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Quote of the day: Christus, from whom the name had its ori
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The Aeneid by Virgil
translated by Theodore C. Williams
Book V Chapter 9: Sergestus hits the rocks
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But Mnestheus and Sergestus, coming last,
have joyful hope enkindled in each heart
to pass the laggard Gyas. In the lead
Sergestus' ship shoots forth; and to the rock
runs boldly nigh; but not his whole long keel
may pass his rival; the projecting beak
is followed fast by Pristis' emulous prow.
Then, striding straight amidships through his crew,
thus Mnestheus urged them on: O Hector's friends!
Whom in the dying hours of Troy I chose
for followers! Now stand ye to your best!
Put forth the thews of valor that ye showed
in the Gaetulian Syrtes, or that sea
Ionian, or where the waves race by
the Malean promontory! Mnestheus now
hopes not to be the first, nor do I strive
for victory. O Father Neptune, give
that garland where thou wilt! But O, the shame
if we are last! Endure it not, my men!
The infamy refuse! So, bending low,
they enter the home-stretch. Beneath their stroke
the brass-decked galley throbs, and under her
the sea-floor drops away. On, on they fly!
Parched are the panting lips, and sweat in streams
pours down their giant sides; but lucky chance
brought the proud heroes what their honor craved.
For while Sergestus furiously drove
his ship's beak toward the rock, and kept inside
the scanty passage, by his evil star
he grounded on the jutting reef; the cliffs
rang with the blow, and his entangled oars
grated along the jagged granite, while
the prow hung wrecked and helpless. With loud cry
upsprang the sailors, while the ship stood still,
and pushed off with long poles and pointed iron,
or snatched the smashed oars from the whirling tide.
Mnestheus exults; and, roused to keener strife
by happy fortune, with a quicker stroke
of each bright rank of oars, and with the breeze
his prayer implored, skims o'er the obedient wave
and sweeps the level main. Not otherwise
a startled dove, emerging o'er the fields
from secret cavern in the crannied hill
where her safe house and pretty nestlings lie,
soars from her nest, with whirring wings -- but soon
through the still sky she takes her path of air
on pinions motionless. So Pristis sped
with Mnestheus, cleaving her last stretch of sea,
by her own impulse wafted. She outstripped
Sergestus first; for he upon the reef
fought with the breakers, desperately shouting
for help, for help in vain, with broken oars
contriving to move on. Then Mnestheus ran
past Gyas, in Chimaera's ponderous hulk,
of pilot now bereft;

Events: Aeneas on Sicily, Celebration of Anchises' death

183-224
Hic laeta extremis spes est accensa duobus,
Sergesto Mnestheique, Gyan superare morantem.
Sergestus capit ante locum scopuloque propinquat,
nec tota tamen ille prior praeeunte carina;
parte prior, partim rostro premit aemula Pristis.
at media socios incedens naue per ipsos
hortatur Mnestheus: 'nunc, nunc insurgite remis,
Hectorei socii, Troiae quos sorte suprema
delegi comites; nunc illas promite uiris,
nunc animos, quibus in Gaetulis Syrtibus usi
Ionioque mari Maleaeque sequacibus undis.
non iam prima peto Mnestheus neque uincere certo
(quamquam o!—sed superent quibus hoc, Neptune, dedisti);
extremos pudeat rediisse: hoc uincite, ciues,
et prohibete nefas.' olli certamine summo
procumbunt: uastis tremit ictibus aerea puppis
subtrahiturque solum, tum creber anhelitus artus
aridaque ora quatit, sudor fluit undique riuis.
attulit ipse uiris optatum casus honorem:
namque furens animi dum proram ad saxa suburget
interior spatioque subit Sergestus iniquo,
infelix saxis in procurrentibus haesit.
concussae cautes et acuto in murice remi
obnixi crepuere inlisaque prora pependit.
consurgunt nautae et magno clamore morantur
ferratasque trudes et acuta cuspide contos
expediunt fractosque legunt in gurgite remos.
at laetus Mnestheus successuque acrior ipso
agmine remorum celeri uentisque uocatis
prona petit maria et pelago decurrit aperto.
qualis spelunca subito commota columba,
cui domus et dulces latebroso in pumice nidi,
fertur in arua uolans plausumque exterrita pennis
dat tecto ingentem, mox aere lapsa quieto
radit iter liquidum celeris neque commouet alas:
sic Mnestheus, sic ipsa fuga secat ultima Pristis
aequora, sic illam fert impetus ipse uolantem
Et primum in scopulo luctantem deserit alto
Sergestum breuibusque uadis frustraque uocantem
auxilia et fractis discentem currere remis.
inde Gyan ipsamque ingenti mole Chimaeram
consequitur; cedit, quoniam spoliata magistro est.