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when, lo! the sacred effigies divine,
the Phrygian gods which through the flames I bore
from fallen Troy, seemed in a vision clear
to stand before me where I slumbering lay,
bathed in bright beams which from the moon at full
streamed through the latticed wall: and thus they spoke
to soothe my care away. “Apollo's word,
which in far Delos the god meant for thee,
is uttered here. Behold, he sends ourselves
to this thy house, before thy prayer is made.
We from Troy's ashes have companioned thee
in every fight; and we the swollen seas,
guided by thee, in thine own ships have crossed;
our power divine shall set among the stars
thy seed to be, and to thy city give
dominion evermore. For mighty men
go build its mighty walls! Seek not to shun
the hard, long labors of an exile's way.
Change this abode! Not thine this Cretan shore,
nor here would Delian Phoebus have thee bide.
There is a land the roving Greeks have named
Hesperia. It is a storied realm
made mighty by great wars and fruitful land.
Oenotrians had it, and their sons, 't is said,
have called it Italy, a chieftain's name
to a whole region given. That land alone
our true abode can be; for Dardanus
was cradled there, and old Iasius,
their blood the oldest of our ancient line.
Arise! go forth and cheer thy father gray
with the glad tidings! Bid him doubt no more!
Ausonia seek and Corythus; for Jove
denies this Cretan realm to thine and thee.”
I marvelled at the heavenly presences
so vocal and so bright, for 't was not sleep;
but face to face I deemed I could discern
each countenance august and holy brow,
each mantled head; and from my body ran
cold sweat of awe. From my low couch I sprang,
lifting to heaven my suppliant hands and prayer,
and o'er my hearth poured forth libations free.
After th' auspicious offering, I told
Anchises the whole tale in order due.
He owned our stock two-branched, of our great sires
the twofold line, and that his thought had strayed,
in new confusion mingling ancient names;
then spoke: “O son, in Ilium's doom severe
afflicted ever! To my ears alone
this dark vicissitude Cassandra sang.
I mind me now that her wild tongue foretold
such destiny. For oft she called aloud
‘Hesperia!’ oft ‘Italia's kingdom!’ called.
But who had faith that Teucer's sons should come
to far Hesperia? What mortal ear
gave heed to sad Cassandra's voice divine?
Now Phoebus speaks. Obedient let us be,
and, warned by him, our happier Iot pursue!”
He spoke: with heart of hope we all obeyed;
again we changed abode; and, leaving there
a feeble few, again with spreading sails
we coursed in hollow ship the spacious sea.
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