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thus made reply: “O youth surpassing brave!
The more thy sanguinary valor burns
beyond its wont, the more with toilsome care
I ponder with just fear what chance may fall,
weighing it well. Thy father Daunus' throne,
and many a city by thy sword subdued,
are still thy own. Latinus also boasts
much golden treasure and a liberal hand.
Other unwedded maids of noble stem
in Latium and Laurentine land are found.
Permit me, then, to tell thee without guile
things hard to utter; let them deeply fill
thy listening soul. My sacred duty 'twas
to plight my daughter's hand to nonesoe'er
of all her earlier wooers—so declared
the gods and oracles; but overcome
by love of thee, by thy dear, kindred blood,
and by the sad eyes of my mournful Queen,
I shattered every bond; I snatched away
the plighted maiden from her destined lord,
and took up impious arms. What evil case
upon that deed ensued, what hapless wars,
thou knowest, since thyself dost chiefly bear
the cruel burden. In wide-ranging fight
twice-conquered, our own city scarce upholds
the hope of Italy. Yon Tiber's wave
still runs warm with my people's blood; the plains
far round us glisten with their bleaching bones.
Why tell it o'er and o'er? What maddening dream
perverts my mind? If after Turnus slain
I must for friendship of the Trojan sue,
were it not better to suspend the fray
while Turnus lives? For what will be the word
of thy Rutulian kindred—yea, of all
Italia, if to death I give thee o'er—
(Which Heaven avert!) because thou fain wouldst win
my daughter and be sworn my friend and son?
Bethink thee what a dubious work is war;
have pity on thy father's reverend years,
who even now thy absence daily mourns
in Ardea, his native land and thine.”
But to this pleading Turnus' frenzied soul
yields not at all, but rather blazes forth
more wildly, and his fever fiercer burns
beneath the healer's hand. In answer he,
soon as his passion gathered voice, began:
“This keen solicitude for love of me,
I pray, good sire, for love of me put by!
And let me traffic in the just exchange
of death for glory. This right hand, O King,
can scatter shafts not few, nor do I wield
untempered steel. Whene'er I make a wound
blood follows. For my foeman when we meet
will find no goddess-mother near, with hand
to hide him in her woman's skirt of cloud,
herself in dim, deluding shade concealed.”
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