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to King Evander hied, Evander's house
and city filling, where, but late, her word
had told in Latium Pallas' victory.
th' Arcadians thronging to the city-gates
bear funeral torches, the accustomed way;
in lines of flame the long street flashes far,
lighting the fields beyond. To meet them moves
a Phrygian company, to join with theirs
its lamentation loud. The Latin wives,
soon as they saw them entering, aroused
the whole sad city with shrill songs of woe.
No hand could stay Evander. Forth he flew
into the midmost tumult, and fell prone
on his dead Pallas, on the resting bier;
he clung to the pale corse with tears, with groans,
till anguish for a space his lips unsealed:
“Not this thy promise, Pallas, to thy sire,
to walk not rashly in the war-god's way.
I knew too well how honor's morning-star,
and sweet, foretasted glory tempt and woo
in a first battle. O first-fruit forlorn
of youth so fair! O prelude pitiless
of war approaching! O my vows and prayers,
which not one god would hear! My blessed wife,
how happy was the death that spared thee not
to taste this bitterness! But I, the while,
by living longer lived to meet my doom,—
a father sole-surviving. Would I myself
had perished by the Rutule's cruel spear,
the Trojan's cause espousing! This breath of life
how gladly had I given! And O, that now
yon black solemnity were bearing home
myself, not Pallas, dead! Yet blame I not,
O Teucrians, the hallowed pact we made,
nor hospitable bond and clasp of hands.
This doom ye bring me was writ long ago,
for my old age. And though my child is fallen
untimely, I take comfort that he fell
where thousands of the Volscians slaughtered lie,
and into Latium led the Teucrian arms.
What brighter glory could I crave in death
for thee, my Pallas, than Aeneas brings,
and Phrygian princes, and Etrurian lords
with all Etruria's legions? Lo, they bear
yon glittering spoils of victims of thy sword!
Thou, Turnus, too, wert now an effigy
in giant armor clad, if but his years
and strength full ripe had been fair match for thine!
But now my woes detain the Trojan host
from battle. I beseech ye haste away,
and bear this faithful message to your King:
since I but linger out a life I loathe,
without my Pallas, nothing but thy sword
can bid me live. Then let thy sword repay
its debt to sire and son by Turnus slain!
Such deed alone may with thy honor fit,
and happier fortunes. But my life to me
has no joy left to pray for, save to bring
my son that solace in the shadowy land.”
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