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The AR G U M E N T.
Turnus takes advantage of Æneas's absence, attempts to fire
his ships (which are transformed into sea-nymphs) and affaults his camp. The Trojans, reduced to the last extremities, send Nisus and Euryalus to recall Æneas, which furnishes the poet with that admirable episode of their friendship, generosity, and conclusion of their adventures. In the morning, Turnus pushes the fiege with vigour; and, hearing that the Trojans had opened a gate, he runs thither, and breaks into the town with the enemies he pursues. The gates are immediately closed upon him; and he fights his way through the town to the river Tyber. He is forced at last to leap, armed as he is, into the river, and swims to his camp.
P. VIRGILII MARONIS
N E IDOS
L I B E R
A Trim de caelo mise Saturnia Juno
TQUE ea diversa penitus dum parte geruntur,
Audacem ad Turnum. luco tum forte parentis
* This book is more particularly remarkable, because the hero has nothing to do in it; and it is the only one through all the poem of that kind. The moderns have taken too much liberty in this point; for how many entire books are there in Tarto's Jerusalem, where Godfrey never appears ? Not that the poet is always under a neceflity of following his hero, without so much as quitting him once: on the contrary, it is proper that he thould sometimes magnify the valour of the enemy, to render that of his hero more conspicuous. But by the episode of Nisus and Euryalus, we may perceive how deficient those episodes are, which depart entirely from the subject; and have no connection, either with the action, or the fable. Such are the amours of Rinaldo and Armida, and the greater part of the adventures of Tancred, Erminia, and Clorinda ; as F. Mambrun has judiciously remarked. It is not a fault to depart sometimes from the hero; but it is necessary, that all which países in his absence should have some connexion with the principal action, or at least with the fable, as may be seen from this book. The action of this poem is the arrival of Æneas in Italy, and the foundation of a city; there is no doubt but that all which Turnus performs against this action, is part of the action ittelf: Because it is neceffary that this action inould have a beginning, middle, and end;
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