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They heard, and took their places. The loud horn
gave signal, and impetuous from the line,
swift as a bursting storm they sped away,
eyes fixed upon the goal. Far in advance
Nisus shot forward, swifter than the winds
or winged thunderbolt; the next in course,
next, but out-rivalled far, was Salius,
and after him a space, Euryalus
came third; him Helymus was hard upon;
and, look! Diores follows, heel on heel,
close at his shoulder—if the race be long
he sure must win, or claim a doubtful prize.
Now at the last stretch, spent and panting, all
pressed to the goal, when in a slime of blood
Nisus, hard fate! slipped down, where late the death
of victims slain had drenched the turf below.
Here the young victor, with his triumph flushed,
lost foothold on the yielding ground, and plunged
face forward in the pool of filth and gore;
but not of dear Euryalus was he
forgetful then, nor heedless of his friend;
but rising from the mire he hurled himself
in Salius' way; so he in equal plight
rolled in the filthy slough. Euryalus
leaped forth, the winner of the race by gift
of his true friend, and flying to the goal
stood first, by many a favoring shout acclaimed.
Next Helymus ran in; and, for the third, last prize,
Diores. But the multitude now heard
the hollowed hill-side ringing with wild wrath
from Salius, clamoring where the chieftains sate
for restitution of his stolen prize,
lost by a cheat. But general favor smiles
upon Euryalus, whose beauteous tears
commend him much, and nobler seems the worth
of valor clothed in youthful shape so fair.
Diores, too, assists the victor's claim,
with loud appeal—he too has won a prize,
and vainly holds his last place, if the first
to Salius fall.

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load focus Notes (John Conington, 1876)
load focus English (John Dryden)
load focus Latin (J. B. Greenough, 1900)
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