Page images
PDF
EPUB

And, calling on Eliza's name aloud, Runs breathless to the place, and breaks the crowd.

"Was all that pomp of wo for this prepar'd, These fires, this fun'ral pile, these altars rear'd? Was all this train of plots contriv'd, (said she,) All only to deceive unhappy me?

Which is the worst? Didst thou in death pretend

To scorn thy sister, or delude thy friend?
Thy summon'd sister and thy friend had come:
One sword had serv'd us both, one common
tomb:

Was I to raise the pile, the pow'rs invoke,
Not to be present at the fatal stroke?
At once thou hast destroy'd thyself and me,
Thy town, thy senate, and thy colony!
Bring water! bathe the wound; while I in death
Lay close my lips to hers, and catch the flying
breath."

This said, she mounts the pile with eager haste,
And in her arms the gasping queen embrac❜d,
Her temples chaf'd; and her own garments tore,
To stanch the streaming blood and cleanse the
gore.

Thrice Dido tried to raise her drooping head,
And, fainting, thrice fell grov'ling on the bed;
Thrice op'd her heavy eyes, and saw the light,
But, having found it, sicken'd at the sight,
And clos'd her lids at last in endless night.
Then Juno, grieving that she should sustain
A death so ling'ring, and so full of pain,
Sent Iris down, to free her from the strife
Of lab'ring nature, and dissolve her life.
For, since she died, not doom'd by heav'n's de-

cree,

Or her own crime, but human casualty,
And rage of love, that plung'd her in despair,
The sisters had not cut the topmost hair,
Which Proserpine and they can only know;
Nor made her sacred to the shades below.
Downward the various goddess took her flight,
And drew a thousand colours from the light;
Then stood above the dying lover's head,
And said, "I thus devote thee to the dead:
This off'ring to the infernal gods I bear."
Thus while she spoke, she cut the fatal hair:
The struggling soul was loos'd, and life dissolv'd
in air.

BOOK V.

ARGUMENT.

Eneas, setting sail from Africa, is driven by a storm on the coast of Sicily, where he is hospitably received, by his friend Acestes king of part of the island, and born of Trojan parentage. He applies himself VOL II.-9

to celebrate the memory of his father with divine honours,and accordingly institutes funeral games, and appoints prizes for those who should conquer in them. While the ceremonies are performing, Juno sends Iris to persuade the Trojan women to burn the ships, who, upon her instigation, set fire to them: which burned four, and would have consumed the rest, had not Jupiter, by a miraculous shower, extinguished it. Upon this, Æneas, by the advice of one of his generals, and a vision of

father, builds a city for the women, old men, and others, who were either unfit for war, or weary of the voyage, and sails for Italy. Venus procures of Neptune a safe voyage for him and all his men, excepting only his pilot Palinurus, who was unfortunately lost.

MEANTIME the Trojan cuts the wat❜ry way Fix'd on his voyage through the curling sea; Then casting back his eyes, with dire amaze, Sees on the Punic shore the mounting blaze. The cause unknown; yet his presaging mind The fate of Dido from the fire divin'd. He knew the stormy souls of woman-kind; What secret springs their eager passions move, How capable of death for injur'd love. Dire auguries from hence the Trojans draw; Till neither fires nor shining shores they saw. Now seas and skies their prospect only bound-An empty space above, a floating field around. But soon the heav'ns with shadows were o'erspread;

A swelling cloud hung hov'ring o'er their head;
Livid it look'd-the threatning of a storm
Then night and horror ocean's face deform.
The pilot, Palinurus, cried aloud,
"What gusts of weather from that gath❜ring

cloud

My thoughts presage! Ere yet the tempest

roars,

Stand to your tackle, mates, and stretch your

oars;

Contract your swelling sails, and luff to wind."
The frighted crew perfom the task assign'd.
Then, to his fearless chief, Not heav'n (said he)
Though Jove himself should promise Italy,
Can stem the torrent of this raging sea.
Mark, how the shifting winds from west arise,
And what collected night involves the skies!
Nor can our shaken vessels live at sea,
Much less against the tempest force their way.
T is Fate diverts our course and Fate we
must obey.

Not far from hence, if I observ'd aright
The southing of the stars, and polar light
Sicilia lies, whose hospitable shores
In safety we may reach with struggling oars."
Eneas then replied: "Too soon I find,
We strive in vain against the seas and wind:
Now shift your sails: what place can please me

more

Than what you promise, the Sicilian shore,

Whose hallow'd earth Anchises' bones contains, And where a prince of Trojan lineage reigns." The course resolv'd, before the western wind They scud amain, and make the port assign'd

Meantime Acestes, from a lofty stand, Beheld the fleet descending on the land; And, not unmindful of his ancient race, Down from the cliff he ran with eager pace, And held the hero in a strict embrace. Of a rough Libyan bear the spoils he wore; And either hand a pointed jav'lin bore. His mother was a dame of Dardan blood; His sire, Crinisus, a Sicilian flood. He welcomes his returning friends ashore With plenteous country cates, and homely

store.

Now, when the following morn had chas'd away

The flying stars, and light restor❜d the day,
Eneas call'd the Trojan troops around,
And thus bespoke them from the rising ground:
"Offspring of heav'n, divine Dardanian race!
The sun, revolving through th' etherial space,
The shining circle of the year has fill'd,
Since first this isle my father's ashes held:
And now the rising day renews the year-
A day for ever sad, for ever dear.
This would I celebrate with annual games,
With gifts on altars pil'd, and holy flames,
Though banish'd to Gætulia's barren sands,
Caught on the Grecian seas, or hostile lands:
But since this happy storm our fleet has driven
(Not, as I deem without the will of heaven)
Upon these friendly shores, and flow'ry plains,
Which hide Anchises and his blest remains;
Let us with joy perform his honours due,
And pray for prosp'rous winds, our voyage to

[blocks in formation]

But now assist the rites, with garlands crown'd."

He said and first his brows with myrtle bound:
Then Helymus, by his example led,
And old Acestes, each adorn'd his head
Thus young Ascanius, with a sprightly grace,,
His temples tied, and all the Trojan race.

Eneas then advanc'd amidst the train,
By thousands follow'd through the flow'ry

plain,

To great Anchises' tomb; which when he found,

He pour'd to Bacchus, on the hallow'd ground,
Two bowls of sparkling wine, of milk two more,
And two (from offer'd bulls) of purple gore.
With roses then the sepulchre he strow'd,
And thus his father's ghost bespoke aloud:
"Hail, O ye holy manes! hail again,
Paternal ashes, now review'd in vain
The gods permitted not, that you, with me
Should reach the promis'd shores of Italy,
Or Tyber's flood, what flood soe'er it be."
Scarce had he finish'd, when, with speckled
pride,

A serpent from the tomb began to glide
His hugy bulk on sev'n high volumes roll'd!
Blue was his breadth of back, but streak'd with

scaly gold:

Thus riding on his curls, he seem'd to pass
A rolling fire along, and singe the grass.
More various colours through his body run,
Than Iris, when her bow imbibes the sun.
Betwixt the rising altars, and around,
The sacred monster shot along the ground
With harmless play amidst the bowls he pass'd,
And with his lolling tongue assay'd the taste?
Thus fed with holy food, the wondrous guest
Within the hollow tomb retir'd to rest.
The pious prince, surpris'd at what he view'd,
The fun'ral honours with more zeal renew'd,
Doubtful if this the place's genius were,
Or guardian of his father's sepulchre.
Five sheep, according to the rites, he slew;
As many swine, and steers of sable hue;
Now gen'rous wine he from the goblets pour'd,
And call'd his father's ghost, from hell restor❜d.
The glad attendants in long order come,
Off'ring their gifts to great Anchises' tomb:
Some add more oxen; some divide the spoil,
Some place the chargers on the grassy soil;
Some blow the fires, and offer'd entrails broil.

Now came the day desir'd. The skies were bright

With rosy lustre of the rising light:
The bord'ring people, rous'd by sounding fame
Of Trojan feasts, and great Acestes' name,
The crowded shore with acclamations fill,
Part to behold, and part to prove their skill.

And first the gifts in public view they place, Green laurel wreaths, and palm-the victor's grace.

Within the circle, arms and tripods lie,
Ingots of gold and silver heap'd on high,
And vests embroider'd, of the Tyrian die.
The trumpet's clangour then the feast proclaims,
And all prepare for their appointed games.
Four galleys first, which equal rowers bear,
Advancing, in the watery lists appear.
The speedy Dolphin that outstrips the wind,
Bore Mnestheus, author of the Memmian kind:
Gyas the vast Chimera's bulk commands,
Which rising, like a towering city stands :
Three Trojans tug at ev'ry lab'ring oar;
Three banks, in three degrees, the sailors bore
Beneath their sturdy strokes the billows roar.
Sergestus, who began the Sergian race,
In the great Centaur took the leading place:
Cloanthus on the sea-green Scylla stood;
From whom Cluentius draws his Trojan blood.

Far in the sea, against the foaming shore,
There stands a rock: the raging billows roar
Above his head in storms: but, when 't is clear,
Uncurl their ridgy backs, and at his foot appear;
In peace below the gentle waters run;
The cormorants above lie basking in the sun.
On this the hero fix'd an oak in sight,
The mark to guide the mariners aright.
To bear with this, the seamen stretch their oars:
Then round the rock they steer, and seek the
former shores.

[blocks in formation]

The partial crowd their hopes and fears divide, And aid, with eager shouts, the favour'd side. Cries, murmurs, clamours, with a mixing sound,

From woods to woods, from hills to hills rebound.

Amidst the loud applauses of the shore, Gyas outstripp'd the rest, and sprung before: Cloanthus, better mann'd, pursu'd him fast But his o'er-masted galley check'd his haste The Centaur and the Dolphin brush the brine With equal oars, advancing in a line And now the mighty Centaur seems to lead, And now the speedy Dolphin gets ahead: Now board to board the rival vessels row The billows lave the skies, and ocean groans below.

Not fiery coursers, in a chariot race,
Invade the field with half so swift a pace:
Not the fierce driver with more fury lends
The sounding lash, and, ere the stroke de-

scends,

Low to the wheels his pliant body bends.

They reach'd the mark. Proud Gvas and his

train

In triumph rode, the victors of the main: But, steering round, he charg'd his pilot"Stand

More close to shore, and skim along the sand! Let others bear to sea."-Menotes heard; But secret shelves too cautiously he fear'd, And, fearing, sought the deep: and still aloof he steer'd.

With louder cries the captain call'd again :
"Bear to the rocky shore, and shun the main."
He spoke, and, speaking, at his stern he saw
The bold Cloanthus near the shelvings draw.
Betwixt the mark and him the Scylla stood,
And in a closer compass plough'd the flood.
He pass'd the mark; and, wheeling, got be-
fore:-

Gyas blasphem'd the gods, devoutly swore,
Cried out for anger, and his hair he tore.
Mindless of others' lives, (so high was grown
His rising rage,) and careless of his own,
The trembling dotard to the deck he drew,
And hoisted up, and overboard he threw :
This done, he seiz'd the helm; his fellows
cheer'd ;

Turn'd short upon the shelves, and madly steer'd.

Hardly his head the plunging pilot rears, Clogg'd with his clothes, and cumber'd with his years;

Now dropping wet, he climbs the cliff with pain. The crowd, that saw him fall, and float again, Shout from the distant shore; and loudly laught, To see his heaving breast disgorge the briny draught.

The following Centaur, and the Dolphin's crew,
Their vanish'd hopes of victory renew;
While Gyas lags they kindle in the race,
To reach the mark. Sergestus takes the

place;

Mnestheus pursues; and, while around they wind,

Comes up not half his galley's length behind;
Then on the deck, amidst his mates, appear'd,
And thus their drooping courages he cheer'd;
"My friends, and Hector's followers heretofore,
Exert your vigour; tug the lab'ring oar;
Stretch to your strokes, my still unconquer'd

crew,

Whom from the flaming walls of Troy I drew.
In this our common int'rest, let me find
That strength of hand, that courage of the mind,
As when you stemm'd the strong Malean flood,
And o'er the Syrtes' broken billows row'd.
I seek not now the foremost palm to gain;
Though yet-but, ah! that haughty wish is
vain!

Let those enjoy it whom the gods ordain.
But to be last, the lags of all the race!—
Redeem yourselves and me from that disgrace."
Now, one and all, they tug amain; they row
At the full stretch, and shake the brazen prow.
The sea beneath them sinks ; their lab'ring sides
Are swell'd, and sweat runs gutt'ring down in
tides.
[cess
Chance aids their daring, with unhop'd suc-
Sergestus, eager with his beak to press
Betwixt the rival galley and the rock,
Shuts up the unwieldy Centaur in the lock,
The vessel struck; and, with the dreadful shock
Her oars she shiver'd and her head she broke.
The trembling rowers from their banks arise,
And anxious for themselves, renounce the prize.
With iron poles they heave her off the shores,
And gather from the sea the floating oars.
The crew of Mnestheus, with elated minds,
Urge their success, and call the willing winds;
Then ply their oars, and cut their liquid way
In larger compass on the roomy sea.
As when the dove her rocky hold forsakes,
Rous'd in a fright, her sounding wings she
shakes;

The cavern rings with clatt'ring; out she flies, And leaves her callow care, and cleaves the skies:

At first she flutters, but at length she springs
To smoother flight, and shoots upon her wings:
So Mnestheus in the Dolphin cuts the sea;
And flying with a force, that force assists his
way.
Sergestus in the Centaur soon he pass'd,
Wedg'd in the rocky shoals, and sticking fast.
In vain the victor he with cries implores,
And practises to row with shatter'd oars.
Then Mnestheus bears with Gyas, and outflies;
The ship, without a pilot, yields the prize.
Unvanquish'd Scylla now alone remains :-
Her he persues; and all his vigour strains.

Shouts from the fav'ring multitude arise;
Applauding Echo to the shouts replies;
Shouts, wishes, and applause, run rattling
through the skies.

These clamours with disdain the Scylla heard, Much grudg'd the praise, but more the robb'd reward:

Resolv'd to hold their own, they mend their pace,
All obstinate to die, or gain the race.
Rais'd with success, the Dolphin swiftly ran-
For they can conquer who believe they can.-
Both urge their oars; and Fortune both supplies.
(And both perhaps had shar'd an equal prize ;)
When to the seas Cloanthus holds his hands,
And succour from the wat❜ry pow'rs demands:
"Gods of the liquid realms on which I row!
If, giv'n by you, the laurel bind my brow,
(Assist to make me guilty of my vow!)
A snow-white bull shall on your shore be slain:
His offer'd entrails cast into the main,
And ruddy wine from golden goblets thrown,
Your grateful gift, and my return shall own.'
The choir of nymphs, and Phorcus from below,
With virgin Panopea, heard his vow;
And old Portunus with his breadth of hand,
Push'd on and sped the galley to the land.
Swift as a shaft, or winged wind, she flies,
And, darting to the port, obtains the prize.

"

The herald summons all, and then proclaims Cloanthus conqueror of the naval games. The prince with laurel crowns the victor's head; And three fat steers are to his vessel ledThe ship's reward-with gen'rous wine beside, And sums of silver, which the crew divide. The leaders are distinguish'd from the rest; The victor honour'd with a nobler vest, Where gold and purple strive in equal rows, And needlework its happy cost bestows. There, Ganymede is wrought with living art, Chasing through Ida's groves the trembling hart:

Breathless he seems, yet eager to pursue :
When from aloft descends, in open view,
The bird of Jove, and sousing on his prey,
With crooked talons bears the boy away.
In vain, with lifted hands and gazing eyes,
His guards behold him soaring through the skies,
And dogs pursue his flight, with imitated cries.
Mnestheus the second victor was declar'd
And, summon'd there, the second prize he
shar'd-

A coat of mail, which brave Demoleus bore,
More brave Eneas from his shoulders tore,
In single combat on the Trojan shore ;
This was ordain'd for Mnestheus to possess→
In war for his defence, for ornament in peace.
Rich was the gift, and glorious to behold,
And yet so pond'rous with its plates of gold,

That scarce two servants could the weight sustain:

Yet loaded thus, Demoleus o'er the plain Pursu'd, and lightly seiz'd the Trojan train. The third, succeeding to the last reward, Two goodly bowls of massy silver shar'd, With figures prominent, and richly wrought, And two brass caldrons from Dodona brought.

Thus all rewarded by the hero's hands, Their conqu'ring temples bound with purple bands.

And now Sergestus, clearing from the rock, Brought back his galley, shatter'd with the shock.

Forlorn she look'd, without an aiding oar,
And, hooted by the vulgar, made to shore:
As when a snake, surpris'd upon the road,
Is crush'd athwart her body by the load
Of heavy wheels; or with a mortal wound
Her belly bruis'd, and trodden to the ground-
In vain, with loosen'd curls, she crawls along;
Yet, fierce above she brandishes her tongue,
Glares with her eyes, and bristles with her
scales;
[she trails.
But, grov'ling in the dust, her parts unsound
So slowly to the port the Centaur tends,
But, what she wants in oars, with sails amends.
Yet, for his galley sav'd, the grateful prince
Is pleas'd th' unhappy chief to recompense:
Pholoe, the Cretan slave, rewards his care,
Beauteous herself, with lovely twins as fair.

From thence his way the Trojan hero bent Into the neighb'ring plain, with mountains pent, Whose sides were shaded with surrounding wood.

Full in the midst of this fair valley stood
A native theatre, which, rising slow
By just degrees, o'erlook'd the ground below.
High on a sylvan throne the leader sate :
A num'rous train attend in solemn state.
Here those, that in the rapid course delight,
Desire of honour, and the prize, invite.
The rival runners without order stand;
The Trojans mix'd with the Sicilian band.
First, Nisus with Euryalus appears—
Euryalus, a boy of blooming years,
With sprightly grace
and equal beauty
crown'd-

Nisus, for friendship to the youth, renown'd.
Diores next, of Priam's royal race,
Then Salius, join'd with Patron, took their
place;

(But Patron in Arcadia had his birth, And Salius his from Acarnanian earth ;) Then two Sicilian youths-the names of these Swift Helymus, and lovely Panopes, (Both jolly huntsmen, both in forests bred, And owning old Acestes for their head,)

With sev'ral others of ignobler name, Whom time has not deliver'd o'er to fame.

To these the here thus his thoughts explain'd, In words which gen'ral approbation gain'd, "One common largess is for all design'd, (The vanquish'd and the victor shall be join'd :) Two darts of polish'd steel and Gnossian wood, A silver studded axe, alike bestow'd. The foremost three have olive wreaths decreed: The first of these obtains a stately steed Adorn'd with trappings; and the next in fame The quiver of an Amazonian dame, With feather'd Thracian arrows well supplied: A golden belt shall gird his manly side, Which with a sparkling diamond shall be tied. The third this Grecian helmet shall content." He said. To their appointed base they went: With beating hearts th' expected sign receive, And, starting all at once, the barrier leave. Spread out, as on the winged winds, they flew, And seiz'd the distant goal with greedy view. Shot from the crowd, swift Nisus all o'erpass'd, Nor storms, nor thunder, equal half his haste. The next, but, though the next, yet far disjoin'd, Came Salius; and Euryalus behind; Then Helymus, whom young Diores plied. Step after step, and almost side by side, His shoulders pressing-and, in longer space, Had won, or left at least a dubious race.

Now spent, the goal they almost reach at last, When eager Nisus, hapless in his haste, Slipp'd, first, and, slipping, fell upon the plain, Soak'd with the blood of oxen newly slain. The careless victor had not mark'd his way; But, treading where the treach'rous puddle lay, His heels flew up; and on the grassy floor He fell, besmear'd with filth and holy gore. Not mindless then, Euryalus, of thee, Nor of the sacred bonds of amity, He strove the immediate rival's hope to cross, And caught the foot of Salius as he rose ; So Salius lay extended on the plain; Euryalus springs out, the prize to gain, And leaves the crowd;-applauding peals attend

The victor to the goal, who vanquish'd by his friend.

Next Helymus; and then Diores came,
By two misfortunes made the third in fame.

But Salius enters, and, exclaiming loud For justice, deafens and disturbs the crowd; Urges his cause may in the court be heard; And pleads the prize is wrongfully conferr❜d. But favour for Euryalus appears;

His blooming beauty, with his tender years, Had brib'd the judges for the promis'd prize; Besides, Diores fills the court with cries,

« EelmineJätka »