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A general silence fell; and all gave ear, while, from his lofty station at the feast, Father Aeneas with these words began :— A grief unspeakable thy gracious word, o sovereign lady, bids my heart live o'er: how Asia's glory and afflicted throne the Greek flung down; which woeful scene I saw, and bore great part in each event I tell. But O! in telling, what Dolopian churl, or Myrmidon, or gory follower of grim Ulysses could the tears restrain? 'T is evening; lo! the dews of night begin to fall from heaven, and yonder sinking stars invite to slumber. But if thy heart yearn to hear in brief of all our evil days and Troy's last throes, although the memory makes my soul shudder and recoil in pain, I will essay it
When Asia's power and Priam's race and throne, though guiltless, were cast down by Heaven's decree, when Ilium proud had fallen, and Neptune's Troy in smouldering ash lay level with the ground, to wandering exile then and regions wild the gods by many an augury and sign compelled us forth. We fashioned us a fleet within Antander's haven, in the shade of Phrygian Ida's peak (though knowing not whither our fate would drive, or where afford a resting-place at last), and my small band of warriors I arrayed. As soon as smiled the light of summer's prime, my reverend sire Anchises bade us on the winds of Fate to spread all sail. Through tears I saw recede my native shore, the haven and the plains where once was Troy. An exile on the seas, with son and followers and household shrines, and Troy's great guardian-gods, I took my way.
Messapus came, steed-tamer, Neptune's son, by sword and fire invincible: this day, though mild his people and unschooled in war, he calls them to embattled lines, and draws no lingering sword. Fescennia musters there, Aequi Falisci, and what clans possess Soracte's heights, Flavinia's fruitful farms, Ciminian lake and mountain, and the groves about Capena. Rank on rank they move, loud singing of their chieftain's praise: as when a flock of snowy swans through clouded air return from feeding, and make tuneful cry from their long throats, while Asia's rivers hear, and lone Cayster's startled moorland rings: for hardly could the listening ear discern the war-cry of a mail-clad host; the sound was like shrill-calling birds, when home from sea their soaring flock moves shoreward like a cloud.