But we hence shall go, a part to the thirsty Africs,
Part to Scythia come, and the rapid Cretan Oaxes,
And to the Britons from all the universe utterly sundered.
Ah, shall I ever, a long time hence, the bounds of my country
And the roof of my lowly cottage covered with greensward
Seeing, with wonder behold ? my kingdoms, a handful of wheat-earsi
Shall an impious soldier possess these lands newly cultured.
And these fields of corn a barbarian ? Lo, whither discord
Us wretched people hath brought! for whom our fields we have
Graft, Meliboeus, thy pear-trees now; put in order thy vineyards.
Go, my goats, go hence, my flocks so happy aforetime.
Never again henceforth outstretched in my verdurous cavern
Shall I behold you afar from the bushy precipice hanging.
Songs no more shall I sing; not with me, ye goats, as your shepherd.
Shall ye browse on the bitter willow or blooming laburnum.
Nevertheless this night together with me canst thou rest thee
Here on the verdant leaves; for us there are mellowing apples.
Chestnuts soft to the touch, and clouted cream in abundance;
And the high roofs now of the villages smoke in the distance,
And from the lofty mountains are falling larger the shadows.
Translation of H. W, LongfelloTr.
MY HEART'S DESIRE
From the <Georgics.> Copyright 1881, by James R. Osgood & Co.
MY heart's desire, all other desires above.
Is aye the minister and priest to be
Of the sweet Muses, whom I utterly love.
So might they graciously open unto me
The heavens, and the courses that the stars do run
Therein, and all the labors of moon and sun.
And the source of the earthquake, and the terrible swell
Of mounting tides, all barriers that break
And on themselves recoil. Me might they tell
Wherefore the suns of the wintry season make
Such haste to their bath in the ocean bed, and why
The reluctant nights do wear so slowly by.
Yet if it be not given me to fulfill
This my so great desire to manifest
Some part of Nature's marvel, or ere the chill
Of age my abounding pulses do arrest, ā
Yet will I joy the fresh wild vales among,
And the streams and the forest love, myself unsung!
Oh, would that I might along thy meadows roam,
Spercheus, or the inspired course behold
Of Spartan maids on Taygetus! Who will come
And lead me into the Hasmian valleys cold,
Where, in the deep shade, I may sit me down?
For he is verily happy who hath known
The wonderful wherefore of the things of sense.
And hath trodden under foot implacable Fate,
And the manifold shapes of Fear, and the violence
Of roaring Acheron, the insatiate;
Yet blessed is he as well, that homely man,
Who knoweth the gods of the country-side and Pan,
Silvanus old, and the Nymphs their sisterhood!
Him not the purple of kings, the fagots of power.
Lure ever aside from his meek rectitude.
Nor the brethren false whom their own strifes devour.
Nor the Dacian hordes that down the Ister come,
Nor the throes of dying States, nor the things of Rome.
Not his the misery of another's need,
Nor envy of his abundance; but the trees
Glad unto his gathering their fruits concede.
And the willing fields their corn. He never sees
What madness is in the forum, nor hath awe
Of written codes, or the rigor of iron law.
There be who vex incessantly with their oars
The pathless billows of ocean; who make haste
Unto the fray, or hover about the doors
Of palace chambers, or carry ruthless waste
To the homes of men, and to their firesides woe.
One heapeth his wealth and hideth his gold, that so
He may drink from jeweled cups and take his rest
Upon purple of Tyre. One standeth in mute amaze
Before the Rostra, ā vehemently possest
With greed of the echoing plaudits they upraise.
The plebs and the fathers in their places set.
These joy in hands with the blood of their brothers wet;
And forth of their own dear thresholds, many a time,
Driven into exile, they are fain to seek
The alien citizenship of some far clime.
But the tillers of earth have only need to break,
Year after year, the clods with the rounded share.
And life is the fruit their diligent labors bear
For the land at large, and the babes at home, and the
In the stall, and the generous bullocks. Evermore
The seasons are prodigal of wheaten sheaves
And fruits and younglings, till, for the coming store
Of the laden lands, the barns too strait are grown:
For winter is near, when olives of Sicyon
Are bruised in press, and all the lusty swine
Come gorged from thickets of arbutus and oak;
Or the autumn is dropping increase, and the vine
Mellowing its fruit on sunny steeps, while the folk
Indoors hold fast by the old-time purity.
And the little ones sweetly cling unto neck and knee.
Plump kids go butting amid the grasses deep.
And the udders of kine their milky streams give down;
Then the hind doth gather his fellows, and they keep
The merry old feast-days, and with garlands crown,
Lenaean sire, the vessels of thy libation.
By turf-built altar-fires with invocation!
And games are set for the herdsmen, and they fling
At the bole of the elm the rapid javelin.
Or bare their sturdy limbs for the rustic ring;
Oh, such, methinks, was the life the old Sabine
Led in the land, and the illustrious two,
Romulus and Remus! Thus Etruria grew
To greatness, and thus did Rome, beyond a doubt,
Become the crown of the cities of earth, and fling
A girdle of walls her seven hills round about,
Before the empire of the Dictsan king
Began, or the impious children of men were fain
To feast on the flesh of kindly oxen slain.
Ay, such the life that in the cycle of gold
Saturn lived upon earth, or ever yet
Men's ears had hearkened the blare of trumpets bold.
Or the sparkle of blades on cruel anvils beat.
But the hour is late, and the spaces vast appear.
We have rounded in our race, and the time is here
To ease our weary steeds of their steaming gear.
Translation of Harriet Waters Preston.
THE FALL OF TROY
From the <-(Eneid>
[Priam's palace is sacked, and the old king himself is slain, with his son, by
Pyrrhus Neoptolemus, Achilles's youthful heir. The episode is part of
the long story related by ^neas in Carthage to Dido the queen.]
ORWARD we fare,
Called to the palace of Priam by war-shouts rending the air.
Here of a truth raged battle, as though no combats beside
Reigned elsewhere, no thousands about all Ilion died.
Here we beheld in his fury the war-god; foemen the roof
Scaling, the threshold blocked with a penthouse, javelin-proof.
Ladders rest on the walls, armed warriors climb by the door
Stair upon stair, left hands, to the arrows round them that pour,
Holding a buckler, the battlement ridge in the right held fast.
Trojans in turn wrench loose from the palace turret and tower;
Ready with these, when the end seems visible, ā death's dark hour
Closing around them now, ā to defend their lives to the last.
Gilded rafters, the glory of Trojan kings of the past.
Roll on the enemy. Others, with javelins flashing fire,
Form at the inner doors, and around them close in a ring.
Hearts grow bolder within us to succor the palace, to bring
Aid to the soldier, and valor in vanquished hearts to inspire.
There was a gate with a secret door, that a passage adjoined
Thridding the inner palace ā a postern planted behind.
Here /Andromache, ill-starred queen, oft entered alone,
Visiting Hector's parents, when yet they sate on the throne;
Oft to his grandsire with her the boy Astyanax led.
Passing the covered way to the roof I mount overhead.
Where Troy's children were hurling an idle javelin shower.
From it a turret rose, on the topmost battlement height
Raised to the stars, whence Troy and the Danaan ships and the
Dorian tents were wont to be seen in a happier hour.
With bright steel we assailed it, and where high flooring of tower
Offered a joint that yielded, we wrenched it loose, and below
Sent it a-drifting. It fell with a thunderous crash on the foe,
Carrying ruin afar. But the ranks close round us again.
Stones and the myriad weapons of war unceasingly rain.
Facing the porch, on the threshold itself, stands Pyrrhus in bright
Triumph, with glittering weapons, a flashing mirror of light.
Antonio Cunovas statue, Venice
As to the light some viper, on grasses poisonous fed,
Swollen and buried long by the winter's frost in his bed.
Shedding his weeds, uprises in shining beauty and strength,
Lifts, new-born, his bosom, and wreathes his slippery length.
High to the sunlight darting a three-forked flickering tongue, ā
Periphas huge strides near, and the brave Automedon, long
Charioteer to Achilles, an armor-bearer to-day.
All of the flower of Scyros beside him, warriors young,
Crowd to the palace too, while flames on the battlement play.
Pyrrhus in front of the host, with a two-edged axe in his hand.
Breaches the stubborn doors, from the hinges rends with his brand
Brass-clamped timbers, a panel cleaves, to the heart of the oak
Strikes, and a yawning chasm for the sunlight gapes at his stroke.
Bare to the eye is the palace within: long vistas of hall
Open; the inmost dwelling of Priam is seen of them all:
Bare the inviolate chambers of kings of an earlier day,
And they descry on the threshold the armed men standing at bay.
Groaning and wild uproar through the inner palace begin;
Women's wailings are heard from the vaulted cloisters within.
Shrieks to the golden stars are rolled. Scared mothers in fear
Over the vast courts wander, embracing the thresholds dear.
Clasping and kissing the doors. On strides, as his father in might,
Pyrrhus: no gate can stay him, nor guard withstand him to-night;
Portals yield at the thunder of strokes plied ever and aye;
Down from the hinges the gates are flung on their faces to lie.
Entry is broken; the enemy's hosts stream inwards and kill
All in the van, each space with a countless soldiery fill.
Not so rages the river, that o'er its barriers flows
White with foam, overturning the earth-built mounds that oppose,
When on the fields as a mountain it rolls, by meadow and wold,
Sweeping to ruin the herd and the stall. These eyes did behold
Pyrrhus maddened with slaughter ; and marked on the sill of the gat
Both the Atridae brethren. I saw where Hecuba sate.
Round her a hundred brides of her sons, ā saw Priam with blood
Staining the altar-fires he had hallowed himself to his god.
Fifty his bridal chambers within, ā each seeming a sweet
Promise of children's children, ā in dust all lie at his feet!
Doors emblazoned with spoils, and with proud barbarian gold,
Lie in the dust! Where flames yield passage, Danaans hold!
<<What was the fate,>> thou askest, Ā« befell King Priam withal ?>>
When he beholds Troy taken, his gates in confusion fall,
"Toes in the heart of his palace, the old man feebly essays
Round his trembling shoulders the armor of bygone days;
Girds, now harmless forever, his sword once more to his side;
"Makes for the midst of the foemen, to die as a chieftain had died.
Deep in the palace heart, and beneath heaven's canopy clear,
Lay a majestic altar; a veteran bay-tree near
Over it huW. and in shadow inclosed the Penates divine.
Hecuba here, and her daughters, in vain surrounding the shrine, ā
Like doves swooping from heaven in a tempest's gloom to the
Sate all huddled, and clinging the god's great images round!
When in the arms of his youth she beheld her Priam arrayed ā _,
"What wild purpose of battle, my ill-starred husband,*^ she said,
<<Ails thee to don these weapons, and whither fondly away ?
Not such succor as thine can avail us in this sad day:
No man's weapons, ā if even our Hector came at the call.
Hither, I pray thee, turn. One shrine shall shelter us all.
Else one death overwhelm us.^^ She spake, then, reaching her hand,
Gently the old man placed by the hallowed gods of his land.
Lo! from the ravaging Pyrrhus, Polites flying for life.
One of the sons of the king! Through foes, through weapons of
Under the long colonnades, down halls now empty, he broke.
Wounded to death. On his traces aflame with murderous stroke,
Pyrrhus ā behind ā the pursuer! Behold, each minute of flight.
Hand outreaching to hold him, and spear uplifted to smite!
When in his parents' view and before their faces he stood.
Fainting he fell; in a torrent his life poured forth with his blood!
Then ā though about and around him already the death-shade
Priam held not his peace, gave rein to his wrath and his tongue!
<* Now may the gods, thou sinner, for this impiety bold ā
If there still be an eye in the heaven these deeds to behold ā
Pay thee,^^ he cried, <^ all thanks that are owed thee, dues that are
Thou, who hast made me witness mine own son die at my feet.
Yea, in the father's presence the earth with slaughter hast stained.
Not this wise did Achilles, the sire thou falsely hast feigned.
Deal with his enemy Priam. His heart knew generous shame,
Felt for a suppliant's honor, a righteous suppliant's claim, ā
Hector's lifeless body to lie in the tomb he restored;
Home to my kingdom sent me, to reign once more as its lord.Ā®
The old man spake, and his weapon, a harmless, impotent thing,
Hurled; on the brass of the buckler it smote with a hollow ring,
Hung from the eye of the boss all nerveless. Pyrrhus in ire ā
"Take these tidings thou, and relate this news to my sire:
Seek Pelides and tell him the shameless deeds I have done;
Fail not to say his Pyrrhus appears a degenerate son!
Die mean whiles. ^> And the aged king to the altar he haled.
Trembling, and sliding to earth in his own son's blood as he trailed;
Twined in the old man's tresses his left, with his right hand drew
Swiftly the sword, to the hilt in his heart then sheathed it anew.
This was the story of Priam, ā the end appointed that came.
Sent by the Fates, ā to behold as he died Troy's city aflame,
Pergama falling around him, who once in his high command
Swayed full many a people, in pride ruled many a land,
Asia's lord. He is lying a giant trunk on the shore,
Head from his shoulders severed, a corpse with a name no more.
Translation of Sir Charles Bowen.
THE CURSE OF QUEEN DIDO
From the <.iEneid>
[Queen Dido, deserted by .^Eneas, curses him and his Roman posterity. She
foreshadows the career of Hannibal.]
Now from the saffron bed of Tithonus, morning again
Rises, and sprinkles with new-born light earth's every plain,
Soon as the sleepless Queen, from her watch-towers set on the
Saw day whiten, the vessels with squared sails plowing the deep.
Desolate shores and abandoned ports, ā thrice beating her fair
Breasts with her hand, thrice rending her yellow tresses of hair ā
<< Father of earth and of heaven! and shall this stranger,'^ she cries,
" Wend on his treacherous way, flout Dido's realm as he flies ?
Leaps no sword from the scabbard ? Is Tyre not yet on his trail ?
None of ye warping the ships from the dock-yards, hoisting the sail ?
Forth with the flame and the arrow! To sea, and belabor the main!
Ah, wild words ! Is it Dido ? Has madness troubled her brain ?
Ah, too late, poor Dido! the sin comes home to thee now!
Then wa| the hour to consider, when thou wast crowning his brow.
Look ye! ā The faith and the honor of him who still, as they say,
Carries on shipboard with him his Trojan gods on the way!
Bore on his shoulders his aged sire! Ah! had I not force
Limb from limb to have torn him, and piecemeal scattered his corse
Over the seas ? his crews to have slain, and, banquet of joy.
Served on the father's table the flesh of lulus the boy ?
Even were chance in the battle unequal, ā death was at hand.
Whom had Dido to fear ? I had borne to the vessels the brand,
Filled with flames each deck, each hold, ā child, people, and sire
Whelmed in the blazing ruin, and flung myself on the pyre!
Sun, whose flaming torches reveal earth's every deed;
Juno, witness of sad love's pains, who knowest my need;
Name on the midnight causeways howled, ā thou, Hecate dire;
Sister avengers. Genius of Dido, soon to expire, ā
Gently receive her and give to her crying misery heed;
Listen and hear these prayers! If the heavens' stern laws have de*
Yon base soul shall find him a harbor, and float to the land;
Thus Jove's destinies order, and so fate finally stand; ā
Harassed in war by the spears of a daring people and wild,
Far from the land of his fathers and torn from the arms of his child.
May he in vain ask succor, and watch his Teucrian band
Dying a death untimely! and when this warrior proud
Under the hard conditions of peace his spirit has bowed,
Neither of monarch's throne nor of sunlight sweet let him taste;
Fall ere time overtakes him, and tombless bleach on the waste.
This last prayer as my life ebbs forth I pour with my blood;
Let not thy hatred sleep, my Tyre, to the Teucrian brood;
Lay on the tomb of Dido for funeral offering this! ā
Neither be love nor league to unite my people and his!
Rise! thou Nameless Avenger from Dido's ashes to come,
Follow with fire and slaughter the false Dardanians home!
Smite them to-day, hereafter, through ages yet unexplored.
Long as thy strength sustains thee, and fingers cling to the sword I
Sea upon sea wage battle for ever! shore upon shore,
Spear upon spear! To the sires and the children strife evermore !Ā»
Translation of Sir Charles Bowen.
THE VISION OF THE FUTURE
From the *-JEneid^
[^neas meets in the Elysian Fields his father, Anchises, who shows him
their most illustrious descendants.]
AFTER the rite is completed, the gift to the goddess addressed.
Now at the last they come to the realms where Joy has her
Sweet green glades in the Fortunate Forests, abodes of the blest.
Fields in an ampler ether, a light more glorious dressed.
Lit evermore with their own bright stars and a sun of their own.
Some are training their limbs on the wrestling-green, and compete
Gayly in sport on the yellow arenas; some with their feet
Treading their choral measures, or singing the hymns of the god
While their Thracian priest, in a sacred robe that trails,
Chants them the air with the seven sweet notes of his musical
Now with his fingers striking, and now with his ivory rod.
Here are the ancient children of Teucer, fair to behold,
Generous heroes, born in the happier summers of old, ā
Ilus, Assaracus by him, and Dardan, Founder of Troy.
Far in the distance yonder are visible armor and car
Unsubstantial; in earth their lances are planted; and far
Over the meadows are ranging the chargers freed from employ.
All the delight they took when alive in the chariot and sword.
All of the loving care that to shining coursers was paid.
Follows them now that in quiet below Earth's breast they are laid.
Banqueting here he beholds them to right and to left on the sward,
Chanting in chorus the Pasan, beneath sweet forests of bay;
Whence, amid wild wood covers, the river Eridanus, poured,
Rolls his majestic torrents to upper earth and the day.
Chiefs for the land of their sires in the battle wounded of yore.
Priests whose purity lasted until sweet life was no more,
Faithful prophets who spake as beseemed their god and his shrine,
All who by arts invented to life have added a grace^
All whose services earned the remembrance deep of the race.
Round their shadowy foreheads the snow-white garland entwine.
Then as about them the phantoms stream, breaks silence the seer,
Turning first to Musaeus, ā for round him the shadows appear
Thickest to crowd, as he towers with his shoulders over the throng, ā
<<Tell me, ye joyous spirits, and thou, bright master of song,
Where is the home and the haunt of the great Anchises, for whom
Hither we come, and have traversed the awful rivers of gloom ? '*
Briefly in turn makes answer the hero: ^* None has a home
In fixed haunts. We inhabit the dark thick glades, on the brink
Ever of moss-banked rivers, and water meadows that drink
Living streams. But if onward your heart thus wills ye to go.
Climb this ridge. I will set ye in pathways easy to know.*^
Forward he marches, leading the way; from the heights at the end
Shows them a shining plain, and the mountain slopes they descend.
There withdrawn to a valley of green in a fold of the plain
Stood Anchises the father, his eyes intent on a train, ā
Prisoned spirits, soon to ascend to the sunlight again, ā
Numbering over his children dear, their myriad bands,
All their destinies bright, their ways, and the work of their hands.
When he beheld ^neas across those flowery lands
Moving to meet him, fondly he strained both arms to his boy;
Tears on his cheek fell fast, and his voice found slowly employ.
" Here thou comest at last, and the love I counted upon
Over the rugged path has prevailed. Once more, O my son,
I may behold thee, and answer with mine thy voice as of yore.
Long I pondered the chances, believed this day was in store,
Reckoning the years and the seasons. Nor was my longing belied.
O'er how many a land, past what far waters and wide.
Hast thou come to mine arms! What dangers have tossed thee, my
Ah, how I feared lest harm should await thee in Libya wild!**
<' Thine own shade, my sire, thine own disconsolate shade,
Visiting oft my chamber, has made me seek thee,** he said.
" Safe upon Tuscan waters the fleet lies. Grant me to grasp
Thy right hand, sweet father; withdraw thee not from its clasp.**
So he replied; and a river of tears flowed over his face.
Thrice with his arms he essayed the beloved one's neck to embrace;
Thrice clasped vainly: the phantom eluded his hands in flight,
Thin as the idle breezes, and like some dream of the night.
There ^neas beholds in a valley withdrawn from the rest
Far-off glades, and a forest of boughs that sing in the breeze;
Near them the Lethe river that glides by abodes of the blest.
Round it numberless races and peoples floating he sees.
So on the flowery meadows in calin, clear summer, the bees
Settle on bright-hued blossoms, or stream in companies round
Fair white lilies, till every plain seems ringing with sound.
Strange to the scene ^neas, with terror suddenly pale.
Asks of its meaning, and what be the streams in the distant vale.
Who those warrior crowds that about yon river await.
Answer returns Anchises : " The spirits promised by Fate
Life in the body again. Upon Lethe's watery brink
These of the fountain of rest and of long oblivion drink.
Ever I yearn to relate thee the tale, display to thine eyes,
Count thee over the children that from my loins shall arise,
So that your joy may be deeper on finding Italy's skies.**
"O my father! and are there, and must we believe it,** he said,
"Spirits that fly once more to the sunlight back from the dead?
Souls that anew to the body return, and the fetters of clay ?
Can there be any who long for the light thus blindly as they?*
Ā« Listen, and I will resolve thee the doubt, '^ Anchises replies.
Then unfolds him in order the tale of the earth and the skies.
<< In the beginning, the earth, and the sky, and the spaces of night,
Also the shining moon, and the sun Titanic and bright,
Fed on an inward life, and with all things mingled, a mind
Moves universal matter, with Nature's frame is combined.
Thence man's race, and the beast, and the bird that on pinions flies.
All wild shapes that are hidden the gleaming waters beneath,
Each elemental seed, has a fiery force from the skies;
Each its heavenly being, that no dull clay can disguise.
Bodies of earth ne'er deaden, nor limbs long destined to death.
Hence their fears and desires; their sorrows and joys: for their sight,
Blind with the gloom of a prison, discerns not the heavenly light.
<<Now, when at last life' leaves them, do all sad ills, that belong
Unto the sinful body, depart; still many survive
Lingering with them, alas! for it needs must be that the long
Growth should in wondrous fashion at full completion arrive.
So due vengeance racks them, for deeds of an earlier day
Suffering penance, and some to the winds hang viewless and thin,
Searched by the breezes; from others the deep infection of sin
Swirling water washes, or bright fire purges, away.
Each, in his own sad ghost, we endure ; then pass to the wide
Realms of Elysium. Few in the fields of the happy abide,