Hail and farewell for aye!
Then turns him back, the greeting said,
And campward takes his way.
Ambassadors sedate and grave;
Thick olive boughs in hand they bear,
And for indulgence crave:
Be burial granted to the slain
Whose mangled bodies load the plain:
No war may soldier wage, they say,
With vanquished men and senseless clay:
Who once his hosts, his kin were styled
Should find him een in victory mild.
The good Æneas owns their plea,
And thus bespeaks them courteously:
What mischief, Latians, makes you slight
Our proffered love, and plunge in fight?
Ask ye that war in death may cease?
Fain would I grant the living peace.
I had not sought you, but the voice
Of oracles compelled my choice;
Fate bade me here my city place;
Nor war I with the Latian race.
No; twas your king forsook his word,
And Turnus arms to mine preferred.
If Turnus waked the flames of strife,
Twere just that Turnus risked his life.
To end the war by force of hand
And drive the Trojans from the land,
If such his boast, his part had been
To meet me here with blade as keen,
And he had lived who won the right
From favouring Gods or inborn might.
Go now, prepare the funeral pyre,
And give your hapless friends to fire.
In silence each on each they gaze.
Then Drances, he whose age pursued
The Daunian youth with bitter feud,
Still prompt injurious taunts to fling,
Makes answer to Dardanias king:
O great in fame, in deeds more great!
What eloquence your worth can mate?
Say, which may first our praise demand,
The just mans heart, the brave mans hand?
Soon shall this grateful train convey
Back to our peers the words you say,
And, let but chance the means afford,
Unite you to our gracious lord.
Should Turnus gainsay or deny,
Let Turnus seek some new ally.
Nay, Latiums sons shall spend their pains
To build the walls your fate ordains,
And nerve and sinew task with joy
In shouldering up the stones of Troy.
So Drances spoke: and all the rest
With loud acclaim their mind expressed.
For twice six days a truce is fixed,
And there, while concord reigns betwixt,
Teucrian and Latin, freely mixed,
Oer hill and woodland stray.
The sharp axe rings upon the ash;
Heaven-kissing elms in ruin crash:
The forceful wedge with stroke on stroke
Splits cedarn core and heart of oak;
And bullocks, groaning neath the yoke,
Bear the full wains away.
Comes flying to the Arcadian chief,
And fills with doleful trumpet-blast
The palace and the town;
Fame, whose shrill voice, a moment past,
Had told the tale of slaughter vast
And Pallas young renown.
Swift through the gate Arcadias bands
Pour forth, with torches in their hands,
So ancient rule ordains:
The highway glimmers, sadly bright,
One line of long funereal light,
That parts the dusky plains.
Now, marching mournfully along,
The Phrygians join their wailing throng.
The matrons see the crowd draw nigh
And rend the heaven with piercing cry.
No force can old Evander stay:
With breathless haste he takes his way,
And falling on the rested bier
Hangs oer his child with groan and tear;
At last the refluent wave of woe
Gives scanty room for speech to flow:
O Pallas! parting from your sire
Far other pledge you gave,
To moderate your martial fire
Nor wars worst fury brave!
I knew the young bloods maddening play,
The charm of battles first essay.
O valour blighted in the flower!
O first dread drops of wars full shower!
O prayers unheard, rejected vows,
And thou, my lost, my sacred spouse,
Blest in thy death, nor spared to see
This uttermost calamity,
While I have overlived my span,
To linger on, a childless man!
Ah! had I joined the Dardan train,
And fallen by Rutule javelins slain,
And this your escort of the dead
Conveyed me home in Pallas stead!
Nor you, ye Trojans, I upbraid,
The faith we swore, the league we made:
A lot like this, of hopeless tears,
Was due to my declining years.
If early death was his decreed,
Twas comfort that he thus should bleed,
As Troy to Latiums walls he led
Through fields his arm with death had spread.
Nor een for you, dear child, could sire
A worthier sepulture desire
Than this which good Æneas deigns
In honour to your loved remains,
Where Phrygias mightiest shed the tear
And all Etruria tends the bier.
Proud trophies to your praise they yield,
The chiefs you tumble on the field:
Thou, Turnus, too hadst swelled his fame,
A mighty trunk with armour hung,
Had time but made his years the same,
His arm with equal vigour strung.
But why with helpless wail delay
A host impatient for the fray?
Go, to your gallant prince remit
My charge, upon your memory writ:
If thus bereaved I linger yet,
Tis from your hand to claim my debt,
The life of Turnus, doubly due
To Pallas and his father too:
This niche alone is vacant still
For fortune and desert to
|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.|