Book I

Arms and the man I sing, who first
By fate of Ilian realm amerced,
To fair Italia onward bore,
And landed on Lavinium’s shore:—
Long tossing earth and ocean o’er,
By violence of heaven, to sate
Fell Juno’s unforgetting hate:
Much laboured too in battle-field,
Striving his city’s walls to build,
And give his Gods a home:
Thence come the hardy Latin brood,
The ancient sires of Alba’s blood,
And lofty-rampired Rome.

Say, Muse, for godhead how disdained,
Or wherefore wroth, Heaven’s queen constrained
That soul of piety so long
To turn the wheel, to cope with wrong.
Can heavenly natures nourish hate
So fierce, so blindly passionate?

There stood a city on the sea
Manned by a Tyrian colony,
Named Carthage, fronting far to south
Italia’s coast and Tiber’s mouth,
Rich in all wealth, all means of rule,
And hardened in war’s sternest school.
Men say the place was Juno’s pride
More than all lands on earth beside;
E’en Samos’ self not half so dear:
Here were her arms, her chariot here:
Here, goddess-like, to fix one day
The seat of universal sway,
Might Fate be wrung to yield assent,
E’en then her schemes, her cares were bent,
Yet had she heard that sons of Troy
Were born her Carthage to destroy;
From those majestic loins should spring
A nation like a warrior king,
Ordained for Libya’s overthrow:
The web of Fate was woven so.
This was her fear: and fear renewed
The memory of that earlier feud,
The war at Troy she erst had waged
In darling Argos’ cause engaged:
Nor yet had faded from her view
The insults whence those angers grew;
Deep in remembrance lives engrained
The judgment which her charms disdained.
The offspring of adulterous seed,
The rape of minion Ganymede:
With such resentments brimming o’er,
She tossed and tossed from shore to shore
The Trojan bands, poor relics these
Of Achillean victories,
Away from Latium: many a year,
Fate-driven, they wandered far and near:
So vast the labour to create
The fabric of the Roman state!

Scarce out of sight of Sicily
Troy’s crews were spreading sail to sea,
Pleased o’er the foam to run,
When Juno, feeding evermore
The vulture at her bosom’s core,
Thus to herself begun:
‘What? I give way? has Juno willed,
And must her will be unfulfilled?
Too weak from Latium’s coast to fling
Back to the sea this Trojan king?
Restrained by Fate? Could Pallas fire
The Argive fleet to wreak her ire,
And drown the crews, for one offence,
Mad Ajax’ curst incontinence?
She from the clouds Jove’s lightning cast,
Dispersed the ships, the billows massed,
Caught the scathed wretch, whose breast exhaled
Fierce flames, and on a rock impaled:
I who through heaven its mistress move,
The sister and the wife of Jove,
With one poor tribe of earth contend
Long years revolving without end.
Will any Juno’s power adore
Henceforth, or crown her altars more?’

Such fiery tumult in her mind,
She seeks the birthplace of the wind,
Æolia, realm for ever rife
With turbid elemental life:
Here Æolus in a cavern vast
With bolt and barrier fetters fast
Rebellious storm and howling blast.
They with the rock’s reverberant roar
Chafe blustering round their prison-door:
He, throned on high, the sceptre sways,
Controls their moods, their wrath allays,
Break but that sceptre, sea and land
And heaven’s ethereal deep
Before them they would whirl like sand,
And through the void air sweep.
But the great Sire, with prescient fear,
Had whelmed them deep in dungeon drear,
And o’er the struggling captives thrown
Huge masses of primeval stone,
Ruled by a monarch who might know
To curb them or to let them go:
Whom now as suppliant at his knees
Juno bespoke in words like these:
‘O Æolus! since the Sire of all
Has made the wind obey thy call
To raise or lay the foam,
A race I hate now ploughs the sea,
Transporting Troy to Italy
And home-gods reft of home:
Lash thou thy winds, their ships submerge,
Or toss them weltering o’er the surge.
Twice seven bright nymphs attend on me,
The fairest of them Deiope:
Her will I give thee for thine own,
The partner of thy heart and throne,
With thee to pass unending days
And goodly children round thee raise.’
The God replies: ‘O Queen, ’tis thine
To weigh thy will, to do it mine.
Thou givest me this poor kingdom, thou
Hast smoothed for me the Thunderer’s brow;
Givest me to share the Olympian board,
And o’er the tempests mak’st me lord.’

He said, and with his spear struck wide
The portals in the mountain side:
At once, like soldiers in a band,
Forth rush the winds, and scour the land:
Then lighting heavily on the main,
East, South, and West with storms in train,
Heave from its depth the watery floor,
And roll great billows to the shore.
Then come the clamour and the shriek,
The sailors shout, the main-ropes creak:
All in a moment sun and skies
Are blotted from the Trojans’ eyes:
Black night is brooding o’er the deep,
Sharp thunder peals, live lightnings leap:

  By PanEris using Melati.

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