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From Virgil’s Works, The Aeneid, Eclogues, Georgics translated by J. W. Mackail, Introduction by Charles L. Durham, Ph.D., New York: the Modern Library; 1934; pp. 214-236.

Color photograph of a statue of a Trojan Horse made out of Brass and other metal by Serena Thirkell, great granddaughter of J. W. Mackail, used with permission.

Trojan Horse
Mixed Metal Sculpture by Serena Thirkell
© Serena Thirkell
(Image used with permission).



By Publius Vergilius Maro





[1-30]MEANWHILE Dawn arising left the Ocean: Aeneas, though the charge presses to give a space for burial of his comrades, and his mind is harassed with death, was paying the gods his vows of victory with the breaking of the East. He plants on a mound a mighty oak with boughs lopped away on every hand, and arrays it in the gleaming arms stripped from Mezentius the captain, a trophy to thee, mighty Lord of War; he fixes on it the plumes dripping with blood, the broken spears, and the corslet struck and pierced in twelve places; he ties the shield of brass on his left hand, and hangs from his neck the ivory sword. Then among his triumphant comrades (for the throng of his captains girt him close about) he begins in these words of cheer:

‘The greatest deed is done, O men; be all fear gone for what remains. These are the spoils of a haughty king, the first fruits won from him; my hands have set Mezentius here. Now our way lies to the walls of the Latin king. Prepare your arms; let your courage and hope anticipate the war; let no ignorant delay hinder, no tardy thoughts of fear keep us back, so soon as heaven give us the sign to pluck up the standards and lead our army from the camp. Meanwhile let us commit to earth the unburied bodies of our comrades, since deep in Acheron this honour is left alone. Go,’ says he, ‘grace with the last gifts those noble souls whose blood won us this land for ours; and first let Pallas be sent to Evander’s mourning city, he whose valour failed not when the day of darkness took him, and the bitter wave of death.’

So speaks he weeping, and retraces his steps to the door, where aged Acoetes watched Pallas’ lifeless body laid out 215[31-74] for burial; once armour-bearer to Evander in Parrhasia, but now gone forth with darker omens, appointed attendant to his darling foster-child. Around is the whole train of servants, with a crowd of Trojans, and the Ilian women with hair unbound in mourning after their fashion. When Aeneas entered at the high doorway they beat their breasts and raise a loud wail aloft, and the palace moans to their grievous lamentation. Himself, when he saw the pillowed head and fair face of Pallas, and on his smooth beast the gaping wound of the Ausonian spear-head, speaks thus with welling tears:

‘Did fortune in her joyous coming,’ he cries, ‘O luckless boy, grudge thee to see our realm, and ride victorious to thy father’s dwelling? Not this promise of thee had I given to Evander thy sire at my departure, when he embraced me as I went and bade me speed to a wide empire, and yet warned me in fear that the men were valiant, the people obstinate in battle. And now he, fast ensnared by empty hope, perchance offers vows and heaps gifts on his altars; we, a mourning train, go in hollow honour by his corpse, who now owes no more to aught in heaven. Unhappy! thou wilt see thy son cruelly slain; is this the triumphal return we awaited? is this my strong assurance? Yet thou shalt not see him, Evander, with the shameful wounds of flight, nor shall death’s terrors be welcome to the father because the son lives. Ah me, what a shield is lost, Iülus, to Ausonia and to thee!’

This lament done, he bids raise the piteous body, and sends a thousand men chosen from all his army for the last honour of escort, to mingle in the father’s tears; a small comfort in a great sorrow, yet the unhappy parent’s due. Others quickly plait a soft wicker bier of arbutus rods and oak shoots, and shadow the heaped pillows with a leafy covering. Here they lay him, high on their rustic strewing; even as some tender violet or drooping hyacinth-blossom plucked by a maiden’s finger, whose sheen and whose grace is not yet departed, but no more does Earth the mother feed it or lend it strength. Then Aeneas bore forth two purple garments stiff with gold. That Sidonian Dido’s own hands, happy over their 216[75-112] work, had once wrought for him, and shot the warp with thread of gold. One of these he sadly folds round him, a last honour, and veils in its covering the tresses destined to the fire; and heaps up besides many a Laurentine battle-prize, and bids his spoils be led forth in long train; with them the horses and arms whereof he had stripped the enemy, and those, with hands tied behind their back, whom he would send as nether offerings to his ghost, and sprinkle the blood of their slaying on the flame, and bids his captains carry stems dressed in the armour of the foe, with the hostile names fixed on them. Unhappy Acoetes is led along, outworn with age; he smites his breast and rends his face, and flings himself forward all along the ground. Likewise they lead forth the chariot bathed in Rutulian blood; behind goes weeping Aethon the war-horse, his trappings removed, and big drops wet his face. Others bear his spear and helmet, for all else is Turnus’ prize. Then follow in mourning array the Teucrians and all the Tyrrhenians, and the Arcadians with arms reversed. When the whole long escorting file had advanced, Aeneas stopped, and sighing deep, pursued thus: ‘Once again war’s dreadful destiny calls us hence to other tears: hail thou for evermore, O princely Pallas, and for evermore farewell.’ And without more words he bent his way to the high walls and advanced towards his camp.

And now envoys were there from the Latin city with wreathed boughs of olive, praying him of his grace to restore the dead that lay strewn by the sword over the plain, and let them go to their earthy grave: no war lasts with men conquered and bereft of breath; let this indulgence be given to men once called friends and fathers of their brides. To them Aeneas grants leave in kind and courteous wise, spurning not their prayer, and goes on in these words: ‘What spite of fortune, O Latins, has entangled you in the toils of war, and made you fly our friendship? Plead you for peace to the lifeless bodies that the battle-lot has slain? I would fain grant it even to the living. Neither have I come but because destiny had given me this place to dwell in; nor wage war with your people; 217[113-150] your king it is who has broken our covenant and preferred to trust himself to Turnus’ arms. Fitter it were that Turnus had faced death to-day. If he will fight out the war and expel the Teucrians, it had been well to meet me here in arms; so had he lived to whom life were granted of heaven or his own right hand. Now go, and kindle the fire beneath your hapless countrymen.’ Aeneas ended: they stood dumb in silence, with faces bent steadfastly in mutual gaze. Then aged Drances, ever young Turnus’ assailant in hatred and accusation, with the words of his mouth thus answers him again:

‘O Trojan, great in renown, yet greater in arms, with what praises may I extol thy divine goodness? Shall thy righteousness first wake my wonder, or thy toils in war? We indeed will gratefully carry these words to our fathers’ city, and, if fortune grant a way, will make thee at one with King Latinus. Let Turnus seek his own alliances. Nay, it will be our delight to rear the massy walls of destiny and stoop our shoulders under the stones of Troy.’

He ended thus, and all with one voice murmured assent. Twelve days’ truce is struck, and in mediation of the peace Teucrians and Latins stray mingling unharmed on the forest-clad rides. The tall ash echoes the strokes of the steel axe; they overturn pines that soar into the sky, and cease not to cleave hearts of oak and scented cedar with wedges, nor to hale mountain-ashes on creaking wains.

And now flying Rumour, harbinger of the heavy woe, fills Evander and Evander’s house and city with the same voice that but now told of Pallas victorious over Latium. The Acadians stream to the gates, snatching funeral torches after their ancient use; the road gleams with the long line of flame, and parts the fields with a broad pathway of light; the arriving crowd of Phrygians meets them and mingles in mourning array. When the matrons saw all the train approach their dwellings they kindle the town with loud wailing. But no force may withhold Evander; he comes amid them; the bier is set down; he flings himself on Pallas, and clasps him with tears and sighs, and scarcely at last does grief let loose his utterance. 218[151-189] ‘Not this, O Pallas! was the promise that thou hadst given thy father. Hadst thou been content to plunge less recklessly into the fury of battle! I knew well how strong was the fresh pride and arms and the sweetness of honour in a first battle. Ah, unhappy first-fruits of his youth and bitter prelude of the war upon our borders! ah, vows and prayers of mine that no god heard! and thou, holiest of wives, happy that thou art dead and not spared for this sorrow! But I have outgone my destiny in living, to stay here the survivor of my child. Would I had followed the allied arms of Troy, to be overwhelmed by Rutulian weapons! Would my life had been given, and I and not my Pallas were borne home in this procession! I would not blame you, O Teucrians, nor our treaty and the friendly hands we clasped: our old age had that appointed debt to pay. Yet if untimely death awaited my son, we will be glad that he perished leading the Teucrians into Latium, and slew his Volscian thousands before he fell. Nay, no other funeral would I deem thy due, my Pallas, than good Aeneas does, than the mighty Phrygians, than the Tyrrhene captains and all the army of Tyrrhenia. Great are the trophies they bring on whom thine hand deals death; thou also, Turnus, wert standing now a great trunk dressed in armour, had his age and his strength of years equalled thine. But why does my misery keep back the Trojans from arms? Go, and forget not to carry this message to your king: Thine hand keeps me lingering in a life that is hateful since Pallas fell, and Turnus is the debt thou seest son and father claim: for thy virtue and thy fortune this scope alone is left. I ask not joy in life; I may not; but to carry this to my son deep in the under world.’

Meanwhile Dawn had raised her gracious light on weary men, bringing back task and toil: now lord Aeneas, now Tarchon, have built the pyres on the winding shore. Hither in ancestral fashion has each born the bodies of his kin; the dark fire is lit beneath, and the vapour hides high heaven in gloom. Thrice, girt in glittering arms, they have marched about the blazing piles, thrice compassed on horseback the 219[190-230] sad fire of death, and uttered their wail. Tears fall fast upon earth and armour; cries of men and blare of trumpets roll skyward. Then some fling on the fire Latin spoils stripped from the slain, helmets and shapely swords, bridles and glowing chariot wheels; others familiar gifts, the very shields and luckless weapons of the dead. Around are slain in sacrifice oxen many in number, and bristly swine and cattle gathered out of all the country are slaughtered over the flames. Then crowding the shore, they gaze on their burning comrades, and guard the embers of the pyres, and cannot tear themselves away till dewy Night wheels on the star-spangled glittering sky.

Therewithal the unhappy Latins far apart build countless pyres, and many slain men they bury in the ground, and many more they lift and bear away to the neighbouring lands, or send them back to the city; the rest, a vast heap of undistinguishable slaughter, they burn uncounted and unhonoured; on all sides the broad fields gleam with crowded rivalry of fires. The third Dawn had rolled away the chill shadow from the sky; mournfully they piled high the ashes and mingled bones from the embers, and heaped a load of warm earth above them. Now in the dwellings of rich Latinus’ city the noise is loudest, and most the long lamentation. Here mothers and their sons’ unhappy brides, here beloved sisters sad-hearted and orphaned boys curse the disastrous war and Turnus’ bridal, and bid him his own self arm and decide the issue with the sword, since he claims for himself the first rank and the lordship of Italy. Fierce Drances embitters their cry, and vouches that Turnus alone is called, alone is claimed for battle. Yet therewith many a diverse-worded counsel is for Turnus, and the great name of the queen overshadows him, and he rises high in renown of trophies fitly won.

Among their stir, and while confusion is fiercest, lo! to crown all, the envoys from great Diomede’s city bring their gloomy message: nothing is come of all the toil and labour spent; gifts and gold and strong entreaties have been of no avail; Latium must seek other arms, or sue for peace to the Trojan 220[231-269] king. For heavy grief King Latinus himself swoons away. The wrath of heaven and the fresh graves before his eyes warn him that Aeneas is borne on by fate’s evident will. So he sends imperial summons to his high council, the foremost of the people, and gathers them within his lofty courts. They assemble, and stream up the crowded streets to the royal dwelling. Latinus, eldest in years and first in royalty, sits amid them with cheerless brow, and bids the envoys sent back from the Aetolian city tell the news they bring, and demands a full and ordered reply. Then tongues are hushed; and Venulus, obeying his word, thus begins to speak:

‘We have seen, O citizens, Diomede in his Argive camp, and outsped our way and passed all its dangers, and touched the hand whereunder the land of Ilium fell. He was founding a town, named Argyripa after his ancestral people, on the conquered fields of Iapygian Garganus. After we entered in, and license of open speech was given, we display our gifts, we instruct him of our name and country, who are its invaders, and why we are drawn to Arpi. He heard us, and replied thus with calm utterance:

‘ “O fortunate races, realm of Saturn, Ausonians of old, how does fortune vex your quiet and woo you to tempt wars you know not? We that have drawn sword on the fields of Ilium — I forbear to tell the drains of war beneath her high walls, the men sunken in yonder Simoïs — have all over the world paid to the full our punishment and the reward of guilt, such a crew as Priam’s self might pity; as Minerva’s baleful star knows, and the Euboïc reefs and Caphereus the avenger. From that warfaring driven to alien shores, Menelaus son of Atreus is in exile far as Proteus’ Pillars, Ulysses has seen the Cyclopes of Aetna. Shall I make mention of the realm of Neaptolemus, and Idomeneus’ household gods overthrown? or of the Locrians who dwell on the Libyan beach? Even the lord of Mycenae, the mighty Achaeans’ general, sank on his own threshold edge under his accursed wife’s hand; an adulterer took his seat on the spoils of Asia. Aye, or that the gods grudged it me to return to my ancestral altars, to see the bride 221[270-308] of my desire, and lovely Calydon! Now likewise sights of appalling presage pursue me; my comrades, lost to me, have soared on wings into the sky, and flitting birds about the rivers — ah me, dread punishment of my people! — fill the cliffs with their melancholy cries. This it was I had to look for even from the time when I madly assailed celestial limbs with steel, and sullied the hand of Venus with a wound. Do not, ah, do not urge me to such battles. Neither have I any war with Troy since her towers are overthrown, nor do I remember with delight the woes of old. Turn to Aeneas with the gifts you bear to me from your ancestral borders. We have stood to face his grim weapons, and met him hand to hand; believe one who has proved it, how mightily he rises over his shield, in what a whirlwind he hurls his spear. Had the land of Ida borne two more like him, Dardanus had marched to attack the towns of Inachus, and Greece were mourning fate’s reverse. In all our delay before that obstinate Trojan city, it was Hector and Aeneas whose hand stayed the Grecian victory and held back its advance till the tenth year. Both were splendid in courage, both eminent in arms; Aeneas was first in duty. Let your hands join in treaty as they may; but beware that your weapons close not with his.”

‘Thou hast heard, most gracious king, at once what is the king’s answer, and what his counsel for our great struggle.’

Scarcely thus the envoys, when a diverse murmur ran through the troubled lips of the Ausonians; even as, when rocks delay some running river, it plashes in the barred pool, and the banks murmur nigh to the babbling wave. So soon as their minds were quieted, and their hurrying lips hushed, the king, first calling on the gods, begins from his lofty throne:

‘Ere now could I wish, O Latins, we had determined our course of state, and it had been better thus; not to meet in council at such a time as now, with the enemy seated before our walls. We wage an ill-timed war, fellow-citizens, with a divine race, invincible, unbroken in battle, who brook not even when conquered to drop the sword. If you had hope in appeal to Aetolian arms, abandon it; though each man’s hope 222[309-341] is his own, you discern how narrow a path it is. Beyond that you see with your eyes and handle with your hands the total ruin of our fortunes. I blame no one; what valour’s utmost could do is done; we have fought with our whole kingdom’s strength. Now I will unfold what I doubtfully advise and purpose, and instruct you of it — give heed! — in brief. There is an ancient land of mine bordering the Tuscan river, stretching far westward beyond the Sicanian borders. Auruncans and Rutulians sow on it, work the stiff hills with the ploughshare, and pasture them where they are roughest. Let all this tract, with a pine-clad belt of mountain height, pass to the Teucrians in friendship; let us name fair terms of treaty, and invite them as allies in our realm; let them settle, if they desire it so, and found a city. But if they have a mind to try other coasts and another people, and can abide to leave our soil, let us build twice ten ships of Italian oak, or as many more as they can man; timber lies at the water’s edge for all; let them assign the number and fashion of the vessels, and we will supply brass, labour, dockyards. Further, it is our advice that an hundred ambassadors of the highest rank in Latium shall go to bear our words and ratify the treaty, holding forth in their hands the boughs of peace, and carrying for gifts weight of gold and ivory, and the chair and striped robe, our royal array. Give counsel openly, and succour our exhausted state.’

Then Drances again, he whose jealous ill-will was wrought to anger and stung with bitterness by Turnus’ fame, lavish of wealth and quick of tongue though his hand was cold in war, held no empty counsellor and potent in faction — his mother’s rank ennobled a lineage whose paternal source was obscure — rises, and with these words heaps and heightens their passion:

‘Dark to no man and needing no voice of ours, O gracious king, is that whereon thou takest counsel. All confess they know how our nation’s fortune sways; but they speak in whispers. Let him grant freedom of speech and abate his breath, he by whose disastrous government and perverse way (I will speak out, though he menace me with arms and death) 223[342-386] we see so many stars of battle gone down and all our city sunk in mourning; while he, confident in flight, assails the Trojan camp and makes heaven quail before his arms. Add yet one to those gifts of thine, to all the riches thou bidst us send or promise to the Dardanians, most gracious of kings; but one; let no man’s passion overbear thee from giving thine own daughter to an illustrious son-in-law and a worthy marriage, and confirming this peace by perpetual treaty. Yet if we are thus terror-stricken heart and soul, let us implore him in person, in person plead him of his grace to give way, to restore king and country their proper right. Why again and again hurlest thou these unhappy citizens on peril so evident, O source and spring of Latium’s woes? In war is no safety; peace we all implore of thee, Turnus, and the one pledge that makes peace inviolable. I the first, I whom thou picturest thine enemy, as I care not if I am, see, I bow at thy feet. Pity thin allies; relent, and retire before thy conqueror. Enough have we seen of rout and death, and desolation over our broad lands. Or if glory stir thee, if such strength kindle in thy beast, and if a palace so delight thee for thy dower, be bold, and advance stout-hearted upon the foe. We verily, that Turnus may have his royal bride, must lie scattered on the plains, worthless lives, a crowd unburied and unwept. Do thou also, if thou hast aught of might, if he War-god be in thee as in thy fathers, look him in the face who challenges. . . . ’

At these words Turnus’ passion blazed out. He utters a groan, and breaks forth into speech thus:

‘Copious indeed, Drances, and fluent is ever thy speech at the moment when war calls for action; and when the fathers are summoned thou art there the first. But we need no words to fill our senate-house, safely as thou wingest them while the mounded walls keep off the enemy, and the trenches swim not yet with blood. Thunder on in rhetoric, thy wonted way: accuse thou me of fear, Drances, thou whose hand was heaped so many Teucrians in slaughter, and whose glorious trophies dot the field. Trial is open of that live valour can do; nor 224[387-429] indeed is our foe far to seek; on all sides they surround our walls. Are we going to meet them? Why liner? Will thy bravery ever be in that winy tongue and those timorous feet of thine? . . . My conqueror? Caitiff, shall any justly flout me as conquered, who sees Tiber swoln fuller with Ilian blood, an all the house and people of Evander laid low, and the Arcadians stripped of their armour/ Not such did Bitias and huge Pandarus prove me, and the thousand men whom on one day my conquering hand sent down to hell, shut as I was in their walls and closed in the enemy’s ramparts, In war is no safety. Fool! Be thy boding on the Dardanian’s head and thine own fortunes. Go on; cease not to throw all into confusion with thy terrors, to exalt all the strength of a twice vanquished race, and abase he arms of Latinus before it. Now the princes of the Myrmidons tremble before Phrygian arms, and Aufidus river recoils from the Adriatic wave. Or when the villain schemer pretends to shrink at my abuse, and sharpens calumny by terror! never shall this hand — keep quiet! — rob thee of such a soul; with thee let it abide, and dwell in that breast of thine. Now I return to thee, my lord, and thy weighty resolves. If thou dost repose no further hope in our arms, if all has indeed left us, and one repulse been our utter ruin, an our fortune is beyond recovery, let us plead for peace and stretch forth unarmed hands. Yet ah! had we aught of our wonted manhood, his toil beyond all other is blessed and his spirit eminent, who rather than see it thus, ahs fallen prone in death and once bitten the ground. But if we have yet resources and an army still unbroken, and cities and peoples of Italy remain for our aid; but if even the Trojans have won their glory at great cost of blood (thy too have their deaths, and the storm fell equally on all), why do we shamefully faint even on the threshold? Why does a shudder seize our limbs before the trumpet sound? Often do the Days and the varying change of toiling Time restore prosperity; often Fortune in broken visits makes man her sport and again establishes him. The Aetolian will not help us from Arpi; but Messapus will, and Tolumnius the fortunate, and the captains sent by 225[430-472] many a nation; nor will fame be scant to follow the flower of Latium and the Laurentine land. Camilla the Volscian princess too is with us, leading her train of cavalry, squadrons splendid in brass. But if I only am claimed by the Teucrians for combat, if that is your pleasure, and I am the barrier to the public good, Victory does not so hate and shun my hands that I should renounce any enterprise for so great a hope. I will meet him in courage, did he outmatch great Achilles and wear arms like his forged by Vulcan’s hands. To you and to my father Latinus I Turnus, unexcelled in bravery by any of old, consecrate my life. Aeneas calls on him alone: let him call, I implore: let not Drances rather appease with his life this wrath of heaven, if such it be, or win the renown of valour.’

Thus they one with another strove together in uncertainty; Aeneas moved from his camp to battle. Lo, a messenger rushes spreading confusion through the royal house, and fills the town with great alarm: the Teucrians, ranged in battle-line with the Tyrrhene forces, are marching down by the Tiber river and filling the plain. Immediately spirits are stirred and hearts shaken and wrath roused in fierce excitement among the crowd. Hurrying hands grasp at arms; for arms their young men clamour; the fathers shed tears and mutter gloomily. With that a great noise rises aloft in diverse contention, even as when flocks of birds haply settle on a lofty grove, or swans utter their hoarse cry among the vocal pools on the river-fisheries of Padusa. ‘Yes, citizens,’ cries Turnus, seizing his time: ‘gather in council and sit praising peace, while they rush on dominion in arms!’ Without more word he sprang up and issued swiftly from the high halls. ‘Thou, Volusus,’ he cries, ‘bid the Volscian battalions arm, and lead out the Rutulians. Messapus, and Coras with thy brother, spread your armed cavalry widely over the plain. Let a division entrench the city gates and man the towers: the rest of our array attack with me where I command.’ The whole town goes rushing to the walls; lord Latinus himself, dismayed by the woeful emergency, quits the council and puts off his high designs, and childes himself sorely for not having given Aeneas 226[473-514] unasked welcome, and made him son and bulwark of the city. Some entrench the gates, or bring up supply of stones and poles. The hoarse clarion gives bloody signal for war. A motley ring of boys and matrons girdle the walls; the supreme task summons all. Therewithal the queen with a crowd of mothers ascends bearing gifts to Pallas’ towered temple, and by her side goes maiden Lavinia, source of all that woe, her beautiful eyes cast down. The mothers enter in, and while the temple steams with their incense, pour from the high doorway their mournful cry: ‘Maiden armipotent, Tritonian, sovereign of war, break with thine hand the spear of the Phrygian robber, hurl him prone to earth and dash him down beneath our lofty gates.’ Turnus arrays himself in hot haste for battle, and even now has done on his sparkling breastplate with its rough scales of brass, and clasped his golden greaves, his brows yet bare and his sword buckled to his side; he runs down from the fortress height glittering in gold, and exultantly anticipates the foe. Thus when a horse snaps his tether, and, free at last, rushes from the stalls and gains the open plain, he either darts towards the pastures of the herded mares, or bathing, as is his wont, in the familiar river waters, dashes out and neighs with neck stretched high, glorying, and his mane tosses over collar and shoulder. Camilla with her Volscian array meets him face to face in the gateway; the princess leaps from her horse, and all her squadron at her example slip from horseback to the ground. Then she speaks thus:

‘Turnus, if bravery has any just self-confidence, I dare and promise to engage Aeneas’ cavalry, and advance to meet the Tyrrhene horse. Permit my hand to try war’s first perils: do thou on foot keep by the walls and guard the city.’

To this Turnus, with eyes fixed on the terrible maiden:

‘O maiden flower of Italy, how may I essay to express, how to prove my gratitude? But now, since that spirit of thine excels all praise, share thou the toil with me. Aeneas, as rumour assures and the scouts sent out report, has sent on his light-armed horse to annoy us and scour the plains; himself he marches on the city across the lonely ridge of the mountain 227[515-555] steep. I am arranging a stratagem of war in his pathway on the wooded slope, to block a gorge on the highroad with armed troops. Do thou receive and join battle with the Tyrrhene cavalry; with thee shall be gallant Messapus, the Latin squadrons, and Tiburtus’ division: do thou likewise assume a captain’s charge.’

So speaks he, and with like words heartens Messapus and the allied captains to battle, and advances towards the enemy. There is a sweeping curve of glen, made for ambushes and devices of arms. Dark thick foliage hems it in on either hand, and into it a bare footpath leads by a narrow gorge and difficult entrance. Right above it on the watch-towers of the hill-top lies an unexpected level, hidden away in shelter, whether one would charge from right and left or stand on the ridge and roll down heavy stones. Hither he passes by a line of way he knew, and, seizing his ground, occupies the treacherous woods.

Meanwhile in the heavenly dwellings Latona’s daughter addressed fleet Opis, one of her maiden fellowship and sacred band, and sadly uttered these accents: ‘Camilla moves to fierce war, O maiden, and vainly girds on our arms, dear as she is beyond others to me. For her love of Diana is not newly born, nor her spirit stirred by sudden affection. Driven from his kingdom through jealousy of his haughty power, Metabus left ancient Privernum town, and bore his infant with him in his flight through war and battle, the companion of his exile, and called her by her mother Casmilla’s name, with a little change, Camilla. Carrying her before him on his breast, he sought a long ridge of lonely woodland; on all sides angry weapons pressed on him, and Volscian soldiery spread hurrying round about. Lo, in mid flight swoln Amasenus ran foaming with banks abrim, so heavily had the clouds burst in rain. He would swim it; but love of the infant holds him back in alarm for so dear a burden. Inly revolving all, he settled reluctantly on a sudden resolve: the great spear that the warrior haply carried in his stout hand, of hard-knotted and seasoned oak, to it he ties his daughter swathed in cork-tree bark of the woodland, and binds her balanced round the 228[556-595] mid spear; then poising it in his great right hand he thus cries aloft: “Gracious one, haunter of the woodland, maiden daughter of Latona, a father devotes this babe to thy service; thine is this weapon she holds, thine infant suppliant, flying through the air from her enemies. Accept her, I implore, O goddess, for thine own, whom now I entrust to the chance of air.” He spoke, and drawing back his arm, darts the spinning spear-shaft: the waters roar: over the racing river poor Camilla shoots on the whistling weapon. But Metabus, while a strong band now presses nigher, plunges into the river, and triumphantly pulls spear and girl, his gift to Trivia, from the grassy turf. No cities ever received him within house or rampart, nor had his savagery submitted to it; he led his life on the lonely pastoral hills. Here he nursed his daughter in the underwood among tangled coverts, on the milk of a wild brood-mare’s teats, squeezing the udder into her tender lips. And so soon as the baby stood and went straight on her feet, he armed her hands with a sharp javelin, and hung quiver and bow from her little shoulders. Instead of gold to clasp her tresses, instead of the long skirted gown, a tiger’s spoils hang down her back. Even then her tender hand hurled childish darts, and whirled about her head the twisted thong of her sling, and struck down the crane from Strymon or the milk-white swan. Many a mother among Tyrrhenian towns destined her for their sons in vain; content with Diana alone, she keeps unsoiled for ever the love of her darts and maidenhood. Would she had not plunged thus into warfare and provoked the Trojans by attack! so were she now dear to me and one of my company. But since bitter doom is upon her, up, glide from heaven, O Nymph, and seek the Latin borders, where under evil omen they join in baleful battle. Take these, and draw from the quiver an avenging shaft; by it shall he pay me forfeit of his blood, whoso, Trojan or Italian alike, shall sully her sacred body with a wound. Thereafter will I in a sheltering cloud bear body and armour of the hapless girl unspoiled to the tomb, and lay them in her native land.’ She spoke; but 229[596-632] the other sped lightly down the aëry sky, girt about with dark whirlwind on her echoing way.

But meanwhile the Trojan force nears the walls, with the Etruscan captains and their whole cavalry arrayed in ordered squadrons. Their horses’ trampling hoofs thunder on all the field, as, swerving this way and that, they chafe at the reins’ pressure; the iron field bristles wide with spears, and the plains blaze with uplifted arms. Likewise Messapus and the Latin horse, and Coras and his brother, and maiden Camilla’s squadron, come forth against them on the plain, and draw back their hands and level the quivering points of their long lances, in a fire of neighing horses and advancing men. And now each had drawn within javelin-cast of each, and drew up; with a sudden shout they dart forth, and urge on their furious horses; from all sides at once weapons shower thick like snow, and veil the sky with their shadow. In a moment Tyrrhenus and fiery Aconteus charge violently with levelled spears, and are the first to fall; they go down with a heavy crash, and their chargers break and shatter chest upon chest. Aconteus, hurled off like a thunderbolt or some mass flung from an engine, is dashed away, and scatters his life in air. Immediately the lines waver, and the Latins wheeling about throw their shields behind them and turn their horses towards the town. The Trojans pursue; Asilas heads and leads on their squadrons. And now they drew nigh the gates, and again the Latins raise a shout and wheel their supple necks about; the pursuers fly, and gallop right back with loosened rein. As when the sea, running up in ebb and flow, now rushes shoreward and strikes over the cliffs in a wave of foam, drenching the edge of the sand in its curving sweep, now runs swirling back, and as the surge sucks the rolling stones away, leaves the shore bare in ebbing shallow; so twice the Tuscans turn and drive the Rutulians towards the town; twice they are repelled, and look back behind them from cover of their shields. But when now meeting in a third encounter, the lines are locked together all their length, and man singles out his man; then indeed, amid groans of the 230[633-672] dying, deep in blood roll armour and bodies, and horses half slain mixed up with human carnage; the battle swells fierce. Orsilochus hurled his spear at the horse of Remulus, whom himself he shrank to meet, and left the steel in it under the ear; at the stroke the charger rears madly, and, mastered by the wound, lifts his chest and flings up his legs: the rider is thrown and rolls over on the ground. Catillus strikes down Iollas, and Herminius mighty in courage, mighty in limbs and arms, bareheaded, tawny-haired, bare-shouldered; undismayed by wounds, he leaves his vast body open against arms. Through his broad shoulders the quivering spear runs piercing him through, and doubles him up with pain. Everywhere the dark blood flows; they deal death with the sword in battle and seek a noble death by wounds.

But amid the slaughter Camilla rages, a quivered Amazon, with one side stripped for battle, and now sends tough javelins showering from her hand, now snatches the strong battle-axe in her unwearying grasp; the golden bow, the armour of Diana, clashes on her shoulders; and even when forced backward in retreat, she turns in flight and aims darts from her bow. But around her are her chosen comrades, maiden Larina, Tulla, Tarpeia brandishing an axe plated with bronze, girls of Italy, whom Camilla the bright chose for her own escort, good at service in peace and war: even as Thracian Amazons when the streams of Thermedon clash beneath them as they go to war in painted arms, whether around Hippolyte, or while martial Penthesilea returns in her chariot, and the crescent-shielded columns of women dance with loud confused cry. Whom first, whom last, fierce maiden, does thy dart strike down? or how many dost thou stretch dying bodies on the earth? First Euneus, son of Clytius; for as he meets her the long fir shaft crashes through his open breast. He falls spouting streams of blood, and bites the gory ground, and dying writhes himself upon his wound. Then Liris and Pagasus above him; who fall headlong and together, the one thrown as he gathers up the reins of his ensanguined steed, the other while he runs forward and stretches his unarmed hand to stay 231[673-712] his fall. To these she joins Amastrus, son of Hippotas, and follows from far with her spear Tereus and Harpalycus and Demophoön and Chromis: and as many darts as the maiden sends whirling from her hand, so many Phrygians fall. Ornytus the hunter rides near in strange arms on his Iapygian horse, his broad warrior’s shoulders swathed in the hide stripped from a bullock, his head covered by a wolf’s wide-grinning mouth and white-tusked jaws; a rustic pike arms his hand; himself he moves amid the squadrons a full head over all. Catching him up (for that was easy amid the rout), she runs him through, and thus cries above her enemy: ‘Thou wert hunting wild beasts in the forest, thoughtest thou, Tyrrhenian? The day is come for a woman’s arms to refute thy words. Yet no light fame shalt thou carry to thy father’s ghosts, to have fallen under the weapon of Camilla.’ Next Orsilochus and Butes, the two mightiest of mould among the Teucrians; Butes she pierces in the back with her spear-point between corslet and helmet, where the neck shews as he sits, and the shield hangs from his left shoulder; Orsilochus she flies, and darting in a wide circle, slips into the inner ring and pursues her pursuer; then rising her full height, she drives the strong axe deep through armour and bone, as he pleads and makes much entreaty; warm brain from the wound splashes his face. One met her thus and hung startled by the sudden sight, the warrior son of Aunus haunter of the Apennine, not the meanest in Liguria while fate allowed him to deceive. And he, when he discerns that no fleetness of foot may now save him from battle or turn the princess from pursuit, essays to wind a subtle device of treachery, and thus begins: ‘How hast thou glory, if a woman trust in her horse’s strength? Debar retreat; trust thyself to level ground at close quarters with me, and prepare to fight on foot. Soon wilt thou know how windy boasting brings one to harm.’ He spoke; but she, furious and stung with fiery indignation, hands her horse to an attendant, and takes her stand in equal arms on foot and undismayed, with naked sword and shield unemblazoned. But he, thinking his craft had won the day, himself flies off on the instant, and 232[713-753] turning his rein, darts off in flight, pricking his beast to speed with iron-armed heel. ‘False Ligurian, in vain elated in thy pride! for naught hast thou attempted thy slippery native arts, nor will thy craft bring thee home unhurt to treacherous Aunus.’ So speaks the maiden, and with running feet swift as fire crosses his horse, and catching the bridle, meets him in front and takes her vengeance in her enemy’s blood: as lightly as the falcon, bird of bale, swoops down from aloft on a pigeon high in a cloud, and pounces on and holds her, and disembowels her with taloned feet, while blood and torn feathers flutter down the sky.

But the creator of men and gods sits high on Olympus’ summit watching this, not with eyes unseeing: he kindles Tyrrhenian Tarchon to the fierce battle, and sharply goads him on to wrath. So Tarchon gallops amid the slaughter where his squadrons retreat, and urges his troops in changing tones, calling man after man by name, and rallies the fliers to fight. ‘What terror, what dastardy has fallen on your spirits, O never to be stung to shame, O ever sluggish Tyrrhenians? a woman drives you in disorder and routs our armies! Why wear we steel? for what are these idle weapons in our hands? Yet you slack not in Venus’ service and wars by night, or when the curving lute proclaims Bacchus’ revels. Look forward to the feast and the cups on the loaded board (this your passion, this your desire) while the soothsayer pronounce the offering favourable, and the fated victim invite you to the deep groves!’ So speaking, he spurs his horse into the midmost, ready himself to die, and bears violently down full on Venulus; and tearing him from horseback, grasps his enemy and carries him away with him on the saddle-bow by main force. A cry rises up, and all the Latins turn their eyes. Tarchon flies like fire over the plain, carrying the armed man, and breaks off the steel head from his own spear and searches the uncovered places, trying where he may deal the mortal blow; the other struggling against him keeps his hand off his throat, and strongly parries his attack. And, as when a golden eagle snatches and soars with a serpent in his clutch, and his feet 233[754-793] are fast in it, and his talons cling; but the wounded snake writhes in coiling spires, and its scales rise and roughen, and its mouth hisses as it towers upward; the bird none the less attacks his struggling prize with crooked beak, while his vans beat the air: even so Tarchon carries him out of Tiburtine ranks, triumphant in his prize. Following their captain’s example and success the men of Maeonia charge in. Then Arruns, due to his doom, circles in advance of fleet Camilla with artful javelin, and tries what chance may be easiest. Where the maiden darts furious amid the ranks, there Arruns slips up and silently tracks her footsteps; where she returns victorious and retires from amid the enemy, there he stealthily bends his rapid reins. Here he approaches, and here again he approaches, and strays all round and about, and untiringly shakes his certain spear. Haply Chloreus, consecrated and a priest once on Cybelus, glittered afar, splendid in Phrygian armour; a skin feathered with brazen scales and clasped with gold clothed the horse that foamed under his spur; himself he shone in foreign blue and scarlet, and sped fleet Gortynian shafts from a Lycian horn; a golden bow was on his shoulder, and the soothsayer’s helmet was of gold; red gold knotted up with his yellow scarf with its rustling lawny folds; his tunics and barbarian leggings were wrought in needlework. Him, whether that she might nail armour of Troy on her temples, or herself ride hunting in captive gold, the maiden pursued in blind chase alone of all the battle conflict, and down the whole line, reckless and fired by a woman’s passion for spoils and plunder: when at last out of his ambush Arruns chooses his time and darts his javelin, praying thus aloud to heaven: ‘Apollo, most high of gods, holy Soracte’s warder, to whom we beyond all pay worship, for whom the blaze is fed from the pine-heap, where we thy worshippers in pious faith print our steps amid the deep embers of the fire, grant, O Lord omnipotent, that our arms wipe off this disgrace. I seek not the dress the maiden wore, nor trophy or any spoil of victory; other deeds shall bring me praise; let but this dread scourge fall stricken beneath my wound, I will return inglorious to my 234[794-833] native towns.’ Phoebus heard, and inly granted half his vow to prosper, half he shred into the flying breezes. To surprise and strike Camilla in sudden death, this he yielded to his prayer; that his high home might see his return he gave not, and a gust swept his accents off on the gale. So, when the spear sped from his hand hurtled through the air, all the Volscians marked it well and turned their eyes on the queen; and she alone knew not wind or sound of the weapon on it’s aëry path, till the spear passed home and sank under her bared breast, and, its flight stayed, drank deep of her maiden blood. Her companions run hastily up and catch their sinking mistress. Arruns take to flight more alarmed than all, in mingled fear and exultation, and no longer dares to trust his spear or face the maiden’s weapons. And as the wolf, some shepherd or great bullock slain, plunges at once among the trackless mountain heights ere hostile darts are in pursuit, and knows how reckless he has been, and drooping his tail lays it quivering under his belly, and seeks the woods; even so does Arruns withdraw from sight in dismay, and, satisfied to escape, mingles in the throng of arms. The dying woman pulls at the weapon with her hand; but the iron head is fixed deep in the wound up between the rib-bones. She swoons away with loss of blood; her death-cold eyes sink; the once lustrous colour leaves her face. Then gasping, she thus accosts Acca, one of her birthmates, who alone before all was true to Camilla, with whom her cares were divided; and even so she speaks: ‘Thus far, Acca my sister, have I availed; now the bitter wound overmasters me, and all about me darkens in mist. Haste away, and carry to Turnus my last message; to take my place in battle, and repel the Trojans from the town. And now good-bye.’ Even with the words she dropped the reins and slid to ground unconscious. Then in the gradual chill she released herself wholly from the body, her neck slackened and her death-stricken head sank; the weapons leave her hands, and the life with a moan flies indignant into the dark. Then indeed, an infinite cry rises and smites the golden stars; the battle grows bloodier now Camilla is down; at once in serried ranks 235[534-873] all the Teucrian forces pour in, with the Tyrrhene captains and Evander’s Arcadian squadrons.

But Opis, Trivia’s sentinel, long ere now sits high on the hill-tops, gazing on the battle undismayed. And when afar amid the din of angry men she espied Camilla done woefully to death, she sighed and uttered a heart-deep cry: ‘Ah too, too cruel, O maiden, the forfeit thou hast paid for adventuring attack on the Teucrians! and nothing has availed thee thy lonely following of Diana in the woodlands, nor wearing our quiver on thy shoulder. Yet thy Queen has not left thee unhonoured now thy latter end is come; nor will this thy death be unnamed among the nations, nor shalt thou bear the fame of one unavenged; for whosoever has sullied thy body with a wound shall pay death for due.’ Under the mountain height was a great earthen mound, tomb of Dercennus, a Laurentine king of old, muffled in shadowy ilex. Hither the goddess most beautiful first swoops down, and marks Arruns from the mounded height. As she saw him glittering in arms and idly exultant: ‘Why,’ she cries, ‘wanderest thou away? hitherward direct thy steps; came hither to thy doom, to receive thy fit reward for Camilla. Shalt thou also die by Diana’s weapons?’ The Thracian spoke, and slid out a fleet arrow from her gilded quiver, and stretched it level on the bow, and drew it far, till the curving tips met one another, and now as her hands pulled asunder, the left touched the steel edge, the string in the right her breast. At once and in a moment Arruns heard the whistle of the dart and the resounding air, as the steel sank in his body. His comrades leave him forgotten on the unknown dust of the plain, moaning his last and gasping his life way; Opis wings her flight to the skyey heaven.

At once the light squadron of Camilla retreat now they have lost their mistress; the Rutulians retreat in confusion, brave Atinas retreats. Scattered captains and thinned companies make for safety, and wheeling back, gallop to the town. Nor does any avail to make stand against the swarming death-dealing Teucrians, or bear their shock in arms; but their unstrung bows droop on their shoulders, and the four-footed 236[874-915] galloping horse-hoof shakes the crumbling plain. Eddying dust rolls up thick and black towards the walls, and on the watch-towers mothers beat their breasts and the cries of women rise up to heaven. On such as first in the rout broke in at the open gates the mingling hostile throng follows hard; nor do they escape death, alas! but in the very gateway, in their native city and within their sheltering homes, they are pierced through and gasp out their life. Some shut the gates, and dare not open to their pleading comrades nor receive them in the town; and a most pitiful slaughter begins between the armed men who guard the entry and the others who rush upon their arms. Barred out before their weeping parents’ eyes and faces, some, swept on by the rout, roll headlong into the trenches; some, blindly rushing with loosened rein, batter at the gates and stiffly-bolted doorway. The very mothers from the walls in eager heat (true love of country points the way, when they see Camilla) dart weapons with trembling hand, and eagerly make hard stocks of wood and fire-hardened poles serve for steel, and burn to die among the foremost for their city.

Meanwhile among the forests the terrible news pours in on Turnus, and Acca brings him news of the mighty rout; the Volscian lines are destroyed; Camilla is fallen; the enemy thicken and press on, and have swept all before them down the tide of battle; already the terror draws nigh the city. Mad with vexation — Jove’s stern will ordains it so — he abandons the hills that he had beset, and quits the rough woodland. Scarcely had he marched out of sight and gained the plain when lord Aeneas enters the open defiles, surmounts the ridge, and issues from the dim forest. So both advance swiftly to the town with all their columns, no long march apart, and at once Aeneas descried afar the plains all smoking with dust, and saw the Laurentine columns, and Turnus knew Aeneas terrible in arms, and heard the advancing feet and the neighing of the horses. And straightway would they join battle and essay the conflict, but that ruddy Phoebus even now dips his weary coursers in the Iberian flood, and night draws on over the fading day. They encamp before the city, and draw their trenches round the walls.

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by Elfinspell