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Quote of the day: It is a disagreeable task in the case of
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The Aeneid by Virgil
translated by Theodore C. Williams
Book III Chapter 16: Prophecy of Helenus (cont.)
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"O goddess-born [Note 1], indubitably shines
the blessing of great gods upon thy path
across the sea; the heavenly King [Note 2] supreme
thy destiny ordains; t is he unfolds
the grand vicissitude, which now pursues
a course immutable. I will declare
of thy large fate a certain bounded part;
that fearless thou may'st view the friendly sea,
and in Ausonia's haven at the last
find thee a fixed abode. Than this no more
the Sister Fates to Helenus unveil,
and Juno, Saturn's daughter, grants no more.
First, that ( Italia (which nigh at hand
thou deemest, and wouldst fondly enter in
by yonder neighboring bays) lies distant far
o'er trackless course and long, with interval
of far-extended lands. Thine oars must ply
the waves of Sicily; thy fleet must cleave
the large expanse of that Ausonian brine;
the waters of Avernus thou shalt see,
and that enchanted island where abides
Aeaean Circe, ere on tranquil shore
thou mayest plant thy nation. Lo! a sign
I tell thee; hide this wonder in thy heart:
Beside a certain stream's sequestered wave,
thy troubled eyes, in shadowy flex grove
that fringes on the river, shall descry
a milk-white, monstrous sow, with teeming brood
of thirty young, new littered, white like her,
all clustering at her teats, as prone she lies.
There is thy city's safe, predestined ground,
and there thy labors' end. Vex not thy heart
about those ‘tables bitten’, for kind fate
thy path will show, and Phoebus bless thy prayer.
But from these lands and yon Italian shore,
where from this sea of ours the tide sweeps in,
escape and flee, for all its cities hold
pernicious Greeks, thy foes: the Locri there
have builded walls; the wide Sallentine fields
are filled with soldiers of Idomeneus;
there Meliboean Philoctetes' town,
Petilia, towers above its little wall.
Yea, even when thy fleet has crossed the main,
and from new altars built along the shore
thy vows to Heaven are paid, throw o'er thy head
a purple mantle, veiling well thy brows,
lest, while the sacrificial fire ascends
in offering to the gods, thine eye behold
some face of foe, and every omen fail.
Let all thy people keep this custom due,
and thou thyself be faithful; let thy seed
forever thus th' immaculate rite maintain.
After departing hence, thou shalt be blown
toward Sicily, and strait Pelorus' bounds
will open wide. Then take the leftward way:
those leftward waters in long circuit sweep,
far from that billowy coast, the opposing side.
These regions, so they tell, in ages gone
by huge and violent convulsion riven
(Such mutability is wrought by time),
sprang wide asunder; where the doubled strand
sole and continuous lay, the sea's vast power
burst in between, and bade its waves divide
Hesperia's bosom from fair Sicily,
while with a straitened firth it interflowed
their fields and cities sundered shore from shore.
The right side Scylla keeps; the left is given
to pitiless Charybdis, who draws down
to the wild whirling of her steep abyss
the monster waves, and ever and anon
flings them at heaven, to lash the tranquil stars.
But Scylla, prisoned in her eyeless cave,
thrusts forth her face, and pulls upon the rocks
ship after ship; the parts that first be seen
are human; a fair-breasted virgin she,
down to the womb; but all that lurks below
is a huge-membered fish, where strangely join
the flukes of dolphins and the paunch of wolves.

Better by far to round the distant goal
of the Trinacrian headlands, veering wide
from thy true course, than ever thou shouldst see
that shapeless Scylla in her vaulted cave,
where grim rocks echo her dark sea-dogs' roar.
Yea, more, if aught of prescience be bestowed
on Helenus, if trusted prophet he,
and Phoebus to his heart true voice have given,
o goddess-born, one counsel chief of all
I tell thee oft, and urge it o'er and o'er.
To Juno's godhead lift thy loudest prayer;
to Juno chant a fervent votive song,
and with obedient offering persuade
that potent Queen. So shalt thou, triumphing,
to Italy be sped, and leave behind

Note 1: goddess-born = Aeneas
Note 2: King = Jove

Events: Prophecy of Helenus, The wanderings of Aeneas

'Nate dea (nam te maioribus ire per altum
auspiciis manifesta fides; sic fata deum rex
sortitur uoluitque uices, is uertitur ordo),
pauca tibi e multis, quo tutior hospita lustres
aequora et Ausonio possis considere portu,
expediam dictis; prohibent nam cetera Parcae
scire Helenum farique uetat Saturnia Iuno.
principio Italiam, quam tu iam rere propinquam
uicinosque, ignare, paras inuadere portus,
longa procul longis uia diuidit inuia terris.
ante et Trinacria lentandus remus in unda
et salis Ausonii lustrandum nauibus aequor
infernique lacus Aeaeaeque insula Circae,
quam tuta possis urbem componere terra.
signa tibi dicam, tu condita mente teneto:
cum tibi sollicito secreti ad fluminis undam
litoreis ingens inuenta sub ilicibus sus
triginta capitum fetus enixa iacebit,
alba solo recubans, albi circum ubera nati,
is locus urbis erit, requies ea certa laborum.
nec tu mensarum morsus horresce futuros:
fata uiam inuenient aderitque uocatus Apollo.
has autem terras Italique hanc litoris oram,
proxima quae nostri perfunditur aequoris aestu,
effuge; cuncta malis habitantur moenia Grais.
hic et Narycii posuerunt moenia Locri,
et Sallentinos obsedit milite campos
Lyctius Idomeneus; hic illa ducis Meliboei
parua Philoctetae subnixa Petelia muro.
quin ubi transmissae steterint trans aequora classes
et positis aris iam uota in litore solues,
purpureo uelare comas adopertus amictu,
ne qua inter sanctos ignis in honore deorum
hostilis facies occurrat et omina turbet.
hunc socii morem sacrorum, hunc ipse teneto;
hac casti maneant in religione nepotes
ast ubi digressum Siculae te admouerit orae
uentus, et angusti rarescent claustra Pelori,
laeua tibi tellus et longo laeua petantur
aequora circuitu; dextrum fuge litus et undas.
haec loca ui quondam et uasta conuulsa ruina
(tantum aeui longinqua ualet mutare uetustas)
dissiluisse ferunt, cum protinus utraque tellus
una foret: uenit medio ui pontus et undis
Hesperium Siculo latus abscidit, aruaque et urbes
litore diductas angusto interluit aestu.
dextrum Scylla latus, laeuum implacata Charybdis
obsidet, atque imo barathri ter gurgite uastos
sorbet in abruptum fluctus rursusque sub auras
erigit alternos, et sidera uerberat unda.
at Scyllam caecis cohibet spelunca latebris
ora exsertantem et nauis in saxa trahentem.
prima hominis facies et pulchro pectore uirgo
pube tenus, postrema immani corpore pistrix
delphinum caudas utero commissa luporum.
praestat Trinacrii metas lustrare Pachyni
cessantem, longos et circumflectere cursus,
quam semel informem uasto uidisse sub antro
Scyllam et caeruleis canibus resonantia saxa.
praeterea, si qua est Heleno prudentia uati,
si qua fides, animum si ueris implet Apollo,
unum illud tibi, nate dea, proque omnibus unum
praedicam et repetens iterumque iterumque monebo,
Iunonis magnae primum prece numen adora,
Iunoni cane uota libens dominamque potentem
supplicibus supera donis: sic denique uictor
Trinacria finis Italos mittere relicta.