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the deity as bidden by the priest.
The multitude repeated his good words,
and the descendants of Aeneas gave
good omen, with their feelings and their speech.
Nodding well pleased and moving his great crest,
the god at once assured them of his favor
and hissed repeatedly with darting tongue.
And then he glided down the polished steps;
turned back his head; and, ready to depart,
gazed on the altars he had known for so long—
a last salute to the temple of his love.
While all the people strewed his way with flowers,
the great snake wound in sinuous course along
and, passing through the middle of their town,
came to the harbor and its curving wall.
He stopped there, and it seemed that he dismissed
his train and dutiful attendant crowd,
and with a placid countenance he placed
his mighty body in the Ausonian ship,
which plainly showed the great weight of the god.
The glad descendants of Aeneas all
rejoiced, and they sacrificed a bull beside
the harbor, wreathed the ship with flowers, and loosed
the twisted hawsers from the shore. As a soft breeze
impelled the ship, within her curving stern
the god reclined, his coils uprising high,
and gazed down on the blue Ionian waves.
So wafted by the favoring winds, they came
in six days to the shores of Italy.
There he was borne past the Lacinian Cape,
ennobled by the goddess Juno's shrine,
and Scylacean coasts. He left behind
Iapygia; then he shunned Amphrysian rocks
upon the left and on the other side
escaped Cocinthian crags. He passed, near by,
Romechium and Caulon and Naricia;
crossed the Sicilian sea; went through the strait;
sailed by Pelorus and the island home
of Aeolus and by the copper mines
of Temesa. He turned then toward Leucosia
and toward mild Paestum, famous for the rose.
He coasted by Capreae and around
Minerva's promontory and the hills
ennobled with Surrentine vines, from there
to Herculaneum and Stabiae
and then Parthenope built for soft ease.
He sailed near the Cumaean Sibyl's temple.
He passed the Warm Springs and Linternum, where
the mastick trees grow, and the river called
Volturnus, where thick sand whirls in the stream,
over to Sinuessa's snow-white doves;
and then to Antium and its rocky coast.
When with all sails full spread the ship came in
the harbor there (for now the seas grew rough),
the god uncoiled his folds, and, gliding out
with sinuous curves and all his mighty length,
entered the temple of his parent, where
it skirts that yellow shore. But, when the sea
was calm again, the Epidaurian god
departing from his father's shrine, where he
a while had shared the sacred residence
reared to a kindred deity, furrowed
the sandy shore with weight of crackling scales,
again he climbed into the lofty stern
and near the rudder laid his head at rest.
There he remained until the vessel passed
by Castrum and Lavinium's sacred homes
to where the Tiber flows into the sea
there all the people of Rome came rushing out—
mothers and fathers and even those who tend
your sacred fire, O Trojan goddess Vesta—
and joyous shouted welcome to the god.
Wherever the swift ship steered through the tide,
they built up many altars in a line,
so that perfuming frankincense with smoke
crackled along the banks on either hand,
and victims made the keen knives hot with blood.
The serpent-deity has entered Rome,
the world's new capital and, lifting up
his head above the summit of the mast,
looked far and near for a congenial home.
The river there, dividing, flows about
a place known as the Island, on both sides
an equal stream glides past dry middle ground.
And here the serpent child of Phoebus left
the Roman ship, took his own heavenly form,
and brought the mourning city health once more
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