« PreviousContinue »
P. VIRGILII MARONIS
INTEREA medium Æneas jam classe tenebat
Ut pelagus tenuere rates, nec jam amplius ulla
7. Augurium occurs in the sense of dismal presages or conjectures in Cicero, Tusc. Qu. i. 15.
ENEID OF VIRGIL.
MEANWHILE Æneas unalterably resolved, had reached the open sea, and was cutting the black billows before the wind, looking back to the walls which now glare with the flames of unfortunate Elisa. What cause may have kindled such a blaze is unknown: but the thought of those cruel agonies that arise from violent love when injured, and the knowledge of what frantic outrageous woman can do, led the minds of the Trojans into dismal conjectures.
As soon as their ships were in the main sea, and no more land appears, sky and ocean all around; a dark lead-coloured watery cloud stood over his head, bringing on night and storm; and the waves became horrid with darkness. The pilot Palinurus himself from the lofty stern exclaims, Ah! why have such threatening clouds invested the sky? or what, O father Neptune, hast thou in view? Thus having spoken, he next commands to furl the sails, and ply the sturdy oars; the bellying canvas he turns askance to the wind, and thus addresses Æneas: Magnanimous Æneas, should Jupiter on his authority assure me, I could not hope to reach Italy in this weather. The winds changed roar in our back-sail, and rise from the lowering west, and the whole air is condensed into cloud. We are neither able to struggle against the storm, nor make any progress: since Fortune overpowers us, let us follow her, and turn our course where she invites us: the trusty shores of your brother
Fida reor fraterna Erycis, portusque Sicanos,
Postera cum primo stellas oriente fugârat
52. Deprensus is a term applied to seamen exposed to the dangers of the main, as Georg. iv. 421.
Eryx, and the Sicilian ports, I deem not far off, if I but rightly remembering review the stars I observed before. Then the pious Æneas said, I indeed have observed long ago that the winds urge us to this, and that your contrary efforts are in vain. Shift your course by turning the sails. Can any land be more welcome to me, or where I would sooner choose to put in my weather-beaten ships, than that which preserves for me Trojan Acestes, and in its womb contains the bones of my father Anchises? This said, they make towards the port, and the prosperous Zephyrs stretch the sails: the fleet swiftly rides on the flood; and at length the joyous crew are wafted to the well-known strand. But Acestes, from a mountain's lofty summit, struck with the distant prospect of their arrival, and knowing their friendly ships, comes up to them, roughly arrayed with javelins, and the hide of an African bear; whom, begotten by the river Crinisius, a Trojan mother bore. He, not unmindful of his origin, congratulates them on their safe arrival, and cheerfully entertains them with rude magnificence, and refreshes them after their fatigue with friendly hospitable cheer.
When with the early dawn the ensuing bright day had chased away the stars, Æneas summons to council his followers from all the shore, and from the summit of a rising ground thus addresses them: Illustrious Trojans, whose descent is from the blood of the gods, the annual circle is completed by a full revolution of months, since we lodged in the earth the reliques and bones of my god-like sire, and consecrated to him the altars of mourning. And now the day, if I mistake not, is at hand, which I shall always account a day of sorrow, always a day to be honoured: such, ye gods, has been your pleasure. Were I to pass this day in exile among the quicksands of Getulia, or caught on the Grecian sea, and in the city of Mycene, yet would I regularly perform my annual vows, and the solemn funeral processions, and heap the altars with their proper offerings. Now, without premeditated design, though not, I judge, with
Haud equidem sine mente, reor, sine numine Divûm,
Cuncti adsint, meritæque exspectent præmia palmæ: 70
Hoc Elymus facit, hoc ævi maturus Acestes,
Hoc puer Ascanius; sequitur quos cætera pubes.
Ad tumulum, magnâ medius comitante catervâ.
Hìc duo ritè mero libans carchesia Baccho,
Fundit humi, duo lacte novo, duo sanguine sacro,
Salve, sancte parens! iterum salvete, recepti
Nec tecum Ausonium, quicunque est, quærere Tybrim.
58. Lactum honorem. So called because Anchises was thereby to be deified.
71. Ore favete. This, or favete linguis, Hor. Carm. Sec. was the phrase used by the public crier before the celebration of solemn games or sacrifices, and imports, Favour us with a religious attention, pronounce not words of bad omen, and aid us with your prayers, your applause, and your joyful acclamations.