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The Aeneid by Virgil
translated by Theodore C. Williams
Book V Chapter 33: Morpheus speaks to Palinurus
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Now in Aeneas' ever-burdened breast
the voice of hope revived. He bade make haste
to raise the masts, spread canvas on the spars;
all hands hauled at the sheets, and left or right
shook out the loosened sails, or twirled in place
the horn-tipped yards. Before a favoring wind
the fleet sped on. The line in close array
was led by Palinurus, in whose course
all ships were bid to follow. Soon the car
of dewy Night drew near the turning-point
of her celestial round. The oarsmen all
yielded their limbs to rest, and prone had fallen
on the hard thwarts, in deep, unpillowed slumber.
Then from the high stars on light-moving wings,
the God of Sleep found passage through the dark
and clove the gloom, -- to bring upon thy head,
O Palinurus, an ill-boding sleep,
though blameless thou. Upon thy ship the god
in guise of Phorbas stood, thus whispering:
Look, Palinurus, how the flowing tides
lift on thy fleet unsteered, and changeless winds
behind thee breathe! T is now a happy hour
take thy rest. Lay down the weary head.
Steal tired eyes from toiling. I will do
thine office for thee, just a little space.
But Palinurus, lifting scarce his eyes,
thus answered him: Have I not known the face
of yonder placid seas and tranquil waves?
Put faith in such a monster? Could I trust --
I, oft by ocean's treacherous calm betrayed --
my lord Aeneas to false winds and skies?
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Hic patris Aeneae suspensam blanda uicissim
gaudia pertemptant mentem; iubet ocius omnis
attolli malos, intendi bracchia uelis.
una omnes fecere pedem pariterque sinistros,
nunc dextros soluere sinus; una ardua torquent
cornua detorquentque; ferunt sua flamina classem.
princeps ante omnis densum Palinurus agebat
agmen; ad hunc alii cursum contendere iussi.
iamque fere mediam caeli Nox umida metam
contigerat, placida laxabant membra quiete
sub remis fusi per dura sedilia nautae,
cum leuis aetheriis delapsus Somnus ab astris
aera dimouit tenebrosum et dispulit umbras,
te, Palinure, petens, tibi somnia tristia portans
insonti; puppique deus consedit in alta
Phorbanti similis funditque has ore loquelas:
'Iaside Palinure, ferunt ipsa aequora classem,
aequatae spirant aurae, datur hora quieti.
pone caput fessosque oculos furare labori.
ipse ego paulisper pro te tua munera inibo.'
cui uix attollens Palinurus lumina fatur:
'mene salis placidi uultum fluctusque quietos
ignorare iubes? mene huic confidere monstro?
Aenean credam (quid enim?) fallacibus auris
et caeli totiens deceptus fraude sereni?'