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the burning and indomitable flames
raged without stay; beneath the ships' smeared sides
the hempen fuel puffed a lingering smoke,
as, through the whole bulk creeping, the slow fire
devoured its way; and little it availed
that strong men fought the fire with stream on stream.
Then good Aeneas from his shoulder rent
his garment, and with lifted hands implored
the help of Heaven. “O Jove omnipotent!
If thou not yet thy wrath implacable
on every Trojan pourest, if thou still
hast pity, as of old, for what men bear,
O, grant my fleet deliverance from this flame!
From uttermost destruction, Father, save
our desperate Trojan cause! Or even now —
last cruelty! thy fatal thunders throw.
If this be my just meed, let thy dread arm
confound us all.” But scarce the prayer is said,
when with a bursting deluge a dark storm
falls, marvellous to see; while hills and plains
with thunder shake, and to each rim of heaven
spreads swollen cloud-rack, black with copious rain
and multitudinous gales. The full flood pours
on every ship, and all the smouldering beams
are drenched, until the smoke and flames expire
and (though four ships be lost) the burning fleet
rides rescued from its doom.
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