His Stygian brother’s lake,
The banks where pitch and sand and mud
Together mix their murky flood,
And with the bending of his brow
Made all Olympus shake.

And now the promised time was come,
The fated years had filled their sum,
When Turnus’ wrong reminds the dame
To shield her sacred ships from flame.
A sudden light strikes blind their eyes:
A cloud runs westward o’er the skies,
And Ida’s choirs appear:
An awful voice through ether thrills,
The ranks of either army fills,
And deafens every ear:
‘Forbear your weapons to employ
To guard my ships, ye sons of Troy:
Know, Turnus’ fire shall burn the seas
Or ere it touch my sacred trees:
Go free, my favourites: loose your bands:
Be Ocean- nymphs: your queen commands.’
At once they burst their cords and dip,
Like dolphins, each with brazen tip
Down plunging ’neath the flood;
Then all in maiden forms emerge,
Swim out to sea and breast the surge,
As many as on the river’s verge
Had erst in order stood.

In wonder gaze the Rutule crowd:
Messapus’ valiant self is cowed:
His horses start and leap:
The river falters, sounding hoarse,
Old Tiber, and retracks his course,
Nor hurries to the deep.
Yet Turnus still is undismayed,
Still prompt to cheer or to upbraid:
‘At Troy, at Troy these portents aim:
See, Jove has ta’en away
The means of flight, her wonted game:
For Rutule sword and Rutule flame
Her navy will not stay.
No path for her across the sea:
She has no hope to ’scape us, she:
One half her world is gone:
Ourselves are masters of the land;
Such multitudes beside us stand,
Italians every one.
They scare not me, those words of heaven,
The voice of Fate from temples given,
Which Phrygia’s exiles boast:
Venus and Fate have reaped their due
In bringing safe the wandering crew
To our Ausonian coast.
I too have hand my fate assigned,
To sweep the miscreants from mankind
Who rob me of my spouse:
Not only Atreus’ sons can feel,
Nor Greece alone can draw the steel
For breach of marriage vows.
Yet once to suffer may suffice:
What ailed them then to trespass twice?
One taste of crime should leave behind
A loathing for the female kind.
Behold, their confidence they ground
On balking trench and mediate mound,
Remove from death a span!
And saw they not sink down in flame
Their Ilium’s walls, albeit the frame
Of powers more strong than man?
But you, my warriors, who will dare
Rush on with me, the fence down-tear,
The trembling camp invade?
No Vulcan’s arms, no thousand sail
’Gainst Troy are needed to prevail:
Nay, let Etruria weight the scale
And lend them all her aid.
Palladium ravished from the tower,
Its warders stabbed at midnight’s hour,
Such feats they need not fear:
We will not skulk in horse’s womb:
Our fires shall wrap their walls with doom
In daylight broad and clear.
Trust me, they shall not think to say
They deal with Danaans weak as they,
Whom Hector’s prowess kept at bay
E’en to the tenth long year.
And now, since day’s best hours are spent,
Let deeds well done your hearts content,
Recruit your weary frames, and know
The morn shall see us strike the blow.’

Meanwhile Messapus has to set
About the gates a living net,
And kindle fires around:
Twice seven Rutulian chiefs he calls
Armed watch to keep beside the walls:
A hundred youths each chief obey:
Their helmets shoot a golden ray,
With crests of purple crowned.
They shift their posts, relieve the guard:
Then stretch them on the grassy sward,
To Bacchus open all their soul,
And tilt full off the brazen bowl.
Throughout the night the watch-fires flame,
And all is revel, noise, and game.
Forth look the Trojans from their mound:
They see the leaguer stretching round,
And keep the rampart manned,
In anxious fear the gates inspect,
With bridges wall and tower connect,
And muster, spear in hand.
Bold Mnestheus and Serestus brave,
To whose tried hands Æneas gave,
Should aught arise of sterner need,
To rule the state, the battle lead,
Press on, now here, now there:
Along the walls the gathered host
Keep tireless watch from post to post,
Each taking danger’s share.

Nisus was guardian of the gate,
No bolder heart in war’s debate,
The son of Hyrtacus, whom Ide
Sent, with his quiver at his side,
From hunting beasts in mountain brake
To follow in Æneas’ wake:
With him Euryalus, fair boy;
None fairer donned the arms of Troy;
His tender cheek as yet unshorn
And blossoming with youth new-born.
Love made them one in every thought:
In battle side by side they fought;
And now on duty at the gate
The twain in common station wait.
‘Can it be heaven,’ said Nisus then,
‘That lends such warmth to hearts of men,
Or passion surging past control
That plays the good to each one’s soul?
Long time, impatient of repose,
My swelling heart within me glows,
And yearns its energy to fling
On war, or some yet grander thing.
See there the foe, with vain hope flushed!
Their lights are scant, their stations hushed:
Unnerved by slumber and by wine,
Their bravest chiefs are stretched supine.
Now to my doubting thought give heed

  By PanEris using Melati.

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