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steered forth with all the fleet to open sea,
on his unswerving course, and ploughed the waves,
sped by a driving gale; but when his eyes
looked back on Carthage, they beheld the glare
of hapless Dido's fire. Not yet was known
what kindled the wild flames; but that the pang
of outraged love is cruel, and what the heart
of desperate woman dares, they knew too well,
and sad foreboding shook each Trojan soul.
Soon in mid-sea, beyond all chart of shore,
when only seas and skies were round their way,
full in the zenith loomed a purple cloud,
storm-laden, dark as night, and every wave
grew black and angry; from his Iofty seat
the helmsman Palinurus cried, “Alas!
What means this host of storms encircling heaven?
What, Neptune, wilt thou now?” He, having said,
bade reef and tighten, bend to stronger stroke,
and slant sail to the wind; then spake again:
“High-souled Aeneas, not if Jove the King
gave happy omen, would I have good hope
of making Italy through yonder sky.
Athwart our course from clouded evening-star
rebellious winds run shifting, and the air
into a cloud-wrack rolls. Against such foes
too weak our strife and strain! Since now the hand
of Fortune triumphs, let us where she calls
obedient go. For near us, I believe,
lies Eryx' faithful and fraternal shore:
here are Sicilian havens, if my mind
of yon familiar stars have knowledge true.”
then good Aeneas: “For a friendly wind
long have I sued, and watched thee vainly strive.
Shift sail! What happier land for me and mine,
or for our storm-beat ships what safer shore,
than where Dardanian Acestes reigns;
the land whose faithful bosom cherishes
Anchises' ashes?” Heedful of his word,
they landward steer, while favoring zephyrs fill
the spreading sail. On currents swift and strong
the fleet is wafted, and with thankful soul
they moor on Sicily's familiar strand.
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