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translated by Theodore C. Williams
Book III Chapter 3: Polymestor and Polydorus
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For once this Polydorus, with much gold, |
ill-fated Priam sent by stealth away
for nurture with the Thracian king [Note 1], what time
Dardania's war looked hopeless, and her towers
were ringed about by unrelenting siege.
That king, when Ilium's cause was ebbing low,
and fortune frowned, gave o'er his plighted faith
to Agamemnon's might and victory;
he scorned all honor and did murder foul
on Polydorus, seizing lawlessly
on all the gold. O, whither at thy will,
curst greed of gold, may mortal hearts be driven?
Soon as my shuddering ceased, I [Note 2] told this tale
of prodigies before the people's chiefs,
who sat in conclave with my kingly sire [Note 3],
and bade them speak their reverend counsel forth.
All found one voice; to leave that land of sin,
where foul abomination had profaned
a stranger's right; and once more to resign
our fleet unto the tempest and the wave.
But fit and solemn funeral rites were paid
to Polydorus. A high mound we reared
of heaped-up earth, and to his honored shade
built a perpetual altar, sadly dressed
in cypress dark and purple pall of woe.
Our Ilian women wailed with loosened hair;
new milk was sprinkled from a foaming cup,
and from the shallow bowl fresh blood out-poured
upon the sacred ground. So in its tomb
we laid his ghost to rest, and loudly sang,
with prayer for peace, the long, the last farewell.
Hunc Polydorum auri quondam cum pondere magno
infelix Priamus furtim mandarat alendum
Threicio regi, cum iam diffideret armis
Dardaniae cingique urbem obsidione uideret.
ille, ut opes fractae Teucrum et Fortuna recessit,
res Agamemnonias uictriciaque arma secutus
fas omne abrumpit: Polydorum obtruncat, et auro
ui potitur. quid non mortalia pectora cogis,
auri sacra fames! postquam pauor ossa reliquit,
delectos populi ad proceres primumque parentem
monstra deum refero, et quae sit sententia posco.
omnibus idem animus, scelerata excedere terra,
linqui pollutum hospitium et dare classibus Austros.
ergo instauramus Polydoro funus, et ingens
aggeritur tumulo tellus; stant Manibus arae
caeruleis maestae uittis atraque cupresso,
et circum Iliades crinem de more solutae;
inferimus tepido spumantia cymbia lacte
sanguinis et sacri pateras, animamque sepulcro
condimus et magna supremum uoce ciemus.
Inde ubi prima fides pelago, placataque uenti