Full in the midst an aged elm Broods darkly o'er the shadowy realm; There dream-land phantoms rest the wing, Men say, and 'neath its foliage cling, And many monstrous shapes beside. There Centaurs, Scyllas, fish and maid, There Briareus' hundred-handed shade. CONINGTON, AEneid, BOOK VI.
AEneas was about to rush on these monsters with his sword, when the Sibyl informed him that they were no real beings but merely phantoms. Then they came to the Styx—the river of Hades, over which the ferryman Cha'ron, grim and long-bearded, conveyed the departed spirits, in his iron-colored boat, using a pole to steer with.
The watery passage Charon keeps Sole warden of these murky deeps. CONINGTON, AEneid, BOOK VI.
No living being was permitted to enter Charon's boat, or to cross the Stygian river without the passport of the golden bough. This could be obtained only by special favor of some powerful god, and few had been so favored. Even the dead, if their bodies had not received burial rites, were refused admission to the boat, until they had wandered on the shore for a hundred years. So the Sibyl told AEneas when he inquired why some were ferried over, while others were driven back, lamenting that they were not allowed to pass to their destined abode.
"The ghosts rejected are the unhappy crew Deprived of sepulchres and funeral due; The boatman, Charon; those, the buried host, He ferries over to the further coast; Nor dares his transport vessel cross the waves With such whose bones are not composed in graves. A hundred years they wander on the shore; At length, their penance done, are wafted o'er." DRYDEN, AEneid, BOOK VI.
One of these unhappy spirits AEneas recognised as that of his pilot Palinurus, who told the hero that he had not been drowned, or plunged into the sea by a god, for he did not know of the treachery of Somnus. He had fallen overboard, he said, and kept afloat for three days, clinging to the helm, which he had dragged away with him. On the fourth day he had swam ashore on the Italian coast, and would have been out of danger, had not the cruel natives there fallen upon him with their swords. His body he said was now tossing about in the waters of the harbor of Ve'li-a, and he begged AEneas to seek it out and give it burial, or, if this was impossible, to devise some means of helping him across the Stygian river. This latter proposal the Sibyl forbade as impious, saying that the decrees of the gods could not be thus altered. But she consoled Palinurus by predicting that the people of Velia should be punished by plagues from heaven until they erected a tomb to his memory, and that the place should forever bear his name. The modern name of the place is Capo di Palinuro—Cape of Palinurus.
AEneas and his guide now approached the river. Charon at once seeing that they were mortal beings, roughly ordered them to advance no further.
"Mortal, whate'er, who this forbidden path In arms presum'st to tread! I charge thee, stand, And tell thy name, and business in the land! Know, this the realm of night—the Stygian shore; My boat conveys no living bodies o'er." DRYDEN, AEneid, BOOK VI.
The Sibyl answered that her companion was the Trojan AEneas, illustrious for piety and valor, who desired to go down to the shades to see and converse with his father Anchises. Then from underneath her robe she produced the golden bough.
No more was needful; for the gloomy god Stood mute with awe, to see the golden rod; Admired the destined offering to his queen— A venerable gift, so rarely seen. DRYDEN, AEneid, BOOK VI.
The two mortals were now received into the boat and soon ferried safely to the other side. There they saw the three-headed watchdog Cer'be-rus, who made the dreary region resound with his frightful barking. The Sibyl flung him a cake composed of honey and drugged grain, which he greedily swallowed. Then the monster fell into a deep sleep. The passage being thus free, they proceeded on their way. Soon they came to the place where the judge Mi'nos sat, examining into the lives and crimes of departed mortals.
Minos, the strict inquisitor, appears; And lives and crimes, with his assessors, hears. Round, in his urn, the blended balls he rolls, Absolves the just, and dooms the guilty souls. DRYDEN, AEneid, BOOK VI.
In one of the outer regions of the shadowy world he had now entered, a region which the poet calls the "Mourning Fields," AEneas beheld the shade of the unhappy Carthaginian queen.
Whom when the Trojan hero hardly knew, Obscure in shades, and with a doubtful view, With tears he first approached the sullen shade; And as his love inspired him, thus he said: "Unhappy queen! then is the common breath Of rumor true, in your reported death, And I, alas! the cause?—By Heaven, I vow, And all the powers that rule the realms below, Unwilling I forsook your friendly state, Commanded by the gods, and forced by Fate." DRYDEN, AEneid, BOOK VI.
But the mournful shade made no answer to the Trojan hero's vows and regrets.
Disdainfully she looked; then turning round, She fixed her eyes unmoved upon the ground; And, what he says and swears, regards no more Than the deaf rocks, when the loud billows roar: But whirled away, to shun his hateful sight, Hid in the forest, and the shades of night: Then sought Sichaeus through the shady grove, Who answered all her cares, and equalled all her love. DRYDEN, AEneid, BOOK VI.
They next came to the Field of Heroes, where AEneas saw the shades of many of his brave comrades of the Trojan war. The ghosts crowded round him, standing on the right hand and on the left. Nor were they satisfied with seeing him once. They wished to detain him a long time, to talk with him and learn the cause of his strange visit. But the Sibyl warned him that they must hasten forward, and presently they came to a place where the path divided itself into two. The right led by the walls of Pluto's palace to the happy Field of E-lys'ium, the land of the blessed. The left path led to Tar'ta-rus, the abode of the wicked. At this place AEneas saw a vast prison, inclosed by a triple wall, around which flowed the Phleg'e-thon, a river of fire. In front of it was a huge gate of solid adamant.
There rolls swift Plegethon, with thund'ring sound, His broken rocks, and whirls his surges round. On mighty columns rais'd sublime are hung The massy gates impenetrably strong. In vain would men, in vain would gods essay, To hew the beams of adamant away. PITT, AEneid, BOOK VI.
Deep groans and the grating of iron and the clanking of chains were heard from out these walls. None except the lost souls the Sibyl said, were allowed to pass the threshold of Tartarus, and the punishments there, and the crimes for which the wicked suffered, were such that she could not tell them though she had a hundred tongues.
"Had I a hundred mouths, a hundred tongues, And throats of brass, inspired with iron lungs, I could not half those horrid crimes repeat, Nor half the punishment those crimes have met." DRYDEN, AEneid, BOOK VI.
Some were punished by being tied to perpetually revolving wheels of fire. This was the fate of a king named Ix-i'on. Others, like the robber Sis'y-phus, were condemned to roll huge stones up a hill, and just on reaching the summit, the stones would slip from their grasp and roll to the foot of the hill, and the unhappy beings had to roll them up again, and so on forever. Others were tortured like Pi-rith'o-us, who stood under a great hanging rock, which threatened every moment to tumble down upon him, keeping him in constant terror.
The Sibyl told AEneas of these and many other punishments appointed by the gods for bad men. Then they hastened to Pluto's palace, and the hero fixed the golden bough on the door, after which, proceeding on their way, they soon came to the Elysian Fields—the abode of those who while on earth had led good and useful lives. Here were delightful green fields and shady groves; the sky was bright, the air pure and balmy. The happy spirits were engaged in sports, such as had been their pleasure when in the world above. Some were wrestling on the grassy plain, others exercising with spear and bow, others singing and dancing.
Their airy limbs in sports they exercise, And, on the green, contend the wrestler's prize. Some, in heroic verse, divinely sing; Others in artful measures lead the ring. DRYDEN, AEneid, BOOK VI.
On the bank of a beautiful river—the E-rid'a-nus—flowing over sands of gold, was a band of spirits whose heads were crowned with white garlands. These were the spirits of patriots who had fought for their country, poets who had sung the praises of the gods, and men who had improved life by the invention of useful arts. In this band was Mu-sae'us, the most ancient of poets. Approaching him the Sibyl inquired where Anchises might be found. "None of us here," answered Musaeus, "has a fixed abode. We dwell in shady groves, or lie on the banks of crystal streams. But come over this eminence and I will direct you to him you seek."
Musaeus then led them to a spot from which they could view the bright Elysian fields around, and pointed to a green dale where at last they beheld Anchises. The hero hastened to approach his father, eager to embrace him, and thrice did he attempt to throw his arms about his neck, but thrice did the form escape his hold, for it was nothing but thin air.
Thrice, around his neck, his arms he threw And thrice the flitting shadow slipped away, Like winds, or empty dreams, that fly the day. DRYDEN, AEneid, BOOK VI.
Anchises told his son much about the dwellers in Elysium. On the banks of the river Lethe—the river of forgetfulness—was a countless multitude of spirits which, he said, were yet to live in earthly bodies. They were the souls of unborn generations of men. Amongst them, he pointed out to AEneas, the spirits of many of those who were to be his own descendants in the kingdom he was to establish in Italy.
The father-spirit leads The priestess and his son through swarms of shades, And takes a rising ground, from thence to see The long procession of his progeny. DRYDEN, AEneid, BOOK VI.
From this rising ground AEneas saw the shadowy forms of future heroes of Rome—of Rom'u-lus, who was to found the city—of Brutus, Ca-mil'lus, Fa'bi-us, and of the mighty Caesars.
"Lo! Caesar there and all his seed, Iulus' progeny decreed To pass 'neath heaven's high dome. This, this is he, so oft the theme Of your prophetic fancy's dream, Augustus Caesar, Jove's own strain." CONINGTON, AEneid, BOOK VI.
Anchises next told AEneas of the wars he should have to wage, and instructed him how to avoid or overcome every difficulty. Then he conducted his visitors to the gates of Sleep, through which the gods of Hades sent dreams to the upper world—true dreams through the gate of horn, and false dreams through the gate of ivory. Here Anchises left them. Then departing by the ivory gate from the kingdom of the dead, they returned to the Cumaean cave, and AEneas forthwith proceeded to his ships.
Sleep gives his name to portals twain; One all of horn, they say, Through which authentic spectres gain Quick exit into day, And one which bright with ivory gleams, Whence Pluto sends delusive dreams. Conversing still, the sire attends The travellers on their road, And through the ivory portal sends From forth the unseen abode. The chief betakes him to the fleet, Well pleased again his crew to meet. CONINGTON, AEneid, BOOK VI.
VI. AENEAS ARRIVES IN LATIUM—WELCOMED BY KING LATINUS.
The object of his visit to the Sibyl being accomplished, the Trojan chief set sail and steered along the coast in the direction of the promised land. But soon again he had occasion to put ashore. His nurse, Ca-i-e'ta, having died shortly after the departure of the fleet from Cumae, he desired to give funeral honors to her remains. This duty performed, he named the place (modern Gaeta) in memory of his faithful and attached old servant.
And thou, O matron of immortal fame! Here dying, to the shore hast left thy name; Gaieta still the place is called from thee, The nurse of great AEneas' infancy. Here rest thy bones in rich Hesperia's plains; Thy name ('tis all a ghost can have) remains. DRYDEN, AEneid, BOOK VII.
Again resuming their voyage they came near an island where dwelt the sorceress, Cir'ce, who by her enchantments changed men into beasts. As they passed the island the Trojans heard with horror the roaring of lions and the howling of wolves, once human beings, but transformed by the cruel goddess into the shape of those savage animals. Aided, however, by favorable winds sent by the friendly Neptune, they sped away from this dangerous spot, and soon they were near the end of their wanderings. At the dawn of next morning they beheld a spacious grove, through which a pleasant river, tinted with the hue of the yellow sand, burst forth into the sea. This was the Tiber on whose banks in the distant future was to be founded the city in which the descendants of the Trojan prince should hold imperial sway. AEneas, though not aware that he was so close to the destined spot, commanded his pilots to turn the ships towards the land, and joyfully they entered the river. All around, the Trojan chief, as he gazed upon the scene, could hear the sweet music of the groves.
Embowered amid the silvan scene Old Tiber winds his banks between, Around, gay birds of diverse wing, Accustomed there to fly or sing, Were fluttering on from spray to spray And soothing ether with their lay. CONINGTON, AEneid, BOOK VII.
The country in which the Trojans had now landed was called Latium, and La-ti'nus was its king. Like most great kings of ancient times, he was descended from a god. His father, Faunus, was the grandson of Saturn, the predecessor and father of Jupiter.
Latinus was advanced in years, and he had no male heir, but he had an only daughter, young and beautiful, whose name was La-vin'i-a. Many of the princes of the neighboring states eagerly sought Lavinia's hand in marriage. Chief amongst them was Turnus, king of the Ru'tu-li, a brave and handsome youth. Lavinia's mother, Queen A-ma'ta, favored the suit of Turnus, and desired to have him as her son-in-law.
But the gods had not willed it so, and they sent signs from heaven— signs of their disapproval of the proposed union. In the inner court of the palace of Latinus stood a laurel tree which had been preserved for many years with great reverence. From this tree, it was said, Latinus had given the name Lau-ren'tines to the inhabitants of the country. Just about the time the Trojan fleet was entering the Tiber an immense number of bees were seen to cluster on the top of the laurel tree, and soon linking together, feet to feet, they swung in a strange manner from one of the boughs. The king's soothsayer explained this to mean that a foreign hero was then coming into the country, and that he would one day be its ruler.
About the same time, while the princess Lavinia was bringing fire to an altar where her father stood preparing to offer sacrifice, the flame seemed to catch her flowing hair, and to envelop her whole body in its glowing light, without, however, inflicting the slightest injury. The soothsayer declared that this was a sign that Lavinia would be great and famous, but that through her war should come on the people.
"The nymph who scatters flaming fires around, Shall shine with honor, shall herself be crowned; But, caused by her irrevocable fate, War shall the country waste, and change the state." DRYDEN, AEneid, BOOK VII.
The king was much troubled by these events and so he went into the wood, to the tomb of his father, Faunus, by whom answers were given in dreams to those who, having offered sacrifices, lay down and slept under the trees. Latinus, after performing the necessary ceremonies, soon heard the voice of his father warning him not to give his daughter in marriage to any prince of his own country. "A foreigner," said he, "is coming who shall be your son-in-law, and his descendants shall exalt our name to the stars. From his race, united with ours, shall spring mighty men, who shall conquer and rule the world to its farthest limits."
King Latinus did not conceal his dream. On the contrary he proclaimed it aloud to his people. And so the news of the arrival of the strangers with their ships came not as a surprise to the inhabitants of Latium.
Meanwhile the Trojans having landed upon the Latian coast, Aeneas and several of his chiefs, accompanied by his son Iulus, sat down under a tall tree to refresh themselves with food and drink. They had cakes of wheat, the last of their store, spread upon the grass, and upon these cakes they placed wild fruits which they had gathered in the woods. When they had eaten the fruit, they proceeded to eat the cakes, upon which Iulus exclaimed, "What, are we eating our tables too?" The boy had no thought of the meaning of what they had been doing. But Aeneas joyfully recognized it as the fulfillment of the threatening prophecy of the Harpy Celaena. The cakes were the tables, and the Trojans had now eaten them without harm.
Then Aeneas spoke encouraging words to his companions. "Hail, O land, destined to us by the Fates! This is our home; this is our country. For my father too (as I now remember), told me in Elysium these same secrets, saying: 'When hunger shall compel you, my son, wafted to an unknown shore, to eat up your tables, your provisions having failed, then you may hope for a settlement after your toils, and in that place you may found your first city.' Here was that famine of which he spoke. Our calamities are now at an end. Let us, then, with the first light of to-morrow's sun, explore this country, ascertain who are its inhabitants, and where their cities are."
Next day, when Aeneas learned what country he was in, and the name of its king, he sent ambassadors—a hundred of his chiefs—to wait on Latinus and beg his friendship and assistance, furnishing them with costly gifts for the king. The chiefs hastened on their mission to Latinus, and Aeneas meanwhile began to mark out the boundaries of a new city.
When the Trojan ambassadors reached Lau-ren-tum, the capital of Latium, they were admitted to the royal palace and brought into the presence of the king, who was seated on his throne—a magnificent structure raised aloft on a hundred columns, around which were numerous statues of the king's ancestors, carved in cedar wood. Latinus, after civilly greeting the strangers, bade them say for what purpose they had come to Italy; whether they had landed in his country because of having missed their course at sea, or through stress of weather. He added that whatever was the object of their coming, they should receive kind treatment from him and his people.
To these friendly words Ilioneus, speaking for the Trojans, replied that it was no storm that sent them to Italy. "Willingly and with design," said he, "have we come to your shores, O king, after having been expelled from a kingdom once the most powerful under the sun. Our race is derived from Jupiter himself, and our chief, Aeneas, descended from the gods, has sent us to your court. All the world has heard of the destruction of our city, Troy. Driven by misfortunes over many seas, we beg for a settlement in your country. Dardanus, our ancestor, was born in this land, and now his descendants, directed by the gods, come to the home of their father." They then presented to the king the costly gifts which Aeneas had sent.
"Our prince presents with his request, Some small remains of what his sire possessed; This golden charger, snatched from burning Troy, Anchises did in sacrifice employ; This royal robe and this tiara wore Old Priam, and this golden sceptre bore In full assemblies, and in solemn games; These purple vests were weaved by Dardan dames." DRYDEN, AEneid, BOOK VII.
After Ilioneus had ceased speaking, the king was silent for some time, pondering on the words of his father which he had heard in the dream. Aeneas, he thought, must be the foreigner, destined to be his son-in- law, whose descendants should rule the world. Then he addressed the Trojans, saying that what they asked should gladly be given, and requesting them to tell their chief, Aeneas, to visit him. "Bear this message too," said he, "from me to your king. I have a daughter whom the gods do not permit me to give in marriage to any of our own nation. There is a prediction that my son-in-law shall be a stranger, and that his race shall exalt our name to the stars. I judge that your chief is the man thus destined by the fates, and this too is my own wish."
Then Latinus gave valuable presents to the Trojans—to each a steed from the royal stables, with rich purple trappings. To Aeneas himself he sent a chariot and a pair of horses of the breed which the sorceress, Circe, had obtained from the sun-god, her father. With these presents, the Trojan ambassadors, mounted on their splendid steeds, returned to their chief, and joyfully informed him of the king's message and invitation.
But this friendship shown to the Trojans by King Latinus was not at all agreeable to Juno. On the contrary that unforgiving goddess was filled with grief and anger when she saw Aeneas and his people engaged in building their city and settling themselves in their new home, and so she resolved to stir up strife between the Trojans and Latinus. With this object she called to her aid A-lec'to, one of the three terrible sisters called Furies. These were evil deities whose usual occupation was to scourge and torment condemned souls in the kingdom of Pluto, and drive them to the gates of Tartarus. They sometimes also caused trouble in the upper world, by exciting dissensions and bringing about wars. This was the service which Juno now required, and so, addressing Alecto she requested her to stir up discord between the people of Latium and the followers of Aeneas.
"'Tis thine to ruin realms, o'erturn a state, Betwixt the dearest friends to raise debate, And kindle kindred blood to mutual hate. Thy hand o'er towns the funeral torch displays, And forms a thousand ills ten thousand ways. Now, shake from out thy frightful breast, the seeds Of envy, discord, and of cruel deeds; Confound the peace established, and prepare Their souls to hatred, and their hands to war." DRYDEN, AEneid, BOOK VII.
Alecto, glad to be thus employed, hastened to the palace of Latinus, and sought out Queen Amata, who, as has already been said, desired to have Turnus for her son-in-law. The Furies were hideous beings in appearance, for instead of hair they had serpents coiled around their heads. Alecto unseen by Amata, shook her terrible locks, upon which one of the reptiles darted into the dress of the queen; and, gliding unfelt around her body, infused into her heart a violent hatred of the Trojans.
Unseen, unfelt, the fiery serpent skims, His baneful breath inspiring as he glides; Now like a chain around her neck he rides; Now like a fillet to her head repairs, And with his circling volumes folds her hairs. At first the silent venom slid with ease, And seized her cooler senses by degrees. DRYDEN, AEneid, BOOK VII.
Amata now endeavored to turn the mind of Latinus against the proposed marriage, but he was not to be moved from his purpose of forming an alliance with the Trojans. Then the queen filled with anger rushed out of the palace, as if in a frenzy, and hastening through the city called upon the women of Latium to espouse her cause and the cause of their country. She also carried off her daughter, and concealed her in the mountains, to prevent her marriage with the hated Trojan.
Having thus kindled discord in the family of Latinus, Alecto next proceeded to Ar'de-a the Rutulian capital. Here she assumed the form of Cal'y-be, an aged priestess of Juno's temple, and appearing to King Turnus in a dream as he lay asleep in his palace, urged him to take up arms against Latinus and the strangers. Turnus was not yet disposed to take this course, and so he replied to the seeming priestess, that her duty was to guard the statues and temples of the gods, and he advised her to leave to men the management of affairs of peace and war. Enraged by the words of Turnus Alecto now resumed her Fury's form.
Her eyes grow stiffened, and with sulphur burn; Her hideous looks, and hellish form return; Her curling snakes with hissings fill the place, And open all the furies of her face; Then, darting fire from her malignant eyes, She cast him backward as he strove to rise. DRYDEN, AEneid, BOOK VII.
Then crying out that she came from the abode of the dire sisters, and that wars and death were in her hands, she flung a fire-brand at the king, and disappeared. Turnus started from his sleep, in terror, and now his breast was filled with eager desire for war. Immediately he sent orders amongst his chiefs to prepare to defend Italy and expel the foreigners, declaring that he and his people were a match for Trojans and Latins combined.
Meanwhile Alecto, her mission of discord not yet completed, appeared among a band of Trojan youths who with Iulus at their head were amusing themselves by hunting in the forest. The Fury hurled a fire- brand at the hounds, and suddenly, as if seized with madness, they rushed in pursuit of a beautiful young stag which was sporting among the trees. This stag was a pet of Syl'vi-a, the daughter of Tyr'rheus, one of the herdsmen of King Latinus. Iulus seeing the hounds in pursuit, followed them, and shot at and wounded the stag. The animal fled to the house of Tyrrheus, where Sylvia, seeing her pet covered with blood, broke out into loud lamentations. Her father in a fit of anger seized a weapon, and joined by some of his friends rushed upon Iulus and his companions. The alarm quickly reaching the camp of the Trojans several of them hastened to assist their countrymen, and a fierce battle ensued, in which many of the Latians or Latins were killed. Thus the evil project of Juno was accomplished.
Then Juno thus: "The grateful work is done, The seeds of discord sowed, the war begun; Frauds, fears and fury, have possessed the state, And fixed the causes of a lasting hate." DRYDEN, AEneid, BOOK VII.
And now the Latian youth, chiefly shepherds, who had taken part with Tyrrheus, rushed from the field of battle into the city, carrying with them the bodies of their friends who had been slain, and crying to the gods and to King Latinus for vengeance upon the Trojans. Just then King Turnus appeared with a force of his Rutulians, and addressed the people in words which excited them to the highest pitch of fury. He told them that foreigners had been invited to rule in their country, and that the chief of the intruders was to have the princess who had been promised to him to be his wife.
Then a great multitude of Latians and Rutulians hastened to the palace of King Latinus, and demanded that he should at once declare war against the Trojans. Latinus refused to do what he knew was against the decrees of the gods, and he warned the people that evil would come upon them if they persevered in their mad opposition to the will of heaven. He also warned Turnus that he would be punished for inciting such a war, and that he should one day seek the aid of the gods, and seek it in vain. As for himself, he said, he was an old man. Their folly could deprive him only of a happy ending of a life which could not be much further prolonged. He then retired to his palace, and gave up the reins of government, leaving the people to pursue their own course.
He said no more, but, in his walls confined, Shut out the woes which he too well divined; Nor with the rising storm would vainly strive, But left the helm, and let the vessel drive. DRYDEN, AEneid, BOOK VII.
In spite of the warning of their king, the Latians now resolved upon war against the Trojans and they demanded that the gates of the temple of Janus should be thrown open. Janus was the most ancient king who reigned in Italy. When he died he was worshipped as a god, and a magnificent temple was erected in his honor. The gates of this temple were always open in times of war and shut in times of peace. They were opened by the king, and in later ages, when Rome was a republic, the president or consul performed the ceremony dressed in robes of purple and attended by multitudes of citizens and soldiers, with the blaring of trumpets.
Two gates of steel (the name of Mars they bear, And still are worshipped with religious fear) Before his temple stand; the dire abode, And the feared issues of the furious god, Then, when the sacred senate votes the wars, The Roman consul their decree declares, And in his robes the sounding gates unbars. The youth in military shouts arise, And the loud trumpets break the yielding skies. DRYDEN, AEneid, BOOK Vii.
The Latians now requested their king to unlock the gates of the temple of Janus in accordance with the ancient custom. Latinus refused saying that to do so would be a defiance of the gods. But the goddess Juno, resolved that there should be no peace, descended from the skies, and with her own hands pushed back the bolts of brass, and flung wide open the gates. Then the cry of war went forth throughout the land and everywhere men began to prepare for the conflict, giving up their work in the fields to get ready their spears and shields and battle-axes. Soon a vast number of warriors was marshalled under King Turnus to drive the Trojans out of Italy. Vergil gives a long list of the famous chiefs who assembled on this occasion.
First came Me-zen'ti-us, an Etrurian king, fierce in war, but a despiser of the gods. His own people had expelled him from their country, for his cruelty, and he had taken refuge with King Turnus. His son Lausus also came to the war with a thousand men from the Etrurian city of A-gyl'la. Next came the brave Av-en-ti'nus, son of the renowned hero, Her'cu-les, who performed those marvelous feats, of which we read with wonder in the ancient legends. Aventinus was a warrior of terrible appearance, his body covered with the shaggy hide of an enormous lion, the white tusks displayed above his head.
King Caec'u-lus, son of the god Vulcan, came from the city of Prae-nes'te with an army who fought with slings, wore helmets of wolf-skins, and marched with one foot naked.
Nor arms they wear, nor swords and bucklers wield, Nor drive the chariot through the dusty field; But whirl from leathern slings huge balls of lead; And spoils of yellow wolves adorn their head; The left foot naked, when they march to fight; But in a bull's raw hide they sheath the right. DRYDEN, AEneid, BOOK VII.
From the mountains of Etruria came the gallant horseman, Mes-sa'pus, Neptune's son, "whom none had power to prostrate by fire or steel." The mighty King Clausus led to the field a great host from the country of the Sabines, and an army of the Qui-ri'tes from the town of Cu'res. This name, Quirites was in later ages one of the names by which the citizens of Rome were called. Another of the warriors was Umbro, chief of the Maru'vi-i, who could charm serpents and heal wounds inflicted by their bites.
All these and many more of the princes of Italy, assembled with their armies at the call of Turnus. Greatest amongst them was Turnus himself, tallest by a head, and clad in armor brilliant with embroidered gold. There was one female warrior amongst his allies. This was Ca-mil'la, the queen of the Volscians. She was the daughter of King Met'a-bus, who, like Mezentius, had been driven from his kingdom by his own people, because he was a cruel tyrant. In his flight, for the enraged people pursued him to take his life, he carried with him his infant daughter Camilla. Coming to the bank of a river and still pursued by his enemies, he bound the child fast to his javelin, and holding the weapon in his hands, he prayed to Di-a'na, goddess of hunters and hunting, and dedicated his daughter to her saying, "To thee, goddess of the woods, I devote this child to be thy handmaid, and committing her to the wind, I implore thee to receive her as thine own." Then he hurled the spear across the river, and plunging into the water swam to the other side, where he found the javelin fixed in the bank, and the infant uninjured.
After this achievement Metabus retired to the mountains, where he led the life of a shepherd. As soon as the child was able to hold a weapon in her hand, he trained her to the use of javelins and arrows and she grew up to be a brave and skillful warrior. In course of time she returned to the kingdom from which her father had been expelled, and became celebrated as a runner of wondrous speed.
VII. ALLIANCE WITH EVANDER—VULCAN MAKES ARMS FOR AENEAS—THE FAMOUS SHIELD.
Meanwhile AEneas was considering how to defend himself and his people against the enemy who was thus marshalling such mighty forces against him. He thought of many plans without being able to decide upon any.
This way, and that, he turns his anxious mind; Thinks, and rejects the counsels he designed; Explores himself in vain in every part, And gives no rest to his distracted heart DRYDEN, AEneid, BOOK VIII.
But fortune again favored the pious chief. In a dream the river god, Tib-e-ri'nus, arrayed in garb of green, with a crown of reeds upon his head (old Father Tiber himself, the guardian genius of Rome in later ages) appeared to him, and told him where to seek help. He repeated the prophecy of Helenus, about the sow with her litter of thirty young, and he directed AEneas to repair to Pal-lan-te'um, a city further up the river, whose king, E-van'der, being frequently at war with the Latians, would gladly join the Trojans. The good father promised that he himself would conduct the Trojans along his banks, and bear them safely on his waters until they reached the Kingdom of Evander.
"To thy free passage I submit my streams. Wake, son of Venus, from thy pleasing dreams! And when the setting stars are lost in day, To Juno's power thy just devotion pay; With sacrifice the wrathful queen appease; Her pride at length shall fall, her fury cease. When thou return'st victorious from the war, Perform thy vows to me with grateful care. The god am I, whose yellow water flows Around these fields, and fattens as it goes; Tiber my name—among the rolling floods Renowned on earth, esteemed among the gods." DRYDEN, AEneid, BOOK VIII.
Old Father Tiber then plunged into the middle of the river, and disappeared from the hero's view. When AEneas awoke he immediately prepared for his journey, selecting two ships from his fleet and furnishing them with men and arms. As he was about to depart, the prophecy only just repeated by the river god was fulfilled before his eyes; for on the bank where he stood, a white sow suddenly appeared with a litter of thirty young ones.
When lo! a sudden prodigy; A milk-white sow is seen Stretched with her young ones, white as she, Along the margent green. AEneas takes them, dam and brood, And o'er the altars pours their blood, To thee, great Juno, e'en to thee, High heaven's majestic queen. CONINGTON, AEneid, BOOK VIII.
AEneas then started on his voyage, Father Tiber making the passage easy by calming his turbid river so that its surface was as smooth as a peaceful lake. At noon next day the Trojans came in sight of Pallanteum, and soon afterwards they turned their ships toward the land, and approached the city. Just then King Evander, accompanied by his son Pallas and many of his chiefs, was offering a sacrifice to Hercules in a grove outside the city walls. Alarmed at the sudden appearance of the vessels, they made a movement as if to depart in haste from their altars. But Pallas forbade them to interrupt the sacred rites, and advancing to meet the strangers, he addressed them from a rising ground, asking who they were, and for what purpose they had come. AEneas, speaking from the deck of one of his ships, and holding in his hand an olive branch, the emblem of peace, replied, saying, "You see before you sons of Troy, and enemies of the Latians, who have declared war against us. We seek King Evander. Bear him these tidings, and say to him that we have come asking for his alliance in arms."
Astonished at hearing that the visitors were the illustrious Trojans whose fame had already spread throughout the world, Pallas invited them to land and come as guests to his father's house. AEneas gladly accepted the invitation, and the young prince conducted them to the grove, and introduced them to King Evander. This Evander was by birth a Greek. He had come from the Grecian province of Ar-ca'di-a, and the city he founded in Italy he called after the name of his native Arcadian city of Pallanteum. AEneas, however, had no fear that Evander, though a Greek, would be an enemy of his, for they were both of the same blood, being both descended from Atlas, the mighty hero who of old supported the heavens on his shoulders. Mercury, the father of Evander, was the son of Ma'i-a, a daughter of Atlas; and Dardanus, the founder of Troy, and ancestor of its kings, was son of E-lec'tra, another daughter of Atlas. AEneas reminded Evander of this relationship and reminded him also that the Rutulians and Latians were enemies of Evander and his people, as well as of the Trojans.
"They are the nation," said he, "which pursue you with cruel war, and they think that if they expel us from the country, nothing can hinder them from reducing all Italy under their yoke. Let us therefore form an alliance against this common foe. We Trojans have amongst us men stout of heart in battle and experienced in war."
While the hero was speaking, the king kept his eyes intently fixed upon him, for in his face and figure he saw the resemblance of the great Anchises, whom he had known in past years. Then replying to AEneas, he said, "Great chief of the Trojan race, I gladly receive and recognize you. I well recollect the words, the voice, and the features of your father, Anchises. For I remember that Priam on his way to visit his sister Hesione in Greece, also visited my country, Arcadia. Many of the Trojan princes accompanied him; but the most majestic of them all was Anchises. Much did I admire him, and I took him with me to our Arcadian city Phe'neus. At his departure he gave me costly presents, a quiver filled with Lycian arrows, a mantle interwoven with gold and two golden bridles." Evander concluded by consenting to the proposal of AEneas for an alliance against the Latians—
"The league you ask, I offer as your right; And when to-morrow's sun reveals the light, With swift supplies you shall be sent away." DRYDEN, AEneid, BOOK VIII.
The Trojans were now hospitably entertained by King Evander. Seated on the greensward, they partook of a plenteous repast, and when the banquet was over, the king explained to AEneas and his companions the meaning of the religious festivities in which they had been engaged. It was through no vain superstition, he said, that they performed these solemn rites, but to commemorate their deliverance from a terrible scourge, and to give honor to their deliverer.
Then Evander related the story of the monster Ca'cus, who in former times, dwelt in a cave underneath the hill on which Pallanteum was now built. He was a giant, of enormous size and hideous to behold, for from his father Vulcan, the god of fire, he had got the power of breathing smoke and flame through his mouth and nostrils. He was a scourge and a terror to the country round, as besides being a robber, he killed and devoured men. But by good fortune the hero Hercules happened to pass that way, driving before him a herd of cattle which he had taken from another cruel monster—the three-bodied giant Ge'ry-on, whom he had destroyed. As these cattle were grazing by the river, Hercules having lain down on the bank to rest, Cacus stole four bulls and four heifers, the finest of the herd. To conceal the theft he dragged the animals backwards by the tails into his den, so that their footprints seemed to show that they had gone from the cave instead of into it. This trick had almost succeeded, for Hercules, after searching in vain for the missing animals, was about to resume his journey, when a lowing from within the cave reached his ears.
The oxen at departing fill With noisy utterance grove and hill, And breathe a farewell low; When hark! a heifer from the den Makes answer to the sound again And mocks her wily foe. CONINGTON, AEneid, BOOK VIII.
Hercules now knowing what had become of his cattle rushed to the top of the mount where he had seen the giant, but Cacus fled into his cave, and instantly let drop the huge stone which he kept suspended by iron chains over the entrance. This stone even the mighty Hercules could not move from its place, for it was held fast by great bolts on the inside. But searching around the mount for another entrance, he saw a rock overhanging the river, which formed a back for the cavern. Exerting his full strength, the hero wrenched this rock from its fastenings, and hurled it into the water. In the interior of the den, thus laid open, Hercules soon caught sight of the robber, and commenced to assail him with arrows and stones. Then the monster belched forth volumes of smoke and flame, concealing himself in a cloud of pitchy vapor. But Hercules now thoroughly enraged, rushed furiously into the den, and seizing Cacus by the throat, choked him to death. Great was the joy of the people when they heard of the destruction of the monster, and anniversary festivals had been held there ever since in honor of the deliverer.
After King Evander had told this story, choirs of young and old men, the priests called Sa'li-i, sang songs about the great deeds of Hercules; how when a child in his cradle he had strangled the two serpents sent by Juno to destroy him, how he had slain the furious lion of Nemea, dragged from Pluto's realms the three-headed dog Cerberus, and performed numerous other difficult and dangerous feats.
Evander and his people now returned to the city, accompanied by their Trojan guests. The king walked by the side of AEneas, and told him many things about the traditions of the place, and its early history. At one time, he said, the country had been ruled by Saturn, who, driven from the throne of the heavens by his son Jupiter, had come to Italy, and finding on the banks of the river a race of uncivilized men, had formed them into a settled society. He taught them how to till the ground, and introduced laws amongst them, and so peaceful and happy were they under his reign, that it was called the Golden Age. One of the kings long after Saturn's reign was Tiberinus, whose name was given to the river, and who became its guardian god.
The king then escorted AEneas through the town, pointing out to him many places, destined to be famous in later history, for on that very ground Romulus built his city, and Pallanteum became the celebrated Palatine Mount, one of the seven hills of Rome. When they reached the royal palace, which was not as large or magnificent as palaces often are, the king took pride in mentioning that the great Hercules, honored in life, and after death worshipped as a god, had not disdained to accept hospitality under its roof.
He spoke, and through the narrow door The great AEneas led, And heaped a couch upon the floor With leaves and bear-skin spread. CONINGTON, AEneid, BOOK VIII.
While the Trojan chief was being entertained by King Evander, his mother Venus was much troubled in mind thinking of the danger which threatened her son in his new settlement. She resolved that he should have all the aid in her power to supply, and so she requested Vulcan to make him a suit of armor. Vulcan was the god of smiths as well as of fire, and Venus thus appealed to him in behalf of her son.
"While the Greeks were laboring to bring destruction on Troy," said she to the fire god, who was also the god of smiths, "I did not ask your help, knowing that the ruin of the city had been decreed by the gods. But now AEneas has settled in Italy by Jupiter's command; therefore, I beg your assistance. What I wish is that you should make arms and armor for my son. Many nations have combined against him, and are sharpening their swords for the destruction of himself and his people."
Vulcan readily agreed to comply with the request of Venus. Being a god he could make arms and armor against which the power of mortal men would be of no avail. His forges, and furnaces, and anvils were in vast caves under one of the Lip'a-re isles and under Mount AEtna, and the giant Cyclops were his workmen.
Sacred to Vulcan's name, an isle there lay, Betwixt Sicilia's coasts and Lipare, Raised high on smoking rocks; and, deep below, In hollow caves the fires of AEtna glow. The Cyclops here their heavy hammers deal; Loud strokes, and hissing of tormented steel, Are heard around; the boiling waters roar; And smoky flames through fuming tunnels soar. DRYDEN, AEneid, BOOK VIII.
To these workshops Vulcan forthwith repaired to give orders for the arms which Venus requested for her son. He found his men industriously at work making wonderful things for the gods. Some were forging a thunderbolt for Jupiter, the rays or shafts of which were of hail and watery cloud, and glaring fire and the winged wind. Others were making a war chariot for Mars, and others a shield for Minerva, ornamented with serpent's scales of gold. When Vulcan entered, he bade them lay aside all those tasks.
"My sons! (said Vulcan), set your tasks aside; Your strength and master skill must now be tried. Arms for a hero forge—arms that require Your force, your speed, and all your forming fire." DRYDEN, AEneid, BOOK VIII.
Instantly the Cyclops set to work on their new task, and very soon rivulets of molten gold and copper and iron were flowing in flaming furnaces. A splendid shield was made, which was a sufficient defense in itself against all the weapons of King Turnus. Other things necessary for war were also put in shape, and so the work of forging arms for the Trojan hero was vigorously prosecuted.
Meantime AEneas himself, after his night's repose in the palace of Evander, was talking with the king and his son on the business which had brought him to Pallanteum. The good will of Evander was greater than his means, for his country was small, and on one side of it was the territory of his enemies, the Rutulians. He was not able, therefore, to do much for AEneas, but he knew where ample aid could be obtained. "In the neighboring state of Etruria, and not far from this spot," said he, "stands the ancient city of Agylla, founded by a nation illustrious in war—Mezentius was recently its king, a cruel and wicked man. The people, indignant at his crimes, took up arms against him and set fire to his palace. He himself fled for protection to King Turnus, with whom he now is. The Etrurians therefore have resolved to make war upon Turnus, and their ships and men are already assembled. You, AEneas, must be the leader of these people, for a soothsayer has told them that no native of Italy is destined to subdue the Rutulians, and that they must choose a foreigner to be their commander in the war. They have invited me to lead them, but I am too old to undertake such a task. I would have sent them my son, but being born of an Italian mother, he is of the people of this land. You, however, gallant leader of the Trojans, being in the prime of life, and of foreign race, are destined by the gods for this work. My son Pallas too shall take part in the expedition, and I will give him two hundred horsemen, and as many more he shall add in his own name."
Evander had scarcely ceased speaking when lightning flashed through the heavens and peals of thunder were heard and sounds as of trumpets blaring, and then across the sky were seen arms blazing brilliantly as the sun—arms such as heroes bore in battle, and they clashed with a loud resounding noise.
Gazing up, repeated peals they hear; And, in a heaven serene, refulgent arms appear Reddening the skies, and glittering all around, The tempered metals clash, and yield a silver sound. DRYDEN, AEneid, BOOK VIII.
AEneas understood this marvelous apparition, and he explained it to his astonished companions as a call to him from heaven. His divine mother, he said, had told him that she would send that sign, and that she would bring him arms made by Vulcan. Then he offered the usual sacrifices to the gods, after which he went to his ships, and chose from his followers some to accompany him to Agylla, directing the others to return to the camp at Laurentum, and inform Iulus of the progress of their affairs at Pallanteum. Preparations for departure were now made. Evander gave AEneas horses for himself and his companions, and when all was ready, the king affectionately embraced his son, and bade him a tender farewell, praying to the gods that he might live to see him come back in safety.
The Trojan chief and his warriors, among whom were the faithful Achates and Pallas at the head of his four hundred horsemen, then set forth from the city, amid the acclamations of the people. They soon came within sight of the camp of the Etrurians, who, under the command of one of their chiefs named Tarchon, had pitched their tents on a wide plain not many miles from Pallanteum.
But before joining his new allies, AEneas had a meeting with his goddess mother. Down from the clouds she came, beautiful as the sun, bearing with her the arms that Vulcan had made, and seeing her son alone on the bank of a small stream, in a secluded vale, to which he had retired for a brief rest, she presented herself before him. At his feet she placed the gifts she had promised, telling him that now he might not fear to meet his foes in battle.
"Behold! (she said) performed in every part, My promise made, and Vulcan's labored art. Now seek, secure, the Latian enemy. And haughty Turnus to the field defy." DRYDEN, AEneid, BOOK VIII.
Beautiful arms and armor they were, such as could be designed and fashioned only by a god—a sword and a spear, and a helmet with a blazing crest, and a breastplate of flaming bronze, and greaves of gold and electrum. But most wonderful of all was the shield, upon which were depicted the glories and triumphs in later ages of the mighty men of Rome, the descendants of Iulus, for Vulcan, being a god, had the gift of seeing into futurity.
There, embossed, the heavenly smith had wrought (Not in the rolls of future fate untaught) The wars in order; and the race divine Of warriors issuing from the Julian line. DRYDEN, AEneid, BOOK VIII.
Vergil's description of this prophetic shield occupies the concluding portion of the eighth book of the AEneid. It is a summary of notable events in the history of Rome from the time of Romulus, who founded the city, to the time of the Emperor Augustus. The achievements of Augustus are particularly dwelt on, for he was the friend and patron of the poet, and Vergil, therefore, gave special prominence to the part taken by him in the extension of the great empire. At the famous sea-battle of Ac'ti-um (B.C. 31) near the promontory of Leu-ca'te in Greece, Augustus, aided by A-grip'pa, defeated the forces of Antony and the celebrated Egyptian Queen Cle-o-pa'tra, and this victory made him master of the Roman world. On the shield of AEneas the fight at Actium was shown on a sea of molten gold, in the midst of which were represented the fleets of ships with their brazen prows.
Betwixt the quarters, flows a golden sea; But foaming surges there in silver play. The dancing dolphins with their tails divide The glittering waves, and cut the precious tide. Amid the main, two mighty fleets engage; Their brazen beaks opposed with equal rage, Actium surveys the well-disputed prize; Leucate's watery plain with foamy billows fries. Young Caesar, on the stern in armor bright, Here leads the Romans and their gods to fight; Agrippa seconds him, with prosperous gales, And, with propitious gods, his foes assails. A naval crown, that binds his manly brows, The happy fortune of the fight foreshows. DRYDEN, AEneid, BOOK VIII.
On another part of the shield were shown scenes of the Emperor's three days' Triumph in Rome after his great conquest—the procession of vanquished nations, the games and the sacrifices to the gods, and Augustus himself seated on a throne in front of the temple of Apollo.
The victor to the gods his thanks expressed; And Rome triumphant with his presence blessed. Three hundred temples in the town he placed; With spoils and altars every temple graced. Three shining nights and three succeeding days, The fields resound with shouts, the streets with praise. Great Caesar sits sublime upon his throne, Before Apollo's porch of Parian stone; Accepts the presents vowed for victory; And hangs the monumental crowns on high. Vast crowds of vanquished nations march along, Various in arms, in habit, and in tongue. DRYDEN, AEneid, BOOK VIII.
AEneas viewed these scenes with wonder and delight, though ignorant of what they meant, and putting on the beautiful armor, he bore upon his shoulder the fortunes of his descendants.
These figures, on the shield divinely wrought, By Vulcan labored, and by Venus brought, With joy and wonder fill the hero's thought. Unknown the names, he yet admires the grace; And bears aloft the fame and fortune of his race. DRYDEN, AEneid, BOOK VIII.
Vergil's description of the shield of AEneas is in imitation of Homer's beautiful description in the Iliad of the shield of Achilles, also made by Vulcan.
VIII. TURNUS ATTACKS THE TROJAN CAMP—NISUS AND EURYALUS.
Arrayed in his new and splendid armor, the Trojan chief rejoined his companions, and then proceeded to the Etrurian camp, where he formed a league with Tarchon. Meanwhile his enemies were not inactive, for Juno sent Iris down from heaven to the Rutulian king to urge him to bestir himself against the Trojans. "Time has brought about in your favor, O Turnus," said the messenger of Juno, "what even the gods did not dare to promise. AEneas, having left his friends and his fleet has gone to gather forces against you in the city of Evander and in Etruria. Now is your opportunity. Why do you hesitate to take advantage of it? Delay no longer, but seize the camp of the Trojans, while their leader is absent." Turnus recognized Iris, yet he knew not by whom she had been sent. But he replied that he would quickly obey, whoever it was that thus called him to arms, and as he spoke, the goddess vanished into the heavens, forming in her ascent the beautiful rainbow, which was the sign of Juno's messenger.
On equal wings she poised her weight, And formed a radiant rainbow in her flight. DRYDEN, AEneid, BOOK IX.
Then the warriors were called to action, and soon the whole army marched out into the open plain, Messapus, the Etrurian, commanding the front lines, the sons of Tyrrhus in the rear, and in the center Turnus himself. The Trojans within their camp, seeing the great cloud of dust which the tread of the hosts of the Latians raised on the plain, knew what it meant. Speedily they shut up their gates and set guards upon the walls, for AEneas at his departure had ordered them that in case of attack in his absence, they should not attempt a fight in the open field, but defend themselves within their ramparts. Turnus now tried to set fire to the Trojan fleet, which lay in the river close at hand, but the ships of AEneas could not be destroyed for they were made of wood cut from the forest of Cyb'e-le, the mother of the gods. When the hero was building them at the foot of Mount Ida, Cybele begged her son Jupiter, to grant that the vessels, being constructed of pine trees sacred to her, might be forever safe from destruction.
"Grant me (she said) the sole request I bring, Since conquered heaven has owned you for its king. On Ida's brows, for ages past there stood, With firs and maples filled, a shady wood; And on the summit rose a sacred grove, Where I was worshipped with religious love. These woods, that holy grove, my long delight, I gave the Trojan prince, to speed his flight. Now filled with fear, on their behalf I come; Let neither winds o'erset, nor waves entomb, The floating forests of the sacred pine; But let it be their safety to be mine." DRYDEN, AEneid, BOOK XI.
This request, though coming from his mother, Jupiter was obliged to refuse, for it could not be, he said, that vessels built by mortal hands should be rendered immortal. He promised, however, that those of the Trojan ships which safely reached their destination in Italy should be transformed into goddesses or nymphs of the ocean. Therefore, when Turnus and his men rushed to the river with flaming torches, the time had come for the promise of the king of heaven to be fulfilled. As they were about to cast their firebrands upon the galleys a strange light flashed on the eyes of the Trojans, then a bright cloud shot across the sky, and from out of it these words uttered in a loud voice, were heard by the Trojans and Rutulians. "Men of Troy, you have no need to defend the ships. Sooner shall Turnus burn up the seas than those sacred pines. Glide on at your liberty, you nymphs of the main. It is the parent of the gods who commands you." No sooner were the words spoken than the ships all broke away from their fastenings, plunged out of sight into the depths of the river, and reappeared in a moment as beautiful maidens, moving gracefully along on the surface of the water.
No sooner had the goddess ceased to speak, When, lo! the obedient ships their halsers break; And strange to tell, like dolphins in the main They plunge their prows, and dive and spring again; As many beauteous maids the billows sweep, As rode before tall vessels on the deep. DRYDEN, AEneid, BOOK IX.
The Rutulians were astonished at this spectacle, but Turnus was still undismayed, and speaking to his people he declared that what they had just seen was bad for the Trojans themselves, for that now they had no longer means of escape, their ships having disappeared. "As for their much talked of destiny," said he, "it has been fulfilled, since they have reached the land of Italy. But I also have my destiny, and it is to destroy the accursed race. They depend a great deal on their walls, yet they have seen the walls of Troy go down in flames, though they were built by the hands of Neptune. I do not need arms made by Vulcan, nor shall we hide ourselves in a wooden horse. We shall fight the Trojans openly, and we shall teach them that they have not now to do with men like the Greeks, whom Hector baffled for ten years."
Turnus then laid siege to the Trojan camp. He placed sentinels outside the gates, and had watch-fires kindled at different points around the walls, after which his men lay down on the field to rest. But during the night the guards fell asleep, for they were fatigued after the labors of the day, and so the whole besieging army was now sunk in deep repose. The Trojans on the other hand kept strict watch within their camp, and adopted all necessary measures of defense.
All things needful for defence abound; Mnestheus and brave Serestus walk the round, Commissioned by their absent prince to share The common danger, and divide the care. DRYDEN, AEneid, BOOK IX.
The Trojan sentinels at one of the gates were Nisus and Euryalus— already mentioned as having taken part in the foot race at the funeral games.
Love made them one in every thought; In battle side by side they fought; And now in duty at the gate The twain in common station wait. CONINGTON, AEneid, BOOK IX.
Now Nisus had conceived the idea of making his way through the Rutulian lines and conveying to AEneas at Pallanteum news of the dangerous situation of his people in the besieged camp, and he thought he would carry out his project while the enemy were all asleep outside the walls. Euryalus approved of the enterprise, and he begged that he himself might be permitted to take part in it. To this Nisus objected, for he did not wish that his dear young friend should be exposed to the danger of the undertaking. The mother of Euryalus had accompanied him all the way from Troy, and so great was her love for him that she refused to part from him even to share the good fortune of the other Trojan women who had settled in Sicily. Nisus was very unwilling to be the cause of grief to so devoted a mother, by permitting her son to join in an expedition in which he might lose his life.
"Nor let me cause so dire a smart To that devoted mother's heart, Who, sole of all the matron train, Attends her darling o'er the main, Nor cares like others to sit down An inmate of Acestes' town." CONINGTON, AEneid, BOOK IX.
But Euryalus insisted on accompanying his friend, and so after obtaining the consent of the chiefs in command, who highly praised their courage and promised to reward them, they made ready to set forth. Euryalus begged that they would comfort and assist his mother if any evil should happen to him. To this request Iulus answered that she should be to him as if she were his own mother. "Gratitude is due to her," said he, "for having given birth to such a son. The reward I promise to give to you, if you return in safety, I shall give to your mother should ill fortune attend you."
Euryalus and Nisus now set out upon their mission. Passing through the camp of the sleeping Rutulians, they soon reached the outside of the enemy's lines. It happened that a body of Latian horsemen was just then passing that way on the route from Laurentum to join the army of Turnus. Catching sight of the two strangers, Volcens, the leader of the troop, cried out to them to "stand," and demanded to know who they were, and whither they were bound. The Trojans, making no answer, fled into a wood close by. Then Volcens placed guards on the passes and at the outlets of the wood to prevent the escape of the fugitives. Meanwhile Euryalus, getting separated from his companion, and losing his way in the thick shades of the forest, fell into the enemy's hands.
Nisus might have escaped, and had in fact got out of the wood, but finding that his friend had disappeared, he returned to search for him. Presently he heard the tramp of the horses, and looking forth from a thicket in which he had concealed himself, he saw Euryalus in the midst of the Latians, who were dragging him violently along. Deeply grieved at the sight, and resolving to rescue his comrade, or die in the attempt, Nisus, after praying to Diana, the goddess of the woods, to guide his weapon in its course, hurled a javelin at the enemy. It pierced the body of one of the Latians named Sulmo, who fell dead. His companions gazed around in amazement, not knowing whence the attack had come. Nisus then cast another javelin, and again one of the Latians fell to the ground. Enraged at seeing his men thus slain before his eyes by an unseen assailant, Volcens, with sword in hand, rushed upon Euryalus, crying out that his life should pay the penalty for both. Great was the agony of Nisus at seeing his friend about to be put to death, and starting from his concealment, he exclaimed aloud, "I am he who did the deed. Turn your arms therefore on me."
"Me! me! (he cried) turn all your swords alone On me—the fact confessed, the fault my own. His only crime (if friendship can offend) Is too much love to his unhappy friend." DRYDEN, AEneid, BOOK IX.
But vain was the effort of Nisus to save his friend, for scarce had his last word been spoken when Euryalus fell lifeless to the earth, pierced by the weapon of Volcens. Filled with grief and rage, and eager to avenge the death of his companion, Nisus rushed into the midst of the foe, seeking only Volcens, and though blows showered upon him from all sides, he pressed on until coming up to the Latian chief, he slew him with a single thrust of his sword. Then covered with wounds, the brave Trojan dropped dead, falling upon the body of the friend he had so loved. Thus these two sons of Troy, companions in life, were companions also in death. Their friendship, immortalized by the Roman poet, became proverbial.
O happy friends! for, if my verse can give Immortal life, your fame shall ever live, Fixed as the Capitol's foundation lies, And spread, where'er the Roman eagle flies! DRYDEN, AEneid, BOOK IX.
Early in the morning Turnus called his men to arms, and with loud shouts all rushed forward to the Trojan ramparts. Then a fierce conflict took place during which many heroes fell on both sides, after performing wonderful feats of valor. There was a wooden tower of great height and strength which stood outside the wall, and was connected with it by bridges. The Rutulians made great efforts to break down this tower, while the Trojans defended it by hurling stones upon the enemy, and casting darts at them through loopholes. So the struggle continued until Turnus with a flaming torch set the building on fire.
Fierce Turnus first a firebrand flings; It strikes the sides, takes hold, and clings; The freshening breezes spread the blaze, And soon on plank and beam it preys. The inmates flutter in dismay And vainly wish to fly; There as they huddle and retire Back to the part which 'scapes the fire, Sudden the o'erweighted mass gives way, And falling, shakes the sky. CONINGTON, AEneid, BOOK IX.
Only two of the occupants of the tower—Hel'e-nor and Lycus—escaped destruction in its fall, but on emerging from the ruins they found themselves in the midst of the Rutulians. Helenor seeing no chance of saving his life, faced his foes like a lion and died in the thick of the fight. Lycus, who was a swift runner, fled towards the walls, dashing through the lines of the enemy. He had almost grasped the summit of the rampart and reached the outstretched hands of his friends when Turnus, who had darted in pursuit, dragged him to the ground, and slew him, while he taunted him, saying, "Fool, didst thou hope to be able to escape our hands?"
The battle now became more furious. From every quarter were heard shouts of fighting men and clashing of arms. Amongst the heroes of the day was young Iulus, hitherto accustomed to use his weapons only in the chase. His first arrow in war was now aimed against the brother- in-law of Turnus, a chief named Nu-ma'nus, who fought not only with sword but with his tongue, mocking at the Trojans in a loud voice, in front of the Latian lines. "Are you not ashamed, Trojans," cried he, "to be a second time shut up behind walls? What madness has brought you to Italy? Know that it is not Grecians, nor the crafty Ulysses, you have now to deal with. We are a hardy race. We dip our infants in the rivers to inure them to cold. Our boys are trained to hunt in the woods. Our whole life is spent in arms. Age does not impair our courage or vigor. As for you, your very dress is embroidered with yellow and purple; indolence is your delight; you love to indulge in dancing and such frivolous pleasures. Women you are, and not men. Leave fighting to warriors and handle not the sword."
"Leave men, like us, in arms to deal Nor bruise your lily hands with steel." CONINGTON, AEneid, BOOK IX.
The spirited young Trojan prince could not patiently endure these insults, and so drawing his bow-string and praying to Father Jupiter, he sent forth his steel-tipped arrow. Whizzing through the air the weapon pierced the head of Numanus, and at the same moment Iulus exclaimed, "Vain boaster, this is our answer to your insults." With shouts of joy the Trojans applauded the deed, and loud were their praises of the valor of their young chief. Even from on high came approving words, for just then the fair-haired Apollo, seated on a cloud, was watching the conflict. And thus spoke the god in a loud voice, "Go on and increase in valor, O youth. Such is the path-way to immortality, thou art the descendant of gods, and from whom gods are to descend."
Uttering these words Apollo came down from the sky, and taking the appearance of Bu'tes, formerly the armor-bearer of Anchises, but now the guardian of Iulus, walked by the young prince's side and addressed him, saying, "Son of AEneas, let it be enough for thee that by thine arrow Numanus has fallen. Apollo has granted to thee this glory; but take no further part in the conflict." Then the god, throwing off his disguise, ascended to the heavens. The Trojan chiefs recognized him as he departed, and thus knowing that it was the divine will, they caused Iulus to retire, while they themselves again rushed forward to the battle—
They bend their bows; they whirl their slings around; Heaps of spent arrows fall, and strew the ground; And helms, and shields, and rattling arms, resound. DRYDEN, AEneid, BOOK IX.
At this point two brothers, Pan'da-rus and Bit'i-as, sons of the Trojan Al-ca'non, of Mount Ida, tall and powerful youths, threw open the gate at which they were posted as sentinels, and standing within, one on each side, they challenged the foe to enter. The Rutulians rushed forward as soon as they saw the passage open. Several of them were slain at the threshold by the valiant brothers. Then some of the Trojans sallied out beyond the rampart, and a fierce fight took place. King Turnus, hearing of these events, hurried to the gate, and joining in the battle, slew many of the Trojan warriors. He hurled a dart at Bitias, and so great was the force of the blow that not even the huge sentinel's shield, formed of two bull's hides, nor his breastplates with double scales of gold, could resist it.
Not two bull-hides the impetuous force withhold, Nor coat of double mail, with scales of gold. Down sunk the monster-bulk, and pressed the ground, His arms and clattering shield on the vast body sound DRYDEN, AEneid, BOOK IX.
When Pandarus beheld his brother stretched dead on the ground, and saw that the battle was going against the Trojans, he closed the gate, moving it upon its hinges and fastening it in its place with the strength of his broad shoulders. Some of his own people were thus shut out and left in the midst of the enemy, but in his hurry Pandarus did not notice that amongst those who were shut in was the fierce King Turnus.
Fond fool! amidst the noise and din He saw not Turnus rushing in, But closed him in the embattled hold, A tiger in a helpless fold. CONINGTON, AEneid, BOOK IX.
As soon as Pandarus saw what had happened, he hurled a spear with mighty force at the Rutulian king, eager to avenge his brother's death, but Juno turning the weapon aside, it struck into the gate, where it remained fixed. Then Turnus slew Pandarus with a swift stroke of his sword, exclaiming, "Not so shall you escape." The Trojans who witnessed the deed, fled terrified from the spot, and if Turnus at this moment had opened the gate and admitted his Rutulian warriors, that day would have been the last of the war and of the Trojan race.
The Trojans fly in wild dismay, O, then had Turnus thought To force the fastenings of the gates And call within his valiant mates, The nation and the war that day Alike to end had brought! CONINGTON, AEneid, BOOK IX.
But Turnus thought only of slaying his foes who were at hand and so he speedily put many of them to the sword. The Trojan chiefs Mnestheus and Sergestus, as soon as they heard that their people were fleeing before the Rutulian king, hastened up and reproved them in severe words. "Whither do you flee?" cried Mnestheus. "What other fortifications have you but this? Shall one man be permitted to work such destruction in our camp? Are you not ashamed? Have you no regard for your unhappy country, your ancient gods, or your great leaders?"
Touched by these words, and inspired with fresh courage, the Trojans formed themselves into a solid body. Then turning round they made a firm stand against the Rutulian chief, who now began to retreat towards that part of the camp which was bounded by the river. The Trojans advanced upon him with loud shouts, yet the brave king would fain have resisted. As when a troop of hunters press upon a fierce lion, the savage animal, too courageous to fly, yet dares not face the numbers and weapons of his assailants, so Turnus with reluctant steps drew backwards; yet twice again he attacked the Trojans and twice drove them along the walls. At length gathering from all parts of the camp, the Trojans made a united advance and Turnus, no longer able to withstand the assaults of his foes, fled to the river, and plunging in, was soon in the midst of his friends who received him with joyous acclamation.
O'er all his limbs dark sweat-drops break; No time to breathe; thick pantings shake His vast and laboring frame. At length, accoutred as he stood, Headlong he plunged into the flood. The yellow flood the charge received, With buoyant tide his weight upheaved, And cleansing off the encrusted gore, Returned him to his friends once more. CONINGTON, AEneid, BOOK IX.
IX. THE COUNCIL OF THE GODS—RETURN OF AENEAS—BATTLE ON THE SHORE— DEATH OF PALLAS.
Meanwhile the king of heaven who had been watching the conflict on the banks of the Tiber, called a council of the gods to consider whether it would not be well to put an end to the quarrel between Juno and Venus over the fortunes of the Trojans. The divinities assembled in their golden council chamber on Mount Olympus and Jupiter addressed them. "Ye gods," said he, "why do you seek to alter the decrees of heaven? It was my desire that the Italians should not make war upon the men of Troy. Why then have you incited them to arms? The time for conflict between the two races favored by Juno and Venus has not yet come. That time will be hereafter when the Carthaginians shall put forth their efforts to ruin Rome. Then indeed you shall be free to take either side in the contest. For the present cease your quarrels, and let the league agreed upon between AEneas and Latinus be ratified."
Thus spoke the king of heaven. Then Venus addressed the gods in behalf of her son, whose sufferings, she said, were due to the hatred of Juno. She recounted the various attempts of the unforgiving queen to destroy the Trojans—how AEolus at her bidding had sent his storms to scatter the fleet of AEneas, how Iris, her messenger, had induced the Trojan women to set fire to the ships at Drepanum, and how at her request the Fury Alecto had incited Queen Amata and King Turnus to war against the men of Troy.
Juno next addressed the council, and spoke many bitter words against AEneas and the Trojans, who, she declared, were themselves to blame for all the evils that had come upon them. The Greek war against Troy had not been caused by her, but by the Trojan Paris, and for his conduct in carrying off Helen, Venus was responsible. As to the troubles in Italy, it was true that AEneas had sailed to that country by the will of the fates, but why, she asked, did he stir up war among Italian nations that had before been at peace.
Juno having finished her speech against the Trojans, and none of the other divinities desiring to take part in the controversy, Jupiter then delivered judgment, declaring that as the quarrel between the two goddesses could not be amicably settled, nor peace brought about between the Trojans and Italians, the fates should take their course.
"Since Troy with Latium must contend, And these your wranglings find no end, Let each man use his chance to day And carve his fortune as he may; Each warrior from his own good lance Shall reap the fruit of toil or chance; Jove deals to all an equal lot, And Fate shall loose or cut the knot." CONINGTON, AEneid, BOOK IX.
Thus ended the council of the gods, and so by the decree of the king of heaven the quarrel between the Trojans and Italians was left to the fortune of war.
Meanwhile the Trojans in the camp on the Tiber were being hard pressed by the enemy. As soon as Turnus had rejoined his army, the attack on the ramparts was renewed with increased vigor, and the brave Mnestheus and his companions, their forces now much reduced in number, were beginning to lose hope.
Hopeless of flight, more hopeless of relief, Thin on the towers they stand; and e'en those few, A feeble, fainting, and dejected crew. DRYDEN, AEneid, BOOK X.
But AEneas was hastening to the rescue. Having formed the league with Tarchon, he lost no time in preparing to return to his friends. Many other chiefs of Etruria joined their forces to the expedition, and all placed themselves under the command of AEneas, in accordance with the will of the gods that only under a foreign leader could they be successful in the war against the Rutulians.
When everything was ready for departure they embarked on a fleet of thirty ships, and sailed down the Tyr-rhe'ni-an Sea, along the Etrurian coast, towards the mouth of the Tiber. AEneas led the way in his own galley, and with him was young Pallas, the son of Evander. During the voyage he learned in a strange manner of the perilous situation of his people in the camp. It was night, and as he was seated at the helm, for his anxiety permitted him not to sleep, a number of sea-nymphs appeared swimming by the side of his ship. One of them, Cym-o-do-ce'a by name, grasped the stern of the vessel with her right hand, while with her left she gently rowed her way through the waves. Then she addressed the Trojan chief. "Son of the gods," said she, "we are the pines of Mount Ida, at one time your fleet, but now nymphs of the sea. The Rutulian king would have destroyed us with fire had it not been permitted to us by the mother of the gods to burst our cables, and assume our present form. We come to tell you that your son Ascanius is besieged in the camp, and pressed on all sides by the Latian foe. Be ready then at the dawn of morning with your troops, and bear with you to the fight the arms and armor which Vulcan has made. To-morrow's sun shall see many of the Rutulian enemy slain."
She ceased, and parting, to the bark A measured impulse gave; Like wind-swift arrow to its mark It darts along the wave. The rest pursue. In wondering awe The chief revolves the things he saw. CONINGTON, AEneid, BOOK X.
At dawn of morning the fleet came within view of the Trojan camp. Then AEneas standing on the deck of his own vessel, held aloft his bright shield made by Vulcan. His people saw it from the ramparts, and shouted loud with joy, and now, their hope being revived, they assailed the enemy with fresh courage. The Rutulians and Latians were amazed at this sudden change, not knowing the cause, but looking back, they too beheld the fleet approaching the shore.
The brave Turnus however was not dismayed at the sight. On the contrary he resolved to give battle to the new foe without delay, and so addressing his men he bade them fight valiantly for their homes and country, remembering the glorious deeds of their ancestors.
"Your sires, your sons, your houses, and your lands, And dearest wives, are all within your hands; Be mindful of the race from whence you came, And emulate in arms your fathers' fame." DRYDEN, AEneid, BOOK X.
Then he hurried to the shore with the main body of his army, and AEneas having already landed his companions and allies, a fierce battle began. The Trojan hero performed wonderful feats of valor. First he attacked the Latian troops, who were in front of the hosts of the enemy, and he slew their leader The'ron, a warrior of giant size. Through his brazen shield and golden coat of mail AEneas smote him with his sword. Next he slew Lycas, and then Cis'seus and Gyas, tall men and powerful, who, with clubs like the club of Hercules, had been striking down the Trojans. Then a band of seven warrior brothers, the sons of Phorcus, attacked the Trojan chief, hurling seven darts upon him all together, some of which rebounded from his shield, and some, turned aside by Venus, harmlessly grazed his skin. AEneas now called to the faithful Achates to bring him darts—those with which on the plains of Troy the bodies of Grecian warriors had been pierced—
"Those fatal weapons, which, inured to blood, In Grecian bodies under Ilium stood; Not one of those my hand shall toss in vain Against our foes, on this contended plain." DRYDEN, AEneid, BOOK X.
Grasping a mighty spear, as soon as these weapons were brought to him, AEneas hurled it at Macon, one of the brothers. It pierced through his shield and breastplate, and he fell mortally wounded. At his brother Alcanor, who had run to his relief, AEneas cast another dart, which penetrated his shoulder, leaving the warrior's arm hanging lifeless by his body. And now Hal-ae'sus with his Auruncian bands, and Messapus, the son of Neptune, conspicuous with his steeds, hastened up to encounter AEneas. The fight then became more furious and many were slain on both sides.
Thus Trojan and Italian meet, With face to face, and feet to feet, And hand close pressed to hand. CONINGTON, AEneid, BOOK X.
In another quarter of the field young Pallas, fighting at the head of his Arcadian horsemen, slew many chiefs of the Latians and Rutulians. Opposed to him was Lausus, son of the tyrant Mezentius. Lausus being hard pressed by the Arcadians, King Turnus was called to his assistance, and rushing up he cried to the Rutulians, "Desist you for a moment from the battle. I alone will fight Pallas. Would that his father were here to see." Hearing these words the brave son of Evander advanced boldly into the open plain between the two hosts. The hearts of his Arcadian followers were filled with dread at seeing their young chief about to engage in single combat with so great a warrior as the Rutulian king. Turnus sprang down from his chariot, to meet his foe on foot.
And, as a lion—when he spies from far A bull that seems to meditate the war, Bending his neck, and spurning back the sand— Runs roaring downward from his hilly stand; Imagine eager Turnus not more slow To rush from high on his unequal foe. DRYDEN, AEneid, BOOK X.
Then Pallas prayed to Hercules, once his father's guest, to help him. Hercules in his place in heaven, hearing the prayer, groaned in distress and poured forth tears, for he knew that the fate of the brave youth could not be averted. Noticing the grief of his son, almighty Father Jupiter spoke to him in comforting words. "To every one," said he, "his period of life is fixed. Short is the time allotted to all, but it is the part of the brave man to lengthen out fame by glorious deeds. Many even of the sons of the gods have fallen under the lofty walls of Troy. Turnus too awaits his destiny, and already he has nearly arrived at the limit of existence left to him." So saying the king of heaven turned his eyes from the scene of battle.
Pallas now hurled his spear with great force. The weapon struck the armor of Turnus near his shoulder, and piercing through it, grazed his body. Then Turnus poising his sharp steel-tipped javelin, darted it at Pallas. Through the centre of his many-plated shield and the folds of his corselet the fatal shaft passed into the breast of the brave youth, inflicting a mortal wound. Down on the earth he fell, and Turnus approaching the dead body exclaimed, "You Arcadians carry these my words to your king. In such plight as he deserved I send his son back to him. His league of friendship with AEneas shall cost him dear."
Then Turnus stripped from the body of Pallas a beautiful belt, embossed with figures carved in gold, and putting it on his own armor, triumphed in the spoil. It proved to be a fatal possession for Turnus.
O mortals! blind in fate who never know To bear high fortune, or endure the low! The time shall come when Turnus, but in vain, Shall wish untouched the trophies of the slain— Shall wish the fatal belt were far away, And curse the dire remembrance of the day. DRYDEN, AEneid, BOOK X.
The body of the brave young prince was laid upon his shield, and borne away from the field of battle, accompanied by a numerous retinue of his sorrowing friends.
O sad, proud thought, that thus a son Should reach a father's door! This day beheld your wars begun; This day beholds them o'er, CONINGTON, AEneid, BOOK X.
The news of the fate of Pallas soon reached AEneas, who was deeply distressed at the thought of the sorrow the youth's death would bring upon his aged father Evander. Eager for vengeance, he hastened through the battle field in search of Turnus, slaying many chiefs of the enemy whom he encountered on his way. But he was not yet to meet the Rutulian king face to face, for Juno, by Jupiter's permission, led Turnus off the field, and saved him for a time from the wrath of the Trojan hero. Out of a hollow cloud she fashioned a phantom with the shape, likeness and voice of AEneas, and caused it to appear before Turnus, as if challenging him to combat.
A phantom in AEneas' mould She fashions, wondrous to behold, Of hollow shadowy cloud, Bids it the Dardan arms assume, The shield, the helmet, and the plume, Gives soulless words of swelling tone, And motions like the hero's own, As stately and as proud. CONINGTON, AEneid, BOOK X.
The Rutulian king bravely advanced to attack the supposed Trojan chief, upon which the spectre, wheeling about, hastily retreated towards the river. Turnus followed, loudly upbraiding AEneas as a coward. It happened that at the shore there was a ship, connected with the land by a plank bridge or gangway. Into this ship the phantom fled, closely pursued by Turnus; and no sooner had the latter reached the deck of the vessel than Juno, bursting the cables which held it to the bank, sent it floating down the stream. Then the figure of cloud, soaring aloft, vanished into the air, and Turnus knew that he had been deceived.
He was much distressed at being thus separated from his brave followers, and mortified at the thought that they might think he had deserted them in the hour of danger. In his grief he attempted to destroy his own life with his sword, but Juno restrained him, and the ship, wafted along by favoring wind and tide, bore him to Ardea, the capital city of his own country, where his father, King Daunus, resided.
Meanwhile, on the battle field, the Etrurian king, Mezentius, who had taken the place of Turnus, attacked the Trojans with great fury. He had slain many valiant warriors when AEneas espying him from a distance, hurried forward to encounter him. Mezentius stood firm, and relying on his strong arm and his weapons, rather than on divine aid (being a despiser of the gods) he cast a spear at the Trojan leader. The missile struck the hero's shield, but it was the shield which Vulcan had made, and could not be pierced by earthly weapon. Then AEneas hurled his javelin. Through the triple plates of brass, and the triple bull-hide covering of the Etrurian king's shield it passed, and, lodging in his groin, inflicted a severe, though not fatal, wound. Instantly the Trojan chief rushed, with sword in hand, upon his foe, as, disabled, he was about to withdraw from the conflict. But at this moment young Lausus, the son of Mezentius, sprang forward and received on his sword the blow that had been intended for his father.
The pious youth, resolved on death, below The lifted sword, springs forth to face the foe; Protects his parent, and prevents the blow. DRYDEN, AEneid, BOOK X.
But Lausus was no match for the veteran Trojan warrior. Yet AEneas, admiring his courage and filial devotion, would fain have spared the brave youth. "Why do you attempt," said he, "what you have not strength to accomplish? You do but rush to your own destruction." Regardless, however, of danger, the gallant Lausus fought till he fell lifeless on the earth. AEneas was touched with pity at the sight, for he thought of his own son, and of how he himself had loved his own father. Then, he tenderly lifted the body from the ground, and consigned it to the care of his friends. They carried it to Mezentius, who was resting on the river bank, after having bathed his wounds in the water. When he beheld the lifeless form, the unhappy man burst into tears, and bitterly lamented his own misdeeds which had brought such calamities upon him—banishment from his throne and country, and now, worst of all, the loss of his son. "Why do I live, my son," cried he, "at the cost of thy life? My crimes have been the cause of thy death."
"Dear child! I stained your glorious name By my own crimes, driven out to shame From my ancestral reign; My country's vengeance claimed my blood; Ah! had that tainted, guilty flood Been shed from every vein! Now 'mid my kind I linger still And live; but leave the light I will." CONINGTON, AEneid, BOOK X.
Then though he was suffering much from the pain of his wound, he called for his horse, the gallant steed Rhoebus, which had borne him victorious through many a fight. The animal seemed to feel the grief of its master, and to understand the words he spoke: "Long, Rhoebus," said he, "have we lived, companions in war,—if indeed the life of mortals can be said to be long. But to-day we shall either die together, or bear away the body of AEneas, and so avenge the death of Lausus."
Mounting his horse, and filling both hands with javelins Mezentius then rode rapidly to the scene of conflict, calling loudly for AEneas. The Trojan chief knew the voice, and eager for the encounter, he quickly advanced. But the brave Etrurian, fearing not to meet his foe, cried out, "Cruel man, you cannot terrify me, now that my son is snatched from me. I am not afraid of death, for I have come to die. First, however, take these gifts which I bring for you." Thus speaking he hurled a dart at the Trojan leader, and then another and another, and three times he rode in a circle round the hero, casting javelins at him. But the weapons of Mezentius could not pass through the celestial shield of AEneas, though they fixed themselves in it, and there were so many that they resembled a grove of spears.
Thrice, fiercely hurling spears on spears, From right to left he wheeled; Thrice, facing round as he careers, The steely grove the Trojan bears, Thick planted on his shield.
At length AEneas hurled a javelin at the warrior's horse, striking it between the temples. The animal reared, beating the air with its hoofs, and rolling over its rider, pinned him to the earth. Then the Trojan chief rushed, sword in hand, upon his fallen foe, and the brave Mezentius died asking only the favor of burial for his body.
"For this, this only favor, let me sue; If pity can to conquered foes be due, Refuse it not; but let my body have The last retreat of human-kind, a grave. This refuge for my poor remains provide; And lay my much-loved Lausus by my side." DRYDEN, AEneid, BOOK X.