The Æneids of Virgil, by William Morris

Book iii.


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 10

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

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, 20

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. 30

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: 40

‘Why manglest thou a wretched man? O spare me in my tomb!

Spare to beguilt thy righteous hand, Æneas! Troy’s own womb

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. 50

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, 60

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.

But now, when we may trust the sea and winds the ocean keep

Unangered, and the South bids on light whispering to the deep, 70

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, 80

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 90

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

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 Phoebus spake, and mighty joy arose with tumult mixed,

As all fell wondering where might be that seat of city fixed, 100

Where Phoebus 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 Rhoetean 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: 110

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,

A bull to Neptune, and a bull to thee, Apollo bright,

A black ewe to the Storm of sea, to Zephyr kind a white. 120

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. 130

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 140

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 Phoebus 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?

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, 150

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. 160

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;

Oenotrian 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 170

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.

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, 180

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 Phoebus, 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; 190

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.

So are we blown from out our course, through might of seas we drive, 200

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 210

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, 220

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,

And riseth up their grisly voice amid the evilest stench.

Once more then ‘neath a hollow rock at a long valley’s head, 229

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, 240

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; 250

The Father unto Phoebus told a tale that Phoebus 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:

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; 259

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, 270

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,

We purge us before Jupiter and by the altars pray,

Then on the shores of Actium’s head the Ilian plays we play. 280

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,


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. 290

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. 300

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

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 310

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: 320

‘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 330

His ravished wife, and mad with hate, comes on him unaware

Before his fathers’ altar-stead and slays him then and there.

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 —— 340

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, 350

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 Phoebus’ will,

The tripods and the Clarian’s bay, and what the stars fulfil, 360

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, 370

And then with hand he leadeth me, O Phoebus, 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. 380

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,

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, 390

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 400

With war-folk; Philoctetes there holdeth Petelia small,

Now by that Meliboean 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, 410

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.

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 420

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, 430

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. 440

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

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, 450

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. 460

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, 470

Fills up the tale of oars, and arms our fellows to their need.

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 Phoebus’ 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 Phoebus open lays.

Fare forth, made glad with pious son! why tread I longer ways 480

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, 490

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:

And soothly less it lies across the pathway of the Greek,

If ever I that Tiber flood and Tiber fields I seek 500

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 510

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. 520

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,

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 530

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. 540

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,

Unto the wind our sail-yard horns we fall to turn about,

And leave the houses of the Greeks, and nursing fields of doubt. 550

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!’ 560

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; 570

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

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; 580

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. 590

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 600

Away from here! to whatso land henceforth ye lead my feet

It is enough. That I am one from out the Danaan fleet,

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 610

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! 620

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:

For when with victual satiate, deep sunk in wine, his head 630

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 Phoebus’ 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! 640

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 649

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,

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, 660

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 670

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, 680

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:

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, 690

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; 700

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, 710

There wouldst thou leave; thou borne away from perils all for nought!

Ah, neither Helenus the seer, despite the fears he taught,

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.

Last updated Sunday, March 27, 2016 at 11:58