirds.
Men say that to Silvanus erst, the God of fields and herds,
The old Pelasgi hallowed it, and made a holy day,
E'en those who in the time agone on Latin marches lay.
No great way hence the Tuscan folk and Tarcho held them still
In guarded camp; the host of them from rising of a hill
Might now be seen, as far and wide they spread about the field.
Father Æneas and his folk, the mighty under shield,
Speed hither, and forewearied now their steeds and bodies tend. [Pg 239]
But through the clouds of heavenly way doth fair white Venus wend,
Bearing the gift; who when she saw in hidden valley there
Her son afar, apart from men by river cool and fair,
Then kind she came before his eyes, and in such words she spake:
"These promised gifts, my husband's work, O son, I bid thee take:
So shalt thou be all void of doubt, O son, when presently
Laurentines proud and Turnus fierce thou bidst the battle try."
So spake the Cytherean one and sought her son's embrace,
And hung the beaming arms upon an oak that stood in face.
But he, made glad by godhead's gift, and such a glory great,
Marvelleth and rolleth o'er it all his eyes insatiate,
And turns the pieces o'er and o'er his hands and arms between;
The helm that flasheth flames abroad with crest so dread beseen:
The sword to do the deeds of Fate; the hard-wrought plates of brass,
Blood-red and huge; yea, e'en as when the bright sun brings to pass
Its burning through the coal-blue clouds and shines o'er field and fold:
The light greaves forged and forged again of silver-blend and gold:
The spear, and, thing most hard to tell, the plating of the shield.
For there the tale of Italy and Roman joy afield
That Master of the Fire had wrought, not unlearned of the seers,
Or blind to see the days before. The men of coming years,
Ascanius stem, all foughten fields, were wrought in due array.
In the green den of Mavors there the fostering she-wolf lay,
The twin lads sporting round the beast, clung to her udders there,
And sucked the nursing mother-wolf, and nothing knew of fear;
But she, with lithe neck turned about, now this now that caressed,
And either body with her tongue for hardy shaping pressed. [Pg 240]
Rome had he done anigh thereto and Sabine maidens caught
From concourse of the hollow seats when roundway games were wrought
There for the sons of Romulus the sudden war upstarts
With Tatius, the old king of days, and Cures' hardy hearts.
Then those two kings, the battle quenched, yet clad in battle-gear,
Stand with the bowl in hand before the fire of Jupiter,
As each to each o'er slaughtered sow the troth of peace they plight.
Anigh is Metius piecemeal dragged by foursome chariots light.
—Ah, Alban, by the troth of words 'twere better to abide!—
There Tullus strews his lying flesh about the thicket wide,
Nor sprinkling of a traitor's blood the bramble-bushes lack.
There was Porsena bidding men take outcast Tarquin back,
The while his mighty leaguer lay about the city's weal.
For freedom there Æneas' sons were rushing on the steel:
As full of wrath, as one who threats, might ye behold his frown,
Because that Cocles was of heart to break the bridge adown;
And Clœlia from her bursten bonds was swimming o'er the flood.
On topmost of Tarpeian burg the warden Manlius stood
Before the house of God, and held the Capitol high-set;
Whereon with straw of Romulus the roof was bristling yet.
There fluttering mid the golden porch the silver goose was done,
The seer that told of Gaulish feet unto the threshold won:
Then through the brake the Gauls were come, and held the castle's height,
Beneath the shielding of the mirk and gift of shadowy night.
All golden are the locks of these, and golden is their gear,
And fair they shine in welted coats; their milk-white necks do bear [Pg 241]
The twisted gold; each one in hand two Alpine spears doth wield,
And guarded are their bodies well with plenteous length of shield.
The Salii in their dancing game; the naked Luperci,
With crests that bore the tuft of wool and shields from out the sky,
There had he wrought: the mothers chaste in softly-gliding car
Bore holy things the city through. Yea, he had wrought afar
The very house of Tartarus, and doors of Dis the deep,
And dooms of evil: there wert thou hung on the beetling steep,
O Catiline, and quaking sore 'neath many a fiendly face;
While Cato gave the good their laws in happy hidden place.
The image of the swelling sea amidst of these there lay
All golden, with the blue o'erfoamed with flecks of hoary spray,
And dolphins shining silver-white with tail-stroke swept the wave,
And gathered in an orbèd band the flowing waters clave.
And in the midst were brazen fleets and show of Actium's wars
And all Leucate set a-boil with ordered game of Mars
There might ye see; and all the flood lit up with golden light.
Augustus Cæsar, leading on Italian men to fight
With Father-folk, and Household Gods, and Gods of greater name,
Stood high on deck: his joyful brow flashed forth a twofold flame,
His father's star above his head is shining glory-clear.
With wind to aid and God to aid, Agrippa otherwhere
Leads on the host from high; whose brows with glorious battle-sign
Are decked; for with the crown of beaks, the ship-host's prize, they shine.
But Antony, with outland force and arms wrought diversely,
Victorious from the morning-folks and ruddy-stranded sea, [Pg 242]
Bore Egypt and the Eastland might and Bactria's outer ends;
And after him—O shame to tell!—a wife of Egypt wends.
They rush together; all the sea is beaten into foam,
Torn by the great three-tynèd beaks and oar-blades driven home:
They seek the deep: ye might have thought that uptorn Cyclades
Swam o'er the main, that mountains met high mountains on the seas,
With such a world of towered ships fall on those folks of war.
The hempen flame they fling from hand; they cast the dart afar
Of wingèd steel, and Neptune's lea reddens with death anew.
The Queen amidst calls on her host with timbrel fashioned due
In Egypt's guise, nor looks aback the adders twain to see;
Barking Anubis, shapes of God wild-wrought and diversely
'Gainst Neptune and 'gainst Venus fair, and 'gainst Minerva's weal
Put forth the spear; and Mavors' wrath was fashioned forth in steel
Amidst the fight: the Dreadful Ones stooped evil-wrought from heaven,
And Discord stalked all glad at heart beneath her mantle riven;
And after her, red scourge in hand, did dire Bellona go.
All this Apollo, Actian-housed, beheld, and bent his bow
From high aloft, and with his fear all Egypt fell to wrack,
And Ind and Araby; and all Sabæans turned the back.
Then once again the Queen was wrought, who on the winds doth cry,
And spreadeth sail; and now, and now, the slackened sheet lets fly.
The Lord of Fire had wrought her there wan with the death to be,
Borne on, amid the death of men, by wind and following sea.
But Nile was wrought to meet them there, with body great to grieve,
And in the folding of his cloak the vanquished to receive,
To take them to his bosom grey, his flood of hidden home. [Pg 243]
There Cæsar threefold triumphing, borne on amidst of Rome,
Three hundred shrines was hallowing to Gods of Italy
Through all the city; glorious gift that nevermore shall die;
The while all ways with joy and game and plenteous praising rang.
In all the temples altars were; in all the mothers sang
Before the altars; on the earth the steers' due slaughter lay.
But on the snow-white threshold there of Phœbus bright as day
He sat and took the nations' gifts, and on the glorious door
He hung them up: in long array the tamed folks went before,
As diverse in their tongues as in their arms and garments' guise.
The Nomads had he fashioned there, that Mulciber the wise,
And Afric's all ungirded folk; Carians and Leleges,
Shafted Geloni: softlier there Euphrates rolled his seas;
The Morini, the last of men, the hornèd Rhine, were there,
Danæ untamed, Araxes loth the chaining bridge to bear.
So on the shield, his mother's gift by Vulcan fashioned fair,
He wondereth, blind of things to come but glad the tale to see,
And on his shoulder bears the fame and fate of sons to be.
IN THE MEANTIME THAT ÆNEAS IS AWAY, TURNUS AND THE LATINS BESET THE TROJAN ENCAMPMENT, AND MISS BUT A LITTLE OF BRINGING ALL THINGS TO RUIN.
Now while a long way off therefrom do these and those such deed,
Saturnian Juno Iris sends from heaven aloft to speed
To Turnus of the hardy heart, abiding, as doth hap,
Within his sire Pilumnus' grove in shady valley's lap;
Whom Thaumas' child from rosy mouth in suchwise doth bespeak:
"Turnus, what no one of the Gods might promise, didst thou seek,
The day of Fate undriven now hath borne about for thee:
Æneas, he hath left his town, and ships, and company,
And sought the lordship Palatine and King Evander's house;
Nay more, hath reached the utmost steads, the towns of Corythus
And host of Lydians, where he arms the gathered carles for war.
Why doubt'st thou? now is time to call for horse and battle-car.
Break tarrying off, and make thy stoop upon their camp's dismay."
She spake, and on her poisèd wings went up the heavenly way, [Pg 245]
And in her flight with mighty bow cleft through the cloudy land.
The warrior knew her, and to heaven he cast up either hand,
And with such voice of spoken things he followed as she fled:
"O Iris, glory of the skies, and who thy ways hath sped
Amidst the clouds to earth and me? Whence this so sudden clear
Of weather? Lo, the midmost heaven I see departed shear,
And through the zenith stray the stars: such signs I follow on,
Whoso ye be that call to war."
And therewithal he won
Unto the stream, and from its face drew forth the water fair,
Praying the Gods, and laid a load of vows upon the air.
And now the host drew out to war amid the open meads,
With wealth of painted gear and gold, and wealth of noble steeds.
Messapus leads the first array, and Tyrrheus' children ward
The latter host, and in the midst is Turnus' self the lord.
Such is the host as Ganges deep, arising mid the hush
With sevenfold rivers' solemn flow, or Nile-flood's fruitful rush,
When he hath ebbed from off the fields and hid him in his bed.
But now the Teucrians see the cloud of black dust grow to head
From far away, and dusty-dark across the plain arise:
And first from off the mound in face aloud Caïcus cries:
"Ho! what is this that rolleth on, this misty, mirky ball?
Swords, townsmen, swords! Bring point and edge; haste up to climb the wall.
Ho, for the foeman is at hand!"
Then, with a mighty shout,
The Trojans swarm through all the gates and fill the walls about;
For so Æneas, war-lord wise, had bidden them abide [Pg 246]
At his departing; if meantime some new hap should betide,
They should not dare nor trust themselves to pitch the fight afield,
But hold the camp and save the town beneath the ramparts' shield.
Therefore, though shame and anger bade go forth and join the play,
They bolt and bar the gates no less and all his word obey;
And armed upon the hollow towers abide the coming foe.
But Turnus, flying forward fast, outwent the main host slow,
And with a score of chosen knights is presently at hand
Before the town: borne on he was on horse of Thracian land,
White-flecked, and helmeted was he with ruddy-crested gold.
"Who will be first with me, O youths, play with the foe to hold?
Lo, here!" he cried; and on the air a whirling shaft he sent,
The first of fight, and borne aloft about the meadows went.
His fellows take it up with shouts, and dreadful cry on rolls
As fast they follow, wondering sore at sluggard Teucrian souls,—
That men should shun the battle pitched, nor dare the weapon-game,
But hug their walls. So round the walls, high-horsed, with heart aflame,
He rides about, and tries a way where never was a way:
E'en as a wolf the sheep-fold full besetteth on a day,
And howleth round about the garth, by wind and rain-drift beat,
About the middle of the night, while safe the lamb-folk bleat
Beneath their mothers: wicked-fierce against them safe and near
He rageth; hunger-madness long a-gathering him doth wear,
With yearning for that blood beloved to wet his parchèd jaws.
E'en so in that Rutulian duke to flame the anger draws,
As he beholdeth walls and camp: sore burnt his hardy heart
For shifts to come at them; to shake those Teucrians shut apart
From out their walls and spread their host about the meadows wide. [Pg 247]
So on the ships he falls, that lay the campment's fence beside,
Hedged all about with garth and mound and by the river's flood,
And to the burning crieth on his folk of joyous mood,
And eager fills his own right hand with branch of blazing fir:
Then verily they fall to work whom Turnus' gaze doth stir,
And all the host of them in haste hand to the black torch lays.
They strip the hearths; the smoky brand sends forth pitch-laden blaze,
And starward soot-bemingled flame drave Vulcan as he burned.
Say, Muse, what God from Teucrian folk such sore destruction turned?
Who drave away from Trojan keels so mighty great a flame?
Old is the troth in such a tale, but never dies its fame.
What time Æneas first began on Phrygian Ida's steep
To frame his ships, and dight him there to ride upon the deep,
The Berecynthian Mother-Queen spake, as the tale doth fare,
Unto the Godhead of great Jove:
"Son, grant unto my prayer
That which thy lovèd mother asks from heaven all tamed to peace:
A wood of pines I have, beloved through many years' increase.
There is a thicket on my height wherein men worship me,
Dim with the blackening of the firs and trunks of maple-tree:
These to the Dardan youth in need of ship-host grudged I nought,
But in my anxious soul as now is born a troubling thought.
Do off my dread, and let, I pray, a mother's prayers avail,
That these amid no shattering sea or whirling wind may fail;
Let it avail them that my heights first brought them unto birth."
Answered her son, that swayeth still the stars that rule the earth:
"O mother, whither call'st thou Fate? what wouldst thou have them be? [Pg 248]
Shall keels of mortal fashioning gain immortality?
And shall Æneas well assured stray every peril through?
Shall this be right? hath any God the power such things to do?
No less when they have done their work, and safe in Italy
Lie in the haven, which soe'er have overpassed the sea,
And borne the Duke of Dardan men to that Laurentine home,
From such will I take mortal shape, and bid them to become
Queens of the sea-plain, such as are Doto the Nereus child,
And Galatea, whose bosoms cleave the foaming waters wild."
He spake and swore it by the flood his Stygian Brother rules,
And by its banks that reek with pitch o'er its black whirling pools,
And with the bowing of his head did all Olympus shake.
And now the promised day was come, nor will the Parcæ break
The time fulfilled; when Turnus' threat now bade the Mother heed
That she from those her holy ships should turn the fire at need.
Strange light before the eyes of men shone forth; a mighty cloud
Ran from the dawning down the sky, and there was clashing loud
Of Ida's hosts, and from the heavens there fell a voice of fear,
That through Rutulia's host and Troy's fulfillèd every ear:
"Make no great haste, O Teucrian men, these ships of mine to save!
Nor arm thereto! for Turnus here shall burn the salt sea wave
Sooner than these, my holy pines. But ye—depart, go free!
The Mother biddeth it: depart, Queens, Goddesses, of sea!"
Straightway the ships brake each the chain that tied them to the bank,
And, as the dolphins dive adown, with plunging beaks they sank
Down to the deeps, from whence, O strange! they come aback once more; [Pg 249]
As many brazen beaks as erst stood fast beside the shore,
So many shapes of maidens now seaward they wend their ways.
Appalled were those Rutulian hearts; yea, feared with all amaze,
Messapus sat mid frighted steeds: the rough-voiced stream grew black;
Yea, Tiberinus from the deep his footsteps drew aback.
But Turnus of the hardy heart, his courage nothing died;
Unmoved he stirs their souls with speech, unmoved he falls to chide:
"These portents seek the Teucrians home; the very Jupiter
Snatches their wonted aid from them, that might not bide to bear
Rutulian fire and sword: henceforth the sea-plain lacketh road
For Teucrian men: their flight is dead, and half the world's abode
Is reft from them: and earth, forsooth, upon our hands it waits,
With thousands of Italian swords. For me, I fear no Fates:
For if the Phrygians boast them still of answering words of God,
Enough for Venus and the Fates that Teucrian men have trod
The fair Ausonia's fruitful field: and answering fates have I:
A wicked folk with edge of sword to root up utterly,
For stolen wife: this grief hath grieved others than Atreus' sons,
And other folk may run to arms than those Mycenian ones.
—Enough one downfall is, say ye?—Enough had been one sin.
Yea, I had deemed all womankind your hatred well might win.
—Lo, these are they to whom a wall betwixt the sword and sword,
The little tarrying of a ditch,—such toys the death to ward!—
Give hearts of men! What, saw they not the war-walls of Troy-town,
The fashioning of Neptune's hand, amid the flame sink down?
But ye, my chosen, who is dight with me to break the wall,
That we upon their quaking camp with point and edge may fall? [Pg 250]
No need I have of Vulcan's arms or thousand ships at sea
Against these Teucrians; yea, though they should win them presently,
The Tuscan friendship: deeds of dusk and deedless stolen gain
Of that Palladium, and the guards of topmost castle slain,
Let them not fear: we shall not lurk in horse's dusky womb:
In open day to gird your walls with wildfire is the doom.
Let them not deem they have to put the Danaans to the proof,
Pelasgian lads that Hector's hand for ten years held aloof.
—But come, since all the best of day is well-nigh worn to end,
Joy in our good beginning, friends, and well your bodies tend,
And bide in hope and readiness the coming of the fight."
Therewith Messapus hath the charge with outguards of the night
To keep the gates, and all the town with watch-fires round to ring:
Twice seven are chosen out to hold the town inleaguering
Of Rutuli: an hundred youths, they follow each of these;
A purple-crested folk that gleam with golden braveries:
They pace the round, they shift the turn, or scattered o'er the grass
Please heart and soul with wine, and turn the empty bowl of brass:
The watch-fires shine around in ring; through sport and sleeplessness
Their warding weareth night away.
The Trojans from their walls of war look down on all these things;
They hold the heights in arms, and search the great gate's fastenings
With hurrying fear; or, spear in hand, gangway to battlement
They yoke. There Mnestheus urged the work; there hot Serestus went;
They whom Æneas, if perchance the time should call thereto,
Had made first captains of the host, lords of all things to do.
So all the host along the walls the peril shareth out, [Pg 251]
Falling to watch, and plays its part in turn and turn about.
Nisus was warder of the gate, the eager under shield,
The son of Hyrtacus, whom erst did huntress Ida yield
Unto Æneas' fellowship, keen with the shaft and spear.
Euryalus, his friend, stood by, than whom none goodlier
Went with Æneas or did on the battle-gear of Troy:
Youth's bloom unshorn was on his cheek, scarce was he but a boy.
Like love the twain had each for each; in battle side by side
They went; and now as gatewards twain together did abide.
Now Nisus saith: "Doth very God so set the heart on fire,
Euryalus, or doth each man make God of his desire?
My soul is driving me to dare the battle presently,
Or some great deed; nor pleased with peace at quiet will it be.
Thou seest how those Rutulian men trust in their warding keep;
How wide apart the watch-fires shine; how slack with wine and sleep
Men lie along; how far and wide the hush o'er all things lies.
Note now what stirreth in my mind, what thoughts in me arise:
They bid call back Æneas now, fathers, and folk, and all,
And send out men to bear to him sure word of what doth fall.
Now if the thing I ask for thee they promise,—for to me
The deed's fame is enough,—meseems beneath yon mound I see
A way whereby to Palianteum in little space to come."
Euryalus, by mighty love of glory smitten home,
Stood all amazed, then answered thus his fiery-hearted friend:
"O Nisus, wilt thou yoke me not to such a noble end?
And shall I send thee unto deeds so perilous alone? [Pg 252]
My sire Opheltes, wise in war, nourished no such an one,
Reared mid the terror of the Greeks and Troy-town's miseries;
Nor yet with thee have I been wont to deedless deeds like these,
Following Æneas' mighty heart through Fortune's furthest way.
Here is a soul that scorns the light, and deems it good to pay
With very life for such a fame as thou art brought anear."
Saith Nisus: "Nay, I feared of thee no such a thing, I swear,
No such ill thought; so may he bring thy friend back with the prize,
Great Jove, or whosoe'er beholds these things with equal eyes.
But if some hap (thou seest herein how many such may fall),
If any hap, if any God bear me the end of all,
Fain were I thou wert left: thine age is worthier life-day's gain;
Let there be one to buy me back snatched from amidst the slain,
And give me earth: or if e'en that our wonted fortune ban,
Do thou the rites, and raise the tomb unto the missing man;
Nor make me of thy mother's woe the fashioner accurst:
She who, O friend, alone of all our many mothers durst
To follow thee, nor heeded aught of great Acestes' town."
He said: "For weaving of delay vain is thy shuttle thrown;
Nor is my heart so turned about that I will leave the play:
Let us be doing!"
Therewithal he stirs the guards, and they
Come up in turn, wherewith he leaves the warding-stead behind,
And goes with Nisus, and the twain set forth the prince to find.
All other creatures, laid asleep o'er all the earthly soil,
Let slip the cares from off their hearts, forgetful of their toil, [Pg 253]
But still the dukes of Trojan men and chosen folk of war
Held counsel of that heavy tide that on the kingdom bore,
What was to do, or who would go Æneas' messenger.
There shield on arm, and leaned upon the length of shafted spear,
They stand amid their stronghold's mead: in eager haste the twain,
Nisus and young Euryalus, the presence crave to gain,
For matters great and worth the time: straight doth Iulus take
Those hurried men to him, and bids that Nisus speech should wake.
Then saith the son of Hyrtacus: "Just-hearted, hearken now,
Folk of Æneas, neither look upon the things we show
As by our years. The Rutuli slackened by wine and sleep
Lie hushed, and we have seen whereby upon our way to creep,
E'en by the double-roaded gate that near the sea-strand lies:
Their fires are slaked, and black the smoke goes upward to the skies.
If ye will suffer us to use this fortune that doth fall
We will go seek Æneas now and Pallanteum's wall:
Ye shall behold him and his spoils from mighty victory wrought
Come hither presently: the way shall fail our feet in nought,
For we have seen the city's skirts amid the valleys dim
In daily hunt, whereby we learned the river's uplong brim."
Then spake Aletes weighty-wise, heart-ripe with plenteous eld:
"Gods of our fathers, under whom the weal of Troy is held,
Ye have not doomed all utterly the Teucrian folk undone,
When ye for us such souls of youth, such hardy hearts have won."
[Pg 254]So saying by shoulder and by hand he took the goodly twain,
While all his countenance and cheeks were wet with plenteous rain,
"What gifts may I deem worthy, men, to pay such hearts athirst
For utmost glory? certainly the fairest and the first
The Gods and your own hearts shall grant: the rest your lord shall give,
Godly Æneas; and this man with all his life to live,
Ascanius here, no memory of such desert shall lack."
"But I," Ascanius breaketh in, "whose father brought aback
Is all my heal—Nisus, I pray by those great Gods of mine,
By him of old, Assaracus, by hoary Vesta's shrine,
Bring back my father! whatsoe'er is left with me today
Of Fate or Faith, into your breasts I give it all away.
O give me back the sight of him, and grief is all gone by.
Two cups of utter silver wrought and rough with imagery
I give you, which my father took from wracked Arisbe's hold;
Two tripods eke, two talents' weight of fire-beproven gold;
A beaker of the time agone, Sidonian Dido's gift.
But if we hap to win the day and spoil of battle shift,
If we lay hand on Italy and staff of kingship bear,—
Ye saw the horse that bore today gold Turnus and his gear,
That very same, the shield withal, and helm-crest ruddy dyed,
Thy gifts, O Nisus, from the spoil henceforth I set aside.
Moreover of the mother-folk twice six most excellent
My sire shall give, and captive men with all their armament,
And therewithal the kingly field, Latinus' garden-place.
But thou, O boy most worshipful, whom nigher in the race
Mine own years follow, thee I take unto mine inmost heart,
Embracing thee my very friend in all to have a part;
Nor any glory of my days without thee shall I seek,
Whether I fashion peace or war; all that I do or speak [Pg 255]
I trust to thee."
In answer thus Euryalus 'gan say:
"No day henceforth of all my life shall prove me fallen away
From this my deed: only may fate in kindly wise befall,
Nor stand against me: now one gift I ask thee over all:
I have a mother born on earth from Priam's ancient race,
Who wretched in the land of Troy had no abiding-place,
Nor in Acesta's steadfast wall; with me she still must wend:
Her, who knows nought of this my risk, whatever may be the end
Unto thy safeguard do I leave: Night and thy right hand there
Be witness that my mother's tears I had no heart to bear.
But solace thou her lack, I pray; comfort her desert need;
Yea let me bear this hope with me, and boldlier shall I speed
Amid all haps."
Touched to the heart the Dardans might not keep
Their tears aback, and chief of all did fair Iulus weep,
The image of his father's love so flashed upon his soul:
And therewithal he spake the word:
"All things I duly answer for worthy thy deed of fame;
Thy mother shall my mother be, nor lack but e'en the name
To be Creusa: store of thanks no little hath she won
That bore thee. Whatsoever hap thy valorous deed bear on,
By this my head, whereon my sire is wont the troth to plight,
Whatever I promised thee come back, with all things wrought aright,
Thy mother and thy kin shall bide that very same reward."
So spake he, weeping, and did off his shoulder-girded sword
All golden, that with wondrous craft Lycaon out of Crete
Had fashioned, fitting it withal in ivory scabbard meet. [Pg 256]
And Mnestheus unto Nisus gives a stripped-off lion's hide
And shaggy coat; and helm for helm giveth Aletes tried.
Then forth they wend in weed of war, and they of first estate,
Young men and old, went forth with them, and leave them at the gate
With following vows; and therewithal Iulus, goodly-wrought,
Who far beyond his tender years had mind of manly thought,
Charged them with many messages unto his father's ear,—
Vain words the night-winds bore away and gave the clouds to bear.
Forth now they wend and pass the ditch, and through the mirk night gain
The baneful camp: yet ere their death they too shall be the bane
Of many: bodies laid in sleep and wine they see strewed o'er
The herbage, and the battle-cars upreared along the shore;
And mid the reins and wheels thereof are men and weapons blent
With wine-jars: so Hyrtacides such word from tooth-hedge sent:
"Euryalus, the hand must dare, the time cries on the deed;
Here lies the way: do thou afar keep watch and have good heed,
Lest any hand aback of us arise 'gainst thee and me:
Here will I make a waste forsooth, and wide thy way shall be."
He speaks, and hushes all his voice, and so with naked blade
Falls on proud Rhamnes; who, as happed, on piled-up carpets laid,
Amid his sleep was blowing forth great voice from inner breast.
A king he was; king Turnus' seer, of all belovèd best;
Yet nought availed his wizardry to drive his bane away.
Three thralls unware, as heeding nought amid the spears they lay,
He endeth: Remus' shield-bearer withal and charioteer,
Caught 'neath the very steeds: his sword their drooping necks doth shear; [Pg 257]
Then from their lord he takes the head, and leaves the trunk to spout
Gushes of blood: the earth is warm with black gore all about.
The beds are wet. There Lamyrus and Lamus doth he slay,
And young Serranus fair of face, who played the night away
For many an hour, until his limbs 'neath God's abundance failed,
And down he lay: ah! happier 'twere if he had still prevailed
To make the live-long night one game until the morning cold.
As famished lion Nisus fares amid the sheep-filled fold,
When ravening hunger driveth on; the soft things, dumb with dread,
He draggeth off, devouring them, and foams from mouth blood-red.
Nor less the death Euryalus hath wrought; for all aflame
He wades in wrath, and on the way slays many lacking name:
Fadus, Herbesus therewithal, Rhœtus and Abaris;
Unwary they: but Rhœtus waked, and looking on all this,
Fulfilled of fear was hiding him behind a wine-jar pressed:
The foe was on him as he rose; the sword-blade pierced his breast
Up to the hilts, and drew aback abundant stream of death.
His purple life he poureth forth, and, dying, vomiteth
Blent blood and wine. On death-stealth still onward the Trojan went,
And toward Messapus' leaguer drew, where watch-fires well-nigh spent
He saw, and horses all about, tethered in order due,
Cropping the grass: but Nisus spake in hasty words and few,
Seeing him borne away by lust of slaughter overmuch:
"Hold we our hands, for dawn our foe hasteth the world to touch:
Deep have we drunk of death, and cut a road amid the foe."
The gear of men full goodly-wrought of silver through and through [Pg 258]
They leave behind, and bowls therewith, and carpets fashioned fair.
Natheless Euryalus caught up the prophet Rhamnes' gear
And gold-bossed belt, which Cædicus, the wealthy man of old,
Sent to Tiburtine Remulus, that he his name might hold,
Though far he were; who, dying, gave his grandson their delight;
And he being dead, Rutulian men won them in war and fight
These now he takes, and all for nought does on his valorous breast,
And dons Messapus' handy helm with goodly-fashioned crest,
Wherewith they leave the camp and gain the road that safer lay.
But horsemen from the Latin town meantime were on the way,
Sent on before to carry word to Turnus, lord and king,
While in array amid the fields the host was tarrying.
Three hundred knights, all shielded folk, 'neath Volscens do they fare.
And now they drew anigh the camp and 'neath its rampart were,
When from afar they saw the twain on left-hand footway lurk;
Because Euryalus' fair helm mid glimmer of the mirk
Betrayed the heedless youth, and flashed the moonbeams back again.
Nor was the sight unheeded: straight cries Volscens midst his men:
"Stand ho! why thus afoot, and why in weapons do ye wend,
And whither go ye?"
Nought had they an answer back to send,
But speed their fleeing mid the brake, and trust them to the night;
The horsemen cast themselves before each crossway known aright,
And every outgoing there is with guard they girdle round.
Rough was the wood; a thicket-place where black holm-oaks abound,
And with the tanglement of thorns choked up on every side,
The road but glimmering faintly out from where the foot-tracks hide.
The blackness of overhanging boughs and heavy battle-prey [Pg 259]
Hinder Euryalus, and fear beguiles him of the way.
Nisus comes out, and now had won unwitting from the foe,
And reached the place from Alba's name called Alban Meadows now;
Where King Latinus had as then his high-built herd-houses.
So there he stands, and, looking round, his fellow nowhere sees:
"Hapless Euryalus! ah me, where have I left thy face?
Where shall I seek thee, gathering up that tangle of the ways
Through the blind wood?"
So therewithal he turns upon his track,
Noting his footsteps, and amid the hushed brake strays aback,
Hearkening the horse-hoofs and halloos and calls of following folk.
Nor had he long abided there, ere on his ears outbroke
Great clamour, and Euryalus he sees, whom all the band
Hath taken, overcome by night, and blindness of the land,
And wildering tumult: there in vain he strives in battle-play.
Ah, what to do? What force to dare, what stroke to snatch away
The youth? Or shall he cast himself amid the swords to die,
And hasten down the way of wounds to lovely death anigh?
Then swiftly, with his arm drawn back and brandishing his spear,
He looks up at the moon aloft, and thuswise poureth prayer:
"To aid, thou Goddess! Stay my toil, and let the end be good!
Latonian glory of the stars, fair watcher of the wood,
If ever any gift for me upon thine altars gave
My father Hyrtacus; if I for thee the hunting drave;
If aught I hung upon thy dome, or set upon thy roof,
Give me to break their gathered host, guide thou my steel aloof!" [Pg 260]
He spake, and in the shafted steel set all his body's might,
And hurled it: flying forth the spear clave through the dusk of night,
And, reaching Sulmo turned away, amidst his back it flew,
And brake there; but the splintering shaft his very heart pierced through,
And o'er he rolleth, vomiting the hot stream from his breast:
Then heave his flanks with long-drawn sobs and cold he lies at rest.
On all sides then they peer about: but, whetted on thereby,
The quivering shaft from o'er his ear again he letteth fly.
Amid their wilderment the spear whistleth through either side
Of Tagus' temples, and wet-hot amidst his brain doth bide.
Fierce Volscens rageth, seeing none who might the spear-shot send,
Or any man on whom his wrath and heat of heart to spend.
"But thou, at least, with thine hot blood shalt pay the due award
For both," he cries; and therewithal, swift drawing forth the sword,
He falleth on Euryalus. Then, wild with all affright,
Nisus shrieks out, and cares no more to cloak himself with night,
And hath no heart to bear against so great a misery.
"On me, me! Here—I did the deed! turn ye the sword on me,
Rutulians!—all the guilt is mine: he might not do nor dare.
May heaven and those all-knowing stars true witness of it bear!
Only with too exceeding love he loved his hapless friend."
Such words he poured forth, but the sword no less its way doth wend,
Piercing the flank and rending through the goodly breast of him;
And rolls Euryalus in death: in plenteous blood they swim
His lovely limbs, his drooping neck low on his shoulder lies:
As when the purple field-flower faints before the plough and dies,
Or poppies when they hang their heads on wearied stems outworn, [Pg 261]
When haply by the rainy load their might is overborne.
Then Nisus falls amidst of them, and Volscens seeks alone
For aught that any man may do: save him he heedeth none.
About him throng the foe: all round the strokes on him are laid
To thrust him off: but on he bears, whirling his lightning blade,
Till full in Volscens' shouting mouth he burieth it at last,
Tearing the life from out the foe, as forth his own life passed.
Then, ploughed with wounds, he cast him down upon his lifeless friend,
And so in quietness of death gat resting in the end.
O happy twain, if anywise my song-craft may avail,
From out the memory of the world no day shall blot your tale,
While on the rock-fast Capitol Æneas' house abides,
And while the Roman Father still the might of empire guides.
The Rutuli, victorious now with spoils and prey of war,
But sorrowing still, amid the camp the perished Volscens bore.
Nor in the camp was grief the less, when they on Rhamnes came
Bloodless; and many a chief cut off by one death and the same;
Serranus dead and Numa dead: a many then they swarm
About the dead and dying men, and places wet and warm
With new-wrought death, and runnels full with plenteous foaming blood.
Then one by one the spoils they note; the glittering helm and good
Messapus owned: the gear such toil had won back from the dead.
But timely now Aurora left Tithonus' saffron bed,
[Pg 262]And over earth went scattering wide the light of new-born day:
The sun-flood flowed, and all the world unveiled by daylight lay.
Then Turnus, clad in arms himself, wakes up the host to arms,
And every lord to war-array bids on his brazen swarms;
And men with diverse tidings told their battle-anger whet.
Moreover (miserable sight!) on upraised spears they set
Those heads, and follow them about with most abundant noise,
Euryalus and Nisus dead.
Meanwhile Æneas' hardy sons upon their leftward wall
Stand in array; for on the right the river girdeth all.
In woe they ward the ditches deep, and on the towers on high
Stand sorrowing; for those heads upreared touch all their hearts anigh,
Known overwell to their sad eyes mid the black flow of gore.
Therewith in wingèd fluttering haste, the trembling city o'er
Goes tell-tale Fame, and swift amidst the mother's ears doth glide;
And changed she was, nor in her bones the life-heat would abide:
The shuttle falls from out her hand, unrolled the web doth fall,
And with a woman's hapless shrieks she flieth to the wall:
Rending her hair, beside herself, she faced the front of fight,
Heedless of men, and haps of death, and all the weapons' flight,
And there the very heavens she filled with wailing of her grief:
"O son, and do I see thee so? Thou rest and last relief
Of my old days! hadst thou the heart to leave me lone and spent?
O cruel! might I see thee not on such a peril sent?
Was there no time for one last word amid my misery?
A prey for Latin fowl and dogs how doth thy body lie,
On lands uncouth! Not e'en may I, thy mother, streak thee, son,
Thy body dead; or close thine eyes, or wash thy wounds well won,
Or shroud thee in the cloth I wrought for thee by night and day, [Pg 263]
When hastening on the weaving-task I kept eld's cares at bay?
Where shall I seek thee? What earth hides thy body, mangled sore,
And perished limbs? O son, to me bringest thou back no more
Than this? and have I followed this o'er every land and sea?
O pierce me through, if ye be kind; turn all your points on me,
Rutulians! Let me first of all with battle-steel be sped!
Father of Gods, have mercy thou! Thrust down the hated head
Beneath the House of Tartarus with thine own weapon's stress,
Since otherwise I may not break my life-days' bitterness."
Their hearts were shaken with her wail, and Sorrow fain will weep,
And in all men their battle-might unbroken lay asleep.
But Actor and Idæus take that flaming misery,
As bade Ilioneus, and young Iulus, sore as he
Went weeping: back in arms therewith they bear her 'neath the roof.
But now the trump with brazen song cast fearful sound aloof,
Chiding to war; and shouts rise up and belloweth back the heaven,
And forth the Volscians fare to speed the shield-roof timely driven.
Some men fall on to fill the ditch and pluck the ramparts down;
Some seek approach and ladders lay where daylight rends the crown
Of wall-wards, and would get them up where stands the hedge of war
Thinner of men: against their way the Teucrian warders pour
All weapon-shot: with hard-head pikes they thrust them down the steep.
Long was the war wherein they learned the battle-wall to keep.
Stones, too, of deadly weight they roll, if haply they may break
The shield-roof of the battle-rush; but sturdily those take
All chances of the play beneath their close and well-knit hold.
Yet fail they; for when hard at hand their world of war was rolled, [Pg 264]
A mighty mass by Teucrians moved rolls on and rushes o'er,
And fells the host of Rutuli and breaks the tiles of war.
Nor longer now the Rutuli, the daring hearts, may bear
To play with Mars amid the dark, but strive the walls to clear
With storm of shaft and weapon shot.
But now Mezentius otherwhere, a fearful sight to see,
Was tossing high the Tuscan pine with smoke-wreathed fiery heart:
While Neptune's child, the horse-tamer Messapus, played his part,
Rending the wall, and crying out for ladders to be laid.
Speak, Song-maids: thou, Calliope, give thou the singer aid
To tell what wise by Turnus' sword the field of fight was strown;
What death he wrought; what man each man to Orcus sent adown.
Fall to with me to roll abroad the mighty skirts of war,
Ye, Goddesses, remember all, and ye may tell it o'er.
There was a tower built high overhead, with gangways up in air,
Set well for fight, 'gainst which the foe their utmost war-might bear,
And all Italians strive their most to work its overthrow:
Gainst whom the Trojans ward it well, casting the stones below,
And through the hollow windows speed the shot-storm thick and fast.
There Turnus first of all his folk a flaming firebrand cast,
And fixed it in the turret's flank: wind-nursed it caught great space
Of planking, and amid the doors, consuming, kept its place.
Then they within, bewildered sore, to flee their ills are fain,
But all for nought; for while therein they huddle from the bane,
And draw aback to place yet free from ruin, suddenly
O'erweighted toppleth down the tower, and thundereth through the sky. [Pg 265]
Half-dead the warders fall to earth by world of wrack o'erborne,
Pierced with their own shafts, and their breasts with hardened splinters torn.
Yea, Lycus and Helenor came alone of all their peers
Alive to earth: Helenor, now in spring-tide of his years:
Bond-maid Licymnia privily to that Mæonian king
Had borne the lad, and sent him forth to Troy's beleaguering
With arms forbidden, sheathless sword and churl's unpainted shield.
But when he saw himself amidst the thousand-sworded field
Of Turnus, Latins on each side, behind, and full in face,
E'en as a wild beast hedged about by girdle of the chase
Rages against the point and edge, and, knowing death anear,
Leaps forth, and far is borne away down on the hunter's spear;
Not otherwise the youth falls on where thickest spear-points lie,
And in the middle of the foe he casts himself to die.
But Lycus, nimbler far of foot, betwixt the foemen slipped,
Betwixt the swords, and gained the wall, and at the coping gripped,
And strove to draw him up with hand, the friendly hands to feel;
But Turnus both with foot and spear hath followed hard at heel,
And mocks him thus in victory: "How was thy hope so grown
Of 'scaping from my hand, O fool?"
Therewith he plucks him down
From where he hung, and space of wall tears downward with the man.
As when it chanceth that a hare or snowy-bodied swan
Jove's shield-bearer hath borne aloft in snatching hookèd feet;
Or lamb, whose mother seeketh him with most abundant bleat,
Some wolf of Mars from fold hath caught.
Goes up great cry around:
They set on, and the ditches filled with o'erturned garth and mound, [Pg 266]
While others cast the blazing brands on roof and battlement.
Ilioneus with mighty stone, a shard from hillside rent,
Lucetius felled, as fire in hand unto the gate he drew.
Then Liger felled Emathion, for craft of spear he knew;
Asylas Corynæus, by dint of skill in bowshaft's ways,
Cæneus Ortygius fells, and him, victorious, Turnus slays,
And Itys, Clonius, Promolus, Dioxippus withal,
And Sagaris, and Idas set on topmost turret-wall.
Then Capys slays Privernus; him Themilla's light-winged spear
Had grazed, whereon he dropped his shield, and his left hand did bear
Upon the hurt; when lo, thereto the wingèd shaft did win,
And nailed the hand unto the side, and, buried deep within,
Burst all the breathing-ways of life with deadly fatal sore.
But lo, where standeth Arcens' child in goodly weed of war,
Fair with his needle-painted cloak, with Spanish scarlet bright,
Noble of face: Arcens, his sire, had sent him to the fight
From nursing of his mother's grove about Symæthia's flood,
Whereby Palicus' altar stands, the wealthy and the good.
Mezentius now laid by his spear, and took his whistling sling,
And whirled it thrice about his head at length of tugging string,
And with the flight of molten lead his midmost forehead clave,
And to the deep abundant sand his outstretched body gave.
Then first they say Ascanius aimed his speedy shafts in war,
Wherewith but fleeing beasts afield he used to fright before:
But now at last his own right hand the stark Numanus slays,
Who had to surname Remulus, and in these latter days
King Turnus' sister, young of years, had taken to his bed:
He in the forefront of the fight kept crying out, and said [Pg 267]
Things worthy and unworthy tale: puffed up with pride of place
New-won he went, still clamouring out his greatness and his grace.
"O twice-caught Phrygians, shames you nought thus twice amid the wars
To lie in bonds, and stretch out walls before the march of Mars?
Lo, these are they who woke the war the wives of us to wed!
What God sent you to Italy? what madness hither sped?
Here are no Atreus' sons, and no Ulysses word-weaver.
A people hard from earliest spring our new-born sons we bear
Unto the stream, and harden us with bitter frost and flood.
Our lads, they wake the dawning-chase and wear the tangled wood;
Our sport is taming of the horse and drawing shafted bow;
Our carles, who bear a world of toil, and hunger-pinching know,
Tame earth with spade, or shake with war the cities of the folk.
Yea, all our life with steel is worn; afield we drive the yoke
With spear-shaft turned about: nor doth a halting eld of sloth
Weaken our mightiness of soul, or change our glory's growth.
We do the helm on hoary hairs, and ever deem it good
To drive the foray day by day, and make the spoil our food.
But ye—the raiment saffron-stained, with purple glow tricked out—
These are your heart-joys: ye are glad to lead the dance about.
Sleeve-coated folk, O ribbon-coifed, not even Phrygian men,
But Phrygian wives, to Dindymus the high go get ye then!
To hear the flute's twi-mouthèd song as ye are wont to do!
The Berecynthian Mother's box and cymbals call to you
From Ida: let men deal with war, and drop adown your swords."
That singer of such wicked speech, that caster forth of words,
Ascanius brooked not: breasting now his horse-hair full at strain, [Pg 268]
He aimed the shaft, and therewithal drew either arm atwain,
And stood so; but to Jupiter first suppliant fell to pray:
"O Jove Almighty, to my deeds, thus new-begun, nod yea,
And I myself unto thy fane the yearly gifts will bear,
And bring before thine altar-stead a snow-white gilt-horned steer,
Whose head unto his mother's head is evenly upborne,
Of age to spurn the sand with hoof and battle with the horn."
The Father heard, and out of heaven, wherein no cloud-fleck hung,
His leftward thunder fell, wherewith the fateful bow outrung,
The back-drawn shaft went whistling forth with dreadful sound, and sped
To pierce the skull of Remulus and hollow of his head:
"Go to, then, and thy mocking words upon men's valour call,
The twice-caught Phrygians answer back Rutulians herewithal."
This only word Ascanius spake: the Teucrians raise their cry
And shout for joy, and lift their heart aloft unto the sky.
Long-haired Apollo then by hap high-set in airy place,
Looked down upon Ausonian host and leaguered city's case,
And thus the victor he bespeaks from lofty seat of cloud:
"Speed on in new-born valour, child! this is the starward road,
O son of Gods and sire of Gods! Well have the Fates ordained
That 'neath Assaracus one day all war shall be refrained.
No Troy shall hold thee."
With that word he stoops from heaven aloft
And puts away on either side the wind that meets him soft,
And seeks Ascanius: changed is he withal, and putteth on
The shape of Butes old of days, shield-bearer time agone [Pg 269]
Unto Anchises, Dardan king, and door-ward true and tried;
But with Ascanius now his sire had bidden him abide.
Like this old man in every wise, voice, hue, and hoary hair,
And arms that cried on cruel war, now did Apollo fare,
And to Iulus hot of heart in such wise went his speech:
"Enough, O child of Æneas, that thou with shaft didst reach
Numanus' life unharmed thyself, great Phœbus grants thee this,
Thy first-born praise, nor grudgeth thee like weapons unto his.
But now refrain thy youth from war."
So spake Apollo then,
And in the midmost of his speech fled sight of mortal men,
And faded from their eyes away afar amid the air.
The Dardan dukes, they knew the God and holy shooting-gear,
And as he fled away from them they heard his quiver shrill.
Therefore Ascanius, fain of fight, by Phœbus' word and will
They hold aback: but they themselves fare to the fight again,
And cast their souls amidst of all the perils bare and plain.
Then goes the shout adown the wall, along the battlement;
The javelin-thongs are whirled about, the sharp-springed bows are bent,
And all the earth is strewn with shot: the shield, the helmet's cup,
Ring out again with weapon-dint, and fierce the fight springs up.
As great as, when the watery kids are setting, beats the rain
Upon the earth; as plentiful as when upon the main
The hail-clouds fall, when Jupiter, fierce with the southern blasts,
Breaks up the hollow clouds of heaven and watery whirl downcasts.
Now Pandarus and Bitias stark, Idan Alcanor's seed. [Pg 270]
They whom Iæra of the woods in Jove's brake nursed with heed,
Youths tall as firs or mountain-cliffs that in their country are,
The gate their lord hath bid them keep, these freely now unbar,
And freely bid the foeman in, trusting to stroke of hand;
But they themselves to right and left before the gate-towers stand,
Steel-clad, and with their lofty heads crested with glittering gleams;
E'en as amid the air of heaven, beside the flowing streams
On rim of Padus, or anigh soft Athesis and sweet,
Twin oak-trees spring, and tops unshorn uprear the skies to meet,
And with their heads high over earth nod ever in the wind.
So now the Rutuli fall on when clear the way they find,
But Quercens, and Æquicolus the lovely war-clad one,
And Tmarus of the headlong soul, and Hæmon, Mavors' son,
Must either turn their backs in flight, with all their men of war,
Or lay adown their lovèd lives on threshold of the door.
Then bitterer waxeth battle-rage in hate-fulfillèd hearts,
And there the Trojans draw to head and gather from all parts,
Eager to deal in handy strokes, full fierce afield to fare.
But as duke Turnus through the fight was raging otherwhere,
Confounding folk, there came a man with tidings that the foe,
Hot with new death, the door-leaves wide to all incomers throw.
Therewith he leaves the work in hand, and, stirred by anger's goad,
Against the Dardan gate goes forth, against the brethren proud:
There first Antiphates he slew, who fought amid the first,
The bastard of Sarpedon tall, by Theban mother nursed.
With javelin-cast he laid him low: the Italian cornel flies
Through the thin air, pierceth his maw, and 'neath his breast-bone lies [Pg 271]
Deep down; the hollow wound-cave pours a flood of gore and foam,
And warm amid him lies the steel, amid his lung gone home.
Then Meropes', and Erymas', Aphidnus' lives he spilled;
Then Bitias of the flaming eyes and heart with ire fulfilled;—
Not with the dart, for to no dart his life-breath had he given;—
But whirled and whizzing mightily came on the sling-spear, driven
Like lightning-flash; against whose dint two bull-hides nought availed,
Nor yet the golden faithful fence of war-coat double-scaled:
His fainting limbs fell down afield, and earth gave out a groan,
And rang the thunder of his shield huge on his body thrown:
E'en as upon Eubœan shore of Baiæ falleth whiles
A stony pillar, which built up of mighty bonded piles
They set amid the sea: suchwise it draggeth mighty wrack
Headlong adown, and deep in sea it lieth dashed aback:
The seas are blent, black whirl of sand goes up confusedly;
And with the noise quakes Prochytas, and quakes Inarimè,
The unsoft bed by Jove's command upon Typhœus laid.
Then Mars, the mighty in the war, brings force and strength to aid
The Latin men, and in their hearts he stirs his bitter goads,
The while with fleeing and black fear the Teucrian heart he loads:
From everywhither run the folk, since here is battle rich,
And in all hearts the war-god wakes.
But Pandarus, beholding now his brother laid to earth,
And whitherward wends Fortune now, and what Time brings to birth,
Back-swinging on the hinge again with might the door-leaf sends,
By struggle of his shoulders huge; and many of his friends
Shut outward of the walls he leaves, amid the fierce debate; [Pg 272]
While others, with himself shut in, poured backward through the gate.
Madman! who saw not how the king Rutulian mid the band
Came rushing, but amidst the town now shut him with his hand,
E'en as a tiger pent amidst a helpless flock of sheep.
Then dreadfully his armour rings, light from his eyes doth leap,—
A strange new light: the blood-red crest upon his helm-top quakes,
And from the circle of his shield a glittering lightning breaks.
Sudden Æneas' frighted folk behold his hated face
And mighty limbs: but Pandarus breaks forth amid the place
Huge, and his heart afire with rage for his lost brother's death.
"Nay, this is not Amata's home, the dowry house," he saith,
"Nor yet doth Ardea's midmost wall hold kindred Turnus in:
The foeman's camp thou seest, wherefrom thou hast no might to win."
But from his all untroubled breast laughed Turnus, as he said:
"Begin, if thou hast heart thereto, let hand to hand be laid!
Thou shalt tell Priam how thou found'st a new Achilles here."
He spake: the other put all strength to hurling of his spear,
A shaft all rough with knots, and still in its own tree-bark bound.
Straightway the thin air caught it up, but that swift-speeding wound
Saturnian Juno turned aside and set it in the door.
—"But now thou 'scapest not this steel mine own hand maketh sure,
Nought such as thine the weapon-smith, the wound-smith——"
With the word
He riseth up unto the high uprising of the sword,
[Pg 273]Wherewith betwixt the temples twain he clave his midmost head,
And with a fearful wound apart the cheeks unbearded shred.
Then came a sound, and shook the earth 'neath the huge weight of him:
With armour wet with blood and brain, with fainting, slackened limb,
He strewed the ground in death; his head, sheared clean and evenly,
From either shoulder hanging down, this side and that did lie.
Then turn and flee the Trojan folk, by quaking terror caught;
And if the conquering man as then one moment had had thought
To burst the bolts and let his folk in through the opened door,
That day had been the last of days for Trojans and their war.
But utter wrath of heart and soul, and wildering lust of death
Drave him afire amidst the foe.
Then Phaleris he catcheth up, and ham-strung Gyges then,
Whose spears, snatched up, he hurleth on against the backs of men;
For Juno finds him might enough and heart wherewith to do,
Halys he sendeth down with these, Phegeus with targe smit through;
Then, as they roused the war on wall, nor wotted aught of this,
Alcander stark, and Halius stout, Noëmon, Prytanis.
Then Lynceus, as he ran to aid and cheered his folk withal,
He reacheth at with sweeping sword from right hand of the wall
And smiteth; and his helm and head, struck off with that one blow,
Lie far away: Amycus then, the wood-deer's wasting foe,
He slayeth: happier hand had none in smearing of the shaft
And arming of the iron head the poison-wound to waft.
Then Clytius, son of Æolus, and Cretheus Muse-beloved,—
Cretheus the Muses' fellow-friend, whose heart was ever moved
By song and harp, and measured sound along the strainèd string;
Who still of steeds, and arms, and men, and battle-tide would sing.
At last the Trojan dukes of men, Mnestheus, Serestus fierce, [Pg 274]
Draw to a head when all this death is borne unto their ears,
And see their folk all scattering wide, the foe amidst them see.
Then Mnestheus cries: "And whither now, and whither will ye flee?
What other walls, what other town have ye a hope to find?
Hath one man, O my town-fellows, whom your own ramparts bind,
Wrought such a death and unavenged amid your very town,
And sent so many lords of war by Orcus' road adown?
O dastards, your unhappy land, your Gods of ancient days,
Your great Æneas—what! no shame, no pity do they raise?"
Fired by such words, they gather heart and stand in close array,
Till step by step 'gins Turnus now to yield him from the play,
And seek the river and the side the wet wave girds about.
Then fiercer fall the Teucrians on, and raise a mighty shout,
And lock their ranks: as when a crowd of men-folk and of spears
Falls on a lion hard of heart, and he, beset by fears,
But fierce and grim-eyed, yieldeth way, though anger and his worth
Forbid him turn his back about: no less to fare right forth
Through spears and men avails him not, though ne'er so fain he be.
Not otherwise unhasty feet drew Turnus doubtfully
Abackward, all his heart a-boil with anger's overflow.
Yea, twice, indeed, he falls again amidmost of the foe,
And twice more turns to huddled flight their folk along the walls;
But, gathered from the camp about, the whole host on him falls,
Nor durst Saturnian Juno now his might against them stay;
For Jupiter from heaven hath sent Iris of airy way,
No soft commands of his high doom bearing his sister down,
If Turnus get him not away from Troy's high-builded town. [Pg 275]
So now the warrior's shielded left the play endureth not,
Nought skills his right hand; wrapped around in drift of weapon shot
About his temples' hollow rings his helm with ceaseless clink;
The starkly-fashioned brazen plates amid the stone-cast chink;
The crest is battered from his head; nor may the shield-boss hold
Against the strokes: the Trojans speed the spear-storm manifold,
And lightening Mnestheus thickeneth it: then over all his limbs
The sweat bursts out, and all adown a pitchy river swims:
Hard grows his breath, and panting sharp shaketh his body spent.
Until at last, all clad in arms, he leapt adown, and sent
His body to the river fair, who in his yellow flood
Caught him, and bore him forth away on ripple soft and good,
And gave him merry to his men, washed from the battle's blood.
THE GODS TAKE COUNSEL: ÆNEAS COMETH TO HIS FOLK AGAIN, AND DOETH MANY GREAT DEEDS IN BATTLE.
Meanwhile is opened wide the door of dread Olympus' walls,
And there the Sire of Gods and Men unto the council calls,
Amid the starry place, wherefrom, high-throned, he looks adown
Upon the folk of Latin land and that beleaguered town.
There in the open house they sit, and he himself begins:
"O Dwellers in the House of Heaven, why backward thuswise wins
Your purpose? Why, with hearts unruled, raise ye the strife so sore?
I clean forbade that Italy should clash with Troy in war.
Now why the war that I forbade? who egged on these or those
To fear or fight, or drave them on with edge of sword to close?
Be not o'ereager in your haste: the hour of fight shall come,
When dreadful Carthage on a day against the walls of Rome,
Betwixt the opened doors of Alps, a mighty wrack shall send;
Then may ye battle, hate to hate, and reach and grasp and rend:
But now forbear, and joyfully knit fast the plighted peace." [Pg 277]
Few words spake Jove; but not a few in answer unto these
Gave golden Venus back again:
"O Father, O eternal might of men and deeds of earth—
For what else may be left to me whereto to turn my prayers?—
Thou seest the Rutuli in pride, and Turnus, how he fares?
Amidst them, borne aloft by steeds, and, swelling, war-way sweeps
With Mars to aid: the fencèd place no more the Teucrians keeps,
For now within the very gates and mound-heaped battlement
They blend in fight, and flood of gore adown the ditch is sent,
Unware Æneas is away.—Must they be never free
From bond of leaguer? lo, again the threatening enemy
Hangs over Troy new-born! Behold new host arrayed again
From Arpi, the Ætolian-built; against the Teucrian men
Tydides riseth. So for me belike new wounds in store,
And I, thy child, must feel the edge of arms of mortal war.
Now if without thy peace, without thy Godhead's will to speed,
The Trojans sought for Italy, let ill-hap pay ill deed,
Nor stay them with thine help: but if they followed many a word
Given forth by Gods of Heaven and Hell, by whom canst thou be stirred
To turn thy doom, or who to forge new fate may e'er avail?
Of ship-host burnt on Eryx shore why should I tell the tale?
Or of the king of wind and storm, or wild and windy crowd
Æolia bred, or Iris sent adown the space of cloud?
But now withal the Gods of Hell, a world untried before,
She stirreth, and Alecto sent up to the earthly shore
In sudden hurry raves about towns of Italian men.
No whit for lordship do I yearn: I hoped such glories then
While Fortune was: let them be lords whom thou wilt doom for lords!
But if no land thy hard-heart wife to Teucrian men awards, [Pg 278]
Yet, Father, by the smoking wrack of overwhelmèd Troy
I pray thee from the weapon-dint safe let me send a boy,
Yea, e'en Ascanius: let me keep my grandson safe for me!
Yea, let Æneas toss about on many an unknown sea,
And let him follow wheresoe'er his fortune shall have led:
But this one let me shield, and take safe from the battle's dread.
Paphus, Cythera, Amathus, are mine, and I abide
Within Idalia's house: let him lay weed of war aside,
And wear his life inglorious there: then shalt thou bid the hand
Of Carthage weigh Ausonia down, and nothing shall withstand
The towns of Tyre.—Ah, what availed to 'scape the bane of war?
Ah, what availed that through the midst of Argive flames they bore
To wear down perils of wide lands, and perils of the main,
While Teucrian men sought Latin land and Troy new-born again?
Ah, better had it been for them by Troy's cold ash to stay,
To dwell on earth where Troy hath been. Father, give back, I pray,
Their Xanthus and their Simoïs unto that wretched folk,
And let them toil and faint once more 'neath Ilium's woeful yoke!"
Then spake Queen Juno, heavy wroth: "Why driv'st thou me to part
My deep-set silence, and lay bare with words my grief of heart?
What one of all the Gods or men Æneas drave to go
On warring ways, or bear himself as King Latinus' foe?
Fate-bidden he sought Italy?—Yea, soothly, or maybe
Spurned by Cassandra's wilderment—and how then counselled we
To leave his camp and give his life to make the winds a toy?
To trust his walls and utmost point of war unto a boy?
To trust the Tuscan faith, and stir the peaceful folk to fight?
What God hath driven him to lie, what hardness of my might? [Pg 279]
Works Juno here, or Iris sent adown the cloudy way?
'Tis wrong for Italy, forsooth, the ring of fire to lay
Round Troy new-born; for Turnus still to hold his fathers' earth!—
Though him, Pilumnus' own son's son, Venilia brought to birth—
But what if Trojans fall with flame upon the Latin folk,
And drive the prey from off their fields oppressed by outland yoke?
Or choose them sons-in-law, or brides from mothers' bosoms tear?
Or, holding peace within their hands, lade ships with weapon-gear?
Thou erst hadst might from Greekish hands Æneas' self to draw,
To thrust a cloud and empty wind in stead of man of war,
And unto sea-nymphs ship by ship the ship-host mayst thou change.
But we to help the Rutuli, 'tis horrible and strange!
—Unware Æneas is away?—let him abide unware!
Paphus thou hast, Idalium, and high Cythera fair,
Then why with cities big with war and hearts of warriors deal?
What! we it was who strove to wrack the fainting Trojan weal?
We!—or the one who thwart the Greeks the wretched Trojans dashed?
Yea, and what brought it all about that thus in arms they clashed,
Europe and Asia? that men brake the plighted peace by theft?
Did I the Dardan lecher lead, who Sparta's jewel reft?
Did I set weapons in his hand, breed lust to breed debate?
Then had thy care for thine been meet, but now indeed o'erlate
With wrongful plaint thou risest up, and bickerest emptily."
So pleaded Juno, and all they, the heavenly folk anigh,
Murmured their doom in diverse wise; as when the first of wind
Caught in the woods is murmuring on, and rolleth moanings blind,
Betraying to the mariners the onset of the gale. [Pg 280]
Then spake the Almighty Sire, in whom is all the world's avail,
And as he spake the high-built house of God was quieted,
And earth from her foundations shook, and heaven was hushed o'erhead,
The winds fell down, the face of sea was laid in quiet fair:
"Take ye these matters to your hearts, and set my sayings there;
Since nowise the Ausonian folk the plighted troth may blend
With Teucrians, and your contest seems a strife without an end;
What fortune each may have today, what hope each one shears out,
Trojan or Rutulan, will I hold all in balanced doubt,
Whether the camp be so beset by fate of Italy,
Or hapless wanderings of Troy, and warnings dealt awry.
Nor loose I Rutulans the more; let each one's way-faring
Bear its own hap and toil, for Jove to all alike is king;
The Fates will find a way to wend."
He nodded oath withal
By his own Stygian brother's stream, the pitchy waters' fall,
And blazing banks, and with his nod shook all Olympus' land.
Then fell the talk; from golden throne did Jupiter upstand,
The heaven-abiders girt him round and brought him to the door.
The Rutuli amid all this are pressing on in war,
Round all the gates to slay the men, the walls with fire to ring,
And all Æneas' host is pent with fenced beleaguering.
Nor is there any hope of flight; upon the towers tall
They stand, the hapless men in vain, thin garland for the wall;
Asius, the son of Imbrasus, Thymœtes, and the two
Assaraci, and Thymbris old, with Castor, deeds they do
In the forefront; Sarpedon's sons, twin brethren, with them bide, [Pg 281]
Clarus and Themon, born erewhile in lofty Lycia's side.
And now Lyrnessian Acmon huge with strain of limbs strives hard,
And raises up a mighty stone, no little mountain shard;
As great as father Clytius he, or brother Mnestheus' might:
So some with stones, with spear-cast some, they ward the walls in fight,
They deal with fire or notch the shaft upon the strainèd string.
But lo amidst, most meetly wrought for Venus cherishing,
His goodly head the Dardan boy unhooded there doth hold,
As shineth out some stone of price, cleaving the yellow gold,
Fair for the bosom or the head; or as the ivory shines,
That with Orician terebinth the art of man entwines,
Or mid the boxwood; down along his milk-white neck they lie
The streams of hair, which golden wire doth catch about and tie.
The mighty nations, Ismarus, there saw thee deft to speed
The bane of men, envenoming the deadly flying reed;
Thou lord-born of Mœonian house, whereby the tiller tills
Rich acres, where Pactolus' flood gold overflowing spills.
There, too, was Mnestheus, whom his deed late done of thrusting forth
King Turnus from the battlements hath raised to heavenly worth,
And Capys, he whose name is set upon Campania's town.
But while the bitter play of war went bickering up and down,
Æneas clave the seas with keel amidst the dead of night:
For when Evander he had left and reached the Tuscan might,
He met their king and told his name, and whence his race of old,
And what he would and how he wrought: and of the host he told,
Mezentius now had gotten him, and Turnus' wrothful heart;
He warned him in affairs of men to trust not Fortune's part;
And therewithal he mingleth prayers: Tarchon no while doth wait, [Pg 282]
But joineth hosts and plighteth troth; and so, set free by Fate,
A-shipboard go the Lydian folk by God's command and grace,
Yet 'neath the hand of outland duke: Æneas' ship hath place
In forefront: Phrygian lions hang above its armèd tyne
O'ertopped by Ida, unto those Troy's outcasts happy sign:
There great Æneas sits, and sends his mind a-wandering wide
Through all the shifting chance of war; and by his left-hand side
Is Pallas asking of the stars and night-tide's journey dim,
Or whiles of haps by land or sea that fortuned unto him.
Ye Goddesses, ope Helicon, and raise the song to say
What host from out the Tuscan land Æneas led away,
And how they dight their ships, and how across the sea they drave.
In brazen Tiger Massicus first man the sea-plain clave;
A thousand youths beneath him are that Clusium's walls have left
And Cosæ's city: these in war with arrow-shot are deft,
And bear light quivers of the bark, and bear the deadly bow.
Then comes grim Abas, all his host with glorious arms aglow,
And on his stern Apollo gleams, well wrought in utter gold.
But Populonia's mother-land had given him there to hold
Six hundred of the battle-craft; three hundred Ilva sent,
Rich isle, whose wealth of Chalyb ore wastes never nor is spent.
The third is he, who carrieth men the words God hath to say,
Asylas, whom the hearts of beasts and stars of heaven obey,
And tongues of birds, and thunder-fire that coming tidings bears.
A thousand men he hurrieth on with bristling of the spears; [Pg 283]
Pisa, the town Alpheüs built amid the Tuscan land,
Bids them obey.
Came Astur next, goodliest of all the band;
Astur, who trusteth in his horse and shifty-coloured weed;
Three hundred hath he, of one heart to wend as he shall lead:
And these are they in Cæres' home and Minios' lea that bide,
The Pyrgi old, and they that feel Gravisca's heavy tide.
Nor thee, best war-duke, Cinyras, of that Ligurian crew,
Leave I unsung: nor thee the more, Cupavo lord of few,
Up from the cresting of whose helm the feathery swan-wings rise.
Love was thy guilt; thy battle-sign was thine own father's guise.
For Cycnus, say they, while for love of Phaëthon he grieves.
And sings beneath his sisters' shade, beneath the poplar-leaves;
While with the Muse some solace sweet for woeful love he won,
A hoary eld of feathers soft about him doth he on,
Leaving the earth and following the stars with tuneful wails;
And now his son amid his peers with Tuscan ship-host sails,
Driving with oars the Centaur huge, who o'er the waters' face
Hangs, threatening ocean with a rock, huge from his lofty place,
And ever with his length of keel the deep sea furrows o'er.
Then he, e'en Ocnus, stirreth up folk from his father's shore,
Who from the love of Tuscan flood and fate-wise Manto came,
And gave, O Mantua, walls to thee, and gave his mother's name:
Mantua, the rich in father-folk, though not one-stemmed her home.
Three stems are there, from each whereof four peoples forth are come,
While she herself, the head of all, from Tuscan blood hath might.
Five hundred thence Mezentius arms against himself in fight, [Pg 284]
Whom Mincius' flood, Benacus' son, veiled in the sedges grey,
Was leading in the fir of fight across the watery way.
Then heavy-huge Aulestes goes; the oar-wood hundred-fold
Rises for beating of the flood, as foam the seas uprolled.
Huge Triton ferries him, whose shell the deep blue sea doth fright:
Up from the shaggy naked waist manlike is he to sight
As there he swims, but underneath whale-bellied is he grown;
Beneath the half-beast breast of him the foaming waters moan.
So many chosen dukes of men in thrice ten keels they sail,
And cut with brass the meads of brine for Troy and its avail.
And now had day-tide failed the sky, and Phœbe, sweet and fair,
Amid her nightly-straying wain did mid Olympus wear.
Æneas, who might give his limbs no whit of peacefulness,
Was sitting with the helm in hand, heeding the sail-gear's stress,
When lo a company of friends his midmost course do meet:
The Nymphs to wit, who Cybele, the goddess holy-sweet,
Bade turn from ships to very nymphs, and ocean's godhead have.
So evenly they swam the sea, and sundered wave and wave,
As many as the brazen beaks once by the sea-side lay;
Afar they know their king, and round in dancing-wise they play;
But one of them, Cymodocea, who speech-lore knew the best,
Drew nigh astern and laid thereon her right hand, with her breast
Above the flood, the while her left through quiet waves rowed on,
And thus bespoke him all unware:
"Wak'st thou, O Godhead's son!
Æneas, wake! and loose the sheets and let all canvas fill! [Pg 285]
We were the pine-trees on a time of Ida's holy hill,
Thy ship-host once, but sea-nymphs now: when that Rutulian lord
Fell faithless, headlong, on our lives with firebrand and the sword,
Unwillingly we brake our bonds and sought thee o'er the main.
The Mother in her pity thus hath wrought our shape again,
And given us gift of godhead's life in house of ocean's ground.
Lo now, the boy Ascanius by dyke and wall is bound
Amid the spears, the battle-wood that Latins forth have sent.
And now the horse of Arcady, with stout Etruscans blent,
Holdeth due tryst. Now is the mind of Turnus firmly set
To thrust between them, lest thy camp they succour even yet.
Wherefore arise, and when the dawn first climbs the heavenly shore
Call on thy folk, and take thy shield unconquered evermore,
The Fire-lord's gift, who wrought its lips with circling gold about:
Tomorrow's light, unless thou deem'st my words are all to doubt,
Shall see Rutulian death in heaps a-lying on the land."
Therewith departing, forth she thrust the tall ship with her hand,
As one who had good skill therein, and then across the seas
Swifter than dart she fled, or shaft that matcheth well the breeze,
And straight the others hastened on. All mazed was he of Troy,
Anchises' seed, but yet the sign upraised his heart with joy,
And, looking to the hollow heaven, in few words prayed he thus
"Kind Ida-Mother of the Gods, whose heart loves Dindymus
And towered towns, and lions yoked and tamed to bear the bit,
Be thou my battle-leader now, and do thou further it,
This omen, and with favouring foot the Trojan folk draw nigh."
But while he spake, Day, come again, had run adown the sky, [Pg 286]
With light all utter perfect wrought, and driven away the night.
Then folk he biddeth follow on the banners of the fight,
And make them ready for the play and shape their hearts for war.
But he, aloft upon the poop, now sees them where they are,
His leaguered Teucrians, as his left uprears the blazing shield;
And then, the sons of Dardanus up to the starry field
Send forth the cry, and hope is come to whet their battle-wrath.
Thick flies their spear-storm: 'tis as when the Strymon cranes give forth
Their war-sign on the mirky rack, and down the heavens they run
Sonorous, fleeing southern breeze with clamour following on.
But wondrous to Rutulian king and dukes of Italy
That seemed, until they look about, and lo, the keels they see
Turned shoreward; yea, a sea of ships onsetting toward the shore.
Yea, and the helm is all ablaze, beams from the crest outpour,
The golden shield-boss wide about a world of flame doth shed.
E'en so, amid the clear of night, the comets bloody-red
Blush woeful bright; nor otherwise is Sirius' burning wrought,
When drought and plagues for weary men the birth of him hath wrought,
And that unhappy light of his hath saddened all the heaven.
But nought from Turnus' hardy heart was high hope ever driven
To take the strand of them and thrust those comers from the shore:
Eager he chid, hot-heart, with words men's courage he upbore:
"Lo, now your prayers have come about, that hand meet hand in strife,
And Mars is in the brave man's hand: let each one's home and wife
Be in his heart! Call ye to mind those mighty histories,
The praises of our father-folk! Come, meet them in the seas,
Amid their tangle, while their feet yet totter on the earth:
For Fortune helpeth them that dare." [Pg 287]
So saying, he turneth in his mind with whom on these to fall,
And unto whom to leave meanwhile the leaguering of the wall.
Meanwhile Æneas from his ships high-built his folk doth speed
Ashore by bridges: many men no less the back-draught heed
Of the spent seas, and, trusting shoals, they make the downward leap;
And others slide adown the oars. Tarchon the shore doth sweep,290
Espying where the waves break not, nor back the sea doth roar,
But where the sea-flood harmlessly with full tide swims ashore,
And thither straight he lays his keels, and prays unto his folk:
"O chosen, on the stark oars lay! now up unto the stroke;
Bear on the ships, and with your beaks cleave ye this foeman's earth;
And let the very keels themselves there furrow them their berth.
On such a haven nought I heed, though ship and all we break,
If once we gain the land."
Therewith, as such a word he spake,
His fellows rise together hard on every shaven tree,
In mind to bear their ships befoamed up on the Latin lea,
Until their tynes are high and dry, and fast is every keel
Unhurt: save, Tarchon, thine alone, that winneth no such weal;
For on the shallows driven aground, on evil ridge unmeet,
She hangeth balanced a long while, and doth the waters beat;
Then, breaking, droppeth down her men amidmost of the waves,
Entangled in the wreck of oars, and floating thwarts and staves;
And in the back-draught of the seas their feet are caught withal.
No dull delay holds Turnus back; but fiercely doth he fall,
With all his host, on them of Troy, and meets them on the strand.
The war-horns sing. Æneas first breaks through the field-folk's band, [Pg 288]
—Fair omen of the fight—and lays the Latin folk alow.
Thero he slays, most huge of men, whose own heart bade him go
Against Æneas: through the links of brass the sword doth fare,
And through the kirtle's scaly gold, and wastes the side laid bare.
Then Lichas smites he, ripped erewhile from out his mother dead,
And hallowed, Phœbus, unto thee, because his baby head
Had 'scaped the steel: nor far from thence he casteth down to die
Hard Cisseus, Gyas huge, who there beat down his company
With might of clubs; nought then availed that Herculean gear,
Nor their stark hands, nor yet their sire Melampus, though he were
Alcides' friend so long as he on earth wrought heavy toil.
Lo Pharo! while a deedless word he flingeth mid the broil,
The whirring of the javelin stays within his shouting mouth.
Thou, Cydon, following lucklessly thy new delight, the youth
Clytius, whose first of fallow down about his cheeks is spread
Art well-nigh felled by Dardan hand, and there hadst thou lain dead,
At peace from all the many loves wherein thy life would stray,
Had not thy brethren's serried band now thrust across the way
E'en Phorcus' seed: sevenfold of tale and sevenfold spears they wield:
But some thereof fly harmless back from helm-side and from shield,
The rest kind Venus turned aside, that grazing past they flew;
But therewithal Æneas spake unto Achates true:
"Reach me my shafts: not one in vain my right hand now shall speed
Against Rutulians, of all those that erst in Ilian mead
Stood in the bodies of the Greeks."
Then caught he a great spear
And cast it, and it flew its ways the brazen shield to shear
Of Mæon, breaking through his mail, breaking his breast withal: [Pg 289]
Alcanor is at hand therewith, to catch his brother's fall
With his right hand; but through his arm the spear without a stay
Flew hurrying on, and held no less its straight and bloody way,
And by the shoulder-nerves the hand hung down all dead and vain.
Then Numitor, his brother's spear caught from his brother slain,
Falls on Æneas; yet to smite the mighty one in face
No hap he had, but did the thigh of great Achates graze.
Clausus of Cures, trusting well in his young body's might,
Now cometh, and with stiff-wrought spear from far doth Dryops smite
Beneath the chin; home went its weight, and midst his shouting's birth
From rent throat snatched both voice and life, and prone he smote the ear
And from his mouth abundantly shed forth the flood of gore.
Three Thracians also, men whose stem from Boreas came of yore,
Three whom their father Idas sent, and Ismara their land,
In various wise he fells. And now Halesus comes to hand,
And his Aruncans: Neptune's seed now cometh thrusting in,
Messapus, excellent of horse. Hard strife the field to win!
On this side and on that they play about Ausonia's door.
As whiles within the mighty heaven the winds are making war,
And equal heart they have thereto, and equal might they wield:
Yields none to none, nor yields the rack, nor aught the waters yield;
Long hangs the battle; locked they stand, all things are striving then:
Not otherwise the Trojan host and host of Latin men
Meet foot to foot, and man to man, close pressing in the fray.
But in another place, where erst the torrent in its way
Had driven the rolling rocks along and torn trees of the banks,
Did Pallas see the Arcadian folk, unused to fight in ranks
Of footmen, turn their backs before the Latins in the chase, [Pg 290]
Since they forsooth had left their steeds for roughness of the place:
Wherefore he did the only deed that failing Fortune would,
Striving with prayers and bitter words to make their valour good:
"Where flee ye, fellows? Ah, I pray, by deeds that once were bold,
By name of King Evander dear, by glorious wars of old,
By my own hope of praise that springs to mate my father's praise,
Trust not your feet! with point and edge ye needs must cleave your ways
Amidst the foe. Where yon array of men doth thickest wend,
Thither our holy fatherland doth you and Pallas send:
No Gods weigh on us; mortal foes meet mortal men today;
As many hands we have to use, as many lives to pay.
Lo, how the ocean shuts us in with yonder watery wall!
Earth fails for flight—what! seaward then, or Troyward shall we fall?"
Thus said, forthwith he breaketh in amid the foeman's press,
Whom Lagus met the first of all, by Fate's unrighteousness
Drawn thitherward: him, while a stone huge weighted he upheaves,
He pierceth with a whirling shaft just where the backbone cleaves
The ribs atwain, and back again he wrencheth forth the spear
Set mid the bones: nor him the more did Hisbo take unware,
Though that he hoped; for Pallas next withstood him, rushing on
All heedless-wild at that ill death his fellow fair had won,
And buried all his sword deep down amid his wind-swelled lung.
Then Sthenelus he meets, and one from ancient Rhœtus sprung,
Anchemolus, who dared defile his own stepmother's bed.
Ye also on Rutulian lea twin Daucus' sons lay dead,
Larides, Thymber; so alike, O children, that by nought
Your parents knew you each from each, and sweet the error thought. [Pg 291]
But now to each did Pallas give a cruel marking-sign;
For, Thymber, the Evandrian sword smote off that head of thine:
And thy lopped right, Larides, seeks for that which was its lord,
The half-dead fingers quiver still and grip unto the sword.
But now the Arcadians cheered by words, beholding his great deed,
The mingled shame and sorrow arm and 'gainst the foeman lead.
Then Pallas thrusteth Rhœteus through a-flitting by in wain;
And so much space, so much delay, thereby did Ilus gain,
For 'twas at Ilus from afar that he his spear had cast
But Rhœteus met it on the road fleeing from you full fast,
Best brethren, Teuthras, Tyres there: down from the car rolled he,
And with the half-dead heel of him beat the Rutulian lea.
As when amidst the summer-tide he gains the wished-for breeze,
The shepherd sets the sparkled flame amid the thicket trees,
The wood's heart catches suddenly, the flames spread into one,
And fearful o'er the meadows wide doth Vulcan's army run,
While o'er the flames the victor sits and on their joy looks down.
No less the valour of thy folk unto a head was grown
To help thee, Pallas: but behold, Halesus, fierce in field,
Turns on the foe, and gathers him 'neath cover of his shield.
Ladon, Pheres, Demodocus, all these he slaughtered there;
With gleaming sword he lopped the hand Strymonius did uprear
Against his throat: in Thoas' face withal a stone he sent,
And drave apart the riven bones with blood and brains all blent
Halesus' sire, the wise of Fate, in woods had hidden him;
But when that elder's whitening eyes at last in death did swim,
Fate took Halesus, hallowing him to King Evander's blade: [Pg 292]
For Pallas aimeth at him now, when such wise he had prayed:
"O Father Tiber, grant this spear, that herewithal I shake,
Through hard Halesus' breast forthwith a happy way may take;
So shall thine oak-tree have the arms, the warrior's battle-spoil."
The God heard: while Halesus shields Imaon in the broil,
To that Arcadian shaft he gives his luckless body bared.
But nought would Lausus, lord of war, let all his host be scared,
E'en at the death of such a man: first Abas doth he slay,
Who faces him, the very knot and holdfast of the play.
Then fall Arcadia's sons to field; felled is Etruria's host,
And ye, O Teucrian bodies, erst by Grecian death unlost.
Then meet the hosts with lords well-matched and equal battle-might;
The outskirts of the battle close, nor 'mid the press of fight
May hand or spear move: busy now is Pallas on this side,
Lausus on that; nor is the space between their ages wide,
Those noble bodies: and both they were clean forbid of Fate
Return unto their lands: but he who rules Olympus great
Would nowise suffer them to meet themselves to end the play,
The doom of each from mightier foe abideth each today.
But Turnus' sister warneth him to succour Lausus' war,
The gracious Goddess: straight he cleaves the battle in his car,
And when he sees his folk, cries out: "'Tis time to leave the fight!
Lone against Pallas do I fare, Pallas is mine of right;
I would his sire himself were here to look upon the field."
He spake, and from the space forbid his fellow-folk did yield, [Pg 293]
But when the Rutuli were gone, at such a word of pride
Amazed, the youth on Turnus stares, and lets his gaze go wide
O'er the huge frame, and from afar with stern eyes meets it all,
And 'gainst the words the tyrant spake such words from him there fall:
"Now shall I win me praise of men for spoiling of a King,
Or for a glorious death: my sire may outface either thing:
Forbear thy threats."
He spake, and straight amid the war-field drew;
But cold in that Arcadian folk therewith the heart-blood grew;
While Turnus from his war-wain leapt to go afoot to fight:
And as a lion sees afar from off his watch burg's height
A bull at gaze amid the mead with battle in his thought,
And flies thereto, so was the shape of coming Turnus wrought.
But now, when Pallas deemed him come within the cast of spear,
He would be first, if Fate perchance should help him swift to dare,
And his less might, and thus he speaks unto the boundless sky:
"Now by my father's guesting-tide and board thou drew'st anigh,
A stranger, O Alcides, help this great deed I begin!
His bloody gear from limbs half-dead let Turnus see me win;
And on the dying eyes of him be victor's image pressed."
Alcides heard the youth, and 'neath the inmost of his breast
He thrust aback a heavy groan, and empty tears he shed:
But to his son in kindly wise such words the Father said:
"His own day bideth every man; short space that none may mend
Is each man's life: but yet by deeds wide-spreading fame to send,
Man's valour hath this work to do: 'neath Troy's high-builded wall [Pg 294]
How many sons of God there died: yea there he died withal,
Sarpedon my own progeny. Yea too and Turnus' Fates
Are calling him: he draweth nigh his life's departing-gates."
He spake and turned his eyes away from fields of Rutuli:
But Pallas with great gathered strength the spear from him let fly,
And drew therewith from hollow sheath his sword all eager-bright.
The spear flew gleaming where the arms rise o'er the shoulder's height,
Smote home, and won its way at last through the shield's outer rim,
And Turnus' mighty body reached and grazed the flesh of him.
Long Turnus shook the oak that bore the bitter iron head,
Then cast at Pallas, and withal a word he cast and said:
"Let see now if this shaft of mine may better win a pass!"
He spake; for all its iron skin and all its plates of brass,
For all the swathing of bull-hides that round about it went,
The quivering spear smote through the shield and through its midmost rent
And through the mailcoat's staying fence the mighty breast did gain.
Then at the spear his heart-blood warmed did Pallas clutch in vain;
By one way and the same his blood and life, away they fare;
But down upon the wound he rolled, and o'er him clashed his gear,
And dying there his bloody mouth sought out the foeman's sod:
Whom Turnus overstrides and says:
"Hearken Arcadians, bear ye back Evander words well learned:
Pallas I send him back again, dealt with as he hath earned,
If there be honour in a tomb, or solace in the earth,
I grudge it not—Ænean guests shall cost him things of worth."
So spake he, and his left foot then he set upon the dead, [Pg 295]
And tore the girdle thence away full heavy fashionèd,
And wrought with picture of a guilt; that youthful company
Slain foully on one wedding-night: bloody the bride-beds lie.
This Clonus son of Eurytus had wrought in plenteous gold,
Now Turnus wears it triumphing, merry such spoil to hold.—
—O heart of man, unlearned in Fate and what the days may hide,
Unlearned to be of measure still when swelled with happy tide!
The time shall come when Turnus wealth abundantly would pay
For Pallas whole, when he shall loathe that spoil, that conquering day.
But Pallas' folk with plenteous groans and tears about him throng,
And laid upon his battle-shield they bear the dead along.
O thou, returning to thy sire, great grief and glory great,
Whom one same day gave unto war and swept away to fate,
Huge heaps of death Rutulian thou leav'st the meadow still.
And now no rumour, but sure word of such a mighty ill
Flies to Æneas, how his folk within the deathgrip lie,
And how time pressed that he should aid the Teucrians turned to fly.
So all things near with sword he reaps, and wide he drives the road
Amid the foe with fiery steel, seeking thee, Turnus proud,
Through death new wrought; and Pallas now, Evander, all things there
Live in his eyes: the boards whereto that day he first drew near,
A stranger, and those plighted hands. Four youths of Sulmo wrought,
And the like tale that Ufens erst into the world's life brought,
He takes alive to slay them—gifts for that great ghost's avail,
And with a shower of captive blood to slake the dead men's bale.
Then next at Magus from afar the shaft of bane he sent;
Deftly he cowered, and on above the quivering weapon went, [Pg 296]
And clasping both Æneas' knees thus spake the suppliant one:
"O by thy father's ghost, by hope Iulus hath begun,
I pray thee for my sire and son my life yet let me win:
I have a high house, silver wrought is dug adown therein,
A talent's weight, and store therewith of wrought and unwrought gold:
This will not snatch the victory from out the Teucrian's hold,
Nor can the life of one alone such mighty matter make."
So he, but answering thereunto this word Æneas spake:
"Thy gold and silver talent's weight, whereof thou tell'st such store,
Spare for thy sons! thy Turnus slew such chaffering of war
When Pallas' death he brought about a little while ago;
So deems my sire Anchises' ghost, Iulus deemeth so."
Then with his left he caught the helm and hilt-deep thrust the blade
Into the back-bent throat of him e'en as the prayer he prayed.
Not far hence was Hæmonides, Phœbus' and Trivia's priest,
The holy fillets on his brow, his glory well increased
With glorious arms, and glittering gear shining on every limb.
Him the King chaseth o'er the field, and, standing over him,
Hides him in mighty dusk of death; whose gleanèd battle-gear,
A gift to thee, O battle-god, back doth Serestus bear.
Then Cæculus of Vulcan's stem the hedge of battle fills,
And Umbro cometh unto fight down from the Marsian hills.
On them his rage the Dardan child let slip. But next his blade
Anxur's left hand and orbèd shield upon the meadow laid.
Proud things had Anxur said, and deemed his word was matched by might,
And so perchance he raised his soul up to the heavenly height, [Pg 297]
And hoary eld he looked to see, and many a peaceful year.
Tarquitius, proud of heart and soul, in glittering battle-gear,
Whom the nymph Dryope of yore to woodland Faunus gave,
Came thrusting thwart his fiery way; his back-drawn spear he drave,
Pinning his mail-coat unto him, and mighty mass of shield:
His vainly-praying head, that strove with words, upon the field
He swept therewith, and rolling o'er his carcase warm with death,
Above him from the heart of hate such words as this he saith:
"Lie there, fear-giver! no more now thy mother most of worth
Shall load thee with thy father's tomb, or lay thee in the earth:
Thou shalt be left to birds of prey, or deep adown the flood
The waves shall bear thee, and thy wounds be hungry fishes' food."
Next Lucas and Antæus stout, foremost of Turnus' men,
He chaseth: Numa staunch of heart and yellow Camers then;
A man from high-souled Volscens sprung, field-wealthiest one of all
Ausonian men, and lord within the hushed Amyclæ's wall.
E'en as Ægæon, who they say had arms an hundred-fold,
And hundred hands, from fifty mouths and maws the wildfire rolled,
What time in arms against the bolts from Jove of Heaven that flew
He clashed upon the fifty shields and fifty sword-points drew:
So conquering, over all the mead Æneas' fury burns
When once his sword is warm with death: and now, behold, he turns
Upon Niphæus' four-yoked steeds, and breasts their very breath.
But when they see him striding far, and threatening doom and death,
In utter dread they turn about, and rushing back again,
They shed their master on the earth and shoreward drag the wain. [Pg 298]
Meanwhile with twi-yoked horses white fares Lucagus midst men,
His brother Liger by his side, who holdeth rein as then,
And turneth steed, while Lucagus the drawn sword whirleth wide.
Them and their war-rage in no wise Æneas might abide,
But on he rushes, showing huge with upheaved threatening shaft.
Then Liger cast a word at him:
"No steeds of Diomede thou seest, and no Achilles' car
Or Phrygian fields: this hour shall end thy life-days and the war
Here on this earth."
Such words as these from witless Liger stray,
But nought in bandying of words the man of Troy would play;
Rather his mighty battle-shaft he hurled against the foe,
While Lucagus his horses drives with spear-butt, bending low
Over the lash, and setteth forth his left foot for the fight.
Beneath the bright shield's nether rim the spear-shaft takes its flight,
Piercing his groin upon the left: then shaken from his wain,
He tumbleth down and rolleth o'er in death upon the plain.
To whom a fierce and bitter word godly Æneas said:
"Ho, Lucagus! no dastard flight of steeds thy car betrayed,
No empty shadow turned them back from facing of the foe,
But thou thyself hast leapt from wheel and let the yoke-beasts go."
He spake, and caught the reins withal; slipped down that wretched one
His brother, and stretched forth the hands that little deed had done:
"By thee, by those that brought thee forth so glorious unto day,
O Trojan hero, spare my life, and pity me that pray!"
Æneas cut athwart his speech: "Not so erewhile ye spake. [Pg 299]
Die! ill it were for brother thus a brother to forsake."
And in his breast the sword he drave home to the house of breath.
Thus through the meads the Dardan Duke set forth the tale of death,
With rage as of the rushing flood, or whirl-storm of the wind.
At last they break forth into field and leave their camp behind,
Ascanius and the lads of war in vain beleaguerèd.
Meanwhile to Juno Jupiter set forth the speech and said:
"O thou who art my sister dear and sweetest wife in one,
'Tis Venus as thou deemedst, (nought thy counsel is undone),
Who upholds Trojan might forsooth: they lack fight-eager hand,
They lack fierce heart and steady soul the peril to withstand!"
To whom spake Juno, meek of mood: "And why, O fairest lord,
Dost thou so vex me sad at heart, fearing thy heavy word?
But in my soul were love as strong as once it used to be,
And should be, thou though all of might wouldst ne'er deny it me,
That Turnus I should draw away from out the midst of fight,
That I might keep him safe to bless his father Daunus' sight.
Now let him die, let hallowed blood the Teucrian hate atone:
And yet indeed his name and race from blood of ours hath grown;
He from Pilumnus is put forth: yea, good gifts furthermore
His open hand full oft hath piled within thine holy door."
To whom air-high Olympus' king short-worded answer made:
"If for the youth who soon must fall respite of death is prayed,
And tarrying-time, nor aught thou deem'st but that my doom must stand,
Then carry Turnus off by flight, snatch him from fate at hand. [Pg 300]
So far thy longing may I please: but if a greater grace
Lurk 'neath thy prayers, and thou hast hope to change the battle's face,
And turmoil everything once more, thou feedest hope in vain."
Then Juno weeping: "Ah, but if thy heart should give the gain
Thy voice begrudgeth! if 'twere doomed that he in life abide—
But ill-end dogs the sackless man, unless I wander wide
Away from sooth—Ah, yet may I be mocked of fear-wrought lies,
And may thy rede as thou hast might be turned to better wise."
She spake the word and cast herself adown from heaven the high,
Girt round with rain-cloud, driving on a storm amid the sky,
And that Laurentian leaguer sought and Ilium's hedge of fight.
And there she fashioned of the cloud a shadow lacking might:
With image of Æneas' shape the wondrous show is drest,
She decks it with the Dardan spear and shield, and mocks the crest
Of that all-godlike head, and gives a speech that empty flows,
Sound without soul, and counterfeits the gait wherewith he goes,—
As dead men's images they say about the air will sweep,
Or as the senses weary-drenched are mocked with dreams of sleep.
But in the forefront of the fight war-merry goes the thing,
And cries the warrior on with words and weapons brandishing:
On whom falls Turnus, and afar hurleth his whizzing spear:
Then turns the phantom back about and fleeth as in fear.
Then verily when Turnus deemed he saw Æneas fled.
With all the emptiness of hope his headlong heart he fed:
"Where fleest thou, Æneas, then? why leave thy plighted bride?
This hand shall give thee earth thou sought'st so far across the tide."
So cries he following, brandishing his naked sword on high, [Pg 301]
Nor sees what wise adown the wind his battle-bliss goes by.
By hap a ship was moored anear unto a ledgy stone,
With ladders out and landing-bridge all ready to let down,
That late the King Orsinius bore from Clusium o'er the sea;
And thereinto the hurrying lie, Æneas' shape, did flee,
And down its lurking-places dived: but Turnus none the more
Hangs back, but beating down delay swift runs the high bridge o'er.
Scarce on the prow, ere Juno brake the mooring-rope atwain,
And rapt the sundered ship away o'er back-draught of the main.
And there afar from fight is he on whom Æneas cries,
Still sending down to death's abode an host of enemies;
Nor any more the image then will seek his shape to shroud,
But flying upward blendeth him amid the mirky cloud.
Meanwhile, as midmost of the sea the flood bore Turnus on,
Blind to the deed that was in hand, thankless for safety won,
He looketh round, and hands and voice starward he reacheth forth:
"Almighty Father, deemedst thou my guilt so much of worth?
And wouldst thou have me welter through such woeful tide of pain?
Whence? whither? why this flight? what man shall I come back again?
Ah, shall I see Laurentum's walls, or see my camp once more?
What shall betide the fellowship that followed me to war,
Whom I have left? O misery to die the death alone!
I see them scattered even now, I hear the dying groan.
What do I? what abyss of earth is deep enough to hide
The wretched man? But ye, O winds, be merciful this tide,
On rocks, on stones—I, Turnus, thus adore you with good will—
Drive ye the ship, or cast it up on Syrtes' shoals of ill, [Pg 302]
Where Rutuli and tell-tale Fame shall never find me out!"
Hither and thither as he spake his spirit swam in doubt,
Shall he now fall upon the point, whom shame hath witless made,
Amid most of his very ribs driving the bitter blade;
Or casting him amid the waves swim for the hollow strand,
And give his body back again to sworded Teucrian band?
Thrice either deed he fell to do, and thrice for very ruth
The mightiest Juno stayed his hand and held aback his youth.
So 'neath a fair and following wind he glideth o'er the sea,
And to his father's ancient walls is ferried presently.
Meanwhile, by Jupiter's command, Mezentius props the fight,
And all ablaze he falleth on the gladdened Teucrian might:
The Tuscan host rush up, and all upon one man alone
Press on with hatred in their hearts and cloud of weapons thrown.
Yet is he as a rock thrust out amid the mighty deep
To meet the raging of the winds, bare to the water's sweep.
All threats of sea and sky it bears, all might that they may wield,
Itself unmoved. Dolichaon's son he felleth unto field,
One Hebrus; Latagus with him, and Palmus as he fled.
But Latagus with stone he smites, a mighty mountain-shred,
Amid the face and front of him, and Palmus, slow to dare,
Sends rolling ham-strung: but their arms he biddeth Lausus bear
Upon his back, and with their crests upon his helm to wend.
Phrygian Evanthes then he slays, and Mimas, whiles the friend
Like-aged of Paris; unto day and Amycus his sire
Theano gave him on the night that she who went with fire,
E'en Cisseus' daughter, Paris bore: now Paris lies asleep [Pg 303]
In ancient Troy; Laurentian land unknown doth Mimas keep.
Tis as a boar by bite of hounds from the high mountains driven,
Who on pine-nursing Vesulus a many years hath thriven,
Or safe in that Laurentian marsh long years hath had his home,
And fed adown the reedy wood; now mid the toil-nets come
He stands at bay, and foameth fierce, and bristleth up all o'er,
And none hath heart to draw anigh and rouse the wrath of war,
But with safe shouts and shafts aloof they press about the place;
While he, unhastening, unafeard, doth everywhither face,
Gnashing his teeth and shaking off the spears from out his back.
So they, who 'gainst Mezentius there just wrath do nowise lack,
Lack heart to meet him hand to hand with naked brandished blade,
But clamour huge and weapon-shot from far upon him laid.
From that old land of Corythus erewhile had Acron come,
A Grecian man; half-wed he passed the threshold of his home:
Whom when Mezentius saw afar turmoiling the mid fight,
Purple with plumes and glorious web his love for him had dight;
E'en as a lion hunger-pinched about the high-fenced fold,
When ravening famine driveth him, if he by chance behold
Some she-goat, or a hart that thrusts his antlers up in air,
Merry he waxeth, gaping fierce his mane doth he uprear,
And hugs the flesh he lies upon; a loathsome sea of blood
Washes the horror of his mouth.
So merry runs Mezentius forth amid the press of foes,
And hapless Acron falls, and pounds the black earth mid his throes
With beat of heel; staining the shaft that splintered in the wound. [Pg 304]
Scorn had he then Orodes swift to fell unto the ground
Amidst his flight, or give blind bane with unknown cast afar;
He ran to meet him man to man, prevailing in the war
By nought of guile or ambushing, but by the dint of blade.
Foot on the fallen then he set, and strength to spear-shaft laid:
"Fellows, here tall Orodes lies, no thrall in battle throng."
Then merrily his following folk shout forth their victory-song:
Yet saith the dying:
"Whosoe'er thou art, thou winnest me
Not unavenged: thy joy grows old: the like fate looks for thee,
And thou the self-same lea shalt hold within a little while!"
To whom Mezentius spake, his wrath crossed by a gathering smile:
"Die thou! the Father of the Gods, the earth-abider's lord,
Will look to me."
He drew the spear from out him at the word,
And iron slumber fell on him, hard rest weighed down his eyes,
And shut were they for evermore by night that never dies.
Now Cædicus slays Alcathous; Sacrator ends outright
Hydaspes; then Parthenius stark and Orses fall in fight
By Rapo; and Messapus fells strong Clonius, and the son,
Of Lycaon; one laid alow, by his own steeds cast down,
One foot to foot. Lo Agis now, the Lycian, standeth forth,
Whom Valerus, that nothing lacked his grandsire's might and worth,
O'erthroweth: Salius Thronius slays; Nealces, Salius;
For skilled he was in dart and shaft, far-flying, perilous.
Now grief and death in Mavors' scales even for each they lie; [Pg 305]
Victors and vanquished, here they slay, and here they fall and die,
But neither these nor those forsooth had fleeing in their thought.
But in Jove's house the Gods had ruth of rage that nothing wrought,
And such a world of troubles sore for men of dying days;
On this side Venus, and on that Saturnian Juno gaze;
And wan Tisiphonè runs wild amid the thousands there.
But lo, Mezentius fierce and fell, shaking a mighty spear,
Stalks o'er the plain.—Lo now, how great doth great Orion sweep
Afoot across the Nereus' field, the mid sea's mightiest deep,
Cleaving his way, raised shoulder-high above the billowy wash;
Or when from off the mountain-top he bears an ancient ash
His feet are on the soil of earth, the cloud-rack hides his head:
—E'en so in mighty battle-gear afield Mezentius sped.
But now Æneas, noting him adown the battle-row,
Wendeth to meet him; undismayed he bideth for his foe,
Facing the great-souled man, and stands unmoved, a mighty mass:
Then measuring the space between if spear thereby may pass:
"Right hand," he cries, "my very God, and fleeing spear I shake,
To aid! Thee, Lausus, clad in arms that I today shall take
From body of the sea-thief here I vow for gift of war
Over Æneas slain."
He spake, and hurled the shaft afar
Loud whistling: from the shield it glanced, and flying far and wide
Smit glory-great Antores down through bowels and through side:
Antores friend of Hercules, who, erst from Argos come,
Clung to Evander, and abode in that Italian home:
There laid to earth by straying wound he looketh on the sky,
With lovely Argos in his heart, though death be come anigh. [Pg 306]
Then good Æneas cast his spear, and through the hollow round
Of triple brass, through linen skin, through craftsmanship inwound,
With threefold bull-hides, pierced the shaft, and in the groin did lie,
Nor further could its might avail. Then swiftly from his thigh
Æneas caught his glaive, and glad the Tyrrhene blood to see,
Set on upon his wildered foe hot-heart and eagerly.
But Lausus, by his father's love sore moved, did all behold,
And groaned aloud, while o'er his cheeks a heavy tear-flood rolled
—Ah, I will tell of thine ill-fate and deeds that thou hast done;
If any troth in stories told may reach from yore agone,
My speech, O unforgotten youth, in nowise shalt thou lack—
The father with a halting foot hampered and spent drew back,
Still dragging on the foeman's spear that hung amid his shield;
But mingling him in battle-rush the son took up the field,
And as Æneas' right hand rose well laden with the blow
He ran beneath, bore off the sword, and stayed the eager foe,
And with a mighty shout behind his fellows follow on,
While shielded by his son's defence the father gat him gone,
And shafts they cast and vex the foe with weapon shot afar.
Mad wroth Æneas grows, but bides well covered from the war;
And as at whiles the clouds come down with furious pelt of hail,
And every driver of the plough the beaten lea doth fail,
And every one that works afield, while safe the traveller lurks
In castle of the river-bank or rock-wrought cloister-works,
The while the rain is on the earth, that they may wear the day
When once again the sun comes back;—so on Æneas lay
The shaft-storm, so the hail of fight loud thundering he abode,
And Lausus with the wrath of words, Lausus with threats did load.
"Ah, whither rushest thou to die, and darest things o'ergreat? [Pg 307]
Thy love betrays thine heedless heart."
No less, the fool of fate,
He rusheth on, till high and fierce the tide of wrath doth win
O'er heart of that Dardanian duke, and now the Parcæ spin
Lausus' last thread: for his stark sword Æneas drives outright
Through the young body, hiding it hilt-deep therein from light
It pierced the shield and glittering gear wherewith he threatened war,
And kirtle that his mother erst with gold had broidered o'er,
And flooded all his breast with blood; and woeful down the wind
His spirit sought the under-world, and left his corpse behind.
But when Anchises' son beheld the face of that dead man,
His face that in a wondrous wise grew faded out and wan,
Groaning for ruth his hand therewith down toward him did he move,
For o'er his soul the image came of his own father's love:
"O boy, whom all shall weep, what then for such a glorious deed,
What gift can good Æneas give, thy bounteous valour's meed?
Keep thou the arms thou joyedst in. I give thy body here
Unto thy father's buried ghosts, if thou thereof hast care.
But let this somewhat solace thee for thine unhappy death,
By great Æneas' hand thou diest."
Then chiding words he saith
Unto his fellows hanging back, and lifteth up the dead
From off the lea, where blood defiled the tresses of his head.
Meanwhile the father by the wave that ripples Tiber's breast
With water staunched his bleeding hurt and gave his body rest,
Leaning against a tree-trunk there: high up amid the tree
Hangeth his brazen helm; his arms lie heavy on the lea; [Pg 308]
The chosen war-youths stand about: he, sick and panting now,
Nurseth his neck, and o'er his breast his combed-down beard lets flow.
Much about Lausus did he ask, and sore to men he spake
To bid him back, or warning word from his sad sire to take.
But Lausus dead his weeping folk were bearing on his shield;
A mighty heart, to mighty hand the victory must he yield
The father's soul foretaught of ill, afar their wail he knew,
And fouled his hoar hair with the dust, and both his hands upthrew
Toward heaven aloft; then clinging fast unto that lifeless one:
"What lust," saith he, "of longer life so held my heart, O son,
That thee, my son, I suffered thus to bare thee to the bane
Instead of me; that I, thy sire, health of thy hurts I gain,
Life of thy death! Ah now at last my exile is become
A woe unto my weary heart; yea, now the wound goes home.
For I am he who stained thy name, O son, with guilt of mine,
Thrust forth by Fate from fatherland and sceptre of my line:
I should have paid the penalty unto my country's hate,
And given up my guilty soul to death, my very fate.
I live: I leave not sons of men, nor let the light go by—
—Yet will I leave them."
So he spake, and on his halting thigh
Rose up, and, howsoe'er his hurt might drag his body down,
Unvanquished yet, he called his horse, his very pleasures crown,
And glory; who had borne him forth victorious from all war;
And thus he spake unto the beast that seemed to sorrow sore:
"Rhœbus, o'erlong—if aught be long to men that pass away—
Have we twain lived: those bloody spoils shalt thou bring home today, [Pg 309]
And carrying Æneas' head avenge my Lausus' woe.
Or if our might no more may make a road whereby to go,
Thou too shalt fall: I deem indeed thou, stout-heart, hast no will
To suffer other men's commands, or Trojan joy fulfil."
And therewithal he backeth him, and as he used of old
Settleth his limbs: good store of shafts his either hand doth hold:
His head is glittering o'er with brass, and horse-hair shags his crest.
So midmost of the fight he bears, and ever in his breast
Swelleth the mighty sea of shame and mingled miseries.
And now across the fight his voice thrice on Æneas cries.
Æneas knew it well forsooth, and joyfully he prayed:
"So grant the Father of the Gods! So may Apollo aid
That thou may'st fall on me in fight!"
So much he spake, and went his way to meet the foeman's shaft;
But spake the other: "Bitter wretch, who took'st away my son,
Why fright me now? by that one way my heart might be undone:
No death I dread, no God that is, in battle would I spare.
Enough—I come to thee to die; but first these gifts I bear."
He spake the word, and 'gainst the foe a dart withal he cast,
And shaft on shaft he lays on him about him flitting fast,
Wide circling; but the golden boss through all the storm bore out
Thrice while Æneas faceth him he rides the ring about,
Casting the weapons from his hand; and thrice the Trojan lord
Bears round a mighty thicket set in brazen battle-board.
But when such tarrying wearieth him, such plucking forth of spears,
And standing in such ill-matched fight the heart within him wears, [Pg 310]
Turning the thing o'er manywise, he breaketh forth to speed
A shaft amid the hollow brow of that war-famous steed:
Then beating of the air with hoof uprears the four-foot thing
And with his fallen master falls, and 'neath his cumbering
Weighs down his shoulders brought to earth, and heavy on him lies.
Then Trojan men and Latin men with shouting burn the skies,
And swift Æneas runneth up and pulleth forth his sword,
And crieth o'er him:
"Where is now Mezentius, eager lord?
Where is the fierce heart?"
Unto whom the Tuscan spake, when he
Got sense again, and breathed the air, and o'er him heaven did see:
"O bitter foe, why chidest thou? why slayest thou with words?
Slay me and do no wrong! death-safe I came not mid the swords;
And no such covenant of war for us my Lausus bought:
One thing I pray, if vanquished men of grace may gain them aught,
Let the earth hide me! well I know how bitter and how nigh
My people's wrath draws in on me: put thou their fury by,
And in the tomb beside my son I pray thee let me lie."
He saith, and open-eyed receives the sword-point in his throat,
And o'er his arms in waves of blood his life and soul doth float.
TRUCE IS MADE FOR THE BURYING OF THE DEAD: THE LATINS TAKE COUNSEL OF PEACE OR WAR. CAMILLA'S DEEDS AND DEATH.
Meanwhile Aurora risen up from bed of ocean wends,
And King Æneas, though his grief bids him in burying friends
To wear the day, and though his heart the death of men dismays,
Yet to the Gods of Dawning-tide the worship duly pays.
From a great oak on every side the branches doth he shear,
And setteth on a mound bedight in gleaming battle-gear
The spoils of King Mezentius: a gift to thee it stood,
O Might of War! Thereon he set the crest with blood bedewed,
The broken shafts, the mail-coat pierced amid the foughten field
With twice six dints: on the left arm he tied the brazen shield,
And round about the neck he hung the ivory-hilted sword.
Then to his friends, a mighty hedge of duke and battle-lord,
He turned, and to their joyous hearts these words withal he said:
"The most is done, and for the rest let all your fears lie dead:
Lo here the first-fruits! battle-spoil won from a haughty king:
Lo this is all Mezentius now, mine own hands' fashioning. [Pg 312]
Now toward the King and Latin walls all open lies the way;
Up hearts, for war! and let your hope foregrip the battle-day,
That nought of sloth may hinder you, or take you unaware,
When Gods shall bid the banners up, and forth with men ye fare
From out of camp,—that craven dread clog not your spirits then:
Meanwhile give we unto the earth these our unburied men,
The only honour they may have in nether Acheron.
Come, fellows, to those noble souls who with their blood have won
A country for us, give those gifts, the last that they may spend.
And first unto Evander's town of sorrow shall I send
That Pallas, whom, in nowise poor of valour or renown,
The black day reft away from us in bitter death to drown."
With weeping eyes he drew aback, e'en as the word he said,
Unto the threshold of the place where Pallas, cold and dead,
The old Acœtes watched, who erst of that Parrhasian King,
Evander, was the shield-bearer, but now was following
His well-belovèd foster-child in no such happy wise;
But round him were the homemen's band and Trojan companies,
And Ilian wives with loosened locks in guise of sorrow sore.
But when Æneas entereth now beneath the lofty door
From beaten breast great moan they cast up to the starry heaven;
And wailing of their woeful cheer through all the house is driven.
The King himself when he beheld the pillowed head at rest,
The snow-white face, the open wound wrought on the smooth young breast
By that Ausonian spear, so spake amid his gathered tears:
"O boy bewept, despite the gifts my happy Fortune bears
Doth she still grudge it thee to see my kingdom glorious, [Pg 313]
Or come a victor back again unto thy father's house?
Not such the promise that I gave on that departing day
Unto thy father, whose embrace then sped me on my way
To mighty lordship, while his fear gave forth the warning word
That with fierce folk I had to do, hard people of the sword.
Now he, deceived by empty hope, belike pours forth the prayer,
And pileth up the gifts for nought upon the altars fair,
While we—in woe with honours vain—about his son we stand,
Dead now, and no more owing aught to any heavenly hand.
Unhappy, thou shalt look upon thy dead unhappy son!
Is this the coming back again? is this the triumph won?
Is this my solemn troth?—Yet thee, Evander, bides no sight
Of craven beat with shameful wounds, nor for the saved from fight
Shalt thou but long for dreadful death.—Woe's me, Ausonian land!
Woe's me, Iulus, what a shield is perished from thine hand!"
Such wise he wept him, and bade raise the hapless body dead,
And therewithal a thousand men, his war-hosts' flower, he sped
To wait upon him on the way with that last help of all,
And be between his father's tears: forsooth a solace small
Of mighty grief; a debt no less to that sad father due.
But others speed a pliant bier weaving a wattle through,
Of limber twigs of berry-bush and boughs of oaken-tree,
And shadow o'er the piled-up bed with leafy canopy.
So there upon the wild-wood couch adown the youth is laid;
E'en as a blossom dropped to earth from fingers of a maid—
The gilliflower's bloom maybe, or jacinth's hanging head,
Whose lovely colour is not gone, nor shapely fashion fled,
Although its mother feedeth not, nor earth its life doth hold. [Pg 314]
Thereon two woven webs, all stiff with purple dye and gold,
Æneas bringeth forth, which erst with her own fingers fair
Sidonian Dido wrought for him, and, glad the toil to bear,
Had shot across the web thereof with thin and golden thread:
In one of these the youth he wrapped, last honour of the dead,
And, woeful, covered up the locks that fire should burn away.
And furthermore a many things, Laurentum's battle-prey,
He pileth up, and bids the spoil in long array be borne:
Horses and battle-gear he adds, late from the foemen torn:
And men's hands had he bound aback whom shortly should he send
Unto the ghosts; whose blood should slake the fire that ate his friend.
And trunks of trees with battle-gear from foemen's bodies won
He bids the leaders carry forth, with foemen's names thereon.
Hapless Acœtes, spent with eld, is brought forth; whiles he wears
His bosom with the beat of fists, and whiles his face he tears:
Then forth he falls, and grovelling there upon the ground doth lie.
They bring the war-wain now, o'errained with blood of Rutuli:
Æthon his war-horse comes behind, stripped of his gear of state,
Mourning he goes, and wets his face with plenteous tear-drops great.
Some bring the dead man's spear and helm: victorious Turnus' hand
Hath all the rest: then follow on the woeful Teucrian band,
All Tuscans, and Arcadian folk with weapons turned about.
But now, when all the following folk were got a long way out,
Æneas stood and groaned aloud, and spake these words withal:
"Us otherwhere to other tears the same dread war-fates call;
Undying greetings go with thee! farewell for evermore,
O mightiest Pallas!"
Ending so, to those high walls of war [Pg 315]
He turned about, and went his ways unto his war-folks' home.
But from the Latin city now were fair speech-masters come,
Half-hidden by the olive-boughs, and praying for a grace,
That he would give them back their men who lay about the place
O'erthrown by steel, and let them lie in earth-mound duly dight;
Since war was not for men o'ercome, or those that lack the light—
That he would spare his whileome hosts, the kinsmen of his bride.
But good Æneas, since their prayer might not be put aside,
Let all his pardon fall on them, and sayeth furthermore:
"O Latin folk, what hapless fate hath tangled you in war
So great and ill? From us, your friends, why must ye flee away?
For perished men, dead thralls of Mars, a little peace ye pray,
But to your living folk indeed fain would I grant the grace.
I had not come here, save that Fate here gave me home and place:
No battle with your folk I wage; nay, rather 'twas your lord
Who left my friendship, trusting him to Turnus' shield and sword.
For Turnus to have faced the death were deed of better worth:
If he deems hands should end the war and thrust the Teucrians forth,
'Twere lovely deed to meet my hand amid the rain of strife;
Then let him live to whom the Gods have given the gift of life.
Go ye, and 'neath your hapless ones lay ye the bale-fire's blaze."
He made an end; but still they stood and hushed them in amaze,
And each on each they turned their eyes, and every tongue refrained,
Till elder Drances, whom for foe child Turnus well had gained
By hate-filled charges, took the word, and in such wise began:
"O great in fame, in dint of war yet greater, Trojan man! [Pg 316]
What praise of words is left to me to raise thee to the sky?
For justice shall I praise thee most, or battle's mastery?
Now happy, to our fathers' town this answer back we bear,
And if good-hap a way thereto may open anywhere,
Thee to Latinus will we knit—let Turnus seek his own!—
Yea, we shall deem it joy forsooth about your fateful town:
To raise the walls, and Trojan stones upon our backs to lay."
Such words he spake, and with one mouth did all men murmur yea.
For twice six days they covenant; and in war-sundering peace
The Teucrians and the Latins blent about the woods increase,
About the hill-sides wander safe; the smitten ash doth know
The ring of steel; the pines that thrust heaven-high they overthrow;
Nor cease with wedge to cleave the oak and cedar shedding scent,
Or on the wains to lead away the rowan's last lament.
And now the very Wingèd Fame, with that great grief she bears,
Filleth Evander's town and house, filleth Evander's ears;
Yea, Fame, who erst of Pallas' deeds in conquered Latium told:
Rush the Arcadians to the gates, and as they used of old,
Snatch up the torches of the dead, and with the long array
Of flames the acre-cleaving road gleams litten far away:
Then meeteth them the Phrygian crowd, and swells the wailing band;
And when the mothers saw them come amid the house-built land,
The woeful town they set afire with clamour of their ill.
But naught there is hath any might to hold Evander still;
He comes amidst, and on the bier where Pallas lies alow
He grovels, and with weeping sore and groaning clings thereto;
And scarce from sorrow at the last his speech might win a way: [Pg 317]
"Pallas, this holdeth not the word thou gavest me that day,
That thou wouldst ward thee warily in game of bitter Mars:
Though sooth I knew how strong it is, that first fame of the wars;
How strong is that o'er-sweet delight of earliest battle won.
O wretched schooling of my child! O seeds of war begun,
How bitter hard! O prayers of mine, O vows that none would hear
Of all the Gods! O holiest wife, thy death at least was dear,
And thou art happy to be gone, not kept for such a tide.
But I—my life hath conquered Fate, that here I might abide
A lonely father. Ah, had I gone with the Trojan host,
To fall amid Rutulian spears! were mine the life-days lost;
If me, not Pallas, this sad pomp were bringing home today!—
Yet, Teucrians, on your troth and you no blaming would I lay,
Nor on our hands in friendship joined: 'twas a foreordered load
For mine old age: and if my son untimely death abode,
'Tis sweet to think he fell amidst the thousand Volscians slain,
And leading on the men of Troy the Latin lands to gain.
Pallas, no better funeral rites mine heart to thee awards
Than good Æneas giveth thee, and these great Phrygian lords,
The Tyrrhene dukes, the Tyrrhene host, a mighty company;
While they whom thine own hand hath slain great trophies bear for thee.
Yea, Turnus, thou wert standing there, a huge trunk weapon-clad,
If equal age, if equal strength from lapse of years ye had.
—But out!—why should a hapless man thus stay the Teucrian swords?
Go, and be mindful to your king to carry these my words:
If here by loathèd life I bide, with Pallas dead and gone,
Thy right hand is the cause thereof, which unto sire and son
[Pg 318]Owes Turnus, as thou wottest well: no other place there is
Thy worth and fate may fill. God wot I seek no life-days' bliss,
But might I bear my son this tale amid the ghosts of earth!"
Meanwhile the loveliness of light Aurora brought to birth
For heartsick men, and brought aback the toil of heart and hand:
Father Æneas therewithal down on the hollow strand,
And Tarchon with him, rear the bales; and each man thither bears
His dead friend in the ancient guise: beneath the black flame flares,
The heaven aloft for reek thereof with night is overlaid:
Three times about the litten bales in glittering arms arrayed
They run the course; three times on steed they beat the earth about
Those woeful candles of the dead and sing their wailing out;
The earth is strewn with tears of men, and arms of men forlorn,
And heavenward goes the shout of men and blaring of the horn:
But some upon the bale-fires cast gear stripped from Latins slain:
War-helms, and well-adornèd swords, and harness of the rein,
And glowing wheels: but overwell some knew the gifts they brought,
The very shields of their dead friends and weapons sped for nought.
Then oxen manifold to Death all round about they slay,
And bristled boars, and sheep they snatch from meadows wide away,
And hew them down upon the flame; then all the shore about
They gaze upon their burning friends, and watch the bale-fires out.
Nor may they tear themselves away until the dewy night
Hath turned the heavens about again with gleaming stars bedight.
Nor less the unhappy Latins build upon another stead
The bale-fires numberless of tale: but of their warriors dead,
A many bodies there they dig into the earth adown,
And bear them into neighbouring lands, or back into the town:
The rest, a mighty heap of death piled up confusedly, [Pg 319]
Untold, unhonoured, there they burn: then that wide-lying lea
Glareth with fires that thick and fast keep rising high and high.
But when the third dawn drew away cold shadows from the sky,
Weeping, great heaps of ashes there and blended bones they made,
And over them the weight of earth yet warm with fire they laid.
But in the houses, in the town of that rich Latin king
More heavy was the wail, more sore the long-drawn sorrowing:
Here mothers, wretched fosterers here, here sisters loved and lorn,
And sorrowing sore, and lads whose lives from fathers' care were torn,
Were cursing of the cruel war, and Turnus and his bride,
"He, he, in arms, he with the sword should play it out," they cried,
"Who claims the realm of Italy and foremost lordship there."
And bitter Drances weights the scale, and witnessing doth bear
That Turnus only is called forth, the battle-bidden man.
But divers words of many folk on Turnus' side yet ran,
And he was cloaked about withal by great Amata's name,
And plenteous signs of battle won upheld his fair-won fame.
Now midst these stirs and flaming broils the messengers are here
From Diomedes' mighty walls; and little is the cheer
Wherewith they bring the tidings back that every whit hath failed
Their toil and pains: that not a whit hath gold or gifts availed,
Or mighty prayers, that Latin folk some other stay in war
Must seek, or from the Trojan king a craven peace implore.
Then e'en Latinus' counsel failed amid such miseries:
The wrath of God, the tombs new-wrought that lay before their eyes,
Made manifest Æneas come by will of God and Fate.
Therefore a mighty parliament, the firstlings of estate, [Pg 320]
By his commandment summoned there, unto his house he brings.
Wherefore they gather, streaming forth unto that house of kings
By the thronged ways: there in the midst Latinus sitteth now,
First-born of years, first lord of rule, with little joyful brow.
Hereon the men come back again from that Ætolian wall
He biddeth tell their errand's speed, what answers did befall,
Each in their order: thereupon for speech was silence made,
And Venulus, obeying him, suchwise began and said:
"Friends, we have looked on Diomede and on the Argive home,
And all the road and every hap thereby have overcome:
Yea, soothly, we have touched the hand that wracked the Ilian earth:
Argyripa he buildeth there, named from his land of birth,
In Iapygian Garganus, where he hath conquered place.
Where, entered in, and leave being given to speak before his face,
We gave our gifts, and told our names, and whence of lands we were,
Who waged us war, and for what cause to Arpi we must fare.
He hearkened and from quiet mouth gave answer thus again:
"'O happy folk of Saturn's land, time-old Ausonian men,
What evil hap hath turmoiled you amid your peaceful life,
Beguiling you to stir abroad the doubtfulness of strife?
All we who on the Ilian fields with sword-edge compassed guilt,
—Let be the war-ills we abode before the wall high built;
Let be the men whom Simoïs hides—we o'er the wide world driven,
Have wrought out pain and punishment for ill deed unforgiven,
[Pg 321]Till Priam's self might pity us. Witness the star of bane
Minerva sent; Euboea's cliffs, Caphereus' vengeful gain!
'Scaped from that war, and driven away to countries sundered wide,
By Proteus' Pillars exiled now, must Menelaüs bide;
And those Ætnæan Cyclop-folk Ulysses look upon:
Of Pyrrhus's land why tell, or of Idomeneus, that won
To ruined house; of Locrian men cast on the Libyan shore?
Mycenæ's lord, the duke and king of all the Argive war,
There, on the threshold of his house, his wicked wife doth slay.
—Asia o'ercome—and in its stead Adultery thwart the way!—
Ah, the Gods' hate, that so begrudged my yearning eyes to meet
My father's hearth, my longed-for wife, and Calydon the sweet!
Yea, and e'en now there followeth me dread sight of woeful things:
My lost companions wend the air with feathery beat of wings,
Or wander, fowl on river-floods: O woe's me for their woe!
The voices of their weeping wail about the sea-cliffs go.
But all these things might I have seen full surely for me stored
Since then, when on the flesh of God I fell with maddened sword,
And on the very Venus' hand a wicked wound I won.
Nay, nay, to no such battles more I pray you drive me on!
No war for me with Teucrian men since Pergamus lies low;
Nor do I think or joy at all in ills of long ago.
The gifts, that from your fatherland unto my throne ye bear,
Turn toward Æneas. We have stood, time was, spear meeting spear,
Hand against hand: trust me, who tried, how starkly to the shield
He riseth up, how blows the wind when he his spear doth wield.
If two such other men had sprung from that Idæan home,
Then Dardanus with none to drive to Inachus had come,
And seen our walls, and Greece had mourned reversal of her day.
About the walls of stubborn Troy, whatso we found of stay,
By Hector's and Æneas' hands the Greekish victory [Pg 322]
Was tarried, and its feet held back through ten years wearing by.
Both these in heart and weapon-skill were full of fame's increase,
But this one godlier: let your hands meet in the plighted peace
E'en as ye may: but look to it if sword to sword ye bring.'
"Thus have ye heard, most gracious one, the answer of the King,
And therewithal what thought he had about this heavy war."
Scarce had he said, when diverse voice of murmuring ran all o'er
Those troubled mouths of Italy: as when the rocks refrain
The rapid streams, and sounds arise within the eddies' chain,
And with the chatter of the waves the neighbouring banks are filled.
But when their minds were soothed and all the wildering voices stilled,
The King spake first unto the Gods, then thus began to say:
"Latins, that ye had counselled you hereon before today
Was both my will, and had been good: no time is this to fall
To counsel now, when as we speak the foe besets the wall.
With folk of God ill war we wage, lords of the Latin town,
With all-unconquerable folk; no battles wear them down;
Yea, beaten never have they heart to cast the sword away.
Lay down the hope ye had to gain Ætolian war-array;
Let each man be his proper hope. Lo ye, the straits are sore.
How all things lie about us now by ruin all toppled o'er,
Witness of this the eyes of you, the hands of you have won.
No man I blame, what valour could hath verily been done:
With all the manhood of our land the battle hath been fought:
But now what better way herein my doubtful mind hath thought
Will I set forth, and shortly tell the rede that is in me: [Pg 323]
Hearken! beside the Tuscan stream I own an ancient lea,
Which, toward the sunset stretching far, yea o'er Sicanian bounds,
Aruncans and Rutulians sow, working the rough hill grounds
With draught of plough, but feeding down the roughest with their sheep.
Let all this land, and piny place upon the mountain-steep,
Be yielded for the Teucrian peace: the laws let us declare
For plighted troth, and bid the men as friends our realm to share.
There let them settle and build walls, if thitherward they yearn;
But if unto another land their minds are set to turn,
And other folk, and all they ask is from our shore to flee,
Then let us build them twice ten ships from oak of Italy,
Or more if they have men thereto: good store of ship-stuff lies
Hard by the waves; and they shall show their number and their guise;
But toil of men, and brass and gear we for their needs will find.
And now to carry these our words, and fast the troth-plight bind,
Send we an hundred speech-masters, the best of Latin land,
To seek them thither, stretching forth the peace-bough in the hand,
And bearing gifts; a talent's weight of gold and ivory,
The throne therewith and welted gown, signs of my lordship high.
Take open counsel; stay the State so faint and weary grown."
Then Drances, ever full of hate, whom Turnus' great renown
With bitter stings of envy thwart goaded for evermore;
Lavish of wealth and fair of speech, but cold-hand in the war;
Held for no unwise man of redes, a make-bate keen enow;
The lordship of whose life, forsooth, from well-born dam did flow,
His father being of no account—upriseth now this man,
And piles a grievous weight of words with all the wrath he can. [Pg 324]
"A matter dark to none, and which no voice of mine doth need,
Thou counsellest on, sweet King: for all confess in very deed
They wot whereto our fortune drives; but fear their speech doth hide:
Let him give liberty of speech, and sink his windy pride,
Because of whose unhappy fate, and evil life and will—
Yea, I will speak, despite his threats to smite me and to kill—
So many days of dukes are done, and all the city lies
O'erwhelmed with grief, the while his luck round camps of Troy he tries,
Trusting to flight, and scaring heaven with clashing of his sword.
One gift meseems thou shouldest add, most gracious king and lord,
Unto the many gifts thou bid'st bear to the Dardan folk,
Nor bow thyself to violence, nor lie beneath its yoke.
Father, thy daughter nobly wed unto a glorious son,
And knit the bonds of peace thereby in troth-plight never done.
Or if such terror and so great upon our hearts doth lie,
Let us adjure the man himself, and pray him earnestly
To yield up this his proper right to country and to king:—
—O why into the jaws of death wilt thou so often fling
Thine hapless folk, O head and fount of all the Latin ill?
No safety is in war; all we, for peace we pray thee still,
O Turnus,—for the only pledge of peace that may abide.
I first, whom thou call'st foe (and nought that name I thrust aside),
Lo, suppliant to thy feet I come! Pity thy people then!
Sink thine high heart, and, beaten, yield; surely we broken men
Have seen enough of deaths, laid waste enough of field and fold.
But if fame stir thee, if thine heart such dauntless valour hold,
If such a longing of thy soul a kingly dowry be,
Dare then, and trust thee in thy might, and breast the enemy.
Forsooth all we, that Turnus here a queenly wife might gain [Pg 325]—
We common souls—a heap unwept, unburied, strew the plain.
And now for thy part, if in thee some valour hath a place
Or memory of the ancient wars, go look him in the face
Who calleth thee to come afield."
But Turnus' fury at the word outbrake in sudden flame.
He groaned, and from his inmost soul this speech of his outpoured:
"O Drances, when the battle-day calleth for hand and sword,
Great words good store thou givest still, and first thou comest still
When so the Sires are called: but why with words the council fill?
Big words aflying from thee safe, while yet the walls hold good
Against the foe, nor yet the ditch is swimming with our blood.
Go, thunder out thy wonted words! lay craven fear on me,
O Drances, thou, whose hand has heaped the Teucrian enemy
Dead all about, and everywhere has glorified the meads
With war-spoil! Thou thyself may'st try how lively valour speeds!
'Tis well the time: forsooth the road lieth no long way out
To find the foe! on every side they hedge the wall about
Go we against them!—tarriest thou? and is thy Mars indeed
A dweller in the windy tongue and feet well learned in speed,
The same today as yesterday?
—I beaten! who of right, O beast! shall brand me beaten man,
That seeth the stream of Ilian blood swelling the Tiber's flow,
Who seeth all Evander's house uprooted, laid alow;
Who seeth those Arcadian men stripped of their battle-gear?
Big Pandarus, stout Bitias, found me no craven there,
Or all the thousand whom that day to Tartarus I sent,
[Pg 326]When I was hedged by foeman's wall and mound's beleaguerment
No health in war? Fool, sing such song to that Dardanian head,
And thine own day! cease not to fright all things with mighty dread.
Cease not to puff up with thy pride the poor twice-conquered folk,
And lay upon the Latin arms the weight of wordy yoke.
Yea, sure the chiefs of Myrmidons quake at the Phrygian sword,
Tydides and Achilles great, the Larissæan lord;
And Aufidus the flood flees back unto the Hadriac sea.
But now whereas this guile-smith fains to dread mine enmity,
And whetteth with a fashioned fear the bitter point of strife—
Nay, quake no more! for this mine hand shall spill no such a life;
But it shall dwell within thy breast and have thee for a mate.—
Now, Father, unto thee I turn, and all thy words of weight;
If every hope of mending war thou verily lay'st down;
If we are utterly laid waste, and, being once overthrown,
Have fallen dead; if Fate no more may turn her feet about,
Then pray we peace, and deedless hands, e'en as we may, stretch out.
Yet if of all our ancient worth some little yet abide,
I deem him excellent of men, craftsmaster of his tide,
A noble heart, who, lest his eyes should see such things befall,
Hath laid him down in death, and bit the earth's face once for all.
And if we still have store of force, and crop of youth unlaid,
And many a town, and many a folk of Italy to aid;
And if across a sea of blood the Trojan glory came,
And they too died, and over all with one blast and the same
The tempest swept; why shameless thus do our first footsteps fail?
Why quake our limbs, yea e'en before they feel the trumpet's gale?
A many things the shifting time, the long laborious days,
Have mended oft: a many men hath Fortune's wavering ways
Made sport of, and brought back again to set on moveless rock.
The Ætolian and his Arpi host help not our battle-shock. [Pg 327]
Yet is Messapus ours, and ours Tolumnius fortunate,
And many a duke and many a folk; nor yet shall tarry late
The glory of our Latin lords and this Laurentian lea.
Here too Camilla, nobly born of Volscian stock, shall be,
Leading her companies of horse that blossom brass all o'er.
But if the Teucrians me alone are calling to the war,
And thus 'tis doomed, and I so much the common good withstand—
Well, victory hath not heretofore so fled my hated hand
That I should falter from the play with such a prize in sight:
Fain shall I face him, yea, though he outgo Achilles' might,
And carry battle-gear as good of Vulcan's fashioning,
For you, and for Latinus here, my father and my king,
I, Turnus, second unto none in valour of old years,
Devote my life. Æneas calls me only of the peers?
—O that he may!—not Drances here—the debt of death to pay
If God be wroth, or if Fame win, to bear the prize away."
But while amid their doubtful fate the ball of speech they tossed,
Contending sore, Æneas moved his camp and battle-host;
And lo, amid the kingly house there runs a messenger
Mid tumult huge, who all the town to mighty dread doth stir,
With tidings how the Teucrian host and Tuscan men of war
Were marching from the Tiber flood, the meadows covering o'er.
Amazèd are the minds of men; their hearts with tremor shake,
And anger stirred by bitter stings is presently awake:
In haste and heat they crave for arms; the youth cries on the sword,
The Fathers mutter sad and weep: with many a wrangling word
A mighty tumult goeth up, and toward the sky doth sweep:
Not otherwise than when the fowl amid the thicket deep [Pg 328]
Sit down in hosts; or when the swans send forth their shrilling song
About Padusa's fishy flood, the noisy pools among.
"Come, fellow-folk," cries Turnus then, for he the time doth seize,
"Call ye to council even now, and sit and praise the peace,
And let the armed foe wrack the realm!"
Nor more he said withal,
But turned about and went his ways from that high-builded hall.
Said he: "Volusus, lead away the Volscian ranks to fight,
And Rutuli! Messapus, thou, afield with horse and knight!
Thou, Coras, with thy brother duke sweep down the level mead.
Let some make breaches good, and some man the high towers with heed;
And let the rest bear arms with me whereso my bidding sends."
Then straightway, running in all haste, to wall the city wends.
Sore shaken in his very heart, by that ill tide undone,
His council Sire Latinus leaves and those great redes begun:
Blaming himself that he took not Æneas of free will,
Nor gave the town that Dardan lord the place of son to fill.
Now some dig dykes before the gate, or carry stones and stakes,
And bloody token of the war the shattering trump awakes.
Mothers and lads, a motley guard, they crown the threatened wall,
For this last tide of grief and care hath voice to cry for all.
Moreover to the temple-stead, to Pallas' house on high,
The Queen goes forth hedged all about by matron company,
And bearing gifts: next unto whom, the cause of all this woe,
With lovely eyes cast down to earth, doth maid Lavinia go.
They enter and with frankincense becloud the temple o'er, [Pg 329]
And cast their woeful voices forth from out the high-built door:
"O Weapon-great Tritonian Maid, O front of war-array,
Break thou the Phrygian robber's sword, and prone his body lay
On this our earth; cast him adown beneath our gates high-reared!"
Now eager Turnus for the war his body did begird:
The ruddy-gleaming coat of mail upon his breast he did,
And roughened him with brazen scales; with gold his legs he hid;
With brow yet bare, unto his side he girt the sword of fight,
And all a glittering golden man ran down the castle's height.
High leaps his heart, his hope runs forth the foeman's host to face:
As steed, when broken are the bonds, fleeth the stabling place,
Set free at last, and, having won the unfenced open mead,
Now runneth to the grassy grounds wherein the mare-kind feed;
Or, wont to water, speedeth him in well-known stream to wash,
And, wantoning, with uptossed head about the world doth dash,
While wave his mane-locks o'er his neck, and o'er his shoulders play.
But, leading on the Volscian host, there comes across his way
Camilla now, who by the gate leapt from her steed adown,
And in likewise her company, who left their horses lone,
And earthward streamed: therewith the Queen such words as this gave forth:
"Turnus, if any heart may trust in manly might and worth,
I dare to promise I will meet Æneas' war array,
And face the Tyrrhene knights alone, and deal them battle-play.
Let my hand be the first to try the perils of the fight,
The while the foot-men townward bide, and hold the walls aright."
Then Turnus answered, with his eyes fixed on the awful maid: [Pg 330]
"O glory of Italian land, how shall the thanks be paid
Worthy thy part? but since all this thy great soul overflies,
To portion out our work today with me indeed it lies.
Æneas, as our spies sent out and rumour saith for sure,
The guileful one, his light-armed horse hath now sent on before
To sweep the lea-land, while himself, high on the hilly ground,
Across the desert mountain-necks on for our walls is bound.
But I a snare now dight for him in woodland hollow way
Besetting so the straitened pass with weaponed war-array.
But bear thy banners forth afield to meet the Tyrrhene horse,
With fierce Messapus joined to thee, the Latin battle-force,
Yea, and Tiburtus: thou thyself the leader's care shalt take."
So saith he, and with such-like words unto the war doth wake
Messapus and his brother-lords; then 'gainst the foeman fares.
There was a dale of winding ways, most meet for warlike snares
And lurking swords: with press of leaves the mountain bent is black
That shutteth it on either side: thence leads a scanty track;
By strait-jawed pass men come thereto, a very evil road:
But thereabove, upon the height, lieth a plain abode,
A mountain-heath scarce known of men, a most safe lurking-place,
Whether to right hand or to left the battle ye will face,
Or hold the heights, and roll a storm of mighty rocks adown.
Thither the war-lord wends his way by country road well known,
And takes the place, and bideth there within the wood accursed.
Meanwhile within the heavenly house Diana speaketh first
To Opis of the holy band, the maiden fellowship, [Pg 331]
And words of grief most sorrowful Latonia's mouth let slip:
"Unto the bitter-cruel war the maid Camilla wends,
O maid: and all for nought indeed that dearest of my friends
Is girding her with arms of mine."
Nought new-born was the love
Diana owned, nor sudden-sweet the soul in her did move:
When Metabus, by hatred driven, and his o'erweening pride,
Fled from Privernum's ancient town, his fathers' country-side,
Companion of his exile there, amid the weapon-game,
A babe he had with him, whom he called from her mother's name
Casmilla, but a little changed, and now Camilla grown.
He, bearing her upon his breast, the woody ridges lone
Went seeking, while on every side the sword-edge was about,
And all around were scouring wide the weaponed Volscian rout.
But big lay Amasenus now athwart his very road,
Foaming bank-high, such mighty rain from out of heaven had flowed.
There, as he dight him to swim o'er, love of his babe, and fear
For burden borne so well-beloved, his footsteps back did bear.
At last, as all things o'er he turned, this sudden rede he took:
The huge spear that in mighty hand by hap the warrior shook,
A close-knit shaft of seasoned oak with many a knot therein,
Thereto did he his daughter bind, wrapped in the cork-tree's skin,
And to the middle of the beam he tied her craftily;
Then, shaking it in mighty hand, thus spoke unto the sky:
"O kind, O dweller in the woods, Latonian Virgin fair,
A father giveth thee a maid, who holds thine arms in air
As from the foe she flees to thee: O Goddess, take thine own,
That now upon the doubtful winds by this mine arm is thrown!"
He spake, and from his drawn-back arm cast forth the brandished wood; [Pg 332]
Sounded the waves; Camilla flew across the hurrying flood,
A lorn thing bound to whistling shaft, and o'er the river won.
But Metabus, with all the band of chasers pressing on,
Unto the river gives himself, and reaches maid and spear,
And, conquering, from the grassy bank Diana's gift doth tear.
To roof and wall there took him thence no city of the land,
Nay, he himself, a wild-wood thing, to none had given the hand;
Upon the shepherd's lonely hills his life thenceforth he led;
His daughter mid the forest-brake, and wild deers' thicket-stead,
He nourished on the milk that flowed from herd-mare's untamed breast,
And to the maiden's tender lips the wild thing's udder pressed;
Then from the first of days when she might go upon her feet,
The heft of heavy sharpened dart her hand must learn to meet,
And from the little maiden's back he hung the shaft and bow;
While for the golden hair-clasp fine and long-drawn mantle's flow
Down from her head, along her back, a tiger's fell there hung.
E'en then too from her tender hand a childish shot she flung,
The sling with slender smoothened thong she drave about her head
To bring the crane of Strymon down, or lay the white swan dead.
Then many a mother all about the Tyrrhene towns in vain
Would wed her to their sons; but she, a maid without a stain,
Alone in Dian's happiness the spear for ever loved,
For ever loved the maiden life.
—"O had she ne'er been moved
By such a war, nor dared to cross the Teucrian folk in fight!
Then had she been a maid of mine, my fellow and delight.
But since the bitterness of fate lies round her life and me,
Glide down, O maiden, from the pole, and find the Latin lea,
Where now, with evil tokens toward, sad battle they awake; [Pg 333]
Take these, and that avenging shaft from out the quiver take,
Wherewith whoso shall wrong with wound my holy-bodied may,
Be he of Troy or Italy, see thou his blood doth pay:
And then will I her limbs bewept, unspoiled of any gear,
Wrap in a hollow cloud, and lay in kindred sepulchre."
She spoke; the other slipped adown the lightsome air of heaven,
With wrapping cloak of mirky cloud about her body driven.
But in meanwhile the Trojan folk the city draw anigh,
The Tuscan dukes and all their horse in many a company
Well ordered: over all the plain neighing the steed doth fare,
Prancing, and champing on the bit that turns him here and there,
And far and wide the lea is rough with iron harvest now.
And with the weapons tossed aloft the level meadows glow.
Messapus and the Latins swift, lo, on the other hand;
And Coras with his brother-lord, and maid Camilla's band,
Against them in the field; and lo, far back their arms they fling
In couching of the level spears, and shot spears' brandishing.
All is afire with neigh of steeds and onfall of the men.
And now, within a spear-shot come, short up they rein, and then
They break out with a mighty cry, and spur the maddened steeds;
And all at once from every side the storm of spear-shot speeds,
As thick as very snowing is, and darkens down the sun.
And thereon with their levelled spears each against each they run,
Tyrrhenus and Aconteus fierce: in forefront of the fight
They meet and crash with thundering sound; wracked are the steeds outright,
Breast beating in each breast of them: far is Aconteus flung [Pg 334]
In manner of the lightning bolt, or stone from engine slung;
Far off he falls, and on the air pours all his life-breath out.
Then wildered is the war array; the Latins wheel about
And sling their targets all aback, and townward turn their steeds.
The Trojans follow; first of whom the ranks Asylas leads.
But when they draw anigh the gates once more the Latin men
Raise up the cry, and turn about the limber necks again;
Then flee their foes, and far afield with loosened reins they ride;
As when the sea-flood setting on with flowing, ebbing tide,
Now earthward rolling, overlays the rocks with foaming sea,
And with its bosom overwhelms the sand's extremity,
Now swiftly fleeing back again, sucks back into its deep
The rolling stones, and leaves the shore with softly-gliding sweep.
Twice did the Tuscans townward drive the host of Rutuli;
Twice, looking o'er their shielded backs, afield they needs must fly;
But when they joined the battle thrice knit up was all array
In one great knot, and man sought man wherewith to play the play.
Then verily the dying groans up to the heavens went;
Bodies and arms lie deep in blood, and with the men-folk blent,
The dying horses wallow there, and fearful fight arose.
Orsilochus with Remulus had scant the heart to close,
But hurled his shaft against the horse, and smote him 'neath the ear;
The smitten beast bears not the wound, but, maddened, high doth rear
The legs of him and breast aloft: his master flung away,
Rolls on the earth: Catillus there doth swift Iolas slay;
Yea, and Herminius, big of soul, and big of limbs and gear,
Who went with head by nothing helmed save locks of yellow hair, [Pg 335]
Who went with shoulders all unarmed, as one without a dread,
So open unto fight was he; but through his shoulders sped
The quivering spear, and knit him up twi-folded in his pain.
So black blood floweth everywhere; men deal out iron bane,
And, struggling, seek out lovely death amid the wounds and woe.
But through the middle of the wrack doth glad Camilla go,
The quivered war-maid, all one side stripped naked for the play;
And now a cloud of limber shafts she scattereth wide away,
And now with all unwearied hand catcheth the twi-bill strong.
The golden bow is at her back, and Dian's arrow-song.
Yea, e'en and if she yielded whiles, and showed her back in flight,
From back-turned bow the hurrying shaft she yet would aim aright.
About her were her chosen maids, daughters of Italy,
Larina, Tulla, and Tarpeia, with brazen axe on high,
Whom that divine Camilla chose for joy and fame's increase,
Full sweet and goodly hand-maidens in battle and in peace:
E'en as the Thracian Amazons thresh through Thermodon's flood,
When they in painted war-gear wend to battle and to blood:
Or those about Hippolyta, or round the wain of Mars
Wherein Panthesilea wends, when hubbub of the wars
The maiden-folk exulting raise, and moony shields uprear.
Whom first, whom last, O bitter Maid, didst thou overthrow with spear?
How many bodies of the slain laidst thou upon the field?
Eunæus, Clytius' son, was first, whose breast for lack of shield
The fir-tree long smit through and through, as there he stood in face;
He poureth forth a sea of blood, and, falling in his place,
Bites the red earth, and dying writhes about the bitter bane. [Pg 336]
Liris and Pagasus she slays; one, catching at the rein
Of his embowelled steed rolls o'er, the other as he ran
To aid, and stretched his swordless hand unto the fallen man,
Fell headlong too, and there they lie: with these Amastus wends,
The son of Hippotas; her spear in chase of men she sends,
Harpalycus, Demophoön, Tereus, and Chromis stout
As many as her maiden hand the whirling darts send out
So many Phrygian falls there are. Far off, in uncouth gear,
The hunter Ornytus upon Apulian steed doth fare,
Whose warring shoulders bigly wrought with stripped-off bullock's hide
Are covered; but his head is helmed with wood-wolf's gaping wide,
A monstrous mouth, wherein are left the teeth all gleaming white:
A wood-spear arms the hand of him, he wheels amid the fight,
And by the head he overtops all other men about.
Him she o'ertakes, no troublous deed amid the fleeing rout,
And, slaying him, from bitter heart this word withal she spake:
"Tuscan, thou deem'dst thee hunting still the deer amid the brake;
The day has come when women's arms have cast thy boasting back:
Yet going to thy fathers' ghosts a word thou shalt not lack
To praise thy life; for thou mayst say, Camilla was my bane."
Orsilochus and Butes next, two huge-wrought Trojans, gain
Death at her hands: Butes aback she smit through with the spear
Betwixt the mail-coat and the helm, wherethrough the neck doth peer
As there he sits, and on his left hangs down the target round;
But from Orsilochus she flees, wide circling o'er the ground,
Then, slipping inward of the ring, chaseth the chaser there,
And, rising high, her mighty axe driveth through bones and gear. [Pg 337]
With blow on blow, mid all his prayers and crying out for grace,
Until his hot and bloody brain is flooding all his face.
A man haps on her now, and stands afeard such sight to see;