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“O ever-cherished spouse and sister dear,
surely 't is Venus—as thy mind misgave—
whose favor props—O, what discernment thine!
Yon Trojan power; not swift heroic hands,
or souls of fury facing perilous war!”
Juno made meek reply: “O noblest spouse!
Why vex one sick at heart, who humbly fears
thy stern command? If I could claim to-day
what once I had, my proper right and due,
love's induence, I should not plead in vain
to thee, omnipotent, to give me power
to lead off Turnus from the fight unscathed,
and save him at his father Daunus' prayer.
Aye, let him die! And with his loyal blood
the Teucrians' vengeance feed! Yet he derives
from our Saturnian stem, by fourth remove
sprung from Pilumnus. Oft his liberal hands
have heaped unstinted offering at thy shrine.”
Thus in few words th' Olympian King replied:
“If for the fated youth thy prayer implores
delay and respite of impending doom,
if but so far thou bidst me interpose,—
go—favor Turnus' flight, and keep him safe
in this imperilled hour; I may concede
such boon. But if thy pleading words intend
some larger grace, and fain would touch or change
the issue of the war, then art thou fed
on expectation vain.” With weeping eyes
Juno made answer: “Can it be thy mind
gives what thy words refuse, and Turnus' life,
if rescued, may endure? Yet afterward
some cruel close his guiltless day shall see—
or far from truth I stray! O, that I were
the dupe of empty fears! and O, that thou
wouldst but refashion to some happier end
the things by thee begun—for thou hast power!”
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