At this my sire, revolving o’er
The bygone memories of yore,
‘Hear, noble chiefs, and learn,’ cries he,
‘The place of your expectancy.
In ocean lies Jove’s island, Crete,
Where Ida stands, our nation’s seat.
A hundred cities crown the isle,
And the broad fields with plenty smile.
Thence Teucer, our great sire, of yore
Took ship for the Rhœtean shore,
If right I mind my tale,
And chose his kingdom: Ilium then
Not yet had risen: the tribes of men
Dwelt in the lowly vale.
Thence Cybele’s majestic dame
And Corybantian cymbals came,
Thence Ida’s grove, and mystic awe,
And lions, trained her car to draw.
Come then: let Heaven direct our feet:
Appease the winds, and sail for Crete.
It lies not far: be Jove at hand,
The third day’s sun shall see us land.’
He spoke, and rendering each his due,
The victims at the altars slew,
A bull to Neptune, and a bull
To thee, Apollo bright,
A lamb to Tempest, black of wool,
To Western winds a white.

Idomeneus, we hear, has flown,
Driven from his home in Cretan land:
Fame tells us of an empty throne
And mansions ready to our hand.
Ortygia left, we skim the deeps
By Naxos’ Bacchanalian steeps,
Olearos and Donysa green,
And Parian cliffs of dazzling sheen,
Pass Cyclad isles o’er ocean strown,
And seas with many a land thick sown.
The rowers sing merrily as we go,
‘For Crete and our forefathers, ho!’
Fair winds escort us o’er the tide,
And soon ’neath Cretan coasts we glide.

The site determined, I lay down
The groundwork of my infant town,
Its name Pergamia call,
And bid the nation, proud to own
That title, guard their loved hearthstone,
And raise the fortress wall.
High on the beach their ships they draw,
Then take them wives, and till the land,
The while with equitable hand
I portion dwelling- place and law,
When sudden on man’s feeble frame
From tainted skies a sickness came,
On trees and crops a poisonous breath,
A year of pestilence and death.
Their pleasant lives the sufferers yield,
Or drag their languid limbs with pain:
The dogstar burns the grassy field,
And sickening crops withhold the grain.
Back to Ortygia’s shrine my sire
O’er ocean bids us go,
There sue for favour, and enquire
The limit of our woe,
What succour weary souls should try,
And whither, if we must, to fly.

’Twas night: all life in sleep was laid,
When lo! our household gods, the same
Whom through the midmost of the flame
From falling Ilium I conveyed,
Appeared before me while I lay
In slumber, bright as if in day,
Where through the inserted window stream
The glories of the full moonbeam;
Then thus their gentle speech addressed,
And set my troubled heart at rest:
‘The word that Phœbus has to speak,
Should you his Delian presence seek,
He of his unsought bounty sends
E’en by the mouth of us, your friends.
We, who have followed yours and you
Since Ilium was no more,
We, who have sailed among your crew
The swelling billows o’er,
Your seed as demigods will crown,
And make them an imperial town.
Build you the walls decreed by fate,
And let them, like ourselves, be great,
Nor, till your task be done, forbear
The toil of flight, how long soe’er.
Change we our dwelling: not to Crete
Apollo called your truant feet.
There is a land, by Greece of old
Surnamed Hesperia, rich its mould,
Its children brave and free:
Œnotrians were its settlers: fame
Now gives the race its leader’s name.
And calls it Italy.
Here Dardanus was born, our king,
And old Iasius, whence we spring:
Here our authentic seat.
Rise, tell your sire without delay
Our sentence, which let none gainsay:
Search till you find the Ausonian land,
And old Cortona: Jove has banned
Your settlement in Crete.’
Amazed by wonders heard and seen
(For ’twas no dream that mocked my eyes:
No; plain I seemed to recognize
Their cinctured locks, their well-known mien,
While at the sight chill clammy sweat
Burst forth, and all my limbs were wet)
That instant from my couch I rise,
With voice and hands implore the skies,
And offer at the household shrine
Full cups of unadulterate wine.
My worship ended, glad of soul,
I seek my sire, and tell the whole.
At once he owns the ambiguous race,
The rival sires to whom we trace,
And smiles that ancient lands have wrought
Such new confusion in his thought:
Then cries: ‘My son, the slave too long
Of Ilian destiny,
One voice aforetime sang that song,
Cassandra, none but she:
Such fate, she said, I mind it all,
Was for our race in store,
And oft on Italy would call,
Oft on the Hesperian shore.
But who could think that Trojans born
Hesperia e’er would reach,
Or who that heard that maid forlorn
Gave credence to her speech?
Yield we to Phœbus, and pursue,
Admonished thus, a course more true.’
He ceased, and our applauding crew
Obeys him, all and each.
So now, this second home resigned
To the scant few we leave behind,
We set our sails once more, and sweep
Along the illimitable deep.

The fleet had passed into the main,
And land no longer met the eye,
On every side the watery plain,
On every side the expanse of sky;
When o’er my head a cloud there stood,
With night and tempest in its womb,
And all the surface of the flood
Was ruffled by the incumbent gloom.
At once the winds huge billows

  By PanEris using Melati.

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