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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
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,
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
was serving Heaven? Can gods such anger feel?
In ages gone 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
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,
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,
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
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
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
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
just sank from view, as for the open sea
with heart of hope they sailed, 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
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,
revenging but the sacrilege obscene
by Ajax wrought, Oileus' 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,
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?”
So, in her fevered heart complaining still,
unto the storm-cloud land the goddess came,
a region with wild whirlwinds in its womb,
Aeolia named, where royal Aeolus
in a high-vaulted cavern keeps control
o'er warring winds and loud concourse 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
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
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
and Sovereign of mankind confides the power
to calm the waters or with winds upturn,
great Aeolus! a race with me at war
now sails the Tuscan main towards Italy,
bringing their Ilium and its vanquished powers.
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 Deiopea, the most fair,
I give thee in true wedlock for thine own,
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 Aeolus: “'T is thy sole task, O Queen,
to weigh thy wish and will. My fealty
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.”
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,
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;
night o'er the ocean broods; from sky to sky
the thunders roll, the ceaseless lightnings glare;
and all things mean swift death for mortal man.
Straightway Aeneas, shuddering with amaze,
groaned loud, upraised both holy hands to Heaven,
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
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!”
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,
where watery mountains rose and burst and fell.
Now high in air she hangs, then yawning gulfs
lay bare the shoals and sands o'er which she drives.
Three ships a whirling south wind snatched and flung
on hidden rocks,—altars of sacrifice
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.
That ship, which, with his friend Orontes, bore
the Lycian mariners, a great, plunging wave
struck straight astern, before Aeneas' eyes.
Forward the steersman rolled and o'er the side
fell headlong, while three times the circling flood
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.
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,
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
along the waters; and Aeneas' 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,
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
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 me, Fate gives. Let him possess
wild mountain crags, thy favored haunt and home,
O Eurus! In his barbarous mansion there,
let Aeolus look proud, and play the king
in yon close-bounded prison-house of storms!”
He spoke, and swiftlier than his word subdued
the swelling of the floods; dispersed afar
th' assembled clouds, and brought back light to heaven.
Cymothoe 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
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,
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;
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.
Aeneas' 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,
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
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
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 Aeneas of his scattered fleet
saving but seven, into harbor sailed;
with passionate longing for the touch of land,
forth leap the Trojans to the welcome shore,
and fling their dripping limbs along the ground.
Then good Achates smote a flinty stone,
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,
and parch in flames, and mill 'twixt two smooth stones.
Aeneas meanwhile climbed the cliffs, and searched
the wide sea-prospect; haply Antheus there,
storm-buffeted, might sail within his ken,
with biremes, and his Phrygian mariners,
or Capys or Caicus 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
in one long line. Aeneas 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
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
distributed the spoil, with that rare wine
which good Acestes while in Sicily
had stored in jars, and prince-like sent away
with his Ioved guest;—this too Aeneas gave;
and with these words their mournful mood consoled.
“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.
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
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 wore,
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,
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,
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 Aeneas now bewails his friends,
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
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,
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 Aeneas and his Trojans few
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
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
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?
Antenor, though th' Achaeans pressed him sore,
found his way forth, and entered unassailed
Illyria's haven, and the guarded land
of the Liburni. Straight up stream he sailed
where like a swollen sea Timavus pours
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
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
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?”
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
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
Aeneas the great-hearted. Nothing swerves
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
and sacred laws shall be a mighty bond
about his gathered people. Summers three
shall Latium call him king; and three times pass
the winter o'er Rutulia's vanquished hills.
His heir, Ascanius, now Iulus called
(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
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
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
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,
the heirs of Ilium's kings shall bind in chains
Mycenae's glory and Achilles' towers,
and over prostrate Argos sit supreme.
Of Trojan stock illustriously sprung,
lo, Caesar comes! whose power the ocean bounds,
whose fame, the skies. He shall receive the name
Iulus nobly bore, great Julius, he.
Him to the skies, in Orient trophies dress,
thou shalt with smiles receive; and he, like us,
shall hear at his own shrines the suppliant vow.
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
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.”
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 them from the land.
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;
and, most of all, the Queen, with heart at ease
awaits benignantly her guests from Troy.
But good Aeneas, pondering all night long
his many cares, when first the cheerful dawn
upon him broke, resolved to take survey
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,
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.
Deep to the midmost wood he went, and there
his Mother in his path uprose; she seemed
in garb and countenance a maid, and bore,
like Spartan maids, a weapon; in such guise
Harpalyce the Thracian urges on
her panting coursers and in wild career
outstrips impetuous Hebrus as it flows.
Over her lovely shoulders was a bow,
slender and light, as fits a huntress fair;
her golden tresses without wimple moved
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?
She bore a quiver, and a lynx's hide
her spotted mantle was; perchance she roused
some foaming boar, and chased with loud halloo.”
So Venus spoke, and Venus' son replied:
“No voice or vision of thy sister fair
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 bright Phoebus' sister? Or some nymph,
the daughter of a god? Whate'er thou art,
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
shall many a victim on thine altar 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
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
of her own brother. 'T was an ancient wrong;
too Iong the dark and tangled tale would be;
I trace the larger outline of her story:
Sichreus was her spouse, whose acres broad
no Tyrian lord could match, and he was-blessed
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
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 Sichaeus,
and at the very altar hewed him down.
Long did he hide the deed, and guilefully
deceived with false hopes, and empty words,
her grief and stricken love. But as she slept,
her husband's tombless ghost before her came,
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,
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
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
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
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,
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—
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 Aeneas, faithful evermore
to Heaven's command; and in my ships I bear
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.
With twice ten ships upon the Phryglan 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
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,
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
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,
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,
re-circle heaven in triumphant song:
likewise, I tell thee, thy Iost mariners
are landed, or fly landward at full sail.
Up, then! let yon plain path thy guidance be,”
She ceased and turned away. A roseate beam
from her bright shoulder glowed; th' ambrosial 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
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?”
Such word of blame he spoke, and took his way
toward the city's rampart. Venus then
o'erveiled them as they moved in darkened air,—
a liquid mantle of thick cloud divine,—
that viewless they might pass, nor would any
obstruct, delay, or question why they came.
To Paphos then she soared, her Ioved abode,
where stands her temple, at whose hundred shrines
garlands of myrtle and fresh roses breathe,
and clouds of orient sweetness waft away.
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,
Aeneas 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
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
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,
leading abroad their nation's youthful brood;
or with the flowing 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,
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!”
Aeneas sighed; and swift his glances moved
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
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.
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.
A rare, new sight this sacred grove did show,
which calmed Aeneas' 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,
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
now told upon men's lips the whole world round.
There Atreus' sons, there kingly Priam moved,
and fierce Pelides pitiless to both.
Aeneas paused, and, weeping, thus began:
“Alas, Achates, what far region now,
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!
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
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
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.
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;
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,
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
was making traffic of the lifeless clay.
Aeneas 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.
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
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 Aeneas' eyes
looked wondering, while mute and motionless
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
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;
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.
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
her sentence, or impartial urn, assigned.
But, lo! Aeneas 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.
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
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,
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
to found this rising 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
unto a guiltless 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
named, in Greek syllables, Hesperia:
a storied realm, made mighty by great wars
and wealth of fruitful land; in former days
Oenotrians had it, and their sons, 't is said,
have called it Italy, a chieftain's name
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,
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,
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; Aeneas,—never man
in all the world more loyal, just and true,
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
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,
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,
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
whence hither drifting with the winds we came,
let us retrace the journey and rejoin
good King Acestes.” So Ilioneus
ended his pleading; the Dardanidae
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
such vigilant sentry my wide co'ast along.
Aeneas 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
insensible and dull: 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
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
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.
Aeneas, hither! I will bid explore
our Libya's utmost bound, where haply he
in wilderness or hamlet wanders lost.”
By these fair words to joy profoundly stirred,
Father Aeneas and Achates brave
to cast aside the cloud that wrapped them round
yearned greatly; and Achates to his King
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
thy mother's prophecy.” Scarce had he spoke
when suddenly that overmantling cloud
was cloven, and dissolved in lucent air;
forth stood Aeneas. A clear sunbeam smote
his god-like head and shoulders. Venus' son
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
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! Aeneas, Trojan-born,
brought safely hither from yon Libyan seas!
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
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.
May gods on high (if influence divine
bless faithful lives, or recompense be found
in justice and thy self-approving mind)
give thee thy due reward. What age was blest
by such a birth as thine? What parents proud
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 Iong thy glorious name,
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 Ioved Ilioneus,
his left Serestus; then the comrades all,
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:
“What chance, O goddess-born, o'er danger's path
impels? What power to this wild coast has borne?
Art thou Aeneas, great Anchises' son,
whom lovely Venus by the Phrygian stream
of Simois brought forth unto the day?
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.
And since that hour I oft have heard the tale
of fallen Troy, of thine own noble name,
and of Achaean kings. Teucer was wont,
although their foe, to praise the Teucrian race,
and boasted him of that proud lineage sprung.
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
in sorrow, and I help all suffering souls!”
So saying, she bade Aeneas welcome take
beneath her royal roof, and to the gods
made sacrifice in temples, while she sent
unto the thankful Trojans on the shore
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.
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,
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
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
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,
and which to Troy she bore, when flying far
in lawless wedlock from Mycenae'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
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
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,
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,
to thee I fly, and humbly here implore
thy help divine. Behold, from land to land
Aeneas, thine own brother, voyages on
storm-driven, by Juno's causeless enmity.
Thou knowest it well, and oft hast sighed to see
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
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 Aeneas not less than mine.
This thou canst bring to pass. I pray thee hear
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.
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,
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
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.
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
in pleasurable shade.
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.
Father Aeneas 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
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.
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,
each on his painted couch; with wondering eyes
Aeneas' 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.
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 Aeneas' neck his arms entwined,
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,
remembering his mother (she who bore
the lovely Acidalian Graces three),
to make the dear name of Sichaeus fade,
and with new life, new love, to re-possess
her Iong-since slumbering bosom's Iost desire.
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
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:
“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,
and Bacchus, Iord 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
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 Iyre
the flowing-haired Iopas woke a song
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,
the Hyades, rain-stars, and nigh the Pole
the great 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,
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
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,
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.”
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