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translated by Theodore C. Williams
Book V Chapter 34: Palinurus thrown overboard and drowned
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So saying, he grasped his rudder tight, and clung |
more firmly, fixing on the stars his eyes.
Then waved the god [Note 1] above his brows a branch
wet with the dews of Lethe and imbued
with power of Stygian dark, until his eyes
wavered and slowly sank. The slumberous snare
had scarce unbound his limbs, when, leaning o'er,
the god upon the waters flung him forth,
hands clutching still the helm and ship-rail torn,
and calling on his comrades, but in vain.
Then soared th' immortal into viewless air;
and in swift course across the level sea
the fleet sped safe, protected from all fear
by Neptune's vow. Yet were they drawing nigh
the sirens' island steep, where oft are seen
white, bleaching bones, and to the distant ear
the rocks roar harshly in perpetual foam.
Then of his drifting fleet and pilot gone
Aeneas was aware, and, taking helm,
steered through the midnight waves, with many a sigh;
and, by his comrade's pitiable death
sore-smitten, cried, O, thou didst trust too far
fair skies and seas, and liest without a grave,
my Palinurus, in a land unknown!
Note 1: god = Morpheus
talia dicta dabat, clauumque adfixus et haerens
nusquam amittebat oculosque sub astra tenebat.
ecce deus ramum Lethaeo rore madentem
uique soporatum Stygia super utraque quassat
tempora, cunctantique natantia lumina soluit.
uix primos inopina quies laxauerat artus,
et super incumbens cum puppis parte reuulsa
cumque gubernaclo liquidas proiecit in undas
praecipitem ac socios nequiquam saepe uocantem;
ipse uolans tenuis se sustulit ales ad auras.
currit iter tutum non setius aequore classis
promissisque patris Neptuni interrita fertur.
iamque adeo scopulos Sirenum aduecta subibat,
difficilis quondam multorumque ossibus albos
(tum rauca adsiduo longe sale saxa sonabant),
cum pater amisso fluitantem errare magistro
sensit, et ipse ratem nocturnis rexit in undis
multa gemens casuque animum concussus amici:
'o nimium caelo et pelago confise sereno,
nudus in ignota, Palinure, iacebis harena.'