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translated by Theodore C. Williams
Book V Chapter 13: Euryalus wins, thanks to Nisus
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They heard, and took their places. The loud horn |
gave signal, and impetuous from the line,
swift as a bursting storm they sped away,
eyes fixed upon the goal. Far in advance
Nisus shot forward, swifter than the winds
or winged thunderbolt; the next in course,
next, but out-rivalled far, was Salius,
and after him a space, Euryalus
came third; him Helymus was hard upon;
and, look! Diores follows, heel on heel,
close at his shoulder -- if the race be long
he sure must win, or claim a doubtful prize.
Now at the last stretch, spent and panting, all
pressed to the goal, when in a slime of blood
Nisus, hard fate! slipped down, where late the death
of victims slain had drenched the turf below.
Here the young victor, with his triumph flushed,
lost foothold on the yielding ground, and plunged
face forward in the pool of filth and gore;
but not of dear Euryalus was he
forgetful then, nor heedless of his friend;
but rising from the mire he hurled himself
in Salius' way; so he in equal plight
rolled in the filthy slough. Euryalus
leaped forth, the winner of the race by gift
of his true friend, and flying to the goal
stood first, by many a favoring shout acclaimed.
Next Helymus ran in; and, for the third, last prize,
Diores. But the multitude now heard
the hollowed hill-side ringing with wild wrath
from Salius, clamoring where the chieftains sate
for restitution of his stolen prize,
lost by a cheat. But general favor smiles
upon Euryalus, whose beauteous tears
commend him much, and nobler seems the worth
of valor clothed in youthful shape so fair.
Diores, too, assists the victor's claim,
with loud appeal -- he too has won a prize,
and vainly holds his last place, if the first
to Salius fall.
Haec ubi dicta, locum capiunt signoque repente
corripiunt spatia audito limenque relinquunt,
effusi nimbo similes. simul ultima signant,
primus abit longeque ante omnia corpora Nisus
emicat et uentis et fulminis ocior alis;
proximus huic, longo sed proximus interuallo,
insequitur Salius; spatio post deinde relicto
Euryalumque Helymus sequitur; quo deinde sub ipso
ecce uolat calcemque terit iam calce Diores
incumbens umero, spatia et si plura supersint
transeat elapsus prior ambiguumque relinquat.
iamque fere spatio extremo fessique sub ipsam
finem aduentabant, leui cum sanguine Nisus
labitur infelix, caesis ut forte iuuencis
fusus humum uiridisque super madefecerat herbas.
hic iuuenis iam uictor ouans uestigia presso
haud tenuit titubata solo, sed pronus in ipso
concidit immundoque fimo sacroque cruore.
non tamen Euryali, non ille oblitus amorum:
nam sese opposuit Salio per lubrica surgens;
ille autem spissa iacuit reuolutus harena,
emicat Euryalus et munere uictor amici
prima tenet, plausuque uolat fremituque secundo.
post Helymus subit et nunc tertia palma Diores
Hic totum caueae consessum ingentis et ora
prima patrum magnis Salius clamoribus implet,
ereptumque dolo reddi sibi poscit honorem.
tutatur fauor Euryalum lacrimaeque decorae,
gratior et pulchro ueniens in corpore uirtus.
adiuuat et magna proclamat uoce Diores,
qui subiit palmae frustraque ad praemia uenit
ultima, si primi Salio reddentur honores.