Scarce had he said; Achates and his guest, With downcast eyes, their silent grief express'd; Who, short of succors, and in deep despair, Shook at the dismal prospect of the war. But his bright mother, from a breaking cloud, To cheer her issue, thunder'd thrice aloud; Thrice forky lightning flash'd along the sky, And Tyrrhene trumpets thrice were heard on high. Then, gazing up, repeated peals they hear; And, in a heav'n serene, refulgent arms appear: Redd'ning the skies, and glitt'ring all around, The temper'd metals clash, and yield a silver sound. The rest stood trembling, struck with awe divine; Aeneas only, conscious to the sign, Presag'd th' event, and joyful view'd, above, Th' accomplish'd promise of the Queen of Love. Then, to th' Arcadian king: "This prodigy (Dismiss your fear) belongs alone to me. Heav'n calls me to the war: th' expected sign Is giv'n of promis'd aid, and arms divine. My goddess mother, whose indulgent care Foresaw the dangers of the growing war, This omen gave, when bright Vulcanian arms, Fated from force of steel by Stygian charms, Suspended, shone on high: she then foreshow'd Approaching fights, and fields to float in blood. Turnus shall dearly pay for faith forsworn; And corps, and swords, and shields, on Tiber borne, Shall choke his flood: now sound the loud alarms; And, Latian troops, prepare your perjur'd arms."
He said, and, rising from his homely throne, The solemn rites of Hercules begun, And on his altars wak'd the sleeping fires; Then cheerful to his household gods retires; There offers chosen sheep. Th' Arcadian king And Trojan youth the same oblations bring. Next, of his men and ships he makes review; Draws out the best and ablest of the crew. Down with the falling stream the refuse run, To raise with joyful news his drooping son. Steeds are prepar'd to mount the Trojan band, Who wait their leader to the Tyrrhene land. A sprightly courser, fairer than the rest, The king himself presents his royal guest: A lion's hide his back and limbs infold, Precious with studded work, and paws of gold. Fame thro' the little city spreads aloud Th' intended march, amid the fearful crowd: The matrons beat their breasts, dissolve in tears, And double their devotion in their fears. The war at hand appears with more affright, And rises ev'ry moment to the sight.
Then old Evander, with a close embrace, Strain'd his departing friend; and tears o'erflow his face. "Would Heav'n," said he, "my strength and youth recall, Such as I was beneath Praeneste's wall; Then when I made the foremost foes retire, And set whole heaps of conquer'd shields on fire; When Herilus in single fight I slew, Whom with three lives Feronia did endue; And thrice I sent him to the Stygian shore, Till the last ebbing soul return'd no more- Such if I stood renew'd, not these alarms, Nor death, should rend me from my Pallas' arms; Nor proud Mezentius, thus unpunish'd, boast His rapes and murthers on the Tuscan coast. Ye gods, and mighty Jove, in pity bring Relief, and hear a father and a king! If fate and you reserve these eyes, to see My son return with peace and victory; If the lov'd boy shall bless his father's sight; If we shall meet again with more delight; Then draw my life in length; let me sustain, In hopes of his embrace, the worst of pain. But if your hard decrees- which, O! I dread- Have doom'd to death his undeserving head; This, O this very moment, let me die! While hopes and fears in equal balance lie; While, yet possess'd of all his youthful charms, I strain him close within these aged arms; Before that fatal news my soul shall wound!" He said, and, swooning, sunk upon the ground. His servants bore him off, and softly laid His languish'd limbs upon his homely bed.
The horsemen march; the gates are open'd wide; Aeneas at their head, Achates by his side. Next these, the Trojan leaders rode along; Last follows in the rear th' Arcadian throng. Young Pallas shone conspicuous o'er the rest; Gilded his arms, embroider'd was his vest. So, from the seas, exerts his radiant head The star by whom the lights of heav'n are led; Shakes from his rosy locks the pearly dews, Dispels the darkness, and the day renews. The trembling wives the walls and turrets crowd, And follow, with their eyes, the dusty cloud, Which winds disperse by fits, and shew from far The blaze of arms, and shields, and shining war. The troops, drawn up in beautiful array, O'er heathy plains pursue the ready way. Repeated peals of shouts are heard around; The neighing coursers answer to the sound, And shake with horny hoofs the solid ground.
A greenwood shade, for long religion known, Stands by the streams that wash the Tuscan town, Incompass'd round with gloomy hills above, Which add a holy horror to the grove. The first inhabitants of Grecian blood, That sacred forest to Silvanus vow'd, The guardian of their flocks and fields; and pay Their due devotions on his annual day. Not far from hence, along the river's side, In tents secure, the Tuscan troops abide, By Tarchon led. Now, from a rising ground, Aeneas cast his wond'ring eyes around, And all the Tyrrhene army had in sight, Stretch'd on the spacious plain from left to right. Thether his warlike train the Trojan led, Refresh'd his men, and wearied horses fed.
Meantime the mother goddess, crown'd with charms, Breaks thro' the clouds, and brings the fated arms. Within a winding vale she finds her son, On the cool river's banks, retir'd alone. She shews her heav'nly form without disguise, And gives herself to his desiring eyes. "Behold," she said, "perform'd in ev'ry part, My promise made, and Vulcan's labor'd art. Now seek, secure, the Latian enemy, And haughty Turnus to the field defy." She said; and, having first her son embrac'd, The radiant arms beneath an oak she plac'd, Proud of the gift, he roll'd his greedy sight Around the work, and gaz'd with vast delight. He lifts, he turns, he poises, and admires The crested helm, that vomits radiant fires: His hands the fatal sword and corslet hold, One keen with temper'd steel, one stiff with gold: Both ample, flaming both, and beamy bright; So shines a cloud, when edg'd with adverse light. He shakes the pointed spear, and longs to try The plated cuishes on his manly thigh; But most admires the shield's mysterious mold, And Roman triumphs rising on the gold: For these, emboss'd, the heav'nly 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. The cave of Mars was dress'd with mossy greens: There, by the wolf, were laid the martial twins. Intrepid on her swelling dugs they hung; The foster dam loll'd out her fawning tongue: They suck'd secure, while, bending back her head, She lick'd their tender limbs, and form'd them as they fed. Not far from thence new Rome appears, with games Projected for the rape of Sabine dames. The pit resounds with shrieks; a war succeeds, For breach of public faith, and unexampled deeds. Here for revenge the Sabine troops contend; The Romans there with arms the prey defend. Wearied with tedious war, at length they cease; And both the kings and kingdoms plight the peace. The friendly chiefs before Jove's altar stand, Both arm'd, with each a charger in his hand: A fatted sow for sacrifice is led, With imprecations on the perjur'd head. Near this, the traitor Metius, stretch'd between Four fiery steeds, is dragg'd along the green, By Tullus' doom: the brambles drink his blood, And his torn limbs are left the vulture's food. There, Porsena to Rome proud Tarquin brings, And would by force restore the banish'd kings. One tyrant for his fellow-tyrant fights; The Roman youth assert their native rights. Before the town the Tuscan army lies, To win by famine, or by fraud surprise. Their king, half-threat'ning, half-disdaining stood, While Cocles broke the bridge, and stemm'd the flood. The captive maids there tempt the raging tide, Scap'd from their chains, with Cloelia for their guide. High on a rock heroic Manlius stood, To guard the temple, and the temple's god. Then Rome was poor; and there you might behold The palace thatch'd with straw, now roof'd with gold. The silver goose before the shining gate There flew, and, by her cackle, sav'd the state. She told the Gauls' approach; th' approaching Gauls, Obscure in night, ascend, and seize the walls. The gold dissembled well their yellow hair, And golden chains on their white necks they wear. Gold are their vests; long Alpine spears they wield, And their left arm sustains a length of shield. Hard by, the leaping Salian priests advance; And naked thro' the streets the mad Luperci dance, In caps of wool; the targets dropp'd from heav'n. Here modest matrons, in soft litters driv'n, To pay their vows in solemn pomp appear, And odorous gums in their chaste hands they bear. Far hence remov'd, the Stygian seats are seen; Pains of the damn'd, and punish'd Catiline Hung on a rock- the traitor; and, around, The Furies hissing from the nether ground. Apart from these, the happy souls he draws, And Cato's holy ghost dispensing laws.
Betwixt the quarters flows a golden sea; But foaming surges there in silver play. The dancing dolphins with their tails divide The glitt'ring waves, and cut the precious tide. Amid the main, two mighty fleets engage Their brazen beaks, oppos'd with equal rage. Actium surveys the well-disputed prize; Leucate's wat'ry plain with foamy billows fries. Young Caesar, on the stern, in armor bright, Here leads the Romans and their gods to fight: His beamy temples shoot their flames afar, And o'er his head is hung the Julian star. Agrippa seconds him, with prosp'rous gales, And, with propitious gods, his foes assails: A naval crown, that binds his manly brows, The happy fortune of the fight foreshows. Rang'd on the line oppos'd, Antonius brings Barbarian aids, and troops of Eastern kings; Th' Arabians near, and Bactrians from afar, Of tongues discordant, and a mingled war: And, rich in gaudy robes, amidst the strife, His ill fate follows him- th' Egyptian wife. Moving they fight; with oars and forky prows The froth is gather'd, and the water glows. It seems, as if the Cyclades again Were rooted up, and justled in the main; Or floating mountains floating mountains meet; Such is the fierce encounter of the fleet. Fireballs are thrown, and pointed jav'lins fly; The fields of Neptune take a purple dye. The queen herself, amidst the loud alarms, With cymbals toss'd her fainting soldiers warms- Fool as she was! who had not yet divin'd Her cruel fate, nor saw the snakes behind. Her country gods, the monsters of the sky, Great Neptune, Pallas, and Love's Queen defy: The dog Anubis barks, but barks in vain, Nor longer dares oppose th' ethereal train. Mars in the middle of the shining shield Is grav'd, and strides along the liquid field. The Dirae souse from heav'n with swift descent; And Discord, dyed in blood, with garments rent, Divides the prease: her steps Bellona treads, And shakes her iron rod above their heads. This seen, Apollo, from his Actian height, Pours down his arrows; at whose winged flight The trembling Indians and Egyptians yield, And soft Sabaeans quit the wat'ry field. The fatal mistress hoists her silken sails, And, shrinking from the fight, invokes the gales. Aghast she looks, and heaves her breast for breath, Panting, and pale with fear of future death. The god had figur'd her as driv'n along By winds and waves, and scudding thro' the throng. Just opposite, sad Nilus opens wide His arms and ample bosom to the tide, And spreads his mantle o'er the winding coast, In which he wraps his queen, and hides the flying host. The victor to the gods his thanks express'd, And Rome, triumphant, with his presence bless'd. Three hundred temples in the town he plac'd; With spoils and altars ev'ry temple grac'd. Three shining nights, and three succeeding days, The fields resound with shouts, the streets with praise, The domes with songs, the theaters with plays. All altars flame: before each altar lies, Drench'd in his gore, the destin'd sacrifice. Great Caesar sits sublime upon his throne, Before Apollo's porch of Parian stone; Accepts the presents vow'd for victory, And hangs the monumental crowns on high. Vast crowds of vanquish'd nations march along, Various in arms, in habit, and in tongue. Here, Mulciber assigns the proper place For Carians, and th' ungirt Numidian race; Then ranks the Thracians in the second row, With Scythians, expert in the dart and bow. And here the tam'd Euphrates humbly glides, And there the Rhine submits her swelling tides, And proud Araxes, whom no bridge could bind; The Danes' unconquer'd offspring march behind, And Morini, the last of humankind.
These figures, on the shield divinely wrought, By Vulcan labor'd, 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.
While these affairs in distant places pass'd, The various Iris Juno sends with haste, To find bold Turnus, who, with anxious thought, The secret shade of his great grandsire sought. Retir'd alone she found the daring man, And op'd her rosy lips, and thus began: "What none of all the gods could grant thy vows, That, Turnus, this auspicious day bestows. Aeneas, gone to seek th' Arcadian prince, Has left the Trojan camp without defense; And, short of succors there, employs his pains In parts remote to raise the Tuscan swains. Now snatch an hour that favors thy designs; Unite thy forces, and attack their lines." This said, on equal wings she pois'd her weight, And form'd a radiant rainbow in her flight.
The Daunian hero lifts his hands eyes, And thus invokes the goddess as she flies: "Iris, the grace of heav'n, what pow'r divine Has sent thee down, thro' dusky clouds to shine? See, they divide; immortal day appears, And glitt'ring planets dancing in their spheres! With joy, these happy omens I obey, And follow to the war the god that leads the way." Thus having said, as by the brook he stood, He scoop'd the water from the crystal flood; Then with his hands the drops to heav'n he throws, And loads the pow'rs above with offer'd vows.
Now march the bold confed'rates thro' the plain, Well hors'd, well clad; a rich and shining train. Messapus leads the van; and, in the rear, The sons of Tyrrheus in bright arms appear. In the main battle, with his flaming crest, The mighty Turnus tow'rs above the rest. Silent they move, majestically slow, Like ebbing Nile, or Ganges in his flow. The Trojans view the dusty cloud from far, And the dark menace of the distant war. Caicus from the rampire saw it rise, Black'ning the fields, and thick'ning thro' the skies. Then to his fellows thus aloud he calls: "What rolling clouds, my friends, approach the walls? Arm! arm! and man the works! prepare your spears And pointed darts! the Latian host appears."
Thus warn'd, they shut their gates; with shouts ascend The bulwarks, and, secure, their foes attend: For their wise gen'ral, with foreseeing care, Had charg'd them not to tempt the doubtful war, Nor, tho' provok'd, in open fields advance, But close within their lines attend their chance. Unwilling, yet they keep the strict command, And sourly wait in arms the hostile band. The fiery Turnus flew before the rest: A piebald steed of Thracian strain he press'd; His helm of massy gold, and crimson was his crest. With twenty horse to second his designs, An unexpected foe, he fac'd the lines. "Is there," he said, "in arms, who bravely dare His leader's honor and his danger share?" Then spurring on, his brandish'd dart he threw, In sign of war: applauding shouts ensue.
Amaz'd to find a dastard race, that run Behind the rampires and the battle shun, He rides around the camp, with rolling eyes, And stops at ev'ry post, and ev'ry passage tries. So roams the nightly wolf about the fold: Wet with descending show'rs, and stiff with cold, He howls for hunger, and he grins for pain, (His gnashing teeth are exercis'd in vain,) And, impotent of anger, finds no way In his distended paws to grasp the prey. The mothers listen; but the bleating lambs Securely swig the dug, beneath the dams. Thus ranges eager Turnus o'er the plain. Sharp with desire, and furious with disdain; Surveys each passage with a piercing sight, To force his foes in equal field to fight. Thus while he gazes round, at length he spies, Where, fenc'd with strong redoubts, their navy lies, Close underneath the walls; the washing tide Secures from all approach this weaker side. He takes the wish'd occasion, fills his hand With ready fires, and shakes a flaming brand. Urg'd by his presence, ev'ry soul is warm'd, And ev'ry hand with kindled firs is arm'd. From the fir'd pines the scatt'ring sparkles fly; Fat vapors, mix'd with flames, involve the sky. What pow'r, O Muses, could avert the flame Which threaten'd, in the fleet, the Trojan name? Tell: for the fact, thro' length of time obscure, Is hard to faith; yet shall the fame endure.
'T is said that, when the chief prepar'd his flight, And fell'd his timber from Mount Ida's height, The grandam goddess then approach'd her son, And with a mother's majesty begun: "Grant me," she said, "the sole request I bring, Since conquer'd heav'n has own'd you for its king. On Ida's brows, for ages past, there stood, With firs and maples fill'd, a shady wood; And on the summit rose a sacred grove, Where I was worship'd with religious love. Those woods, that holy grove, my long delight, I gave the Trojan prince, to speed his flight. Now, fill'd with fear, on their behalf I come; Let neither winds o'erset, nor waves intomb The floating forests of the sacred pine; But let it be their safety to be mine." Then thus replied her awful son, who rolls The radiant stars, and heav'n and earth controls: "How dare you, mother, endless date demand For vessels molded by a mortal hand? What then is fate? Shall bold Aeneas ride, Of safety certain, on th' uncertain tide? Yet, what I can, I grant; when, wafted o'er, The chief is landed on the Latian shore, Whatever ships escape the raging storms, At my command shall change their fading forms To nymphs divine, and plow the wat'ry way, Like Dotis and the daughters of the sea." To seal his sacred vow, by Styx he swore, The lake of liquid pitch, the dreary shore, And Phlegethon's innavigable flood, And the black regions of his brother god. He said; and shook the skies with his imperial nod.
And now at length the number'd hours were come, Prefix'd by fate's irrevocable doom, When the great Mother of the Gods was free To save her ships, and finish Jove's decree. First, from the quarter of the morn, there sprung A light that sign'd the heav'ns, and shot along; Then from a cloud, fring'd round with golden fires, Were timbrels heard, and Berecynthian choirs; And, last, a voice, with more than mortal sounds, Both hosts, in arms oppos'd, with equal horror wounds: "O Trojan race, your needless aid forbear, And know, my ships are my peculiar care. With greater ease the bold Rutulian may, With hissing brands, attempt to burn the sea, Than singe my sacred pines. But you, my charge, Loos'd from your crooked anchors, launch at large, Exalted each a nymph: forsake the sand, And swim the seas, at Cybele's command." No sooner had the goddess ceas'd to speak, When, lo! th' obedient ships their haulsers 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.
The foes, surpris'd with wonder, stood aghast; Messapus curb'd his fiery courser's haste; Old Tiber roar'd, and, raising up his head, Call'd back his waters to their oozy bed. Turnus alone, undaunted, bore the shock, And with these words his trembling troops bespoke: "These monsters for the Trojans' fate are meant, And are by Jove for black presages sent. He takes the cowards' last relief away; For fly they cannot, and, constrain'd to stay, Must yield unfought, a base inglorious prey. The liquid half of all the globe is lost; Heav'n shuts the seas, and we secure the coast. Theirs is no more than that small spot of ground Which myriads of our martial men surround. Their fates I fear not, or vain oracles. 'T was giv'n to Venus they should cross the seas, And land secure upon the Latian plains: Their promis'd hour is pass'd, and mine remains. 'T is in the fate of Turnus to destroy, With sword and fire, the faithless race of Troy. Shall such affronts as these alone inflame The Grecian brothers, and the Grecian name? My cause and theirs is one; a fatal strife, And final ruin, for a ravish'd wife. Was 't not enough, that, punish'd for the crime, They fell; but will they fall a second time? One would have thought they paid enough before, To curse the costly sex, and durst offend no more. Can they securely trust their feeble wall, A slight partition, a thin interval, Betwixt their fate and them; when Troy, tho' built By hands divine, yet perish'd by their guilt? Lend me, for once, my friends, your valiant hands, To force from out their lines these dastard bands. Less than a thousand ships will end this war, Nor Vulcan needs his fated arms prepare. Let all the Tuscans, all th' Arcadians, join! Nor these, nor those, shall frustrate my design. Let them not fear the treasons of the night, The robb'd Palladium, the pretended flight: Our onset shall be made in open light. No wooden engine shall their town betray; Fires they shall have around, but fires by day. No Grecian babes before their camp appear, Whom Hector's arms detain'd to the tenth tardy year. Now, since the sun is rolling to the west, Give we the silent night to needful rest: Refresh your bodies, and your arms prepare; The morn shall end the small remains of war."
The post of honor to Messapus falls, To keep the nightly guard, to watch the walls, To pitch the fires at distances around, And close the Trojans in their scanty ground. Twice seven Rutulian captains ready stand, And twice seven hundred horse these chiefs command; All clad in shining arms the works invest, Each with a radiant helm and waving crest. Stretch'd at their length, they press the grassy ground; They laugh, they sing, (the jolly bowls go round,) With lights and cheerful fires renew the day, And pass the wakeful night in feasts and play.
The Trojans, from above, their foes beheld, And with arm'd legions all the rampires fill'd. Seiz'd with affright, their gates they first explore; Join works to works with bridges, tow'r to tow'r: Thus all things needful for defense abound. Mnestheus and brave Seresthus walk the round, Commission'd by their absent prince to share The common danger, and divide the care. The soldiers draw their lots, and, as they fall, By turns relieve each other on the wall.
Nigh where the foes their utmost guards advance, To watch the gate was warlike Nisus' chance. His father Hyrtacus of noble blood; His mother was a huntress of the wood, And sent him to the wars. Well could he bear His lance in fight, and dart the flying spear, But better skill'd unerring shafts to send. Beside him stood Euryalus, his friend: Euryalus, than whom the Trojan host No fairer face, or sweeter air, could boast- Scarce had the down to shade his cheeks begun. One was their care, and their delight was one: One common hazard in the war they shar'd, And now were both by choice upon the guard.
Then Nisus thus: "Or do the gods inspire This warmth, or make we gods of our desire? A gen'rous ardor boils within my breast, Eager of action, enemy to rest: This urges me to fight, and fires my mind To leave a memorable name behind. Thou see'st the foe secure; how faintly shine Their scatter'd fires! the most, in sleep supine Along the ground, an easy conquest lie: The wakeful few the fuming flagon ply; All hush'd around. Now hear what I revolve- A thought unripe- and scarcely yet resolve. Our absent prince both camp and council mourn; By message both would hasten his return: If they confer what I demand on thee, (For fame is recompense enough for me,) Methinks, beneath yon hill, I have espied A way that safely will my passage guide."
Euryalus stood list'ning while he spoke, With love of praise and noble envy struck; Then to his ardent friend expos'd his mind: "All this, alone, and leaving me behind! Am I unworthy, Nisus, to be join'd? Thinkist thou I can my share of glory yield, Or send thee unassisted to the field? Not so my father taught my childhood arms; Born in a siege, and bred among alarms! Nor is my youth unworthy of my friend, Nor of the heav'n-born hero I attend. The thing call'd life, with ease I can disclaim, And think it over-sold to purchase fame."
Then Nisus thus: "Alas! thy tender years Would minister new matter to my fears. So may the gods, who view this friendly strife, Restore me to thy lov'd embrace with life, Condemn'd to pay my vows, (as sure I trust,) This thy request is cruel and unjust. But if some chance- as many chances are, And doubtful hazards, in the deeds of war- If one should reach my head, there let it fall, And spare thy life; I would not perish all. Thy bloomy youth deserves a longer date: Live thou to mourn thy love's unhappy fate; To bear my mangled body from the foe, Or buy it back, and fun'ral rites bestow. Or, if hard fortune shall those dues deny, Thou canst at least an empty tomb supply. O let not me the widow's tears renew! Nor let a mother's curse my name pursue: Thy pious parent, who, for love of thee, Forsook the coasts of friendly Sicily, Her age committing to the seas and wind, When ev'ry weary matron stay'd behind." To this, Euryalus: "You plead in vain, And but protract the cause you cannot gain. No more delays, but haste!" With that, he wakes The nodding watch; each to his office takes. The guard reliev'd, the gen'rous couple went To find the council at the royal tent.
All creatures else forgot their daily care, And sleep, the common gift of nature, share; Except the Trojan peers, who wakeful sate In nightly council for th' indanger'd state. They vote a message to their absent chief, Shew their distress, and beg a swift relief. Amid the camp a silent seat they chose, Remote from clamor, and secure from foes. On their left arms their ample shields they bear, The right reclin'd upon the bending spear. Now Nisus and his friend approach the guard, And beg admission, eager to be heard: Th' affair important, not to be deferr'd. Ascanius bids 'em be conducted in, Ord'ring the more experienc'd to begin. Then Nisus thus: "Ye fathers, lend your ears; Nor judge our bold attempt beyond our years. The foe, securely drench'd in sleep and wine, Neglect their watch; the fires but thinly shine; And where the smoke in cloudy vapors flies, Cov'ring the plain, and curling to the skies, Betwixt two paths, which at the gate divide, Close by the sea, a passage we have spied, Which will our way to great Aeneas guide. Expect each hour to see him safe again, Loaded with spoils of foes in battle slain. Snatch we the lucky minute while we may; Nor can we be mistaken in the way; For, hunting in the vale, we both have seen The rising turrets, and the stream between, And know the winding course, with ev'ry ford."
He ceas'd; and old Alethes took the word: "Our country gods, in whom our trust we place, Will yet from ruin save the Trojan race, While we behold such dauntless worth appear In dawning youth, and souls so void of fear." Then into tears of joy the father broke; Each in his longing arms by turns he took; Panted and paus'd; and thus again he spoke: "Ye brave young men, what equal gifts can we, In recompense of such desert, decree? The greatest, sure, and best you can receive, The gods and your own conscious worth will give. The rest our grateful gen'ral will bestow, And young Ascanius till his manhood owe."
"And I, whose welfare in my father lies," Ascanius adds, "by the great deities, By my dear country, by my household gods, By hoary Vesta's rites and dark abodes, Adjure you both, (on you my fortune stands; That and my faith I plight into your hands,) Make me but happy in his safe return, Whose wanted presence I can only mourn; Your common gift shall two large goblets be Of silver, wrought with curious imagery, And high emboss'd, which, when old Priam reign'd, My conqu'ring sire at sack'd Arisba gain'd; And more, two tripods cast in antic mold, With two great talents of the finest gold; Beside a costly bowl, ingrav'd with art, Which Dido gave, when first she gave her heart. But, if in conquer'd Italy we reign, When spoils by lot the victor shall obtain- Thou saw'st the courser by proud Turnus press'd: That, Nisus, and his arms, and nodding crest, And shield, from chance exempt, shall be thy share: Twelve lab'ring slaves, twelve handmaids young and fair All clad in rich attire, and train'd with care; And, last, a Latian field with fruitful plains, And a large portion of the king's domains. But thou, whose years are more to mine allied- No fate my vow'd affection shall divide From thee, heroic youth! Be wholly mine; Take full possession; all my soul is thine. One faith, one fame, one fate, shall both attend; My life's companion, and my bosom friend: My peace shall be committed to thy care, And to thy conduct my concerns in war."
Then thus the young Euryalus replied: "Whatever fortune, good or bad, betide, The same shall be my age, as now my youth; No time shall find me wanting to my truth. This only from your goodness let me gain (And, this ungranted, all rewards are vain) Of Priam's royal race my mother came- And sure the best that ever bore the name- Whom neither Troy nor Sicily could hold From me departing, but, o'erspent and old, My fate she follow'd. Ignorant of this (Whatever) danger, neither parting kiss, Nor pious blessing taken, her I leave, And in this only act of all my life deceive. By this right hand and conscious Night I swear, My soul so sad a farewell could not bear. Be you her comfort; fill my vacant place (Permit me to presume so great a grace) Support her age, forsaken and distress'd. That hope alone will fortify my breast Against the worst of fortunes, and of fears." He said. The mov'd assistants melt in tears.
Then thus Ascanius, wonderstruck to see That image of his filial piety: "So great beginnings, in so green an age, Exact the faith which I again ingage. Thy mother all the dues shall justly claim, Creusa had, and only want the name. Whate'er event thy bold attempt shall have, 'T is merit to have borne a son so brave. Now by my head, a sacred oath, I swear, (My father us'd it,) what, returning here Crown'd with success, I for thyself prepare, That, if thou fail, shall thy lov'd mother share."
He said, and weeping, while he spoke the word, From his broad belt he drew a shining sword, Magnificent with gold. Lycaon made, And in an ivory scabbard sheath'd the blade. This was his gift. Great Mnestheus gave his friend A lion's hide, his body to defend; And good Alethes furnish'd him, beside, With his own trusty helm, of temper tried.
Thus arm'd they went. The noble Trojans wait Their issuing forth, and follow to the gate With prayers and vows. Above the rest appears Ascanius, manly far beyond his years, And messages committed to their care, Which all in winds were lost, and flitting air.
The trenches first they pass'd; then took their way Where their proud foes in pitch'd pavilions lay; To many fatal, ere themselves were slain. They found the careless host dispers'd upon the plain, Who, gorg'd, and drunk with wine, supinely snore. Unharness'd chariots stand along the shore: Amidst the wheels and reins, the goblet by, A medley of debauch and war, they lie. Observing Nisus shew'd his friend the sight: "Behold a conquest gain'd without a fight. Occasion offers, and I stand prepar'd; There lies our way; be thou upon the guard, And look around, while I securely go, And hew a passage thro' the sleeping foe." Softly he spoke; then striding took his way, With his drawn sword, where haughty Rhamnes lay; His head rais'd high on tapestry beneath, And heaving from his breast, he drew his breath; A king and prophet, by King Turnus lov'd: But fate by prescience cannot be remov'd. Him and his sleeping slaves he slew; then spies Where Remus, with his rich retinue, lies. His armor-bearer first, and next he kills His charioteer, intrench'd betwixt the wheels And his lov'd horses; last invades their lord; Full on his neck he drives the fatal sword: The gasping head flies off; a purple flood Flows from the trunk, that welters in the blood, Which, by the spurning heels dispers'd around, The bed besprinkles and bedews the ground. Lamus the bold, and Lamyrus the strong, He slew, and then Serranus fair and young. From dice and wine the youth retir'd to rest, And puff'd the fumy god from out his breast: Ev'n then he dreamt of drink and lucky play- More lucky, had it lasted till the day. The famish'd lion thus, with hunger bold, O'erleaps the fences of the nightly fold, And tears the peaceful flocks: with silent awe Trembling they lie, and pant beneath his paw.
Nor with less rage Euryalus employs The wrathful sword, or fewer foes destroys; But on th' ignoble crowd his fury flew; He Fadus, Hebesus, and Rhoetus slew. Oppress'd with heavy sleep the former fell, But Rhoetus wakeful, and observing all: Behind a spacious jar he slink'd for fear; The fatal iron found and reach'd him there; For, as he rose, it pierc'd his naked side, And, reeking, thence return'd in crimson dyed. The wound pours out a stream of wine and blood; The purple soul comes floating in the flood.
Now, where Messapus quarter'd, they arrive. The fires were fainting there, and just alive; The warrior-horses, tied in order, fed. Nisus observ'd the discipline, and said: "Our eager thirst of blood may both betray; And see the scatter'd streaks of dawning day, Foe to nocturnal thefts. No more, my friend; Here let our glutted execution end. A lane thro' slaughter'd bodies we have made." The bold Euryalus, tho' loth, obey'd. Of arms, and arras, and of plate, they find A precious load; but these they leave behind. Yet, fond of gaudy spoils, the boy would stay To make the rich caparison his prey, Which on the steed of conquer'd Rhamnes lay. Nor did his eyes less longingly behold The girdle-belt, with nails of burnish'd gold. This present Caedicus the rich bestow'd On Remulus, when friendship first they vow'd, And, absent, join'd in hospitable ties: He, dying, to his heir bequeath'd the prize; Till, by the conqu'ring Ardean troops oppress'd, He fell; and they the glorious gift possess'd. These glitt'ring spoils (now made the victor's gain) He to his body suits, but suits in vain: Messapus' helm he finds among the rest, And laces on, and wears the waving crest. Proud of their conquest, prouder of their prey, They leave the camp, and take the ready way.
But far they had not pass'd, before they spied Three hundred horse, with Volscens for their guide. The queen a legion to King Turnus sent; But the swift horse the slower foot prevent, And now, advancing, sought the leader's tent. They saw the pair; for, thro' the doubtful shade, His shining helm Euryalus betray'd, On which the moon with full reflection play'd. "'T is not for naught," cried Volscens from the crowd, "These men go there;" then rais'd his voice aloud: "Stand! stand! why thus in arms? And whither bent? From whence, to whom, and on what errand sent?" Silent they scud away, and haste their flight To neighb'ring woods, and trust themselves to night. The speedy horse all passages belay, And spur their smoking steeds to cross their way, And watch each entrance of the winding wood. Black was the forest: thick with beech it stood, Horrid with fern, and intricate with thorn; Few paths of human feet, or tracks of beasts, were worn. The darkness of the shades, his heavy prey, And fear, misled the younger from his way. But Nisus hit the turns with happier haste, And, thoughtless of his friend, the forest pass'd, And Alban plains, from Alba's name so call'd, Where King Latinus then his oxen stall'd; Till, turning at the length, he stood his ground, And miss'd his friend, and cast his eyes around: "Ah wretch!" he cried, "where have I left behind Th' unhappy youth? where shall I hope to find? Or what way take?" Again he ventures back, And treads the mazes of his former track. He winds the wood, and, list'ning, hears the noise Of tramping coursers, and the riders' voice. The sound approach'd; and suddenly he view'd The foes inclosing, and his friend pursued, Forelaid and taken, while he strove in vain The shelter of the friendly shades to gain. What should he next attempt? what arms employ, What fruitless force, to free the captive boy? Or desperate should he rush and lose his life, With odds oppress'd, in such unequal strife?
Resolv'd at length, his pointed spear he shook; And, casting on the moon a mournful look: "Guardian of groves, and goddess of the night, Fair queen," he said, "direct my dart aright. If e'er my pious father, for my sake, Did grateful off'rings on thy altars make, Or I increas'd them with my sylvan toils, And hung thy holy roofs with savage spoils, Give me to scatter these." Then from his ear He pois'd, and aim'd, and launch'd the trembling spear. The deadly weapon, hissing from the grove, Impetuous on the back of Sulmo drove; Pierc'd his thin armor, drank his vital blood, And in his body left the broken He staggers round; his eyeballs roll in death, And with short sobs he gasps away his breath. All stand amaz'd- a second jav'lin flies With equal strength, and quivers thro' the skies. This thro' thy temples, Tagus, forc'd the way, And in the brainpan warmly buried lay. Fierce Volscens foams with rage, and, gazing round, Descried not him who gave the fatal wound, Nor knew to fix revenge: "But thou," he cries, "Shalt pay for both," and at the pris'ner flies With his drawn sword. Then, struck with deep despair, That cruel sight the lover could not bear; But from his covert rush'd in open view, And sent his voice before him as he flew: "Me! me!" he cried- "turn all your swords alone On me- the fact confess'd, the fault my own. He neither could nor durst, the guiltless youth: Ye moon and stars, bear witness to the truth! His only crime (if friendship can offend) Is too much love to his unhappy friend." Too late he speaks: the sword, which fury guides, Driv'n with full force, had pierc'd his tender sides. Down fell the beauteous youth: the yawning wound Gush'd out a purple stream, and stain'd the ground. His snowy neck reclines upon his breast, Like a fair flow'r by the keen share oppress'd; Like a white poppy sinking on the plain, Whose heavy head is overcharg'd with rain. Despair, and rage, and vengeance justly vow'd, Drove Nisus headlong on the hostile crowd. Volscens he seeks; on him alone he bends: Borne back and bor'd by his surrounding friends, Onward he press'd, and kept him still in sight; Then whirl'd aloft his sword with all his might: Th' unerring steel descended while he spoke, Piered his wide mouth, and thro' his weazon broke. Dying, he slew; and, stagg'ring on the plain, With swimming eyes he sought his lover slain; Then quiet on his bleeding bosom fell, Content, in death, to be reveng'd so well.
O happy friends! for, if my verse can give Immortal life, your fame shall ever live, Fix'd as the Capitol's foundation lies, And spread, where'er the Roman eagle flies!
The conqu'ring party first divide the prey, Then their slain leader to the camp convey. With wonder, as they went, the troops were fill'd, To see such numbers whom so few had kill'd. Serranus, Rhamnes, and the rest, they found: Vast crowds the dying and the dead surround; And the yet reeking blood o'erflows the ground. All knew the helmet which Messapus lost, But mourn'd a purchase that so dear had cost. Now rose the ruddy morn from Tithon's bed, And with the dawn of day the skies o'erspread; Nor long the sun his daily course withheld, But added colors to the world reveal'd: When early Turnus, wak'ning with the light, All clad in armor, calls his troops to fight. His martial men with fierce harangue he fir'd, And his own ardor in their souls inspir'd. This done- to give new terror to his foes, The heads of Nisus and his friend he shows, Rais'd high on pointed spears- a ghastly sight: Loud peals of shouts ensue, and barbarous delight.
Meantime the Trojans run, where danger calls; They line their trenches, and they man their walls. In front extended to the left they stood; Safe was the right, surrounded by the flood. But, casting from their tow'rs a frightful view, They saw the faces, which too well they knew, Tho' then disguis'd in death, and smear'd all o'er With filth obscene, and dropping putrid gore. Soon hasty fame thro' the sad city bears The mournful message to the mother's ears. An icy cold benumbs her limbs; she shakes; Her cheeks the blood, her hand the web forsakes. She runs the rampires round amidst the war, Nor fears the flying darts; she rends her hair, And fills with loud laments the liquid air. "Thus, then, my lov'd Euryalus appears! Thus looks the prop my declining years! Was't on this face my famish'd eyes I fed? Ah! how unlike the living is the dead! And could'st thou leave me, cruel, thus alone? Not one kind kiss from a departing son! No look, no last adieu before he went, In an ill-boding hour to slaughter sent! Cold on the ground, and pressing foreign clay, To Latian dogs and fowls he lies a prey! Nor was I near to close his dying eyes, To wash his wounds, to weep his obsequies, To call about his corpse his crying friends, Or spread the mantle (made for other ends) On his dear body, which I wove with care, Nor did my daily pains or nightly labor spare. Where shall I find his corpse? what earth sustains His trunk dismember'd, and his cold remains? For this, alas! I left my needful ease, Expos'd my life to winds and winter seas! If any pity touch Rutulian hearts, Here empty all your quivers, all your darts; Or, if they fail, thou, Jove, conclude my woe, And send me thunderstruck to shades below!" Her shrieks and clamors pierce the Trojans' ears, Unman their courage, and augment their fears; Nor young Ascanius could the sight sustain, Nor old Ilioneus his tears restrain, But Actor and Idaeus jointly sent, To bear the madding mother to her tent.
And now the trumpets terribly, from far, With rattling clangor, rouse the sleepy war. The soldiers' shouts succeed the brazen sounds; And heav'n, from pole to pole, the noise rebounds. The Volscians bear their shields upon their head, And, rushing forward, form a moving shed. These fill the ditch; those pull the bulwarks down: Some raise the ladders; others scale the town. But, where void spaces on the walls appear, Or thin defense, they pour their forces there. With poles and missive weapons, from afar, The Trojans keep aloof the rising war. Taught, by their ten years' siege, defensive fight, They roll down ribs of rocks, an unresisted weight, To break the penthouse with the pond'rous blow, Which yet the patient Volscians undergo: But could not bear th' unequal combat long; For, where the Trojans find the thickest throng, The ruin falls: their shatter'd shields give way, And their crush'd heads become an easy prey. They shrink for fear, abated of their rage, Nor longer dare in a blind fight engage; Contented now to gall them from below With darts and slings, and with the distant bow.
Elsewhere Mezentius, terrible to view, A blazing pine within the trenches threw. But brave Messapus, Neptune's warlike son, Broke down the palisades, the trenches won, And loud for ladders calls, to scale the town.
Calliope, begin! Ye sacred Nine, Inspire your poet in his high design, To sing what slaughter manly Turnus made, What souls he sent below the Stygian shade, What fame the soldiers with their captain share, And the vast circuit of the fatal war; For you in singing martial facts excel; You best remember, and alone can tell.
There stood a tow'r, amazing to the sight, Built up of beams, and of stupendous height: Art, and the nature of the place, conspir'd To furnish all the strength that war requir'd. To level this, the bold Italians join; The wary Trojans obviate their design; With weighty stones o'erwhelm their troops below, Shoot thro' the loopholes, and sharp jav'lins throw. Turnus, the chief, toss'd from his thund'ring hand Against the wooden walls, a flaming brand: It stuck, the fiery plague; the winds were high; The planks were season'd, and the timber dry. Contagion caught the posts; it spread along, Scorch'd, and to distance drove the scatter'd throng. The Trojans fled; the fire pursued amain, Still gath'ring fast upon the trembling train; Till, crowding to the corners of the wall, Down the defense and the defenders fall. The mighty flaw makes heav'n itself resound: The dead and dying Trojans strew the ground. The tow'r, that follow'd on the fallen crew, Whelm'd o'er their heads, and buried whom it slew: Some stuck upon the darts themselves had sent; All the same equal ruin underwent.
Young Lycus and Helenor only scape; Sav'd- how, they know not- from the steepy leap. Helenor, elder of the two: by birth, On one side royal, one a son of earth, Whom to the Lydian king Licymnia bare, And sent her boasted bastard to the war (A privilege which none but freemen share). Slight were his arms, a sword and silver shield: No marks of honor charg'd its empty field. Light as he fell, so light the youth arose, And rising, found himself amidst his foes; Nor flight was left, nor hopes to force his way. Embolden'd by despair, he stood at bay; And- like a stag, whom all the troop surrounds Of eager huntsmen and invading hounds- Resolv'd on death, he dissipates his fears, And bounds aloft against the pointed spears: So dares the youth, secure of death; and throws His dying body on his thickest foes. But Lycus, swifter of his feet by far, Runs, doubles, winds and turns, amidst the war; Springs to the walls, and leaves his foes behind, And snatches at the beam he first can find; Looks up, and leaps aloft at all the stretch, In hopes the helping hand of some kind friend to reach. But Turnus follow'd hard his hunted prey (His spear had almost reach'd him in the way, Short of his reins, and scarce a span behind) "Fool!" said the chief, "tho' fleeter than the wind, Couldst thou presume to scape, when I pursue?" He said, and downward by the feet he drew The trembling dastard; at the tug he falls; Vast ruins come along, rent from the smoking walls. Thus on some silver swan, or tim'rous hare, Jove's bird comes sousing down from upper air; Her crooked talons truss the fearful prey: Then out of sight she soars, and wings her way. So seizes the grim wolf the tender lamb, In vain lamented by the bleating dam.
Then rushing onward with a barb'rous cry, The troops of Turnus to the combat fly. The ditch with fagots fill'd, the daring foe Toss'd firebrands to the steepy turrets throw.
Ilioneus, as bold Lucetius came To force the gate, and feed the kindling flame, Roll'd down the fragment of a rock so right, It crush'd him double underneath the weight. Two more young Liger and Asylas slew: To bend the bow young Liger better knew; Asylas best the pointed jav'lin threw. Brave Caeneus laid Ortygius on the plain; The victor Caeneus was by Turnus slain. By the same hand, Clonius and Itys fall, Sagar, and Ida, standing on the wall. From Capys' arms his fate Privernus found: Hurt by Themilla first-but slight the wound- His shield thrown by, to mitigate the smart, He clapp'd his hand upon the wounded part: The second shaft came swift and unespied, And pierc'd his hand, and nail'd it to his side, Transfix'd his breathing lungs and beating heart: The soul came issuing out, and hiss'd against the dart.
The son of Arcens shone amid the rest, In glitt'ring armor and a purple vest, (Fair was his face, his eyes inspiring love,) Bred by his father in the Martian grove, Where the fat altars of Palicus flame, And send in arms to purchase early fame. Him when he spied from far, the Tuscan king Laid by the lance, and took him to the sling, Thrice whirl'd the thong around his head, and threw: The heated lead half melted as it flew; It pierc'd his hollow temples and his brain; The youth came tumbling down, and spurn'd the plain.
Then young Ascanius, who, before this day, Was wont in woods to shoot the savage prey, First bent in martial strife the twanging bow, And exercis'd against a human foe- With this bereft Numanus of his life, Who Turnus' younger sister took to wife. Proud of his realm, and of his royal bride, Vaunting before his troops, and lengthen'd with a stride, In these insulting terms the Trojans he defied:
"Twice-conquer'd cowards, now your shame is shown- Coop'd up a second time within your town! Who dare not issue forth in open field, But hold your walls before you for a shield. Thus threat you war? thus our alliance force? What gods, what madness, hether steer'd your course? You shall not find the sons of Atreus here, Nor need the frauds of sly Ulysses fear. Strong from the cradle, of a sturdy brood, We bear our newborn infants to the flood; There bath'd amid the stream, our boys we hold, With winter harden'd, and inur'd to cold. They wake before the day to range the wood, Kill ere they eat, nor taste unconquer'd food. No sports, but what belong to war, they know: To break the stubborn colt, to bend the bow. Our youth, of labor patient, earn their bread; Hardly they work, with frugal diet fed. From plows and harrows sent to seek renown, They fight in fields, and storm the shaken town. No part of life from toils of war is free, No change in age, or diff'rence in degree. We plow and till in arms; our oxen feel, Instead of goads, the spur and pointed steel; Th' inverted lance makes furrows in the plain. Ev'n time, that changes all, yet changes us in vain: The body, not the mind; nor can control Th' immortal vigor, or abate the soul. Our helms defend the young, disguise the gray: We live by plunder, and delight in prey. Your vests embroider'd with rich purple shine; In sloth you glory, and in dances join. Your vests have sweeping sleeves; with female pride Your turbants underneath your chins are tied. Go, Phrygians, to your Dindymus again! Go, less than women, in the shapes of men! Go, mix'd with eunuchs, in the Mother's rites, Where with unequal sound the flute invites; Sing, dance, and howl, by turns, in Ida's shade: Resign the war to men, who know the martial trade!"
This foul reproach Ascanius could not hear With patience, or a vow'd revenge forbear. At the full stretch of both his hands he drew, And almost join'd the horns of the tough yew. But, first, before the throne of Jove he stood, And thus with lifted hands invok'd the god: "My first attempt, great Jupiter, succeed! An annual off'ring in thy grove shall bleed; A snow-white steer, before thy altar led, Who, like his mother, bears aloft his head, Butts with his threat'ning brows, and bellowing stands, And dares the fight, and spurns the yellow sands."
Jove bow'd the heav'ns, and lent a gracious ear, And thunder'd on the left, amidst the clear. Sounded at once the bow; and swiftly flies The feather'd death, and hisses thro' the skies. The steel thro' both his temples forc'd the way: Extended on the ground, Numanus lay. "Go now, vain boaster, and true valor scorn! The Phrygians, twice subdued, yet make this third return." Ascanius said no more. The Trojans shake The heav'ns with shouting, and new vigor take.
Apollo then bestrode a golden cloud, To view the feats of arms, and fighting crowd; And thus the beardless victor he bespoke aloud: "Advance, illustrious youth, increase in fame, And wide from east to west extend thy name; Offspring of gods thyself; and Rome shall owe To thee a race of demigods below. This is the way to heav'n: the pow'rs divine From this beginning date the Julian line. To thee, to them, and their victorious heirs, The conquer'd war is due, and the vast world is theirs. Troy is too narrow for thy name." He said, And plunging downward shot his radiant head; Dispell'd the breathing air, that broke his flight: Shorn of his beams, a man to mortal sight. Old Butes' form he took, Anchises' squire, Now left, to rule Ascanius, by his sire: His wrinkled visage, and his hoary hairs, His mien, his habit, and his arms, he wears, And thus salutes the boy, too forward for his years: "Suffice it thee, thy father's worthy son, The warlike prize thou hast already won. The god of archers gives thy youth a part Of his own praise, nor envies equal art. Now tempt the war no more." He said, and flew Obscure in air, and vanish'd from their view. The Trojans, by his arms, their patron know, And hear the twanging of his heav'nly bow. Then duteous force they use, and Phoebus' name, To keep from fight the youth too fond of fame. Undaunted, they themselves no danger shun; From wall to wall the shouts and clamors run. 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. The combat thickens, like the storm that flies From westward, when the show'ry Kids arise; Or patt'ring hail comes pouring on the main, When Jupiter descends in harden'd rain, Or bellowing clouds burst with a stormy sound, And with an armed winter strew the ground.
Pand'rus and Bitias, thunderbolts of war, Whom Hiera to bold Alcanor bare On Ida's top, two youths of height and size Like firs that on their mother mountain rise, Presuming on their force, the gates unbar, And of their own accord invite the war. With fates averse, against their king's command, Arm'd, on the right and on the left they stand, And flank the passage: shining steel they wear, And waving crests above their heads appear. Thus two tall oaks, that Padus' banks adorn, Lift up to heav'n their leafy heads unshorn, And, overpress'd with nature's heavy load, Dance to the whistling winds, and at each other nod. In flows a tide of Latians, when they see The gate set open, and the passage free; Bold Quercens, with rash Tmarus, rushing on, Equicolus, that in bright armor shone, And Haemon first; but soon repuls'd they fly, Or in the well-defended pass they die. These with success are fir'd, and those with rage, And each on equal terms at length ingage. Drawn from their lines, and issuing on the plain, The Trojans hand to hand the fight maintain.
Fierce Turnus in another quarter fought, When suddenly th' unhop'd-for news was brought, The foes had left the fastness of their place, Prevail'd in fight, and had his men in chase. He quits th' attack, and, to prevent their fate, Runs where the giant brothers guard the gate. The first he met, Antiphates the brave, But base-begotten on a Theban slave, Sarpedon's son, he slew: the deadly dart Found passage thro' his breast, and pierc'd his heart. Fix'd in the wound th' Italian cornel stood, Warm'd in his lungs, and in his vital blood. Aphidnus next, and Erymanthus dies, And Meropes, and the gigantic size Of Bitias, threat'ning with his ardent eyes. Not by the feeble dart he fell oppress'd (A dart were lost within that roomy breast), But from a knotted lance, large, heavy, strong, Which roar'd like thunder as it whirl'd along: Not two bull hides th' impetuous force withhold, Nor coat of double mail, with scales of gold. Down sunk the monster bulk and press'd the ground; His arms and clatt'ring shield on the vast body sound, Not with less ruin than the Bajan mole, Rais'd on the seas, the surges to control- At once comes tumbling down the rocky wall; Prone to the deep, the stones disjointed fall Of the vast pile; the scatter'd ocean flies; Black sands, discolor'd froth, and mingled mud arise: The frighted billows roll, and seek the shores; Then trembles Prochyta, then Ischia roars: Typhoeus, thrown beneath, by Jove's command, Astonish'd at the flaw that shakes the land, Soon shifts his weary side, and, scarce awake, With wonder feels the weight press lighter on his back.
The warrior god the Latian troops inspir'd, New strung their sinews, and their courage fir'd, But chills the Trojan hearts with cold affright: Then black despair precipitates their flight.
When Pandarus beheld his brother kill'd, The town with fear and wild confusion fill'd, He turns the hinges of the heavy gate With both his hands, and adds his shoulders to the weight Some happier friends within the walls inclos'd; The rest shut out, to certain death expos'd: Fool as he was, and frantic in his care, T' admit young Turnus, and include the war! He thrust amid the crowd, securely bold, Like a fierce tiger pent amid the fold. Too late his blazing buckler they descry, And sparkling fires that shot from either eye, His mighty members, and his ample breast, His rattling armor, and his crimson crest.
Far from that hated face the Trojans fly, All but the fool who sought his destiny. Mad Pandarus steps forth, with vengeance vow'd For Bitias' death, and threatens thus aloud: "These are not Ardea's walls, nor this the town Amata proffers with Lavinia's crown: 'T is hostile earth you tread. Of hope bereft, No means of safe return by flight are left." To whom, with count'nance calm, and soul sedate, Thus Turnus: "Then begin, and try thy fate: My message to the ghost of Priam bear; Tell him a new Achilles sent thee there."
A lance of tough ground ash the Trojan threw, Rough in the rind, and knotted as it grew: With his full force he whirl'd it first around; But the soft yielding air receiv'd the wound: Imperial Juno turn'd the course before, And fix'd the wand'ring weapon in the door.
"But hope not thou," said Turnus, "when I strike, To shun thy fate: our force is not alike, Nor thy steel temper'd by the Lemnian god." Then rising, on his utmost stretch he stood, And aim'd from high: the full descending blow Cleaves the broad front and beardless cheeks in two. Down sinks the giant with a thund'ring sound: His pond'rous limbs oppress the trembling ground; Blood, brains, and foam gush from the gaping wound: Scalp, face, and shoulders the keen steel divides, And the shar'd visage hangs on equal sides. The Trojans fly from their approaching fate; And, had the victor then secur'd the gate, And to his troops without unclos'd the bars, One lucky day had ended all his wars. But boiling youth, and blind desire of blood, Push'd on his fury, to pursue the crowd. Hamstring'd behind, unhappy Gyges died; Then Phalaris is added to his side. The pointed jav'lins from the dead he drew, And their friends' arms against their fellows threw. Strong Halys stands in vain; weak Phlegys flies; Saturnia, still at hand, new force and fire supplies. Then Halius, Prytanis, Alcander fall- Ingag'd against the foes who scal'd the wall: But, whom they fear'd without, they found within. At last, tho' late, by Lynceus he was seen. He calls new succors, and assaults the prince: But weak his force, and vain is their defense. Turn'd to the right, his sword the hero drew, And at one blow the bold aggressor slew. He joints the neck; and, with a stroke so strong, The helm flies off, and bears the head along. Next him, the huntsman Amycus he kill'd, In darts invenom'd and in poison skill'd. Then Clytius fell beneath his fatal spear, And Creteus, whom the Muses held so dear: He fought with courage, and he sung the fight; Arms were his bus'ness, verses his delight.
The Trojan chiefs behold, with rage and grief, Their slaughter'd friends, and hasten their relief. Bold Mnestheus rallies first the broken train, Whom brave Seresthus and his troop sustain. To save the living, and revenge the dead, Against one warrior's arms all Troy they led. "O, void of sense and courage!" Mnestheus cried, "Where can you hope your coward heads to hide? Ah! where beyond these rampires can you run? One man, and in your camp inclos'd, you shun! Shall then a single sword such slaughter boast, And pass unpunish'd from a num'rous host? Forsaking honor, and renouncing fame, Your gods, your country, and your king you shame!" This just reproach their virtue does excite: They stand, they join, they thicken to the fight.
Now Turnus doubts, and yet disdains to yield, But with slow paces measures back the field, And inches to the walls, where Tiber's tide, Washing the camp, defends the weaker side. The more he loses, they advance the more, And tread in ev'ry step he trod before. They shout: they bear him back; and, whom by might They cannot conquer, they oppress with weight.
As, compass'd with a wood of spears around, The lordly lion still maintains his ground; Grins horrible, retires, and turns again; Threats his distended paws, and shakes his mane; He loses while in vain he presses on, Nor will his courage let him dare to run: So Turnus fares, and, unresolved of flight, Moves tardy back, and just recedes from fight. Yet twice, inrag'd, the combat he renews, Twice breaks, and twice his broken foes pursues. But now they swarm, and, with fresh troops supplied, Come rolling on, and rush from ev'ry side: Nor Juno, who sustain'd his arms before, Dares with new strength suffice th' exhausted store; For Jove, with sour commands, sent Iris down, To force th' invader from the frighted town.
With labor spent, no longer can he wield The heavy fanchion, or sustain the shield, O'erwhelm'd with darts, which from afar they fling: The weapons round his hollow temples ring; His golden helm gives way, with stony blows Batter'd, and flat, and beaten to his brows. His crest is rash'd away; his ample shield Is falsified, and round with jav'lins fill'd.
The foe, now faint, the Trojans overwhelm; And Mnestheus lays hard load upon his helm. Sick sweat succeeds; he drops at ev'ry pore; With driving dust his cheeks are pasted o'er; Shorter and shorter ev'ry gasp he takes; And vain efforts and hurtless blows he makes. Plung'd in the flood, and made the waters fly. The yellow god the welcome burthen bore, And wip'd the sweat, and wash'd away the gore; Then gently wafts him to the farther coast, And sends him safe to cheer his anxious host.
The gates of heav'n unfold: Jove summons all The gods to council in the common hall. Sublimely seated, he surveys from far The fields, the camp, the fortune of the war, And all th' inferior world. From first to last, The sov'reign senate in degrees are plac'd.
Then thus th' almighty sire began: "Ye gods, Natives or denizens of blest abodes, From whence these murmurs, and this change of mind, This backward fate from what was first design'd? Why this protracted war, when my commands Pronounc'd a peace, and gave the Latian lands? What fear or hope on either part divides Our heav'ns, and arms our powers on diff'rent sides? A lawful time of war at length will come, (Nor need your haste anticipate the doom), When Carthage shall contend the world with Rome, Shall force the rigid rocks and Alpine chains, And, like a flood, come pouring on the plains. Then is your time for faction and debate, For partial favor, and permitted hate. Let now your immature dissension cease; Sit quiet, and compose your souls to peace."
Thus Jupiter in few unfolds the charge; But lovely Venus thus replies at large: "O pow'r immense, eternal energy, (For to what else protection can we fly?) Seest thou the proud Rutulians, how they dare In fields, unpunish'd, and insult my care? How lofty Turnus vaunts amidst his train, In shining arms, triumphant on the plain? Ev'n in their lines and trenches they contend, And scarce their walls the Trojan troops defend: The town is fill'd with slaughter, and o'erfloats, With a red deluge, their increasing moats. Aeneas, ignorant, and far from thence, Has left a camp expos'd, without defense. This endless outrage shall they still sustain? Shall Troy renew'd be forc'd and fir'd again? A second siege my banish'd issue fears, And a new Diomede in arms appears. One more audacious mortal will be found; And I, thy daughter, wait another wound. Yet, if with fates averse, without thy leave, The Latian lands my progeny receive, Bear they the pains of violated law, And thy protection from their aid withdraw. But, if the gods their sure success foretell; If those of heav'n consent with those of hell, To promise Italy; who dare debate The pow'r of Jove, or fix another fate? What should I tell of tempests on the main, Of Aeolus usurping Neptune's reign? Of Iris sent, with Bacchanalian heat T' inspire the matrons, and destroy the fleet? Now Juno to the Stygian sky descends, Solicits hell for aid, and arms the fiends. That new example wanted yet above: An act that well became the wife of Jove! Alecto, rais'd by her, with rage inflames The peaceful bosoms of the Latian dames. Imperial sway no more exalts my mind; (Such hopes I had indeed, while Heav'n was kind;) Now let my happier foes possess my place, Whom Jove prefers before the Trojan race; And conquer they, whom you with conquest grace. Since you can spare, from all your wide command, No spot of earth, no hospitable land, Which may my wand'ring fugitives receive; (Since haughty Juno will not give you leave;) Then, father, (if I still may use that name,) By ruin'd Troy, yet smoking from the flame, I beg you, let Ascanius, by my care, Be freed from danger, and dismiss'd the war: Inglorious let him live, without a crown. The father may be cast on coasts unknown, Struggling with fate; but let me save the son. Mine is Cythera, mine the Cyprian tow'rs: In those recesses, and those sacred bow'rs, Obscurely let him rest; his right resign To promis'd empire, and his Julian line. Then Carthage may th' Ausonian towns destroy, Nor fear the race of a rejected boy. What profits it my son to scape the fire, Arm'd with his gods, and loaded with his sire; To pass the perils of the seas and wind; Evade the Greeks, and leave the war behind; To reach th' Italian shores; if, after all, Our second Pergamus is doom'd to fall? Much better had he curb'd his high desires, And hover'd o'er his ill-extinguish'd fires. To Simois' banks the fugitives restore, And give them back to war, and all the woes before."
Deep indignation swell'd Saturnia's heart: "And must I own," she said, "my secret smart- What with more decence were in silence kept, And, but for this unjust reproach, had slept? Did god or man your fav'rite son advise, With war unhop'd the Latians to surprise? By fate, you boast, and by the gods' decree, He left his native land for Italy! Confess the truth; by mad Cassandra, more Than Heav'n inspir'd, he sought a foreign shore! Did I persuade to trust his second Troy To the raw conduct of a beardless boy, With walls unfinish'd, which himself forsakes, And thro' the waves a wand'ring voyage takes? When have I urg'd him meanly to demand The Tuscan aid, and arm a quiet land? Did I or Iris give this mad advice, Or made the fool himself the fatal choice? You think it hard, the Latians should destroy With swords your Trojans, and with fires your Troy! Hard and unjust indeed, for men to draw Their native air, nor take a foreign law! That Turnus is permitted still to live, To whom his birth a god and goddess give! But yet is just and lawful for your line To drive their fields, and force with fraud to join; Realms, not your own, among your clans divide, And from the bridegroom tear the promis'd bride; Petition, while you public arms prepare; Pretend a peace, and yet provoke a war! 'T was giv'n to you, your darling son to shroud, To draw the dastard from the fighting crowd, And, for a man, obtend an empty cloud. From flaming fleets you turn'd the fire away, And chang'd the ships to daughters of the sea. But is my crime- the Queen of Heav'n offends, If she presume to save her suff'ring friends! Your son, not knowing what his foes decree, You say, is absent: absent let him be. Yours is Cythera, yours the Cyprian tow'rs, The soft recesses, and the sacred bow'rs. Why do you then these needless arms prepare, And thus provoke a people prone to war? Did I with fire the Trojan town deface, Or hinder from return your exil'd race? Was I the cause of mischief, or the man Whose lawless lust the fatal war began? Think on whose faith th' adult'rous youth relied; Who promis'd, who procur'd, the Spartan bride? When all th' united states of Greece combin'd, To purge the world of the perfidious kind, Then was your time to fear the Trojan fate: Your quarrels and complaints are now too late."
Thus Juno. Murmurs rise, with mix'd applause, Just as they favor or dislike the cause. So winds, when yet unfledg'd in woods they lie, In whispers first their tender voices try, Then issue on the main with bellowing rage, And storms to trembling mariners presage.
Then thus to both replied th' imperial god, Who shakes heav'n's axles with his awful nod. (When he begins, the silent senate stand With rev'rence, list'ning to the dread command: The clouds dispel; the winds their breath restrain; And the hush'd waves lie flatted on the main.) "Celestials, your attentive ears incline! Since," said the god, "the Trojans must not join In wish'd alliance with the Latian line; Since endless jarrings and immortal hate Tend but to discompose our happy state; The war henceforward be resign'd to fate: Each to his proper fortune stand or fall; Equal and unconcern'd I look on all. Rutulians, Trojans, are the same to me; And both shall draw the lots their fates decree. Let these assault, if Fortune be their friend; And, if she favors those, let those defend: The Fates will find their way." The Thund'rer said, And shook the sacred honors of his head, Attesting Styx, th' inviolable flood, And the black regions of his brother god. Trembled the poles of heav'n, and earth confess'd the nod. This end the sessions had: the senate rise, And to his palace wait their sov'reign thro' the skies.
Meantime, intent upon their siege, the foes Within their walls the Trojan host inclose: They wound, they kill, they watch at ev'ry gate; Renew the fires, and urge their happy fate.
Th' Aeneans wish in vain their wanted chief, Hopeless of flight, more hopeless of relief. Thin on the tow'rs they stand; and ev'n those few A feeble, fainting, and dejected crew. Yet in the face of danger some there stood: The two bold brothers of Sarpedon's blood, Asius and Acmon; both th' Assaraci; Young Haemon, and tho' young, resolv'd to die. With these were Clarus and Thymoetes join'd; Tibris and Castor, both of Lycian kind. From Acmon's hands a rolling stone there came, So large, it half deserv'd a mountain's name: Strong-sinew'd was the youth, and big of bone; His brother Mnestheus could not more have done, Or the great father of th' intrepid son. Some firebrands throw, some flights of arrows send; And some with darts, and some with stones defend.
Amid the press appears the beauteous boy, The care of Venus, and the hope of Troy. His lovely face unarm'd, his head was bare; In ringlets o'er his shoulders hung his hair. His forehead circled with a diadem; Distinguish'd from the crowd, he shines a gem, Enchas'd in gold, or polish'd iv'ry set, Amidst the meaner foil of sable jet.
Nor Ismarus was wanting to the war, Directing pointed arrows from afar, And death with poison arm'd- in Lydia born, Where plenteous harvests the fat fields adorn; Where proud Pactolus floats the fruitful lands, And leaves a rich manure of golden sands. There Capys, author of the Capuan name, And there was Mnestheus too, increas'd in fame, Since Turnus from the camp he cast with shame.
Thus mortal war was wag'd on either side. Meantime the hero cuts the nightly tide: For, anxious, from Evander when he went, He sought the Tyrrhene camp, and Tarchon's tent; Expos'd the cause of coming to the chief; His name and country told, and ask'd relief; Propos'd the terms; his own small strength declar'd; What vengeance proud Mezentius had prepar'd: What Turnus, bold and violent, design'd; Then shew'd the slipp'ry state of humankind, And fickle fortune; warn'd him to beware, And to his wholesome counsel added pray'r. Tarchon, without delay, the treaty signs, And to the Trojan troops the Tuscan joins.
They soon set sail; nor now the fates withstand; Their forces trusted with a foreign hand. Aeneas leads; upon his stern appear Two lions carv'd, which rising Ida bear- Ida, to wand'ring Trojans ever dear. Under their grateful shade Aeneas sate, Revolving war's events, and various fate. His left young Pallas kept, fix'd to his side, And oft of winds enquir'd, and of the tide; Oft of the stars, and of their wat'ry way; And what he suffer'd both by land and sea.
Now, sacred sisters, open all your spring! The Tuscan leaders, and their army sing, Which follow'd great Aeneas to the war: Their arms, their numbers, and their names declare.
A thousand youths brave Massicus obey, Borne in the Tiger thro' the foaming sea; From Asium brought, and Cosa, by his care: For arms, light quivers, bows and shafts, they bear. Fierce Abas next: his men bright armor wore; His stern Apollo's golden statue bore. Six hundred Populonia sent along, All skill'd in martial exercise, and strong. Three hundred more for battle Ilva joins, An isle renown'd for steel, and unexhausted mines. Asylas on his prow the third appears, Who heav'n interprets, and the wand'ring stars; From offer'd entrails prodigies expounds, And peals of thunder, with presaging sounds. A thousand spears in warlike order stand, Sent by the Pisans under his command.
Fair Astur follows in the wat'ry field, Proud of his manag'd horse and painted shield. Gravisca, noisome from the neighb'ring fen, And his own Caere, sent three hundred men; With those which Minio's fields and Pyrgi gave, All bred in arms, unanimous, and brave.
Thou, Muse, the name of Cinyras renew, And brave Cupavo follow'd but by few; Whose helm confess'd the lineage of the man, And bore, with wings display'd, a silver swan. Love was the fault of his fam'd ancestry, Whose forms and fortunes in his ensigns fly. For Cycnus lov'd unhappy Phaeton, And sung his loss in poplar groves, alone, Beneath the sister shades, to soothe his grief. Heav'n heard his song, and hasten'd his relief, And chang'd to snowy plumes his hoary hair, And wing'd his flight, to chant aloft in air. His son Cupavo brush'd the briny flood: Upon his stern a brawny Centaur stood, Who heav'd a rock, and, threat'ning still to throw, With lifted hands alarm'd the seas below: They seem'd to fear the formidable sight, And roll'd their billows on, to speed his flight.
Ocnus was next, who led his native train Of hardy warriors thro' the wat'ry plain: The son of Manto by the Tuscan stream, From whence the Mantuan town derives the name- An ancient city, but of mix'd descent: Three sev'ral tribes compose the government; Four towns are under each; but all obey The Mantuan laws, and own the Tuscan sway.
Hate to Mezentius arm'd five hundred more, Whom Mincius from his sire Benacus bore: Mincius, with wreaths of reeds his forehead cover'd o'er. These grave Auletes leads: a hundred sweep With stretching oars at once the glassy deep. Him and his martial train the Triton bears; High on his poop the sea-green god appears: Frowning he seems his crooked shell to sound, And at the blast the billows dance around. A hairy man above the waist he shows; A porpoise tail beneath his belly grows; And ends a fish: his breast the waves divides, And froth and foam augment the murm'ring tides.
Full thirty ships transport the chosen train For Troy's relief, and scour the briny main.
Now was the world forsaken by the sun, And Phoebe half her nightly race had run. The careful chief, who never clos'd his eyes, Himself the rudder holds, the sails supplies. A choir of Nereids meet him on the flood, Once his own galleys, hewn from Ida's wood; But now, as many nymphs, the sea they sweep, As rode, before, tall vessels on the deep. They know him from afar; and in a ring Inclose the ship that bore the Trojan king. Cymodoce, whose voice excell'd the rest, Above the waves advanc'd her snowy breast; Her right hand stops the stern; her left divides The curling ocean, and corrects the tides. She spoke for all the choir, and thus began With pleasing words to warn th' unknowing man: "Sleeps our lov'd lord? O goddess-born, awake! Spread ev'ry sail, pursue your wat'ry track, And haste your course. Your navy once were we, From Ida's height descending to the sea; Till Turnus, as at anchor fix'd we stood, Presum'd to violate our holy wood. Then, loos'd from shore, we fled his fires profane (Unwillingly we broke our master's chain), And since have sought you thro' the Tuscan main. The mighty Mother chang'd our forms to these, And gave us life immortal in the seas. But young Ascanius, in his camp distress'd, By your insulting foes is hardly press'd. Th' Arcadian horsemen, and Etrurian host, Advance in order on the Latian coast: To cut their way the Daunian chief designs, Before their troops can reach the Trojan lines. Thou, when the rosy morn restores the light, First arm thy soldiers for th' ensuing fight: Thyself the fated sword of Vulcan wield, And bear aloft th' impenetrable shield. To-morrow's sun, unless my skill be vain, Shall see huge heaps of foes in battle slain." Parting, she spoke; and with immortal force Push'd on the vessel in her wat'ry course; For well she knew the way. Impell'd behind, The ship flew forward, and outstripp'd the wind. The rest make up. Unknowing of the cause, The chief admires their speed, and happy omens draws.
Then thus he pray'd, and fix'd on heav'n his eyes: "Hear thou, great Mother of the deities. With turrets crown'd! (on Ida's holy hill Fierce tigers, rein'd and curb'd, obey thy will.) Firm thy own omens; lead us on to fight; And let thy Phrygians conquer in thy right."
He said no more. And now renewing day Had chas'd the shadows of the night away. He charg'd the soldiers, with preventing care, Their flags to follow, and their arms prepare; Warn'd of th' ensuing fight, and bade 'em hope the war. Now, his lofty poop, he view'd below His camp incompass'd, and th' inclosing foe. His blazing shield, imbrac'd, he held on high; The camp receive the sign, and with loud shouts reply. Hope arms their courage: from their tow'rs they throw Their darts with double force, and drive the foe. Thus, at the signal giv'n, the cranes arise Before the stormy south, and blacken all the skies.
King Turnus wonder'd at the fight renew'd, Till, looking back, the Trojan fleet he view'd, The seas with swelling canvas cover'd o'er, And the swift ships descending on the shore. The Latians saw from far, with dazzled eyes, The radiant crest that seem'd in flames to rise, And dart diffusive fires around the field, And the keen glitt'ring the golden shield. Thus threat'ning comets, when by night they rise, Shoot sanguine streams, and sadden all the skies: So Sirius, flashing forth sinister lights, Pale humankind with plagues and with dry famine fright:
Yet Turnus with undaunted mind is bent To man the shores, and hinder their descent, And thus awakes the courage of his friends: "What you so long have wish'd, kind Fortune sends; In ardent arms to meet th' invading foe: You find, and find him at advantage now. Yours is the day: you need but only dare; Your swords will make you masters of the war. Your sires, your sons, your houses, and your lands, And dearest wifes, are all within your hands. Be mindful of the race from whence you came, And emulate in arms your fathers' fame. Now take the time, while stagg'ring yet they stand With feet unfirm, and prepossess the strand: Fortune befriends the bold." Nor more he said, But balanc'd whom to leave, and whom to lead; Then these elects, the landing to prevent; And those he leaves, to keep the city pent.
Meantime the Trojan sends his troops ashore: Some are by boats expos'd, by bridges more. With lab'ring oars they bear along the strand, Where the tide languishes, and leap aland. Tarchon observes the coast with careful eyes, And, where no ford he finds, no water fries, Nor billows with unequal murmurs roar, But smoothly slide along, and swell the shore, That course he steer'd, and thus he gave command: "Here ply your oars, and at all hazard land: Force on the vessel, that her keel may wound This hated soil, and furrow hostile ground. Let me securely land- I ask no more; Then sink my ships, or shatter on the shore."
This fiery speech inflames his fearful friends: They tug at ev'ry oar, and ev'ry stretcher bends; They run their ships aground; the vessels knock, (Thus forc'd ashore,) and tremble with the shock. Tarchon's alone was lost, that stranded stood, Stuck on a bank, and beaten by the flood: She breaks her back; the loosen'd sides give way, And plunge the Tuscan soldiers in the sea. Their broken oars and floating planks withstand Their passage, while they labor to the land, And ebbing tides bear back upon th' uncertain sand.
Now Turnus leads his troops without delay, Advancing to the margin of the sea. The trumpets sound: Aeneas first assail'd The clowns new-rais'd and raw, and soon prevail'd. Great Theron fell, an omen of the fight; Great Theron, large of limbs, of giant height. He first in open field defied the prince: But armor scal'd with gold was no defense Against the fated sword, which open'd wide His plated shield, and pierc'd his naked side. Next, Lichas fell, who, not like others born, Was from his wretched mother ripp'd and torn; Sacred, O Phoebus, from his birth to thee; For his beginning life from biting steel was free. Not far from him was Gyas laid along, Of monstrous bulk; with Cisseus fierce and strong: Vain bulk and strength! for, when the chief assail'd, Nor valor nor Herculean arms avail'd, Nor their fam'd father, wont in war to go With great Alcides, while he toil'd below. The noisy Pharos next receiv'd his death: Aeneas writh'd his dart, and stopp'd his bawling breath. Then wretched Cydon had receiv'd his doom, Who courted Clytius in his beardless bloom, And sought with lust obscene polluted joys: The Trojan sword had curd his love of boys, Had not his sev'n bold brethren stopp'd the course Of the fierce champions, with united force. Sev'n darts were thrown at once; and some rebound From his bright shield, some on his helmet sound: The rest had reach'd him; but his mother's care Prevented those, and turn'd aside in air.
The prince then call'd Achates, to supply The spears that knew the way to victory- "Those fatal weapons, which, inur'd 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." He said; then seiz'd a mighty spear, and threw; Which, wing'd with fate, thro' Maeon's buckler flew, Pierc'd all the brazen plates, and reach'd his heart: He stagger'd with intolerable smart. Alcanor saw; and reach'd, but reach'd in vain, His helping hand, his brother to sustain. A second spear, which kept the former course, From the same hand, and sent with equal force, His right arm pierc'd, and holding on, bereft His use of both, and pinion'd down his left. Then Numitor from his dead brother drew Th' ill-omen'd spear, and at the Trojan threw: Preventing fate directs the lance awry, Which, glancing, only mark'd Achates' thigh.
In pride of youth the Sabine Clausus came, And, from afar, at Dryops took his aim. The spear flew hissing thro' the middle space, And pierc'd his throat, directed at his face; It stopp'd at once the passage of his wind, And the free soul to flitting air resign'd: His forehead was the first that struck the ground; Lifeblood and life rush'd mingled thro' the wound. He slew three brothers of the Borean race, And three, whom Ismarus, their native place, Had sent to war, but all the sons of Thrace. Halesus, next, the bold Aurunci leads: The son of Neptune to his aid succeeds, Conspicuous on his horse. On either hand, These fight to keep, and those to win, the land. With mutual blood th' Ausonian soil is dyed, While on its borders each their claim decide. As wintry winds, contending in the sky, With equal force of lungs their titles try: They rage, they roar; the doubtful rack of heav'n Stands without motion, and the tide undriv'n: Each bent to conquer, neither side to yield, They long suspend the fortune of the field. Both armies thus perform what courage can; Foot set to foot, and mingled man to man.
But, in another part, th' Arcadian horse With ill success ingage the Latin force: For, where th' impetuous torrent, rushing down, Huge craggy stones and rooted trees had thrown, They left their coursers, and, unus'd to fight On foot, were scatter'd in a shameful flight. Pallas, who with disdain and grief had view'd His foes pursuing, and his friends pursued, Us'd threat'nings mix'd with pray'rs, his last resource, With these to move their minds, with those to fire their force "Which way, companions? whether would you run? By you yourselves, and mighty battles won, By my great sire, by his establish'd name, And early promise of my future fame; By my youth, emulous of equal right To share his honors- shun ignoble flight! Trust not your feet: your hands must hew way Thro' yon black body, and that thick array: 'T is thro' that forward path that we must come; There lies our way, and that our passage home. Nor pow'rs above, nor destinies below Oppress our arms: with equal strength we go, With mortal hands to meet a mortal foe. See on what foot we stand: a scanty shore, The sea behind, our enemies before; No passage left, unless we swim the main; Or, forcing these, the Trojan trenches gain." This said, he strode with eager haste along, And bore amidst the thickest of the throng. Lagus, the first he met, with fate to foe, Had heav'd a stone of mighty weight, to throw: Stooping, the spear descended on his chine, Just where the bone distinguished either loin: It stuck so fast, so deeply buried lay, That scarce the victor forc'd the steel away. Hisbon came on: but, while he mov'd too slow To wish'd revenge, the prince prevents his blow; For, warding his at once, at once he press'd, And plung'd the fatal weapon in his breast. Then lewd Anchemolus he laid in dust, Who stain'd his stepdam's bed with impious lust. And, after him, the Daucian twins were slain, Laris and Thymbrus, on the Latian plain; So wondrous like in feature, shape, and size, As caus'd an error in their parents' eyes- Grateful mistake! but soon the sword decides The nice distinction, and their fate divides: For Thymbrus' head was lopp'd; and Laris' hand, Dismember'd, sought its owner on the strand: The trembling fingers yet the fauchion strain, And threaten still th' intended stroke in vain.
Now, to renew the charge, th' Arcadians came: Sight of such acts, and sense of honest shame, And grief, with anger mix'd, their minds inflame. Then, with a casual blow was Rhoeteus slain, Who chanc'd, as Pallas threw, to cross the plain: The flying spear was after Ilus sent; But Rhoeteus happen'd on a death unmeant: From Teuthras and from Tyres while he fled, The lance, athwart his body, laid him dead: Roll'd from his chariot with a mortal wound, And intercepted fate, he spurn'd the ground. As when, in summer, welcome winds arise, The watchful shepherd to the forest flies, And fires the midmost plants; contagion spreads, And catching flames infect the neighb'ring heads; Around the forest flies the furious blast, And all the leafy nation sinks at last, And Vulcan rides in triumph o'er the waste; The pastor, pleas'd with his dire victory, Beholds the satiate flames in sheets ascend the sky: So Pallas' troops their scatter'd strength unite, And, pouring on their foes, their prince delight.
Halesus came, fierce with desire of blood; But first collected in his arms he stood: Advancing then, he plied the spear so well, Ladon, Demodocus, and Pheres fell. Around his head he toss'd his glitt'ring brand, And from Strymonius hew'd his better hand, Held up to guard his throat; then hurl'd a stone At Thoas' ample front, and pierc'd the bone: It struck beneath the space of either eye; And blood, and mingled brains, together fly. Deep skill'd in future fates, Halesus' sire Did with the youth to lonely groves retire: But, when the father's mortal race was run, Dire destiny laid hold upon the son, And haul'd him to the war, to find, beneath Th' Evandrian spear, a memorable death. Pallas th' encounter seeks, but, ere he throws, To Tuscan Tiber thus address'd his vows: "O sacred stream, direct my flying dart, And give to pass the proud Halesus' heart! His arms and spoils thy holy oak shall bear." Pleas'd with the bribe, the god receiv'd his pray'r: For, while his shield protects a friend distress'd, The dart came driving on, and pierc'd his breast.
But Lausus, no small portion of the war, Permits not panic fear to reign too far, Caus'd by the death of so renown'd a knight; But by his own example cheers the fight. Fierce Abas first he slew; Abas, the stay Of Trojan hopes, and hindrance of the day. The Phrygian troops escap'd the Greeks in vain: They, and their mix'd allies, now load the plain. To the rude shock of war both armies came; Their leaders equal, and their strength the same. The rear so press'd the front, they could not wield Their angry weapons, to dispute the field. Here Pallas urges on, and Lausus there: Of equal youth and beauty both appear, But both by fate forbid to breathe their native air. Their congress in the field great Jove withstands: Both doom'd to fall, but fall by greater hands.