previous next
O storied youth!
If olden worth may win believing ear,
let not my song now fail of thee to sing,
thy noble deeds, thy doom of death and pain!

Mezentius, now encumbered and undone,
fell backward, trailing from the broken shield
his foeman's spear. His son leaped wildly forth
to join the fray; and where Aeneas' hand
lifted to strike, he faced the thrusting sword
and gave the hero pause. His comrades raised
applauding cries, as shielded by his son
the father made retreat; their darts they hurl,
and vex with flying spears the distant foe:
Aeneas, wrathful, stands beneath his shield.
As when the storm-clouds break in pelting hail,
the swains and ploughmen from the furrows fly,
and every traveller cowers in sure defence
of river-bank or lofty shelving crag,
while far and wide it pours; and by and by,
each, when the sun returns, his task pursues:
so great Aeneas, by assault o'erwhelmed,
endured the cloud of battle, till its rage
thundered no more; then with a warning word
to Lausus with upbraiding voice he called:
“Why, O death-doomed, rush on to deeds too high
for strength like thine. Thou art betrayed, rash boy,
by thine own loyal heart!” But none the less
the youth made mad defence; while fiercer burned
the Trojan's anger; and of Lausus' days
the loom of Fate spun forth the last thin thread;
for now Aeneas thrust his potent blade
deep through the stripling's breast and out of sight;
through the light shield it passed—a frail defence
to threaten with!—and through the tunic fine
his mother's hand had wrought with softest gold:
blood filled his bosom, and on path of air
down to the shades the mournful soul withdrew,
its body quitting. As Anchises' son
beheld the agonizing lips and brow
so wondrous white in death, he groaned aloud
in pity, and reached o'er him his right hand,
touched to the heart such likeness to behold
of his own filial love. “Unhappy boy!
What reward worthy of heroic deeds
can I award thee now? Wear still those arms
so proudly worn! And I will send thee home
(Perhaps thou carest!) to the kindred shades
and ashes of thy sires. But let it be
some solace in thy pitiable doom
that none but great Aeneas wrought thy fall.”
Then to the stripling's tardy followers
he sternly called, and lifted from the earth
with his own hand the fallen foe: dark blood
defiled those princely tresses braided fair.

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.

An XML version of this text is available for download, with the additional restriction that you offer Perseus any modifications you make. Perseus provides credit for all accepted changes, storing new additions in a versioning system.

hide Places (automatically extracted)

View a map of the most frequently mentioned places in this document.

Visualize the most frequently mentioned Pleiades ancient places in this text.

Download Pleiades ancient places geospacial dataset for this text.

hide References (1 total)
  • Cross-references in general dictionaries to this page (1):
hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: