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translated by Theodore C. Williams
Book XII Chapter 32: Jupiter sends a messenger to Juturna
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After these things Jove gave his kingly mind |
to further action, that he might forthwith
cut off Juturna from her brother's cause.
Two plagues there be, called Furies, which were spawned
at one birth from the womb of wrathful Night
with dread Megaera, phantom out of hell;
and of their mother's gift, each Fury wears
grim-coiling serpents and tempestuous wings.
These at Jove's throne attend, and watch the doors
of that stern King -- to whet the edge of fear
for wretched mortals, when the King of gods
hurls pestilence and death, or terrifies
offending nations with the scourge of war.
T was one of these which Jove sent speeding down
from his ethereal seat, and bade her cross
the pathway of Juturna for a sign.
Her wings she spread, and earthward seemed to ride
upon a whirling storm. As when some shaft,
with Parthian poison tipped or Cretan gall,
a barb of death, shoots cloudward from the bow,
and hissing through the dark hastes forth unseen:
so earthward flew that daughter of the night.
Soon as she spied the Teucrians in array
and Turnus' lines, she shrivelled to the shape
of that small bird which on lone tombs and towers
sits perching through the midnight, and prolongs
in shadow and deep gloom her troubling cry.
In such disguise the Fury, screaming shrill,
flitted in Turnus' face, and with her wings
smote on his hollow shield. A strange affright
palsied his every limb; each several hair
lifted with horror, and his gasping voice
died on his lips.
His actis aliud genitor secum ipse uolutat
Iuturnamque parat fratris dimittere ab armis.
dicuntur geminae pestes cognomine Dirae,
quas et Tartaream Nox intempesta Megaeram
uno eodemque tulit partu, paribusque reuinxit
serpentum spiris uentosasque addidit alas.
hae Iouis ad solium saeuique in limine regis
apparent acuuntque metum mortalibus aegris,
si quando letum horrificum morbosque deum rex
molitur, meritas aut bello territat urbes.
harum unam celerem demisit ab aethere summo
Iuppiter inque omen Iuturnae occurrere iussit:
illa uolat celerique ad terram turbine fertur.
non secus ac neruo per nubem impulsa sagitta,
armatam saeui Parthus quam felle ueneni,
Parthus siue Cydon, telum immedicabile, torsit,
stridens et celeris incognita transilit umbras:
talis se sata Nocte tulit terrasque petiuit.
postquam acies uidet Iliacas atque agmina Turni,
alitis in paruae subitam collecta figuram,
quae quondam in bustis aut culminibus desertis
nocte sedens serum canit importuna per umbrasó
hanc uersa in faciem Turni se pestis ob ora
fertque refertque sonans clipeumque euerberat alis.
illi membra nouus soluit formidine torpor,
arrectaeque horrore comae et uox faucibus haesit.