Meantime Juturna warns the Daunian chief Of Lausus' danger, urging swift relief. With his driv'n chariot he divides the crowd, And, making to his friends, thus calls aloud: "Let none presume his needless aid to join; Retire, and clear the field; the fight is mine: To this right hand is Pallas only due; O were his father here, my just revenge to view!" From the forbidden space his men retir'd. Pallas their awe, and his stern words, admir'd; Survey'd him o'er and o'er with wond'ring sight, Struck with his haughty mien, and tow'ring height. Then to the king: "Your empty vaunts forbear; Success I hope, and fate I cannot fear; Alive or dead, I shall deserve a name; Jove is impartial, and to both the same." He said, and to the void advanc'd his pace: Pale horror sate on each Arcadian face. Then Turnus, from his chariot leaping light, Address'd himself on foot to single fight. 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.
Young Pallas, when he saw the chief advance Within due distance of his flying lance, Prepares to charge him first, resolv'd to try If fortune would his want of force supply; And thus to Heav'n and Hercules address'd: "Alcides, once on earth Evander's guest, His son adjures you by those holy rites, That hospitable board, those genial nights; Assist my great attempt to gain this prize, And let proud Turnus view, with dying eyes, His ravish'd spoils." 'T was heard, the vain request; Alcides mourn'd, and stifled sighs within his breast. Then Jove, to soothe his sorrow, thus began: "Short bounds of life are set to mortal man. 'T is virtue's work alone to stretch the narrow span. So many sons of gods, in bloody fight, Around the walls of Troy, have lost the light: My own Sarpedon fell beneath his foe; Nor I, his mighty sire, could ward the blow. Ev'n Turnus shortly shall resign his breath, And stands already on the verge of death." This said, the god permits the fatal fight, But from the Latian fields averts his sight.
Now with full force his spear young Pallas threw, And, having thrown, his shining fauchion drew The steel just graz'd along the shoulder joint, And mark'd it slightly with the glancing point, Fierce Turnus first to nearer distance drew, And pois'd his pointed spear, before he threw: Then, as the winged weapon whizz'd along, "See now," said he, "whose arm is better strung." The spear kept on the fatal course, unstay'd By plates of ir'n, which o'er the shield were laid: Thro' folded brass and tough bull hides it pass'd, His corslet pierc'd, and reach'd his heart at last. In vain the youth tugs at the broken wood; The soul comes issuing with the vital blood: He falls; his arms upon his body sound; And with his bloody teeth he bites the ground.
Turnus bestrode the corpse: "Arcadians, hear," Said he; "my message to your master bear: Such as the sire deserv'd, the son I send; It costs him dear to be the Phrygians' friend. The lifeless body, tell him, I bestow, Unask'd, to rest his wand'ring ghost below." He said, and trampled down with all the force Of his left foot, and spurn'd the wretched corse; Then snatch'd the shining belt, with gold inlaid; The belt Eurytion's artful hands had made, Where fifty fatal brides, express'd to sight, All in the compass of one mournful night, Depriv'd their bridegrooms of returning light.
In an ill hour insulting Turnus tore Those golden spoils, and in a worse he wore. 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 untouch'd the trophies of the slain; Shall wish the fatal belt were far away, And curse the dire remembrance of the day.
The sad Arcadians, from th' unhappy field, Bear back the breathless body on a shield. O grace and grief of war! at once restor'd, With praises, to thy sire, at once deplor'd! One day first sent thee to the fighting field, Beheld whole heaps of foes in battle kill'd; One day beheld thee dead, and borne upon thy shield. This dismal news, not from uncertain fame, But sad spectators, to the hero came: His friends upon the brink of ruin stand, Unless reliev'd by his victorious hand. He whirls his sword around, without delay, And hews thro' adverse foes an ample way, To find fierce Turnus, of his conquest proud: Evander, Pallas, all that friendship ow'd To large deserts, are present to his eyes; His plighted hand, and hospitable ties.
Four sons of Sulmo, four whom Ufens bred, He took in fight, and living victims led, To please the ghost of Pallas, and expire, In sacrifice, before his fun'ral fire. At Magus next he threw: he stoop'd below The flying spear, and shunn'd the promis'd blow; Then, creeping, clasp'd the hero's knees, and pray'd: "By young Iulus, by thy father's shade, O spare my life, and send me back to see My longing sire, and tender progeny! A lofty house I have, and wealth untold, In silver ingots, and in bars of gold: All these, and sums besides, which see no day, The ransom of this one poor life shall pay. If I survive, will Troy the less prevail? A single soul's too light to turn the scale." He said. The hero sternly thus replied: "Thy bars and ingots, and the sums beside, Leave for thy children's lot. Thy Turnus broke All rules of war by one relentless stroke, When Pallas fell: so deems, nor deems alone My father's shadow, but my living son." Thus having said, of kind remorse bereft, He seiz'd his helm, and dragg'd him with his left; Then with his right hand, while his neck he wreath'd, Up to the hilts his shining fauchion sheath'd.
Apollo's priest, Emonides, was near; His holy fillets on his front appear; Glitt'ring in arms, he shone amidst the crowd; Much of his god, more of his purple, proud. Him the fierce Trojan follow'd thro' the field: The holy coward fell; and, forc'd to yield, The prince stood o'er the priest, and, at one blow, Sent him an off'ring to the shades below. His arms Seresthus on his shoulders bears, Design'd a trophy to the God of Wars.
Vulcanian Caeculus renews the fight, And Umbro, born upon the mountains' height. The champion cheers his troops t' encounter those, And seeks revenge himself on other foes. At Anxur's shield he drove; and, at the blow, Both shield and arm to ground together go. Anxur had boasted much of magic charms, And thought he wore impenetrable arms, So made by mutter'd spells; and, from the spheres, Had life secur'd, in vain, for length of years. Then Tarquitus the field triumph trod; A nymph his mother, his sire a god. Exulting in bright arms, he braves the prince: With his protended lance he makes defense; Bears back his feeble foe; then, pressing on, Arrests his better hand, and drags him down; Stands o'er the prostrate wretch, and, as he lay, Vain tales inventing, and prepar'd to pray, Mows off his head: the trunk a moment stood, Then sunk, and roll'd along the sand in blood. The vengeful victor thus upbraids the slain: "Lie there, proud man, unpitied, on the plain; Lie there, inglorious, and without a tomb, Far from thy mother and thy native home, Exposed to savage beasts, and birds of prey, Or thrown for food to monsters of the sea."
On Lycas and Antaeus next he ran, Two chiefs of Turnus, and who led his van. They fled for fear; with these, he chas'd along Camers the yellow-lock'd, and Numa strong; Both great in arms, and both were fair and young. Camers was son to Volscens lately slain, In wealth surpassing all the Latian train, And in Amycla fix'd his silent easy reign. And, as Aegaeon, when with heav'n he strove, Stood opposite in arms to mighty Jove; Mov'd all his hundred hands, provok'd the war, Defied the forky lightning from afar; At fifty mouths his flaming breath expires, And flash for flash returns, and fires for fires; In his right hand as many swords he wields, And takes the thunder on as many shields: With strength like his, the Trojan hero stood; And soon the fields with falling corps were strow'd, When once his fauchion found the taste of blood. With fury scarce to be conceiv'd, he flew Against Niphaeus, whom four coursers drew. They, when they see the fiery chief advance, And pushing at their chests his pointed lance, Wheel'd with so swift a motion, mad with fear, They threw their master headlong from the chair. They stare, they start, nor stop their course, before They bear the bounding chariot to the shore.
Now Lucagus and Liger scour the plains, With two white steeds; but Liger holds the reins, And Lucagus the lofty seat maintains: Bold brethren both. The former wav'd in air His flaming sword: Aeneas couch'd his spear, Unus'd to threats, and more unus'd to fear. Then Liger thus: "Thy confidence is vain To scape from hence, as from the Trojan plain: Nor these the steeds which Diomede bestrode, Nor this the chariot where Achilles rode; Nor Venus' veil is here, near Neptune's shield; Thy fatal hour is come, and this the field." Thus Liger vainly vaunts: the Trojan Return'd his answer with his flying spear. As Lucagus, to lash his horses, bends, Prone to the wheels, and his left foot protends, Prepar'd for fight; the fatal dart arrives, And thro' the borders of his buckler drives; Pass'd thro' and pierc'd his groin: the deadly wound, Cast from his chariot, roll'd him on the ground. Whom thus the chief upbraids with scornful spite: "Blame not the slowness of your steeds in flight; Vain shadows did not force their swift retreat; But you yourself forsake your empty seat." He said, and seiz'd at once the loosen'd rein; For Liger lay already on the plain, By the same shock: then, stretching out his hands, The recreant thus his wretched life demands: "Now, by thyself, O more than mortal man! By her and him from whom thy breath began, Who form'd thee thus divine, I beg thee, spare This forfeit life, and hear thy suppliant's pray'r." Thus much he spoke, and more he would have said; But the stern hero turn'd aside his head, And cut him short: "I hear another man; You talk'd not thus before the fight began. Now take your turn; and, as a brother should, Attend your brother to the Stygian flood." Then thro' his breast his fatal sword he sent, And the soul issued at the gaping vent.
As storms the skies, and torrents tear the ground, Thus rag'd the prince, and scatter'd deaths around. At length Ascanius and the Trojan train Broke from the camp, so long besieg'd in vain.
Meantime the King of Gods and Mortal Man Held conference with his queen, and thus began: "My sister goddess, and well-pleasing wife, Still think you Venus' aid supports the strife- Sustains her Trojans- or themselves, alone, With inborn valor force their fortune on? How fierce in fight, with courage undecay'd! Judge if such warriors want immortal aid." To whom the goddess with the charming eyes, Soft in her tone, submissively replies: "Why, O my sov'reign lord, whose frown I fear, And cannot, unconcern'd, your anger bear; Why urge you thus my grief? when, if I still (As once I was) were mistress of your will, From your almighty pow'r your pleasing wife Might gain the grace of length'ning Turnus' life, Securely snatch him from the fatal fight, And give him to his aged father's sight. Now let him perish, since you hold it good, And glut the Trojans with his pious blood. Yet from our lineage he derives his name, And, in the fourth degree, from god Pilumnus came; Yet he devoutly pays you rites divine, And offers daily incense at your shrine."
Then shortly thus the sov'reign god replied: "Since in my pow'r and goodness you confide, If for a little space, a lengthen'd span, You beg reprieve for this expiring man, I grant you leave to take your Turnus hence From instant fate, and can so far dispense. But, if some secret meaning lies beneath, To save the short-liv'd youth from destin'd death, Or if a farther thought you entertain, To change the fates; you feed your hopes in vain." To whom the goddess thus, with weeping eyes: "And what if that request, your tongue denies, Your heart should grant; and not a short reprieve, But length of certain life, to Turnus give? Now speedy death attends the guiltless youth, If my presaging soul divines with truth; Which, O! I wish, might err thro' causeless fears, And you (for you have pow'r) prolong his years!"
Thus having said, involv'd in clouds, she flies, And drives a storm before her thro' the skies. Swift she descends, alighting on the plain, Where the fierce foes a dubious fight maintain. Of air condens'd a specter soon she made; And, what Aeneas was, such seem'd the shade. Adorn'd with Dardan arms, the phantom bore His head aloft; a plumy crest he wore; This hand appear'd a shining sword to wield, And that sustain'd an imitated shield. With manly mien he stalk'd along the ground, Nor wanted voice belied, nor vaunting sound. (Thus haunting ghosts appear to waking sight, Or dreadful visions in our dreams by night.) The specter seems the Daunian chief to dare, And flourishes his empty sword in air. At this, advancing, Turnus hurl'd his spear: The phantom wheel'd, and seem'd to fly for fear. Deluded Turnus thought the Trojan fled, And with vain hopes his haughty fancy fed. "Whether, O coward?" (thus he calls aloud, Nor found he spoke to wind, and chas'd a cloud,) "Why thus forsake your bride! Receive from me The fated land you sought so long by sea." He said, and, brandishing at once his blade, With eager pace pursued the flying shade. By chance a ship was fasten'd to the shore, Which from old Clusium King Osinius bore: The plank was ready laid for safe ascent; For shelter there the trembling shadow bent, And skipp't and skulk'd, and under hatches went. Exulting Turnus, with regardless haste, Ascends the plank, and to the galley pass'd. Scarce had he reach'd the prow: Saturnia's hand The haulsers cuts, and shoots the ship from land. With wind in poop, the vessel plows the sea, And measures back with speed her former way. Meantime Aeneas seeks his absent foe, And sends his slaughter'd troops to shades below.
The guileful phantom now forsook the shroud, And flew sublime, and vanish'd in a cloud. Too late young Turnus the delusion found, Far on the sea, still making from the ground. Then, thankless for a life redeem'd by shame, With sense of honor stung, and forfeit fame, Fearful besides of what in fight had pass'd, His hands and haggard eyes to heav'n he cast; "O Jove!" he cried, "for what offense have Deserv'd to bear this endless infamy? Whence am I forc'd, and whether am I borne? How, and with what reproach, shall I return? Shall ever I behold the Latian plain, Or see Laurentum's lofty tow'rs again? What will they say of their deserting chief The war was mine: I fly from their relief; I led to slaughter, and in slaughter leave; And ev'n from hence their dying groans receive. Here, overmatch'd in fight, in heaps they lie; There, scatter'd o'er the fields, ignobly fly. Gape wide, O earth, and draw me down alive! Or, O ye pitying winds, a wretch relieve! On sands or shelves the splitting vessel drive; Or set me shipwrack'd on some desart shore, Where no Rutulian eyes may see me more, Unknown to friends, or foes, or conscious Fame, Lest she should follow, and my flight proclaim."
Thus Turnus rav'd, and various fates revolv'd: The choice was doubtful, but the death resolv'd. And now the sword, and now the sea took place, That to revenge, and this to purge disgrace. Sometimes he thought to swim the stormy main, By stretch of arms the distant shore to gain. Thrice he the sword assay'd, and thrice the flood; But Juno, mov'd with pity, both withstood. And thrice repress'd his rage; strong gales supplied, And push'd the vessel o'er the swelling tide. At length she lands him on his native shores, And to his father's longing arms restores.
Meantime, by Jove's impulse, Mezentius arm'd, Succeeding Turnus, with his ardor warm'd His fainting friends, reproach'd their shameful flight, Repell'd the victors, and renew'd the fight. Against their king the Tuscan troops conspire; Such is their hate, and such their fierce desire Of wish'd revenge: on him, and him alone, All hands employ'd, and all their darts are thrown. He, like a solid rock by seas inclos'd, To raging winds and roaring waves oppos'd, From his proud summit looking down, disdains Their empty menace, and unmov'd remains.
Beneath his feet fell haughty Hebrus dead, Then Latagus, and Palmus as he fled. At Latagus a weighty stone he flung: His face was flatted, and his helmet rung. But Palmus from behind receives his wound; Hamstring'd he falls, and grovels on the ground: His crest and armor, from his body torn, Thy shoulders, Lausus, and thy head adorn. Evas and Mimas, both of Troy, he slew. Mimas his birth from fair Theano drew, Born on that fatal night, when, big with fire, The queen produc'd young Paris to his sire: But Paris in the Phrygian fields was slain, Unthinking Mimas on the Latian plain.
And, as a savage boar, on mountains bred, With forest mast and fatt'ning marshes fed, When once he sees himself in toils inclos'd, By huntsmen and their eager hounds oppos'd- He whets his tusks, and turns, and dares the war; Th' invaders dart their jav'lins from afar: All keep aloof, and safely shout around; But none presumes to give a nearer wound: He frets and froths, erects his bristled hide, And shakes a grove of lances from his side: Not otherwise the troops, with hate inspir'd, And just revenge against the tyrant fir'd, Their darts with clamor at a distance drive, And only keep the languish'd war alive.
From Coritus came Acron to the fight, Who left his spouse betroth'd, and unconsummate night. Mezentius sees him thro' the squadrons ride, Proud of the purple favors of his bride. Then, as a hungry lion, who beholds A gamesome goat, who frisks about the folds, Or beamy stag, that grazes on the plain- He runs, he roars, he shakes his rising mane, He grins, and opens wide his greedy jaws; The prey lies panting underneath his paws: He fills his famish'd maw; his mouth runs o'er With unchew'd morsels, while he churns the gore: So proud Mezentius rushes on his foes, And first unhappy Acron overthrows: Stretch'd at his length, he spurns the swarthy ground; The lance, besmear'd with blood, lies broken in the wound. Then with disdain the haughty victor view'd Orodes flying, nor the wretch pursued, Nor thought the dastard's back deserv'd a wound, But, running, gain'd th' advantage of the ground: Then turning short, he met him face to face, To give his victor the better grace. Orodes falls, equal fight oppress'd: Mezentius fix'd his foot upon his breast, And rested lance; and thus aloud he cries: "Lo! here the champion of my rebels lies!" The fields around with Io Paean! ring; And peals of shouts applaud the conqu'ring king. At this the vanquish'd, with his dying breath, Thus faintly spoke, and prophesied in death: "Nor thou, proud man, unpunish'd shalt remain: Like death attends thee on this fatal plain." Then, sourly smiling, thus the king replied: "For what belongs to me, let Jove provide; But die thou first, whatever chance ensue." He said, and from the wound the weapon drew. A hov'ring mist came swimming o'er his sight, And seal'd his eyes in everlasting night.
By Caedicus, Alcathous was slain; Sacrator laid Hydaspes on the plain; Orses the strong to greater strength must yield; He, with Parthenius, were by Rapo kill'd. Then brave Messapus Ericetes slew, Who from Lycaon's blood his lineage drew. But from his headstrong horse his fate he found, Who threw his master, as he made a bound: The chief, alighting, stuck him to the ground; Then Clonius, hand to hand, on foot assails: The Trojan sinks, and Neptune's son prevails. Agis the Lycian, stepping forth with pride, To single fight the boldest foe defied; Whom Tuscan Valerus by force o'ercame, And not belied his mighty father's fame. Salius to death the great Antronius sent: But the same fate the victor underwent, Slain by Nealces' hand, well-skill'd to throw The flying dart, and draw the far-deceiving bow.
Thus equal deaths are dealt with equal chance; By turns they quit their ground, by turns advance: Victors and vanquish'd, in the various field, Nor wholly overcome, nor wholly yield. The gods from heav'n survey the fatal strife, And mourn the miseries of human life. Above the rest, two goddesses appear Concern'd for each: here Venus, Juno there. Amidst the crowd, infernal Ate shakes Her scourge aloft, and crest of hissing snakes.
Once more the proud Mezentius, with disdain, Brandish'd his spear, and rush'd into the plain, Where tow'ring in the midmost rank she stood, Like tall Orion stalking o'er the flood. (When with his brawny breast he cuts the waves, His shoulders scarce the topmost billow laves), Or like a mountain ash, whose roots are spread, Deep fix'd in earth; in clouds he hides his head.
The Trojan prince beheld him from afar, And dauntless undertook the doubtful war. Collected in his strength, and like a rock, Pois'd on his base, Mezentius stood the shock. He stood, and, measuring first with careful eyes The space his spear could reach, aloud he cries: "My strong right hand, and sword, assist my stroke! (Those only gods Mezentius will invoke.) His armor, from the Trojan pirate torn, By my triumphant Lausus shall be worn." He said; and with his utmost force he threw The massy spear, which, hissing as it flew, Reach'd the celestial shield, that stopp'd the course; But, glancing thence, the yet unbroken force Took a new bent obliquely, and betwixt The side and bowels fam'd Anthores fix'd. Anthores had from Argos travel'd far, Alcides' friend, and brother of the war; Till, tir'd with toils, fair Italy he chose, And in Evander's palace sought repose. Now, falling by another's wound, his eyes He cast to heav'n, on Argos thinks, and dies.
The pious Trojan then his jav'lin sent; The shield gave way; thro' treble plates it went Of solid brass, of linen trebly roll'd, And three bull hides which round the buckler fold. All these it pass'd, resistless in the course, Transpierc'd his thigh, and spent its dying force. The gaping wound gush'd out a crimson flood. The Trojan, glad with sight of hostile blood, His faunchion drew, to closer fight address'd, And with new force his fainting foe oppress'd.
His father's peril Lausus view'd with grief; He sigh'd, he wept, he ran to his relief. And here, heroic youth, 't is here I must To thy immortal memory be just, And sing an act so noble and so new, Posterity will scarce believe 't is true. Pain'd with his wound, and useless for the fight, The father sought to save himself by flight: Incumber'd, slow he dragg'd the spear along, Which pierc'd his thigh, and in his buckler hung. The pious youth, resolv'd on death, below The lifted sword springs forth to face the foe; Protects his parent, and prevents the blow. Shouts of applause ran ringing thro' the field, To see the son the vanquish'd father shield. All, fir'd with gen'rous indignation, strive, And with a storm of darts to distance drive The Trojan chief, who, held at bay from far, On his Vulcanian orb sustain'd the war.
As, when thick hail comes rattling in the wind, The plowman, passenger, and lab'ring hind For shelter to the neighb'ring covert fly, Or hous'd, or safe in hollow caverns lie; But, that o'erblown, when heav'n above 'em smiles, Return to travel, and renew their toils: Aeneas thus, o'erwhelmed on ev'ry side, The storm of darts, undaunted, did abide; And thus to Lausus loud with friendly threat'ning cried: "Why wilt thou rush to certain death, and rage In rash attempts, beyond thy tender age, Betray'd by pious love?" Nor, thus forborne, The youth desists, but with insulting scorn Provokes the ling'ring prince, whose patience, tir'd, Gave place; and all his breast with fury fir'd. For now the Fates prepar'd their sharpen'd shears; And lifted high the flaming sword appears, Which, full descending with a frightful sway, Thro' shield and corslet forc'd th' impetuous way, And buried deep in his fair bosom lay. The purple streams thro' the thin armor strove, And drench'd th' imbroider'd coat his mother wove; And life at length forsook his heaving heart, Loth from so sweet a mansion to depart.
But when, with blood and paleness all o'erspread, The pious prince beheld young Lausus dead, He griev'd; he wept; the sight an image brought Of his own filial love, a sadly pleasing thought: Then stretch'd his hand to hold him up, and said: "Poor hapless youth! what praises can be paid To love so great, to such transcendent store Of early worth, and sure presage of more? Accept whate'er Aeneas can afford; Untouch'd thy arms, untaken be thy sword; And all that pleas'd thee living, still remain Inviolate, and sacred to the slain. Thy body on thy parents I bestow, To rest thy soul, at least, if shadows know, Or have a sense of human things below. There to thy fellow ghosts with glory tell: ''T was by the great Aeneas hand I fell.'" With this, his distant friends he beckons near, Provokes their duty, and prevents their fear: Himself assists to lift him from the ground, With clotted locks, and blood that well'd from out the wound.
Meantime, his father, now no father, stood, And wash'd his wounds by Tiber's yellow flood: Oppress'd with anguish, panting, and o'erspent, His fainting limbs against an oak he leant. A bough his brazen helmet did sustain; His heavier arms lay scatter'd on the plain: A chosen train of youth around him stand; His drooping head was rested on his hand: His grisly beard his pensive bosom sought; And all on Lausus ran his restless thought. Careful, concern'd his danger to prevent, He much enquir'd, and many a message sent To warn him from the field- alas! in vain! Behold, his mournful followers bear him slain! O'er his broad shield still gush'd the yawning wound, And drew a bloody trail along the ground. Far off he heard their cries, far off divin'd The dire event, with a foreboding mind. With dust he sprinkled first his hoary head; Then both his lifted hands to heav'n he spread; Last, the dear corpse embracing, thus he said: "What joys, alas! could this frail being give, That I have been so covetous to live? To see my son, and such a son, resign His life, a ransom for preserving mine! And am I then preserv'd, and art thou lost? How much too dear has that redemption cost! 'T is now my bitter banishment I feel: This is a wound too deep for time to heal. My guilt thy growing virtues did defame; My blackness blotted thy unblemish'd name. Chas'd from a throne, abandon'd, and exil'd For foul misdeeds, were punishments too mild: I ow'd my people these, and, from their hate, With less resentment could have borne my fate. And yet I live, and yet sustain the sight Of hated men, and of more hated light: But will not long." With that he rais'd from ground His fainting limbs, that stagger'd with his wound; Yet, with a mind resolv'd, and unappall'd With pains or perils, for his courser call'd Well-mouth'd, well-manag'd, whom himself did dress With daily care, and mounted with success; His aid in arms, his ornament in peace.
Soothing his courage with a gentle stroke, The steed seem'd sensible, while thus he spoke: "O Rhoebus, we have liv'd too long for me- If life and long were terms that could agree! This day thou either shalt bring back the head And bloody trophies of the Trojan dead; This day thou either shalt revenge my woe, For murther'd Lausus, on his cruel foe; Or, if inexorable fate deny Our conquest, with thy conquer'd master die: For, after such a lord, rest secure, Thou wilt no foreign reins, or Trojan load endure." He said; and straight th' officious courser kneels, To take his wonted weight. His hands he fills With pointed jav'lins; on his head he lac'd His glitt'ring helm, which terribly was grac'd With waving horsehair, nodding from afar; Then spurr'd his thund'ring steed amidst the war. Love, anguish, wrath, and grief, to madness wrought, Despair, and secret shame, and conscious thought Of inborn worth, his lab'ring soul oppress'd, Roll'd in his eyes, and rag'd within his breast. Then loud he call'd Aeneas thrice by name: The loud repeated voice to glad Aeneas came. "Great Jove," he said, "and the far-shooting god, Inspire thy mind to make thy challenge good!" He spoke no more; but hasten'd, void of fear, And threaten'd with his long protended spear.
To whom Mezentius thus: "Thy vaunts are vain. My Lausus lies extended on the plain: He's lost! thy conquest is already won; The wretched sire is murther'd in the son. Nor fate I fear, but all the gods defy. Forbear thy threats: my bus'ness is to die; But first receive this parting legacy." He said; and straight a whirling dart he sent; Another after, and another went. Round in a spacious ring he rides the field, And vainly plies th' impenetrable shield. Thrice rode he round; and thrice Aeneas wheel'd, Turn'd as he turn'd: the golden orb withstood The strokes, and bore about an iron wood. Impatient of delay, and weary grown, Still to defend, and to defend alone, To wrench the darts which in his buckler light, Urg'd and o'er-labor'd in unequal fight; At length resolv'd, he throws with all his force Full at the temples of the warrior horse. Just where the stroke was aim'd, th' unerring spear Made way, and stood transfix'd thro' either ear. Seiz'd with unwonted pain, surpris'd with fright, The wounded steed curvets, and, rais'd upright, Lights on his feet before; his hoofs behind Spring up in air aloft, and lash the wind. Down comes the rider headlong from his height: His horse came after with unwieldy weight, And, flound'ring forward, pitching on his head, His lord's incumber'd shoulder overlaid.
From either host, the mingled shouts and cries Of Trojans and Rutulians rend the skies. Aeneas, hast'ning, wav'd his fatal sword High o'er his head, with this reproachful word: "Now; where are now thy vaunts, the fierce disdain Of proud Mezentius, and the lofty strain?"
Struggling, and wildly staring on the skies, With scarce recover'd sight he thus replies: "Why these insulting words, this waste of breath, To souls undaunted, and secure of death? 'T is no dishonor for the brave to die, Nor came I here with hope victory; Nor ask I life, nor fought with that design: As I had us'd my fortune, use thou thine. My dying son contracted no such band; The gift is hateful from his murd'rer's hand. For this, this only favor let me sue, If pity can to conquer'd foes be due: Refuse it not; but let my body have The last retreat of humankind, a grave. Too well I know th' insulting people's hate; Protect me from their vengeance after fate: This refuge for my poor remains provide, And lay my much-lov'd Lausus by my side." He said, and to the sword his throat applied. The crimson stream distain'd his arms around, And the disdainful soul came rushing thro' the wound.
Scarce had the rosy Morning rais'd her head Above the waves, and left her wat'ry bed; The pious chief, whom double cares attend For his unburied soldiers and his friend, Yet first to Heav'n perform'd a victor's vows: He bar'd an ancient oak of all her boughs; Then on a rising ground the trunk he plac'd, Which with the spoils of his dead foe he grac'd. The coat of arms by proud Mezentius worn, Now on a naked snag in triumph borne, Was hung on high, and glitter'd from afar, A trophy sacred to the God of War. Above his arms, fix'd on the leafless wood, Appear'd his plumy crest, besmear'd with blood: His brazen buckler on the left was seen; Truncheons of shiver'd lances hung between; And on the right was placed his corslet, bor'd; And to the neck was tied his unavailing sword.
A crowd of chiefs inclose the godlike man, Who thus, conspicuous in the midst, began: "Our toils, my friends, are crown'd with sure success; The greater part perform'd, achieve the less. Now follow cheerful to the trembling town; Press but an entrance, and presume it won. Fear is no more, for fierce Mezentius lies, As the first fruits of war, a sacrifice. Turnus shall fall extended on the plain, And, in this omen, is already slain. Prepar'd in arms, pursue your happy chance; That none unwarn'd may plead his ignorance, And I, at Heav'n's appointed hour, may find Your warlike ensigns waving in the wind. Meantime the rites and fun'ral pomps prepare, Due to your dead companions of the war: The last respect the living can bestow, To shield their shadows from contempt below. That conquer'd earth be theirs, for which they fought, And which for us with their own blood they bought; But first the corpse of our unhappy friend To the sad city of Evander send, Who, not inglorious, in his age's bloom, Was hurried hence by too severe a doom."
Thus, weeping while he spoke, he took his way, Where, new in death, lamented Pallas lay. Acoetes watch'd the corpse; whose youth deserv'd The father's trust; and now the son he serv'd With equal faith, but less auspicious care. Th' attendants of the slain his sorrow share. A troop of Trojans mix'd with these appear, And mourning matrons with dishevel'd hair. Soon as the prince appears, they raise a cry; All beat their breasts, and echoes rend the sky. They rear his drooping forehead from the ground; But, when Aeneas view'd the grisly wound Which Pallas in his manly bosom bore, And the fair flesh distain'd with purple gore; First, melting into tears, the pious man Deplor'd so sad a sight, then thus began: "Unhappy youth! when Fortune gave the rest Of my full wishes, she refus'd the best! She came; but brought not thee along, to bless My longing eyes, and share in my success: She grudg'd thy safe return, the triumphs due To prosp'rous valor, in the public view. Not thus I promis'd, when thy father lent Thy needless succor with a sad consent; Embrac'd me, parting for th' Etrurian land, And sent me to possess a large command. He warn'd, and from his own experience told, Our foes were warlike, disciplin'd, and bold. And now perhaps, in hopes of thy return, Rich odors on his loaded altars burn, While we, with vain officious pomp, prepare To send him back his portion of the war, A bloody breathless body, which can owe No farther debt, but to the pow'rs below. The wretched father, ere his race is run, Shall view the fun'ral honors of his son. These are my triumphs of the Latian war, Fruits of my plighted faith and boasted care! And yet, unhappy sire, thou shalt not see A son whose death disgrac'd his ancestry; Thou shalt not blush, old man, however griev'd: Thy Pallas no dishonest wound receiv'd. He died no death to make thee wish, too late, Thou hadst not liv'd to see his shameful fate: But what a champion has th' Ausonian coast, And what a friend hast thou, Ascanius, lost!"
Thus having mourn'd, he gave the word around, To raise the breathless body from the ground; And chose a thousand horse, the flow'r of all His warlike troops, to wait the funeral, To bear him back and share Evander's grief: A well-becoming, but a weak relief. Of oaken twigs they twist an easy bier, Then on their shoulders the sad burden rear. The body on this rural hearse is borne: Strew'd leaves and funeral greens the bier adorn. All pale he lies, and looks a lovely flow'r, New cropp'd by virgin hands, to dress the bow'r: Unfaded yet, but yet unfed below, No more to mother earth or the green stern shall owe. Then two fair vests, of wondrous work and cost, Of purple woven, and with gold emboss'd, For ornament the Trojan hero brought, Which with her hands Sidonian Dido wrought. One vest array'd the corpse; and one they spread O'er his clos'd eyes, and wrapp'd around his head, That, when the yellow hair in flame should fall, The catching fire might burn the golden caul. Besides, the spoils of foes in battle slain, When he descended on the Latian plain; Arms, trappings, horses, by the hearse are led In long array- th' achievements of the dead. Then, pinion'd with their hands behind, appear Th' unhappy captives, marching in the rear, Appointed off'rings in the victor's name, To sprinkle with their blood the fun'ral flame. Inferior trophies by the chiefs are borne; Gauntlets and helms their loaded hands adorn; And fair inscriptions fix'd, and titles read Of Latian leaders conquer'd by the dead.
Acoetes on his pupil's corpse attends, With feeble steps, supported by his friends. Pausing at ev'ry pace, in sorrow drown'd, Betwixt their arms he sinks upon the ground; Where grov'ling while he lies in deep despair, He beats his breast, and rends his hoary hair. The champion's chariot next is seen to roll, Besmear'd with hostile blood, and honorably foul. To close the pomp, Aethon, the steed of state, Is led, the fun'rals of his lord to wait. Stripp'd of his trappings, with a sullen pace He walks; and the big tears run rolling down his face. The lance of Pallas, and the crimson crest, Are borne behind: the victor seiz'd the rest. The march begins: the trumpets hoarsely sound; The pikes and lances trail along the ground. Thus while the Trojan and Arcadian horse To Pallantean tow'rs direct their course, In long procession rank'd, the pious chief Stopp'd in the rear, and gave a vent to grief: "The public care," he said, "which war attends, Diverts our present woes, at least suspends. Peace with the manes of great Pallas dwell! Hail, holy relics! and a last farewell!" He said no more, but, inly thro' he mourn'd, Restrained his tears, and to the camp return'd.
Now suppliants, from Laurentum sent, demand A truce, with olive branches in their hand; Obtest his clemency, and from the plain Beg leave to draw the bodies of their slain. They plead, that none those common rites deny To conquer'd foes that in fair battle die. All cause of hate was ended in their death; Nor could he war with bodies void of breath. A king, they hop'd, would hear a king's request, Whose son he once was call'd, and once his guest.
Their suit, which was too just to be denied, The hero grants, and farther thus replied: "O Latian princes, how severe a fate In causeless quarrels has involv'd your state, And arm'd against an unoffending man, Who sought your friendship ere the war began! You beg a truce, which I would gladly give, Not only for the slain, but those who live. I came not hither but by Heav'n's command, And sent by fate to share the Latian land. Nor wage I wars unjust: your king denied My proffer'd friendship, and my promis'd bride; Left me for Turnus. Turnus then should try His cause in arms, to conquer or to die. My right and his are in dispute: the slain Fell without fault, our quarrel to maintain. In equal arms let us alone contend; And let him vanquish, whom his fates befriend. This is the way (so tell him) to possess The royal virgin, and restore the peace. Bear this message back, with ample leave, That your slain friends may fun'ral rites receive."
Thus having said- th' embassadors, amaz'd, Stood mute a while, and on each other gaz'd. Drances, their chief, who harbor'd in his breast Long hate to Turnus, as his foe profess'd, Broke silence first, and to the godlike man, With graceful action bowing, thus began: "Auspicious prince, in arms a mighty name, But yet whose actions far transcend your fame; Would I your justice or your force express, Thought can but equal; and all words are less. Your answer we shall thankfully relate, And favors granted to the Latian state. If wish'd success our labor shall attend, Think peace concluded, and the king your friend: Let Turnus leave the realm to your command, And seek alliance in some other land: Build you the city which your fates assign; We shall be proud in the great work to join."
Thus Drances; and his words so well persuade The rest impower'd, that soon a truce is made. Twelve days the term allow'd: and, during those, Latians and Trojans, now no longer foes, Mix'd in the woods, for fun'ral piles prepare To fell the timber, and forget the war. Loud axes thro' the groaning groves resound; Oak, mountain ash, and poplar spread the ground; First fall from high; and some the trunks receive In loaden wains; with wedges some they cleave.
And now the fatal news by Fame is blown Thro' the short circuit of th' Arcadian town, Of Pallas slain- by Fame, which just before His triumphs on distended pinions bore. Rushing from out the gate, the people stand, Each with a fun'ral flambeau in his hand. Wildly they stare, distracted with amaze: The fields are lighten'd with a fiery blaze, That cast a sullen splendor on their friends, The marching troop which their dead prince attends. Both parties meet: they raise a doleful cry; The matrons from the walls with shrieks reply, And their mix'd mourning rends the vaulted sky. The town is fill'd with tumult and with tears, Till the loud clamors reach Evander's ears: Forgetful of his state, he runs along, With a disorder'd pace, and cleaves the throng; Falls on the corpse; and groaning there he lies, With silent grief, that speaks but at his eyes. Short sighs and sobs succeed; till sorrow breaks A passage, and at once he weeps and speaks:
"O Pallas! thou hast fail'd thy plighted word, To fight with caution, not to tempt the sword! I warn'd thee, but in vain; for well I knew What perils youthful ardor would pursue, That boiling blood would carry thee too far, Young as thou wert in dangers, raw to war! O curst essay of arms, disastrous doom, Prelude of bloody fields, and fights to come! Hard elements of unauspicious war, Vain vows to Heav'n, and unavailing care! Thrice happy thou, dear partner of my bed, Whose holy soul the stroke of Fortune fled, Praescious of ills, and leaving me behind, To drink the dregs of life by fate assign'd! Beyond the goal of nature I have gone: My Pallas late set out, but reach'd too soon. If, for my league against th' Ausonian state, Amidst their weapons I had found my fate, (Deserv'd from them,) then I had been return'd A breathless victor, and my son had mourn'd. Yet will I not my Trojan friend upbraid, Nor grudge th' alliance I so gladly made. 'T was not his fault, my Pallas fell so young, But my own crime, for having liv'd too long. Yet, since the gods had destin'd him to die, At least he led the way to victory: First for his friends he won the fatal shore, And sent whole herds of slaughter'd foes before; A death too great, too glorious to deplore. Nor will I add new honors to thy grave, Content with those the Trojan hero gave: That funeral pomp thy Phrygian friends design'd, In which the Tuscan chiefs and army join'd. Great spoils and trophies, gain'd by thee, they bear: Then let thy own achievements be thy share. Even thou, O Turnus, hadst a trophy stood, Whose mighty trunk had better grac'd the wood, If Pallas had arriv'd, with equal length Of years, to match thy bulk with equal strength. But why, unhappy man, dost thou detain These troops, to view the tears thou shedd'st in vain? Go, friends, this message to your lord relate: Tell him, that, if I bear my bitter fate, And, after Pallas' death, live ling'ring on, 'T is to behold his vengeance for my son. I stay for Turnus, whose devoted head Is owing to the living and the dead. My son and I expect it from his hand; 'T is all that he can give, or we demand. Joy is no more; but I would gladly go, To greet my Pallas with such news below."
The morn had now dispell'd the shades of night, Restoring toils, when she restor'd the light. The Trojan king and Tuscan chief command To raise the piles along the winding strand. Their friends convey the dead fun'ral fires; Black smold'ring smoke from the green wood expires; The light of heav'n is chok'd, and the new day retires. Then thrice around the kindled piles they go (For ancient custom had ordain'd it so) Thrice horse and foot about the fires are led; And thrice, with loud laments, they hail the dead. Tears, trickling down their breasts, bedew the ground, And drums and trumpets mix their mournful sound. Amid the blaze, their pious brethren throw The spoils, in battle taken from the foe: Helms, bits emboss'd, and swords of shining steel; One casts a target, one a chariot wheel; Some to their fellows their own arms restore: The fauchions which in luckless fight they bore, Their bucklers pierc'd, their darts bestow'd in vain, And shiver'd lances gather'd from the plain. Whole herds of offer'd bulls, about the fire, And bristled boars, and woolly sheep expire. Around the piles a careful troop attends, To watch the wasting flames, and weep their burning friends; Ling'ring along the shore, till dewy night New decks the face of heav'n with starry light.
The conquer'd Latians, with like pious care, Piles without number for their dead prepare. Part in the places where they fell are laid; And part are to the neighb'ring fields convey'd. The corps of kings, and captains of renown, Borne off in state, are buried in the town; The rest, unhonor'd, and without a name, Are cast a common heap to feed the flame. Trojans and Latians vie with like desires To make the field of battle shine with fires, And the promiscuous blaze to heav'n aspires.
Now had the morning thrice renew'd the light, And thrice dispell'd the shadows of the night, When those who round the wasted fires remain, Perform the last sad office to the slain. They rake the yet warm ashes from below; These, and the bones unburn'd, in earth bestow; These relics with their country rites they grace, And raise a mount of turf to mark the place.
But, in the palace of the king, appears A scene more solemn, and a pomp of tears. Maids, matrons, widows, mix their common moans; Orphans their sires, and sires lament their sons. All in that universal sorrow share, And curse the cause of this unhappy war: A broken league, a bride unjustly sought, A crown usurp'd, which with their blood is bought! These are the crimes with which they load the name Of Turnus, and on him alone exclaim: "Let him who lords it o'er th' Ausonian land Engage the Trojan hero hand to hand: His is the gain; our lot is but to serve; 'T is just, the sway he seeks, he should deserve." This Drances aggravates; and adds, with spite: "His foe expects, and dares him to the fight." Nor Turnus wants a party, to support His cause and credit in the Latian court. His former acts secure his present fame, And the queen shades him with her mighty name.
While thus their factious minds with fury burn, The legates from th' Aetolian prince return: Sad news they bring, that, after all the cost And care employ'd, their embassy is lost; That Diomedes refus'd his aid in war, Unmov'd with presents, and as deaf to pray'r. Some new alliance must elsewhere be sought, Or peace with Troy on hard conditions bought.
Latinus, sunk in sorrow, finds too late, A foreign son is pointed out by fate; And, till Aeneas shall Lavinia wed, The wrath of Heav'n is hov'ring o'er his head. The gods, he saw, espous'd the juster side, When late their titles in the field were tried: Witness the fresh laments, and fun'ral tears undried. Thus, full of anxious thought, he summons all The Latian senate to the council hall. The princes come, commanded by their head, And crowd the paths that to the palace lead. Supreme in pow'r, and reverenc'd for his years, He takes the throne, and in the midst appears. Majestically sad, he sits in state, And bids his envoys their success relate.
When Venulus began, the murmuring sound Was hush'd, and sacred silence reign'd around. "We have," said he, "perform'd your high command, And pass'd with peril a long tract of land: We reach'd the place desir'd; with wonder fill'd, The Grecian tents and rising tow'rs beheld. Great Diomede has compass'd round with walls The city, which Argyripa he calls, From his own Argos nam'd. We touch'd, with joy, The royal hand that raz'd unhappy Troy. When introduc'd, our presents first we bring, Then crave an instant audience from the king. His leave obtain'd, our native soil we name, And tell th' important cause for which we came. Attentively he heard us, while we spoke; Then, with soft accents, and a pleasing look, Made this return: 'Ausonian race, of old Renown'd for peace, and for an age of gold, What madness has your alter'd minds possess'd, To change for war hereditary rest, Solicit arms unknown, and tempt the sword, A needless ill your ancestors abhorr'd? We- for myself I speak, and all the name Of Grecians, who to Troy's destruction came, Omitting those who were in battle slain, Or borne by rolling Simois to the main- Not one but suffer'd, and too dearly bought The prize of honor which in arms he sought; Some doom'd to death, and some in exile driv'n. Outcasts, abandon'd by the care of Heav'n; So worn, so wretched, so despis'd a crew, As ev'n old Priam might with pity view. Witness the vessels by Minerva toss'd In storms; the vengeful Capharean coast; Th' Euboean rocks! the prince, whose brother led Our armies to revenge his injur'd bed, In Egypt lost! Ulysses with his men Have seen Charybdis and the Cyclops' den. Why should I name Idomeneus, in vain Restor'd to scepters, and expell'd again? Or young Achilles, by his rival slain? Ev'n he, the King of Men, the foremost name Of all the Greeks, and most renown'd by fame, The proud revenger of another's wife, Yet by his own adult'ress lost his life; Fell at his threshold; and the spoils of Troy The foul polluters of his bed enjoy. The gods have envied me the sweets of life, My much lov'd country, and my more lov'd wife: Banish'd from both, I mourn; while in the sky, Transform'd to birds, my lost companions fly: Hov'ring about the coasts, they make their moan, And cuff the cliffs with pinions not their own. What squalid specters, in the dead of night, Break my short sleep, and skim before my sight! I might have promis'd to myself those harms, Mad as I was, when I, with mortal arms, Presum'd against immortal pow'rs to move, And violate with wounds the Queen of Love. Such arms this hand shall never more employ; No hate remains with me to ruin'd Troy. I war not with its dust; nor am I glad To think of past events, or good or bad. Your presents I return: whate'er you bring To buy my friendship, send the Trojan king. We met in fight; I know him, to my cost: With what a whirling force his lance he toss'd! Heav'ns! what a spring was in his arm, to throw! How high he held his shield, and rose at ev'ry blow! Had Troy produc'd two more his match in might, They would have chang'd the fortune of the fight: Th' invasion of the Greeks had been return'd, Our empire wasted, and our cities burn'd. The long defense the Trojan people made, The war protracted, and the siege delay'd, Were due to Hector's and this hero's hand: Both brave alike, and equal in command; Aeneas, not inferior in the field, In pious reverence to the gods excell'd. Make peace, ye Latians, and avoid with care Th' impending dangers of a fatal war.' He said no more; but, with this cold excuse, Refus'd th' alliance, and advis'd a truce."
Thus Venulus concluded his report. A jarring murmur fill'd the factious court: As, when a torrent rolls with rapid force, And dashes o'er the stones that stop the course, The flood, constrain'd within a scanty space, Roars horrible along th' uneasy race; White foam in gath'ring eddies floats around; The rocky shores rebellow to the sound.
The murmur ceas'd: then from his lofty throne The king invok'd the gods, and thus begun: "I wish, ye Latins, what we now debate Had been resolv'd before it was too late. Much better had it been for you and me, Unforc'd by this our last necessity, To have been earlier wise, than now to call A council, when the foe surrounds the wall. O citizens, we wage unequal war, With men not only Heav'n's peculiar care, But Heav'n's own race; unconquer'd in the field, Or, conquer'd, yet unknowing how to yield. What hopes you had in Diomedes, lay down: Our hopes must center on ourselves alone. Yet those how feeble, and, indeed, how vain, You see too well; nor need my words explain. Vanquish'd without resource; laid flat by fate; Factions within, a foe without the gate! Not but I grant that all perform'd their parts With manly force, and with undaunted hearts: With our united strength the war we wag'd; With equal numbers, equal arms, engag'd. You see th' event.- Now hear what I propose, To save our friends, and satisfy our foes. A tract of land the Latins have possess'd Along the Tiber, stretching to the west, Which now Rutulians and Auruncans till, And their mix'd cattle graze the fruitful hill. Those mountains fill'd with firs, that lower land, If you consent, the Trojan shall command, Call'd into part of what is ours; and there, On terms agreed, the common country share. There let'em build and settle, if they please; Unless they choose once more to cross the seas, In search of seats remote from Italy, And from unwelcome inmates set us free. Then twice ten galleys let us build with speed, Or twice as many more, if more they need. Materials are at hand; a well-grown wood Runs equal with the margin of the flood: Let them the number and the form assign; The care and cost of all the stores be mine. To treat the peace, a hundred senators Shall be commission'd hence with ample pow'rs, With olive the presents they shall bear, A purple robe, a royal iv'ry chair, And all the marks of sway that Latian monarchs wear, And sums of gold. Among yourselves debate This great affair, and save the sinking state."
Then Drances took the word, who grudg'd, long since, The rising glories of the Daunian prince. Factious and rich, bold at the council board, But cautious in the field, he shunn'd the sword; A close caballer, and tongue-valiant lord. Noble his mother was, and near the throne; But, what his father's parentage, unknown. He rose, and took th' advantage of the times, To load young Turnus with invidious crimes. "Such truths, O king," said he, "your words contain, As strike the sense, and all replies are vain; Nor are your loyal subjects now to seek What common needs require, but fear to speak. Let him give leave of speech, that haughty man, Whose pride this unauspicious war began; For whose ambition (let me dare to say, Fear set apart, tho' death is in my way) The plains of Latium run with blood around. So many valiant heroes bite the ground; Dejected grief in ev'ry face appears; A town in mourning, and a land in tears; While he, th' undoubted author of our harms, The man who menaces the gods with arms, Yet, after all his boasts, forsook the fight, And sought his safety in ignoble flight. Now, best of kings, since you propose to send Such bounteous presents to your Trojan friend; Add yet a greater at our joint request, One which he values more than all the rest: Give him the fair Lavinia for his bride; With that alliance let the league be tied, And for the bleeding land a lasting peace provide. Let insolence no longer awe the throne; But, with a father's right, bestow your own. For this maligner of the general good, If still we fear his force, he must be woo'd; His haughty godhead we with pray'rs implore, Your scepter to release, and our just rights restore. O cursed cause of all our ills, must we Wage wars unjust, and fall in fight, for thee! What right hast thou to rule the Latian state, And send us out to meet our certain fate? 'T is a destructive war: from Turnus' hand Our peace and public safety we demand. Let the fair bride to the brave chief remain; If not, the peace, without the pledge, is vain. Turnus, I know you think me not your friend, Nor will I much with your belief contend: I beg your greatness not to give the law In others' realms, but, beaten, to withdraw. Pity your own, or pity our estate; Nor twist our fortunes with your sinking fate. Your interest is, the war should never cease; But we have felt enough to wish the peace: A land exhausted to the last remains, Depopulated towns, and driven plains. Yet, if desire of fame, and thirst of pow'r, A beauteous princess, with a crown in dow'r, So fire your mind, in arms assert your right, And meet your foe, who dares you to the fight. Mankind, it seems, is made for you alone; We, but the slaves who mount you to the throne: A base ignoble crowd, without a name, Unwept, unworthy, of the fun'ral flame, By duty bound to forfeit each his life, That Turnus may possess a royal wife. Permit not, mighty man, so mean a crew Should share such triumphs, and detain from you The post of honor, your undoubted due. Rather alone your matchless force employ, To merit what alone you must enjoy."
These words, so full of malice mix'd with art, Inflam'd with rage the youthful hero's heart. Then, groaning from the bottom of his breast, He heav'd for wind, and thus his wrath express'd: "You, Drances, never want a stream of words, Then, when the public need requires our swords. First in the council hall to steer the state, And ever foremost in a tongue-debate, While our strong walls secure us from the foe, Ere yet with blood our ditches overflow: But let the potent orator declaim, And with the brand of coward blot my name; Free leave is giv'n him, when his fatal hand Has cover'd with more corps the sanguine strand, And high as mine his tow'ring trophies stand. If any doubt remains, who dares the most, Let us decide it at the Trojan's cost, And issue both abreast, where honor calls- Foes are not far to seek without the walls- Unless his noisy tongue can only fight, And feet were giv'n him but to speed his flight. I beaten from the field? I forc'd away? Who, but so known a dastard, dares to say? Had he but ev'n beheld the fight, his eyes Had witness'd for me what his tongue denies: What heaps of Trojans by this hand were slain, And how the bloody Tiber swell'd the main. All saw, but he, th' Arcadian troops retire In scatter'd squadrons, and their prince expire. The giant brothers, in their camp, have found, I was not forc'd with ease to quit my ground. Not such the Trojans tried me, when, inclos'd, I singly their united arms oppos'd: First forc'd an entrance thro' their thick array; Then, glutted with their slaughter, freed my way. 'T is a destructive war? So let it be, But to the Phrygian pirate, and to thee! Meantime proceed to fill the people's ears With false reports, their minds with panic fears: Extol the strength of a twice-conquer'd race; Our foes encourage, and our friends debase. Believe thy fables, and the Trojan town Triumphant stands; the Grecians are o'erthrown; Suppliant at Hector's feet Achilles lies, And Diomede from fierce Aeneas flies. Say rapid Aufidus with awful dread Runs backward from the sea, and hides his head, When the great Trojan on his bank appears; For that's as true as thy dissembled fears Of my revenge. Dismiss that vanity: Thou, Drances, art below a death from me. Let that vile soul in that vile body rest; The lodging is well worthy of the guest.
"Now, royal father, to the present state Of our affairs, and of this high debate: If in your arms thus early you diffide, And think your fortune is already tried; If one defeat has brought us down so low, As never more in fields to meet the foe; Then I conclude for peace: 't is time to treat, And lie like vassals at the victor's feet. But, O! if any ancient blood remains, One drop of all our fathers', in our veins, That man would I prefer before the rest, Who dar'd his death with an undaunted breast; Who comely fell, by no dishonest wound, To shun that sight, and, dying, gnaw'd the ground. But, if we still have fresh recruits in store, If our confederates can afford us more; If the contended field we bravely fought, And not a bloodless victory was bought; Their losses equal'd ours; and, for their slain, With equal fires they fill'd the shining plain; Why thus, unforc'd, should we so tamely yield, And, ere the trumpet sounds, resign the field? Good unexpected, evils unforeseen, Appear by turns, as fortune shifts the scene: Some, rais'd aloft, come tumbling down amain; Then fall so hard, they bound and rise again. If Diomede refuse his aid to lend, The great Messapus yet remains our friend: Tolumnius, who foretells events, is ours; Th' Italian chiefs and princes join their pow'rs: Nor least in number, nor in name the last, Your own brave subjects have your cause embrac'd Above the rest, the Volscian Amazon Contains an army in herself alone, And heads a squadron, terrible to sight, With glitt'ring shields, in brazen armor bright. Yet, if the foe a single fight demand, And I alone the public peace withstand; If you consent, he shall not be refus'd, Nor find a hand to victory unus'd. This new Achilles, let him take the field, With fated armor, and Vulcanian shield! For you, my royal father, and my fame, I, Turnus, not the least of all my name, Devote my soul. He calls me hand to hand, And I alone will answer his demand. Drances shall rest secure, and neither share The danger, nor divide the prize of war."
While they debate, nor these nor those will yield, Aeneas draws his forces to the field, And moves his camp. The scouts with flying speed Return, and thro' the frighted city spread Th' unpleasing news, the Trojans are descried, In battle marching by the river side, And bending to the town. They take th' alarm: Some tremble, some are bold; all in confusion arm. Th' impetuous youth press forward to the field; They clash the sword, and clatter on the shield: The fearful matrons raise a screaming cry; Old feeble men with fainter groans reply; A jarring sound results, and mingles in the sky, Like that of swans remurm'ring to the floods, Or birds of diff'ring kinds in hollow woods.
Turnus th' occasion takes, and cries aloud: "Talk on, ye quaint haranguers of the crowd: Declaim in praise of peace, when danger calls, And the fierce foes in arms approach the walls." He said, and, turning short, with speedy pace, Casts back a scornful glance, and quits the place: "Thou, Volusus, the Volscian troops command To mount; and lead thyself our Ardean band. Messapus and Catillus, post your force Along the fields, to charge the Trojan horse. Some guard the passes, others man the wall; Drawn up in arms, the rest attend my call."
They swarm from ev'ry quarter of the town, And with disorder'd haste the rampires crown. Good old Latinus, when he saw, too late, The gath'ring storm just breaking on the state, Dismiss'd the council till a fitter time, And own'd his easy temper as his crime, Who, forc'd against his reason, had complied To break the treaty for the promis'd bride.
Some help to sink new trenches; others aid To ram the stones, or raise the palisade. Hoarse trumpets sound th' alarm; around the walls Runs a distracted crew, whom their last labor calls. A sad procession in the streets is seen, Of matrons, that attend the mother queen: High in her chair she sits, and, at her side, With downcast eyes, appears the fatal bride. They mount the cliff, where Pallas' temple stands; Pray'rs in their mouths, and presents in their hands, With censers first they fume the sacred shrine, Then in this common supplication join: "O patroness of arms, unspotted maid, Propitious hear, and lend thy Latins aid! Break short the pirate's lance; pronounce his fate, And lay the Phrygian low before the gate."
Now Turnus arms for fight. His back and breast Well-temper'd steel and scaly brass invest: The cuishes which his brawny thighs infold Are mingled metal damask'd o'er with gold. His faithful fauchion sits upon his side; Nor casque, nor crest, his manly features hide: But, bare to view, amid surrounding friends, With godlike grace, he from the tow'r descends. Exulting in his strength, he seems to dare His absent rival, and to promise war. Freed from his keepers, thus, with broken reins, The wanton courser prances o'er the plains, Or in the pride of youth o'erleaps the mounds, And snuffs the females in forbidden grounds. Or seeks his wat'ring in the well-known flood, To quench his thirst, and cool his fiery blood: He swims luxuriant in the liquid plain, And o'er his shoulder flows his waving mane: He neighs, he snorts, he bears his head on high; Before his ample chest the frothy waters fly.
Soon as the prince appears without the gate, The Volscians, with their virgin leader, wait His last commands. Then, with a graceful mien, Lights from her lofty steed the warrior queen: Her squadron imitates, and each descends; Whose common suit Camilla thus commends: "If sense of honor, if a soul secure Of inborn worth, that can all tests endure, Can promise aught, or on itself rely Greatly to dare, to conquer or to die; Then, I alone, sustain'd by these, will meet The Tyrrhene troops, and promise their defeat. Ours be the danger, ours the sole renown: You, gen'ral, stay behind, and guard the town:"
Turnus a while stood mute, with glad surprise, And on the fierce virago fix'd his eyes; Then thus return'd: "O grace of Italy, With what becoming thanks can I reply? Not only words lie lab'ring in my breast, But thought itself is by thy praise oppress'd. Yet rob me not of all; but let me join My toils, my hazard, and my fame, with thine. The Trojan, not in stratagem unskill'd, Sends his light horse before to scour the field: Himself, thro' steep ascents and thorny brakes, A larger compass to the city takes. This news my scouts confirm, and I prepare To foil his cunning, and his force to dare; With chosen foot his passage to forelay, And place an ambush in the winding way. Thou, with thy Volscians, face the Tuscan horse; The brave Messapus shall thy troops inforce With those of Tibur, and the Latian band, Subjected all to thy supreme command." This said, he warns Messapus to the war, Then ev'ry chief exhorts with equal care. All thus encourag'd, his own troops he joins, And hastes to prosecute his deep designs.
Inclos'd with hills, a winding valley lies, By nature form'd for fraud, and fitted for surprise. A narrow track, by human steps untrode, Leads, thro' perplexing thorns, to this obscure abode. High o'er the vale a steepy mountain stands, Whence the surveying sight the nether ground commands. The top is level, an offensive seat Of war; and from the war a safe retreat: For, on the right and left, is room to press The foes at hand, or from afar distress; To drive 'em headlong downward, and to pour On their descending backs a stony show'r. Thither young Turnus took the well-known way, Possess'd the pass, and in blind ambush lay.
Meantime Latonian Phoebe, from the skies, Beheld th' approaching war with hateful eyes, And call'd the light-foot Opis to her aid, Her most belov'd and ever-trusty maid; Then with a sigh began: "Camilla goes To meet her death amidst her fatal foes: The nymphs I lov'd of all my mortal train, Invested with Diana's arms, in vain. Nor is my kindness for the virgin new: 'T was born with her; and with her years it grew. Her father Metabus, when forc'd away From old Privernum, for tyrannic sway, Snatch'd up, and sav'd from his prevailing foes, This tender babe, companion of his woes. Casmilla was her mother; but he drown'd One hissing letter in a softer sound, And call'd Camilla. Thro' the woods he flies; Wrapp'd in his robe the royal infant lies. His foes in sight, he mends his weary pace; With shout and clamors they pursue the chase. The banks of Amasene at length he gains:
The raging flood his farther flight restrains, Rais'd o'er the borders with unusual rains. Prepar'd to plunge into the stream, he fears, Not for himself, but for the charge he bears. Anxious, he stops a while, and thinks in haste; Then, desp'rate in distress, resolves at last. A knotty lance of well-boil'd oak he bore; The middle part with cork he cover'd o'er: He clos'd the child within the hollow space; With twigs of bending osier bound the case; Then pois'd the spear, heavy with human weight, And thus invok'd my favor for the freight: 'Accept, great goddess of the woods,' he said, 'Sent by her sire, this dedicated maid! Thro' air she flies a suppliant to thy shrine; And the first weapons that she knows, are thine.' He said; and with full force the spear he threw: Above the sounding waves Camilla flew. Then, press'd by foes, he stemm'd the stormy tide, And gain'd, by stress of arms, the farther side. His fasten'd spear he pull'd from out the ground, And, victor of his vows, his infant nymph unbound; Nor, after that, in towns which walls inclose, Would trust his hunted life amidst his foes; But, rough, in open air he chose to lie; Earth was his couch, his cov'ring was the sky. On hills unshorn, or in a desart den, He shunn'd the dire society of men. A shepherd's solitary life he led; His daughter with the milk of mares he fed. The dugs of bears, and ev'ry salvage beast, He drew, and thro' her lips the liquor press'd. The little Amazon could scarcely go: He loads her with a quiver and a bow; And, that she might her stagg'ring steps command, He with a slender jav'lin fills her hand. Her flowing hair no golden fillet bound; Nor swept her trailing robe the dusty ground. Instead of these, a tiger's hide o'erspread Her back and shoulders, fasten'd to her head. The flying dart she first attempts to fling, And round her tender temples toss'd the sling; Then, as her strength with years increas'd, began To pierce aloft in air the soaring swan, And from the clouds to fetch the heron and the crane. The Tuscan matrons with each other vied, To bless their rival sons with such a bride; But she disdains their love, to share with me The sylvan shades and vow'd virginity. And, O! I wish, contented with my cares Of salvage spoils, she had not sought the wars! Then had she been of my celestial train, And shunn'd the fate that dooms her to be slain. But since, opposing Heav'n's decree, she goes To find her death among forbidden foes, Haste with these arms, and take thy steepy flight. Where, with the gods, averse, the Latins fight. This bow to thee, this quiver I bequeath, This chosen arrow, to revenge her death: By whate'er hand Camilla shall be slain, Or of the Trojan or Italian train, Let him not pass unpunish'd from the plain. Then, in a hollow cloud, myself will aid To bear the breathless body of my maid: Unspoil'd shall be her arms, and unprofan'd Her holy limbs with any human hand, And in a marble tomb laid in her native land."
She said. The faithful nymph descends from high With rapid flight, and cuts the sounding sky: Black clouds and stormy winds around her body fly.
By this, the Trojan and the Tuscan horse, Drawn up in squadrons, with united force, Approach the walls: the sprightly coursers bound, Press forward on their bits, and shift their ground. Shields, arms, and spears flash horribly from far; And the fields glitter with a waving war. Oppos'd to these, come on with furious force Messapus, Coras, and the Latian horse; These in the body plac'd, on either hand Sustain'd and clos'd by fair Camilla's band. Advancing in a line, they couch their spears; And less and less the middle space appears. Thick smoke obscures the field; and scarce are seen The neighing coursers, and the shouting men. In distance of their darts they stop their course; Then man to man they rush, and horse to horse. The face of heav'n their flying jav'lins hide, And deaths unseen are dealt on either side. Tyrrhenus, and Aconteus, void of fear, By mettled coursers borne in full career, Meet first oppos'd; and, with a mighty shock, Their horses' heads against each other knock. Far from his steed is fierce Aconteus cast, As with an engine's force, or lightning's blast: He rolls along in blood, and breathes his last. The Latin squadrons take a sudden fright, And sling their shields behind, to save their backs in flight Spurring at speed to their own walls they drew; Close in the rear the Tuscan troops pursue, And urge their flight: Asylas leads the chase; Till, seiz'd, with shame, they wheel about and face, Receive their foes, and raise a threat'ning cry. The Tuscans take their turn to fear and fly. So swelling surges, with a thund'ring roar, Driv'n on each other's backs, insult the shore, Bound o'er the rocks, incroach upon the land, And far upon the beach eject the sand; Then backward, with a swing, they take their way, Repuls'd from upper ground, and seek their mother sea; With equal hurry quit th' invaded shore, And swallow back the sand and stones they spew'd before.
Twice were the Tuscans masters of the field, Twice by the Latins, in their turn, repell'd. Asham'd at length, to the third charge they ran; Both hosts resolv'd, and mingled man to man. Now dying groans are heard; the fields are strow'd With falling bodies, and are drunk with blood. Arms, horses, men, on heaps together lie: Confus'd the fight, and more confus'd the cry. Orsilochus, who durst not press too near Strong Remulus, at distance drove his spear, And stuck the steel beneath his horse's ear. The fiery steed, impatient of the wound, Curvets, and, springing upward with a bound, His helpless lord cast backward on the ground. Catillus pierc'd Iolas first; then drew His reeking lance, and at Herminius threw, The mighty champion of the Tuscan crew. His neck and throat unarm'd, his head was bare, But shaded with a length of yellow hair: Secure, he fought, expos'd on ev'ry part, A spacious mark for swords, and for the flying dart. Across the shoulders came the feather'd wound; Transfix'd he fell, and doubled to the ground. The sands with streaming blood are sanguine dyed, And death with honor sought on either side.
Resistless thro' the war Camilla rode, In danger unappall'd, and pleas'd with blood. One side was bare for her exerted breast; One shoulder with her painted quiver press'd. Now from afar her fatal jav'lins play; Now with her ax's edge she hews her way: Diana's arms upon her shoulder sound; And when, too closely press'd, she quits the ground, From her bent bow she sends a backward wound. Her maids, in martial pomp, on either side, Larina, Tulla, fierce Tarpeia, ride: Italians all; in peace, their queen's delight; In war, the bold companions of the fight. So march'd the Tracian Amazons of old, When Thermodon with bloody billows roll'd: Such troops as these in shining arms were seen, When Theseus met in fight their maiden queen: Such to the field Penthisilea led, From the fierce virgin when the Grecians fled; With such, return'd triumphant from the war, Her maids with cries attend the lofty car; They clash with manly force their moony shields; With female shouts resound the Phrygian fields.
Who foremost, and who last, heroic maid, On the cold earth were by thy courage laid? Thy spear, of mountain ash, Eumenius first, With fury driv'n, from side to side transpierc'd: A purple stream came spouting from the wound; Bath'd in his blood he lies, and bites the ground. Liris and Pegasus at once she slew: The former, as the slacken'd reins he drew Of his faint steed; the latter, as he stretch'd His arm to prop his friend, the jav'lin reach'd. By the same weapon, sent from the same hand, Both fall together, and both spurn the sand. Amastrus next is added to the slain: The rest in rout she follows o'er the plain: Tereus, Harpalycus, Demophoon, And Chromis, at full speed her fury shun. Of all her deadly darts, not one she lost; Each was attended with a Trojan ghost. Young Ornithus bestrode a hunter steed, Swift for the chase, and of Apulian breed. Him from afar she spied, in arms unknown: O'er his broad back an ox's hide was thrown; His helm a wolf, whose gaping jaws were spread A cov'ring for his cheeks, and grinn'd around his head, He clench'd within his hand an iron prong, And tower'd above the rest, conspicuous in the throng. Him soon she singled from the flying train, And slew with ease; then thus insults the slain: "Vain hunter, didst thou think thro' woods to chase The savage herd, a vile and trembling race? Here cease thy vaunts, and own my victory: A woman warrior was too strong for thee. Yet, if the ghosts demand the conqu'ror's name, Confessing great Camilla, save thy shame." Then Butes and Orsilochus she slew, The bulkiest bodies of the Trojan crew; But Butes breast to breast: the spear descends Above the gorget, where his helmet ends, And o'er the shield which his left side defends. Orsilochus and she their courses ply: He seems to follow, and she seems to fly; But in a narrower ring she makes the race; And then he flies, and she pursues the chase. Gath'ring at length on her deluded foe, She swings her ax, and rises to the blow Full on the helm behind, with such a sway The weapon falls, the riven steel gives way: He groans, he roars, he sues in vain for grace; Brains, mingled with his blood, besmear his face.
Astonish'd Aunus just arrives by chance, To see his fall; nor farther dares advance; But, fixing on the horrid maid his eye, He stares, and shakes, and finds it vain to fly; Yet, like a true Ligurian, born to cheat, (At least while fortune favor'd his deceit,) Cries out aloud: "What courage have you shown, Who trust your courser's strength, and not your own? Forego the vantage of your horse, alight, And then on equal terms begin the fight: It shall be seen, weak woman, what you can, When, foot to foot, you combat with a man," He said. She glows with anger and disdain, Dismounts with speed to dare him on the plain, And leaves her horse at large among her train; With her drawn sword defies him to the field, And, marching, lifts aloft her maiden shield. The youth, who thought his cunning did succeed, Reins round his horse, and urges all his speed; Adds the remembrance of the spur, and hides The goring rowels in his bleeding sides. "Vain fool, and coward!" cries the lofty maid, "Caught in the train which thou thyself hast laid! On others practice thy Ligurian arts; Thin stratagems and tricks of little hearts Are lost on me: nor shalt thou safe retire, With vaunting lies, to thy fallacious sire." At this, so fast her flying feet she sped, That soon she strain'd beyond his horse's head: Then turning short, at once she seiz'd the rein, And laid the boaster grov'ling on the plain. Not with more ease the falcon, from above, Trusses in middle air the trembling dove, Then plumes the prey, in her strong pounces bound: The feathers, foul with blood, come tumbling to the ground.
Now mighty Jove, from his superior height, With his broad eye surveys th' unequal fight. He fires the breast of Tarchon with disdain, And sends him to redeem th' abandon'd plain. Betwixt the broken ranks the Tuscan rides, And these encourages, and those he chides; Recalls each leader, by his name, from flight; Renews their ardor, and restores the fight. "What panic fear has seiz'd your souls? O shame, O brand perpetual of th' Etrurian name! Cowards incurable, a woman's hand Drives, breaks, and scatters your ignoble band! Now cast away the sword, and quit the shield! What use of weapons which you dare not wield? Not thus you fly your female foes by night, Nor shun the feast, when the full bowls invite; When to fat off'rings the glad augur calls, And the shrill hornpipe sounds to bacchanals. These are your studied cares, your lewd delight: Swift to debauch, but slow to manly fight." Thus having said, he spurs amid the foes, Not managing the life he meant to lose. The first he found he seiz'd with headlong haste, In his strong gripe, and clasp'd around the waist; 'T was Venulus, whom from his horse he tore, And, laid athwart his own, in triumph bore. Loud shouts ensue; the Latins turn their eyes, And view th' unusual sight with vast surprise. The fiery Tarchon, flying o'er the plains, Press'd in his arms the pond'rous prey sustains; Then, with his shorten'd spear, explores around His jointed arms, to fix a deadly wound. Nor less the captive struggles for his life: He writhes his body to prolong the strife, And, fencing for his naked throat, exerts His utmost vigor, and the point averts. So stoops the yellow eagle from on high, And bears a speckled serpent thro' the sky, Fast'ning his crooked talons on the prey: The pris'ner hisses thro' the liquid way; Resists the royal hawk; and, tho' oppress'd, She fights in volumes, and erects her crest: Turn'd to her foe, she stiffens ev'ry scale, And shoots her forky tongue, and whisks her threat'ning tail. Against the victor, all defense is weak: Th' imperial bird still plies her with his beak; He tears her bowels, and her breast he gores; Then claps his pinions, and securely soars. Thus, thro' the midst of circling enemies, Strong Tarchon snatch'd and bore away his prize. The Tyrrhene troops, that shrunk before, now press The Latins, and presume the like success.
Then Aruns, doom'd to death, his arts assay'd, To murther, unespied, the Volscian maid: This way and that his winding course he bends, And, whereso'er she turns, her steps attends. When she retires victorious from the chase, He wheels about with care, and shifts his place; When, rushing on, she seeks her foes flight, He keeps aloof, but keeps her still in sight: He threats, and trembles, trying ev'ry way, Unseen to kill, and safely to betray. Chloreus, the priest of Cybele, from far, Glitt'ring in Phrygian arms amidst the war, Was by the virgin view'd. The steed he press'd Was proud with trappings, and his brawny chest With scales of gilded brass was cover'd o'er; A robe of Tyrian dye the rider wore. With deadly wounds he gall'd the distant foe; Gnossian his shafts, and Lycian was his bow: A golden helm his front and head surrounds A gilded quiver from his shoulder sounds. Gold, weav'd with linen, on his thighs he wore, With flowers of needlework distinguish'd o'er, With golden buckles bound, and gather'd up before. Him the fierce maid beheld with ardent eyes, Fond and ambitious of so rich a prize, Or that the temple might his trophies hold, Or else to shine herself in Trojan gold. Blind in her haste, she chases him alone. And seeks his life, regardless of her own.
This lucky moment the sly traitor chose: Then, starting from his ambush, up he rose, And threw, but first to Heav'n address'd his vows: "O patron of Socrates' high abodes, Phoebus, the ruling pow'r among the gods, Whom first we serve, whole woods of unctuous pine Are fell'd for thee, and to thy glory shine; By thee protected with our naked soles, Thro' flames unsing'd we march, and tread the kindled coals Give me, propitious pow'r, to wash away The stains of this dishonorable day: Nor spoils, nor triumph, from the fact I claim, But with my future actions trust my fame. Let me, by stealth, this female plague o'ercome, And from the field return inglorious home." Apollo heard, and, granting half his pray'r, Shuffled in winds the rest, and toss'd in empty air. He gives the death desir'd; his safe return By southern tempests to the seas is borne.
Now, when the jav'lin whizz'd along the skies, Both armies on Camilla turn'd their eyes, Directed by the sound. Of either host, Th' unhappy virgin, tho' concern'd the most, Was only deaf; so greedy was she bent On golden spoils, and on her prey intent; Till in her pap the winged weapon stood Infix'd, and deeply drunk the purple blood. Her sad attendants hasten to sustain Their dying lady, drooping on the plain. Far from their sight the trembling Aruns flies, With beating heart, and fear confus'd with joys; Nor dares he farther to pursue his blow, Or ev'n to bear the sight of his expiring foe. As, when the wolf has torn a bullock's hide At unawares, or ranch'd a shepherd's side, Conscious of his audacious deed, he flies, And claps his quiv'ring tail between his thighs: So, speeding once, the wretch no more attends, But, spurring forward, herds among his friends.
She wrench'd the jav'lin with her dying hands, But wedg'd within her breast the weapon stands; The wood she draws, the steely point remains; She staggers in her seat with agonizing pains: (A gath'ring mist o'erclouds her cheerful eyes, And from her cheeks the rosy color flies:) Then turns to her, whom of her female train She trusted most, and thus she speaks with pain: "Acca, 't is past! he swims before my sight, Inexorable Death; and claims his right. Bear my last words to Turnus; fly with speed, And bid him timely to my charge succeed, Repel the Trojans, and the town relieve: Farewell! and in this kiss my parting breath receive." She said, and, sliding, sunk upon the plain: Dying, her open'd hand forsakes the rein; Short, and more short, she pants; by slow degrees Her mind the passage from her body frees. She drops her sword; she nods her plumy crest, Her drooping head declining on her breast: In the last sigh her struggling soul expires, And, murm'ring with disdain, to Stygian sounds retires.
A shout, that struck the golden stars, ensued; Despair and rage the languish'd fight renew'd. The Trojan troops and Tuscans, in a line, Advance to charge; the mix'd Arcadians join.
But Cynthia's maid, high seated, from afar Surveys the field, and fortune of the war, Unmov'd a while, till, prostrate on the plain, Welt'ring in blood, she sees Camilla slain, And, round her corpse, of friends and foes a fighting train. Then, from the bottom of her breast, she drew A mournful sigh, and these sad words ensue: "Too dear a fine, ah much lamented maid, For warring with the Trojans, thou hast paid! Nor aught avail'd, in this unhappy strife, Diana's sacred arms, to save thy life. Yet unreveng'd thy goddess will not leave Her vot'ry's death, nor; with vain sorrow grieve. Branded the wretch, and be his name abhorr'd; But after ages shall thy praise record. Th' inglorious coward soon shall press the plain: Thus vows thy queen, and thus the Fates ordain."
High o'er the field there stood a hilly mound, Sacred the place, and spread with oaks around, Where, in a marble tomb, Dercennus lay, A king that once in Latium bore the sway. The beauteous Opis thither bent her flight, To mark the traitor Aruns from the height. Him in refulgent arms she soon espied, Swoln with success; and loudly thus she cried: "Thy backward steps, vain boaster, are too late; Turn like a man, at length, and meet thy fate. Charg'd with my message, to Camilla go, And say I sent thee to the shades below, An honor undeserv'd from Cynthia's bow."
She said, and from her quiver chose with speed The winged shaft, predestin'd for the deed; Then to the stubborn yew her strength applied, Till the far distant horns approach'd on either side. The bowstring touch'd her breast, so strong she drew; Whizzing in air the fatal arrow flew. At once the twanging bow and sounding dart The traitor heard, and felt the point within his heart. Him, beating with his heels in pangs of death, His flying friends to foreign fields bequeath. The conqu'ring damsel, with expanded wings, The welcome message to her mistress brings.
Their leader lost, the Volscians quit the field, And, unsustain'd, the chiefs of Turnus yield. The frighted soldiers, when their captains fly, More on their speed than on their strength rely. Confus'd in flight, they bear each other down, And spur their horses headlong to the town. Driv'n by their foes, and to their fears resign'd, Not once they turn, but take their wounds behind. These drop the shield, and those the lance forego, Or on their shoulders bear the slacken'd bow. The hoofs of horses, with a rattling sound, Beat short and thick, and shake the rotten ground. Black clouds of dust come rolling in the sky, And o'er the darken'd walls and rampires fly. The trembling matrons, from their lofty stands, Rend heav'n with female shrieks, and wring their hands. All pressing on, pursuers and pursued, Are crush'd in crowds, a mingled multitude. Some happy few escape: the throng too late Rush on for entrance, till they choke the gate. Ev'n in the sight of home, the wretched sire Looks on, and sees his helpless son expire. Then, in a fright, the folding gates they close, But leave their friends excluded with their foes. The vanquish'd cry; the victors loudly shout; 'T is terror all within, and slaughter all without. Blind in their fear, they bounce against the wall, Or, to the moats pursued, precipitate their fall.
The Latian virgins, valiant with despair, Arm'd on the tow'rs, the common danger share: So much of zeal their country's cause inspir'd; So much Camilla's great example fir'd. Poles, sharpen'd in the flames, from high they throw, With imitated darts, to gall the foe. Their lives for godlike freedom they bequeath, And crowd each other to be first in death. Meantime to Turnus, ambush'd in the shade, With heavy tidings came th' unhappy maid: "The Volscians overthrown, Camilla kill'd; The foes, entirely masters of the field, Like a resistless flood, come rolling on: The cry goes off the plain, and thickens to the town."
Inflam'd with rage, (for so the Furies fire The Daunian's breast, and so the Fates require,) He leaves the hilly pass, the woods in vain Possess'd, and downward issues on the plain. Scarce was he gone, when to the straits, now freed From secret foes, the Trojan troops succeed. Thro' the black forest and the ferny brake, Unknowingly secure, their way they take; From the rough mountains to the plain descend, And there, in order drawn, their line extend. Both armies now in open fields are seen; Nor far the distance of the space between. Both to the city bend. Aeneas sees, Thro' smoking fields, his hast'ning enemies; And Turnus views the Trojans in array, And hears th' approaching horses proudly neigh. Soon had their hosts in bloody battle join'd; But westward to the sea the sun declin'd. Intrench'd before the town both armies lie, While Night with sable wings involves the sky.
When Turnus saw the Latins leave the field, Their armies broken, and their courage quell'd, Himself become the mark of public spite, His honor question'd for the promis'd fight; The more he was with vulgar hate oppress'd, The more his fury boil'd within his breast: He rous'd his vigor for the last debate, And rais'd his haughty soul to meet his fate.
As, when the swains the Libyan lion chase, He makes a sour retreat, nor mends his pace; But, if the pointed jav'lin pierce his side, The lordly beast returns with double pride: He wrenches out the steel, he roars for pain; His sides he lashes, and erects his mane: So Turnus fares; his eyeballs flash with fire, Thro' his wide nostrils clouds of smoke expire.
Trembling with rage, around the court he ran, At length approach'd the king, and thus began: "No more excuses or delays: I stand In arms prepar'd to combat, hand to hand, This base deserter of his native land. The Trojan, by his word, is bound to take The same conditions which himself did make. Renew the truce; the solemn rites prepare, And to my single virtue trust the war. The Latians unconcern'd shall see the fight; This arm unaided shall assert your right: Then, if my prostrate body press the plain, To him the crown and beauteous bride remain."
To whom the king sedately thus replied: "Brave youth, the more your valor has been tried, The more becomes it us, with due respect, To weigh the chance of war, which you neglect. You want not wealth, or a successive throne, Or cities which your arms have made your own: My towns and treasures are at your command, And stor'd with blooming beauties is my land; Laurentum more than one Lavinia sees, Unmarried, fair, of noble families. Now let me speak, and you with patience hear, Things which perhaps may grate a lover's ear, But sound advice, proceeding from a heart Sincerely yours, and free from fraudful art. The gods, by signs, have manifestly shown, No prince Italian born should heir my throne: Oft have our augurs, in prediction skill'd, And oft our priests, foreign son reveal'd. Yet, won by worth that cannot be withstood, Brib'd by my kindness to my kindred blood, Urg'd by my wife, who would not be denied, I promis'd my Lavinia for your bride: Her from her plighted lord by force I took; All ties of treaties, and of honor, broke: On your account I wag'd an impious war- With what success, 't is needless to declare; I and my subjects feel, and you have had your share. Twice vanquish'd while in bloody fields we strive, Scarce in our walls we keep our hopes alive: The rolling flood runs warm with human gore; The bones of Latians blanch the neighb'ring shore. Why put I not an end to this debate, Still unresolv'd, and still a slave to fate? If Turnus' death a lasting peace can give, Why should I not procure it whilst you live? Should I to doubtful arms your youth betray, What would my kinsmen the Rutulians say? And, should you fall in fight, (which Heav'n defend!) How curse the cause which hasten'd to his end The daughter's lover and the father's friend? Weigh in your mind the various chance of war; Pity your parent's age, and ease his care."
Such balmy words he pour'd, but all in vain: The proffer'd med'cine but provok'd the pain. The wrathful youth, disdaining the relief, With intermitting sobs thus vents his grief: "The care, O best of fathers, which you take For my concerns, at my desire forsake. Permit me not to languish out my days, But make the best exchange of life for praise. This arm, this lance, can well dispute the prize; And the blood follows, where the weapon flies. His goddess mother is not near, to shroud The flying coward with an empty cloud."
But now the queen, who fear'd for Turnus' life, And loath'd the hard conditions of the strife, Held him by force; and, dying in his death, In these sad accents gave her sorrow breath: "O Turnus, I adjure thee by these tears, And whate'er price Amata's honor bears Within thy breast, since thou art all my hope, My sickly mind's repose, my sinking age's prop; Since on the safety of thy life alone Depends Latinus, and the Latian throne: Refuse me not this one, this only pray'r, To waive the combat, and pursue the war. Whatever chance attends this fatal strife, Think it includes, in thine, Amata's life. I cannot live a slave, or see my throne Usurp'd by strangers or a Trojan son."
At this, a flood of tears Lavinia shed; A crimson blush her beauteous face o'erspread, Varying her cheeks by turns with white and red. The driving colors, never at a stay, Run here and there, and flush, and fade away. Delightful change! Thus Indian iv'ry shows, Which with the bord'ring paint of purple glows; Or lilies damask'd by the neighb'ring rose.
The lover gaz'd, and, burning with desire, The more he look'd, the more he fed the fire: Revenge, and jealous rage, and secret spite, Roll in his breast, and rouse him to the fight. Then fixing on the queen his ardent eyes, Firm to his first intent, he thus replies: "O mother, do not by your tears prepare Such boding omens, and prejudge the war. Resolv'd on fight, I am no longer free To shun my death, if Heav'n my death decree." Then turning to the herald, thus pursues: "Go, greet the Trojan with ungrateful news; Denounce from me, that, when to-morrow's light Shall gild the heav'ns, he need not urge the fight; The Trojan and Rutulian troops no more Shall dye, with mutual blood, the Latian shore: Our single swords the quarrel shall decide, And to the victor be the beauteous bride."
He said, and striding on, with speedy pace, He sought his coursers of the Thracian race. At his approach they toss their heads on high, And, proudly neighing, promise victory. The sires of these Orythia sent from far, To grace Pilumnus, when he went to war. The drifts of Thracian snows were scarce so white, Nor northern winds in fleetness match'd their flight. Officious grooms stand ready by his side; And some with combs their flowing manes divide, And others stroke their chests and gently soothe their pride.
He sheath'd his limbs in arms; a temper'd mass Of golden metal those, and mountain brass. Then to his head his glitt'ring helm he tied, And girt his faithful fauchion to his side. In his Aetnaean forge, the God of Fire That fauchion labor'd for the hero's sire; Immortal keenness on the blade bestow'd, And plung'd it hissing in the Stygian flood. Propp'd on a pillar, which the ceiling bore, Was plac'd the lance Auruncan Actor wore; Which with such force he brandish'd in his hand, The tough ash trembled like an osier wand: Then cried: "O pond'rous spoil of Actor slain, And never yet by Turnus toss'd in vain, Fail not this day thy wonted force; but go, Sent by this hand, to pierce the Trojan foe! Give me to tear his corslet from his breast, And from that eunuch head to rend the crest; Dragg'd in the dust, his frizzled hair to soil, Hot from the vexing ir'n, and smear'd with fragrant oil!"