Part 5 out of 8
She white herself, and white her thirty young.
Aeneas takes the mother and her brood,
And all on Juno's altar are bestow'd.
The foll'wing night, and the succeeding day,
Propitious Tiber smooth'd his wat'ry way:
He roll'd his river back, and pois'd he stood,
A gentle swelling, and a peaceful flood.
The Trojans mount their ships; they put from shore,
Borne on the waves, and scarcely dip an oar.
Shouts from the land give omen to their course,
And the pitch'd vessels glide with easy force.
The woods and waters wonder at the gleam
Of shields, and painted ships that stem the stream.
One summer's night and one whole day they pass
Betwixt the greenwood shades, and cut the liquid glass.
The fiery sun had finish'd half his race,
Look'd back, and doubted in the middle space,
When they from far beheld the rising tow'rs,
The tops of sheds, and shepherds' lowly bow'rs,
Thin as they stood, which, then of homely clay,
Now rise in marble, from the Roman sway.
These cots (Evander's kingdom, mean and poor)
The Trojan saw, and turn'd his ships to shore.
'T was on a solemn day: th' Arcadian states,
The king and prince, without the city gates,
Then paid their off'rings in a sacred grove
To Hercules, the warrior son of Jove.
Thick clouds of rolling smoke involve the skies,
And fat of entrails on his altar fries.
But, when they saw the ships that stemm'd the flood,
And glitter'd thro' the covert of the wood,
They rose with fear, and left th' unfinish'd feast,
Till dauntless Pallas reassur'd the rest
To pay the rites. Himself without delay
A jav'lin seiz'd, and singly took his way;
Then gain'd a rising ground, and call'd from far:
"Resolve me, strangers, whence, and what you are;
Your bus'ness here; and bring you peace or war?"
High on the stern Aeneas his stand,
And held a branch of olive in his hand,
While thus he spoke: "The Phrygians' arms you see,
Expell'd from Troy, provok'd in Italy
By Latian foes, with war unjustly made;
At first affianc'd, and at last betray'd.
This message bear: 'The Trojans and their chief
Bring holy peace, and beg the king's relief.'
Struck with so great a name, and all on fire,
The youth replies: "Whatever you require,
Your fame exacts. Upon our shores descend.
A welcome guest, and, what you wish, a friend."
He said, and, downward hasting to the strand,
Embrac'd the stranger prince, and join'd his hand.
Conducted to the grove, Aeneas broke
The silence first, and thus the king bespoke:
"Best of the Greeks, to whom, by fate's command,
I bear these peaceful branches in my hand,
Undaunted I approach you, tho' I know
Your birth is Grecian, and your land my foe;
From Atreus tho' your ancient lineage came,
And both the brother kings your kindred claim;
Yet, my self-conscious worth, your high renown,
Your virtue, thro' the neighb'ring nations blown,
Our fathers' mingled blood, Apollo's voice,
Have led me hither, less by need than choice.
Our founder Dardanus, as fame has sung,
And Greeks acknowledge, from Electra sprung:
Electra from the loins of Atlas came;
Atlas, whose head sustains the starry frame.
Your sire is Mercury, whom long before
On cold Cyllene's top fair Maia bore.
Maia the fair, on fame if we rely,
Was Atlas' daughter, who sustains the sky.
Thus from one common source our streams divide;
Ours is the Trojan, yours th' Areadian side.
Rais'd by these hopes, I sent no news before,
Nor ask'd your leave, nor did your faith implore;
But come, without a pledge, my own ambassador.
The same Rutulians, who with arms pursue
The Trojan race, are equal foes to you.
Our host expell'd, what farther force can stay
The victor troops from universal sway?
Then will they stretch their pow'r athwart the land,
And either sea from side to side command.
Receive our offer'd faith, and give us thine;
Ours is a gen'rous and experienc'd line:
We want not hearts nor bodies for the war;
In council cautious, and in fields we dare."
He said; and while spoke, with piercing eyes
Evander view'd the man with vast surprise,
Pleas'd with his action, ravish'd with his face:
Then answer'd briefly, with a royal grace:
"O valiant leader of the Trojan line,
In whom the features of thy father shine,
How I recall Anchises! how I see
His motions, mien, and all my friend, in thee!
Long tho' it be, 't is fresh within my mind,
When Priam to his sister's court design'd
A welcome visit, with a friendly stay,
And thro' th' Arcadian kingdom took his way.
Then, past a boy, the callow down began
To shade my chin, and call me first a man.
I saw the shining train with vast delight,
And Priam's goodly person pleas'd my sight:
But great Anchises, far above the rest,
With awful wonder fir'd my youthful breast.
I long'd to join in friendship's holy bands
Our mutual hearts, and plight our mutual hands.
I first accosted him: I sued, I sought,
And, with a loving force, to Pheneus brought.
He gave me, when at length constrain'd to go,
A Lycian quiver and a Gnossian bow,
A vest embroider'd, glorious to behold,
And two rich bridles, with their bits of gold,
Which my son's coursers in obedience hold.
The league you ask, I offer, as your right;
And, when to-morrow's sun reveals the light,
With swift supplies you shall be sent away.
Now celebrate with us this solemn day,
Whose holy rites admit no long delay.
Honor our annual feast; and take your seat,
With friendly welcome, at a homely treat."
Thus having said, the bowls (remov'd for fear)
The youths replac'd, and soon restor'd the cheer.
On sods of turf he set the soldiers round:
A maple throne, rais'd higher from the ground,
Receiv'd the Trojan chief; and, o'er the bed,
A lion's shaggy hide for ornament they spread.
The loaves were serv'd in canisters; the wine
In bowls; the priest renew'd the rites divine:
Broil'd entrails are their food, and beef's continued chine.
But when the rage of hunger was repress'd,
Thus spoke Evander to his royal guest:
"These rites, these altars, and this feast, O king,
From no vain fears or superstition spring,
Or blind devotion, or from blinder chance,
Or heady zeal, or brutal ignorance;
But, sav'd from danger, with a grateful sense,
The labors of a god we recompense.
See, from afar, yon rock that mates the sky,
About whose feet such heaps of rubbish lie;
Such indigested ruin; bleak and bare,
How desart now it stands, expos'd in air!
'T was once a robber's den, inclos'd around
With living stone, and deep beneath the ground.
The monster Cacus, more than half a beast,
This hold, impervious to the sun, possess'd.
The pavement ever foul with human gore;
Heads, and their mangled members, hung the door.
Vulcan this plague begot; and, like his sire,
Black clouds he belch'd, and flakes of livid fire.
Time, long expected, eas'd us of our load,
And brought the needful presence of a god.
Th' avenging force of Hercules, from Spain,
Arriv'd in triumph, from Geryon slain:
Thrice liv'd the giant, and thrice liv'd in vain.
His prize, the lowing herds, Alcides drove
Near Tiber's bank, to graze the shady grove.
Allur'd with hope of plunder, and intent
By force to rob, by fraud to circumvent,
The brutal Cacus, as by chance they stray'd,
Four oxen thence, and four fair kine convey'd;
And, lest the printed footsteps might be seen,
He dragg'd 'em backwards to his rocky den.
The tracks averse a lying notice gave,
And led the searcher backward from the cave.
"Meantime the herdsman hero shifts his place,
To find fresh pasture and untrodden grass.
The beasts, who miss'd their mates, fill'd all around
With bellowings, and the rocks restor'd the sound.
One heifer, who had heard her love complain,
Roar'd from the cave, and made the project vain.
Alcides found the fraud; with rage he shook,
And toss'd about his head his knotted oak.
Swift as the winds, or Scythian arrows' flight,
He clomb, with eager haste, th' aerial height.
Then first we saw the monster mend his pace;
Fear his eyes, and paleness in his face,
Confess'd the god's approach. Trembling he springs,
As terror had increas'd his feet with wings;
Nor stay'd for stairs; but down the depth he threw
His body, on his back the door he drew
(The door, a rib of living rock; with pains
His father hew'd it out, and bound with iron chains):
He broke the heavy links, the mountain clos'd,
And bars and levers to his foe oppos'd.
The wretch had hardly made his dungeon fast;
The fierce avenger came with bounding haste;
Survey'd the mouth of the forbidden hold,
And here and there his raging eyes he roll'd.
He gnash'd his teeth; and thrice he compass'd round
With winged speed the circuit of the ground.
Thrice at the cavern's mouth he pull'd in vain,
And, panting, thrice desisted from his pain.
A pointed flinty rock, all bare and black,
Grew gibbous from behind the mountain's back;
Owls, ravens, all ill omens of the night,
Here built their nests, and hither wing'd their flight.
The leaning head hung threat'ning o'er the flood,
And nodded to the left. The hero stood
Adverse, with planted feet, and, from the right,
Tugg'd at the solid stone with all his might.
Thus heav'd, the fix'd foundations of the rock
Gave way; heav'n echo'd at the rattling shock.
Tumbling, it chok'd the flood: on either side
The banks leap backward, and the streams divide;
The sky shrunk upward with unusual dread,
And trembling Tiber div'd beneath his bed.
The court of Cacus stands reveal'd to sight;
The cavern glares with new-admitted light.
So the pent vapors, with a rumbling sound,
Heave from below, and rend the hollow ground;
A sounding flaw succeeds; and, from on high,
The gods with hate beheld the nether sky:
The ghosts repine at violated night,
And curse th' invading sun, and sicken at the sight.
The graceless monster, caught in open day,
Inclos'd, and in despair to fly away,
Howls horrible from underneath, and fills
His hollow palace with unmanly yells.
The hero stands above, and from afar
Plies him with darts, and stones, and distant war.
He, from his nostrils huge mouth, expires
Black clouds of smoke, amidst his father's fires,
Gath'ring, with each repeated blast, the night,
To make uncertain aim, and erring sight.
The wrathful god then plunges from above,
And, where in thickest waves the sparkles drove,
There lights; and wades thro' fumes, and gropes his way,
Half sing'd, half stifled, till he grasps his prey.
The monster, spewing fruitless flames, he found;
He squeez'd his throat; he writh'd his neck around,
And in a knot his crippled members bound;
Then from their sockets tore his burning eyes:
Roll'd on a heap, the breathless robber lies.
The doors, unbarr'd, receive the rushing day,
And thoro' lights disclose the ravish'd prey.
The bulls, redeem'd, breathe open air again.
Next, by the feet, they drag him from his den.
The wond'ring neighborhood, with glad surprise,
Behold his shagged breast, his giant size,
His mouth that flames no more, and his extinguish'd eyes.
From that auspicious day, with rites divine,
We worship at the hero's holy shrine.
Potitius first ordain'd these annual vows:
As priests, were added the Pinarian house,
Who rais'd this altar in the sacred shade,
Where honors, ever due, for ever shall be paid.
For these deserts, and this high virtue shown,
Ye warlike youths, your heads with garlands crown:
Fill high the goblets with a sparkling flood,
And with deep draughts invoke our common god."
This said, a double wreath Evander twin'd,
And poplars black and white his temples bind.
Then brims his ample bowl. With like design
The rest invoke the gods, with sprinkled wine.
Meantime the sun descended from the skies,
And the bright evening star began to rise.
And now the priests, Potitius at their head,
In skins of beasts involv'd, the long procession led;
Held high the flaming tapers in their hands,
As custom had prescrib'd their holy bands;
Then with a second course the tables load,
And with full chargers offer to the god.
The Salii sing, and cense his altars round
With Saban smoke, their heads with poplar bound-
One choir of old, another of the young,
To dance, and bear the burthen of the song.
The lay records the labors, and the praise,
And all th' immortal acts of Hercules:
First, how the mighty babe, when swath'd in bands,
The serpents strangled with his infant hands;
Then, as in years and matchless force he grew,
Th' Oechalian walls, and Trojan, overthrew.
Besides, a thousand hazards they relate,
Procur'd by Juno's and Eurystheus' hate:
"Thy hands, unconquer'd hero, could subdue
The cloud-born Centaurs, and the monster crew:
Nor thy resistless arm the bull withstood,
Nor he, the roaring terror of the wood.
The triple porter of the Stygian seat,
With lolling tongue, lay fawning at thy feet,
And, seiz'd with fear, forgot his mangled meat.
Th' infernal waters trembled at thy sight;
Thee, god, no face of danger could affright;
Not huge Typhoeus, nor th' unnumber'd snake,
Increas'd with hissing heads, in Lerna's lake.
Hail, Jove's undoubted son! an added grace
To heav'n and the great author of thy race!
Receive the grateful off'rings which we pay,
And smile propitious on thy solemn day!"
In numbers thus they sung; above the rest,
The den and death of Cacus crown the feast.
The woods to hollow vales convey the sound,
The vales to hills, and hills the notes rebound.
The rites perform'd, the cheerful train retire.
Betwixt young Pallas and his aged sire,
The Trojan pass'd, the city to survey,
And pleasing talk beguil'd the tedious way.
The stranger cast around his curious eyes,
New objects viewing still, with new surprise;
With greedy joy enquires of various things,
And acts and monuments of ancient kings.
Then thus the founder of the Roman tow'rs:
"These woods were first the seat of sylvan pow'rs,
Of Nymphs and Fauns, and salvage men, who took
Their birth from trunks of trees and stubborn oak.
Nor laws they knew, nor manners, nor the care
Of lab'ring oxen, or the shining share,
Nor arts of gain, nor what they gain'd to spare.
Their exercise the chase; the running flood
Supplied their thirst, the trees supplied their food.
Then Saturn came, who fled the pow'r of Jove,
Robb'd of his realms, and banish'd from above.
The men, dispers'd on hills, to towns he brought,
And laws ordain'd, and civil customs taught,
And Latium call'd the land where safe he lay
From his unduteous son, and his usurping sway.
With his mild empire, peace and plenty came;
And hence the golden times deriv'd their name.
A more degenerate and discolor'd age
Succeeded this, with avarice and rage.
Th' Ausonians then, and bold Sicanians came;
And Saturn's empire often chang'd the name.
Then kings, gigantic Tybris, and the rest,
With arbitrary sway the land oppress'd:
For Tiber's flood was Albula before,
Till, from the tyrant's fate, his name it bore.
I last arriv'd, driv'n from my native home
By fortune's pow'r, and fate's resistless doom.
Long toss'd on seas, I sought this happy land,
Warn'd by my mother nymph, and call'd by Heav'n's command."
Thus, walking on, he spoke, and shew'd the gate,
Since call'd Carmental by the Roman state;
Where stood an altar, sacred to the name
Of old Carmenta, the prophetic dame,
Who to her son foretold th' Aenean race,
Sublime in fame, and Rome's imperial place:
Then shews the forest, which, in after times,
Fierce Romulus for perpetrated crimes
A sacred refuge made; with this, the shrine
Where Pan below the rock had rites divine:
Then tells of Argus' death, his murder'd guest,
Whose grave and tomb his innocence attest.
Thence, to the steep Tarpeian rock he leads;
Now roof'd with gold, then thatch'd with homely reeds.
A reverent fear (such superstition reigns
Among the rude) ev'n then possess'd the swains.
Some god, they knew- what god, they could not tell-
Did there amidst the sacred horror dwell.
Th' Arcadians thought him Jove; and said they saw
The mighty Thund'rer with majestic awe,
Who took his shield, and dealt his bolts around,
And scatter'd tempests on the teeming ground.
Then saw two heaps of ruins, (once they stood
Two stately towns, on either side the flood,)
Saturnia's and Janicula's remains;
And either place the founder's name retains.
Discoursing thus together, they resort
Where poor Evander kept his country court.
They view'd the ground of Rome's litigious hall;
(Once oxen low'd, where now the lawyers bawl;)
Then, stooping, thro' the narrow gate they press'd,
When thus the king bespoke his Trojan guest:
"Mean as it is, this palace, and this door,
Receiv'd Alcides, then a conqueror.
Dare to be poor; accept our homely food,
Which feasted him, and emulate a god."
Then underneath a lowly roof he led
The weary prince, and laid him on a bed;
The stuffing leaves, with hides of bears o'erspread.
Now Night had shed her silver dews around,
And with her sable wings embrac'd the ground,
When love's fair goddess, anxious for her son,
(New tumults rising, and new wars begun,)
Couch'd with her husband in his golden bed,
With these alluring words invokes his aid;
And, that her pleasing speech his mind may move,
Inspires each accent with the charms of love:
"While cruel fate conspir'd with Grecian pow'rs,
To level with the ground the Trojan tow'rs,
I ask'd not aid th' unhappy to restore,
Nor did the succor of thy skill implore;
Nor urg'd the labors of my lord in vain,
A sinking empire longer to sustain,
Tho'much I ow'd to Priam's house, and more
The dangers of Aeneas did deplore.
But now, by Jove's command, and fate's decree,
His race is doom'd to reign in Italy:
With humble suit I beg thy needful art,
O still propitious pow'r, that rules my heart!
A mother kneels a suppliant for her son.
By Thetis and Aurora thou wert won
To forge impenetrable shields, and grace
With fated arms a less illustrious race.
Behold, what haughty nations are combin'd
Against the relics of the Phrygian kind,
With fire and sword my people to destroy,
And conquer Venus twice, in conqu'ring Troy."
She said; and straight her arms, of snowy hue,
About her unresolving husband threw.
Her soft embraces soon infuse desire;
His bones and marrow sudden warmth inspire;
And all the godhead feels the wonted fire.
Not half so swift the rattling thunder flies,
Or forky lightnings flash along the skies.
The goddess, proud of her successful wiles,
And conscious of her form, in secret smiles.
Then thus the pow'r, obnoxious to her charms,
Panting, and half dissolving in her arms:
"Why seek you reasons for a cause so just,
Or your own beauties or my love distrust?
Long since, had you requir'd my helpful hand,
Th' artificer and art you might command,
To labor arms for Troy: nor Jove, nor fate,
Confin'd their empire to so short a date.
And, if you now desire new wars to wage,
My skill I promise, and my pains engage.
Whatever melting metals can conspire,
Or breathing bellows, or the forming fire,
Is freely yours: your anxious fears remove,
And think no task is difficult to love."
Trembling he spoke; and, eager of her charms,
He snatch'd the willing goddess to his arms;
Till in her lap infus'd, he lay possess'd
Of full desire, and sunk to pleasing rest.
Now when the Night her middle race had rode,
And his first slumber had refresh'd the god-
The time when early housewives leave the bed;
When living embers on the hearth they spread,
Supply the lamp, and call the maids to rise-
With yawning mouths, and with half-open'd eyes,
They ply the distaff by the winking light,
And to their daily labor add the night:
Thus frugally they earn their children's bread,
And uncorrupted keep the nuptial bed-
Not less concern'd, nor at a later hour,
Rose from his downy couch the forging pow'r.
Sacred to Vulcan's name, an isle there lay,
Betwixt Sicilia's coasts and Lipare,
Rais'd high on smoking rocks; and, deep below,
In hollow caves the fires of Aetna glow.
The Cyclops here their heavy hammers deal;
Loud strokes, and hissings of tormented steel,
Are heard around; the boiling waters roar,
And smoky flames thro' fuming tunnels soar.
Hether the Father of the Fire, by night,
Thro' the brown air precipitates his flight.
On their eternal anvils here he found
The brethren beating, and the blows go round.
A load of pointless thunder now there lies
Before their hands, to ripen for the skies:
These darts, for angry Jove, they daily cast;
Consum'd on mortals with prodigious waste.
Three rays of writhen rain, of fire three more,
Of winged southern winds and cloudy store
As many parts, the dreadful mixture frame;
And fears are added, and avenging flame.
Inferior ministers, for Mars, repair
His broken axletrees and blunted war,
And send him forth again with furbish'd arms,
To wake the lazy war with trumpets' loud alarms.
The rest refresh the scaly snakes that fold
The shield of Pallas, and renew their gold.
Full on the crest the Gorgon's head they place,
With eyes that roll in death, and with distorted face.
"My sons," said Vulcan, "set your tasks aside;
Your strength and master-skill must now be tried.
Arms for a hero forge; arms that require
Your force, your speed, and all your forming fire."
He said. They set their former work aside,
And their new toils with eager haste divide.
A flood of molten silver, brass, and gold,
And deadly steel, in the large furnace roll'd;
Of this, their artful hands a shield prepare,
Alone sufficient to sustain the war.
Sev'n orbs within a spacious round they close:
One stirs the fire, and one the bellows blows.
The hissing steel is in the smithy drown'd;
The grot with beaten anvils groans around.
By turns their arms advance, in equal time;
By turns their hands descend, and hammers chime.
They turn the glowing mass with crooked tongs;
The fiery work proceeds, with rustic songs.
While, at the Lemnian god's command, they urge
Their labors thus, and ply th' Aeolian forge,
The cheerful morn salutes Evander's eyes,
And songs of chirping birds invite to rise.
He leaves his lowly bed: his buskins meet
Above his ankles; sandals sheathe his feet:
He sets his trusty sword upon his side,
And o'er his shoulder throws a panther's hide.
Two menial dogs before their master press'd.
Thus clad, and guarded thus, he seeks his kingly guest.
Mindful of promis'd aid, he mends his pace,
But meets Aeneas in the middle space.
Young Pallas did his father's steps attend,
And true Achates waited on his friend.
They join their hands; a secret seat they choose;
Th' Arcadian first their former talk renews:
"Undaunted prince, I never can believe
The Trojan empire lost, while you survive.
Command th' assistance of a faithful friend;
But feeble are the succors I can send.
Our narrow kingdom here the Tiber bounds;
That other side the Latian state surrounds,
Insults our walls, and wastes our fruitful grounds.
But mighty nations I prepare, to join
Their arms with yours, and aid your just design.
You come, as by your better genius sent,
And fortune seems to favor your intent.
Not far from hence there stands a hilly town,
Of ancient building, and of high renown,
Torn from the Tuscans by the Lydian race,
Who gave the name of Caere to the place,
Once Agyllina call'd. It flourish'd long,
In pride of wealth and warlike people strong,
Till curs'd Mezentius, in a fatal hour,
Assum'd the crown, with arbitrary pow'r.
What words can paint those execrable times,
The subjects' suff'rings, and the tyrant's crimes!
That blood, those murthers, O ye gods, replace
On his own head, and on his impious race!
The living and the dead at his command
Were coupled, face to face, and hand to hand,
Till, chok'd with stench, in loath'd embraces tied,
The ling'ring wretches pin'd away and died.
Thus plung'd in ills, and meditating more-
The people's patience, tir'd, no longer bore
The raging monster; but with arms beset
His house, and vengeance and destruction threat.
They fire his palace: while the flame ascends,
They force his guards, and execute his friends.
He cleaves the crowd, and, favor'd by the night,
To Turnus' friendly court directs his flight.
By just revenge the Tuscans set on fire,
With arms, their king to punishment require:
Their num'rous troops, now muster'd on the strand,
My counsel shall submit to your command.
Their navy swarms upon the coasts; they cry
To hoist their anchors, but the gods deny.
An ancient augur, skill'd in future fate,
With these foreboding words restrains their hate:
'Ye brave in arms, ye Lydian blood, the flow'r
Of Tuscan youth, and choice of all their pow'r,
Whom just revenge against Mezentius arms,
To seek your tyrant's death by lawful arms;
Know this: no native of our land may lead
This pow'rful people; seek a foreign head.'
Aw'd with these words, in camps they still abide,
And wait with longing looks their promis'd guide.
Tarchon, the Tuscan chief, to me has sent
Their crown, and ev'ry regal ornament:
The people join their own with his desire;
And all my conduct, as their king, require.
But the chill blood that creeps within my veins,
And age, and listless limbs unfit for pains,
And a soul conscious of its own decay,
Have forc'd me to refuse imperial sway.
My Pallas were more fit to mount the throne,
And should, but he's a Sabine mother's son,
And half a native; but, in you, combine
A manly vigor, and a foreign line.
Where Fate and smiling Fortune shew the way,
Pursue the ready path to sov'reign sway.
The staff of my declining days, my son,
Shall make your good or ill success his own;
In fighting fields from you shall learn to dare,
And serve the hard apprenticeship of war;
Your matchless courage and your conduct view,
And early shall begin t' admire and copy you.
Besides, two hundred horse he shall command;
Tho' few, a warlike and well-chosen band.
These in my name are listed; and my son
As many more has added in his own."
Scarce had he said; Achates and his guest,
With downcast eyes, their silent grief express'd;
Who, short of succors, and in deep despair,
Shook at the dismal prospect of the war.
But his bright mother, from a breaking cloud,
To cheer her issue, thunder'd thrice aloud;
Thrice forky lightning flash'd along the sky,
And Tyrrhene trumpets thrice were heard on high.
Then, gazing up, repeated peals they hear;
And, in a heav'n serene, refulgent arms appear:
Redd'ning the skies, and glitt'ring all around,
The temper'd metals clash, and yield a silver sound.
The rest stood trembling, struck with awe divine;
Aeneas only, conscious to the sign,
Presag'd th' event, and joyful view'd, above,
Th' accomplish'd promise of the Queen of Love.
Then, to th' Arcadian king: "This prodigy
(Dismiss your fear) belongs alone to me.
Heav'n calls me to the war: th' expected sign
Is giv'n of promis'd aid, and arms divine.
My goddess mother, whose indulgent care
Foresaw the dangers of the growing war,
This omen gave, when bright Vulcanian arms,
Fated from force of steel by Stygian charms,
Suspended, shone on high: she then foreshow'd
Approaching fights, and fields to float in blood.
Turnus shall dearly pay for faith forsworn;
And corps, and swords, and shields, on Tiber borne,
Shall choke his flood: now sound the loud alarms;
And, Latian troops, prepare your perjur'd arms."
He said, and, rising from his homely throne,
The solemn rites of Hercules begun,
And on his altars wak'd the sleeping fires;
Then cheerful to his household gods retires;
There offers chosen sheep. Th' Arcadian king
And Trojan youth the same oblations bring.
Next, of his men and ships he makes review;
Draws out the best and ablest of the crew.
Down with the falling stream the refuse run,
To raise with joyful news his drooping son.
Steeds are prepar'd to mount the Trojan band,
Who wait their leader to the Tyrrhene land.
A sprightly courser, fairer than the rest,
The king himself presents his royal guest:
A lion's hide his back and limbs infold,
Precious with studded work, and paws of gold.
Fame thro' the little city spreads aloud
Th' intended march, amid the fearful crowd:
The matrons beat their breasts, dissolve in tears,
And double their devotion in their fears.
The war at hand appears with more affright,
And rises ev'ry moment to the sight.
Then old Evander, with a close embrace,
Strain'd his departing friend; and tears o'erflow his face.
"Would Heav'n," said he, "my strength and youth recall,
Such as I was beneath Praeneste's wall;
Then when I made the foremost foes retire,
And set whole heaps of conquer'd shields on fire;
When Herilus in single fight I slew,
Whom with three lives Feronia did endue;
And thrice I sent him to the Stygian shore,
Till the last ebbing soul return'd no more-
Such if I stood renew'd, not these alarms,
Nor death, should rend me from my Pallas' arms;
Nor proud Mezentius, thus unpunish'd, boast
His rapes and murthers on the Tuscan coast.
Ye gods, and mighty Jove, in pity bring
Relief, and hear a father and a king!
If fate and you reserve these eyes, to see
My son return with peace and victory;
If the lov'd boy shall bless his father's sight;
If we shall meet again with more delight;
Then draw my life in length; let me sustain,
In hopes of his embrace, the worst of pain.
But if your hard decrees- which, O! I dread-
Have doom'd to death his undeserving head;
This, O this very moment, let me die!
While hopes and fears in equal balance lie;
While, yet possess'd of all his youthful charms,
I strain him close within these aged arms;
Before that fatal news my soul shall wound!"
He said, and, swooning, sunk upon the ground.
His servants bore him off, and softly laid
His languish'd limbs upon his homely bed.
The horsemen march; the gates are open'd wide;
Aeneas at their head, Achates by his side.
Next these, the Trojan leaders rode along;
Last follows in the rear th' Arcadian throng.
Young Pallas shone conspicuous o'er the rest;
Gilded his arms, embroider'd was his vest.
So, from the seas, exerts his radiant head
The star by whom the lights of heav'n are led;
Shakes from his rosy locks the pearly dews,
Dispels the darkness, and the day renews.
The trembling wives the walls and turrets crowd,
And follow, with their eyes, the dusty cloud,
Which winds disperse by fits, and shew from far
The blaze of arms, and shields, and shining war.
The troops, drawn up in beautiful array,
O'er heathy plains pursue the ready way.
Repeated peals of shouts are heard around;
The neighing coursers answer to the sound,
And shake with horny hoofs the solid ground.
A greenwood shade, for long religion known,
Stands by the streams that wash the Tuscan town,
Incompass'd round with gloomy hills above,
Which add a holy horror to the grove.
The first inhabitants of Grecian blood,
That sacred forest to Silvanus vow'd,
The guardian of their flocks and fields; and pay
Their due devotions on his annual day.
Not far from hence, along the river's side,
In tents secure, the Tuscan troops abide,
By Tarchon led. Now, from a rising ground,
Aeneas cast his wond'ring eyes around,
And all the Tyrrhene army had in sight,
Stretch'd on the spacious plain from left to right.
Thether his warlike train the Trojan led,
Refresh'd his men, and wearied horses fed.
Meantime the mother goddess, crown'd with charms,
Breaks thro' the clouds, and brings the fated arms.
Within a winding vale she finds her son,
On the cool river's banks, retir'd alone.
She shews her heav'nly form without disguise,
And gives herself to his desiring eyes.
"Behold," she said, "perform'd in ev'ry part,
My promise made, and Vulcan's labor'd art.
Now seek, secure, the Latian enemy,
And haughty Turnus to the field defy."
She said; and, having first her son embrac'd,
The radiant arms beneath an oak she plac'd,
Proud of the gift, he roll'd his greedy sight
Around the work, and gaz'd with vast delight.
He lifts, he turns, he poises, and admires
The crested helm, that vomits radiant fires:
His hands the fatal sword and corslet hold,
One keen with temper'd steel, one stiff with gold:
Both ample, flaming both, and beamy bright;
So shines a cloud, when edg'd with adverse light.
He shakes the pointed spear, and longs to try
The plated cuishes on his manly thigh;
But most admires the shield's mysterious mold,
And Roman triumphs rising on the gold:
For these, emboss'd, the heav'nly smith had wrought
(Not in the rolls of future fate untaught)
The wars in order, and the race divine
Of warriors issuing from the Julian line.
The cave of Mars was dress'd with mossy greens:
There, by the wolf, were laid the martial twins.
Intrepid on her swelling dugs they hung;
The foster dam loll'd out her fawning tongue:
They suck'd secure, while, bending back her head,
She lick'd their tender limbs, and form'd them as they fed.
Not far from thence new Rome appears, with games
Projected for the rape of Sabine dames.
The pit resounds with shrieks; a war succeeds,
For breach of public faith, and unexampled deeds.
Here for revenge the Sabine troops contend;
The Romans there with arms the prey defend.
Wearied with tedious war, at length they cease;
And both the kings and kingdoms plight the peace.
The friendly chiefs before Jove's altar stand,
Both arm'd, with each a charger in his hand:
A fatted sow for sacrifice is led,
With imprecations on the perjur'd head.
Near this, the traitor Metius, stretch'd between
Four fiery steeds, is dragg'd along the green,
By Tullus' doom: the brambles drink his blood,
And his torn limbs are left the vulture's food.
There, Porsena to Rome proud Tarquin brings,
And would by force restore the banish'd kings.
One tyrant for his fellow-tyrant fights;
The Roman youth assert their native rights.
Before the town the Tuscan army lies,
To win by famine, or by fraud surprise.
Their king, half-threat'ning, half-disdaining stood,
While Cocles broke the bridge, and stemm'd the flood.
The captive maids there tempt the raging tide,
Scap'd from their chains, with Cloelia for their guide.
High on a rock heroic Manlius stood,
To guard the temple, and the temple's god.
Then Rome was poor; and there you might behold
The palace thatch'd with straw, now roof'd with gold.
The silver goose before the shining gate
There flew, and, by her cackle, sav'd the state.
She told the Gauls' approach; th' approaching Gauls,
Obscure in night, ascend, and seize the walls.
The gold dissembled well their yellow hair,
And golden chains on their white necks they wear.
Gold are their vests; long Alpine spears they wield,
And their left arm sustains a length of shield.
Hard by, the leaping Salian priests advance;
And naked thro' the streets the mad Luperci dance,
In caps of wool; the targets dropp'd from heav'n.
Here modest matrons, in soft litters driv'n,
To pay their vows in solemn pomp appear,
And odorous gums in their chaste hands they bear.
Far hence remov'd, the Stygian seats are seen;
Pains of the damn'd, and punish'd Catiline
Hung on a rock- the traitor; and, around,
The Furies hissing from the nether ground.
Apart from these, the happy souls he draws,
And Cato's holy ghost dispensing laws.
Betwixt the quarters flows a golden sea;
But foaming surges there in silver play.
The dancing dolphins with their tails divide
The glitt'ring waves, and cut the precious tide.
Amid the main, two mighty fleets engage
Their brazen beaks, oppos'd with equal rage.
Actium surveys the well-disputed prize;
Leucate's wat'ry plain with foamy billows fries.
Young Caesar, on the stern, in armor bright,
Here leads the Romans and their gods to fight:
His beamy temples shoot their flames afar,
And o'er his head is hung the Julian star.
Agrippa seconds him, with prosp'rous gales,
And, with propitious gods, his foes assails:
A naval crown, that binds his manly brows,
The happy fortune of the fight foreshows.
Rang'd on the line oppos'd, Antonius brings
Barbarian aids, and troops of Eastern kings;
Th' Arabians near, and Bactrians from afar,
Of tongues discordant, and a mingled war:
And, rich in gaudy robes, amidst the strife,
His ill fate follows him- th' Egyptian wife.
Moving they fight; with oars and forky prows
The froth is gather'd, and the water glows.
It seems, as if the Cyclades again
Were rooted up, and justled in the main;
Or floating mountains floating mountains meet;
Such is the fierce encounter of the fleet.
Fireballs are thrown, and pointed jav'lins fly;
The fields of Neptune take a purple dye.
The queen herself, amidst the loud alarms,
With cymbals toss'd her fainting soldiers warms-
Fool as she was! who had not yet divin'd
Her cruel fate, nor saw the snakes behind.
Her country gods, the monsters of the sky,
Great Neptune, Pallas, and Love's Queen defy:
The dog Anubis barks, but barks in vain,
Nor longer dares oppose th' ethereal train.
Mars in the middle of the shining shield
Is grav'd, and strides along the liquid field.
The Dirae souse from heav'n with swift descent;
And Discord, dyed in blood, with garments rent,
Divides the prease: her steps Bellona treads,
And shakes her iron rod above their heads.
This seen, Apollo, from his Actian height,
Pours down his arrows; at whose winged flight
The trembling Indians and Egyptians yield,
And soft Sabaeans quit the wat'ry field.
The fatal mistress hoists her silken sails,
And, shrinking from the fight, invokes the gales.
Aghast she looks, and heaves her breast for breath,
Panting, and pale with fear of future death.
The god had figur'd her as driv'n along
By winds and waves, and scudding thro' the throng.
Just opposite, sad Nilus opens wide
His arms and ample bosom to the tide,
And spreads his mantle o'er the winding coast,
In which he wraps his queen, and hides the flying host.
The victor to the gods his thanks express'd,
And Rome, triumphant, with his presence bless'd.
Three hundred temples in the town he plac'd;
With spoils and altars ev'ry temple grac'd.
Three shining nights, and three succeeding days,
The fields resound with shouts, the streets with praise,
The domes with songs, the theaters with plays.
All altars flame: before each altar lies,
Drench'd in his gore, the destin'd sacrifice.
Great Caesar sits sublime upon his throne,
Before Apollo's porch of Parian stone;
Accepts the presents vow'd for victory,
And hangs the monumental crowns on high.
Vast crowds of vanquish'd nations march along,
Various in arms, in habit, and in tongue.
Here, Mulciber assigns the proper place
For Carians, and th' ungirt Numidian race;
Then ranks the Thracians in the second row,
With Scythians, expert in the dart and bow.
And here the tam'd Euphrates humbly glides,
And there the Rhine submits her swelling tides,
And proud Araxes, whom no bridge could bind;
The Danes' unconquer'd offspring march behind,
And Morini, the last of humankind.
These figures, on the shield divinely wrought,
By Vulcan labor'd, and by Venus brought,
With joy and wonder fill the hero's thought.
Unknown the names, he yet admires the grace,
And bears aloft the fame and fortune of his race.
While these affairs in distant places pass'd,
The various Iris Juno sends with haste,
To find bold Turnus, who, with anxious thought,
The secret shade of his great grandsire sought.
Retir'd alone she found the daring man,
And op'd her rosy lips, and thus began:
"What none of all the gods could grant thy vows,
That, Turnus, this auspicious day bestows.
Aeneas, gone to seek th' Arcadian prince,
Has left the Trojan camp without defense;
And, short of succors there, employs his pains
In parts remote to raise the Tuscan swains.
Now snatch an hour that favors thy designs;
Unite thy forces, and attack their lines."
This said, on equal wings she pois'd her weight,
And form'd a radiant rainbow in her flight.
The Daunian hero lifts his hands eyes,
And thus invokes the goddess as she flies:
"Iris, the grace of heav'n, what pow'r divine
Has sent thee down, thro' dusky clouds to shine?
See, they divide; immortal day appears,
And glitt'ring planets dancing in their spheres!
With joy, these happy omens I obey,
And follow to the war the god that leads the way."
Thus having said, as by the brook he stood,
He scoop'd the water from the crystal flood;
Then with his hands the drops to heav'n he throws,
And loads the pow'rs above with offer'd vows.
Now march the bold confed'rates thro' the plain,
Well hors'd, well clad; a rich and shining train.
Messapus leads the van; and, in the rear,
The sons of Tyrrheus in bright arms appear.
In the main battle, with his flaming crest,
The mighty Turnus tow'rs above the rest.
Silent they move, majestically slow,
Like ebbing Nile, or Ganges in his flow.
The Trojans view the dusty cloud from far,
And the dark menace of the distant war.
Caicus from the rampire saw it rise,
Black'ning the fields, and thick'ning thro' the skies.
Then to his fellows thus aloud he calls:
"What rolling clouds, my friends, approach the walls?
Arm! arm! and man the works! prepare your spears
And pointed darts! the Latian host appears."
Thus warn'd, they shut their gates; with shouts ascend
The bulwarks, and, secure, their foes attend:
For their wise gen'ral, with foreseeing care,
Had charg'd them not to tempt the doubtful war,
Nor, tho' provok'd, in open fields advance,
But close within their lines attend their chance.
Unwilling, yet they keep the strict command,
And sourly wait in arms the hostile band.
The fiery Turnus flew before the rest:
A piebald steed of Thracian strain he press'd;
His helm of massy gold, and crimson was his crest.
With twenty horse to second his designs,
An unexpected foe, he fac'd the lines.
"Is there," he said, "in arms, who bravely dare
His leader's honor and his danger share?"
Then spurring on, his brandish'd dart he threw,
In sign of war: applauding shouts ensue.
Amaz'd to find a dastard race, that run
Behind the rampires and the battle shun,
He rides around the camp, with rolling eyes,
And stops at ev'ry post, and ev'ry passage tries.
So roams the nightly wolf about the fold:
Wet with descending show'rs, and stiff with cold,
He howls for hunger, and he grins for pain,
(His gnashing teeth are exercis'd in vain,)
And, impotent of anger, finds no way
In his distended paws to grasp the prey.
The mothers listen; but the bleating lambs
Securely swig the dug, beneath the dams.
Thus ranges eager Turnus o'er the plain.
Sharp with desire, and furious with disdain;
Surveys each passage with a piercing sight,
To force his foes in equal field to fight.
Thus while he gazes round, at length he spies,
Where, fenc'd with strong redoubts, their navy lies,
Close underneath the walls; the washing tide
Secures from all approach this weaker side.
He takes the wish'd occasion, fills his hand
With ready fires, and shakes a flaming brand.
Urg'd by his presence, ev'ry soul is warm'd,
And ev'ry hand with kindled firs is arm'd.
From the fir'd pines the scatt'ring sparkles fly;
Fat vapors, mix'd with flames, involve the sky.
What pow'r, O Muses, could avert the flame
Which threaten'd, in the fleet, the Trojan name?
Tell: for the fact, thro' length of time obscure,
Is hard to faith; yet shall the fame endure.
'T is said that, when the chief prepar'd his flight,
And fell'd his timber from Mount Ida's height,
The grandam goddess then approach'd her son,
And with a mother's majesty begun:
"Grant me," she said, "the sole request I bring,
Since conquer'd heav'n has own'd you for its king.
On Ida's brows, for ages past, there stood,
With firs and maples fill'd, a shady wood;
And on the summit rose a sacred grove,
Where I was worship'd with religious love.
Those woods, that holy grove, my long delight,
I gave the Trojan prince, to speed his flight.
Now, fill'd with fear, on their behalf I come;
Let neither winds o'erset, nor waves intomb
The floating forests of the sacred pine;
But let it be their safety to be mine."
Then thus replied her awful son, who rolls
The radiant stars, and heav'n and earth controls:
"How dare you, mother, endless date demand
For vessels molded by a mortal hand?
What then is fate? Shall bold Aeneas ride,
Of safety certain, on th' uncertain tide?
Yet, what I can, I grant; when, wafted o'er,
The chief is landed on the Latian shore,
Whatever ships escape the raging storms,
At my command shall change their fading forms
To nymphs divine, and plow the wat'ry way,
Like Dotis and the daughters of the sea."
To seal his sacred vow, by Styx he swore,
The lake of liquid pitch, the dreary shore,
And Phlegethon's innavigable flood,
And the black regions of his brother god.
He said; and shook the skies with his imperial nod.
And now at length the number'd hours were come,
Prefix'd by fate's irrevocable doom,
When the great Mother of the Gods was free
To save her ships, and finish Jove's decree.
First, from the quarter of the morn, there sprung
A light that sign'd the heav'ns, and shot along;
Then from a cloud, fring'd round with golden fires,
Were timbrels heard, and Berecynthian choirs;
And, last, a voice, with more than mortal sounds,
Both hosts, in arms oppos'd, with equal horror wounds:
"O Trojan race, your needless aid forbear,
And know, my ships are my peculiar care.
With greater ease the bold Rutulian may,
With hissing brands, attempt to burn the sea,
Than singe my sacred pines. But you, my charge,
Loos'd from your crooked anchors, launch at large,
Exalted each a nymph: forsake the sand,
And swim the seas, at Cybele's command."
No sooner had the goddess ceas'd to speak,
When, lo! th' obedient ships their haulsers break;
And, strange to tell, like dolphins, in the main
They plunge their prows, and dive, and spring again:
As many beauteous maids the billows sweep,
As rode before tall vessels on the deep.
The foes, surpris'd with wonder, stood aghast;
Messapus curb'd his fiery courser's haste;
Old Tiber roar'd, and, raising up his head,
Call'd back his waters to their oozy bed.
Turnus alone, undaunted, bore the shock,
And with these words his trembling troops bespoke:
"These monsters for the Trojans' fate are meant,
And are by Jove for black presages sent.
He takes the cowards' last relief away;
For fly they cannot, and, constrain'd to stay,
Must yield unfought, a base inglorious prey.
The liquid half of all the globe is lost;
Heav'n shuts the seas, and we secure the coast.
Theirs is no more than that small spot of ground
Which myriads of our martial men surround.
Their fates I fear not, or vain oracles.
'T was giv'n to Venus they should cross the seas,
And land secure upon the Latian plains:
Their promis'd hour is pass'd, and mine remains.
'T is in the fate of Turnus to destroy,
With sword and fire, the faithless race of Troy.
Shall such affronts as these alone inflame
The Grecian brothers, and the Grecian name?
My cause and theirs is one; a fatal strife,
And final ruin, for a ravish'd wife.
Was 't not enough, that, punish'd for the crime,
They fell; but will they fall a second time?
One would have thought they paid enough before,
To curse the costly sex, and durst offend no more.
Can they securely trust their feeble wall,
A slight partition, a thin interval,
Betwixt their fate and them; when Troy, tho' built
By hands divine, yet perish'd by their guilt?
Lend me, for once, my friends, your valiant hands,
To force from out their lines these dastard bands.
Less than a thousand ships will end this war,
Nor Vulcan needs his fated arms prepare.
Let all the Tuscans, all th' Arcadians, join!
Nor these, nor those, shall frustrate my design.
Let them not fear the treasons of the night,
The robb'd Palladium, the pretended flight:
Our onset shall be made in open light.
No wooden engine shall their town betray;
Fires they shall have around, but fires by day.
No Grecian babes before their camp appear,
Whom Hector's arms detain'd to the tenth tardy year.
Now, since the sun is rolling to the west,
Give we the silent night to needful rest:
Refresh your bodies, and your arms prepare;
The morn shall end the small remains of war."
The post of honor to Messapus falls,
To keep the nightly guard, to watch the walls,
To pitch the fires at distances around,
And close the Trojans in their scanty ground.
Twice seven Rutulian captains ready stand,
And twice seven hundred horse these chiefs command;
All clad in shining arms the works invest,
Each with a radiant helm and waving crest.
Stretch'd at their length, they press the grassy ground;
They laugh, they sing, (the jolly bowls go round,)
With lights and cheerful fires renew the day,
And pass the wakeful night in feasts and play.
The Trojans, from above, their foes beheld,
And with arm'd legions all the rampires fill'd.
Seiz'd with affright, their gates they first explore;
Join works to works with bridges, tow'r to tow'r:
Thus all things needful for defense abound.
Mnestheus and brave Seresthus walk the round,
Commission'd by their absent prince to share
The common danger, and divide the care.
The soldiers draw their lots, and, as they fall,
By turns relieve each other on the wall.
Nigh where the foes their utmost guards advance,
To watch the gate was warlike Nisus' chance.
His father Hyrtacus of noble blood;
His mother was a huntress of the wood,
And sent him to the wars. Well could he bear
His lance in fight, and dart the flying spear,
But better skill'd unerring shafts to send.
Beside him stood Euryalus, his friend:
Euryalus, than whom the Trojan host
No fairer face, or sweeter air, could boast-
Scarce had the down to shade his cheeks begun.
One was their care, and their delight was one:
One common hazard in the war they shar'd,
And now were both by choice upon the guard.
Then Nisus thus: "Or do the gods inspire
This warmth, or make we gods of our desire?
A gen'rous ardor boils within my breast,
Eager of action, enemy to rest:
This urges me to fight, and fires my mind
To leave a memorable name behind.
Thou see'st the foe secure; how faintly shine
Their scatter'd fires! the most, in sleep supine
Along the ground, an easy conquest lie:
The wakeful few the fuming flagon ply;
All hush'd around. Now hear what I revolve-
A thought unripe- and scarcely yet resolve.
Our absent prince both camp and council mourn;
By message both would hasten his return:
If they confer what I demand on thee,
(For fame is recompense enough for me,)
Methinks, beneath yon hill, I have espied
A way that safely will my passage guide."
Euryalus stood list'ning while he spoke,
With love of praise and noble envy struck;
Then to his ardent friend expos'd his mind:
"All this, alone, and leaving me behind!
Am I unworthy, Nisus, to be join'd?
Thinkist thou I can my share of glory yield,
Or send thee unassisted to the field?
Not so my father taught my childhood arms;
Born in a siege, and bred among alarms!
Nor is my youth unworthy of my friend,
Nor of the heav'n-born hero I attend.
The thing call'd life, with ease I can disclaim,
And think it over-sold to purchase fame."
Then Nisus thus: "Alas! thy tender years
Would minister new matter to my fears.
So may the gods, who view this friendly strife,
Restore me to thy lov'd embrace with life,
Condemn'd to pay my vows, (as sure I trust,)
This thy request is cruel and unjust.
But if some chance- as many chances are,
And doubtful hazards, in the deeds of war-
If one should reach my head, there let it fall,
And spare thy life; I would not perish all.
Thy bloomy youth deserves a longer date:
Live thou to mourn thy love's unhappy fate;
To bear my mangled body from the foe,
Or buy it back, and fun'ral rites bestow.
Or, if hard fortune shall those dues deny,
Thou canst at least an empty tomb supply.
O let not me the widow's tears renew!
Nor let a mother's curse my name pursue:
Thy pious parent, who, for love of thee,
Forsook the coasts of friendly Sicily,
Her age committing to the seas and wind,
When ev'ry weary matron stay'd behind."
To this, Euryalus: "You plead in vain,
And but protract the cause you cannot gain.
No more delays, but haste!" With that, he wakes
The nodding watch; each to his office takes.
The guard reliev'd, the gen'rous couple went
To find the council at the royal tent.
All creatures else forgot their daily care,
And sleep, the common gift of nature, share;
Except the Trojan peers, who wakeful sate
In nightly council for th' indanger'd state.
They vote a message to their absent chief,
Shew their distress, and beg a swift relief.
Amid the camp a silent seat they chose,
Remote from clamor, and secure from foes.
On their left arms their ample shields they bear,
The right reclin'd upon the bending spear.
Now Nisus and his friend approach the guard,
And beg admission, eager to be heard:
Th' affair important, not to be deferr'd.
Ascanius bids 'em be conducted in,
Ord'ring the more experienc'd to begin.
Then Nisus thus: "Ye fathers, lend your ears;
Nor judge our bold attempt beyond our years.
The foe, securely drench'd in sleep and wine,
Neglect their watch; the fires but thinly shine;
And where the smoke in cloudy vapors flies,
Cov'ring the plain, and curling to the skies,
Betwixt two paths, which at the gate divide,
Close by the sea, a passage we have spied,
Which will our way to great Aeneas guide.
Expect each hour to see him safe again,
Loaded with spoils of foes in battle slain.
Snatch we the lucky minute while we may;
Nor can we be mistaken in the way;
For, hunting in the vale, we both have seen
The rising turrets, and the stream between,
And know the winding course, with ev'ry ford."
He ceas'd; and old Alethes took the word:
"Our country gods, in whom our trust we place,
Will yet from ruin save the Trojan race,
While we behold such dauntless worth appear
In dawning youth, and souls so void of fear."
Then into tears of joy the father broke;
Each in his longing arms by turns he took;
Panted and paus'd; and thus again he spoke:
"Ye brave young men, what equal gifts can we,
In recompense of such desert, decree?
The greatest, sure, and best you can receive,
The gods and your own conscious worth will give.
The rest our grateful gen'ral will bestow,
And young Ascanius till his manhood owe."
"And I, whose welfare in my father lies,"
Ascanius adds, "by the great deities,
By my dear country, by my household gods,
By hoary Vesta's rites and dark abodes,
Adjure you both, (on you my fortune stands;
That and my faith I plight into your hands,)
Make me but happy in his safe return,
Whose wanted presence I can only mourn;
Your common gift shall two large goblets be
Of silver, wrought with curious imagery,
And high emboss'd, which, when old Priam reign'd,
My conqu'ring sire at sack'd Arisba gain'd;
And more, two tripods cast in antic mold,
With two great talents of the finest gold;
Beside a costly bowl, ingrav'd with art,
Which Dido gave, when first she gave her heart.
But, if in conquer'd Italy we reign,
When spoils by lot the victor shall obtain-
Thou saw'st the courser by proud Turnus press'd:
That, Nisus, and his arms, and nodding crest,
And shield, from chance exempt, shall be thy share:
Twelve lab'ring slaves, twelve handmaids young and fair
All clad in rich attire, and train'd with care;
And, last, a Latian field with fruitful plains,
And a large portion of the king's domains.
But thou, whose years are more to mine allied-
No fate my vow'd affection shall divide
From thee, heroic youth! Be wholly mine;
Take full possession; all my soul is thine.
One faith, one fame, one fate, shall both attend;
My life's companion, and my bosom friend:
My peace shall be committed to thy care,
And to thy conduct my concerns in war."
Then thus the young Euryalus replied:
"Whatever fortune, good or bad, betide,
The same shall be my age, as now my youth;
No time shall find me wanting to my truth.
This only from your goodness let me gain
(And, this ungranted, all rewards are vain)
Of Priam's royal race my mother came-
And sure the best that ever bore the name-
Whom neither Troy nor Sicily could hold
From me departing, but, o'erspent and old,
My fate she follow'd. Ignorant of this
(Whatever) danger, neither parting kiss,
Nor pious blessing taken, her I leave,
And in this only act of all my life deceive.
By this right hand and conscious Night I swear,
My soul so sad a farewell could not bear.
Be you her comfort; fill my vacant place
(Permit me to presume so great a grace)
Support her age, forsaken and distress'd.
That hope alone will fortify my breast
Against the worst of fortunes, and of fears."
He said. The mov'd assistants melt in tears.
Then thus Ascanius, wonderstruck to see
That image of his filial piety:
"So great beginnings, in so green an age,
Exact the faith which I again ingage.
Thy mother all the dues shall justly claim,
Creusa had, and only want the name.
Whate'er event thy bold attempt shall have,
'T is merit to have borne a son so brave.
Now by my head, a sacred oath, I swear,
(My father us'd it,) what, returning here
Crown'd with success, I for thyself prepare,
That, if thou fail, shall thy lov'd mother share."
He said, and weeping, while he spoke the word,
From his broad belt he drew a shining sword,
Magnificent with gold. Lycaon made,
And in an ivory scabbard sheath'd the blade.
This was his gift. Great Mnestheus gave his friend
A lion's hide, his body to defend;
And good Alethes furnish'd him, beside,
With his own trusty helm, of temper tried.
Thus arm'd they went. The noble Trojans wait
Their issuing forth, and follow to the gate
With prayers and vows. Above the rest appears
Ascanius, manly far beyond his years,
And messages committed to their care,
Which all in winds were lost, and flitting air.
The trenches first they pass'd; then took their way
Where their proud foes in pitch'd pavilions lay;
To many fatal, ere themselves were slain.
They found the careless host dispers'd upon the plain,
Who, gorg'd, and drunk with wine, supinely snore.
Unharness'd chariots stand along the shore:
Amidst the wheels and reins, the goblet by,
A medley of debauch and war, they lie.
Observing Nisus shew'd his friend the sight:
"Behold a conquest gain'd without a fight.
Occasion offers, and I stand prepar'd;
There lies our way; be thou upon the guard,
And look around, while I securely go,
And hew a passage thro' the sleeping foe."
Softly he spoke; then striding took his way,
With his drawn sword, where haughty Rhamnes lay;
His head rais'd high on tapestry beneath,
And heaving from his breast, he drew his breath;
A king and prophet, by King Turnus lov'd:
But fate by prescience cannot be remov'd.
Him and his sleeping slaves he slew; then spies
Where Remus, with his rich retinue, lies.
His armor-bearer first, and next he kills
His charioteer, intrench'd betwixt the wheels
And his lov'd horses; last invades their lord;
Full on his neck he drives the fatal sword:
The gasping head flies off; a purple flood
Flows from the trunk, that welters in the blood,
Which, by the spurning heels dispers'd around,
The bed besprinkles and bedews the ground.
Lamus the bold, and Lamyrus the strong,
He slew, and then Serranus fair and young.
From dice and wine the youth retir'd to rest,
And puff'd the fumy god from out his breast:
Ev'n then he dreamt of drink and lucky play-
More lucky, had it lasted till the day.
The famish'd lion thus, with hunger bold,
O'erleaps the fences of the nightly fold,
And tears the peaceful flocks: with silent awe
Trembling they lie, and pant beneath his paw.
Nor with less rage Euryalus employs
The wrathful sword, or fewer foes destroys;
But on th' ignoble crowd his fury flew;
He Fadus, Hebesus, and Rhoetus slew.
Oppress'd with heavy sleep the former fell,
But Rhoetus wakeful, and observing all:
Behind a spacious jar he slink'd for fear;
The fatal iron found and reach'd him there;
For, as he rose, it pierc'd his naked side,
And, reeking, thence return'd in crimson dyed.
The wound pours out a stream of wine and blood;
The purple soul comes floating in the flood.
Now, where Messapus quarter'd, they arrive.
The fires were fainting there, and just alive;
The warrior-horses, tied in order, fed.
Nisus observ'd the discipline, and said:
"Our eager thirst of blood may both betray;
And see the scatter'd streaks of dawning day,
Foe to nocturnal thefts. No more, my friend;
Here let our glutted execution end.
A lane thro' slaughter'd bodies we have made."
The bold Euryalus, tho' loth, obey'd.
Of arms, and arras, and of plate, they find
A precious load; but these they leave behind.
Yet, fond of gaudy spoils, the boy would stay
To make the rich caparison his prey,
Which on the steed of conquer'd Rhamnes lay.
Nor did his eyes less longingly behold
The girdle-belt, with nails of burnish'd gold.
This present Caedicus the rich bestow'd
On Remulus, when friendship first they vow'd,
And, absent, join'd in hospitable ties:
He, dying, to his heir bequeath'd the prize;
Till, by the conqu'ring Ardean troops oppress'd,
He fell; and they the glorious gift possess'd.
These glitt'ring spoils (now made the victor's gain)
He to his body suits, but suits in vain:
Messapus' helm he finds among the rest,
And laces on, and wears the waving crest.
Proud of their conquest, prouder of their prey,
They leave the camp, and take the ready way.
But far they had not pass'd, before they spied
Three hundred horse, with Volscens for their guide.
The queen a legion to King Turnus sent;
But the swift horse the slower foot prevent,
And now, advancing, sought the leader's tent.
They saw the pair; for, thro' the doubtful shade,
His shining helm Euryalus betray'd,
On which the moon with full reflection play'd.
"'T is not for naught," cried Volscens from the crowd,
"These men go there;" then rais'd his voice aloud:
"Stand! stand! why thus in arms? And whither bent?
From whence, to whom, and on what errand sent?"
Silent they scud away, and haste their flight
To neighb'ring woods, and trust themselves to night.
The speedy horse all passages belay,
And spur their smoking steeds to cross their way,
And watch each entrance of the winding wood.
Black was the forest: thick with beech it stood,
Horrid with fern, and intricate with thorn;
Few paths of human feet, or tracks of beasts, were worn.
The darkness of the shades, his heavy prey,
And fear, misled the younger from his way.
But Nisus hit the turns with happier haste,
And, thoughtless of his friend, the forest pass'd,
And Alban plains, from Alba's name so call'd,
Where King Latinus then his oxen stall'd;
Till, turning at the length, he stood his ground,
And miss'd his friend, and cast his eyes around:
"Ah wretch!" he cried, "where have I left behind
Th' unhappy youth? where shall I hope to find?
Or what way take?" Again he ventures back,
And treads the mazes of his former track.
He winds the wood, and, list'ning, hears the noise
Of tramping coursers, and the riders' voice.
The sound approach'd; and suddenly he view'd
The foes inclosing, and his friend pursued,
Forelaid and taken, while he strove in vain
The shelter of the friendly shades to gain.
What should he next attempt? what arms employ,
What fruitless force, to free the captive boy?
Or desperate should he rush and lose his life,
With odds oppress'd, in such unequal strife?
Resolv'd at length, his pointed spear he shook;
And, casting on the moon a mournful look:
"Guardian of groves, and goddess of the night,
Fair queen," he said, "direct my dart aright.
If e'er my pious father, for my sake,
Did grateful off'rings on thy altars make,
Or I increas'd them with my sylvan toils,
And hung thy holy roofs with savage spoils,
Give me to scatter these." Then from his ear
He pois'd, and aim'd, and launch'd the trembling spear.
The deadly weapon, hissing from the grove,
Impetuous on the back of Sulmo drove;
Pierc'd his thin armor, drank his vital blood,
And in his body left the broken
He staggers round; his eyeballs roll in death,
And with short sobs he gasps away his breath.
All stand amaz'd- a second jav'lin flies
With equal strength, and quivers thro' the skies.
This thro' thy temples, Tagus, forc'd the way,
And in the brainpan warmly buried lay.
Fierce Volscens foams with rage, and, gazing round,
Descried not him who gave the fatal wound,
Nor knew to fix revenge: "But thou," he cries,
"Shalt pay for both," and at the pris'ner flies
With his drawn sword. Then, struck with deep despair,
That cruel sight the lover could not bear;
But from his covert rush'd in open view,
And sent his voice before him as he flew:
"Me! me!" he cried- "turn all your swords alone
On me- the fact confess'd, the fault my own.
He neither could nor durst, the guiltless youth:
Ye moon and stars, bear witness to the truth!
His only crime (if friendship can offend)
Is too much love to his unhappy friend."
Too late he speaks: the sword, which fury guides,
Driv'n with full force, had pierc'd his tender sides.
Down fell the beauteous youth: the yawning wound
Gush'd out a purple stream, and stain'd the ground.
His snowy neck reclines upon his breast,
Like a fair flow'r by the keen share oppress'd;
Like a white poppy sinking on the plain,
Whose heavy head is overcharg'd with rain.
Despair, and rage, and vengeance justly vow'd,
Drove Nisus headlong on the hostile crowd.
Volscens he seeks; on him alone he bends:
Borne back and bor'd by his surrounding friends,
Onward he press'd, and kept him still in sight;
Then whirl'd aloft his sword with all his might:
Th' unerring steel descended while he spoke,
Piered his wide mouth, and thro' his weazon broke.
Dying, he slew; and, stagg'ring on the plain,
With swimming eyes he sought his lover slain;
Then quiet on his bleeding bosom fell,
Content, in death, to be reveng'd so well.
O happy friends! for, if my verse can give
Immortal life, your fame shall ever live,
Fix'd as the Capitol's foundation lies,
And spread, where'er the Roman eagle flies!
The conqu'ring party first divide the prey,
Then their slain leader to the camp convey.
With wonder, as they went, the troops were fill'd,
To see such numbers whom so few had kill'd.
Serranus, Rhamnes, and the rest, they found:
Vast crowds the dying and the dead surround;
And the yet reeking blood o'erflows the ground.
All knew the helmet which Messapus lost,
But mourn'd a purchase that so dear had cost.
Now rose the ruddy morn from Tithon's bed,
And with the dawn of day the skies o'erspread;
Nor long the sun his daily course withheld,
But added colors to the world reveal'd:
When early Turnus, wak'ning with the light,
All clad in armor, calls his troops to fight.
His martial men with fierce harangue he fir'd,
And his own ardor in their souls inspir'd.
This done- to give new terror to his foes,
The heads of Nisus and his friend he shows,
Rais'd high on pointed spears- a ghastly sight:
Loud peals of shouts ensue, and barbarous delight.
Meantime the Trojans run, where danger calls;
They line their trenches, and they man their walls.
In front extended to the left they stood;
Safe was the right, surrounded by the flood.
But, casting from their tow'rs a frightful view,
They saw the faces, which too well they knew,
Tho' then disguis'd in death, and smear'd all o'er
With filth obscene, and dropping putrid gore.
Soon hasty fame thro' the sad city bears
The mournful message to the mother's ears.
An icy cold benumbs her limbs; she shakes;
Her cheeks the blood, her hand the web forsakes.
She runs the rampires round amidst the war,
Nor fears the flying darts; she rends her hair,
And fills with loud laments the liquid air.
"Thus, then, my lov'd Euryalus appears!
Thus looks the prop my declining years!
Was't on this face my famish'd eyes I fed?
Ah! how unlike the living is the dead!
And could'st thou leave me, cruel, thus alone?
Not one kind kiss from a departing son!
No look, no last adieu before he went,
In an ill-boding hour to slaughter sent!
Cold on the ground, and pressing foreign clay,
To Latian dogs and fowls he lies a prey!
Nor was I near to close his dying eyes,
To wash his wounds, to weep his obsequies,
To call about his corpse his crying friends,
Or spread the mantle (made for other ends)
On his dear body, which I wove with care,
Nor did my daily pains or nightly labor spare.
Where shall I find his corpse? what earth sustains
His trunk dismember'd, and his cold remains?
For this, alas! I left my needful ease,
Expos'd my life to winds and winter seas!
If any pity touch Rutulian hearts,
Here empty all your quivers, all your darts;
Or, if they fail, thou, Jove, conclude my woe,
And send me thunderstruck to shades below!"
Her shrieks and clamors pierce the Trojans' ears,
Unman their courage, and augment their fears;
Nor young Ascanius could the sight sustain,
Nor old Ilioneus his tears restrain,
But Actor and Idaeus jointly sent,
To bear the madding mother to her tent.
And now the trumpets terribly, from far,
With rattling clangor, rouse the sleepy war.
The soldiers' shouts succeed the brazen sounds;
And heav'n, from pole to pole, the noise rebounds.
The Volscians bear their shields upon their head,
And, rushing forward, form a moving shed.
These fill the ditch; those pull the bulwarks down:
Some raise the ladders; others scale the town.
But, where void spaces on the walls appear,
Or thin defense, they pour their forces there.
With poles and missive weapons, from afar,
The Trojans keep aloof the rising war.
Taught, by their ten years' siege, defensive fight,
They roll down ribs of rocks, an unresisted weight,
To break the penthouse with the pond'rous blow,
Which yet the patient Volscians undergo:
But could not bear th' unequal combat long;
For, where the Trojans find the thickest throng,
The ruin falls: their shatter'd shields give way,
And their crush'd heads become an easy prey.
They shrink for fear, abated of their rage,
Nor longer dare in a blind fight engage;
Contented now to gall them from below
With darts and slings, and with the distant bow.
Elsewhere Mezentius, terrible to view,
A blazing pine within the trenches threw.
But brave Messapus, Neptune's warlike son,
Broke down the palisades, the trenches won,
And loud for ladders calls, to scale the town.
Calliope, begin! Ye sacred Nine,
Inspire your poet in his high design,
To sing what slaughter manly Turnus made,
What souls he sent below the Stygian shade,
What fame the soldiers with their captain share,
And the vast circuit of the fatal war;
For you in singing martial facts excel;
You best remember, and alone can tell.
There stood a tow'r, amazing to the sight,
Built up of beams, and of stupendous height:
Art, and the nature of the place, conspir'd
To furnish all the strength that war requir'd.
To level this, the bold Italians join;
The wary Trojans obviate their design;
With weighty stones o'erwhelm their troops below,
Shoot thro' the loopholes, and sharp jav'lins throw.
Turnus, the chief, toss'd from his thund'ring hand
Against the wooden walls, a flaming brand:
It stuck, the fiery plague; the winds were high;
The planks were season'd, and the timber dry.
Contagion caught the posts; it spread along,
Scorch'd, and to distance drove the scatter'd throng.
The Trojans fled; the fire pursued amain,
Still gath'ring fast upon the trembling train;
Till, crowding to the corners of the wall,
Down the defense and the defenders fall.
The mighty flaw makes heav'n itself resound:
The dead and dying Trojans strew the ground.
The tow'r, that follow'd on the fallen crew,
Whelm'd o'er their heads, and buried whom it slew:
Some stuck upon the darts themselves had sent;
All the same equal ruin underwent.
Young Lycus and Helenor only scape;
Sav'd- how, they know not- from the steepy leap.
Helenor, elder of the two: by birth,
On one side royal, one a son of earth,
Whom to the Lydian king Licymnia bare,
And sent her boasted bastard to the war
(A privilege which none but freemen share).
Slight were his arms, a sword and silver shield:
No marks of honor charg'd its empty field.
Light as he fell, so light the youth arose,
And rising, found himself amidst his foes;
Nor flight was left, nor hopes to force his way.
Embolden'd by despair, he stood at bay;
And- like a stag, whom all the troop surrounds
Of eager huntsmen and invading hounds-
Resolv'd on death, he dissipates his fears,
And bounds aloft against the pointed spears:
So dares the youth, secure of death; and throws
His dying body on his thickest foes.
But Lycus, swifter of his feet by far,
Runs, doubles, winds and turns, amidst the war;
Springs to the walls, and leaves his foes behind,
And snatches at the beam he first can find;
Looks up, and leaps aloft at all the stretch,
In hopes the helping hand of some kind friend to reach.
But Turnus follow'd hard his hunted prey
(His spear had almost reach'd him in the way,
Short of his reins, and scarce a span behind)
"Fool!" said the chief, "tho' fleeter than the wind,
Couldst thou presume to scape, when I pursue?"
He said, and downward by the feet he drew
The trembling dastard; at the tug he falls;
Vast ruins come along, rent from the smoking walls.
Thus on some silver swan, or tim'rous hare,
Jove's bird comes sousing down from upper air;
Her crooked talons truss the fearful prey:
Then out of sight she soars, and wings her way.
So seizes the grim wolf the tender lamb,
In vain lamented by the bleating dam.
Then rushing onward with a barb'rous cry,
The troops of Turnus to the combat fly.
The ditch with fagots fill'd, the daring foe
Toss'd firebrands to the steepy turrets throw.
Ilioneus, as bold Lucetius came
To force the gate, and feed the kindling flame,
Roll'd down the fragment of a rock so right,
It crush'd him double underneath the weight.
Two more young Liger and Asylas slew:
To bend the bow young Liger better knew;
Asylas best the pointed jav'lin threw.
Brave Caeneus laid Ortygius on the plain;
The victor Caeneus was by Turnus slain.
By the same hand, Clonius and Itys fall,
Sagar, and Ida, standing on the wall.
From Capys' arms his fate Privernus found:
Hurt by Themilla first-but slight the wound-
His shield thrown by, to mitigate the smart,
He clapp'd his hand upon the wounded part:
The second shaft came swift and unespied,
And pierc'd his hand, and nail'd it to his side,
Transfix'd his breathing lungs and beating heart:
The soul came issuing out, and hiss'd against the dart.
The son of Arcens shone amid the rest,
In glitt'ring armor and a purple vest,
(Fair was his face, his eyes inspiring love,)
Bred by his father in the Martian grove,
Where the fat altars of Palicus flame,
And send in arms to purchase early fame.
Him when he spied from far, the Tuscan king
Laid by the lance, and took him to the sling,
Thrice whirl'd the thong around his head, and threw:
The heated lead half melted as it flew;
It pierc'd his hollow temples and his brain;
The youth came tumbling down, and spurn'd the plain.
Then young Ascanius, who, before this day,
Was wont in woods to shoot the savage prey,
First bent in martial strife the twanging bow,
And exercis'd against a human foe-
With this bereft Numanus of his life,
Who Turnus' younger sister took to wife.
Proud of his realm, and of his royal bride,
Vaunting before his troops, and lengthen'd with a stride,
In these insulting terms the Trojans he defied:
"Twice-conquer'd cowards, now your shame is shown-
Coop'd up a second time within your town!
Who dare not issue forth in open field,
But hold your walls before you for a shield.
Thus threat you war? thus our alliance force?
What gods, what madness, hether steer'd your course?
You shall not find the sons of Atreus here,
Nor need the frauds of sly Ulysses fear.
Strong from the cradle, of a sturdy brood,
We bear our newborn infants to the flood;
There bath'd amid the stream, our boys we hold,
With winter harden'd, and inur'd to cold.
They wake before the day to range the wood,
Kill ere they eat, nor taste unconquer'd food.
No sports, but what belong to war, they know:
To break the stubborn colt, to bend the bow.
Our youth, of labor patient, earn their bread;
Hardly they work, with frugal diet fed.
From plows and harrows sent to seek renown,
They fight in fields, and storm the shaken town.
No part of life from toils of war is free,
No change in age, or diff'rence in degree.
We plow and till in arms; our oxen feel,
Instead of goads, the spur and pointed steel;
Th' inverted lance makes furrows in the plain.
Ev'n time, that changes all, yet changes us in vain:
The body, not the mind; nor can control
Th' immortal vigor, or abate the soul.
Our helms defend the young, disguise the gray:
We live by plunder, and delight in prey.
Your vests embroider'd with rich purple shine;
In sloth you glory, and in dances join.
Your vests have sweeping sleeves; with female pride
Your turbants underneath your chins are tied.
Go, Phrygians, to your Dindymus again!
Go, less than women, in the shapes of men!
Go, mix'd with eunuchs, in the Mother's rites,
Where with unequal sound the flute invites;
Sing, dance, and howl, by turns, in Ida's shade:
Resign the war to men, who know the martial trade!"
This foul reproach Ascanius could not hear
With patience, or a vow'd revenge forbear.
At the full stretch of both his hands he drew,
And almost join'd the horns of the tough yew.
But, first, before the throne of Jove he stood,
And thus with lifted hands invok'd the god:
"My first attempt, great Jupiter, succeed!
An annual off'ring in thy grove shall bleed;
A snow-white steer, before thy altar led,
Who, like his mother, bears aloft his head,
Butts with his threat'ning brows, and bellowing stands,
And dares the fight, and spurns the yellow sands."
Jove bow'd the heav'ns, and lent a gracious ear,
And thunder'd on the left, amidst the clear.
Sounded at once the bow; and swiftly flies
The feather'd death, and hisses thro' the skies.
The steel thro' both his temples forc'd the way:
Extended on the ground, Numanus lay.
"Go now, vain boaster, and true valor scorn!
The Phrygians, twice subdued, yet make this third return."
Ascanius said no more. The Trojans shake
The heav'ns with shouting, and new vigor take.
Apollo then bestrode a golden cloud,
To view the feats of arms, and fighting crowd;
And thus the beardless victor he bespoke aloud:
"Advance, illustrious youth, increase in fame,
And wide from east to west extend thy name;
Offspring of gods thyself; and Rome shall owe
To thee a race of demigods below.
This is the way to heav'n: the pow'rs divine
From this beginning date the Julian line.
To thee, to them, and their victorious heirs,
The conquer'd war is due, and the vast world is theirs.
Troy is too narrow for thy name." He said,
And plunging downward shot his radiant head;
Dispell'd the breathing air, that broke his flight:
Shorn of his beams, a man to mortal sight.
Old Butes' form he took, Anchises' squire,
Now left, to rule Ascanius, by his sire:
His wrinkled visage, and his hoary hairs,
His mien, his habit, and his arms, he wears,
And thus salutes the boy, too forward for his years:
"Suffice it thee, thy father's worthy son,
The warlike prize thou hast already won.
The god of archers gives thy youth a part
Of his own praise, nor envies equal art.
Now tempt the war no more." He said, and flew
Obscure in air, and vanish'd from their view.
The Trojans, by his arms, their patron know,
And hear the twanging of his heav'nly bow.
Then duteous force they use, and Phoebus' name,
To keep from fight the youth too fond of fame.
Undaunted, they themselves no danger shun;
From wall to wall the shouts and clamors run.
They bend their bows; they whirl their slings around;
Heaps of spent arrows fall, and strew the ground;
And helms, and shields, and rattling arms resound.
The combat thickens, like the storm that flies
From westward, when the show'ry Kids arise;
Or patt'ring hail comes pouring on the main,
When Jupiter descends in harden'd rain,
Or bellowing clouds burst with a stormy sound,
And with an armed winter strew the ground.
Pand'rus and Bitias, thunderbolts of war,
Whom Hiera to bold Alcanor bare
On Ida's top, two youths of height and size
Like firs that on their mother mountain rise,
Presuming on their force, the gates unbar,
And of their own accord invite the war.
With fates averse, against their king's command,
Arm'd, on the right and on the left they stand,
And flank the passage: shining steel they wear,
And waving crests above their heads appear.
Thus two tall oaks, that Padus' banks adorn,
Lift up to heav'n their leafy heads unshorn,
And, overpress'd with nature's heavy load,
Dance to the whistling winds, and at each other nod.
In flows a tide of Latians, when they see
The gate set open, and the passage free;
Bold Quercens, with rash Tmarus, rushing on,
Equicolus, that in bright armor shone,
And Haemon first; but soon repuls'd they fly,
Or in the well-defended pass they die.
These with success are fir'd, and those with rage,
And each on equal terms at length ingage.
Drawn from their lines, and issuing on the plain,
The Trojans hand to hand the fight maintain.
Fierce Turnus in another quarter fought,
When suddenly th' unhop'd-for news was brought,
The foes had left the fastness of their place,
Prevail'd in fight, and had his men in chase.
He quits th' attack, and, to prevent their fate,
Runs where the giant brothers guard the gate.
The first he met, Antiphates the brave,
But base-begotten on a Theban slave,
Sarpedon's son, he slew: the deadly dart
Found passage thro' his breast, and pierc'd his heart.
Fix'd in the wound th' Italian cornel stood,
Warm'd in his lungs, and in his vital blood.
Aphidnus next, and Erymanthus dies,
And Meropes, and the gigantic size
Of Bitias, threat'ning with his ardent eyes.
Not by the feeble dart he fell oppress'd
(A dart were lost within that roomy breast),
But from a knotted lance, large, heavy, strong,
Which roar'd like thunder as it whirl'd along:
Not two bull hides th' impetuous force withhold,
Nor coat of double mail, with scales of gold.
Down sunk the monster bulk and press'd the ground;
His arms and clatt'ring shield on the vast body sound,
Not with less ruin than the Bajan mole,
Rais'd on the seas, the surges to control-
At once comes tumbling down the rocky wall;
Prone to the deep, the stones disjointed fall
Of the vast pile; the scatter'd ocean flies;
Black sands, discolor'd froth, and mingled mud arise:
The frighted billows roll, and seek the shores;
Then trembles Prochyta, then Ischia roars:
Typhoeus, thrown beneath, by Jove's command,
Astonish'd at the flaw that shakes the land,
Soon shifts his weary side, and, scarce awake,
With wonder feels the weight press lighter on his back.
The warrior god the Latian troops inspir'd,
New strung their sinews, and their courage fir'd,
But chills the Trojan hearts with cold affright:
Then black despair precipitates their flight.
When Pandarus beheld his brother kill'd,
The town with fear and wild confusion fill'd,
He turns the hinges of the heavy gate
With both his hands, and adds his shoulders to the weight
Some happier friends within the walls inclos'd;
The rest shut out, to certain death expos'd:
Fool as he was, and frantic in his care,
T' admit young Turnus, and include the war!
He thrust amid the crowd, securely bold,
Like a fierce tiger pent amid the fold.
Too late his blazing buckler they descry,
And sparkling fires that shot from either eye,
His mighty members, and his ample breast,
His rattling armor, and his crimson crest.
Far from that hated face the Trojans fly,
All but the fool who sought his destiny.
Mad Pandarus steps forth, with vengeance vow'd
For Bitias' death, and threatens thus aloud:
"These are not Ardea's walls, nor this the town
Amata proffers with Lavinia's crown:
'T is hostile earth you tread. Of hope bereft,
No means of safe return by flight are left."
To whom, with count'nance calm, and soul sedate,
Thus Turnus: "Then begin, and try thy fate:
My message to the ghost of Priam bear;
Tell him a new Achilles sent thee there."
A lance of tough ground ash the Trojan threw,
Rough in the rind, and knotted as it grew:
With his full force he whirl'd it first around;
But the soft yielding air receiv'd the wound:
Imperial Juno turn'd the course before,
And fix'd the wand'ring weapon in the door.
"But hope not thou," said Turnus, "when I strike,
To shun thy fate: our force is not alike,
Nor thy steel temper'd by the Lemnian god."
Then rising, on his utmost stretch he stood,
And aim'd from high: the full descending blow
Cleaves the broad front and beardless cheeks in two.
Down sinks the giant with a thund'ring sound:
His pond'rous limbs oppress the trembling ground;
Blood, brains, and foam gush from the gaping wound:
Scalp, face, and shoulders the keen steel divides,
And the shar'd visage hangs on equal sides.
The Trojans fly from their approaching fate;
And, had the victor then secur'd the gate,
And to his troops without unclos'd the bars,
One lucky day had ended all his wars.
But boiling youth, and blind desire of blood,
Push'd on his fury, to pursue the crowd.
Hamstring'd behind, unhappy Gyges died;
Then Phalaris is added to his side.
The pointed jav'lins from the dead he drew,
And their friends' arms against their fellows threw.
Strong Halys stands in vain; weak Phlegys flies;
Saturnia, still at hand, new force and fire supplies.
Then Halius, Prytanis, Alcander fall-
Ingag'd against the foes who scal'd the wall:
But, whom they fear'd without, they found within.
At last, tho' late, by Lynceus he was seen.
He calls new succors, and assaults the prince:
But weak his force, and vain is their defense.
Turn'd to the right, his sword the hero drew,
And at one blow the bold aggressor slew.
He joints the neck; and, with a stroke so strong,
The helm flies off, and bears the head along.
Next him, the huntsman Amycus he kill'd,
In darts invenom'd and in poison skill'd.
Then Clytius fell beneath his fatal spear,
And Creteus, whom the Muses held so dear:
He fought with courage, and he sung the fight;
Arms were his bus'ness, verses his delight.
The Trojan chiefs behold, with rage and grief,
Their slaughter'd friends, and hasten their relief.
Bold Mnestheus rallies first the broken train,
Whom brave Seresthus and his troop sustain.
To save the living, and revenge the dead,
Against one warrior's arms all Troy they led.
"O, void of sense and courage!" Mnestheus cried,
"Where can you hope your coward heads to hide?
Ah! where beyond these rampires can you run?
One man, and in your camp inclos'd, you shun!
Shall then a single sword such slaughter boast,
And pass unpunish'd from a num'rous host?
Forsaking honor, and renouncing fame,
Your gods, your country, and your king you shame!"
This just reproach their virtue does excite:
They stand, they join, they thicken to the fight.