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translated by Theodore C. Williams
Book IV Chapter 9: Prayer of Iarbas
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Him [Note 1] the god Ammon got by forced embrace |
upon a Libyan nymph; his kingdoms wide
possessed a hundred ample shrines to Jove,
a hundred altars whence ascended ever
the fires of sacrifice, perpetual seats
for a great god's abode, where flowing blood
enriched the ground, and on the portals hung
garlands of every flower. The angered king,
half-maddened by malignant Rumor's voice,
unto his favored altars came, and there,
surrounded by the effluence divine,
upraised in prayer to Jove his suppliant hands.
Almighty Jupiter, to whom each day,
at banquet on the painted couch reclined,
Numidia pours libation! Do thine eyes
behold us? Or when out of yonder heaven,
o sire, thou launchest the swift thunderbolt,
is it for naught we fear thee? Do the clouds
shoot forth blind fire to terrify the soul
with wild, unmeaning roar? O, look upon
that woman [Note 2], who was homeless in our realm,
and bargained where to build her paltry town,
receiving fertile coast-land for her farms,
by hospitable grant! She dares disdain
our proffered nuptial vow. She has proclaimed
Aeneas partner of her bed and throne.
And now that Paris, with his eunuch crew,
beneath his chin and fragrant, oozy hair
ties the soft Lydian bonnet, boasting well
his stolen prize. But we to all these fanes,
though they be thine, a fruitless offering bring,
and feed on empty tales our trust in thee.
Hic Hammone satus rapta Garamantide nympha
templa Ioui centum latis immania regnis,
centum aras posuit uigilemque sacrauerat ignem,
excubias diuum aeternas, pecudumque cruore
pingue solum et uariis florentia limina sertis.
isque amens animi et rumore accensus amaro
dicitur ante aras media inter numina diuum
multa Iouem manibus supplex orasse supinis:
'Iuppiter omnipotens, cui nunc Maurusia pictis
gens epulata toris Lenaeum libat honorem,
aspicis haec? an te, genitor, cum fulmina torques
nequiquam horremus, caecique in nubibus ignes
terrificant animos et inania murmura miscent?
femina, quae nostris errans in finibus urbem
exiguam pretio posuit, cui litus arandum
cuique loci leges dedimus, conubia nostra
reppulit ac dominum Aenean in regna recepit.
et nunc ille Paris cum semiuiro comitatu,
Maeonia mentum mitra crinemque madentem
subnexus, rapto potitur: nos munera templis
quippe tuis ferimus famamque fouemus inanem.'