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Then uprose
aged Aletes, crowned with wisdom's years:
“Gods of our fathers, who forevermore
watch over Troy, ye surely had no mind
to blot out Teucria's name, when ye bestowed
such courage on young hearts, and bade them be
so steadfast and so leal.” Joyful he clasped
their hands in his, and on their shoulders leaned,
his aged cheek and visage wet with tears.
“What reward worthy of such actions fair,
dear heroes, could be given? Your brightest prize
will come from Heaven and your own hearts. The rest
Aeneas will right soon bestow; nor will
Ascanius, now in youth's unblemished prime,
ever forget your praise.” Forthwith replied
Aeneas' son, “By all our household gods,
by great Assaracus, and every shrine
of venerable Vesta, I confide
my hopes, my fortunes, and all future weal
to your heroic hearts. O, bring me back
my father! Set him in these eyes once more!
That day will tears be dry; and I will give
two silver wine-cups graven and o'erlaid
with clear-cut figures, which my father chose
out of despoiled Arisbe; also two
full talents of pure gold, and tripods twain,
and ancient wine-bowl, Tyrian Dido's token.
But if indeed our destiny shall be
to vanquish Italy in prosperous war,
to seize the sceptre and divide the spoil, —
saw you that steed of Turnus and the arms
in which he rode, all golden? That same steed,
that glittering shield and haughty crimson crest
I will reserve thee, e'er the lots are cast,
and, Nisus, they are thine. Hereto my sire
will add twelve captive maids of beauty rare,
and slaves in armor; last, thou hast the fields
which now Latinus holds. But as for thee,
to whom my youth but binds me closer still,
thee, kingly boy, my whole heart makes my own,
and through all changeful fortune we shall be
inseparable peers: nor will I seek
renown and glory, or in peace or war,
forgetting thee: but trust thee from this day
in deed and word.” To him in answer spoke
euryalus, “O, may no future show
this heart unworthy thy heroic call!
And may our fortune ever prosperous prove,
not adverse. But I now implore of thee
a single boon worth all beside. I have
a mother, from the venerated line
of Priam sprung, whom not the Trojan shore
nor King Acestes' city could detain,
alas! from following me. I leave her now
without farewell; nor is her love aware
of my supposed peril. For I swear
by darkness of this night and thy right hand,
that all my courage fails me if I see
a mother's tears. O, therefore, I implore,
be thou her sorrow's comfort and sustain
her solitary day. Such grace from thee
equip me for my war, and I shall face
with braver heart whatever fortune brings.”
With sudden sorrow thrilled, the veteran lords
of Teucria showed their tears. But most of all
such likeness of his own heart's filial love
on fair Iulus moved, and thus he spoke:
“Promise thyself what fits thy generous deeds.
Thy mother shall be mine, Creusa's name
alone not hers; nor is the womb unblest
that bore a child like thee. Whate'er success
may follow, I make oath immutable
by my own head, on which my father swore,
that all I promise thee of gift or praise
if home thou comest triumphing, shall be
the glory of thy mother and thy kin.”
Weeping he spoke, and from his shoulder drew
the golden sword, well-wrought and wonderful,
which once in Crete Lycaon's cunning made
and sheathed in ivory. On Nisus then
Mnestheus bestowed a shaggy mantle torn
from a slain lion; good Aletes gave
exchange of crested helms. In such array
they hastened forth; and all the princely throng,
young men and old, ran with them to the gates,
praying all gods to bless. Iulus then,
a fair youth, but of grave, heroic soul
beyond his years, gave them in solemn charge
full many a message for his sire, but these
the hazard of wild winds soon scattered far,
and flung them fruitless on the darkening storm.

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