|Do not fly Iberia
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translated by Theodore C. Williams
Book XI Chapter 17: Laurentum threatened
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Now to and fro they run
to man the walls. Father Latinus quits --
the place of council and his large design,
vexed and bewildered by the hour's distress.
He blames his own heart that he did not ask
Trojan Aeneas for his daughter's lord,
and gain him for his kingdom's lasting friend.
They dig them trenches at the gates, or lift
burden of stakes and stones. The horn's harsh note
sounds forth its murderous signal for the war;
striplings and women, in a motley ring,
defend the ramparts; the decisive hour
lays tasks on all. Upon the citadel
a train of matrons, with the doleful Queen [Note 1],
toward Pallas' temple moves, and in their hand
are gifts and offerings. See, at their side
the maid Lavinia, cause of all these tears,
drops down her lovely eyes! The incense rolls
in clouds above the altar; at the doors
with wailing voice the women make this prayer:
Tritonian virgin, arbitress of war!
Break of thyself yon Phrygian robber's spear!
Hurl him down dying in the dust! Spill forth
his evil blood beneath our lofty towers!
Fierce Turnus girds him, emulous to slay:
a crimson coat of mail he wears, with scales
of burnished bronze; beneath his knees are bound
the golden greaves; upon his naked brow
no helm he wears; but to his thigh is bound
a glittering sword. Down from the citadel
runs he, a golden glory, in his heart
boldly exulting, while impatient hope
fore-counts his fallen foes. He seemed as when,
from pinfold bursting, breaking his strong chain,
th' untrammelled stallion ranges the wide field,
or tries him to a herd of feeding mares,
or to some cooling river-bank he knows,
most fierce and mettlesome; the streaming mane
o'er neck and shoulder flies.
Note 1: Queen = Amata
concilium ipse pater et magna incepta Latinus
deserit ac tristi turbatus tempore differt,
multaque se incusat qui non acceperit ultro
Dardanium Aenean generumque asciuerit urbi.
praefodiunt alii portas aut saxa sudesque
subuectant. bello dat signum rauca cruentum
bucina. tum muros uaria cinxere corona
matronae puerique, uocat labor ultimus omnis.
nec non ad templum summasque ad Palladis arces
subuehitur magna matrum regina caterua
dona ferens, iuxtaque comes Lauinia uirgo,
causa mali tanti, oculos deiecta decoros.
succedunt matres et templum ture uaporant
et maestas alto fundunt de limine uoces:
'armipotens, praeses belli, Tritonia uirgo,
frange manu telum Phrygii praedonis, et ipsum
pronum sterne solo portisque effunde sub altis.'
Cingitur ipse furens certatim in proelia Turnus.
iamque adeo rutilum thoraca indutus aenis
horrebat squamis surasque incluserat auro,
tempora nudus adhuc, laterique accinxerat ensem,
fulgebatque alta decurrens aureus arce
exsultatque animis et spe iam praecipit hostem:
qualis ubi abruptis fugit praesepia uinclis
tandem liber equus, campoque potitus aperto
aut ille in pastus armentaque tendit equarum
aut adsuetus aquae perfundi flumine noto
emicat, arrectisque fremit ceruicibus alte
luxurians luduntque iubae per colla, per armos.