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Quote of the day: At last, after well-merited commendation
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The Aeneid by Virgil
translated by Theodore C. Williams
Book VII Chapter 17: Amata organizes a Bacchanic frenzy
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But she sees
her lord Latinus resolute, her words
an effort vain; and through her body spreads
the Fury's deeply venomed viper-sting.
Then, woe-begone, by dark dreams goaded on,
she wanders aimless, fevered and unstrung
along the public ways; as oft one sees
beneath the twisted whips a leaping top
sped in long spirals through a palace-close
by lads at play: obedient to the thong,
it weaves wide circles in the gaping view
of its small masters, who admiring see
the whirling boxwood made a living thing
under their lash. So fast and far she roved
from town to town among the clansmen wild.
Then to the wood she ran, feigning to feel
the madness Bacchus loves; for she essays
a fiercer crime, by fiercer frenzy moved.
Now in the leafy dark of mountain vales
she hides her daughter [Note 1], ravished thus away
from Trojan bridegroom and the wedding-feast.
“Hail, Bacchus! Thou alone,” she shrieked and raved,
“art worthy such a maid. For thee she bears
the thyrsus with soft ivy-clusters crowned,
and trips ecstatic in thy beauteous choir.
For thee alone my daughter shall unbind
the glory of her virgin hair.” Swift runs
the rumor of her deed; and, frenzy-driven,
the wives of Latium to the forests fly,
enkindled with one rage. They leave behind
their desolated hearths, and let rude winds
o'er neck and tresses blow; their voices fill
the welkin with convulsive shriek and wail;
and, with fresh fawn-skins on their bodies bound,
they brandish vine-clad spears. The Queen herself
lifts high a blazing pine tree, while she sings
a wedding-song for Turnus and her child.
With bloodshot glance and anger wild, she cries:
“Ho! all ye Latin wives, if e'er ye knew
kindness for poor Amata, if ye care
for a wronged mother's woes, O, follow me!
Cast off the matron fillet from your brows,
and revel to our mad, voluptuous song.”
Thus, through the woodland haunt of creatures wild,
Alecto urges on the raging Queen
with Bacchus' cruel goad.

Note 1: daughter = Lavinia

Events: The Gods interfere in the Aeneid, The bacchanalia, Aeneas comes to Latium

His ubi nequiquam dictis experta Latinum
contra stare uidet, penitusque in uiscera lapsum
serpentis furiale malum totamque pererrat,
tum uero infelix ingentibus excita monstris
immensam sine more furit lymphata per urbem.
ceu quondam torto uolitans sub uerbere turbo,
quem pueri magno in gyro uacua atria circum
intenti ludo exercent—ille actus habena
curuatis fertur spatiis; stupet inscia supra
impubesque manus mirata uolubile buxum;
dant animos plagae: non cursu segnior illo
per medias urbes agitur populosque ferocis.
quin etiam in siluas simulato numine Bacchi
maius adorta nefas maioremque orsa furorem
euolat et natam frondosis montibus abdit,
quo thalamum eripiat Teucris taedasque moretur,
euhoe Bacche fremens, solum te uirgine dignum
uociferans: etenim mollis tibi sumere thyrsos,
te lustrare choro, sacrum tibi pascere crinem.
fama uolat, furiisque accensas pectore matres
idem omnis simul ardor agit noua quaerere tecta.
deseruere domos, uentis dant colla comasque;
ast aliae tremulis ululatibus aethera complent
pampineasque gerunt incinctae pellibus hastas.
ipsa inter medias flagrantem feruida pinum
sustinet ac natae Turnique canit hymenaeos
sanguineam torquens aciem, toruumque repente
clamat: 'io matres, audite, ubi quaeque, Latinae:
si qua piis animis manet infelicis Amatae
gratia, si iuris materni cura remordet,
soluite crinalis uittas, capite orgia mecum.'
talem inter siluas, inter deserta ferarum
reginam Allecto stimulis agit undique Bacchi.