THE CERCOPES TRANSFORMED TO APESAfter the Trojan ships, pushed by their oars,
had safely passed by Scylla and the fierce
Charybdis, and with care had then approached
near the Ausonian shore, a roaring gale
bore them far southward to the Libyan coast.
And then Sidonian Dido, who was doomed
not calmly to endure the loss of her
loved Phrygian husband, graciously received
Aeneas to her home and her regard:
and on a pyre, erected with pretense
of holy rites, she fell upon the sword.
Deceived herself, she there deceived them all.
Aeneas, fleeing the new walls built on
that sandy shore, revisited the land
of Eryx and Acestes, his true friend.
There he performed a hallowed sacrifice
and paid due honor to his father's tomb.
And presently he loosened from that shore
the ships which Iris, Juno's minister,
had almost burned; and sailing, passed far off
the kingdom of the son of Hippotas,
in those hot regions smoking with the fumes
of burning sulphur, and he left behind
the rocky haunt of Achelous' daughters,
the Sirens. Then, when his good ship had lost
the pilot, he coasted near Inarime,
near Prochyta, and near the barren hill
which marks another island, Pithecusae,
an island named from strange inhabitants.
The father of the gods abhorred the frauds
and perjuries of the Cercopians
and for the crimes of that bad treacherous race,
transformed its men to ugly animals,
appearing unlike men, although like men.
He had contracted and had bent their limbs,
and flattened out their noses, bent back towards
their foreheads; he had furrowed every face
with wrinkles of old age, and made them live
in that spot, after he had covered all
their bodies with long yellow ugly hair.
Besides all that, he took away from them
the use of language and control of tongues,
so long inclined to dreadful perjury;
and left them always to complain of life
and their ill conduct in harsh jabbering.