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on the doomed Dardan's head, or on thy own,
thou madman! Aye, with thy vile, craven soul
disturb the general cause. Extol the power
of a twice-vanquished people, and decry
Latinus' rival arms. From this time forth
let all the Myrmidonian princes cower
before the might of Troy; let Diomed
and let Achilles tremble; let the stream
of Aufidus in panic backward flow
from Hadria's wave. But hear me when I say
that though his guilt and cunning feign to feel
fear of my vengeance, much embittering so
his taunts and insult—such a life as his
my sword disdains. O Drances, be at ease!
In thy vile bosom let thy breath abide!
But now of thy grave counsel and thy cause,
O royal sire, I speak. If from this hour
thou castest hope of armed success away,
if we be so unfriended that one rout
o'erwhelms us utterly, if Fortune's feet
never turn backward, let us, then, for peace
offer petition, lifting to the foe
our feeble, suppliant hands. Yet would I pray
some spark of manhood such as once we knew
were ours once more! I count him fortunate,
and of illustrious soul beyond us all,
who, rather than behold such things, has fallen
face forward, dead, his teeth upon the dust.
But if we still have power, and men-at-arms
unwasted and unscathed, if there survive
Italian tribes and towns for help in war,
aye! if the Trojans have but won success
at bloody cost,—for they dig graves, I ween,
storm-smitten not less than we,—O, wherefore now
stand faint and shameful on the battle's edge?
Why quake our knees before the trumpet call?
Time and the toil of shifting, changeful days
restore lost causes; ebbing tides of chance
deceive us oft, which after at their flood
do lift us safe to shore. If aid come not
from Diomed in Arpi, our allies
shall be Mezentius and Tolumnius,
auspicious name, and many a chieftain sent
from many a tribe; not all inglorious
are Latium's warriors from Laurentian land!
Hither the noble Volscian stem sends down
Camilla with her beauteous cavalry
in glittering brass arrayed. But if, forsooth,
the Trojans call me singly to the fight,
if this be what ye will, and I so much
the public weal impair—when from this sword
has victory seemed to fly away in scorn?
I should not hopeless tread in honor's way
whate'er the venture. Dauntless will I go
though equal match for great Achilles, he,
and though he clothe him in celestial arms
in Vulcan's smithy wrought. I, Turnus, now,
not less than equal with great warriors gone,
vow to Latinus, father of my bride,
and to ye all, each drop of blood I owe.
Me singly doth Aeneas call? I crave
that challenge. Drances is not called to pay
the debt of death, if wrath from Heaven impend;
nor his a brave man's name and fame to share.”
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