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Paid to the sovereign power of Proserpine,
At last within a land delectable
Their journey lay, through pleasurable bowers
Of groves where all is joy,—a blest abode!
An ampler sky its roseate light bestows
On that bright land, which sees the cloudless beam
Of suns and planets to our earth unknown.
On smooth green lawns, contending limb with limb,
Immortal athletes play, and wrestle long
'gainst mate or rival on the tawny sand;
With sounding footsteps and ecstatic song,
Some thread the dance divine: among them moves
The bard of Thrace, in flowing vesture clad,
Discoursing seven-noted melody,
Who sweeps the numbered strings with changeful hand,
Or smites with ivory point his golden lyre.
Here Trojans be of eldest, noblest race,
Great-hearted heroes, born in happier times,
Ilus, Assaracus, and Dardanus,
Illustrious builders of the Trojan town.
Their arms and shadowy chariots he views,
And lances fixed in earth, while through the fields
Their steeds without a bridle graze at will.
For if in life their darling passion ran
To chariots, arms, or glossy-coated steeds,
The self-same joy, though in their graves, they feel.
Lo! on the left and right at feast reclined
Are other blessed souls, whose chorus sings
Victorious paeans on the fragrant air
Of laurel groves; and hence to earth outpours
Eridanus, through forests rolling free.
Here dwell the brave who for their native land
Fell wounded on the field; here holy priests
Who kept them undefiled their mortal day;
And poets, of whom the true-inspired song
Deserved Apollo's name; and all who found
New arts, to make man's life more blest or fair;
Yea! here dwell all those dead whose deeds bequeath
Deserved and grateful memory to their kind.
And each bright brow a snow-white fillet wears.
Unto this host the Sibyl turned, and hailed
Musaeus, midmost of a numerous throng,
Who towered o'er his peers a shoulder higher:
“0 spirits blest! 0 venerable bard!
Declare what dwelling or what region holds
Anchises, for whose sake we twain essayed
Yon passage over the wide streams of hell.”
And briefly thus the hero made reply:
“No fixed abode is ours. In shadowy groves
We make our home, or meadows fresh and fair,
With streams whose flowery banks our couches be.
But you, if thitherward your wishes turn,
Climb yonder hill, where I your path may show.”
So saying, he strode forth and led them on,
Till from that vantage they had prospect fair
Of a wide, shining land; thence wending down,
They left the height they trod;
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