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Up from the sea now soared the dawning day:
Aeneas, though his sorrow bids him haste
to burial of the slain, and his sad soul
is clouded with the sight of death, fulfils,
for reward to his gods, a conqueror's vow,
at morning's earliest beam. A mighty oak
shorn of its limbs he sets upon a hill
and clothes it o'er with glittering arms, the spoil
of King Mezentius, and a trophy proud
to thee, great lord of war. The hero's plumes
bedewed with blood are there, and splintered spears;
there hangs the corselet, by the thrusting steel
twelve times gored through; upon the left he binds
the brazen shield, and from the neck suspends
the ivory-hilted sword. Aeneas thus,
as crowding close his train of captains throng,
addressed his followers: “Ye warriors mine,
our largest work is done. Bid fear begone
of what is left to do. Behold the spoils!
Yon haughty King was firstfruits of our war.
See this Mezentius my hands have made!
Now to the Latin town and King we go.
Arm you in soul! With heart of perfect hope
prepare the war! So when the gods give sign
to open battle and lead forth our brave
out of this stronghold, no bewilderment,
nor tarrying, nor fearful, faltering mind
shall slack our march. Meanwhile in earth we lay
our comrades fallen; for no honor else
in Acheron have they. Go forth,” said he,
“bring gifts of honor and of last farewell
to those high hearts by shedding of whose blood
our country lives. To sad Evander's town
bear Pallas first; who, though he did not fail
of virtue's crown, was seized by doom unblest,
and to the bitterness of death consigned.”
Weeping he spoke, and slowly backward drew
to the tent-door, where by the breathless clay
of Pallas stood Acoetes, aged man,
once bearer of Evander's arms, but now
under less happy omens set to guard
his darling child. Around him is a throng
of slaves, with all the Trojan multitude,
and Ilian women, who the wonted way
let sorrow's tresses loosely flow. When now
Aeneas to the lofty doors drew near,
all these from smitten bosoms raised to heaven
a mighty moaning, till the King's abode
was loud with anguish. There Aeneas viewed
the pillowed head of Pallas cold and pale,
the smooth young breast that bore the gaping wound
of that Ausonian spear, and weeping said:
“Did Fortune's envy, smiling though she came,
refuse me, hapless boy, that thou shouldst see
my throne established, and victorious ride
beside me to thy father's house? Not this
my parting promise to thy King and sire,
Evander, when with friendly, fond embrace
to win imperial power he bade me go;
yet warned me anxiously I must resist
bold warriors and a stubborn breed of foes.
And haply even now he cheats his heart
with expectation vain, and offers vows,
heaping with gifts the altars of his gods.
But we with unavailing honors bring
this lifeless youth, who owes the gods of heaven
no more of gift and vow. O ill-starred King!
Soon shalt thou see thy son's unpitying doom!
What a home-coming! This is glory's day
so Iong awaited; this the solemn pledge
I proudly gave. But fond Evander's eyes
will find no shameful wounding on the slain,
nor for a son in coward safety kept
wilt thou, the sire, crave death. But woe is me!
How strong a bulwark in Ausonia falls!
What loss is thine, Iulus!” Thus lamenting,
he bids them lift the body to the bier,
and sends a thousand heroes from his host
to render the last tributes, and to share
father's tears:—poor solace and too small
for grief so great, but due that mournful sire.
Some busy them to build of osiers fine
the simple litter, twining sapling oaks
with evergreen, till o'er death's Iofty bed
the branching shade extends. Upon it lay,
as if on shepherd's couch, the youthful dead,
like fairest flower by virgin fingers culled,
frail violet or hyacinth forlorn,
of color still undimmed and leaf unmarred;
but from the breast of mother-earth no more
its life doth feed. Then good Aeneas brought
two broidered robes of scarlet and fine gold,
which with the gladsome labor of her hands
Sidonian Dido wrought him long ago,
the thin-spun gold inweaving. One of these
the sad prince o'er the youthful body threw
for parting gift; and with the other veiled
those tresses from the fire; he heaped on high
Laurentum's spoils of war, and bade to bring
much tribute forth: horses and arms he gave,
seized from the fallen enemy; with hands
fettered behind them filed a captive train
doomed to appease the shades, and with the flames
to mix their flowing blood. He bade his chiefs
set up the trunks of trees and clothe them well
with captured arms, inscribing on each one
some foeman's name. Then came Acoetes forth,
a wretched, worn old man, who beat his breast
with tight-clenched hands, and tore his wrinkled face
with ruthless fingers; oft he cast him down
full length along the ground. Then lead they forth
the blood-stained Rutule chariots of war;
Aethon, the war-horse, of his harness bare,
walks mournful by; big teardrops wet his cheek.
Some bear the lance and helm; for all the rest
victorious Turnus seized. Then filed along
a mournful Teucrian cohort; next the host
Etrurian and the men of Arcady
with trailing arms reversed. Aeneas now,
when the long company had passed him by,
spoke thus and groaned aloud: “Ourselves from hence
are summoned by the same dread doom of war
to other tears. Farewell forevermore!
Heroic Pallas! be forever blest!
I bid thee hail, farewell!” In silence then
back to the stronghold's Iofty walls he moved.
Now envoys from the Latin citadel
came olive-crowned, to plead for clemency:
would he not yield those bodies of the dead
sword-scattered o'er the plain, and let them lie
beneath an earth-built tomb? Who wages war
upon the vanquished, the unbreathing slain?
To people once his hosts and kindred called,
would he not mercy show? To such a prayer,
deemed not unworthy, good Aeneas gave
the boon, and this benignant answer made:
“Ye Latins, what misfortune undeserved
has snared you in so vast a war, that now
you shun our friendship? Have you here implored
peace for your dead, by chance of battle fallen?
Pain would I grant it for the living too.
I sailed not hither save by Heaven's decree,
which called me to this land. I wage no war
with you, the people; 't was your King refused
our proffered bond of peace, and gave his cause
to Turnus' arms. More meet and just it were
had Turnus met this death that makes you mourn.
If he would end our quarrel sword in hand,
thrusting us Teucrians forth, 't was honor's way
to cross his blade with mine; that man to whom
the gods, or his own valor, had decreed
the longer life, had lived. But now depart!
Beneath your lost friends light the funeral fires!”
So spoke Aeneas; and with wonder mute
all stood at gaze, each turning to behold
his neighbor's face. Then Drances, full of years,
and ever armed with spite and slanderous word
against young Turnus, made this answering plea:
“O prince of mighty name, whose feats of arms
are even mightier! Trojan hero, how
shall my poor praise exalt thee to the skies?
Is it thy rectitude or strenuous war
most bids me wonder? We will bear thy word
right gladly to the city of our sires;
and there, if Fortune favor it, contrive
a compact with the Latin King. Henceforth
let Turnus find his own allies! Ourselves
will much rejoice to see thy destined walls,
and our own shoulders will be proud to bear
the stone for building Troy.” Such speech he made,
and all the common voice consented loud.
So twelve days' truce they swore, and safe from harm
Latins and Teucrians unmolested roved
together o'er the wooded hills. Now rang
loud steel on ash-tree bole; enormous pines,
once thrusting starward, to the earth they threw;
and with industrious wedge asunder clove
stout oak and odorous cedar, piling high
harvest of ash-trees on the creaking wain.
Now Rumor, herald of prodigious woe,
to King Evander hied, Evander's house
and city filling, where, but late, her word
had told in Latium Pallas' victory.
th' Arcadians thronging to the city-gates
bear funeral torches, the accustomed way;
in lines of flame the long street flashes far,
lighting the fields beyond. To meet them moves
a Phrygian company, to join with theirs
its lamentation loud. The Latin wives,
soon as they saw them entering, aroused
the whole sad city with shrill songs of woe.
No hand could stay Evander. Forth he flew
into the midmost tumult, and fell prone
on his dead Pallas, on the resting bier;
he clung to the pale corse with tears, with groans,
till anguish for a space his lips unsealed:
“Not this thy promise, Pallas, to thy sire,
to walk not rashly in the war-god's way.
I knew too well how honor's morning-star,
and sweet, foretasted glory tempt and woo
in a first battle. O first-fruit forlorn
of youth so fair! O prelude pitiless
of war approaching! O my vows and prayers,
which not one god would hear! My blessed wife,
how happy was the death that spared thee not
to taste this bitterness! But I, the while,
by living longer lived to meet my doom,—
a father sole-surviving. Would I myself
had perished by the Rutule's cruel spear,
the Trojan's cause espousing! This breath of life
how gladly had I given! And O, that now
yon black solemnity were bearing home
myself, not Pallas, dead! Yet blame I not,
O Teucrians, the hallowed pact we made,
nor hospitable bond and clasp of hands.
This doom ye bring me was writ long ago,
for my old age. And though my child is fallen
untimely, I take comfort that he fell
where thousands of the Volscians slaughtered lie,
and into Latium led the Teucrian arms.
What brighter glory could I crave in death
for thee, my Pallas, than Aeneas brings,
and Phrygian princes, and Etrurian lords
with all Etruria's legions? Lo, they bear
yon glittering spoils of victims of thy sword!
Thou, Turnus, too, wert now an effigy
in giant armor clad, if but his years
and strength full ripe had been fair match for thine!
But now my woes detain the Trojan host
from battle. I beseech ye haste away,
and bear this faithful message to your King:
since I but linger out a life I loathe,
without my Pallas, nothing but thy sword
can bid me live. Then let thy sword repay
its debt to sire and son by Turnus slain!
Such deed alone may with thy honor fit,
and happier fortunes. But my life to me
has no joy left to pray for, save to bring
my son that solace in the shadowy land.”
Meanwhile o'er sorrowing mortals the bright morn
had lifted her mild beam, renewing so
the burden of man's toil. Aeneas now
built funeral pyres along the winding shore,
King Tarchon at his side. Each thither brought
the bodies of his kin, observing well
all ancient ritual. The fuming fires
burned from beneath, till highest heaven was hid
in blackest, overmantling cloud. Three times
the warriors, sheathed in proud, resplendent steel,
paced round the kindling pyres; and three times
fair companies of horsemen circled slow,
with loud lamenting, round the doleful flame.
The wail of warriors and the trumpets' blare
the very welkin rend. Cast on the flames
are spoils of slaughtered Latins,—helms and blades,
bridles and chariot-wheels. Yet others bring
gifts to the dead familiar, their own shields
and unavailing spears. Around them slain
great herds of kine give tribute unto death:
swine, bristly-backed, from many a field are borne,
and slaughtered sheep bleed o'er the sacred fire.
So on the shore the wailing multitude
behold their comrades burning, and keep guard
o'er the consuming pyres, nor turn away
till cooling night re-shifts the globe of heaven,
thick-strewn with numberless far-flaming stars.
Likewise the mournful Latins far away
have built their myriad pyres. Yet of the slain
not few in graves are laid, and borne with tears
to neighboring country-side or native town;
the rest—promiscuous mass of dead unknown—
to nameless and unhonored ashes burn;
with multitude of fires the far-spread fields
blaze forth unweariedly. But when from heaven
the third morn had dispelled the dark and cold,
the mournful bands raked forth the mingled bones
and plenteous ashes from the smouldering pyres,
then heaped with earth the one sepulchral mound.
Now from the hearth-stones of the opulent town
of old Latinus a vast wail burst forth,
for there was found the chief and bitterest share
of all the woe. For mothers in their tears,
lone brides, and stricken souls of sisters fond,
and boys left fatherless, fling curses Ioud
on Turnus' troth-plight and the direful war:
“Let him, let Turnus, with his single sword
decide the strife,”—they cry,—“and who shall claim
Lordship of Italy and power supreme.”
Fierce Drances whets their fury, urging all
that Turnus singly must the challenge hear,
and singly wage the war; but others plead
in Turnus' favor; the Queen's noble name
protects him, and his high renown in arms
defends his cause with well-won trophies fair.
Amid these tumults of the wrathful throng,
lo, the ambassadors to Diomed
arrive with cloudy forehead from their quest
in his illustrious town; for naught availed
their toilsome errand, nor the gifts and gold,
nor strong entreaty. Other help in war
the Latins now must find, or humbly sue
peace from the Trojan. At such tidings dire
even Latinus trembles: Heaven's decrees
and influence of gods too visible
sustain Aeneas; so the wrath divine
and new-filled sepulchres conspicuous
give warning clear. Therefore the King convenes
a general council of his captains brave
beneath the royal towers. They, gathering,
throng the approaches thither, where their Iord,
gray-haired Latinus, takes the central throne,
wearing authority with mournful brow.
He bids the envoys from Aetolia's King
sent back, to speak and tell the royal words
in order due. Forthwith on every tongue
fell silence, while the princely Venulus,
heeding his Iord's behest, began the parle:
“My countrymen,” he said, “our eyes have seen
strongholds of Greeks and Diomed the King.
We braved all perils to our journey's end
and clasped that hand whereof the dreadful stroke
wrought Ilium's fall. The hero built a town,
Argyripa, hereditary name,
near mount Garganus in Apulian land:
passing that city's portal and the King's,
we found free audience, held forth thy gifts,
and told our names and fatherland. We showed
what condict was enkindled, and what cause
brought us to Arpi's King. He, hearing all,
with brow benign made answer to our plea:
‘O happy tribes in Saturn's kingdom born,
Ausonia's ancient stem! What fortune blind
tempts ye from peace away, and now ensnares
in wars unknown? Look how we men that dared
lay Ilium waste (I speak not of what woes
in battling neath her lofty walls we bore,
nor of dead warriors sunk in Simois' wave)
have paid the penalty in many a land
with chastisement accurst and changeful woe,
till Priam's self might pity. Let the star
of Pallas tell its tale of fatal storm,
off grim Caphereus and Eubcea's crags.
Driven asunder from one field of war,
Atrides unto farthest Egypt strayed,
and wise Ulysses saw from Aetna's caves
the Cyclops gathering. Why name the throne
of Pyrrhus, or the violated hearth
whence fled Idomeneus? Or Locri cast
on Libya's distant shore? For even he,
Lord of Mycenae by the Greeks obeyed,
fell murdered on his threshold by the hand
of that polluted wife, whose paramour
trapped Asia's conqueror. The envious gods
withheld me also from returning home
to see once more the hearth-stone of my sires,
the wife I yearn for, and my Calydon,
the beauteous land. For wonders horrible
pursue me still. My vanished followers
through upper air take wing, or haunt and rove
in forms of birds the island waters o'er:
ah me, what misery my people feel!
The tall rocks ring with their lament and cry.
Naught else had I to hope for from that day
when my infatuate sword on gods I drew,
and outraged with abominable wound
the hand of Venus. Urge me not, I pray,
to conflicts in this wise. No more for me
of war with Trojans after Ilium's fall!
I take no joy in evils past, nor wish
such memory to renew. Go, lay these gifts,
brought to my honor from your ancient land,
at great Aeneas' feet. We twain have stood
confronting close with swords implacable
in mortal fray. Believe me, I have known
the stature of him when he lifts his shield,
and swings the whirlwind of his spear. If Troy
two more such sons had bred, the Dardan horde
had stormed at Argos' gates, and Greece to-day
were for her fallen fortunes grieving sore.
Our lingering at Ilium's stubborn wall,
our sluggard conquest halting ten years Iong,
was his and Hector's work. Heroic pair!
Each one for valor notable, and each
famous in enterprise of arms,—but he
was first in piety. Enclasp with his
your hands in plighted peace as best ye may:
but shock of steel on steel ye well may shun.’
now hast thou heard, good King, a king's reply,
and how his wisdom sits in this vast war.”
Soon as the envoys ceased, an answering sound
of troubled voices through the council flowed
of various note, as when its rocky bed
impedes an arrowy stream, and murmurs break
from the strait-channelled flood; the fringing shores
repeat the tumult of the clamorous wave.
But when their hearts and troublous tongues were still,
the King, invoking first the gods in heaven,
thus from a Iofty throne his sentence gave:
“Less evil were our case, if long ago
ye had provided for your country's weal,
O Latins, as I urged. It is no time
to hold dispute, while, compassing our walls,
the foeman waits. Ill-omened war is ours
against a race of gods, my countrymen,
invincible, unwearied in the fray,
and who, though lost and fallen, clutch the sword.
If hope ye cherished of Aetolia's power,
dismiss it! For what hope ye have is found
in your own bosoms only. But ye know
how slight it is and small. What ruin wide
has fallen, is now palpable and clear.
No blame I cast. What valor's uttermost
may do was done; our kingdom in this war
strained its last thews. Now therefore I will tell
such project as my doubtful mind may frame,
and briefly, if ye give good heed, unfold:
an ancient tract have I, close-bordering
the river Tiber; it runs westward far
beyond Sicania's bound, and filth it bears
to Rutule and Auruncan husbandmen,
who furrow its hard hills or feed their flocks
along the stonier slopes. Let this demesne,
together with its pine-clad mountain tall,
be given the Teucrian for our pledge of peace,
confirmed by free and equitable league,
and full alliance with our kingly power.
Let them abide there, if it please them so,
and build their city's wall. But if their hearts
for other land or people yearn, and fate
permits them hence to go, then let us build
twice ten good galleys of Italian oak,
or more, if they can man them. All the wood
lies yonder on the shore. Let them but say
how numerous and large the ships they crave,
and we will give the brass, the artisans,
and ship-supplies. Let us for envoys choose
a hundred of the Latins noblest born
to tell our message and arrange the peace,
bearing mild olive-boughs and weighty gifts
of ivory and gold, with chair of state
and purple robe, our emblems as a king.
But freely let this council speak; give aid
to our exhausted cause.” Then Drances rose,
that foe inveterate, whom Turnus' fame
to stinging hate and envy double-tongued
ever pricked on. Of liberal wealth was he
and flowing speech, but slack of hand in war
at council board accounted no weak voice,
in quarrels stronger still; of lofty birth
in the maternal line, but by his sire's
uncertain and obscure. He, claiming place,
thus multiplies with words the people's ire:
“A course most clear, nor needing voice of mine,
thy council is, good King; for all men see
the way of public weal, but smother close
the telling of it. Turnus must concede
freedom to speak, and his own arrogance
diminish! Under his ill-boding star
and fatal conduct—yea, I speak it plain,
though with his naked steel my death he swear—
yon host of princes fell, and we behold
the whole land bowed with grief; while he assails
the Trojan camp (beating such bold retreats!)
and troubles Heaven with war. One gift the more,
among the many to the Trojans given,
one chiefly, best of kings, thy choice should be.
Let not wild violence thy will restrain
from granting, sire, thy virgin daughter's hand
to son-in-law illustrious, in a match
worthy of both,—and thus the lasting bond
of peace establish. But if verily
our hearts and souls be weak with craven fear,
let us on Turnus call, and grace implore
even of him. Let him no more oppose;
but to his country and his King concede
their natural right. Why wilt thou o'er and o'er
fling thy poor countrymen in danger's way,
O chief and fountain of all Latium's pain?
War will not save us. Not a voice but sues
for peace, O Turnus! and, not less than peace,
its one inviolable pledge. Behold,
I lead in this petition! even I
whom thou dost feign thy foe—(I waste no words
denying)—look! I supplicate of thee,
take pity on thy kindred; drop thy pride,
and get thee home defeated. We have seen
slaughter enough, enough of funeral flames,
and many a wide field waste and desolate.
If glory move thee, if thy martial breast
so swell with strength, and if a royal dower
be thy dear dream, go, pluck thy courage up,
and front thy own brave bosom to the foe.
for, lo, that Turnus on his wedding day
may win a princess, our cheap, common lives—
we the mere mob, unwept, unsepulchred—
must be spilled forth in battle! Thou, I say,
if there be mettle in thee and some drops
of thy undaunted sires, Iook yonder where
the Trojan chieftain waits thee in the field.”
By such discourse he stirred the burning blood
of Turnus, who groaned loud and from his heart
this utterance hurled: “O Drances, thou art rich
in large words, when the day of battle calls
for actions. If our senators convene
thou comest early. But the council hall
is not for swollen talk, such as thy tongue
in safety tosses forth; so long as walls
hold back thy foes, and ere the trenches flow
with blood of brave men slain. O, rattle on
in fluent thunder—thy habitual style!
Brand me a coward, Drances, when thy sword
has heaped up Trojan slain, and on the field
thy shining trophies rise. Now may we twain
our martial prowess prove. Our foe, forsooth,
is not so far to seek; around yon wall
he lies in siege: to front him let us fly!
Why art thou tarrying? Wilt thou linger here,
a soldier only in thy windy tongue,
and thy swift, coward heels? Defeated, I?
Foul wretch, what tongue that honors truth can tell
of my defeat, while Tiber overflows
with Trojan blood? while King Evander's house
in ruin dies, and his Arcadians lie
stripped naked on the field? O, not like thee
did Bitias or the giant Pandarus
misprize my honor; nor those men of Troy
whom this good sword to death and dark sent down,
a thousand in a day,—though I was penned
a prisoner in the ramparts of my foe.
War will not save us? Fling that prophecy
on the doomed Dardan's head, or on thy own,
thou madman! Aye, with thy vile, craven soul
disturb the general cause. Extol the power
of a twice-vanquished people, and decry
Latinus' rival arms. From this time forth
let all the Myrmidonian princes cower
before the might of Troy; let Diomed
and let Achilles tremble; let the stream
of Aufidus in panic backward flow
from Hadria's wave. But hear me when I say
that though his guilt and cunning feign to feel
fear of my vengeance, much embittering so
his taunts and insult—such a life as his
my sword disdains. O Drances, be at ease!
In thy vile bosom let thy breath abide!
But now of thy grave counsel and thy cause,
O royal sire, I speak. If from this hour
thou castest hope of armed success away,
if we be so unfriended that one rout
o'erwhelms us utterly, if Fortune's feet
never turn backward, let us, then, for peace
offer petition, lifting to the foe
our feeble, suppliant hands. Yet would I pray
some spark of manhood such as once we knew
were ours once more! I count him fortunate,
and of illustrious soul beyond us all,
who, rather than behold such things, has fallen
face forward, dead, his teeth upon the dust.
But if we still have power, and men-at-arms
unwasted and unscathed, if there survive
Italian tribes and towns for help in war,
aye! if the Trojans have but won success
at bloody cost,—for they dig graves, I ween,
storm-smitten not less than we,—O, wherefore now
stand faint and shameful on the battle's edge?
Why quake our knees before the trumpet call?
Time and the toil of shifting, changeful days
restore lost causes; ebbing tides of chance
deceive us oft, which after at their flood
do lift us safe to shore. If aid come not
from Diomed in Arpi, our allies
shall be Mezentius and Tolumnius,
auspicious name, and many a chieftain sent
from many a tribe; not all inglorious
are Latium's warriors from Laurentian land!
Hither the noble Volscian stem sends down
Camilla with her beauteous cavalry
in glittering brass arrayed. But if, forsooth,
the Trojans call me singly to the fight,
if this be what ye will, and I so much
the public weal impair—when from this sword
has victory seemed to fly away in scorn?
I should not hopeless tread in honor's way
whate'er the venture. Dauntless will I go
though equal match for great Achilles, he,
and though he clothe him in celestial arms
in Vulcan's smithy wrought. I, Turnus, now,
not less than equal with great warriors gone,
vow to Latinus, father of my bride,
and to ye all, each drop of blood I owe.
Me singly doth Aeneas call? I crave
that challenge. Drances is not called to pay
the debt of death, if wrath from Heaven impend;
nor his a brave man's name and fame to share.”
Thus in their doubtful cause the chieftains strove.
Meanwhile Aeneas his assaulting line
moved forward. The ill tidings wildly sped
from royal hall to hall, and filled the town
with rumors dark: for now the Trojan host
o'er the wide plains from Tiber's wave was spread
in close array of war. The people's soul
was vexed and shaken, and its martial rage
rose to the stern compulsion. Now for arms
their terror calls; the youthful soldiery
clamor for arms; the sires of riper days
weep or repress their tears. On every side
loud shouts and cries of dissonant acclaim
trouble the air, as when in lofty grove
legions of birds alight, or by the flood
of Padus' fishy stream the shrieking swans
far o'er the vocal marish fling their song.
Then, seizing the swift moment, Turnus cried:
“Once more, my countrymen,—ye sit in parle,
lazily praising peace, while yonder foe
speeds forth in arms our kingdom to obtain.”
He spoke no more, but hied him in hot haste,
and from the housetop called, “Volusus, go!
Equip the Volscian companies! Lead forth
my Rutules also! O'er the spreading plain,
ye brothers Coras and Messapus range
our host of cavalry! Let others guard
the city's gates and hold the walls and towers:
I and my followers elsewhere oppose
the shock of arms.” Now to and fro they run
to man the walls. Father Latinus quits—
the place of council and his large design,
vexed and bewildered by the hour's distress.
He blames his own heart that he did not ask
Trojan Aeneas for his daughter's Iord,
and gain him for his kingdom's lasting friend.
They dig them trenches at the gates, or lift
burden of stakes and stones. The horn's harsh note
sounds forth its murderous signal for the war;
striplings and women, in a motley ring,
defend the ramparts; the decisive hour
lays tasks on all. Upon the citadel
a train of matrons, with the doleful Queen,
toward Pallas' temple moves, and in their hand
are gifts and offerings. See, at their side
the maid Lavinia, cause of all these tears,
drops down her lovely eyes! The incense rolls
in clouds above the altar; at the doors
with wailing voice the women make this prayer:
“Tritonian virgin, arbitress of war!
Break of thyself yon Phrygian robber's spear!
Hurl him down dying in the dust! Spill forth
his evil blood beneath our lofty towers!”
Fierce Turnus girds him, emulous to slay:
a crimson coat of mail he wears, with scales
of burnished bronze; beneath his knees are bound
the golden greaves; upon his naked brow
no helm he wears; but to his thigh is bound
a glittering sword. Down from the citadel
runs he, a golden glory, in his heart
boldly exulting, while impatient hope
fore-counts his fallen foes. He seemed as when,
from pinfold bursting, breaking his strong chain,
th' untrammelled stallion ranges the wide field,
or tries him to a herd of feeding mares,
or to some cooling river-bank he knows,
most fierce and mettlesome; the streaming mane
o'er neck and shoulder flies. Across his path
Camilla with her Volscian escort came,
and at the city-gate the royal maid
down from her charger leaped; while all her band
at her example glided to the ground,
their horses leaving. Thus the virgin spoke:
“Turnus, if confidence beseem the brave,
I have no fear; but of myself do vow
to meet yon squadrons of Aeneadae
alone, and front me to the gathered charge
of Tuscan cavalry. Let me alone
the war's first venture-prove. Take station, thou,
here at the walls, this rampart to defend.”
With fixed eyes on the terror-striking maid,
Turnus replied, “O boast of Italy,
O virgin bold! What praise, what gratitude
can words or deeds repay? But since thy soul
so large of stature shows, I bid thee share
my burden and my war. Our spies bring news
that now Aeneas with pernicious mind
sends light-armed horse before him, to alarm
the plains below, while through the wilderness
he climbs the steep hills, and approaches so
our leaguered town. But I in sheltered grove
a stratagem prepare, and bid my men
in ambush at a mountain cross-road lie.
Meet thou the charge of Tuscan cavalry
with all thy banners. For auxiliar strength
take bold Messapus with his Latin troop
and King Tiburtus' men: but the command
shall be thy task and care.” He spoke, and urged
with like instruction for the coming fray
Messapus and his captains; then advanced
to meet the foe. There is a winding vale
for armed deception and insidious war
well fashioned, and by interlacing leaves
screened darkly in; a small path thither leads,
through strait defile-a passage boding ill.
Above it, on a mountain's lofty brow,
are points of outlook, level spaces fair,
and many a safe, invisible retreat
from whence on either hand to challenge war,
or, standing on the ridges, to roll down
huge mountain boulders. Thither Turnus fared,
and, ranging the familiar tract, chose out
his cunning ambush in the dangerous grove.
But now in dwellings of the gods on high,
Diana to fleet-footed Opis called,
a virgin from her consecrated train,
and thus in sorrow spoke: “O maiden mine!
Camilla now to cruel conflict flies;
with weapons like my own she girds her side,
in vain, though dearest of all nymphs to me.
Nor is it some new Iove that stirs to-day
with sudden sweetness in Diana's breast:
for long ago, when from his kingdom driven,
for insolent and envied power, her sire
King Metabus, from old Privernum's wall
was taking flight amidst opposing foes,
he bore a little daughter in his arms
to share his exile; and he called the child
(Changing Casmilla, her queen-mother's name)
Camilla. Bearing on his breast the babe,
he fled to solitary upland groves.
But hovering round him with keen lances, pressed
the Volscian soldiery. Across his path,
lo, Amasenus with full-foaming wave
o'erflowed its banks—so huge a rain had burst
but lately from the clouds. There would he fain
swim over, but the love of that sweet babe
restrained him, trembling for his burden dear.
In his perplexed heart suddenly arose
firm resolve. It chanced the warrior bore
huge spear in his brawny hand, strong shaft
of knotted, seasoned oak; to this he lashed
his little daughter with a withe of bark
pulled from a cork-tree, and with skilful bonds
fast bound her to the spear; then, poising it
high in his right hand, thus he called on Heaven:
‘Latona's daughter, whose benignant grace
protects this grove, behold, her father now
gives thee this babe for handmaid! Lo, thy spear
her infant fingers hold, as from her foes
she flies a suppliant to thee! Receive,
O goddess, I implore, what now I cast
upon the perilous air.’—He spoke, and hurled
with lifted arm the whirling shaft. The waves
roared loud, as on the whistling javelin
hapless Camilla crossed th' impetuous flood.
But Metabus, his foes in hot pursuit,
dared plunge him in mid-stream, and, triumphing,
soon plucked from grass-grown river-bank the spear,
the child upon it,—now to Trivia vowed,
a virgin offering. Him nevermore
could cities hold, nor would his wild heart yield
its sylvan freedom, but his days were passed
with shepherds on the solitary hills.
His daughter too in tangled woods he bred:
a brood-mare from the milk of her fierce breast
suckled the child, and to its tender lips
.Her udders moved; and when the infant feet
their first firm steps had taken, the small palms
were armed with a keen javelin; her sire
a bow and quiver from her shoulder slung.
Instead of golden combs and flowing pall,
she wore, from her girl-forehead backward thrown,
the whole skin of a tigress; with soft hands
she made her plaything of a whirling spear,
or, swinging round her head the polished thong
of her good sling, she fetched from distant sky
Strymonian cranes or swans of spotless wing.
From Tuscan towns proud matrons oft in vain
sought her in marriage for their sons; but she
to Dian only turned her stainless heart,
her virgin freedom and her huntress' arms
with faithful passion serving. Would that now
this Iove of war had ne'er seduced her mind
the Teucrians to provoke! So might she be
one of our wood-nymphs still. But haste, I pray,
for bitter is her now impending doom.
Descend, dear nymph, from heaven, and explore
the country of the Latins, where the fight
with unpropitious omens now begins.
These weapons take, and from this quiver draw
a vengeful arrow, wherewith he who dares
to wound her sacred body, though he be
a Trojan or Italian, shall receive
bloody and swift reward at my command.
Then, in a cloud concealed, I will consign
her corpse, ill-fated but inviolate
unto the sepulchre, restoring so
the virgin to her native land.” Thus spake
the goddess; but her handmaid, gliding down,
took her loud pathway on the moving winds,
and mantled in dark storm her shape divine.
Meanwhile the Teucrian legions to the wall
draw near, with Tuscan lords and cavalry
in numbered troops arrayed. Loud-footed steeds
prance o'er the field, to manage of the rein
rebellious, but turned deftly here or there.
The iron harvest of keen spears spreads far,
and all the plain burns bright with lifted steel.
Messapus and swift Latin cavalry,
Coras his brother, and th' attending train
of the fair maid Camilla, form their lines
in the opposing field. Their poised right hands
point the long lances forward, and light shafts
are brandished in the air; the warrior hosts
on steeds of fire come kindling as they ride.
One instant, at a spear-throw's space, each line
its motion stays; then with one sudden cry
they rush forth, spurring on each frenzied steed.
From-every side the multitudinous spears
pour down like snowflakes, mantling heaven in shade.
Now with contending spears and straining thews,
Tyrrhenus, and Aconteus, champion bold,
ride forward; with the onset terrible
loudly their armor rings; their chargers twain
crash breast to breast, and like a thunderbolt
Aconteus drops, or like a ponderous stone
hurled from a catapult; full length he falls,
surrend'ring to the winds his fleeting soul.
Now all is panic: holding their light shields
behind their backs, the Latin horse wheel round,
retreating to the wall, the Trojan foe
in close pursuit. Asilas, chieftain proud,
led on th' assault. Hard by the city gates
the Latins wheeled once more and pressed the rein
strong on the yielding neck; the charging foe
took flight and hurried far with loose-flung rein.
'T was like the shock and onset of the sea
that landward hurls the alternating flood
and hides high cliffs in foam,—the tawny sands
upflinging as it rolls; then, suddenly
whirled backward on the reingulfing waves,
it quits the ledges, and with ebbing flow
far from the shore retires. The Tuscans twice
drive back the flying Rutules to the town;
and twice repulsed, with shields to rearward thrown,
glare back at the pursuer; but conjoined
in the third battle-charge, both armies merge
confusedly together in grim fight
of man to man; then follow dying groans,
armor blood-bathed and corpses, and strong steeds
inextricably with their masters slain,
so fierce the fray. Orsilochus—afraid
to front the warrior's arms—launched forth a spear
at Remulus' horse, and left the fatal steel
clinging below its ear; the charger plunged
madly, and tossed its trembling hoofs in air,
sustaining not the wound; the rider fell,
flung headlong to the ground. Catillus slew
Iollas; and then struck Herminius down,
great-bodied and great-hearted, who could wield
a monster weapon, and whose yellow hair
from naked head to naked shoulder flowed.
By wounds unterrified he dared oppose
his huge bulk to the foe: the quivering spear
pierced to his broad back, and with throes of pain
bowed the man double and clean clove him through.
Wide o'er the field th' ensanguined horror flowed,
where fatal swords were crossed and cut their way
through many a wound to famous death and fair.
Swift through the midmost slaughter proudly strides
the quiver-girt Camilla, with one breast
thrust naked to the fight, like Amazon.
Oft from her hand her pliant shafts she rains,
or whirls with indefatigable arm
a doughty battle-axe; her shoulder bears
Diana's sounding arms and golden bow.
Sometimes retreating and to flight compelled,
the maiden with a rearward-pointing bow
shoots arrows as she flies. Around her move
her chosen peers, Larina, virgin brave,
Tarpeia, brandishing an axe of bronze,
and Tulla, virgins out of Italy
whom the divine Camilla chose to be
her glory, each a faithful servitress
in days of peace or war. The maids of Thrace
ride thus along Thermodon's frozen flood,
and fight with blazoned Amazonian arms
around Hippolyta; or when returns
Penthesilea in triumphal car
'mid acclamations shrill, and all her host
of women clash in air the moon-shaped shield.
What warrior first, whom last, did thy strong spear,
fierce virgin, earthward fling? Or what thy tale
of prostrate foes laid gasping on the ground?
Eunaeus first, the child of Clytius' Ioins,
whose bared breast, as he faced his foe, she pierced
with fir-tree javelin; from his lips outpoured
the blood-stream as he fell; and as he bit
the gory dust, he clutched his mortal wound.
Then Liris, and upon him Pagasus
she slew: the one clung closer to the reins
of his stabbed horse, and rolled off on the ground;
the other, flying to his fallen friend,
reached out a helpless hand; so both of these
fell on swift death together. Next in line
she smote Amastrus, son of Hippotas;
then, swift-pursuing, pierced with far-flung spear
Tereus, Harpalycus, Demophoon,
and Chromis; every shaft the virgin threw
laid low its Phrygian warrior. From afar
rode Ornytus on his Apulian steed,
bearing a hunter's uncouth arms; for cloak
he wore upon his shoulders broad a hide
from some wild bull stripped off; his helmet was
a wolf's great, gaping mouth, with either jaw
full of white teeth; the weapon in his hand,
a farmer's pole. He strode into the throng,
head taller than them all. But him she seized
and clove him through (his panic-stricken troop
gave her advantage), and with wrathful heart
she taunted thus the fallen: “Didst thou deem
this was a merry hunting in the wood
in chase of game? Behold, thy fatal day
befalls thee at a woman's hand, and thus
thy boasting answers. No small glory thou
unto the ghosts of thy dead sires wilt tell,
that 't was Camilla's javelin struck thee down.”
The turn of Butes and Orsilochus
came next, who were the Trojans, hugest twain:
yet Butes with her javelin-point she clove
from rearward, 'twixt the hauberk and the helm,
just where the horseman's neck showed white, and where
from shoulder leftward slung the light-weight shield.
From swift Orsilochus she feigned to fly,
through a wide circle sweeping, craftily
taking the inside track, pursuing so
her own pursuer; then she raised herself
to her full height, and through the warrior's helm
drove to his very skull with doubling blows
of her strong battle-axe,—while he implored
her mercy with loud prayers: his cloven brain
spilt o'er his face. Next in her pathway came—
but shrank in startled fear—the warrior son
of Aunus, haunter of the Apennine,
not least of the Ligurians ere his doom
cut short a life of lies. He, knowing well
no flight could save him from the shock of arms
nor turn the royal maid's attack, began
with words of cunning and insidious guile:
“What glory is it if a girl be bold,
on sturdy steed depending? Fly me not!
But, venturing with me on this equal ground,
gird thee to fight on foot. Soon shalt thou see
which one of us by windy boast achieves
a false renown.” He spoke; but she, to pangs
of keenest fury stung, gave o'er her steed
in charge of a companion, and opposed
her foe at equal vantage, falchion drawn,
on foot, and, though her shield no blazon bore,
of fear incapable. But the warrior fled,
thinking his trick victorious, and rode off
full speed, with reins reversed,—his iron heel
goading his charger's flight. Camilla cried:
“Ligurian cheat! In vain thy boastful heart
puffs thee so large; in vain thou hast essayed
thy father's slippery ways; nor shall thy trick
bring thee to guileful Aunus safely home.”
Herewith on winged feet that virgin bold
flew past the war-horse, seized the streaming rein,
and, fronting him, took vengeance on her foe
in bloody strokes: with not less ease a hawk,
dark bird of omen, from his mountain crag
pursues on pinions strong a soaring dove
to distant cloud, and, clutching with hooked claws,
holds tight and rips,—while through celestial air
the torn, ensanguined plumage floats along.
But now not blindly from Olympian throne
the Sire of gods and men observant saw
how sped the day. Then to the conflict dire
the god thrust Tarchon forth, the Tyrrhene King,
goading the warrior's rage. So Tarchon rode
through slaughter wide and legions in retreat,
and roused the ranks with many a wrathful cry:
he called each man by name, and toward the foe
drove back the routed lines. “What terrors now,
Tuscan cowards, dead to noble rage,
have seized ye? or what laggard sloth and vile
unmans your hearts, that now a woman's arm
pursues ye and this scattered host confounds?
Why dressed in steel, or to what purpose wear
your futile swords? Not slackly do ye join
the ranks of Venus in a midnight war;
or when fantastic pipes of Bacchus call
your dancing feet, right venturesome ye fly
to banquets and the flowing wine—what zeal,
what ardor then! Or if your flattering priest
begins the revel, and to Iofty groves
fat flesh of victims bids ye haste away!”
So saying, his steed he spurred, and scorning death
dashed into the mid-fray, where, frenzy-driven,
he sought out Venulus, and, grappling him
with one hand, from the saddle snatched his foe,
and, clasping strongly to his giant breast,
exultant bore away. The shouting rose
to heaven, and all the Latins gazed his way,
as o'er the plain the fiery Tarchon flew
bearing the full-armed man; then, breaking off
the point of his own spear, he pried a way
through the seam'd armor for the mortal wound;
the other, struggling, thrust back from his throat
the griping hand, full force to force opposing.
As when a golden eagle high in air
knits to a victim—snake his clinging feet
and deeply-thrusting claws; but, coiling back,
the wounded serpent roughens his stiff scales
and stretches high his hissing head; whereat
the eagle with hooked beak the more doth rend
her writhing foe, and with swift stroke of wing
lashes the air: so Tarchon, from the ranks
of Tibur's sons, triumphant snatched his prey.
The Tuscans rallied now, well pleased to view
their king's example and successful war.
Then Arruns, marked for doom, made circling line
around Camilla's path, his crafty spear
seeking its lucky chance. Where'er the maid
sped furious to the battle, Arruns there
in silence dogged her footsteps and pursued;
or where triumphant from her fallen foes
she backward drew, the warrior stealthily
turned his swift reins that way: from every side
he circled her, and scanned his vantage here
or vantage there, his skilful javelin
stubbornly shaking. But it soon befell
that Chloreus, once a priest of Cybele,
shone forth in far-resplendent Phrygian arms,
and urged a foaming steed, which wore a robe
o'erwrought with feathery scales of bronze and gold;
while he, in purples of fine foreign stain,
bore light Gortynian shafts and Lycian bow;
his bow was gold; a golden casque he wore
upon his priestly brow; the saffron cloak,
all folds of rustling cambric, was enclasped
in glittering gold; his skirts and tunics gay
were broidered, and the oriental garb
swathed his whole leg. Him when the maiden spied,
(Perchance she fain on temple walls would hang
the Trojan prize, or in such captured gold
her own fair shape array), she gave mad chase,
and reckless through the ranks her prey pursued,
desiring, woman-like, the splendid spoil.
Then from his ambush Arruns seized at last
the fatal moment and let speed his shaft,
thus uttering his vow to heavenly powers:
“Chief of the gods, Apollo, who dost guard
Soracte's hallowed steep, whom we revere
first of thy worshippers, for thee is fed
the heap of burning pine; for thee we pass
through the mid-blaze in sacred zeal secure,
and deep in glowing embers plant our feet.
O Sire Omnipotent, may this my spear
our foul disgrace put by. I do not ask
for plunder, spoils, or trophies in my name,
when yonder virgin falls; let honor's crown
be mine for other deeds. But if my stroke
that curse and plague destroy, may I unpraised
safe to the cities of my sires return.”
Apollo heard and granted half the prayer,
but half upon the passing breeze he threw:
granting his votary he should confound
Camilla by swift death; but 't was denied
the mountain-fatherland once more to see,
or safe return,—that prayer th' impetuous winds
swept stormfully away. Soon as the spear
whizzed from his hand, straight-speeding on the air,
the Volscians all turned eager thought and eyes
toward their Queen. She only did not heed
that windy roar, nor weapon dropped from heaven,
till in her bare, protruded breast the spear
drank, deeply driven, of her virgin blood.
Her terror-struck companians swiftly throng
around her, and uplift their sinking Queen.
But Arruns, panic-stricken more than all,
makes off, half terror and half joy, nor dares
hazard his lance again, nor dares oppose
a virgin's arms. As creeps back to the hills
in pathless covert ere his foes pursue,
from shepherd slain or mighty bull laid low,
some wolf, who, now of his bold trespass ware,
curls close against his paunch a quivering tail
and to the forest tries: so Arruns speeds
from sight of men in terror, glad to fly,
and hides him in the crowd. But his keen spear
dying Camilla from her bosom drew,
though the fixed barb of deeply-wounding steel
clung to the rib. She sank to earth undone,
her cold eyes closed in death, and from her cheeks
the roses fled. With failing breath she called
on Acca—who of all her maiden peers
was chiefly dear and shared her heart's whole pain—
and thus she spoke: “O Acca, sister mine,
I have been strong till now. The cruel wound
consumes me, and my world is growing dark.
Haste thee to Turnus! Tell my dying words!
'T is he must bear the battle and hold back
the Trojan from our city wall. Farewell!”
So saying, her fingers from the bridle-rein
unclasped, and helpless to the earth she fell;
then, colder grown, she loosed her more and more
out of the body's coil; she gave to death
her neck, her drooping head, and ceased to heed
her war-array. So fled her spirit forth
with wrath and moaning to the world below.
Then clamor infinite uprose and smote
the golden stars, as round Camilla slain
the battle newly raged. To swifter charge
the gathered Trojans ran, with Tuscan lords
and King Evander's troops of Arcady.
Fair Opis, keeping guard for Trivia
in patient sentry on a lofty hill, beheld
unterrified the conflict's rage. Yet when,
amid the frenzied shouts of soldiery,
she saw from far Camilla pay the doom
of piteous death, with deep-drawn voice of sight
she thus complained: “O virgin, woe is me!
Too much, too much, this agony of thine,
to expiate that thou didst lift thy spear
for wounding Troy. It was no shield in war,
nor any vantage to have kept thy vow
to chaste Diana in the thorny wild.
Our maiden arrows at thy shoulder slung
availed thee not! Yet will our Queen divine
not leave unhonored this thy dying day,
nor shall thy people let thy death remain
a thing forgot, nor thy bright name appear
a glory unavenged. Whoe'er he be
that marred thy body with the mortal wound
shall die as he deserves.” Beneath that hill
an earth-built mound uprose, the tomb
of King Dercennus, a Laurentine old,
by sombre ilex shaded: thither hied
the fair nymph at full speed, and from the mound
looked round for Arruns. When his shape she saw
in glittering armor vainly insolent,
“Whither so fast?” she cried. “This way, thy path!
This fatal way approach, and here receive
thy reward for Camilla! Thou shalt fall,
vile though thou art, by Dian's shaft divine.”
She said; and one swift-coursing arrow took
from golden quiver, like a maid of Thrace,
and stretched it on her bow with hostile aim,
withdrawing far, till both the tips of horn
together bent, and, both hands poising well,
the left outreached to touch the barb of steel,
the right to her soft breast the bowstring drew:
the hissing of the shaft, the sounding air,
Arruns one moment heard, as to his flesh
the iron point clung fast. But his last groan
his comrades heeded not, and let him lie,
scorned and forgotten, on the dusty field,
while Opis soared to bright Olympian air.
Camilla's light-armed troop, its virgin chief
now fallen, were the first to fly; in flight
the panic-stricken Rutule host is seen
and Acer bold; his captains in dismay
with shattered legions from the peril fly,
and goad their horses to the city wall.
Not one sustains the Trojan charge, or stands
in arms against the swift approach of death.
Their bows unstrung from drooping shoulder fall,
and clatter of hoof-beats shakes the crumbling ground.
On to the city in a blinding cloud
the dust uprolls. From watch-towers Iooking forth,
the women smite their breasts and raise to heaven
shrill shouts of fear. Those fliers who first passed
the open gates were followed by the foe,
routed and overwhelmed. They could not fly
a miserable death, but were struck down
in their own ancient city, or expired
before the peaceful shrines of hearth and home.
Then some one barred the gates. They dared not now
give their own people entrance, and were deaf
to all entreaty. Woeful deaths ensued,
both of the armed defenders of the gate,
and of the foe in arms. The desperate band,
barred from the city in the face and eyes
of their own weeping parents, either dropped
with headlong and inevitable plunge
into the moat below; or, frantic, blind,
battered with beams against the stubborn door
and columns strong. Above in conflict wild
even the women (who for faithful love
of home and country schooled them to be brave
Camilla's way) rained weapons from the walls,
and used oak-staves and truncheons shaped in flame,
as if, well-armed in steel, each bosom bold
would fain in such defence be first to die.
Meanwhile th' unpitying messenger had flown
to Turnus in the wood; the warrior heard
from Acca of the wide confusion spread,
the Volscian troop destroyed, Camilla slain,
the furious foe increasing, and, with Mars
to help him, grasping all, till in that hour
far as the city-gates the panic reigned.
Then he in desperate rage (Jove's cruel power
decreed it) from the ambushed hills withdrew
and pathless wild. He scarce had passed beyond
to the bare plain, when forth Aeneas marched
along the wide ravine, climbed up the ridge,
and from the dark, deceiving grove stood clear.
Then swiftly each with following ranks of war
moved to the city-wall, nor wide the space
that measured 'twixt the twain. Aeneas saw
the plain with dust o'erclouded, and the lines
of the Laurentian host extending far;
Turnus, as clearly, saw the war array
of dread Aeneas, and his ear perceived
loud tramp of mail-clad men and snorting steeds.
Soon had they sped to dreadful shock of arms,
hazard of war to try; but Phoebus now,
glowing rose-red, had dipped his wearied wheel
deep in Iberian seas, and brought back night
above the fading day. So near the town
both pitch their camps and make their ramparts strong.

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