Aeneid (Williams)/Book I
Arms and the man I sing, who first made way,
Predestined exile, from the Trojan shore
To Italy, the blest Lavinian strand.
Smitten of storms he was on land and sea
By violence of Heaven, to satisfy 5
Stern Juno’s sleepless wrath; and much in war
He suffered, seeking at the last to found
The city, and bring o’er his fathers’ gods
To safe abode in Latium; whence arose
The Latin race, old Alba’s reverend lords, 10
And from her hills wide-walled, imperial Rome.
O Muse, the causes tell! What sacrilege,
Or vengeful sorrow, moved the heavenly Queen
To thrust on dangers dark and endless toil
A man whose largest honor in men’s eyes 15
Was serving Heaven? Can gods such anger feel?
In ages gones an ancient city stood—
Carthage, a Tyrian seat, which from afar
Made front on Italy and on the mouths
Of Tiber’s stream; its wealth and revenues 20
Were vast, and ruthless was its quest of war.
’T is said that Juno, of all lands she loved,
Most cherished this,—not Samos’ self so dear.
Here were her arms, her chariot; even then
A throne of power o’er nations near and far, 25
If Fate opposed not, ’t was her darling hope
To ’stablish here; but anxiously she heard
That of the Trojan blood there was a breed
Then rising, which upon the destined day
Should utterly o’erwhelm her Tyrian towers; 30
A people of wide sway and conquest proud
Should compass Libya’s doom;—such was the web
The Fatal Sisters spun.
Such was the fear
Of Saturn’s daughter, who remembered well
What long and unavailing strife she waged 35
For her loved Greeks at Troy. Nor did she fail
To meditate th’ occasions of her rage,
And cherish deep within her bosom proud
Its griefs and wrongs: the choice by Paris made;
Her scorned and slighted beauty; a whole race 40
Rebellious to her godhead; and Jove’s smile
That beamed on eagle-ravished Ganymede.
With all these thoughts infuriate, her power
Pursued with tempests o’er the boundless main
The Trojans, though by Grecian victor spared 45
And fierce Achilles; so she thrust them far
From Latium; and they drifted, Heaven-impelled,
Year after year, o’er many an unknown sea—
O labor vast, to found the Roman line!
Below th’ horizon the Sicilian isle 50
Just sank from view, as for the open sea
With heart of hope they said, and every ship
Clove with its brazen beak the salt, white waves.
But Juno of her everlasting wound
Knew no surcease, but from her heart of pain 55
Thus darkly mused: “Must I, defeated, fail
“Of what I will, nor turn the Teucrian King
“From Italy away? Can Fate oppose?
“Had Pallas power to lay waste in flame
“The Argive fleet and sink its mariners, 60
“Revenging but the sacrilege obscene
“By Ajax wrought, Oïleus’ desperate son?
“She, from the clouds, herself Jove’s lightning threw,
“Scattered the ships, and ploughed the sea with storms.
“Her foe, from his pierced breast out-breathing fire, 65
“In whirlwind on a deadly rock she flung.
“But I, who move among the gods a queen,
“Jove’s sister and his spouse, with one weak tribe
“Make war so long! Who now on Juno calls?
“What suppliant gifts henceforth her altars crown?” 70
So, in her fevered heart complaining still,
Unto the storm-cloud land the goddess came,
A region with wild whirlwinds in its womb,
Æolia named, where royal Æolus
In a high-vaulted cavern keeps control 75
O’er warring winds and loud concoùrse of storms.
There closely pent in chains and bastions strong,
They, scornful, make the vacant mountain roar,
Chafing against their bonds. But from a throne
Of lofty crag, their king with sceptred hand 80
Allays their fury and their rage confines.
Did he not so, our ocean, earth, and sky
Were whirled before them through the vast inane.
But over-ruling Jove, of this in fear,
Hid them in dungeon dark: then o’er them piled 85
Huge mountains, and ordained a lawful king
To hold them in firm sway, or know what time,
With Jove’s consent, to loose them o’er the world.
To him proud Juno thus made lowly plea:
“Thou in whose hands the Father of all gods 90
“And Sovereign of mankind confides the power
“To calm the waters or with winds upturn,
“Great Æolus! a race with me at war
“Now sails the Tuscan main towards Italy,
“Bringing their Ilium and its vanquished powers. 95
“Uprouse thy gales! Strike that proud navy down!
“Hurl far and wide, and strew the waves with dead!
“Twice seven nymphs are mine, of rarest mould,
“Of whom Deïopea, the most fair,
“I give thee in true wedlock for thine own, 100
“To mate thy noble worth; she at thy side
“Shall pass long, happy years, and fruitful bring
“Her beauteous offspring unto thee their sire.”
Then Æolus: “’T is thy sole task, O Queen
“To weigh thy wish and will. My fealty 105
“Thy high behest obeys. This humble throne
“Is of thy gift. Thy smiles for me obtain
“Authority from Jove. Thy grace concedes
“My station at your bright Olympian board,
“And gives me lordship of the darkening storm.” 110
Replying thus, he smote with spear reversed
The hollow mountain’s wall; then rush the winds
Through that wide breach in long, embattled line,
And sweep tumultuous from land to land:
With brooding pinions o’er the waters spread 115
East wind and south, and boisterous Afric gale
Upturn the sea; vast billows shoreward roll;
The shout of mariners, the creak of cordage,
Follow the shock; low-hanging clouds conceal
From Trojan eyes all sight of heaven and day; 120
Night o’er the ocean broods; from sky to sky
The thunder roll, the ceaseless lightnings glare;
And all things mean swift death for mortal man.
Straightway Æneas, shuddering with amaze,
Groaned loud, upraised both holy hands to Heaven, 125
And thus did plead: “O thrice and four times blest,
“Ye whom your sires and whom the walls of Troy
“Looked on in your last hour! O bravest son
“Greece ever bore, Tydides! O that I
“Had fallen on Ilian fields, and given this life 130
“Struck down by thy strong hand! where by the spear
“Of great Achilles, fiery Hector fell,
“And huge Sarpedon; where the Simois
“In furious flood engulfed and whirled away
“So many helms and shields and heroes slain!” 135
While thus he cried to Heaven, a shrieking blast
Smote full upon the sail. Up surged the waves
To strike the very stars; in fragments flew
The shattered oars; the helpless vessel veered
And gave her broadside to the roaring flood, 140
Where watery mountains rose and burst and fell.
Now high in air she hangs, then yawning gulfs
Lay bare the shoals and sand o’er which she drives.
Three ships a whirling south wind snatched and flung
On hidden rocks,—altars of sacrifice 145
Italians call them, which lie far from shore
A vast ridge in the sea; three ships beside
An east wind, blowing landward from the deep,
Drove on the shallows,—pitiable sight,—
And girdled them in walls of drifting sand. 150
That ship, which, with his friend Orontes, bore
The Lycian mariners, a great, plunging wave
Struck straight astern, before Æneas’ eyes.
Forward the steersman rolled and o’er the side
Fell headlong, while three times the circling flood 155
Spun the light bark through swift engulfing seas.
Look, how the lonely swimmers breast the wave!
And on the waste of waters wide are seen
Weapons of war, spars, planks, and treasures rare,
Once Ilium’s boast, all mingled with the storm. 160
Now o’er Achates and Ilioneus,
Now o’er the ship of Abas or Aletes,
Bursts the tempestuous shock; their loosened seams
Yawn wide and yield the angry wave its will.
Meanwhile, how all his smitten ocean moaned, 165
And how the tempest’s turbulent assault
Had vexed the stillness of his deepest cave,
Great Neptune knew; and with indignant mien
Uplifted o’er the sea his sovereign brow.
He saw the Teucrian navy scattered far 170
Along the waters; and Æneas’ men
O’erwhelmed in mingling shock of wave and sky.
Saturnian Juno’s vengeful stratagem
Her brother’s royal glance failed not to see;
And loud to eastward and to westward calling, 175
He voiced this word: “What pride of birth or power
“Is yours, ye winds, that, reckless of my will,
“Audacious thus, ye ride through earth and heaven,
“And stir these mountain waves? Such rebels I—
“Nay, first I calm this tumult! But yourselves 180
“By heavier chastisement shall expiate
“Hereafter your bold trespass. Haste away
“And bear your king this word! Not unto him
“Dominion o’er the seas and trident dread,
“But unto mind, Fate gives. Let him possess 185
“Wild mountain crags, thy favored haunt and home,
“O Eurus! In his barbarous mansion there,
“Let Æolus look proud, and play the king
“In yon close-bounded prison-house of storms!”
He spoke, and swiftlier than his word subdued 190
The swelling of the floods; dispersed afar
Th’ assembled clouds, and brought back light to heaven.
Cymothoë then and Triton, with huge toil,
Thrust down the vessels from the sharp-edged reef;
While, with the trident, the great god’s own hand 195
Assists the task; then, from the sand-strewn shore
Out-ebbing far, he calms the whole wide sea,
And glides light-wheeled along the crested foam.
As when, with not unwonted tumult, roars
In some vast city a rebellious mob, 200
And base-born passions in its bosom burn,
Till rocks and blazing torches fill the air
(Rage never lacks for arms)—if haply then
Some wise man comes, whose reverend looks attest
A life to duty given, swift silence falls; 205
All ears are turned attentive; and he sways
With clear and soothing speech the people’s will.
So ceased the sea’s uproar, when its grave Sire
Looked o’er th’ expanse, and, riding on in light,
Flung free rein to his winged obedient car. 210
Æneas’ wave-worn crew now landward made,
And took the nearest passage, whither lay
The coast of Libya. A haven there
Walled in by bold sides of a rocky isle,
Offers a spacious and secure retreat, 215
Where every billow from the distant main
Breaks, and in many a rippling curve retires.
Huge crags and two confronted promontories
Frown heaven-high, beneath whose brows outspread
The silent, sheltered waters; on the heights 220
the bright and glimmering foliage seems to show
A woodland amphitheatre; and yet higher
Rises a straight-stemmed grove of dense, dark shade.
Fronting on these a grotto may be seen,
O’erhung by steep cliffs; from its inmost wall 225
Clear springs gush out; and shelving seats it has
Of unhewn stone, a place the wood-nymphs love.
In such a port, a weary ship rides free
Of weight of firm-fluked anchor or strong chain.
Hither Æneas, of his scattered fleet 230
Saving but seven, into harbor sailed;
With passionate longing for the touch of land,
Forth leapt the Trojans to the welcome shore,
And fling their dripping limbs along the ground.
Then good Achates smote a flinty stone, 235
Secured a flashing spark, heaped on light leaves,
And with dry branches nursed the mounting flame.
Then Ceres’ gift from the corrupting sea
They bring away; and wearied utterly
Ply Ceres’ cunning on the rescued corn, 240
And parch in flames, and mill ’twixt two smooth stones.
Æneas meanwhile climbed the cliffs, and searched
The wide sea-prospect; haply Antheus there,
Storm-buffeted, might sail with his ken,
With biremes, and his Phrygian mariners, 245
Or Capys or Caïcus armor-clad,
Upon a towering deck. No ship is seen;
But while he looks, three stags along the shore
Come straying by, and close behind them comes
The whole herd, browsing through the lowland vale 250
In one long line. Æneas stopped and seized
His bow and swift-winged arrows, which his friend,
Trusty Achates, close beside him bore.
His first shafts brought to earth the lordly heads
Of the high-antlered chiefs; his next assailed 255
The general herd, and drove them one and all
In panic through the leafy wood, nor ceased
The victory of his bow, till on the ground
Lay seven huge forms, one gift for every ship.
Then back to shore he sped, and to his friends 260
Distributed the spoil, with that rare wine
Which good Acestes erst in Sicily
Had stored in jars, and prince-like sent away
With his loved guest;—this too Æneas gave;
And with these words their mournful mood consoled. 265
“Companions mine, we have not failed to feel
“Calamity till now. O, ye have borne
“Far heavier sorrow: Jove will make an end
“Also of this. Ye sailed a course hard by
“Infuriate Scylla’s howling cliffs and caves. 270
“Ye knew the Cyclops’ crags. Lift up your hearts!
“No more complaint and fear! It well may be
“Some happier hour will find this memory fair.
“Through chance and change and hazard without end,
“Our goal is Latium; where our destinies 275
“Beckon to blest abodes, and have ordained
“That Troy shall rise new-born! Have patience all!
“And bide expectantly that golden day.”
Such was his word, but vexed with grief and care,
Feigned hopes upon his forehead firm he wroe, 280
And locked within his heart a hero’s pain.
Now round the welcome trophies of his chase
They gather for a feast. Some flay the ribs
And bare the flesh below; some slice with knives,
And on keen prongs the quivering strips impale, 285
Place cauldrons on the shore, and fan the fires.
Then, stretched at ease on couch of simple green,
They rally their lost powers, and feast them well
On seasoned wine and succulent haunch of game.
But hunger banished and the banquet done, 290
In long discourse of their lost mates they tell,
’Twixt hopes and fears divided; for who knows
Whether the lost ones live, or strive with death,
Or heed no more whatever voice may call?
Chiefly Æneas now bewails his friends, 295
Orontes brave and fallen Amycus,
Or mourns with grief untold the untimely doom
Of bold young Gyas and Cloanthus bold.
After these things were past, exalted Jove,
From his ethereal sky surveying clear 300
The seas all winged with sails, lands widely spread,
And nations populous from shore to shore,
Paused on the peak of heaven, and fixed his gaze
On Libya. But while he anxious mused,
Near him, her radiant eyes all dim with tears, 305
Nor smiling any more, Venus approached,
And thus complained: “O thou who dost control
“Things human and divine by changeless laws,
“Enthroned in awful thunder! What huge wrong
“Could my Æneas and his Trojans few 310
“Achieve against thy power? For they have borne
“Unnumbered deaths, and, failing Italy,
“The gates of all the world against them close.
“Hast thou not given us thy covenant
“That hence the Romans when the rolling years 315
“Have come full cycle, shall arise to power
“From Troy’s regenerate seed, and rule supreme
“The unresisted lords of land and sea?
“O Sire, what swerves thy will? How oft have I
“In Troy’s most lamentable wreck and woe 320
“Consoled my heart with this, and balanced oft
“Our destined good against our destined ill!
“But the same stormful fortune still pursues
“My band of heroes on their perilous way.
“When shall these labors cease, O glorious King? 325
“Antenor, though th’ Achæans pressed his sore,
“Found his way forth, and entered unassailed
“Illyria’s haven, and the guarded land
“Of the Liburni. Straight up stream he said
“Where like a swollen sea Timavus pours 330
“A nine-fold flood from roaring mountain gorge,
“And whelms with voiceful wave the fields below.
“He built Patavium there, and fixed abodes
“For Troy’s far-exiled sons; he gave a name
“To a new land and race; the Trojan arms 335
“Were hung on temple walls; and, to this day,
“Lying in perfect peace, the hero sleeps.
“But we of thine own seed, to whom thou dost
“A station in the arch of heaven assign,
“Behold our navy vilely wrecked, because 340
“A single god is angry; we endure
“This treachery and violence, whereby
“Wide seas divide us from th’ Hesperian shore.
“Is this what piety receives? Or thus
“Doth Heaven’s decree restore our fallen thrones?” 345
Smiling reply, the Sire of gods and men
With such a look as clears the skies of storm,
Chastely his daughter kissed, and thus spake on:
“Let Cytherea cast her fears away!
“Irrevocably blest the fortunes be 350
“Of thee and thine. Nor shalt thou fail to see
“That City, and the proud predestined wall
“Encompassing Lavinium. Thyself
“Shall starward to the heights of heaven bear
“Æneas the great-hearted. Nothing serves 355
“My will once uttered. Since such carking cares
“Consume thee, I this hour speak freely forth,
“And leaf by leaf the book of fate unfold.
“Thy son in Italy shall wage vast war
“And quell its nations wild; his city-wall 360
“And sacred laws shall be a mighty bond
“About his gathered people. Summers three
“Shall Lavinium call him king; and three times pass
“The winter o’er Rutulia’s vanquished hills.
“His heir, Ascanius, now Iulus called 365
“(Ilus it was while Ilium’s kingdom stood),
“Full thirty months shall reign, then move the throne
“From the Lavinian citadel, and build
“For Alba Longa its well-bastioned wall.
“Here three full centuries shall Hector’s race 370
“Have kingly power; till a priestess queen,
“By Mars conceiving, her twin offspring bear;
“Then Romulus, wolf-nursed and proudly clad
“In tawny wolf-skin mantle, shall receive
“The sceptre of his race. He shall uprear 375
“The war-god’s citadel and lofty wall,
“And on his Romans his own name bestow.
“To these I give no bounded times or power,
“But empire without end. Yea, even my Queen,
“Juno, who now chastiseth land and sea 380
“With her dread frown, will find a wiser way,
“And at my sovereign side protect and bless
“The Romans, masters of the whole round world,
“Who, clad in peaceful toga, judge mankind.
“Such my decree! In lapse of seasons due, 385
“The heirs of Ilium’s kings shall bind in chains
“Mycenæ’s glory and Achilles’ towers,
“And over prostrate Argos sit supreme.
“Of Trojan stock illustriously sprung,
“Lo, Cæsar comes! whose power the ocean bounds, 390
“Whose fame, the skies. He shall receive the name
“Iulus nobly bore, great Julius, he.
“Him to the skies, in Orient trophies dight,
“Thou shalt with smiles receive; and he, like us,
“Shall hear at his own shrines the suppliant vow. 395
“Then will the world grow mild; the battle-sound
“Will be forgot; for olden Honor then,
“With spotless Vesta, and the brothers twain,
“Remus and Romulus, at strife no more,
“Will publish sacred laws. The dreadful gates 400
“Whence issueth war, shall with close-jointed steel
“Be barred impregnably; and prisoned there
“The heaven-offending Fury, throned on swords,
“And fettered by a hundred brazen chains,
“Shall belch vain curses from his lips of gore.” 405
These words he gave, and summoned Maia’s son,
The herald Mercury, who earthward flying,
Should bid the Tyrian realms and new-built towers
Welcome the Trojan waifs; lest Dido, blind
To Fate’s decree, should thrust him from the land. 410
He takes his flight, with rhythmic stroke of wing,
Across th’ abyss of air, and soon draws near
Unto the Libyan mainland. He fulfils
His heavenly task; the Punic hearts of stone
Grow soft beneath the effluence divine; 415
And, most of all, the Queen, with heart at ease,
Awaits benignantly her guests from Troy.
But good Æneas, pondering all night long
His many cares, when first the cheerful dawn
Upon him broke, resolved to take survey 420
Of this strange country whither wind and wave
Had driven him,—for desert land it seemed,—
To learn what tribes of man or beast possess
A place so wild, and careful tidings bring
Back to his friends. His fleet of ships the while, 425
Where dense, dark groves o’er-arch a hollowed crag,
He left encircled in far-branching shade.
Then with no followers save his trusty friend
Achates, he went forth upon his way,
Two broad-tipped javelins poising in his hand. 430
Deep to the midmost wood he went, and there
His Mother in his path uprose; she seemed
In garp and countenance a maid, and bore,
Like Spartan maids, a weapon; in such guise
Harpalyce the Thracian urges on 435
Her panting coursers and in wild career
Outstrips impetuous Hebrus as it flower.
Over her lovely shoulders was a bow,
Slender and light, as fits a huntress fair;
Her golden tresses without wimple moved 440
In every wind, and girded in a knot
Her undulant vesture bared her marble knees.
She hailed them thus: “Ho, sirs, I pray you tell
“If haply ye have noted, as ye came,
“One of my sisters in this wood astray? 445
“She bore a quiver, and a lynx’s hide
“Her spotted mantle was; perchance she roused
“Some foaming boar, and chased with a loud halloo.”
So Venus spoke, and Venus’ son replied:
“No voice or vision of thy sister fair 450
“Has crossed my path, thou maid without a name!
“Thy beauty seems not of terrestrial mould,
“Nor is thy music mortal! Tell me, goddess,
“Art thou bring Phœbus’ sister? Or some nymph,
“The daughter of a god? Whate’er thou art, 455
“Thy favor we implore, and potent aid
“In our vast toil. Instruct us of what skies,
“Or what world’s end, our storm-swept lives have found!
“Strange are these lands and people where we rove,
“Compelled by wind and wave. Lo, this right hand 460
“Shall many a victim on thine altars slay!”
Then Venus: “Nay, I boast not to receive
“Honors divine. We Tyrian virgins oft
“Bear bow and quiver, and our ankles white
“Lace up in purple buskin. Yonder lies 465
“The Punic power, where Tyrian masters hold
“Agenor’s town; but on its borders dwell
“The Libyans, by battles unsubdued.
“Upon the throne is Dido, exiled there
“From Tyre, to flee th’ unnatural enmity 470
“Of her own brother. ’T was an ancient wrong;
“Too long the dark and tangled tale would be;
“I trace the larger outline of her story;
“Sichæus was her spouse, whose acres broad
“No Tyrian lord could match, and he was blessed 475
“By his ill-fated lady’s fondest love,
“Whose father gave him her first virgin bloom
“In youthful marriage. But the kingly power
“Among the Tyrians to her brother came,
“Pygmalion, none deeper dyed in crime 480
“In all that land. Betwixt these twain there rose
“A deadly hatred, and the impious wretch,
“Blinded by greed, and reckless utterly
“Of his fond sister’s joy, did murder foul
“Upon defenceless and unarmed Sichæus, 485
“And at that very altar hewed him down.
“Long did he hide the deed, and guilefully
“Deceived with false hopes, and fair glozing words,
“Her grief and stricken love. But as she slept,
“Her husband’s tombless ghost before her came, 490
“With face all wondrous pale, and he laid bare
“His heart with dagger pierced, disclosing so
“The blood-stained altar and the infamy
“That darkened now their house. His counsel was
“To fly, self-banished, from her ruined land. 495
“And for her journey’s aid, he whispered where
“His buried treasure lay, a weight unknown
“Of silver and of gold. Thus onward urged,
“Dido, assembling her few trusted friends,
“Prepared her flight. There rallied to her cause 500
“All who did hate and scorn the tyrant king,
“Or feared his cruelty. They seized his ships,
“Which haply rode at anchor in the bay,
“And loaded them with gold; the hoarded wealth
“Of vile and covetous Pygmalion 505
“They took to sea. A woman wrought this deed.
“Then came they to these lands where now thine eyes
“Behold yon walls and yonder citadel
“Of newly rising Carthage. For a price
“They measured round so much of Afric soil 510
“As one bull’s hide encircles, and the spot
“Received its name, the Byrsa. But, I pray,
“What men are ye? from what far land arrived,
“And whither going?”
When she questioned thus,
Her son, with sighs that rose from his heart’s depths, 515
This answer gave: “Divine one, if I tell
“My woes and burdens all, and thou could’st pause
“To heed the tale, first would the vesper star
“Th’ Olympian portals close, and bid the day
“In slumber lie. Of ancient Troy are we— 520
“If aught of Troy thou knowest! As we roved
“From sea to sea, the hazard of the storm
“Cast us up hither on this Libyan coast.
“I am Æneas, faithful evermore
“To Heaven’s command; and in my ships I bear 525
“My gods ancestral, which I snatched away
“From peril of the foe. My fame is known
“Above the stars. I travel on in quest
“Of Italy, my true home-land, and I
“From Jove himself may trace my birth divine. 530
“With twice ten ships upon the Phrygian main
“I launched away. My mother from the skies
“Gave guidance, and I wrought what Fate ordained.
“Yet now scarce seven shattered ships survive
“The shock of wind and wave; and I myself 535
“Friendless, bereft, am wandering up and down
“This Libyan wilderness! Behold me here,
“From Europe and from Asia exiled still!”
But Venus could not let him longer plain,
And stopped his grief midway:
“Whoe’er thou art, 540
“I deem that not unblest of heavenly powers,
“With vital breath still thine, thou comest hither
“Unto our Tyrian town. Go steadfast on,
“And to the royal threshold make thy way!
“I bring thee tidings that thy comrades all 545
“Are safe at land; and all thy ships, conveyed
“By favoring breezes, safe at anchor lie;
“Or else in vain my parents gave me skill
“To read the skies. Look up at yonder swans!
“A flock of twelve, whose gayly fluttering file, 550
“Erst scattered by Jove’s eagle swooping down
“From his ethereal haunt, now form anew
“Their long-drawn line, and make a landing-place,
“Or, hovering over, scan some chosen ground,
“Or soaring high, with whir of happy wings, 555
“Re-circle heaven in triumphant song:
“Likewise, I tell thee, thy lost mariners
“Are landed, or fly landward at full sail.
“Up, then! let yon plain thy guidance be.”
She ceased and turned away. A roseate beam 560
From her bright shoulder glowed; th’ ancestral hair
Breathed more than mortal sweetness, while her robes
Fell rippling to her feet. Each step revealed
The veritable goddess. Now he knew
That vision was his mother, and his words 565
Pursued the fading phantom as it fled:
“Why is thy son deluded o’er and o’er
“With mocking dreams,—another cruel god?
“Hast thou no hand-clasp true, nor interchange
“Of words unfeigned betwixt this heart and thine?” 570
Such word of blame he spoke, and took his way
Toward the city’s rampart.
O’erveiled them as they moved in darkened air,—
A liquid mantle of thick cloud divine,—
That viewless they might pass, nor any wight 575
Obstruct, delay, or question why they came.
To Paphos then she soared, her loved abode,
Where stands her temple, at whose hundred shrines
Garlands of myrtle and fresh roses breathe,
And clouds of orient sweetness waft away. 580
Meanwhile the wanderers swiftly journey on
Along the clear-marked road, and soon they climb
The brow of a high hill, which close in view
O’er-towers the city’s crown. The vast exploit,
Where lately rose but Afric cabins rude, 585
Æneas wondered at: the smooth, wide ways;
The bastioned gates; the uproar of the throng.
The Tyrians toil unwearied; some up-raise
A wall or citadel, from far below
Lifting the ponderous stone; or with due care 590
Choose where to build, and close the space around
With sacred furrow; in their gathering-place
The people for just governors, just laws,
And for their reverend senate shout acclaim.
Some clear the harbor mouth; some deeply lay 595
The base of a great theatre, and carve out
Proud columns from the mountain, to adorn
Their rising stage with lofty ornament.
So busy bees above a field of flowers
In early summer amid sunbeams toil, 600
Leading abroad their nation’s youthful brood;
Or with the flowering honey storing close
The pliant cells, until they quite run o’er
With nectared sweet; while from the entering swarm
They take their little loads; or lined for war, 605
Rout the dull drones, and chase them from the hive;
Brisk is the task, and all the honeyed air
Breathes odors of wild thyme.
“How blest of Heaven,
“These men that see their promised ramparts rise!”
Æneas sighed; and swift his glances moved 610
From tower to tower; then on his way he fared,
Veiled in the wonder-cloud, whence all unseen
Of human eyes,—O strange the tale and true!—
He threaded the thronged streets, unmarked, unknown.
Deep in the city’s heart there was a grove 615
Of beauteous shade, where once the Tyrians,
Cast here by stormful waves, delved out of earth
That portent which Queen Juno bade them find,—
The head of a proud horse,—that ages long
Their boast might be wealth, luxury and war. 620
Upon this spot Sidonian Dido raised
A spacious fane to Juno, which became
Splendid with gifts, and hallowed far and wide
For potency divine. Its beams were bronze,
And on loud hinges swung the brazen doors. 625
A rare, new sight this sacred grove did show,
Which calmed Æneas’ fears, and made him bold
To hope for safety, and with lifted heart
From his low-fallen fortunes re-aspire.
For while he waits the advent of the Queen, 630
He scans the mighty temple, and admires
The city’s opulent pride, and all the skill
Its rival craftsmen in their work approve.
Behold! he sees old Ilium’s well-fought fields
In sequent picture, and those famous wars 635
Now told upon men’s lips the whole world round.
There Atreus’ sons, there kingly Priam moved,
And fierce Pelides pitiless to both.
Æneas paused, and, weeping, thus began:
“Alas, Achates, what far region now, 640
“What land in all the world knows not our pain?
“See, it is Priam! Virtue’s wage is given—
“O even here! Here also there be tears
“For what men bear, and mortal creatures feel
“Each other’s sorrow. Therefore, have no fear! 645
“This story of our loss forbodes us well.”
So saying, he received into his heart
That visionary scene, profoundly sighed,
And let his plenteous tears unheeded flow.
There he beheld the citadel of Troy 650
Girt with embattled foes; here, Greeks in flight
Some Trojan onset ’scaped; there, Phrygian bands
Before tall-plumed Achilles’ chariot sped.
The snowy tents of Rhesus spread hard by
(He sees them through his tears), where Diomed 655
In night’s first watch burst o’er them unawares
With bloody havoc and a host of deaths;
Then drove his fiery coursers o’er the plain
Before their thirst or hunger could be stayed
On Trojan corn or Xanthus’ cooling stream. 660
Here too was princely Troilus, despoiled,
Routed and weaponless, O wretched boy!
Ill-matched against Achilles! His wild steeds
Bear him along, as from his chariot’s rear
He falls far back, but clutches still the rein; 665
His hair and shoulders on the ground go trailing,
And his down-pointing spear-head scrawls the dust.
Elsewhere, to Pallas’ ever-hostile shrine
Daughters of Ilium, with unsnooded hair,
And lifting all in vain her hallowed pall, 670
Walked suppliant and sad, beating their breasts,
With outspread palms. But her unswerving eyes
The goddess fixed on earth, and would not see.
Achilles round the Trojan rampart thrice
Had dragged the fallen Hector, and for gold 675
Was making traffic of the lifeless clay.
Æneas groaned aloud, with bursting heart,
To see the spoils, the car, the very corpse
Of his lost friend,—while Priam for the dead
Stretched forth in piteous prayer his helpless hands. 680
There too his own presentment he could see
Surrounded by Greek kings; and there were shown
Hordes from the East, and black-browed Memnon’s arms;
Her band of Amazons, with moon-shaped shields,
Penthesilea led; her martial eye 685
Flamed on from troop to troop; a belt of gold
Beneath one bare, protruded breast she bound—
A warrior-virgin braving mail-clad men.
While on such spectacle Æneas’ eyes
Looked wondering, while mute and motionless 690
He stood at gaze, Queen Dido to the shrine
In lovely majesty drew near; a throng
Of youthful followers pressed round her way.
So by the margin of Eurotas wide
Or o’er the Cynthian steep, Diana leads 695
Her bright processional; hither and yon
Are visionary legions numberless
Of Oreads; the regnant goddess bears
A quiver on her shoulders, and is seen
Emerging tallest of her beauteous train; 700
While joy unutterable thrills the breast
Of fond Latona: Dido not less fair
Amid her subjects passed, and not less bright
Her glow of gracious joy, while she approved
Her future kingdom’s pomp and vast emprise. 705
Then at the sacred portal and beneath
The temple’s vaulted dome she took her place,
Encompassed by armed men, and lifted high
Upon a throne; her statutes and decrees
The people heard, and took what lot or toil 710
Her sentence, or impartial urn, assigned.
But, lo! Æneas sees among the throng
Antheus, Sergestus, and Cloanthus bold,
With other Teucrians, whom the black storm flung
Far o’er the deep and drove on alien shores. 715
Struck dumb was he, and good Achates too,
Half gladness and half fear. Fain would they fly
To friendship’s fond embrace; but knowing not
What might befall, their hearts felt doubt and care.
Therefore they kept the secret, and remained 720
Forth-peering from the hollow veil of cloud,
Haply to learn what their friends’ fate might be,
Or where the fleet was landed, or what aim
Had brought them hither; for a chosen few
From every ship had come to sue for grace, 725
And all the temple with their voices rang.
The doors swung wide; and after access given
And leave to speak, revered Ilioneus
With soul serene these lowly words essayed:
“O Queen, who hast authority of Jove 730
“To found this raising city, and subdue
“With righteous governance its people proud,
“We wretched Trojans, blown from sea to sea,
“Beseech thy mercy; keep the curse of fire
“From our poor ships! We pray thee, do no wrong 735
“Unto a guileless race. But heed our plea!
“No Libyan hearth shall suffer by our sword,
“Nor spoil and plunder to our ships be borne;
“Such haughty violence fits not the souls
“Of vanquished men. We journey to a land 740
“Named, in Greek syllables, Hesperia:
“A storied realm, made mighty by great wars
“And wealth of fruitful glebe; in former days
“Œnotrians had it, and their sons, ’t is said,
“Have called it Italy, a chieftain’s name 745
“To a whole region given. Thitherward
“Our ships did fare; but with swift-rising flood
“The stormful season of Orion’s star
“Drove us on viewless shoals; and angry gales
“Dispersed us, smitten by the tumbling surge, 750
“Among innavigable rocks. Behold,
“We few swam hither, waifs upon your shore!
“What race of mortals this? What barbarous land,
“That with inhospitable laws ye thrust
“A stranger from your coasts, and fly to arms, 755
“Nor grant mere foothold on your kingdom’s bound?
“If man thou scornest and all mortal power,
“Forget not that the gods watch good and ill!
“A king we had, Æneas,—never man
“In all the world more loyal, just and true, 760
“Nor mightier in arms! If Heaven decree
“His present safety, if he now do breathe
“The air of earth and is not buried low
“Among the dreadful shades, then fear not thou!
“For thou wilt never rue that thou wert prompt 765
“To do us the first kindness. O’er the sea
“In the Sicilian land, are cities proud,
“With martial power, and great Acestes there
“Is of our Trojan kin. So grant us here
“To beach our shattered ships along thy shore, 770
“And from thy forest bring us beam and spar
“To mend our broken oars. Then, if perchance
“We find once more our comrades and our king,
“And forth to Italy once more set sail,
“To Italy, our Latin hearth and home, 775
“We will rejoicing go. But if our weal
“Is clean gone by, and thee, blest chief and sire,
“These Libyan waters keep, and if no more
“Iulus bids us hope,—then, at the least,
“To yon Sicilian seas, to friendly lands 780
“Whence hither drifting with the winds we came,
“Let us retrace the journey and rejoin
“Good King Acestes.”
Ended his pleading; the Dardaniæ
Murmured assent. 785
Then Dido, briefly and with downcast eyes,
Her answer made: “O Teucrians, have no fear!
“Bid care begone! It was necessity,
“And my young kingdom’s weakness, which compelled
“The policy of force, and made me keep 790
“Such vigilant sentry my wide coast along.
“Æneas and his people, that fair town
“Of Troy—who knows them not? The whole world knows
“Those valorous chiefs and huge, far-flaming wars.
“Our Punic hearts are not of substance all 795
“Insensible and full: the god of day
“Drives not his fire-breathing steeds so far
“From this our Tyrian town. If ye would go
“To great Hesperia, where Saturn reigned,
“Or if voluptuous Eryx and the throne 800
“Of good Acestes be your journey’s end,
“I send you safe; I speed you on your way.
“But if in these my realms ye will abide,
“Associates of my power, behold, I build
“This city for your own! Choose haven here 805
“For your good ships. Beneath my royal sway
“Trojan and Tyrian equal grace will find.
“But O, that this same storm had brought your King,
“Æneas, hither! I will bid explore
“Our Libya’s utmost bound, where haply he 810
“In wilderness or hamlet wanders lost.”
By these fair words to joy profoundly stirred,
Father Æneas and Achates brave
To cast aside the cloud that wrapped them round
Yearned greatly; and Achates to his King 815
Spoke thus: “O goddess-born, in thy wise heart
“What purpose rises now? Lo! All is well!
“Thy fleet and followers are safe at land.
“One only comes not, who before our eyes
“Sank in the soundless sea. All else fulfils 820
“Thy mother’s prophecy.”
Scarce had he spoke
When suddenly that overmantling cloud
Was cloven, and dissolved in lucent air;
Forth stood Æneas. A clear sunbeam smote
His god-like head and shoulders. Venus’ son 825
Of his own heavenly mother now received
Youth’s glowing rose, an eye of joyful fire,
And tresses clustering fair. ’T is even so
The cunning craftsman unto ivory gives
New beauty, or with circlet of bright gold 830
Encloses silver or the Parian stone.
Thus of the Queen he sued, while wonderment
Fell on all hearts. “Behold the man ye seek,
“For I am here! Æneas, Trojan-born,
“Brought safely hither from yon Libyan seas! 835
“O thou who first hast looked with pitying eye
“On Troy’s unutterable grief, who even to us
“(Escaped our Grecian victor, and outworn
“By all the perils land and ocean know),
“To us, bereft and ruined, dost extend 840
“Such welcome to thy kingdom and thy home!
“I have no power, Dido, to give thanks
“To match thine ample grace; nor is there power
“In any remnant of our Dardan blood,
“Now fled in exile o’er the whole wide world. 845
“May gods on high (if influence divine
“Bless faithful lives, or recompense be found
“In justice and thy self-approving mind)
“Give thee thy guerdon due. What age was blest
“By such a birth as thine? What parents proud 850
“Such offspring bore? O, while the rivers run
“To mingle with the sea, while shadows pass
“Along yon rounded hills from vale to vale,
“And while from heaven’s unextinguished fire
“The stars be fed—so long thy glorious name 855
“Thy place illustrious and thy virtue’s praise,
“Abide undimmed.—Yet I myself must go
“To lands I know not where.”
After this word
His right hand clasped his loved Ilioneus,
His left Serestus; then the comrades all, 860
Brave Gyas, brave Cloanthus, and their peers.
Sidonian Dido felt her heart stand still
When first she looked on him; and thrilled again
To hear what vast adventure had befallen
So great a hero. Thus she welcomed him: 865
“What chance, O goddess-born, o’er danger’s path
“Impels? What power to this wild coast has borne?
“Art thou Æneas, great Anchises’ son,
“Whom the lovely Venus by the Phrygian stream
“Of Simois brought forth unto the day? 870
“Now I bethink me of when Teucer came
“To Sidon, exiled, and of Belus’ power
“Desired a second throne. For Belus then,
“Our worshipped sire, despoiled the teeming land
“Of Cyprus, as its conqueror and king. 875
“And since that hour I oft have heard the tale
“Of fallen Troy, of thine own noble name,
“And of Achæan kings. Teucer was wont,
“Although their foe, to praise the Teucrian race,
“And boasted him of that proud lineage sprung. 880
“Therefore, behold, our portals are swung wide
“For all your company. I also bore
“Hard fate like thine. I too was driven of storms
“And after long toil was allowed at last
“To call this land my home. O, I am wise 885
“In sorrow, and I help all suffering souls!”
So saying, she bade Æneas welcome take
Beneath her royal roof, and to the gods
Made sacrifice in temples, while she sent
Unto the thankful Trojans on the shore 890
A score of bulls, and of huge, bristling swine,
A herd of a whole hundred, and a flock
Of goodly lambs, a hundred, who ran close
Beside the mother-ewes: and all were given
In joyful feast to please the Heavenly Powers. 895
Her palace showed a monarch’s fair array
All glittering and proud, and feasts were spread
Within the ample court. Rich broideries
Hung deep incarnadined with Tyrian skill;
The board had massy silver, gold-embossed, 900
Where gleamed the mighty deeds of all her sires,
A graven chronicle of peace and war
Prolonged, since first her ancient line began,
From royal sire to son.
(For love in his paternal heart spoke loud 905
And gave no rest) bade swift Achates run
To tell Ascanius all, and from the ship
To guide him upward to the town,—for now
The father’s whole heart for Ascanius yearned.
And gifts he bade them bring, which had been saved 910
In Ilium’s fall: a richly broidered cloak
Heavy with golden emblems; and a veil
By leaves of saffron lilies bordered round,
Which Argive Helen o’er her beauty threw,
Her mother Leda’s gift most wonderful, 915
And which to Troy she bore, when flying far
In lawless wedlock from Mycenæ’s towers;
A sceptre, too, once fair Ilione’s,
Eldest of Priam’s daughters; and round pearls
Strung in a necklace, and a double crown 920
Of jewels set in gold. These gifts to find,
Achates to the tall ships sped away.
But Cytherea in her heart revolved
New wiles, new schemes: how Cupid should transform
His countenance, and, coming in the guise 925
Of sweet Ascanius, still more inflame
The amorous Queen with gifts, and deeply fuse
Through all her yielding frame his fatal fire.
Sooth, Venus feared the many-languaged guile
Which Tyrians use; fierce Juno’s hate she feared, 930
And falling night renewed her sleepless care.
Therefore to Love, the light-winged god, she said:
“Sweet son, of whom my sovereignty and power
“Alone are given! O son, whose smile may scorn
“The shafts of Jove whereby the Titans fell, 935
“To thee I fly, and humbly here implore
“Thy help divine. Behold, from land to land
“Æneas, thine own brother, voyages on
“Storm-driven, by Juno’s causeless enmity.
“Thou knowest it well, and oft hast sighed to see 940
“My sighs and tears. Dido the Tyrian now
“Detains him with soft speeches; and I fear
“Such courtesy from Juno means us ill;
“She is not one who, when the hour is ripe,
“Bids action pause. I therefore now intend 945
“The Tyrian Queen to snare, and siege her breast
“With our invading fire, before some god
“Shall change her mood. But let her bosom burn
“With love of my Æneas not less than mine.
“This thou canst bring to pass. I pray thee hear 950
“The plan I counsel. At his father’s call
“Ascanius, heir of kings, makes haste to climb
“To yon Sidonian citadel; my grace
“Protects him, and he bears gifts which were saved
“From hazard of the sea and burning Troy. 955
“Him lapped in slumber on Cythera’s hill,
“Or in Idalia’s deep and hallowing shade,
“Myself will hide, lest haply he should learn
“Our stratagem, and burst in, foiling all.
“Wear thou his shape for one brief night thyself, 960
“And let thy boyhood feign another boy’s
“Familiar countenance; when Dido there,
“Beside the royal feast and flowing wine,
“All smiles and joy, shall clasp thee to her breast,
“While she caresses thee, and her sweet lips 965
“Touch close with thine, then let thy secret fire
“Breathe o’er her heart, to poison and betray.”
The love-god to his mother’s dear behest
Gave prompt assent. He put his pinions by
And tripped it like Iulus, light of heart. 970
But Venus o’er Ascanius’ body poured
A perfect sleep, and, to her heavenly breast
Enfolding him, far, far away upbore
To fair Idalia’s grove, where fragrant buds
Of softly-petalled marjoram embower 975
In pleasurable shade. Cupid straightway
Obeyed his mother’s word and bore the gifts,
Each worthy of a king, as offerings
To greet the Tyrian throne; and as he went
He clasped Achates’ friendly hand, and smiled. 980
Father Æneas now, and all his band
Of Trojan chivalry, at social feast,
On lofty purple-pillowed couches lie;
Deft slaves fresh water on their fingers pour,
And from reed-woven basketry renew 985
The plenteous bread, or bring smooth napery
Of softest weave; fifty handmaidens serve,
Whose task it is to range in order fair
The varied banquet, or at altars bright
Throw balm and incense on the sacred fires. 990
A hundred more serve with an equal band
Of beauteous pages, whose obedient skill
Piles high the generous board and fills the bowl.
The Tyrians also to the festal hall
Come thronging, and receive their honor due, 995
Each on his painted couch; with wondering eyes
Æneas’ gifts they view, and wondering more,
Mark young Iulus’ radiant brows divine,
His guileful words, the golden pall he bears,
And broidered veil with saffron lilies bound. 1000
The Tyrian Queen ill-starred, already doomed
To her approaching woe, scanned ardently,
With kindling cheek and never-sated eyes,
The precious gifts and wonder-gifted boy.
He round Æneas’ neck his arms entwined, 1005
Fed the deep yearning of his seeming sire,
Then sought the Queen’s embrace; her eyes, her soul
Clave to him as she strained him to her breast.
For Dido knew not in that fateful hour
How great a god betrayed her. He began, 1010
Remembering his mother (she who bore
The lovely Acidalian Graces three),
To make the dear name of Sichæus fade,
And with new life, new love, to re-possess
Her long-since slumbering bosom’s lost desire. 1015
When the main feast is over, they replace
The banquet with huge bowls, and crown the wine
With ivy-leaf and rose. Loud rings the roof
With echoing voices; from the gilded vault
Far-blazing cressets swing, or torches bright 1020
Drive the dark night away. The Queen herself
Called for her golden chalice studded round
With jewels, and o’er-brimming it with wine
As Belus and his proud successors use,
Commanded silence, and this utterance made: 1025
“Great Jove, of whom are hospitable laws
“For stranger-guest, may this auspicious day
“Bless both our Tyrians and the wanderers
“From Trojan shore. May our posterity
“Keep this remembrance! Let kind Juno smile, 1030
“And Bacchus, lord of mirth, attend us here!
“And, O ye Tyrians, come one and all,
“And with well-omened words our welcome share!”
So saying, she outpoured the sacred drop
Due to the gods, and lightly from the rim 1035
Sipped the first taste, then unto Bitias gave
With urgent cheer; he seized it, nothing loth,
Quaffed deep and long the foaming, golden bowl,
Then passed to others.
On a gilded lyre
The flowing-haired Iopas woke a song 1040
Taught him by famous Atlas: of the moon
He sang, the wanderer, and what the sun’s
Vast labors be; then would his music tell
Whence man and beast were born, and whence were bred
Clouds, lightnings, and Arcturus’ stormful sign, 1045
The Hyades, rain-stars, and nigh the Pole
The greater and lesser Wain; for well he knew
Why colder suns make haste to quench their orb
In ocean-stream, and wintry nights be slow.
Loudly the Tyrians their minstrel praised, 1050
And Troy gave prompt applause.
Dido the while
With varying talk prolonged the fateful night,
And drank both long and deep of love and wine.
Now many a tale of Priam would she crave,
Of Hector many; or what radiant arms 1055
Aurora’s son did wear; what were those steeds
Of Diomed, or what the stature seemed
Of great Achilles. “Come, illustrious guest,
“Begin the tale,” she said, “begin and tell
“The perfidy of Greece, thy people’s fall, 1060
“And all thy wanderings. For now,—Ah, me!
“Seven times the summer’s burning stars have seen
“Thee wandering far o’er alien lands and seas.”