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rises a rock, which under swollen waves
lies buffeted unseen, when wintry storms
mantle the stars; but when the deep is calm,
lifts silently above the sleeping wave
its level field,—a place where haunt and play
flocks of the sea-birds, Iovers of the sun.
Here was the goal; and here Aeneas set
a green-leaved flex-tree, to be a mark
for every captain's eye, from whence to veer
the courses of their ships in sweeping curves
and speed them home. Now places in the line
are given by lot. Upon the lofty sterns
the captains ride, in beautiful array
of Tyriao purple and far-flaming gold;
the crews are poplar-crowned, the shoulders bare
rubbed well with glittering oil; their straining arms
make long reach to the oar, as on the thwarts
they sit attentive, listening for the call
of the loud trumpet; while with pride and fear
their hot hearts throb, impassioned for renown.
Soon pealed the signal clear; from all the line
instant the galleys bounded, and the air
rang to the rowers, shouting, while their arms
pulled every inch and flung the waves in foam;
deep cut the rival strokes; the surface fair
yawned wide beneath their blades and cleaving keels.
Not swifter scour the chariots o'er the plain,
sped headlong from the line behind their teams
of mated coursers, while each driver shakes
loose, rippling reins above his plunging pairs,
and o'er the lash leans far. With loud applause
vociferous and many an urgent cheer
the woodlands rang, and all the concave shores
back from the mountains took the Trojan cry
in answering song.
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