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Then Drances rose,
that foe inveterate, whom Turnus' fame
to stinging hate and envy double-tongued
ever pricked on. Of liberal wealth was he
and flowing speech, but slack of hand in war
at council board accounted no weak voice,
in quarrels stronger still; of lofty birth
in the maternal line, but by his sire's
uncertain and obscure. He, claiming place,
thus multiplies with words the people's ire:
“A course most clear, nor needing voice of mine,
thy council is, good King; for all men see
the way of public weal, but smother close
the telling of it. Turnus must concede
freedom to speak, and his own arrogance
diminish! Under his ill-boding star
and fatal conduct—yea, I speak it plain,
though with his naked steel my death he swear—
yon host of princes fell, and we behold
the whole land bowed with grief; while he assails
the Trojan camp (beating such bold retreats!)
and troubles Heaven with war. One gift the more,
among the many to the Trojans given,
one chiefly, best of kings, thy choice should be.
Let not wild violence thy will restrain
from granting, sire, thy virgin daughter's hand
to son-in-law illustrious, in a match
worthy of both,—and thus the lasting bond
of peace establish. But if verily
our hearts and souls be weak with craven fear,
let us on Turnus call, and grace implore
even of him. Let him no more oppose;
but to his country and his King concede
their natural right. Why wilt thou o'er and o'er
fling thy poor countrymen in danger's way,
O chief and fountain of all Latium's pain?
War will not save us. Not a voice but sues
for peace, O Turnus! and, not less than peace,
its one inviolable pledge. Behold,
I lead in this petition! even I
whom thou dost feign thy foe—(I waste no words
denying)—look! I supplicate of thee,
take pity on thy kindred; drop thy pride,
and get thee home defeated. We have seen
slaughter enough, enough of funeral flames,
and many a wide field waste and desolate.
If glory move thee, if thy martial breast
so swell with strength, and if a royal dower
be thy dear dream, go, pluck thy courage up,
and front thy own brave bosom to the foe.
for, lo, that Turnus on his wedding day
may win a princess, our cheap, common lives—
we the mere mob, unwept, unsepulchred—
must be spilled forth in battle! Thou, I say,
if there be mettle in thee and some drops
of thy undaunted sires, Iook yonder where
the Trojan chieftain waits thee in the field.”

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