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“My countrymen,” he said, “our eyes have seen
strongholds of Greeks and Diomed the King.
We braved all perils to our journey's end
and clasped that hand whereof the dreadful stroke
wrought Ilium's fall. The hero built a town,
Argyripa, hereditary name,
near mount Garganus in Apulian land:
passing that city's portal and the King's,
we found free audience, held forth thy gifts,
and told our names and fatherland. We showed
what condict was enkindled, and what cause
brought us to Arpi's King. He, hearing all,
with brow benign made answer to our plea:
‘O happy tribes in Saturn's kingdom born,
Ausonia's ancient stem! What fortune blind
tempts ye from peace away, and now ensnares
in wars unknown? Look how we men that dared
lay Ilium waste (I speak not of what woes
in battling neath her lofty walls we bore,
nor of dead warriors sunk in Simois' wave)
have paid the penalty in many a land
with chastisement accurst and changeful woe,
till Priam's self might pity. Let the star
of Pallas tell its tale of fatal storm,
off grim Caphereus and Eubcea's crags.
Driven asunder from one field of war,
Atrides unto farthest Egypt strayed,
and wise Ulysses saw from Aetna's caves
the Cyclops gathering. Why name the throne
of Pyrrhus, or the violated hearth
whence fled Idomeneus? Or Locri cast
on Libya's distant shore? For even he,
Lord of Mycenae by the Greeks obeyed,
fell murdered on his threshold by the hand
of that polluted wife, whose paramour
trapped Asia's conqueror. The envious gods
withheld me also from returning home
to see once more the hearth-stone of my sires,
the wife I yearn for, and my Calydon,
the beauteous land. For wonders horrible
pursue me still. My vanished followers
through upper air take wing, or haunt and rove
in forms of birds the island waters o'er:
ah me, what misery my people feel!
The tall rocks ring with their lament and cry.
Naught else had I to hope for from that day
when my infatuate sword on gods I drew,
and outraged with abominable wound
the hand of Venus. Urge me not, I pray,
to conflicts in this wise. No more for me
of war with Trojans after Ilium's fall!
I take no joy in evils past, nor wish
such memory to renew. Go, lay these gifts,
brought to my honor from your ancient land,
at great Aeneas' feet. We twain have stood
confronting close with swords implacable
in mortal fray. Believe me, I have known
the stature of him when he lifts his shield,
and swings the whirlwind of his spear. If Troy
two more such sons had bred, the Dardan horde
had stormed at Argos' gates, and Greece to-day
were for her fallen fortunes grieving sore.
Our lingering at Ilium's stubborn wall,
our sluggard conquest halting ten years Iong,
was his and Hector's work. Heroic pair!
Each one for valor notable, and each
famous in enterprise of arms,—but he
was first in piety. Enclasp with his
your hands in plighted peace as best ye may:
but shock of steel on steel ye well may shun.’
now hast thou heard, good King, a king's reply,
and how his wisdom sits in this vast war.”

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load focus Notes (Georgius Thilo, 1881)
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