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his laggard host, and, leading in his train
a score of chosen knights, dashed into view
hard by the walls. A barb of Thracian breed
dappled with white he rode; a crimson plume
flamed over his golden helmet. “Who,” he cries,
“Is foremost at the foe? Who follows me?
Behold!” And, with the word, he hurled in air
a javelin, provoking instant war:
and, towering from his horse, charged o'er the field.
With answering shout his men-at-arms pursue,
and war-cries terrible. They laugh to scorn
“the craven hearts of Troy, that cannot give
fair, equal vantage, matching man to man,
but cuddle into camp.” This way and that
Turnus careers, and stormily surveys
the frowning rampart, and where way is none
some entering breach would find: so prowls a wolf
nigh the full sheepfold, and through wind and rain
stands howling at the postern all night long;
beneath the ewes their bleating lambs lie safe;
but he, with undesisting fury, more
rages from far, made frantic for his prey
by hunger of long hours, his foaming jaws
athirst for blood: not less the envy burned
of the Rutulian, as he scanned in vain
the stronghold of his foe. Indignant scorn
thrilled all his iron frame. But how contrive
to storm the fortress or by force expel
the Trojans from the rampart, and disperse
along the plain? Straightway he spied the ships,
in hiding near the camp, defended well
by mounded river-bank and fleeting wave.
On these he fell; while his exultant crew
brought firebrands, and he with heart aflame
grasped with a vengeful hand the blazing pine.
To the wild work his followers sped; for who
could prove him craven under Turnus' eye?
The whole troop for the weapon of their rage
seized smoking coals, of many a hearth the spoil;
red glare of fuming torches burned abroad,
and Vulcan starward flung a sparkling cloud.
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