Aeneas apud Anium. Scylla.
DAUGHTERS OF ANIUS TRANSFORMEDThe Fates did not allow the hope of Troy
to be destroyed entirely with her walls.
Aeneas, the heroic son of Venus,
bore on his shoulders holy images
and still another holy weight, his sire,
a venerable burden. From all his wealth
the pious hero chose this for his care
together with his child, Ascanius.
Then with a fleet of exiles he sails forth,
he leaves Antandrus, leaves the wicked realm
and shore of Thrace now dripping with the blood
of Polydorus. With fair winds and tide
he and his comrades reach Apollo's isle.
Good Anius, king of Delos, vigilant
for all his subjects' welfare, and as priest
devoted to Apollo, took him there
into his temple and his home, and showed
the city, the famed shrines, and the two trees
which once Latona, while in labor, held.
They burned sweet incense, adding to it wine,
and laid the flesh of cattle in the flames,
an offering marked by custom for the god.
Then in the palace and its kingly hall,
reclining on luxurious couches, they
drank flowing wine with Ceres' gifts of food.
But old Anchises asked: “O chosen priest
of Phoebus, can I be deceived? When first
I saw these walls, did you not have a son,
and twice two daughters? Is it possible
I am mistaken?” Anius replied,—
shaking his temples wreathed with fillets white,—
“It can be no mistake, great hero, you
did see the father of five children then,
(so much the risk of fortune may affect
the best of men). You see me now, almost
bereft of all. For what assistance can
my absent son afford, while he is king,
the ruler over Andros—that land named
for his name—over which he rules for me?
“The Delian god gave to my son the art
of augury; and likewise, Liber gave
my daughters precious gifts exceeding all
my wishes and belief: since, every thing
my daughters touched assumed the forms of corn,
of sparkling wine, or gray-green olive oil.
Most surely, wonderful advantages.
“Soon as Atrides, he who conquered Troy
had heard of this (for you should not suppose
that we, too, did not suffer from your storms)
he dragged my daughters there with savage force,
from my loved bosom to his hostile camp,
and ordered them to feed the Argive fleet,
by their divinely given power of touch.
“Whichever way they could, they made escape
two hastened to Euboea, and two sought
their brother's island, Andros. Quickly then
an Argive squadron, following, threatened war,
unless they were surrendered. The brother's love
gave way to fear. And there is reason why
you should forgive a timid brother's fear:
he had no warrior like Aeneas, none
like Hector, by whose prowess you held Troy
from its destruction through ten years of war.
“Strong chains were brought to hold my daughters' arms.
Both lifted suppliant hands, which still were free,
to heaven and cried, ‘0, Father Bacchus! give
us needed aid!’ And he who had before
given them the power of touch, did give them aid—
if giving freedom without human shape
can be called giving aid.—I never knew
by what means they lost shape, and cannot tell;
but their calamity is surely known:
my daughters were transformed to snow-white doves,
white birds of Venus, guardian of your days.”
With this and other talk they shared the feast,
then left the table and retired to sleep.
They rose up with the day, and went at once
to hear the oracle of Phoebus speak.
He counselled them to leave that land and find
their ancient mother and their kindred shores.
The king attended them, and gave them gifts
when ready to depart; a sceptre to
Anchises, and a robe and quiver to
his grandson, and he gave a goblet to
Aeneas, that which formerly was sent
to him by Therses, once his Theban guest.
Therses had sent it from Aonian shores;
but Alcon the Hylean should be named,
for he had made the goblet and inscribed
a pictured story on the polished side.
There was a city shown with seven gates,
from which the name could be derived by all.
Outside the walls was a sad funeral,
and tombs and fires and funeral pyres were shown,
and many matrons with dishevelled hair
and naked breasts, expressive of their grief,
and many nymphs too, weeping mournfully
because their streams were dry. Without a leaf
the bare trees stood straight up and the she goats
were nibbling in dry, stony fields. And there he carved
Orion's daughters in the Theban square,
one giving her bare throat a cruel cut,
one with her shuttle making clumsy wounds;
both dying for their people. Next they were borne
out through the city with doe funeral pomp,
and mourning crowds were gathered round their pyre.
Then from the virgin ashes, lest the race
should die. twin youths arose, whom fame
has named Coroni and they shared
in all the rites becoming for their mothers' dust.
Even so in shining figures all was shown
inscribed on ancient bronze. The top rim, made
quite rough, was gilded with acanthus leaves.
Presents of equal worth the Trojans gave:
a maple incense casket for the priest,
a bowl, a crown adorned with gold and gems.