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From that dark cavern, pondering in his heart
The riddle of his fate. His faithful friend
Achates at his side, with paces slow,
Companioned all his care, while their sad souls
Made mutual and oft-renewed surmise
What comrade dead, what cold and tombless clay,
The Sibyl's word would show.
But as they mused,
Behold Misenus on the dry sea-sands,
By hasty hand of death struck guiltless down!
A son of Aeolus, none better knew
To waken heroes by the clarion's call,
With war-enkindling sound. Great Hector's friend
In happier days, he oft at Hector's side
Strode to the fight with glittering lance and horn.
But when Achilles stripped his fallen foe,
This dauntless hero to Aeneas gave
Allegiance true, in not less noble cause.
But, on a day, he chanced beside the sea
To blow his shell-shaped horn, and wildly dared
Challenge the gods themselves to rival song;
Till jealous Triton, if the tale be true,
Grasped the rash mortal, and out-flung him far
'mid surf-beat rocks and waves of whirling foam.
Now from all sides, with tumult and loud cry,
The Trojans came,—Aeneas leading all
In faithful grief; they hasten to fulfil
The Sibyl's mandate, and with many a tear
Build, altar-wise, a pyre, of tree on tree
Heaped high as heaven : then they penetrate
The tall, old forest, where wild creatures bide,
And fell pitch-pines, or with resounding blows
Of axe and wedge, cleave oak and ash-tree through,
Or logs of rowan down the mountains roll.
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