|Do not fly Iberia
Display Latin text
translated by Theodore C. Williams
Book XI Chapter 26: The killing by Camilla
Return to index
The turn of Butes and Orsilochus
came next, who were the Trojans, hugest twain:
yet Butes with her javelin-point she clove
from rearward, 'twixt the hauberk and the helm,
just where the horseman's neck showed white, and where
from shoulder leftward slung the light-weight shield.
From swift Orsilochus she feigned to fly,
through a wide circle sweeping, craftily
taking the inside track, pursuing so
her own pursuer; then she raised herself
to her full height, and through the warrior's helm
drove to his very skull with doubling blows
of her strong battle-axe, -- while he implored
her mercy with loud prayers: his cloven brain
spilt o'er his face. Next in her pathway came --
but shrank in startled fear -- the warrior son
of Aunus, haunter of the Apennine,
not least of the Ligurians ere his doom
cut short a life of lies. He, knowing well
no flight could save him from the shock of arms
nor turn the royal maid's attack, began
with words of cunning and insidious guile:
What glory is it if a girl be bold,
on sturdy steed depending? Fly me not!
But, venturing with me on this equal ground,
gird thee to fight on foot. Soon shalt thou see
which one of us by windy boast achieves
a false renown. He spoke; but she, to pangs
of keenest fury stung, gave o'er her steed
in charge of a companion, and opposed
her foe at equal vantage, falchion drawn,
on foot, and, though her shield no blazon bore,
of fear incapable. But the warrior fled,
thinking his trick victorious, and rode off
full speed, with reins reversed, -- his iron heel
goading his charger's flight. Camilla cried:
Ligurian cheat! In vain thy boastful heart
puffs thee so large; in vain thou hast essayed
thy father's slippery ways; nor shall thy trick
bring thee to guileful Aunus safely home.
Herewith on winged feet that virgin bold
flew past the war-horse, seized the streaming rein,
and, fronting him, took vengeance on her foe
in bloody strokes: with not less ease a hawk,
dark bird of omen, from his mountain crag
pursues on pinions strong a soaring dove
to distant cloud, and, clutching with hooked claws,
holds tight and rips, -- while through celestial air
the torn, ensanguined plumage floats along.
Event: Acts and death of Camilla
Protinus Orsilochum et Buten, duo maxima Teucrum
corpora, sed Buten auersum cuspide fixit
loricam galeamque inter, qua colla sedentis
lucent et laeuo dependet parma lacerto;
Orsilochum fugiens magnumque agitata per orbem
eludit gyro interior sequiturque sequentem;
tum ualidam perque arma uiro perque ossa securim
altior exsurgens oranti et multa precanti
congeminat; uulnus calido rigat ora cerebro.
incidit huic subitoque aspectu territus haesit
Appenninicolae bellator filius Auni,
haud Ligurum extremus, dum fallere fata sinebant.
isque ubi se nullo iam cursu euadere pugnae
posse neque instantem reginam auertere cernit,
consilio uersare dolos ingressus et astu
incipit haec: 'quid tam egregium, si femina forti
fidis equo? dimitte fugam et te comminus aequo
mecum crede solo pugnaeque accinge pedestri:
iam nosces uentosa ferat cui gloria fraudem.'
dixit, at illa furens acrique accensa dolore
tradit equum comiti paribusque resistit in armis
ense pedes nudo puraque interrita parma.
at iuuenis uicisse dolo ratus auolat ipse
(haud mora), conuersisque fugax aufertur habenis
quadripedemque citum ferrata calce fatigat.
'uane Ligus frustraque animis elate superbis,
nequiquam patrias temptasti lubricus artis,
nec fraus te incolumem fallaci perferet Auno.'
haec fatur uirgo, et pernicibus ignea plantis
transit equum cursu frenisque aduersa prehensis
congreditur poenasque inimico ex sanguine sumit:
quam facile accipiter saxo sacer ales ab alto
consequitur pennis sublimem in nube columbam
comprensamque tenet pedibusque euiscerat uncis;
tum cruor et uulsae labuntur ab aethere plumae.