In still swift cadence oared,
A sudden terror takes their eyes:
In wild confusion all uprise
And quit the banquet-board.
Bold Pallas chides their panic start,
Takes in his hand a beamy dart,
And from a mound afar,
Speak, gallant youths! what cause, he cries,
Has driven you here on strange emprise?
What seek you as your journeys aim?
Say, what your home, your race, your name:
Or bring you peace, or war?
Æneas from the lofty stern
With outstretched olive makes return:
Born Trojans we: our warlike gear
Your Latian enemies may fear:
Driven from their coast by sword and spear
Evanders court we seek.
Go, tell your king, Dardanias power,
Has sent us here, the nations flower,
His succour to bespeak.
That mighty name struck Pallas dumb:
Whoeer you are, he answers, come,
Speak with my father face to face,
Our welcome take, our mansion grace.
With friendly grasp he took and pressed
The hand of his illustrious guest:
Advancing, through the grove they wind,
And leave the rivers bank behind.
The prince of Troy his suit preferred.
Worthiest and best of Danaan race,
Whom Fortune bids me sue for grace
With signs of suppliant need,
I feared not to approach you, I,
Though sprung from Grecian Arcady,
Allied to Atreus seed.
Heavens oracles and conscious worth,
Your own fair fame, that fills the earth,
And kindred ancestry tis these
Have made us one in sympathies,
And driven me to your royal gate,
The willing instrument of fate.
Old Dardanus, Troys founder styled,
Declared by Greece Electras child,
To Teucers nation came;
And Atlas was Electras sire,
Whose sinewy strength, unused to tire,
Supports the starry frame.
Your sire is Mercury, whom of yore
Maia, his radiant mother, bore
In cold Cyllenes air:
But Maia, if report say true,
Her birth from that same Atlas drew
Whose shoulders heaven upbear.
Tis thus one fountain-head contains
The stream that flows in eithers veins.
Thus armed, I made no first essay
By embassies to sound the way:
My life I jeoparded, my own,
And came in person to your throne.
The Daunian hunts us as his prey,
Your own inveterate foe:
If us they banish, nought, they say,
Shall save Hesperia from their sway;
The upper sea shall soon obey,
And that which rolls below.
Exchange we friendship: martial powers,
Stout hearts, and practised arms are ours.
Eyes, features, mien, and all the man:
Then thus he speaks: How great my joy
To hail you, bravest son of Troy!
How truly, fondly I recall
Anchises look, voice, language, all!
I mind, when Priam came to see
His sisters realm, Hesione,
On to Arcadias bounds he passed
And breathed our cold inclement blast.
A boy was I, a stripling lad,
My cheek with youths first blossom clad;
I gazed at Priam and his train
Of Trojan lords, and gazed again:
Was more than Priam, more than all.
With boyish zeal I schemed and planned
To greet the chief, and grasp his hand.
I ventured, and with eager zest
To Pheneus brought my honoured guest.
A Lycian quiver he bestowed
At parting, with its arrowy load,
A gold-wrought scarf, and bridle reins
Of gold, which Pallas still retains.
So now the troth you ask I plight,
And soon as morning lends her light
A troop shall lead you on your way
And ample stores your need purvey.
Meanwhile, since happy chance invites
Your presence, share these annual rites
Which Heaven forbids us to postpone,
And make our friendly boards your own.
Once more he calls for wine and meats,
And sets the chiefs on grassy seats,
Æneas first on maple throne
With lions shaggy hide bestrown;
While youths attendant on the priest
Bring roasted flesh of victim beast,
Wrought Ceres gifts in baskets pile,
And make the cups with Bacchus smile.
So, plied with food, the strangers dine
On entrails and on bullocks chine.
And craving appetite allayed,
Evander speaks: This solemn day,
The feast we serve, the rites we pay,
Not these the freaks of fancy strange,
Blind to the past and bent on change:
No, Trojan guest; deliverance wrought
From direful ill the lesson taught:
The yearly honours we renew,
But render thanks where thanks are due.
Behold yon beetling cliff oerhung,
Those crags in wild confusion flung,
That mountain-dwelling, all forlorn,
And rocks from their foundations torn.
Beneath the hill a cavern ran
Where Cacus lived, half beast, half man:
No sunbeam eer came in:
The wet ground reeked with fresh-spilt gore,
And human heads adorned the door
With foul and ghastly grin.
Dark Vulcan was the monsters sire:
He vomited Vulcanian fire,
And, glorying in so proud a birth,
Shook with his bulk the solid earth.
We, too, when yearning to be freed,
Found heavenly succour in our need.
At length a strong avenger came,
Alcides, in the glow of fame
From Geryon spoiled and killed:
His captured bulls he led this way
Victorious, and the stately prey
Bank-side and valley filled.
But Cacus, spurred by Furies on
To leave no wickedness undone,
Four bulls, four heifers, beauteous all,
Bears off in plunder from the stall:
|Copyright: All texts on Bibliomania are © Bibliomania.com Ltd, and may not be reproduced in any form without our written permission. See our FAQ for more details.|