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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 XI Chapter 10: Diomedes does not want to fight
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My countrymen, he [Note 1] said, our eyes have seen
strongholds of Greeks and Diomed the king.
We braved all perils to our journey's end
and clasped that hand whereof the dreadful stroke
wrought Ilium's fall. The hero built a town,
Argyripa, hereditary name,
near Mount Garganus in Apulian land:
passing that city's portal and the king's
we found free audience, held forth thy gifts,
and told our names and fatherland. We showed
what conflict was enkindled, and what cause
brought us to Arpi's king. He, hearing all,
with brow benign made answer to our plea:
O happy tribes in Saturn's kingdom born,
Ausonia's ancient stem! What fortune blind
tempts ye from peace away, and now ensnares
in wars unknown? Look how we men that dared
lay Ilium waste (I speak not of what woes
in battling neath her lofty walls we bore,
nor of dead warriors sunk in Simois' wave)
have paid the penalty in many a land
with chastisement accurst and changeful woe,
till Priam's self might pity. Let the star
of Pallas tell its tale of fatal storm,
off grim Caphereus and Euboea's crags.
Driven asunder from one field of war,
Atrides unto farthest Egypt strayed,
and wise Ulysses saw from Aetna's caves
the Cyclops gathering. Why name the throne
of Pyrrhus, or the violated hearth
whence fled Idomeneus? Or Locri cast
on Libya's distant shore? For even he,
Lord of Mycenae by the Greeks obeyed,
fell murdered on his threshold by the hand
of that polluted wife [Note 2], whose paramour [Note 3]
trapped Asia's conqueror. The envious gods
withheld me also from returning home
to see once more the hearth-stone of my sires,
the wife [Note 4] I yearn for, and my Calydon,
the beauteous land. For wonders horrible
pursue me still. My vanished followers
through upper air take wing, or haunt and rove
in forms of birds the island waters o'er:
ah me, what misery my people feel!
The tall rocks ring with their lament and cry.
Naught else had I to hope for from that day
when my infatuate sword on gods I drew,
and outraged with abominable wound
the hand of Venus. Urge me not, I pray,
to conflicts in this wise. No more for me
of war with Trojans after Ilium's fall!
I take no joy in evils past, nor wish
such memory to renew. Go, lay these gifts,
brought to my honor from your ancient land,
at great Aeneas' feet. We twain have stood
confronting close with swords implacable
in mortal fray. Believe me, I have known
the stature of him when he lifts his shield,
and swings the whirlwind of his spear. If Troy
two more such sons had bred, the Dardan horde
had stormed at Argos' gates, and Greece to-day
were for her fallen fortunes grieving sore.
Our lingering at Ilium's stubborn wall,
our sluggard conquest halting ten years long,
was his and Hector's work. Heroic pair!
Each one for valor notable, and each
famous in enterprise of arms, -- but he
was first in piety. Enclasp with his
your hands in plighted peace as best ye may:
but shock of steel on steel ye well may shun.
now hast thou heard, good king, a king's reply,
and how his wisdom sits in this vast war.

Note 1: he = Venulus
Note 2: wife = Clytaemnestra
Note 3: paramour = Aegisthus
Note 4: wife = Aegialia

Events: Polyphemus, Agamemnon murdered, Companions of Diomedes turn into birds, Diomedes does not want to fight, Aeneas and Diomedes

'Vidimus, o ciues, Diomedem Argiuaque castra,
atque iter emensi casus superauimus omnis,
contigimusque manum qua concidit Ilia tellus.
ille urbem Argyripam patriae cognomine gentis
uictor Gargani condebat Iapygis agris.
postquam introgressi et coram data copia fandi,
munera praeferimus, nomen patriamque docemus,
qui bellum intulerint, quae causa attraxerit Arpos.
auditis ille haec placido sic reddidit ore:
"o fortunatae gentes, Saturnia regna,
antiqui Ausonii, quae uos fortuna quietos
sollicitat suadetque ignota lacessere bella?
quicumque Iliacos ferro uiolauimus agros
(mitto ea quae muris bellando exhausta sub altis,
quos Simois premat ille uiros) infanda per orbem
supplicia et scelerum poenas expendimus omnes,
uel Priamo miseranda manus; scit triste Mineruae
sidus et Euboicae cautes ultorque Caphereus.
militia ex illa diuersum ad litus abacti
Atrides Protei Menelaus adusque columnas
exsulat, Aetnaeos uidit Cyclopas Vlixes.
regna Neoptolemi referam uersosque penatis
Idomenei? Libycone habitantis litore Locros?
ipse Mycenaeus magnorum ductor Achiuum
coniugis infandae prima inter limina dextra
oppetiit, deuictam Asiam subsedit adulter.
inuidisse deos, patriis ut redditus aris
coniugium optatum et pulchram Calydona uiderem?
nunc etiam horribili uisu portenta sequuntur
et socii amissi petierunt aethera pennis
fluminibusque uagantur aues (heu, dira meorum
supplicia!) et scopulos lacrimosis uocibus implent.
haec adeo ex illo mihi iam speranda fuerunt
tempore cum ferro caelestia corpora demens
appetii et Veneris uiolaui uulnere dextram.
ne uero, ne me ad talis impellite pugnas.
nec mihi cum Teucris ullum post eruta bellum
Pergama nec ueterum memini laetorue malorum.
munera quae patriis ad me portatis ab oris
uertite ad Aenean. stetimus tela aspera contra
contulimusque manus: experto credite quantus
in clipeum adsurgat, quo turbine torqueat hastam.
si duo praeterea talis Idaea tulisset
terra uiros, ultro Inachias uenisset ad urbes
Dardanus, et uersis lugeret Graecia fatis.
quidquid apud durae cessatum est moenia Troiae,
Hectoris Aeneaeque manu uictoria Graium
haesit et in decimum uestigia rettulit annum.
ambo animis, ambo insignes praestantibus armis,
hic pietate prior. coeant in foedera dextrae,
qua datur; ast armis concurrant arma cauete."
et responsa simul quae sint, rex optime, regis
audisti et quae sit magno sententia bello.'