Aeneid (Conington 1866)/Book 12

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The Æneid of Virgil (1866)
by Virgil, translated by John Conington
Book XII
Virgil3015999The Æneid of Virgil — Book XII1866John Conington


When Turnus sees disgrace and rout
Have Latium's spirit tamed,
Himself by every eye marked out,
His plighted promise claimed,
With anger unallayed he fires,
And feels the courage pride inspires.
E'en as in Libyan plains athirst
A lion by the hunter pierced
Puts forth at length his might,
Rears on his neck his angry mane,
The shaft that galls him snaps in twain,
And roaring claims the fight;
So Turnus' wrath infuriate glows,
And, once ablaze, each moment grows.
Then thus Latinus he bespeaks
With flushing brow and kindling cheeks:
'Not Turnus, trust me, bars the way:
No need the Phrygians should unsay
The words they spoke in face of day,
Their covenant disown:
I meet him now: the victims bring
And seal the treaty, gracious king.
My hand shall lay the Dardan low
Who left his Asia to the foe—
Let Latium sit and see the show,
While I in arms alone
Wash out the blot that stains our pride—
Or let him take the forfeit bride,
Accept the conquered throne!'
He spoke: the aged majesty
Of Latium makes him calm reply:
'O gallant youth! the more intense
Your generous spirit's vehemence,
The wiselier should Latinus' care
For Fortune's every chance prepare.
Yours is your father Daunus' reign;
Yours are the towns your sword has ta'en:
And I that speak have stores of gold
And hand that knows not to withhold:
Latium has other maids unwed
And worthy of a royal bed.
Thus let me speak, direct and clear,
Though sharp the pang: now further hear:
I might not give my daughter's hand
To suitor from her native land:
Gods, prophets, with unfaltering voice
And plain accord forbade the choice:
But kindred sympathies are strong,
And weeping wives can sway to wrong:
Heaven's ties I snapped; I failed my word;
I drew the inexpiable sword:
Since then what dire result of ill
Has followed me and follows still
Your eyes bear witness: why recall
What Turnus feels the first of all?
We, twice in bloody field o'erthrown,
Scarce in our ramparts hold our own:
Still Tiber reeks from Latium's veins,
And whitening bone-heaps mound the plains.
Why reel I thus, confused and blind?
What madness mars my sober mind?
If Turnus' death makes Troy my friend,
E'en while he lives let war have end.
Or what will kin and country say,
If—ward the omen, heaven, I pray!—
I leave him now his life to lose
While for my daughter's hand he sues?
O think of war, its change and chance,
How luck may warp the surest lance!
Think of your father old and grey,
Forlornly hiding leagues away!'
But Turnus' wrath no words can tame:
What seemed to slake but feeds the flame
Soon as impatience found a tongue
With fury into speech he flung:
'Those anxious bodings, father mine,
For me you keep, for me resign:
Leave me to meet the invader's claim:
Let death redeem the gage of fame.
I too no feeble dart can throw,
And flesh will bleed that feels my blow.
No goddess mother will be there
To tend him with a woman's care,
Conceal in mist his recreant flight,
And palter with a brave man's sight.'

But the sad queen, struck wild by fears
Of battle's new award,
Death swimming in her view, with tears
Holds fast her daughter's lord:
'Turnus, by these fond tears I pour,
If still survives the love you bore
To Latium's hapless queen—
On you our tottering age is staid;
On you a nation's hopes are laid;
A house, dismantled and decayed,
On you is fain to lean—
One boon I crave, but one: forbear
The arbitrament of fight to dare:
For know, whate'er the chance ensue
To Turnus, threats Amata too:
With you I leave this hated life,
Nor see my child my captor's wife.'
Her mother's voice Lavinia hears,
And mingles blushes with her tears;
Deep crimson glows the sudden flame,
And dyes her tingling cheek with shame.
So blushes ivory's Indian grain
When sullied with vermilion stain:
So lilies set in roseate bed
Enkindle with contagious red.
So flushed the maid: with wildering gaze
The passion-blinded youth surveys:
The fiercer for the fight he burns,
And to the queen in brief returns:
'O let not tears nor omen ill
Attend me to the stubborn fray!
Dear mother, 'tis not Turnus' will
The hour of destiny can stay.
Go, Idmon, to yon Phrygian chief
Bear tidings he will hear with grief:
When first the morrow fires the air
With glowing chariot, let him spare
To lead his Teucrians on:
Let Rutule arms and Teucrian rest;
His life and mine shall brook the test;
Lavinia's hand, our common quest,
Shall in that field be won.'

So saying, to the stall he speeds,
Bids harness his impetuous steeds,
And pleased their fury sees,
Which Orithyia long ago
On king Pilumnus deigned bestow,
To match the whiteness of the snow,
The swiftness of the breeze.
They bustle round, the menial train,
Comb o'er the neck the graceful mane,
And pat the sounding chest:
In mail his shoulders he arrayed
(Of gold and orichalc 'twas made);
Then dons his shield, his trusty blade,
His helm with ruddy crest:
That blade which to his royal sire
The hand of Vulcan gave,
Brought red from Liparæan fire
And dipped in Stygian wave.
Reposing from its work of blood
His lance beside a column stood,
Auruncan Actor's prize:
He seized it, shook the quivering wood,
And thus impetuous cries:
'The hour is come, my spear, my spear,
Thou who hast never failed to hear
Thy master's proud appeal:
Once Actor bore thee, Turnus now:
Grant that my hand to earth may bow
The Phrygian's all unmanly brow,
From off his breast the corslet tear,
And soil in dust his essenced hair,
New crisped with heated steel.'
Such furies in his bosom rise:
His features all ablaze
Shoot direful sparkles: from his eyes
A stream of lightning plays.
So ere he tries the combat's shock
A bull loud bellowing makes,
And butting at a tree's hard stock
His horns to anger wakes,
With furious heel the sand upthrows,
And challenges the winds for foes.
Meantime in Vulcan's arms arrayed
Æneas mans his breast,
Rejoiced that offered truce has made
Two hosts from battle rest:
Then reassures his comrades' fears
And checks Iulus' starting tears,
Rehearsing Fate's decree,
And bids his envoys answer bear
To Latium's monarch, and declare
The terms of peace to be.

Scarce had the morn her radiance shed
On topmost mountain height,
When, leaving Ocean's oozy bed,
The Sun's fleet steeds, with upturned head,
Breathe out loose flakes of light.
Beneath the city's strong redoubt
Rutule and Trojan measure out
The combat's listed ground,
And altars in the midst prepare
For common sacrifice and prayer,
Piled up with grassy mound;
While others, girt with aprons, bring
Live coals and water from the spring,
Their brows with vervain bound.
Through the thronged gates the Ausonian band
Comes streaming onward, lance in hand:
Trojans and Tuscans all,
Equipped in arms of various show,
Come marshalled by their ranks, as though
They heard the battle's call.
Decked out with gold and purple dye,
From troop to troop the leaders fly,
Mnestheus, Assaracus's seed,
Asilas, chief divine,
Messapus, tamer of the steed,
Who comes of Neptune's line.
The signal given, they each recede
Within the space assigned,
Their javelins planted in the mead,
Their shields at rest reclined:
While, brimming o'er with yearning strong,
Weak matrons, an unwarlike throng,
And fathers, old and grey,
Turret and roof confusedly crowd,
Or stand beside the portals proud,
The combat to survey.

But Juno, seated on the mount
That Alban now is named
('Twas then a hill of scant account,
Untitled and unfamed),
On the two hosts was gazing down,
The listed field, the Latian town.
To Turnus' sister then she said
(A goddess she of lake and flood:
Such honour Jove the damsel paid
For violated maidenhood):
'Pride of all streams on earth that roll,
Juturna, favourite of my soul,
Thou know'st, of all of Latian race
That e'er endured great Jove's embrace
I still have set thee first, and given
To share ungrudged the courts of heaven;
Now learn thy woes, unhappy dame,
Nor think too late that mine the blame.
While Latium yet could keep the field
And Fate seemed kind, I cast my shield
O'er Turnus and his town:
Now in ill hour he tempts the fray,
And baleful force and Fate's dark day
From heaven are swooping down.
I cannot view the unequal fight,
Nor see that shameful treaty plight.
Can sister nought for brother dare?
Take heart: perchance the gods may spare.'
She said: Juturna's tears 'gan flow,
And oft she smote her breast of snow.
'No time for tears' Saturnia cries:
'Haste—save your brother ere he dies:
Or stir again the war, and break
(Mine be the risk) the league they make.'
She ceased, and left her sore distraught,
With bleeding heart and wavering thought.

Now to the field the monarchs came,
Latinus, his majestic frame
In four-horse chariot borne;
Twelve gilded rays, memorial sign
Of the great Sun, his sire divine,
His kingly brows adorn:
Grasping two javelins as in war
Rides Turnus in his two-horse car:
Æneas leaves his rampired home,
First founder of the race of Rome,
Glorious in heavenly armour's pride,
With shield that beams like day;
And young Ascanius at his side,
Rome's other hope and stay.
Then to the hearth the white-robed priest
Brings two-year sheep all richly fleeced
And young of bristly swine;
They turn them to the radiant east,
With knives the victims' foreheads score,
Strew cakes of salted meal, and pour
The sacrificial wine.
Then thus with falchion's naked blade
Æneas supplication made:
'Sun, and thou Land, attest my prayer,
For whom I have been fain to bear
So many a year of woe;
And Jove, Almighty Sire, and thou,
Saturnia, now at last, O now
No more Æneas' foe;
Thou too, great Mars, who rul'st the fray
By thine imperial nod,
And you, ye Springs and Floods, I pray,
Whate'er the powers that ether sway,
And ocean's every god:
If victory shall to Turnus fall,
The vanquished to Evander's wall
Their instant flight shall take:
Iulus shall the realm resign,
Nor here in Latium seed of mine
Fresh war hereafter wake:
But if, as prayers and hopes foresee,
The queen of battles smile on me,
I will not force Italia's land
To Teucrian rule to bow;
I seek no sceptre for my hand,
No diadem for my brow:
Lot race and race, unquelled and free,
Join hands in deathless amity.
My gods, my rites, I claim to bring:
Let sire Latinus still be king,
In peace and war the same;
The sons of Troy my destined town
Shall build, and fair Lavinia crown
The city with her name.'
He spoke, and nest Latinus prays
With lifted hand and heavenward gaze:
'By land, by sea, by stars I swear,
E'en as Æneas swore;
By queen Latona's princely pair,
And two-faced Janus hoar;
By all the infernal powers divine
And grisly Pluto's mystic shrine:
Let Jove give ear, whose vengeful tire
Makes treaties firm, the Almighty Sire:
I touch the hearth with either hand,
I call the gods that 'twixt us stand:
No time shall make the treaty vain,
Whate'er to-day's event;
No violence shall my will constrain,
Though earth were scattered in the main
And Styx with ether blent:
E'en as this sceptre' (as he swore
A sceptre in his hand he bore)
'Shall ne'er put forth or leaf or gem,
Since severed from its parent stem
Foliage and branch it lost;
'Twas once a tree; now workman's care
Has given it Latium's kings to bear,
With seemly bronze embossed.'
Thus chief and chief in open sight
With solemn words the treaty plight;
Then o'er the flame they slay
The hallowed victims, strip the flesh
Yet quick with life, and warm and fresh
On loaded altars lay.

But in the Rutules' jealous sight
Unequal seems the chance of fight,
Ill matched the champions twain,
And fitfully their bosoms heave
As near and nearer they perceive
The encounter on the plain.
Compassion deepening into dread,
They note young Turnus' quiet tread,
The downcast meekness of his eyes
Turned to the hearth in suppliant guise,
Cheeks whence the bloom of health is gone,
And that young frame so ghastly wan.
Juturna saw their whispers grow,
And marked them wavering to and fro:
Then, like to Camers' form and face—
A warrior he of noblest race,
Long by his fathers' exploits known
And long by valour of his own—
She joins their ranks, each heart to read,
And sows in all dissension's seed:
'Shame, shame, ye Rutules, thus to try
The coward hazard of the die!
A myriad warrior lives to shun
The deadly risk reserved for one!
Compute the numbers and the powers:
Say whose the vantage, theirs or ours?
Behold them all, in arms allied,
Troy and Arcadia, side by side,
And all Etruria, leagued in hate
Of him, our chief, the men of fate!
Take half our force, we scarce should know
Each for himself to find a foe.
Aye, Turnus' name to heaven shall rise,
Devoted to whose shrines he dies,
On lips of thousands borne:
We, as in listless ease we sit,
To foreign tyrants shall submit,
And our lost country mourn.'
By whisper thus and chance-dropped word
Their hearts to farther rage are stirred:
From band to band the murmur runs:
Changed are Laurentum's fickle sons,
Changed is the Latian throng:
Who late were hoping war to cease,
Now yearn for arms, abhor the peace,
And pity Turnus' wrong.

Now, heaping fuel on the flame,
With new resource the crafty dame
Displays in heaven a sign:
No evidence more strongly wrought
On Italy's deluded thought,
As 'twere indeed divine.
Jove's royal bird in pride of place
Was putting river-fowl in chase
And all the feathery crew,
When swooping from the ruddy sky
Off from the flood he bears on high
A swan of dazzling hue.
The Italians gaze, when lo! the rout
Turn from their flight and face about,
In blackening mass obscure the skies,
And clustering close with shrill sharp cries
Their mighty foe pursue,
Till he, by force and weight o'erbome,
Dropped river-ward his prey untorn
And off to distance flew.
With loud acclaim the Rutule bands
Salute the portent of the skies:
Aloft they raise their eager hands,
And first the seer Tolumnius cries:
'For this, for this my prayers have striven
I hail, I seize the omen given;
Draw, draw with me the sword,
Poor Rutules, whom the pirate base
Puts like unwarlike birds in chase,
And spoils your river-board.
Yes, he will fly, if you pursue,
And vanish in the distant blue.
Close firm your ranks, and bring relief
And rescue to your ravished chief,
All, all with one accord.'
He said, and hurled, as forth he ran,
His javelin at the foeman's van.
The hurtling cornel cuts the skies:
Loud clamours follow as it flies:
The assembly starts in mid alarm,
And hearts beat high with tumult warm.
There as nine brothers of one blood,
Gylippus' Arcad offspring, stood,
One, with bright arms and beauty graced,
Receives the javelin in his waist,
Where chafes the belt against the groin
And 'neath the ribs the buckles join;
Pierced through and through he falls amain,
And lies extended on the plain.
His gallant brethren feel the smart;
With falchion drawn or brandished dart
They charge, struck blind with rage.
Laurentum's host the shock withstand:
Like deluge bursting o'er the land
The Trojan force, the Agyllan band,
The Arcad troop engage.
Each burns alike with frantic zeal
To end the quarrel by the steel:
Stripped are the hearths; o'er all the sky
Dense iron showers in volleys fly:
With eager haste they run
To snatch the bowls and altar-sods:
Latinus takes his outraged gods
And leaves the league undone.
Those yoke again the battle car,
These vault into the selle,
And wave their falchions, drawn for war,
To challenge or repel.

Messapus singles from the rest
The king Aulestes, richly dressed
In robe and regal crown;
Spurning the truce, his horse he pressed,
And fiercely rides him down.
He with a backward spring retires,
And headlong falls 'mid altar fires
That meet him in the rear:
Up spurs Messapus, hot with speed,
And as the pale lips vainly plead
Drives through him, towering on his steed,
His massy beam-like spear.
'He has his death' the victor cries:
'Heaven gains a worthier sacrifice.'
Around the corpse the Italians swarm,
And strip the limbs, yet reeking warm.
From blazing altar close at hand
Bold Corynæus seized a brand:
As Ebysus a death-wound aims,
Full in his face he dashed the flames.
The bushy beard that instant flares
And wafts a scent of burning hairs.
The conqueror rushes on his prize,
Wreathes in his hair his hand,
To his broad breast his knee applies,
And pins him to the sand:
Then, grovelling as he lay in dust,
Deep in his side his sword he thrust.
Stout Alsus, born of shepherd race,
Death in the forefront braves,
When Podalirius gives him chase
And high his falchion waves:
A ponderous axe the swain upheaves:
From brow to chin the head he cleaves,
While blood the arms o'erflows:
A heavy slumber, iron-bound,
Seals the dull eyes in rest profound:
In endless night they close.

But good Æneas chides his band,
His head all bare, unarmed his hand,
And 'Whither now so fast?' he cries:
'What demon bids contention rise?
O soothe your rage, I pray!
The terms are fixed, the treaty plight:
Mine, mine alone the combat's right:
Be calm, and give me way.
My hand shall make the assurance true:
Henceforward Turnus is my due.'
Thus while to lay the storm he strives,
Full on the chief an arrow drives:
Sped by what arm, what wind it came,
If Heaven or fortune ruled its aim,
None knew: the deed was lost to fame;
Nor then nor after was there found
Who boasted of Æneas' wound.

When Turnus saw Æneas part
Retiring from his band
And Troy's brave chiefs dismayed, his heart
With sudden hope he manned:
He calls his armour and his car,
Leaps to his seat in pride of war,
And takes the reins in hand.
Full many a gallant chief he slays,
Or pierced on earth in torture lays,
Drives down whole ranks in fierce career,
And plies the fliers with spear on spear.
As, where cold Hebrus parts the field,
Grim Mars makes thunder on his shield
And stings his steeds to fight;
They scud, the Zephyrs not so fleet:
Thrace groans beneath the hoof's quick beat;
His dire attendants round him fly,
Anger and blackest Treachery,
And gloomy-browed Affright:
So where the battle sorest bleeds
Keen Turnus drives his smoking steeds
Insulting o'er the slain,
While gore and sand the horsehoof kneads,
And spirts the crimson rain.
Thamyris and Sthenelus lie dead,
Encountered hand to hand;
Pholus by spear from distance sped,
And Glaucus too and Lades bled,
Whom Imbrasus their father bred
In native Lycian land
And trained alike to fight or speed
Like lightning with the harnessed steed.
Now through the field Eumedes came,
Old Dolon's son, of Trojan fame,
His grandsire's counterpart in name,
In courage like his sire,
Who erst, the Danaan camp to spy,
Pelides' car, a guerdon high,
From Hector dared require:
But Tydeus' son with other meed
Requited that audacious deed,
And cured his proud desire.
Him from afar when Turnus views
With missile dart he first pursues,
Then quits the chariot with a bound,
Stands o'er him grovelling on the ground,
Plants on his neck his foot, and tears
From his weak grasp the lance he bears,
Deep in his throat the bright point dyes,
And o'er the corpse in triumph cries:
'Lie there, and measure out the plain,
The Hesperian soil you sought to gain:
Such meed they win who wish me killed;
'Tis thus their city-walls they build.'
Again he hurls his spear, and sends
Asbytes to rejoin his friends:
And Chloreus, Dares, Sybaris,
The ground in quick succession kiss;
Thersilochus, Thymœtes too,
Whose restiff steed his rider threw.
As when the northwind's tyrant stress
Makes loud the Ægæan roar,
Still following on the waves that press
Tumultuous to the shore,
Where drives the gale, the cloud-rack flies
In wild confusion o'er the skies:
So wheresoe'er through all the field
Comes Turnus on, whole squadrons yield,
Turn, and resist no more:
The impulse bears him as he goes,
And 'gainst the wind his plumage flows.
With shame and anger Phegeus saw
The chief's insulting pride:
He meets the car, and strives to draw
The steeds' proud necks aside.
There, dragged as to the yoke he clings,
The spear his side has found,
Bursts through the corslet's plaited rings,
And prints a surface wound:
Shifting his shield, he threats the foe,
His sword plucks out, and aims a blow:
When the fierce wheels with onward bound
Dislodge and dash him to the ground:
And Turnus' weaponed hand,
Stretched from the car, the head has reft
Where helm and breastplate meet, and left
The trunk upon the sand.

While Turnus heaps the plain with dead,
Æneas, with Achates tried
And Mnestheus moving at his side,
And young Ascanius near,
All bleeding to the camp is led,
Faltering and propping up his tread
With guidance of a spear.
He frets and strives with vain essay
To pluck the broken reed away,
Demands the surest, readiest aid,
To ope the wound with broad-sword blade,
Unflesh the barb so deep concealed,
And send him back to battle-field.
And now Iapis had appeared,
Blest leech, to Phœbus' self endeared
Beyond all men below,
On whom the fond indulgent god
His augury had fain bestowed,
His lyre, his sounding bow:
But he, the further to prolong
A sickly parent's span,
The humbler art of medicine chose.
The knowledge of each herb that grows,
Plying a craft unknown to song,
An unambitious man.
Chafing with anguish, rage, and grief,
Impatient halts the wounded chief,
Propped on his mighty spear:
Iulus weeping and a band
Of gallant youths around him stand:
He heeds not groan or tear.
The aged leech, his garment wound
In Pæon sort his shoulder round,
In vain his sovereign simples plies,
His science skilled to heal,
In vain with hand and pincer tries
To loose the stubborn steel.
No happy chance on art attends,
No patron god the leech befriends:
And wilder grows the fierce alarm,
And nearer yet the deadly harm:
The thick dust props the skies:
The tramp of cavalry they hear,
And 'mid the encampment dart and spear
Rain down before their eyes:
And dismal rings the mingled cry
Of those that fight and those that die.
Then Venus, all a mother's heart
Touched by her son's unworthy smart,
Plucks dittany, a simple rare,
From Ida's summit brown,
With flower of purple, bright and fair,
And leaf of softest down:
Well known that plant to mountain goat,
Should arrow pierce its shaggy coat.
There as they toil, she brings the cure,
Her bright face wrapped in cloudy hood,
And drops it where in shining ewer
The crystal water stood,
With juices of ambrosia blent
And panace of fragrant scent.
So with the medicated flood
The sage unknowing stanched the blood:
When all at once the anguish fled,
And the torn flesh no longer bled.
Now at a touch, no violence used,
Drops out the barbed dart,
And strength by heavenly aid infused
Revives the feinting heart.
'Arms for the valiant chief!' exclaims
Iapis 'why so slow?'
The gentle leech the first inflames
The warrior 'gainst the foe.
'Not human help, nor sovereign art,
Nor old Iapis healed that smart:
'Tis Heaven that interferes, to save
For greater deeds the strength it gave.'
The chief, impatient of delays,
His legs in pliant gold arrays,
And to and fro his javelin sways.
And now, his corslet round his breast,
In his mailed arms his child he pressed,
Kissed through his helm, and thus addressed:
'Learn of your father to be great,
Of others to be fortunate.
This hand awhile shall be your shield
And lead you safe from field to field:
When grown yourself to manhood's prime,
Remember those of former time,
Recall each venerable name,
And catch heroic fire
From Hector's and Æneas' fame,
Your uncle and your sire.'

So speaking, from the camp he passed,
A godlike chief, of stature vast,
Shaking his ashen beam:
Mnestheus and Antheus and their train
With kindred speed o'er all the plain
From trench and rampart stream.
Thick blinding dust the champaign fills,
And earth with trampling throbs and thrills.
Pale Turnus saw them from the height;
The Ausonians saw, and chilly fright
Through all their senses ran:
Foremost of all the Latian crew
Juturna heard the sound and knew,
And left the battle's van.
Onward he flies, and whirls along
Through the wide plain his blackening throng.
As, burst from heaven, with headlong sweep
A storm comes landward from the deep:
Through rustic hearts faint terrors creep
As coming ill they taste:
Ah yes! 'twill lay the standing corn,
Will scatter trees from earth uptorn,
And make the land a waste:
The winds, its couriers, fly before,
And waft its muttering to the shore:
So the dread Trojan sweeps along
Down on the hostile swarm;
In close battalions, firm and strong,
His followers round him form.
Osiris feels Thymbræus' blow,
At Mnestheus' feet Anchetius lies,
Achates slaughters Epulo,
By Gyas Ufens dies:
E'en proud Tolumnius falls, the seer
Who 'gainst the foe first hurled his spear.
Upsoars to heaven a mingled shout:
In turn the Rutules yield,
And huddled thick in dusty rout
Fly wildly o'er the field.
But he, he stoops him not to smite
The craven backs that turn to flight,
Nor chases those who stand and fight,
Intent on other aims:
Turnus alone he cares to track
Through dust and darkness, blinding black,
Turnus alone he claims.
Juturna, agonised with fear,
Metiscus, Turnus' charioteer,
Flings from his seat on high,
And leaves him fallen at distance far:
Herself succeeds him, guides the car,
And bids the coursers fly;
In voice, in form, in dress complete,
The hapless driver's counterfeit.
As swallow through some mansion flies
With courts and stately galleries,
Flaps noisy wing, gives clamorous tongue,
Still catering for her callow young,
Makes cloisters echo to the sound,
And tank and cistern circles round,
So whirls the dame her glowing car,
So flashes through the maze of war:
Now here, now there, in conquering pride
Her brother she displays,
Yet lets him not the encounter bide,
But winds through devious ways.
Nor less Æneas shifts and wheels,
Pursues and tracks him out,
And clamouring to his faith appeals
Across the weltering rout:
Oft as he marks the foe, and tries
To match the chariot as it flies,
So oft her scourge Juturna plies,
And turns her steeds about.
What should he do? he undulates
With aimless ebb and flow:
His bosom's passionate debates
Distract him to and fro.
Messapus then, who chanced to wield
Two quivering javelins, barbed and steeled,
Takes one, and levels with his eye,
And bids it at Æneas fly.
The Trojan halts, and making pause,
His arms around him closer draws,
On bended knee firm stayed:
The javelin struck the helmet's cone,
And razed the plume that, tossed and blown,
High on its summit played.
Then surges fury high, to know
The baseness of the treacherous foe,
As horse and car he sees afar
Careering o'er the plain:
To the just gods appeal he makes
Who watch the league that Turnus breaks:
Then charges resolute to kill,
Lets reckless slaughter rage her fill,
And gives his wrath the rein.

O that some god would prompt my strain
And all those horrors tell,
What gallant chiefs throughout the plain
By Turnus now, pursued and slain,
Now by Æneas fell!
Was it thy will, almighty Jove,
To such extreme of conflict drove
Two nations, doomed in peace and love
Through after years to dwell?
First of the Rutules Sucro tried
To stem the foe's advancing tide;
But vain that brief delay;
Æneas caught him on the side,
And, opening ribs and bosom wide
With the fell sword his fury plied,
Brought death the swiftest way.
By Turnus' hand Diores bleeds;
His brother Amycus succeeds;
One from his steed by spear brought low,
One, hand to hand, by falchion's blow:
Their severed heads the victor bore
Fixed to his car, distilling gore.
That sends down Talos to the grave
With Tanais and Cethegus brave,
Three chiefs at once struck dead,
And sad Onites, him who came
From Peridia, noble dame,
Born in Echion's bed.
This lays in death the brethren twain
From Lycia, Phœbus' own domain,
And young Menœtes, who in vain
Had shunned the battle's roar:
An Arcad he by Lerna's side
His fisher craft obscurely plied,
Contented to be poor:
In honest penury his sire
Tilled scanty ground let out to hire,
Nor knocked at rich man's door.
As fires that launched on different ways
Stream through a wood of crackling bays.
Or torrents that from mountain steep
Tumbling and thundering toward the deep
Plough each his own wild path;
Æneas thus and Turnus fly
Through the wide field; now, now 'tis nigh,
The boiling-point of wrath;
Their fierce hearts burst with rage; they throw
A giant's force on every blow.
Murranus that, whose boastful tongue
With high-born sires and grandsires rung,
And pedigrees of long renown
Through Latian monarchs handed down,
Smites with a stone of mountain size
And tumbles on the sward:
By reins and harness caught, the wheels
Still drag him on: the horses' heels
Beat down and crush him as he lies,
Unmindful of their lord.
While this, as Hyllus overbold
In furious onset springs,
Through the bright helm the weapon passed,
And rooted in the brain stood fast.
Nor could thy prowess, Cretheus brave,
'Gainst Turnus' coming stand,
Nor those his gods Cupencus save
From out Æneas' hand:
His bosom met the impetuous blade,
Nor long the shield its fury stayed.
Thou too, great Æolus, the plains
Of Latium saw thee dead;
They saw thy giant-like remains
Wide o'er their surface spread:
Fallen, fallen art thou, whom not the bands
Of Argos could destroy,
Nor those unconquerable hands
Which wrought the doom of Troy:
'Twas here thy sepulchre was made,
Thy palace high 'neath Ida's shade:
Lyrnesus reared thy palace high,
Laurentum gave thee room to die.
So, turning, rallying, front to front,
Face the two hosts the battle's brunt:
The Latian and the Dardan throng,
Brave Mnestheus and Serestus strong,
Messapus, tamer of the horse,
Asilas with his Tuscan force,
Evander's Arcad train,
Each for himself, make desperate fight—
No stint, no stay—and all their might
With fierce contention strain.

Now Venus prompts her darling chief
To lead his forces to the town,
And with a sudden stroke and brief
On the scared foe come down.
As tracking Turnus' truant car
He sweeps his vision round and round
The town he sees in peace profound,
Unscathed by all that war.
At once upon his inward sight
The image dawns of grander fight:
Sergestus and Serestus tried
He calls with Mnestheus to his side,
And on a mound takes stand:
Round in dense ranks the Trojans swarm,
The shield still cleaving to their arm,
The javelin in their hand.
Then from the height he thus began:
'Now hearken and obey, each man:
Our cause is Jove's own cause:
Nor, sudden though the change of plan,
Let any plead for pause.
This town, the source of all the fray,
The centre of Latinus' sway,
Unless they bow them to the yoke
And own my conquering power,
In ruin on the ground shall smoke
From base to topmost tower.
What, I forsooth to stand and wait
Till Turnus deign to end debate,
And, humbled by his old defeat,
Prepare once more my call to meet?
Here, here it stands, the foul spring-head
Of all this blood so basely shed:
Quick with your torches, and demand
Our rightful treaty, fire in hand.'
He said: with emulous speed they form,
And rush in mass the walls to storm.
Forth come the ladders, quick as thought;
Fire, faggot, pitch at once are brought:
Some to the gates impetuous crowd,
And guard and sentry slay;
Some hurl their javelins, and o'ercloud
With darts the face of day.
Æneas, foremost of the band,
Lifts up to heaven the appealing hand,
Beneath the rampart's shade,
Upbraids Latinus loud and long,
And bids the gods attest his wrong,
Forced on another war, though loth,
The Italians twice his foes, their troth
A second time betrayed.
Among the citizens within
Rises a wild discordant din:
Some to the foe would ope the town,
The portals backward fling,
And to the city-walls bring down
The venerable king;
Some, all on fire, for weapons call,
And hasten to defend the wall.
As when some venturous swain has tracked
The bees, in hollow rock close packed,
With fumes of pungent smoke,
They through their waxen quarters course,
And murmuring passionate and hoarse
Their patriot rage provoke:
The dusk scent issues from the doors;
A buzzing dull and blind
Thrills the deep cave: the smoke upsoars,
And mingles with the wind.

Thus as they toil, a further woe
The Latian realm o'ertook:
Each faint heart reeled beneath the blow,
And the whole city shook.'
When from the towers the queen looked down
And saw the foe draw nigh,
The scaling-ladders climb the town,
The fire-brands roofward fly,
At once she deemed her favourite slain:
Keen anguish smites her wildered brain:
With many a curse her head she heaps,
Sole cause of all that Latium weeps,
And wailing oft and raving tears
The gay purpureal robe she wears:
Then fastens from a beam on high
A noose, in ghastly wise to die.
When Latium's maids and matrons hear
That news of wonderment and fear,
Lavinia first her bright hair rends
And wounds her rose-red cheeks:
Around her rave her mourning friends;
The courts repeat their shrieks.
From house to house wide spreads the tale:
The scant remains of valour fail.
Bowed to the earth with woe on woe,
His consort dead, his town brought low,
The hapless king his raiment tears
And soils with dust his silver hairs,
While oft himself he blames,
Who gave not to his crown an heir,
A bridegroom to his daughter fair,
Nor owned Æneas' claims.

Turnus meanwhile in fields afar
Drives straggling foes before his car,
Slower and more slow his coursers' stride,
And less and less their master's pride.
Lo! on the gale from distance sped
Come sounds of strange bewildering dread;
The gathering hum, confused and drear,
Of the lost city strikes his ear.
'Alas! what sounds are these that rise,
The voice of grief and pain?
What tumult shakes the town?' he cries,
And wildly draws his rein.
His dauntless sister, as she plies
The chariot in Metiseus' guise,
Turned round and thus began:
'Nay, Turnus, urge we still our steeds
'Gainst the spent foe, where victory leads:
Latiuni has sons to serve her needs,
Her leaguered towers to man.
Æneas on the Italians falls,
And follows vengeance as she calls:
Such too be Turnus' aim;
Send death among his Teucrian train;
Not less your muster-roll of slain,
Nor less your share of fame.'
'Sister, I knew you' Turnus spoke
'When first by craft the truce you broke,
And plunged in battle's tide,
And now in vain you cheat mine eye:
But say, who sent you from the sky
This cruel woe to bide?
From heaven you came—for what? to see
Your brother's dying agony?
What can I else? what hope of life
Holds Fortune forth, in such a strife?
But now Murranus I beheld,
The mighty by the mighty quelled;
He fell, invoking as he fell
The recreant friend he loved too well.
See Ufens prostrate on his face
Averts his eyes from my disgrace,
While Troy rejoices in her prey,
His armour and his breathless clay!
And must I drain the dregs of shame
And leave the town to sink in flame,
Nor, prompt to combat and to die,
Make Drances yet retract his lie?
What, own defeat? let Latian eyes
See Turnus, Turnus as he flies?
Is death indeed so sore?
hear me, Manes, of your grace,
Since heavenly powers have hid their face!
Pure and unsoiled by caitiff blame,
I join your company, nor shame
My mighty sires of yore.'

Scarce had he said, with headlong speed
Comes Saces up on foaming steed:
His bleeding face a shaft had gored,
And Turnus thus his voice implored:
'Turnus, save you no hope is ours:
O think of your own race!
Like thundercloud Æneas lowers,
Threatening to raze and sack our towers,
And firebrands mount apace.
On you is turned each Latian eye;
Latinus doubts to whom
His tottering fortune to ally,
Whom choose his daughter's groom.
The queen, your firmest friend, is dead,
By her own hand to darkness sped:
Messapus at the gates alone
And brave Atinas hold their own;
Around them throngs the hostile band;
Steel harvests bristle all the land:
You unconcerned your chariot ply
Through fields the battle's tide leaves dry.'
O'erwhelmcd by surging thoughts of ill
Turnus in mute amaze stood still:
Fierce boils in every vein
Indignant shame and passion blind,
The tempest of the lover's mind,
The soldier's high disdain.
Soon as apart the shadows roll,
And light once more illumes his soul,
Backward his kindling eyes he threw
And grasped the town in one wide view.
Lo! tongues of flame to heaven aspire:
The turret's floors are wrapped in fire,
The tower he made to vex the foe
With bridge above and wheels below.
'The Fates, the Fates must have their way:
O sister! cease to breed delay:
Where Heaven and cruel Fortune call,
There let me follow to my fall.
I stand to meet my foe, to bear
The pangs of death, how keen soe'er:
Disgraced you shall not see me more:
Let frenzy fill the space before.'
He said, and vaulting from his car
Plunged headlong through the opposing war,
His sister in her sorrow left,
And fierce and fast the squadrons cleft.
Look how from mountain summit borne
By wind or furious rain down-torn
Or gentler lapse of ages worn
Comes down a thundering stone;
Headlong it falls with impulse strong,
The unpitying rock, and whirls along
Woods, cattle, swains o'erthrown:
So bounding onward, scattering all,
Comes Turnus to the city-wall,
Where pools of bloodshed soak the ground
And the shrill gales with javelins sound;
Then signals with his upraised hand
And lifts the voice of high command:
'Rutules, forbear! your darts lay by,
'Ye Latian ranks! not you, but I
Must meet whate'er betide:
Far better this my arm alone
For broken treaty should atone,
And battle's chance decide.'
The armies right and left give place,
And yield him clear and open space.

But great Æneas, when he hears
The challenge of his foe,
The leaguer of the town forbears,
Lets tower and rampart go,
Steps high with exultation proud,
And thunders on his arms aloud;
Vast as majestic Athos, vast
As Eryx the divine,
Or he that roaring with the blast
Heaves his huge bulk in snowdrifts massed,
The father Apennine.
Italian, Trojan, Rutule, all
One way direct the eye,—
Who man the summit of the wall,
Who storm the base to work its fall,
And lay their bucklers by.
Latinus marvels at the sight,
Two mighty chiefs, who first saw light
In realms apart, met here in fight
The steel's award to try.
Soon as the space between is clear,
Each, rushing forward, hurls his spear,
And bucklers clashed with brazen din
The overture of fight begin.
Earth groans: fierce strokes their falchions deal:
Chance joins with force to guide the steel.
As when two bulls engage in fight
On Sila's or Taburnus' height
And horns with horns are crossed:
Long since the trembling hinds have fled;
The whole herd stands in silent dread;
The heifers ponder in dismay,
Who now the country-side will sway,
The monarch of the host:
Giving and taking wounds alike
With furious impact home they strike;
Shoulder and neck are bathed in gore:
The forest depths return the roar.
So, shield on shield, together dash
Æneas and his Daunian foe;
The echo of that deafening crash
Mounts heavenward from below.
Great Jove with steadfast hand on high
His balance poises in the sky,
Lays in its scale each rival's fate,
And nicely ponders weight with weight,
To see whom war to doom consigns,
And which the side that death inclines.

Fearless of danger, with a bound
Young Turnus rises from the ground,
And, following on the sword he sways,
Comes down with deadly aim:
Latium and Troy intently gaze,
And swell the loud acclaim.
When lo! the faithless weapon breaks,
And mid the stroke its lord forsakes:
Flight, flight alone can aid:
Swifter than wings of wind he flees,
Soon as an unknown hilt he sees
Disfurnished of its blade.
'Tis said when with impatience blind
He first the battle sought,
Leaving his father's sword behind
Metiscus' steel he caught;
While routed Troy before him fled,
That sword full well his need bested:
Soon as 'twas tried on arms divine,
It snapped like ice in twain,
The mortal blade: the fragments shine,
Strewed on the yellow plain.
So Turnus traverses the ground,
Doubling' and circling round and round
In purposeless career,
For all about him stand his foes,
And here high walls the scene enclose,
And there a spacious mere.

Nor less, though whiles his stiffening knees,
Slacked by his wound, their work refuse,
Æneas follows as he flees
And step with step the foe pursues.
As tracks a hound with noise and din
A deer by river deep hemmed in
Or plume of crimson grain:
The straight steep bank, the threatening snare
The hunted beast from progress scare:
She winds and winds again:
The Umbrian keen forbids escape,
Hangs on her flank with jaws agape,
Snaps his vain teeth that close on nought,
He catching still, she still uncaught.
Turnus flies on, and as he flies
To every Rutule loudly cries,
Calls each by name, invokes their aid,
And clamours for his well-known blade.
Æneas in imperious tone
Denounces death should help be shown,
Threats the doomed town with sword and flame,
And, wounded, follows on the same.
Five times they circle round the place,
Five times the winding course retrace:
No trivial game is here: the strife
Is waged for Turnus' own dear life.
A wilding olive on the sward,
Sacred to Faunus, late had stood:
The seaman's dutiful regard
Preserved that venerable wood:
There hung they, rescued from the wave,
The weeds they doffed, the gifts they gave.
When for the fight the ground was traced,
The Trojans felled it in their haste,
Reckless of sacred or profane,
That nought might break the level plain.
Here lodged Æneas' javelin: here
It lighted, borne in fierce career,
And in the stump stood fast:
He strives the weapon to unroot,
And whom he cannot catch on foot
O'ertake by lance's cast.
Then out cries Turnus, wild with fear;
'Great Faunus, of thy pity hear!
Sweet Earth, hold fast the steel,
If Turnus still has held divine
Those sanctities which Troy's rude line
Treads down 'neath battle's heel!'
So prayed he: nor his prayers were vain:
Long o'er the stump Æneas hangs,
And tugs with many a fruitless strain
To make the hard wood loose its fangs:
When lo! impatient as he strives,
Changed to Metiscus' shape once more
Forth runs the Daunian fair, and gives
Her brother back the sword he wore.
Then Venus, filled with ire to see
A Nymph assume so bold a part,
Approached, and from the stubborn tree
Tore out the long imprisoned dart.
Again the haughty chiefs advance,
Their strength repaired, their arms restored,
That towering with uplifted lance,
This waving high his faithful sword,
And front to front resume the game
That drains the breath and racks the frame.

Meanwhile Olympus' master, Jove,
Addressed his queenly bride,
As from a yellow cloud above
The warring chiefs she eyed:
'What now the end, fair consort, say?
What latest stake remains to play?
Long since you knew, and owned you knew,
Æneas to the skies is due,
A nation's hero: Fate's own power
Uplifts him to the starry tower.
What plan you now? what hopes o'erbold
Thus keep you throned aloft in cold?
Think you 'twas right a god decreed
By mortal treachery should bleed,
Or Turnus—for apart from you
What mischief could Juturna do?—
Receive his long lost sword again,
And strength be waked in vanquished men?
'Tis Jove entreats: at length give way;
Permit my prayers your will to sway;
Nor brood in silent grief, nor vent
From those sweet lips your ill-content.
The end is reached. By land and main
I let you vex the Dardan train,
Stir guilty war, a home o'ercloud,
And bridal joys with mourning shroud.
Attempt no further.' Jove's fair queen
Bespoke her spouse with duteous mien:

'Your known good pleasure is the cause,
Dread lord, that Juno now withdraws
From Turnus and the fight;
You would not see me else in air
Content to sit resigned and bear:
No; armed with torches should I stand
In battle, and with red right hand
My Trojan foemen smite.
I roused, I own, Juturna's zeal
To venture for her brother's weal:
Yet bade I not to launch the steel
Or bend the deadly bow:
By Styx' dire spring I take my oath,
The sole dread form of solemn troth
Olympus' tenants know.
And now in truth behold me yield
And quit for aye the accursed field.
Vouchsafe me yet one act of grace
For Latium's sake, your sire's own race:
No ordinance of fate withstands
The boon a nation's pride demands.
When treaty, aye, and love's blest rite
The warring hosts in peace unite,
Respect the ancient stock, nor make
The Latian tribes their style forsake,
Nor Troy's nor Teucer's surname take,
Nor garb nor language let them change
For foreign speech and vesture strange,
But still abide the same:
Let Latium prosper as she will,
Their thrones let Alban monarchs fill;
Let Rome be glorious on the earth,
The centre of Italian worth;
But fallen Troy be fallen still,
The nation and the name,'

With mirthful laughter in his eye
The world's Creator made reply:
'There Jove's own sister spoke indeed,
Our father Saturn's other seed,
So vast the waves of wrath that roll
In that indomitable soul!
But come, let baffled rage give way:
I grant your prayer and yield the day.
Ausonia shall abide the same,
Unchanged in customs, speech, and name:
The sons of Troy, unseen though felt,
In fusion with the mass shall melt:
Myself will give them rites, and all
Still by the name of Latins call.
The blended race that thence shall rise
Of mixed Ausonian blood
Shall soar alike o'er earth and skies,
So pious, just, and good:
Nor evermore shall nation pay
Such homage to your shrine as they.'
Saturnia hears with altered mind,
Triumphant now and proud:
The sky meantime she leaves behind,
And quits her chilly cloud.

This done, the Father in his heart
New counsels ponders o'er,
To force Juturna to depart
Nor help her brother more.
Two fiends there are of evil fame,
The Diræ their ill-omened name,
Whom at a birth unkindly Night
With dark Megæra brought to light,
With serpent-spires their tresses twined,
And gave them wings to cleave the wind.
On Jove's high threshold they appear
Before his throne, and lash to fear
Mankind's unhappy brood,
When grisly death the Sire prepares
And sickness, or with battle scares
A guilty multitude.
Such pest as this the Thunderer sent
Down from the Olympian sky,
And bade it, for an omen meant,
Across Juturna fly.
Down swoops the portent, fierce and fast,
With swiftness of a whirling blast:
Not swifter bounds from off the string
The dart that with envenomed sting
The Parthian launches on the wing,
The Parthian or the Crete;
Death-laden past the cure of art
Flies through the shade the hurtling dart,
So secret and so fleet.
E'en thus the deadly child of Night
Shot from the sky with earthward flight.
Soon as the armies and the town
Descending she descries,
She dwarfs her huge proportions down
To bird of puny size,
Which perched on tombs or desert towers
Hoots long and lone through darkling hours:
In such disguise, the monster wheeled
Round Turnus' head, and 'gainst his shield
Unceasing flapped her wings:
Strange chilly dread his limbs unstrung:
Upstands his hair: his voiceless tongue
To his parched palate clings.
But when from far Juturna heard
The whirring flight of that foul bird,
She rent her hair as sister mote,
Her cheeks she tore, her breast she smote
'Ah Turnus! what can sister now?
How other prove than cruel? how
Prolong your forfeit life?
Can goddess meet with fearless brow
A pest like this? At length I bow
And part me from the strife.
Nay, spare to aggravate my fear,
Ye birds of evil wing!
I know the sounds that stun mine ear:
That death-note speaks the bests severe
Of heaven's imperious king.
No meeter guerdon can he find
For maiden purity resigned?
Why gave he life to last for aye?
Why took the laws of death away?
Else might I end at once my woe,
And with my brother pass below.
Immortal! can the thought be true?
O brother! have I joy save you?
O would the earth but yawn so wide
A goddess in its depth to hide,
And send her to the dead!'
Thus groaning, in her robes of blue
Her head she wrapped, and plunged from view
Down to the river's bed.

Æneas presses on his foe,
Poising his tree-like dart,
And utters ere he deals the blow
The sternness of his heart:
'What now is Turnus' next retreat?
What new escape is planned?
No contest this of feet with feet,
But deadly hand with hand.
Take all disguises man can wear:
Call to your succour whatsoe'er
Or art or courage may:
Find wings to climb the Olympian steep,
Or plunge in subterranean deep,
Hid from the torch of day.'
He shook his head: 'Your swelling phrase
Appals not Turnus: no:
The gods, the gods this terror raise,
And Jupiter my foe.'
He said no more, but, looking round,
A mighty stone espied,
A mighty stone, time-worn and grey,
Which haply on the champaign lay,
Set there erewhile the land to bound
And strifes of law decide:
Scarce twelve strong men of later mould
That weight could on their necks uphold,
To-day's degenerate sons:
He caught it up, and at his foe
Discharged it, rising to the throw
And straining as he runs.
But wildering fears his mind unman;
Running, he knew not that he ran,
Nor throwing that he threw:
Heavily move his sinking knees;
The streams of life wax dull and freeze:
The stone, as through the void it past,
Reached not the measure of its cast,
Nor held its purpose true.
E'en as in dreams, when on the eyes
The drowsy weight of slumber lies,
In vain to ply our limbs we think,
And in the helpless effort sink;
Tongue, sinews, all, their powers bely,
And voice and speech our call defy:
So, labour Turnus as he will,
The Fury mocks the endeavour still.
Dim shapes before his senses reel:
On host and town he turns his sight:
He quails, he trembles at the steel,
Nor knows to fly, nor knows to fight:
Nor to his pleading eyes appear
The car, the sister charioteer.

The deadly dart Æneas shakes:
His aim with stem precision takes,
Then hurls with all his frame:
Less loud from battering: engine cast
Roars the fierce stone; less loud the blast
Follows the lightning's flame.
On rushes as with whirlwind wings
The spear that dire destruction brings,
Makes passage through the corslet's marge,
And enters the seven-plated targe
Where the last ring runs round.
The keen point pierces through the thigh:
Down on his bent knee heavily
Comes Turnus to the ground.
With pitying groans the Rutules rise;
The mountain to their grief replies:
The lofty woods resound.
Now fallen an upward look he sends,
And pleadingly his hand extends;
'Yes, I have earned' he cries 'the fate
No weakling prayers may deprecate:
Let those enjoy that win.
If thought of hapless sire can touch
Your heart—Anchises once was such—
Show grace to Daunus, old and grey,
And me, or if you will, my clay,
Send hack to home and kin.
Yours is the victory: Latian bands
Have seen me stretch imploring hands:
The bride Lavinia is your own:
Thus far let foeman's hate be shown.'

Rolling his eyes, Æneas stood,
And checked his sword, athirst for blood,
Now faltering more and more he felt
The human heart within him melt,
When round the shoulder wreathed in pride
The belt of Pallas he espied,
And sudden flashed upon his view
Those golden studs so well he knew,
Which Turnus from the stripling tore
When breathless on the field he lay,
And on his breast in triumph wore,
Memorial of the bloody day.
Soon as his eyes had gazed their fill
On that sad monument of ill,
Live fury kindling every vein,
He cries with terrible disdain:
'What! in my friend's dear spoils arrayed
To me for mercy sue?
'Tis Pallas, Pallas guides the blade:
From your cursed blood his injured shade
Thus takes the atonement due.'
Thus as he spoke, his sword he drave
With fierce and fiery blow
Through the broad breast before him spread:
The stalwart limbs grow cold and dead:
One groan the indignant spirit gave,
Then sought the shades below.