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down the steep rampart from the citadel
unlingering tried, all lesser task laid by,
with joy exultant and dread-thundering arms.
Like Athos' crest he loomed, or soaring top
of Eryx, when the nodding oaks resound,
or sovereign Apennine that lifts in air
his forehead of triumphant snow. All eyes
of Troy, Rutulia, and Italy
were fixed his way; and all who kept a guard
on lofty rampart, or in siege below
were battering the foundations, now laid by
their implements and arms. Latinus too
stood awestruck to behold such champions, born
in lands far-sundered, met upon one field
for one decisive stroke of sword with sword.
Swift striding forth where spread the vacant plain,
they hurled their spears from far; then in close fight
the brazen shields rang. Beneath their tread
Earth groaned aloud, as with redoubling blows
their falchions fell; nor could a mortal eye
'twixt chance and courage the dread work divide.
As o'er Taburnus' top, or spacious hills
of Sila, in relentless shock of war,
two bulls rush brow to brow, while terror-pale
the herdsmen fly; the herd is hushed with fear;
the heifers dumbly marvel which shall be
true monarch of the grove, whom all the kine
obedient follow; but the rival twain,
commingling mightily wound after wound,
thrust with opposing horns, and bathe their necks
in streams of blood; the forest far and wide
repeats their bellowing rage: not otherwise
Trojan Aeneas and King Daunus' son
clashed shield on shield, till all the vaulted sky
felt the tremendous sound. The hand of Jove
held scales in equipoise, and threw thereon
th' unequal fortunes of the heroes twain:
one to vast labors doomed and one to die.
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