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The Aeneid is a Latin epic poem, written by Virgil between 29 and 19 BC, that tells the legendary story of Aeneas, a Trojan who travelled to Italy, where he became the ancestor of the Romans. After a century of civil strife in Rome and Italy, Virgil wrote Aeneid to honour the emperor Augustus by praising Aeneas – Augustus' legendary ancestor. As a patriotic epic imitating Homer, Aeneid also provided Rome with a literature equal to the Greek.Translated into English Verse by E. Fairfax Taylor (1580-1635).The first six of the poem's twelve books tell the story of Aeneas's wanderings from Troy to Italy, and the poem's second half tells of the Trojans' ultimately victorious war upon the Latins, under whose name Aeneas and his Trojan followers are destined to be subsumed.The hero Aeneas was already known to Greco-Roman legend and myth, having been a character in the Iliad, composed in the 8th century BC. Virgil took the disconnected tales of Aeneas's wanderings, his vague association with the foundation of Rome and a personage of no fixed characteristics other than a scrupulous pietas, and fashioned this into a compelling founding myth or national epic that at once tied Rome to the legends of Troy, explained the Punic wars, glorified traditional Roman virtues and legitimized the Julio-Claudian dynasty as descendants of the founders, heroes and gods of Rome and Troy.It tells of Aeneas, survivor of the sack of Troy, and of his seven year journey – to Carthage, falling tragically in love with Queen Dido; then to the underworld, in the company of the Sibyl of Cumae; and finally to Italy, where he founded Rome. It is a story of defeat and exile, of love and war, hailed by Tennyson as 'the stateliest measure ever moulded by the lips of man'.
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Translated into English Verse by
E. Fairfax Taylor
First published in 1907
Virgil—Publius Vergilius Maro—was born at Andes near Mantua, in the year 70 B.C. His life was uneventful, though he lived in stirring times, and he passed by far the greater part of it in reading his books and writing his poems, undisturbed by the fierce civil strife which continued to rage throughout the Roman Empire, until Octavian, who afterwards became the Emperor Augustus, defeated Antony at the battle of Actium. Though his father was a man of humble origin, Virgil received an excellent education, first at Cremona and Milan, and afterwards at Rome. He was intimate with all the distinguished men of his time, and a personal friend of the Emperor. After the publication of his second work, the Georgics, he was recognized as being the greatest poet of his age, and the most striking figure in the brilliant circle of literary men, which was centred at the Court. He died at Brindisi in the spring of 19 B.C. whilst returning from a journey to Greece, leaving his greatest work, the Aeneid, written but unrevised. It was published by his executors, and immediately took its place as the great national Epic of the Roman people. Virgil seems to have been a man of simple, pure, and loveable character, and the references to him in the works of Horace clearly show the affection with which he was regarded by his friends.
Like every cultivated Roman of that age, Virgil was a close student of the literature and philosophy of the Greeks, and his poems bear eloquent testimony to the profound impression made upon him by his reading of the Greek poets. His first important work, the Eclogues, was directly inspired by the pastoral poems of Theocritus, from whom he borrowed not only much of his imagery but even whole lines; in the Georgics he took as his model the Works and Days of Hesiod, and though in the former case it must be confessed that he suffers from the weakness inherent in all imitative poetry, in the latter he far surpasses the slow and simple verses of the Boeotian. But here we must guard ourselves against a misapprehension. We moderns look askance at the writer who borrows without acknowledgment the thoughts and phrases of his forerunners, but the Roman critics of the Augustan Age looked at the matter from a different point of view. They regarded the Greeks as having set the standard of the highest possible achievement in literature, and believed that it should be the aim of every writer to be faithful, not only to the spirit, but even to the letter of their great exemplars. Hence it was only natural that when Virgil essayed the task of writing the national Epic of his country, he should be studious to embody in his work all that was best in Greek Epic poetry.
It is difficult in criticizing Virgil to avoid comparing him to some extent with Homer. But though Virgil copied Homer freely, any comparison between them is apt to be misleading. A primitive epic, like the Iliad or the Nibelungenlied, produced by an imaginative people at an early stage in its development, telling its stories simply for the sake of story telling, cannot be judged by the same canons of criticism as a literary epic like the Aeneid or Paradise Lost, which is the work of a great poet in an age of advanced culture, and sets forth a great idea in a narrative form. The Greek writer to whom Virgil owes most perhaps, is Apollonius of Rhodes, from whose Argonautica he borrowed the love interest of the Aeneid. And though the Roman is a far greater poet, in this instance the advantage is by no means on his side, for, as Professor Gilbert Murray has so well said, 'the Medea and Jason of the Argonautica are at once more interesting and more natural than their copies, the Dido and Aeneas of the Aeneid. The wild love of the witch-maiden sits curiously on the queen and organizer of industrial Carthage; and the two qualities which form an essential part of Jason—the weakness which makes him a traitor, and the deliberate gentleness which contrasts him with Medea—seem incongruous in the father of Rome.' But though Virgil turned to the Greek epics for the general framework and many of the details of his poem, he always remains master of his materials, and stamps them with the impress of his own genius. The spirit which inspires the Aeneid is wholly Roman, and the deep faith in the National Destiny, and stern sense of duty to which it gives expression, its profoundly religious character and stately and melodious verse, have always caused it to be recognized as the loftiest expression of the dignity and greatness of Rome at her best. But the sympathetic reader will be conscious of a deeper and more abiding charm in the poetry of Virgil. Even in his most splendid passages his verses thrill us with a strange pathos, and his sensitiveness to unseen things—things beautiful and sad—has caused a great writer, himself a master of English prose, to speak of 'his single words and phrases, his pathetic half lines, giving utterance as the voice of Nature herself to that pain and weariness, yet hope of better things, which is the experience of her children in every age.'
The task of translating such a writer at all adequately may well seem to be an almost impossible one; and how far any of the numerous attempts to do so have succeeded, is a difficult question. For not only does the stated ideal at which the translator should aim, vary with each generation, but perhaps no two lovers of Virgil would agree at any period as to what this ideal should be. Two general principles stand out from the mass of conflicting views on this point. The translation should read as though it were an original poem, and it should produce on the modern reader as far as possible the same effect as the original produced on Virgil's contemporaries. And here we reach the real difficulty, for the scholar who can alone judge what that effect may have been, is too intimate with the original to see clearly the merits of a translation, and the man who can only read the translation can form no opinion. However, it seems clear that a prose translation can never really satisfy us, because it must always be wanting in the musical quality of continuous verse. And our critical experience bears this out, since even Professor Mackail with all his literary skill and insight has failed to make his version of the Aeneid more than a very valuable aid to the student of the original. The meaning of the poet is fully expressed, but his music has been lost. That oft-quoted line—
'Sunt lacrimae rerum et mentem mortalia tangunt'
haunts us like Tennyson's
'When unto dying eyesThe casement slowly grows a glimmering square,'
and no prose rendering can hope to convey the poignancy and pathos of the original. The ideal translation, then, must be in verse, and perhaps the best way for us to determine which style and metre are most suited to convey to the modern reader an impression of the charm of Virgil, will be to take a brief glance at some of the best-known of the verse translations which have appeared.
The first translation of the Aeneid into English verse was that of Gawin Douglas, bishop of Dunkeld in Scotland, which was published in 1553. It is a spirited translation, marked by considerable native force and verisimilitude, and it was certainly unsurpassed until that of Dryden appeared. In the best passages it renders the tone and feeling of the original with extreme felicity—indeed, all but perfectly. Take for instance this passage from the Sixth Book—
'Thai walking furth fa dyrk, oneth thai wystQuhidder thai went, amyd dym schaddowys thar,Quhar evir is nycht, and nevir lyght dois repar,Throwout the waist dongion of Pluto Kyng,Thai voyd boundis, and that gowsty ryng:Siklyke as quha wold throw thik woddis wendIn obscure licht, quhen moyn may nocht be kenned;As Jupiter the kyng etheryall,With erdis skug hydis the hevynnys allAnd the myrk nycht, with her vissage gray,From every thing hes reft the hew away.'
But in spite of its merits, its dialect wearies the modern reader, and gives it an air of grotesqueness which is very alien to the spirit of the Latin. One other sixteenth-century translation deserves notice, as it was written by one who was himself a distinguished poet; namely, the version of the second and fourth books of the Aeneid written by Henry, Earl of Surrey. It gained the commendation of that stern critic Ascham, who praises Surrey for avoiding rhyme, but considers that he failed to 'fully hit perfect and true versifying'; which is hardly a matter for wonder since English blank verse was then in its infancy. But it has some fine passages—notably the one which relates the death of Dido—
'As she had said, her damsell might perceueHer with these wordes fal pearced on a swordThe blade embrued and hands besprent with gore.The clamor rang unto the pallace toppe,The brute ranne throughout al thastoined towne,With wailing great, and women's shrill yelling,The roofs gan roare, the aire resound with plaint,As though Cartage, or thauncient town of TyreWith prease of entred enemies swarmed full,Or when the rage of furious flame doth takeThe temples toppes, and mansions eke of men.'
Of the translations into modern English, that of Dryden may still be said to stand first, in spite of its lack of fidelity. It owes its place to its sustained vigour, and the fact that the heroic couplet is in the hands of a master. In its way nothing could be better than—
'Just in the gate, and in the jaws of hell,Revengeful cares, and sullen sorrows dwell,And pale diseases, and repining age—Want, fear, and famine's unresisted rage,Here toils and death, and death's half-brother sleep,Forms terrible to view, their sentry keep.With anxious pleasures of a guilty mind,Deep frauds, before, and open force behind;The Furies' iron beds, and strife that shakesHer hissing tresses, and unfolds her snakes.'
But though the heroic couplet may have conveyed to Dryden's age something of the effect of the Virgilian hexameter, it does nothing of the kind to us. Probably we are prejudiced in the matter by Pope's Homer.
Professor Conington's translation certainly has spirit and energy, but he was decidedly unfortunate in his choice of metre. To attempt to render 'the stateliest measure ever moulded by the lips of man' by fluent octosyllabics was bound to result in incongruity, as in the following passage, where the sombre warning of the Sibyl to Aeneas becomes merely a sprightly reminder that—
'The journey down to the abyss Is prosperous and light,The palace gates of gloomy Dis Stand open day and night;But upward to retrace the wayAnd pass into the light of day,There comes the stress of labour; this May task a hero's might.'
The various attempts that have been made to translate the poem in the metre of the original have all been sad failures. And from Richard Stanyhurst, whom Thomas Nash described as treading 'a foul, lumbering, boistrous, wallowing measure, in his translation of Virgil,' down to our own time, no one has succeeded in avoiding faults of monotony and lack of poetical quality. A short extract from Dr. Crane's translation will illustrate this very clearly—
'No species of hardships,Longer, O maiden, arises before me as strange and unlooked for:All things have I foreknown, and in soul have already endured them.One special thing I crave, since here, it is said, that the gatewayStands of the monarch infernal, and refluent Acheron's dark pool:Let it be mine to go down to the sight and face of my cherishedFather, and teach me the way, and the sacred avenues open.'
Nor is William Morris' attempt to devise a new metre anything but disappointing. It is surprising that so delightfully endowed a poet should have so often missed the music of Virgil's verse as he has done in his translation, and the archaisms with which his work abounds, though they might be suitable in a translation of Homer, are only a source of irritation in the case of Virgil.
For the best metre to use we must look in a different direction. Virgil made use of the dactylic hexameter because it was the literary tradition of his day that epics should be written in that metre. In the same way it might be argued, the English tradition points to blank verse as the correct medium. This may be so, but its use demands that the translator should be as great a poet as Virgil. Had Tennyson ever translated the Aeneid, it would doubtless have been as nearly faultless as any translation could be, as is shown by the version of Sir Theodore Martin, which owes so much of its stately charm to its close adherence to the manner of Tennyson. A typical passage is the description of Dido's love for Aeneas—
'Soothsayers, ah! how little do they know!Of what avail are temples, vows, and prayers,To quell a raging passion? All the whileA subtle flame is smouldering in her veins,And in her heart a silent aching wound.
* * * * *
Now Dido leadsAeneas round the ramparts, to him showsThe wealth of Sidon, all the town laid out,Begins to speak, then stops, she knows not why.Now, as day wanes, the feast of yesterdayShe gives again, again with fevered lipsBegs for the tale of Troy and all its woes,And hangs upon his lips, who tells the tale.Then, when the guests are gone and in her turnThe wan moon pales her light, and waning starsPersuade to sleep, she in her empty hallsMourns all alone, and throws herself alongThe couch where he had lain: though he be goneFar from her side, she hears and sees him still.'
Of the merits of the present translation the reader will judge for himself; but it may perhaps be said of the usual objections urged against the Spenserian stanza—that it is cumbrous and monotonous, and presents difficulties of construction—that the two former criticisms will be just or the reverse, according to the skill of the writer, while it is quite possible that the last is really an advantage, for the intricate machinery imposes a restraint on careless or hasty composition. And finally we must turn a deaf ear, even to so high an authority as Matthew Arnold, when he says that it is not suited to the grand manner. When he said this he cannot have remembered either the lament of Florimell in the Faerie Queene or the conclusion of Childe Harold.
J. P. MAINE.
Edward Fairfax Taylor, whose translation of the Aeneid is now published, was descended from the Taylors of Norwich, a family well known for their culture and intellectual gifts. He was the only son of John Edward Taylor, himself an accomplished German and Italian scholar, and the first translator of the Pentamerone into English, who lived at Weybridge near his aunt, Mrs. Sarah Austin. Brought up among books, young Taylor early showed an intense love for classical literature, and soon after going to Marlborough he began the present translation as a boy of sixteen. His admiration for Spenser led him to adopt the Spenserian stanza, and in the preface to his translation of the first two books he gives detailed reasons for considering it peculiarly well adapted for the Aeneid. He was a favourite pupil of the late Dr. Bradley, Dean of Westminster, at that time headmaster of Marlborough, and who much wished that he should follow in the footsteps of 'that brilliant band of Marlborough men,' as they have been called, who at that time, year after year, gained the Balliol scholarship. But circumstances made him decide otherwise, and in 1865 he passed the necessary examination for a clerkship in the House of Lords. The long vacations gave him time to continue this labour of love, and in the intervals of much other literary work, and in spite of ill health, he completed the translation of the twelve books of the Aeneid. He looked forward to re-editing it and bringing it out when he should have retired from his work in the House of Lords, but this day never came, and he died from heart disease in January 1902. His was a singularly charming disposition, and he was beloved by all who knew him; while the courage and patience with which he bore ever-increasing suffering, and the stoicism he showed in fulfilling his duties in the House of Lords, have left a deep impression on all his friends.
The Edisso Princeps, of Virgil is that printed at Rome by Sweynham and Pannartz. It was not dated, but it is almost certain that it was printed before the Venice folio edition of V. de Spira, which was issued in 1470. The best modern critical editions of the text are those of Ribbeck (4 vols. 1895) and F. A. Hirtzel (Scriptorum Classicorum Bibliotheca Oxoniensis, 1900). Of the editions containing explanatory notes, that of Conington and Nettleship, revised by Haverfield, is the standard English commentary. That of A. Sidgwick (2 vols. Cambridge) is more elementary, but will be found valuable. Those of Kennedy (London, 1879) and of Papillon and Haigh (Oxford, 2 vols. 1890-91) may also be referred to.
Virgil was first introduced to English readers by William Caxton in 1490. But his Eneydos was based, not on the Aeneid itself, but on a French paraphrase, the liure des eneydes, printed at Lyons in 1483.
The best modern prose translations are those of Mackail (London, 1885) and Conington (London, 1870).
The following is a list of the more important verse translations of the Aeneid which have appeared. The name of the translator, and the date at which his translation appeared, are given:—Gawin Douglas, 1553 (see Introduction); Henry, Earl of Surrey, 1557 (Books II. and IV. only); J. Dryden, 1697; C. R. Kennedy, 1861; J. Conington, 1866; W. Morris, 1876; W. J. Thornhill, 1886; Sir Charles Bowen, 1887 (Books I.-VI. only); J. Rhoades, 1893 (Books I.-VI. only); Sir Theodore Martin, 1896 (Books I.-VI. only); T. H. D. May, 1903; E. Fairfax Taylor, 1903.
Students of Virgil would also do well to consult Sellar, Poets of the Augustan Age (Oxford, 1883), and Nettleship, Introduction to the Study of Vergil.
THE ÆNEID BY VIRGIL
Fate sends Æneas to Latium to found Rome, but Juno's hostility long delays his success (1-45). Descrying him and his Trojans in sight of Italy, she bribes Æolus to raise a storm for their destruction (46-99). The tempest (100-116). The despair of Æneas (117-126). One Trojan ship is already lost, when Neptune learns the plot and lays the storm (127-189). Æneas escapes, lands in Libya, and heartens his men (190-261). Venus appeals to Jupiter, who comforts her with assurance that Æneas shall yet be great in Italy. His son shall found Alba and his son's sons Rome. Juno shall eventually relent, and Rome under Augustus shall be empress of the world (262-351). Mercury is sent to secure from Dido, Queen of Libya, a welcome for Æneas. Æneas and Achates, while reconnoitring, meet Venus in the forest disguised as a nymph. She tells them Dido's story. Æneas in reply bewails his own troubles, but is interrupted with promises of success. Let him but persist, all will be well (352-478). Venus changes before their eyes from nymph to goddess, and vanishes before Æneas can utter his reproaches. Hidden in a magic mist, the pair approach Carthage, which they find still building. They reach the citadel unobserved, and are encouraged on seeing pictures of scenes from the Trojan war (479-576). Dido appears and takes her state. To her enter, as suppliants, Trojan leaders, whom Æneas had imagined dead. Ilioneus, their spokesman, tells the story of the storm and asks help. "If only Æneas were here!" (577-661). Dido speaks him fair and echoes his words, "If Æneas were here!" The mist scatters. Æneas appears; thanks Dido, and greets Ilioneus (662-723). Dido welcomes Æneas to Carthage and prepares a festival in his honour. Æneas sends Achates to summon his son and bring gifts for Dido (724-774). Cupid, persuaded by Venus to personate Ascanius and inspire Dido with love for Æneas, comes with the gifts to Dido's palace, while Ascanius is carried away to Idalia. The night is passed in feasting. After the feast Iopas sings the wonders of the firmament, and Dido, bewitched by Cupid, begs Æneas to tell the whole story of his adventures (775-891).
Of arms I sing, and of the man, whom FateFirst drove from Troy to the Lavinian shore.Full many an evil, through the mindful hateOf cruel Juno, from the gods he bore,Much tost on earth and ocean, yea, and moreIn war enduring, ere he built a home,And his loved household-deities brought o'erTo Latium, whence the Latin people come,
Whence rose the Alban sires, and walls of lofty Rome.
O Muse, assist me and inspire my song,The various causes and the crimes relate,For what affronted majesty, what wrongTo injured Godhead, what offence so greatHeaven's Queen resenting, with remorseless hate,Could one renowned for piety compelTo brave such troubles, and endure the weightOf toils so many and so huge. O tell
How can in heavenly minds such fierce resentment dwell?
There stood a city, fronting far awayThe mouths of Tiber and Italia's shore,A Tyrian settlement of olden day,Rich in all wealth, and trained to war's rough lore,Carthage the name, by Juno loved beforeAll places, even Samos. Here were shownHer arms, and here her chariot; evermoreE'en then this land she cherished as her own,
And here, should Fate permit, had planned a world-wide throne.
But she had heard, how men of Trojan seedThose Tyrian towers should level, how againFrom these in time a nation should proceed,Wide-ruling, tyrannous in war, the bane(So Fate was working) of the Libyan reign.This feared she, mindful of the war besideWaged for her Argives on the Trojan plain;Nor even yet had from her memory died
The causes of her wrath, the pangs of wounded pride,—
The choice of Paris, and her charms disdained,The hateful race, the lawless honours ta'enBy ravished Ganymede—these wrongs remained.So fired with rage, the Trojans' scanty trainBy fierce Achilles and the Greeks unslainShe barred from Latium, and in evil straitFor many a year, on many a distant mainThey wandered, homeless outcasts, tost by Fate;
So huge, so hard the task to found the Roman state.
Scarce out of sight of Sicily, they setTheir sails to sea, and merrily ploughed the main,With brazen beaks, when Juno, harbouring yetWithin her breast the ever-rankling pain,Mused thus: "Must I then from the work refrain,Nor keep this Trojan from the Latin throne,Baffled, forsooth, because the Fates constrain?Could Pallas burn the Grecian fleet, and drown
Their crews, for one man's crime, Oileus' frenzied son?
"She, hurling Jove's winged lightning, stirred the deepAnd strewed the ships. Him, from his riven breastThe flames outgasping, with a whirlwind's sweepShe caught and fixed upon a rock's sharp crest.But I, who walk the Queen of Heaven confessed,Jove's sister-spouse, shall I forevermoreWith one poor tribe keep warring without rest?Who then henceforth shall Juno's power adore?
Who then her fanes frequent, her deity implore?"
Such thoughts revolving in her fiery mind,Straightway the Goddess to Æolia passed,The storm-clouds' birthplace, big with blustering wind.Here Æolus within a dungeon vastThe sounding tempest and the struggling blastBends to his sway and bridles them with chains.They, in the rock reverberant held fast,Moan at the doors. Here, throned aloft, he reigns;
His sceptre calms their rage, their violence restrains:
Else earth and sea and all the firmamentThe winds together through the void would sweep.But, fearing this, the Sire omnipotentHath buried them in caverns dark and deep,And o'er them piled huge mountains in a heap,And set withal a monarch, there to reign,By compact taught at his command to keepStrict watch, and tighten or relax the rein.
Him now Saturnia sought, and thus in lowly strain:
"O Æolus, for Jove, of human kindAnd Gods the sovran Sire, hath given to theeTo lull the waves and lift them with the wind,A hateful people, enemies to me,Their ships are steering o'er the Tuscan sea,Bearing their Troy and vanquished gods awayTo Italy. Go, set the storm-winds free,And sink their ships or scatter them astray,
And strew their corpses forth, to weltering waves a prey.
"Twice seven nymphs have I, beautiful to see;One, Deiopeia, fairest of the fair,In lasting wedlock will I link to thee,Thy life-long years for such deserts to share,And make thee parent of an offspring fair."—"Speak, Queen," he answered, "to obey is mine.To thee I owe this sceptre and whate'erOf realm is here; thou makest Jove benign,
Thou giv'st to rule the storms and sit at feasts divine."
So spake the God and with her hest complied,And turned the massive sceptre in his handAnd pushed the hollow mountain on its side.Out rushed the winds, like soldiers in a band,In wedged array, and, whirling, scour the land.East, West and squally South-west, with a roar,Swoop down on Ocean, and the surf and sandMix in dark eddies, and the watery floor
Heave from its depths, and roll huge billows to the shore.
Then come the creak of cables and the criesOf seamen. Clouds the darkened heavens have drowned,And snatched the daylight from the Trojans' eyes.Black night broods on the waters; all aroundFrom pole to pole the rattling peals resoundAnd frequent flashes light the lurid air.All nature, big with instant ruin, frownedDestruction. Then Æneas' limbs with fear
Were loosened, and he groaned and stretched his hands in prayer:
"Thrice, four times blest, who, in their fathers' faceFell by the walls of Ilion far away!O son of Tydeus, bravest of the race,Why could not I have perished, too, that dayBeneath thine arm, and breathed this soul awayFar on the plains of Troy, where Hector braveLay, pierced by fierce Æacides, where layGiant Sarpedon, and swift Simois' wave
Rolls heroes, helms and shields, whelmed in one watery grave?"
E'en as he cried, the hurricane from the NorthStruck with a roar against the sail. Up leapThe waves to heaven; the shattered oars start forth;Round swings the prow, and lets the waters sweepThe broadside. Onward comes a mountain heapOf billows, gaunt, abrupt. These, horsed astrideA surge's crest, rock pendent o'er the deep;To those the wave's huge hollow, yawning wide,
Lays bare the ground below; dark swells the sandy tide.
Three ships the South-wind catching hurls awayOn hidden rocks, which (Latins from of yoreHave called them "Altars") in mid ocean lay,A huge ridge level with the tide. Three moreFierce Eurus from the deep sea dashed ashoreOn quicks and shallows, pitiful to view,And round them heaped the sandbanks. One, that boreThe brave Orontes and his Lycian crew,
Full in Æneas' sight a toppling wave o'erthrew.
Dashed from the tiller, down the pilot rolled.Thrice round the billow whirled her, as she lay,Then whelmed below. Strewn here and there beholdArms, planks, lone swimmers in the surges grey,And treasures snatched from Trojan homes away.Now fail the ships wherein Achates rideAnd Abas; old Aletes' bark gives way,And brave Ilioneus'. Each loosened side
Through many a gaping seam lets in the baleful tide.
Meanwhile great Neptune, sore amazed, perceivedThe storm let loose, the turmoil of the sky,And ocean from its lowest depths upheaved.With calm brow lifted o'er the sea, his eyeBeholds Troy's navy scattered far and nigh,And by the waves and ruining heaven oppressedThe Trojan crews. Nor failed he to espyHis sister's wiles and hatred. East and West
He summoned to his throne, and thus his wrath expressed.
"What pride of birth possessed you, Earth and airWithout my leave to mingle in affray,And raise such hubbub in my realm? Beware—Yet first 'twere best these billows to allay.Far other coin hereafter ye shall payFor crimes like these. Presumptuous winds, begone,And take your king this message, that the swayOf Ocean and the sceptre and the throne
Fate gave to me, not him; the trident is my own.
"He holds huge rocks; these, Eurus, are for thee,There let him glory in his hall and reign,But keep his winds close prisoners." Thus he,And, ere his speech was ended, smoothed the main,And chased the clouds and brought the sun again.Triton, Cymothoe from the rock's sharp browPush off the vessels. Neptune plies amainHis trident-lever, lays the sandbanks low,
On light wheels shaves the deep, and calms the billowy flow.
As when in mighty multitudes bursts outSedition, and the wrathful rabble rave;Rage finds them arms; stones, firebrands fly about,Then if some statesman reverend and grave,Stand forth conspicuous, and the tumult braveAll, hushed, attend; his guiding words restrainTheir angry wills; so sank the furious wave,When through the clear sky looking o'er the main,
The sea-king lashed his steeds and slacked the favouring rein.
Tired out, the Trojans seek the nearest landAnd turn to Libya.—In a far retreatThere lies a haven; towards the deep doth standAn island, on whose jutting headlands beatThe broken billows, shivered into sleet.Two towering crags, twin giants, guard the cove,And threat the skies. The waters at their feetSleep hushed, and, like a curtain, frowns above,
Mixt with the glancing green, the darkness of the grove.
Beneath a precipice, that fronts the wave,With limpid springs inside, and many a seatOf living marble, lies a sheltered cave,Home of the Sea-Nymphs. In this haven sweetCable nor biting anchor moors the fleet.Here with seven ships, the remnant of his band,Æneas enters. Glad at length to greetThe welcome earth, the Trojans leap to land,
And lay their weary limbs still dripping on the sand.
First from a flint a spark Achates drew,And lit the leaves and dry wood heaped with careAnd set the fuel flaming, as he blew.Then, tired of toiling, from the ships they bearThe sea-spoiled corn, and Ceres' tools prepare,And 'twixt the millstones grind the rescued grainAnd roast the pounded morsels for their fare:While up the crag Æneas climbs, to gain
Full prospect far and wide, and scan the distant main.
If aught of Phrygian biremes he discernAntheus or Capys, tost upon the seas,Or arms of brave Caicus high astern.No sail, but wandering on the shore he seesThree stags, and, grazing up the vale at ease,The whole herd troops behind them in a row.He stops, and from Achates hastes to seizeHis chance-brought arms, the arrows and the bow,
The branching antlers smites, and lays the leader low.
Next fall the herd; and through the leafy gladeIn mingled rout he drives the scattered train,Plying his shafts, nor stays his conquering raidTill seven huge bodies on the ground lie slain,The number of his vessels; then againHe seeks the crews, and gives a deer to each,Then opes the casks, which good Acestes, fainAt parting, filled on the Trinacrian beach,
And shares the wine, and soothes their drooping hearts with speech.
"Comrades! of ills not ignorant; far moreThan these ye suffered, and to these as wellWill Jove give ending, as he gave before.Ye know mad Scylla, and her monsters' yell,And the dark caverns where the Cyclops dwell.Fear not; take heart; hereafter, it may beThese too will yield a pleasant tale to tell.Through shifting hazards, by the Fates' decree,
To Latin shores we steer, our promised land to see.
"There quiet settlements the Fates display,There Troy her ruined fortunes shall repair.Bear up; reserve you for a happier day."He spake, and heart-sick with a load of care,Suppressed his grief, and feigned a cheerful air.All straightway gird them to the feast. These flayThe ribs and thighs, and lay the entrails bare.Those slice the flesh, and split the quivering prey,
And tend the fires and set the cauldrons in array.
So wine and venison, to their hearts' desire,Refreshed their strength. And when the feast was sped,Their missing friends in converse they require,Doubtful to deem them, betwixt hope and dread,Alive or out of hearing with the dead.All mourned, but good Æneas mourned the most,And bitter tears for Amycus he shed,Gyas, Cloanthus, bravest of his host,
Lycus, Orontes bold, all counted with the lost.
Now came an end of mourning and of woe,When Jove, surveying from his prospect highShore, sail-winged sea, and peopled earth below,Stood, musing, on the summit of the sky,And on the Libyan kingdom fixed his eye,To him, such cares revolving in his breast,Her shining eyes suffused with tears, came nighFair Venus, for her darling son distrest,
And thus in sorrowing tones the Sire of heaven addressed;
"O Thou, whose nod and awful bolts attestO'er Gods and men thine everlasting reign,Wherein hath my Æneas so transgressed,Wherein his Trojans, thus to mourn their slain,Barred from the world, lest Italy they gain?Surely from them the rolling years should seeNew sons of ancient Teucer rise again,The Romans, rulers of the land and sea.
So swar'st thou; Father, say, why changed is thy decree?
"That word consoled me, weighing fate with fate,For Troy's sad fall. Now Fortune, as before,Pursues the woe-worn victims of her hate.O when, great Monarch, shall their toil be o'er?Safe could Antenor pass th' Illyrian shoreThrough Danaan hosts, and realms Liburnian gain,And climb Timavus and her springs explore,Where through nine mouths, with roaring surge, the main
Bursts from the sounding rocks and deluges the plain.
"Yet there he built Patavium, yea, and namedThe nation, and the Trojan arms laid down,And now rests happy in the town he framed.But we, thy progeny, to whom aloneThy nod hath promised a celestial throne,Our vessels lost, from Italy are barred,O shame! and ruined for the wrath of one.Thus, thus dost thou thy plighted word regard,
Our sceptred realms restore, our piety reward?"
Then Jove, soft-smiling with the look that clearsThe storms, and gently kissing her, replies;"Firm are thy fates, sweet daughter; spare thy fears.Thou yet shalt see Lavinium's walls arise,And bear thy brave Æneas to the skies.My purpose shifts not. Now, to ease thy woes,Since sorrow for his sake hath dimmed thine eyes,More will I tell, and hidden fates disclose.
He in Italia long shall battle with his foes,
"And crush fierce tribes, and milder ways ordain,And cities build and wield the Latin sway,Till the third summer shall have seen him reign,And three long winter-seasons passed awaySince fierce Rutulia did his arms obey.Then, too, the boy Ascanius, named of lateIulus—Ilus was he in the dayWhen firm by royalty stood Ilium's state—
Shall rule till thirty years complete the destined date.
"He from Lavinium shall remove his seat,And gird Long Alba for defence; and there'Neath Hector's kin three hundred years completeThe kingdom shall endure, till Ilia fair,Queen-priestess, twins by Mars' embrace shall bear.Then Romulus the nation's charge shall claim,Wolf-nursed and proud her tawny hide to wear,And build a city of Mavortian fame,
And make the Roman race remembered by his name.
"To these no period nor appointed date,Nor bounds to their dominion I assign;An endless empire shall the race await.Nay, Juno, too, who now, in mood malign,Earth, sea and sky is harrying, shall inclineTo better counsels, and unite with meTo cherish and uphold the imperial line,The Romans, rulers of the land and sea,
Lords of the flowing gown. So standeth my decree.
"In rolling ages there shall come the dayWhen heirs of old Assaracus shall tamePhthia and proud Mycene to obey,And terms of peace to conquered Greeks proclaim.Cæsar, a Trojan,—Julius his name,Drawn from the great Iulus—shall arise,And compass earth with conquest, heaven with fame,Him, crowned with vows and many an Eastern prize,
Thou, freed at length from care, shalt welcome to the skies.
"Then wars shall cease and savage times grow mild,And Remus and Quirinus, brethren twain,With hoary Faith and Vesta undefiled,Shall give the law. With iron bolt and chainFirm-closed the gates of Janus shall remain.Within, the Fiend of Discord, high reclinedOn horrid arms, unheeded in the fane,Bound with a hundred brazen knots behind,
And grim with gory jaws, his grisly teeth shall grind."
So saying, the son of Maia down he sent,To open Carthage and the Libyan state,Lest Dido, weetless of the Fates' intent,Should drive the Trojan wanderers from her gate.With feathered oars he cleaves the skies, and straightOn Libya's shores alighting, speeds his hest.The Tyrians, yielding to the god, abateTheir fierceness. Dido, more than all the rest,
Warms to her Phrygian friends, and wears a kindly breast.
But good Æneas, pondering through the nightDistracting thoughts and many an anxious care,Resolved, when daybreak brought the gladsome light,To search the coast, and back sure tidings bear,What land was this, what habitants were there,If man or beast, for, far as the eye could rove,A wilderness the region seemed, and bare.His ships he hides within a sheltering cove,
Screened by the caverned rock, and shadowed by the grove,
Then wielding in his hand two broad-tipt spears,Alone with brave Achates forth he strayed,When lo, before him in the wood appearsHis mother, in a virgin's arms arrayed,In form and habit of a Spartan maid,Or like Harpalyce, the pride of Thrace,Who tires swift steeds, and scours the woodland glade,And outstrips rapid Hebrus in the race.
So fair the goddess seemed, apparelled for the chase.
Bare were her knees, and from her shoulders hungThe wonted bow, kept handy for the preyHer flowing raiment in a knot she strung,And loosed her tresses with the winds to play."Ho, Sirs!" she hails them, "saw ye here astrayOught of my sisters, girt in huntress wiseWith quiver and a spotted lynx-skin gay,Or following on the foaming boar with cries?"
Thus Venus spake, and thus fair Venus' son replies;
"Nought of thy sisters have I heard or seen.What name, O maiden, shall I give to thee,For mortal never had thy voice or mien?O Goddess surely, whether Nymph I see,Or Phoebus' sister; whosoe'er thou be,Be kind, for strangers and in evil caseWe roam, tost hither by the stormy sea.Say, who the people, what the clime and place,
And many a victim's blood thy hallowed shrine shall grace."
"Nay, nay, to no such honour I aspire."Said Venus, "But a simple maid am I,And 'tis the manner of the maids of TyreTo wear, like me, the quiver, and to tieThe purple buskin round the ankles high.The realm thou see'st is Punic; Tyrians areThe folk, the town Agenor's. Round them lieThe Libyan plains, a people rough in war.
Queen Dido rules the land, who came from Tyre afar,
"Flying her brother. Dark the tale of crime,And long, but briefly be the sum supplied.Sychæus was her lord, in happier timeThe richest of Phoenicians far and wideIn land, and worshipped by his hapless bride.Her, in the bloom of maidenhood, her sireHad given him, and with virgin rites allied.But soon her brother filled the throne of Tyre,
Pygmalion, swoln with sin; 'twixt whom a feud took fire.
"He, reckless of a sister's love, and blindWith lust of gold, Sychæus unawareSlew by the altar, and with impious mindLong hid the deed, and flattering hopes and fairDevised, to cheat the lover of her care.But, lifting features marvellously pale,The ghost unburied in her dreams laid bareHis breast, and showed the altar and the bale
Wrought by the ruthless steel, and solved the crime's dark tale.
"Then bade her fly the country, and revealed,To aid her flight, an old and unknown weightOf gold and silver, in the ground concealed.Thus roused, her friends she gathers. All awaitHer summons, who the tyrant fear or hate.Some ships at hand, chance-anchored in the bay,They seize and load them with the costly freight,And far off o'er the deep is borne away
Pygmalion's hoarded pelf. A woman leads the way.
"Hither, where now the walls and fortress high,Of Carthage, and her rising homes are found,They came, and there full cheaply did they buy,Such space—called Byrsa from the deed—of groundAs one bull's-hide could compass and surround.But who are ye, pray answer? on what questCome ye? and whence and whither are ye bound?"Her then Æneas, from his inmost breast
Heaving a deep-drawn sigh, with labouring speech addressed:
"O Goddess, should I from the first unfold,Or could'st thou hear, the annals of our woe,Eve's star were shining, ere the tale were told.From ancient Troy—if thou the name dost know—A chance-met storm hath driven us to and fro,And tost us on the Libyan shores. My nameIs good Æneas; from the flames and foeI bear Troy's rescued deities. My fame
Outsoars the stars of heaven; a Jove-born race, we claim
"A home in fair Italia far away.With twice ten ships I climbed the Phrygian main,My goddess-mother pointing out the way,As Fate commanded. Now scarce seven remain,Wave-worn and shattered by the tempest's strain.Myself, a stranger, friendless and unknown,From Europe driven and Asia, roam in vainThe wilds of Libya"—Then his plaintive tone
No more could Venus bear, but interrupts her son;
"Stranger," she answered, "whosoe'er thou be;Not unbeloved of heavenly powers, I ween,Thou breath'st the vital air, whom Fate's decreePermits a Tyrian city to have seen.But hence, and seek the palace of the queen.Glad news I bear thee, of thy comrades brought,The North-wind shifted and the skies serene;Thy ships have gained the harbour which they sought,
Else vain my parents' lore the augury they taught.
"See yon twelve swans, in jubilant array,Whom late Jove's eagle scattered through the sky;Now these alight, now those the pitch survey.As they, returning, sport with joyous cry,And flap their wings and circle in the sky,E'en so thy vessels and each late-lost crewSafe now and scatheless in the harbour lie,Or, crowding canvas, hold the port in view.
But hence, where leads the path, thy forward steps pursue."
So saying, she turned, and all refulgent showedHer roseate neck, and heavenly fragrance sweetWas breathed from her ambrosial hair. Down flowedHer loosened raiment, streaming to her feet,And by her walk the Goddess shone complete."Ah, mother mine!" he chides her, as she flies,"Art thou, then, also cruel? Wherefore cheatThy son so oft with images and lies?
Why may I not clasp hands, and talk without disguise?"
Thus he, reproaching. Towards the town they fareIn haste. But Venus round them on the wayWrapt a thick mist, a mantle of dark air,That none should see them, none should touch nor stay,Nor, urging idle questions, breed delay.Then back, rejoicing, through the liquid airTo Paphos and her home she flies away,Where, steaming with Sabæan incense rare,
An hundred altars breathe with garlands fresh and fair.
They by the path their forward steps pursued,And climbed a hill, whose fronting summit frownedSteep o'er the town. Amazed, Æneas viewedTall structures rise, where whilom huts were found,The streets, the gates, the bustle and the sound.Hotly the Tyrians are at work. These drawThe bastions' lines, roll stones and trench the ground;Or build the citadel; those clothe with awe
The Senate; there they choose the judges for the law.
These delve the port; the broad foundations thereThey lay for theatres of ample space,And columns, hewn from marble rocks, prepare,Tall ornaments, the future stage to grace.As bees in early summer swarm apaceThrough flowery fields, when forth from dale and dellThey lead the full-grown offspring of the race,Or with the liquid honey store each cell,
And make the teeming hive with nectarous sweets to swell.
These ease the comers of their loads, those driveThe drones afar. The busy work each plies,And sweet with thyme and honey smells the hive."O happy ye, whose walls already rise!"Exclaimed Æneas, and with envious eyesLooked up where pinnacles and roof-tops showedThe new-born city; then in wondrous wise,Clothed in the covering of the friendly cloud,
Passed through the midst unseen, and mingled with the crowd.
A grove stood in the city, rich in shade,Where storm-tost Tyrians, past the perilous brine,Dug from the ground, by royal Juno's aid,A war-steed's head, to far-off days a signThat wealth and prowess should adorn the line.Here, by the goddess and her gifts renowned,Sidonian Dido built a stately shrine.All brazen rose the threshold; brass was round
The door-posts; brazen doors on grating hinges sound.
Here a new sight Æneas' hopes upraised,And fear was softened, and his heart was mann'd.For while, the queen awaiting, round he gazed,And marvelled at the happy town, and scannedThe rival labours of each craftsman's hand,Behold, Troy's battles on the walls appear,The war, since noised through many a distant land,There Priam and th' Atridæ twain, and here
Achilles, fierce to both, still ruthless and severe.
Pensive he stood, and with a rising tear,"What lands, Achates, on the earth, but knowOur labours? See our Priam! Even hereWorth wins her due, and there are tears to flow,And human hearts to feel for human woe.Fear not," he cries, "Troy's glory yet shall gainSome safety." Thus upon the empty showHe feeds his soul, while ever and again
Deeply he sighs, and tears run down his cheeks like rain.
He sees, how, fighting round the Trojan wall,Here fled the Greeks, the Trojan youth pursue,Here fled the Phrygians, and, with helmet tall,Achilles in his chariot stormed and slew.Not far, with tears, the snowy tents he knewOf Rhesus, where Tydides, bathed in blood,Broke in at midnight with his murderous crew,And drove the hot steeds campward, ere the food
Of Trojan plains they browsed, or drank the Xanthian flood.
There, reft of arms, poor Troilus, rash to dareAchilles, by his horses dragged amain,Hangs from his empty chariot. Neck and hairTrail on the ground; his hand still grasps the rein;The spear inverted scores the dusty plain.Meanwhile, with beaten breasts and streaming hair,The Trojan dames, a sad and suppliant train,The veil to partial Pallas' temple bear.
Stern, with averted eyes the Goddess spurns their prayer.
Thrice had Achilles round the Trojan wallDragged Hector; there the slayer sells the slain.Sighing he sees him, chariot, arms and all,And Priam, spreading helpless hands in vain.Himself he knows among the Greeks again,Black Memnon's arms, and all his Eastern clan,Penthesilea's Amazonian trainWith moony shields. Bare-breasted, in the van,
Girt with a golden zone, the maiden fights with man.
Thus while Æneas, with set gaze and long,Hangs, mute with wonder, on the wildering scene,Lo! to the temple, with a numerous throngOf youthful followers, moves the beauteous Queen.Such as Diana, with her Oreads seenOn swift Eurotas' banks or Cynthus' crest,Leading the dances. She, in form and mien,Armed with her quiver, towers above the rest,
And tranquil pleasure thrills Latona's silent breast.
E'en such was Dido; so with joyous mien,Urging the business of her rising state,Among the concourse passed the Tyrian queen;Then, girt with guards, within the temple's gateBeneath the centre of the dome she sate.There, ministering justice, she presides,And deals the law, and from her throne of state,As choice determines or as chance decides,
To each, in equal share, his separate task divides.
Sudden, behold a concourse. Looking down,His late-lost friends Æneas sees again,Sergestus, brave Cloanthus of renown,Antheus and others of the Trojan train,Whom the black squall had scattered o'er the main,And driven afar upon an alien strand.At once, 'twixt joy and terror rent in twain,Amazed, Æneas and Achates stand,
And long to greet old friends and clasp a comrade's hand.
Yet wildering wonder at so strange a sceneStill holds them mute, while anxious thoughts divideTheir doubtful minds, and in the cloud unseen,Wrapt in its hollow covering, they abideAnd note what fortune did their friends betide,And whence they come, and why for grace they sue,And on what shore they left the fleet to bide,For chosen captains came from every crew,
And towards the sacred fane with clamorous cries they drew.
Then, audience granted, as the fane they filled,Thus calmly spake the eldest of the train,Ilioneus: "O queen, whom Jove hath willedTo found this new-born city, here to reign,And stubborn tribes with justice to refrain,We, Troy's poor fugitives, implore thy grace,Storm-tost and wandering over every main,—Forbid the flames our vessels to deface,
Mark our afflicted plight, and spare a pious race.
"We come not hither with the sword to rendYour Libyan homes, and shoreward drive the prey.Nay, no such violence our thoughts intend,Such pride suits not the vanquished. Far awayThere lies a place—Greeks style the land to-dayHesperia—fruitful and of ancient fameAnd strong in arms. OEnotrian folk, they say,First tilled the soil. Italian is the name
Borne by the later race, with Italus who came.
"Thither we sailed, when, rising with the wave,Orion dashed us on the shoals, the preyOf wanton winds, and mastering billows draveOur vessels on the pathless rocks astray.We few have floated to your shore. O say,What manner of mankind is here? What landIs this, to treat us in this barbarous way?They grudge the very shelter of the sand,
And call to arms and bar our footsteps from the strand!
"If human kind and mortal arms ye scorn,Think of the Gods, who judge the wrong and right.A king was ours, Æneas; ne'er was bornA man more just, more valiant in the fight,More famed for piety and deeds of might.If yet he lives and looks upon the sun,Nor cruel death hath snatched him from the light,No fear have we, nor need hast thou to shun
A Trojan guest, or rue kind offices begun.
"Towns yet for us in Sicily remain,And arms, and, sprung from Trojan sires of yore,Our kinsman there, Acestes, holds his reign.Grant us to draw our scattered fleet ashore,And fit new planks and branches for the oar.So, if with king and comrades brought again,The Fates allow us to reach Italia's shore,Italia gladly and the Latian plain
Seek we; but else, if thoughts of safety be in vain,
"If thee, dear Sire, the Libyan deep doth hide,Nor hopes of young Iulus more can cheer,Back let our barks to the Sicanian tideAnd proffered homes and king Acestes steer."He spake; the Dardans answered with a cheer.Then Dido thus, with downcast look sedate;"Take courage, Trojans, and dismiss your fear.My kingdom's newness and the stress of Fate
Force me to guard far off the frontiers of my state.
"Who knows not Troy, th' Æneian house of fame,The deeds and doers, and the war's renownThat fired the world? Not hearts so dull and tameHave Punic folk; not so is Phoebus knownTo turn his back upon our Tyrian town.Whether ye sail to great Hesperia's shoreAnd Saturn's fields, or seek the realms that ownAcestes' sway, where Eryx reigned of yore,
Safe will I send you hence, and speed you with my store.
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