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Aeneas, though his sorrow bids him haste
to burial of the slain, and his sad soul
is clouded with the sight of death, fulfils,
for reward to his gods, a conqueror's vow,
at morning's earliest beam. A mighty oak
shorn of its limbs he sets upon a hill
and clothes it o'er with glittering arms, the spoil
of King Mezentius, and a trophy proud
to thee, great lord of war. The hero's plumes
bedewed with blood are there, and splintered spears;
there hangs the corselet, by the thrusting steel
twelve times gored through; upon the left he binds
the brazen shield, and from the neck suspends
the ivory-hilted sword. Aeneas thus,
as crowding close his train of captains throng,
addressed his followers: “Ye warriors mine,
our largest work is done. Bid fear begone
of what is left to do. Behold the spoils!
Yon haughty King was firstfruits of our war.
See this Mezentius my hands have made!
Now to the Latin town and King we go.
Arm you in soul! With heart of perfect hope
prepare the war! So when the gods give sign
to open battle and lead forth our brave
out of this stronghold, no bewilderment,
nor tarrying, nor fearful, faltering mind
shall slack our march. Meanwhile in earth we lay
our comrades fallen; for no honor else
in Acheron have they. Go forth,” said he,
“bring gifts of honor and of last farewell
to those high hearts by shedding of whose blood
our country lives. To sad Evander's town
bear Pallas first; who, though he did not fail
of virtue's crown, was seized by doom unblest,
and to the bitterness of death consigned.”
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