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translated by Theodore C. Williams
Book X Chapter 10: Arrival of Aeneas
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Day now had left the sky. The moon benign |
had driven her night-wandering chariot
to the mid-arch of heaven. Aeneas sate,
for thought and care allowed him no repose,
holding the helm and tending his own sails.
but, as he sped, behold, the beauteous train,
lately his own, of nymphs, anon transformed
by kind Cybele to sea-ruling powers.
In even ranks they swam the cloven wave, --
nymphs now, but once as brazen galleys moored
along the sandy shore. With joy they knew
their king from far, and with attending train
around him drew. Cymodocea then,
best skilled in mortal speech, sped close behind,
with her right hand upon the stern, uprose
breast-high, and with her left hand deeply plied
the silent stream, as to the wondering King
she called: So late on watch, O son of Heaven,
Aeneas? Slack thy sail, but still watch on!
We were the pine trees on the holy top
of Ida's mountain. Sea-nymphs now are we,
and thine own fleet. When, as we fled, the flames
rained o'er us from the false Rutulian's hand
t was all unwillingly we cast away
thy serviceable chains: and now once more
we follow thee across the sea. These forms
our pitying mother bade us take, with power
to haunt immortally the moving sea.
Lo, thy Ascanius lies close besieged
in moated walls, assailed by threatening arms
and Latium's front of war. Arcadia,
her horsemen with the bold Etruscan joined,
stands at the place appointed. Turnus means,
with troop opposing, their advance to bar
and hold them from the camp. Arouse thee, then,
and with the rising beams of dawn call forth
thy captains and their followers. Take that shield
victorious, which for thee the Lord of Fire [Note 1]
forged for a gift and rimmed about with gold.
To-morrow's light -- deem not my words be vain! --
shall shine on huge heaps of Rutulia's dead.
So saying, she pushed with her right hand the stern
with skilful thrust, and vanished. The ship sped
swift as a spear, or as an arrow flies
no whit behind the wind: and all the fleet
quickened its course. Anchises' princely son,
dumb and bewildered stood, but took good heart
at such an omen fair. Then in few words
with eyes upturned to heaven he made his prayer:
Mother of gods, O Ida's Queen benign,
who lovest Dindymus and towns with towers,
and lion-yokes obedient to thy rein,
be thou my guide in battle, and fulfil
thine augury divine. In Phrygia's cause
be present evermore with favoring power!
He spoke no more. For now the wheels of day
had sped full circle into perfect light,
the dark expelling. Then, for his first care,
he bade his captains heed the signal given,
equip their souls for war, and wait in arms
the coming fray.
Note 1: Lord of Fire = Vulcan
Iamque dies caelo concesserat almaque curru
noctiuago Phoebe medium pulsabat Olympum:
Aeneas (neque enim membris dat cura quietem)
ipse sedens clauumque regit uelisque ministrat.
atque illi medio in spatio chorus, ecce, suarum
occurrit comitum: nymphae, quas alma Cybebe
numen habere maris nymphasque e nauibus esse
iusserat, innabant pariter fluctusque secabant,
quot prius aeratae steterant ad litora prorae.
agnoscunt longe regem lustrantque choreis;
quarum quae fandi doctissima Cymodocea
pone sequens dextra puppim tenet ipsaque dorso
eminet ac laeua tacitis subremigat undis.
tum sic ignarum adloquitur: 'uigilasne, deum gens,
Aenea? uigila et uelis immitte rudentis.
nos sumus, Idaeae sacro de uertice pinus,
nunc pelagi nymphae, classis tua. perfidus ut nos
praecipitis ferro Rutulus flammaque premebat,
rupimus inuitae tua uincula teque per aequor
quaerimus. hanc genetrix faciem miserata refecit
et dedit esse deas aeuumque agitare sub undis.
at puer Ascanius muro fossisque tenetur
tela inter media atque horrentis Marte Latinos.
iam loca iussa tenent forti permixtus Etrusco
Arcas eques; medias illis opponere turmas,
ne castris iungant, certa est sententia Turno.
surge age et Aurora socios ueniente uocari
primus in arma iube, et clipeum cape quem dedit ipse
inuictum ignipotens atque oras ambiit auro.
crastina lux, mea si non inrita dicta putaris,
ingentis Rutulae spectabit caedis aceruos.'
dixerat et dextra discedens impulit altam
haud ignara modi puppim: fugit illa per undas
ocior et iaculo et uentos aequante sagitta.
inde aliae celerant cursus. stupet inscius ipse
Tros Anchisiades, animos tamen omine tollit.
tum breuiter supera aspectans conuexa precatur:
'alma parens Idaea deum, cui Dindyma cordi
turrigeraeque urbes biiugique ad frena leones,
tu mihi nunc pugnae princeps, tu rite propinques
augurium Phrygibusque adsis pede, diua, secundo.'
tantum effatus, et interea reuoluta ruebat
matura iam luce dies noctemque fugarat;
principio sociis edicit signa sequantur
atque animos aptent armis pugnaeque parent se.