Aeneid/X. The Relief and Battle

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IX. The Siege Aeneid
X. The Relief and Battle
written by Virgil, translated by A. S. Kline
XI. Councils of War



Meanwhile the palace of all-powerful Olympus
was opened wide, and the father of the gods, and king of men,
called a council in his starry house, from whose heights
he gazed at every land, at Trojan camp, and Latin people.
They took their seats in the hall with doors at east and west,
and he began: ‘Great sky-dwellers, why have you changed
your decision, competing now, with such opposing wills?
I commanded Italy not to make war on the Trojans.
Why this conflict, against my orders? What fear
has driven them both to take up arms and incite violence?
The right time for fighting will arrive (don’t bring it on)
when fierce Carthage, piercing the Alps, will launch
great destruction on the Roman strongholds:
then it will be fine to compete in hatred, and ravage things.
Now let it alone, and construct a treaty, gladly, as agreed.’
Jupiter’s speech was brief as this: but golden Venus’s reply was not:
‘O father, eternal judge of men and things
(for who else is there I can make my appeal to now?)
you see how the Rutulians exult, how Turnus is drawn
by noble horses through the crowd, and, fortunate in war,
rushes on proudly. Barred defences no longer protect the Trojans:
rather they join battle within the gates, and on the rampart
walls themselves, and the ditches are filled with blood.
Aeneas is absent, unaware of this. Will you never let the siege
be raised? A second enemy once again menaces and harasses
new-born Troy, and again, from Aetolian Arpi, a Diomede rises.
I almost think the wound I had from him still awaits me:
your child merely delays the thrust of that mortal’s weapon.
If the Trojans sought Italy without your consent, and despite
your divine will, let them expiate the sin: don’t grant them help.
But if they’ve followed the oracles of powers above and below,
why should anyone change your orders now, and forge new destinies?
Shall I remind you of their fleet, burned on the shores of Eryx?
Or the king of the storms and his furious winds roused
from Aeolia, or Iris sent down from the clouds?
Now Juno even stirs the dead (the only lot still left to use)
and Allecto too, suddenly loosed on the upper world,
runs wild through all the Italian cities.
I no longer care about Empire. Though that was my hope
while fortune was kind. Let those you wish to win prevail.
Father, if there’s no land your relentless queen will grant the Trojans,
I beg, by the smoking ruins of shattered Troy, let me bring
Ascanius, untouched, from among the weapons: let my grandson live.
Aeneas, yes, may be tossed on unknown seas, and go
wherever Fortune grants a road: but let me have the power
to protect the child and remove him from the fatal battle.
Amathus is mine, high Paphos and Cythera are mine,
and Idalia’s temple: let him ground his weapons there,
and live out inglorious years. Command that Carthage,
with her great power, crush Italy: then there’ll be
no obstacle to the Tyrian cities. What was the use in their escaping
the plague of war, fleeing through the heart of Argive flames,
enduring the dangers at sea, and in desolate lands,
as long as the Trojans seek Latium and Troy re-born?
Wouldn’t it have been better to build on those last embers
of their country, on the soil where Troy once stood?
Give Xanthus and Simois back to these unfortunates,
father, I beg you, and let the Trojans re-live the course of Ilium.’
Then royal Juno goaded to savage frenzy, cried out:
‘Why do you make me shatter my profound silence,
and utter words of suffering to the world?
Did any god or man force Aeneas to make war
and attack King Latinus as an enemy?
He sought Italy prompted by the Fates (so be it)
impelled by Cassandra’s ravings: was he urged by me
to leave the camp, and trust his life to the winds?
To leave the outcome of war, and their defences to a child:
to disturb Tuscan good faith, and peaceful tribes?
What goddess, what harsh powers of mine drove him
to harm? Where is Juno in this, or Iris sent from the clouds?
If it’s shameful that the Italians surround new-born Troy
with flames, and Turnus make a stand on his native soil,
he whose ancestor is Pilumnus, divine Venilia his mother:
what of the Trojans with smoking brands using force against the Latins,
planting their yoke on others’ fields and driving off their plunder?
Deciding whose daughters to marry, and dragging betrothed girls
from their lover’s arms, offering peace with one hand,
but decking their ships with weapons? You can steal
Aeneas away from Greek hands and grant them fog and empty air
instead of a man, and turn their fleet of ships into as many nymphs:
is it wrong then for me to have given some help to the Rutulians?
“Aeneas is absent, unaware of this.” Let him be absent and unaware.
Paphos, Idalium, and high Cythera are yours? Why meddle then
with a city pregnant with wars and fierce hearts?
Is it I who try to uproot Troy’s fragile state from its base?
Is it I? Or he who exposed the wretched Trojans to the Greeks?
What reason was there for Europe and Asia to rise up
in arms, and dissolve their alliance, through treachery?
Did I lead the Trojan adulterer to conquer Sparta?
Did I give him weapons, or foment a war because of his lust?
Then, you should have feared for your own: now, too late,
you raise complaints without justice, and provoke useless quarrels.’
So Juno argued, and all the divinities of heaven murmured
their diverse opinions, as when rising gales murmur in the woods
and roll out their secret humming, warning sailors of coming storms.
Then the all-powerful father, who has prime authority over things,
began (the noble hall of the gods fell silent as he spoke,
earth trembled underground, high heaven fell silent,
the Zephyrs too were stilled, the sea calmed its placid waters).
‘Take my words to heart and fix them there.
Since Italians and Trojans are not allowed to join
in alliance, and your disagreement has no end,
I will draw no distinction between them, Trojan or Rutulian,
whatever luck each has today, whatever hopes they pursue,
whether the camp’s under siege, because of Italy’s fortunes,
or Troy’s evil wanderings and unhappy prophecies.
Nor will I absolve the Rutulians. What each has instigated
shall bring its own suffering and success. Jupiter is king of all,
equally: the fates will determine the way.’ He nodded,
swearing it by the waters of his Stygian brother,
by the banks that seethe with pitch, and the black chasm
and made all Olympus tremble at his nod.
So the speaking ended. Jupiter rose from his golden throne,
and the divinities led him to the threshold, among them.
Meanwhile the Rutulians gathered round every gate,
to slaughter the men, and circle the walls with flames,
while Aeneas’s army was held inside their stockade,
imprisoned, with no hope of escape. Wretchedly they stood
there on the high turrets, and circling the walls, a sparse ring.
Asius, son of Imbrasus, Thymoetes, son of Hicetaon,
the two Assaraci, and Castor with old Thymbris were the front rank:
Sarpedon’s two brothers, Clarus and Thaemon, from noble Lycia,
were at their side. Acmon of Lyrnesus, no less huge than his father
Clytius, or his brother Mnestheus, lifted a giant rock,
no small fragment of a hillside, straining his whole body.
Some tried to defend with javelins, some with stones,
hurling fire and fitting arrows to the bow.
See, the Trojan boy, himself, in their midst,
Venus’s special care, his handsome head uncovered,
sparkling like a jewel set in yellow gold
adorning neck or forehead, gleaming like ivory,
inlaid skilfully in boxwood or Orician terebinth:
his milk-white neck, and the circle of soft gold
clasping it, received his flowing hair.
Your great-hearted people saw you too Ismarus,
dipping reed-shafts in venom, and aiming them
to wound, from a noble Lydian house, there where men
till rich fields, that the Pactolus waters with gold. There was
Mnestheus as well, whom yesterday’s glory, of beating
Turnus back from the wall’s embankment, exalted highly,
and Capys: from him the name of the Campanian city comes.
Men were fighting each other in the conflict of bitter war:
while Aeneas, by night, was cutting through the waves.
When, on leaving Evander and entering the Tuscan camp,
he had met the king, announced his name and race,
the help he sought, and that he himself offered,
what forces Mezentius was gathering to him,
and the violence in Turnus’s heart, and then had warned
how little faith can be placed in human powers,
and had added his entreaties, Tarchon, joined forces with him
without delay, and agreed a treaty: then fulfilling their fate
the Lydian people took to their ships by divine command,
trusting to a ‘foreign’ leader. Aeneas’s vessel took the van,
adorned with Phrygian lions below her beak, Mount Ida
towering above them, a delight to the exiled Trojans.
There great Aeneas sat and pondered the varying issues
of the war, and Pallas sticking close to his left side, asked him
now about the stars, their path through the dark night,
and now about his adventures on land and sea.
Now, goddesses, throw Helicon wide open: begin your song
of the company that followed Aeneas from Tuscan shores,
arming the ships and riding over the seas.
Massicus cut the waters at their head, in the bronze-armoured Tiger,
a band of a thousand warriors under him, leaving the walls
of Clusium, and the city of Cosae, whose weapons are arrows,
held in light quivers over their shoulders, and deadly bows.
Grim Abas was with him: whose ranks were all splendidly
armoured, his ship aglow with a gilded figure of Apollo.
Populonia, the mother-city, had given him six hundred
of her offspring, all expert in war, and the island of Ilva, rich
with the Chalybes’ inexhaustible mines, three hundred.
Asilas was third, that interpreter of gods and men,
to whom the entrails of beasts were an open book, the stars
in the sky, the tongues of birds, the prophetic bolts of lightning.
He hurried his thousand men to war, dense ranks bristling with spears.
Pisa ordered them to obey, city of Alphean foundation,
set on Etruscan soil. Then the most handsome Astur
followed, Astur relying on horse and iridescent armour.
Three hundred more (minded to follow as one) were added
by those with their home in Caere, the fields
by the Minio, ancient Pyrgi, unhealthy Graviscae.
I would not forget you, Cunerus, in war the bravest
Ligurian leader, or you with your small company, Cupavo,
on whose crest the swan plumes rose, a sign of your father’s
transformation (Cupid, your and your mother’s crime).
For they say that Cycnus wept for his beloved Phaethon,
singing amongst the poplar leaves, those shades of Phaethon’s
sisters, consoling his sorrowful passion with the Muse,
and drew white age over himself, in soft plumage,
relinquishing earth, and seeking the stars with song.
His son, Cupavo, drove on the mighty Centaur, following
the fleet, with troops of his own age: the figurehead towered
over the water, threatening from above to hurl a huge rock
into the waves, the long keel ploughing through the deep ocean.
Ocnus, also, called up troops from his native shores,
he, the son of Manto the prophetess and the Tuscan river,
who gave you your walls, Mantua, and his mother’s name,
Mantua rich in ancestors, but not all of one race:
there were three races there, under each race four tribes,
herself the head of the tribes, her strength from Tuscan blood.
From there too Mezentius drove five hundred to arm against him,
lead in pine warships through the sea by a figure, the River Mincius,
the child of Lake Benacus, crowned with grey-green reeds.
Aulestes ploughed on weightily, lashing the waves as he surged
to the stroke of a hundred oars: the waters foamed as the surface churned.
He sailed the huge Triton, whose conch shell alarmed the blue waves,
it’s carved prow displayed a man’s form down to the waist,
as it sailed on, its belly ending in a sea-creature’s, while
under the half-man’s chest the waves murmured with foam.
Such was the count of princes chosen to sail in the thirty ships
to the aid of Troy, and plough the salt plains with their bronze rams.
Now daylight had vanished from the sky and kindly Phoebe
was treading mid-heaven with her nocturnal team:
Aeneas (since care allowed his limbs no rest) sat there
controlling the helm himself, and tending the sails.
And see, in mid-course, a troop of his own friends
appeared: the nymphs, whom gracious Cybele
had commanded to be goddesses of the sea,
to be nymphs not ships, swam beside him and cut the flood,
as many as the bronze prows that once lay by the shore.
They knew the king from far off, and circled him dancing:
and Cymodocea, following, most skilful of them in speech,
caught at the stern with her right hand, lifted her length herself,
and paddled along with her left arm under the silent water.
Then she spoke to the bemused man, so: ‘Are you awake, Aeneas,
child of the gods? Be awake: loose the sheets: make full sail.
We are your fleet, now nymphs of the sea, once pines of Ida,
from her sacred peak. Against our will we broke our bonds
when the treacherous Rutulian was pressing us hard,
with fire and sword, and we have sought you over the waves.
Cybele, the Mother, refashioned us in this form, from pity,
granting that we became goddesses, spending life under the waves.
Now, your son Ascanius is penned behind walls and ditches,
among weapons, and Latins bristling for a fight.
The Arcadian Horse, mixed with brave Etruscans already hold
the positions commanded: while Turnus’s certain purpose
is to send his central squadrons against them, lest they reach the camp.
Up then, in the rising dawn, call your friends with an order
to arm, and take your invincible shield that the lord of fire
gave you himself, that he circled with a golden rim.
If you don’t think my words idle, tomorrow’s light
will gaze on a mighty heap of Rutulian dead.’
She spoke, and, knowing how, with her right hand,
thrust the high stern on, as she left: it sped through the waves
faster than a javelin, or an arrow equalling the wind.
Then the others quickened speed. Amazed, the Trojan son
of Anchises marvelled, yet his spirits lifted at the omen.
Then looking up to the arching heavens he briefly prayed:
‘Kind Cybele, Mother of the gods, to whom Dindymus,
tower-crowned cities, and harnessed lions are dear,
be my leader now in battle, duly further this omen,
and be with your Trojans, goddess, with your favouring step.’
He prayed like this, and meanwhile the wheeling day
rushed in with a flood of light, chasing away the night:
first he ordered his comrades to obey his signals,
prepare their spirits for fighting, and ready themselves for battle.
Now, he stood on the high stern, with the Trojans and his fort
in view, and at once lifted high the blazing shield, in his left hand.
The Trojans on the walls raised a shout to the sky, new hope
freshened their fury, they hurled their spears, just as Strymonian
cranes under dark clouds, flying through the air, give noisy
cries, and fleeing the south wind, trail their clamour.
This seemed strange to the Rutulian king and the Italian
leaders, until looking behind them they saw the fleet
turned towards shore, and the whole sea alive with ships.
Aeneas’s crest blazed, and a dark flame streamed from the top,
and the shield’s gold boss spouted floods of fire:
just as when comets glow, blood-red and ominous in the clear night,
or when fiery Sirius, bringer of drought and plague
to frail mortals, rises and saddens the sky with sinister light.
Still, brave Turnus did not lose hope of seizing the shore first,
and driving the approaching enemy away from land.
And he raised his men’s spirits as well, and chided them:
‘What you asked for in prayer is here, to break through
with the sword. Mars himself empowers your hands, men!
Now let each remember his wife and home, now recall
the great actions, the glories of our fathers. And let’s
meet them in the waves, while they’re unsure and
their first steps falter as they land. Fortune favours the brave.’
So he spoke, and asked himself whom to lead in attack
and whom he could trust the siege of the walls.
Meanwhile Aeneas landed his allies from the tall ships
using gangways. Many waited for the spent wave to ebb
and trusted themselves to the shallow water: others rowed.
Tarchon, noting a strand where no waves heaved
and no breaking waters roared, but the sea swept in
smoothly with the rising tide, suddenly turned
his prow towards it, exhorting his men:
‘Now, O chosen band, bend to your sturdy oars:
lift, drive your boats, split this enemy shore
with your beaks, let the keel itself plough a furrow.
I don’t shrink from wrecking the ship in such a harbour
once I’ve seized the land.’ When Tarchon had finished
speaking so, his comrades rose to the oars and drove
their foam-wet ships onto the Latin fields,
till the rams gained dry ground and all the hulls
came to rest unharmed. But not yours, Tarchon,
since, striking the shallows, she hung on an uneven ridge
poised for a while, unbalanced, and, tiring the waves,
broke and pitched her crew into the water,
broken oars and floating benches obstructed them
and at the same time the ebbing waves sucked at their feet.
But the long delay didn’t keep Turnus back: swiftly he moved
his whole front against the Trojans, and stood against them on the shore.
The trumpets sounded. Aeneas, first, attacked the ranks
of farmers, as a sign of battle, and toppled the Latins,
killing Theron, noblest of men, who unprompted
sought out Aeneas. The sword drank from his side, pierced
through the bronze joints, and the tunic scaled with gold.
Then he struck Lichas, who had been cut from the womb
of his dead mother and consecrated to you, Phoebus: why
was he allowed to evade the blade at birth? Soon after,
he toppled in death tough Cisseus, and huge Gyas, as they
laid men low with their clubs: Hercules’s weapons
were no help, nor their stout hands nor Melampus their father,
Hercules’s friend, while earth granted him heavy labours.
See, Aeneas hurled his javelin as Pharus uttered
words in vain, and planted it in his noisy gullet.
You too, unhappy Cydon, as you followed Clytius, your new
delight, his cheeks golden with youthful down, you too
would have fallen beneath the Trojan hand, and lain there,
wretched, free of that love of youth that was ever yours,
had the massed ranks of your brothers, not opposed him,
the children of Phorcus, seven in number, seven the spears
they threw: some glanced idly from helmet and shield,
some gentle Venus deflected, so they only grazed
his body. Aeneas spoke to faithful Achates:
‘Supply me with spears, those that lodged in the bodies
of Greeks on Ilium’s plain: my right hand won’t hurl
any at these Rutulians in vain.’ Then he grasped a great javelin
and threw it: flying on, it crashed through the bronze
of Maeon’s shield, smashing breastplate and breast in one go.
His brother Alcanor was there, supporting his brother
with his right arm as he fell: piercing the arm, the spear
flew straight on, keeping its blood-wet course,
and the lifeless arm hung by the shoulder tendons.
Then Numitor, ripping the javelin from his brother’s body,
aimed at Aeneas: but he could not strike at him
in return, and grazed great Achates’s thigh.
Now Clausus of Cures approached, relying on his youthful
strength, and hit Dryopes under the chin from a distance away,
with his rigid spear, driven with force, and, piercing his throat
as he spoke, took his voice and life together: he hit the ground
with his forehead, and spewed thick blood from his mouth.
Clausus toppled, in various ways, three Thracians too,
of Boreas’s exalted race, and three whom Idas their father
and their native Ismarus sent out. Halaesus ran to join him,
and the Auruncan Band, and Messapus, Neptune’s scion,
with his glorious horses. Now one side, now the other strained
to push back the enemy: the struggle was at the very
threshold of Italy. As warring winds, equal in force
and purpose, rise to do battle in the vast heavens
and between them neither yield either clouds or sea:
the battle is long in doubt, all things stand locked in conflict:
so the ranks of Troy clashed with the Latin ranks,
foot against foot, man pressed hard against man.
But in another place, where a torrent had rolled and scattered
boulders, with bushes torn from the banks, far and wide,
Pallas, seeing his Arcadians unused to charging in ranks
on foot turning to run from the pursuing Latins, because
the nature of the ground, churned by water, had persuaded them to leave
their horses for once, now with prayers, and now with bitter words,
the sole recourse in time of need, fired their courage:
‘Friends, where are you running to? Don’t trust to flight,
by your brave deeds, by King Evander’s name,
and the wars you’ve won, and my hopes, now seeking
to emulate my father’s glory. We must hack a way through
the enemy with our swords. Your noble country calls you
and your leader Pallas, to where the ranks of men are densest.
No gods attack us. We are mortals driven before a mortal foe:
we have as many lives, as many hands as they do.
Look, the ocean closes us in with a vast barrier of water,
there’s no land left to flee to: shall we seek the seas or Troy?’
He spoke, and rushed into the midst of the close-packed enemy.
Lagus met him first, drawn there by a hostile fate.
As he tore at a huge weight of stone, Pallas pierced him
where the spine parts the ribs in two, with the spear he hurled,
and plucked out the spear again as it lodged in the bone.
Nor did Hisbo surprise him from above, hopeful though he was,
since, as he rushed in, raging recklessly at his friend’s cruel death,
Pallas intercepted him first, and buried his sword in his swollen chest.
Next Pallas attacked Sthenius, and Anchemolus, of Rhoetus’s
ancient line, who had dared to violate his step-mother’s bed.
You, twin brothers, also fell in the Rutulian fields, Laridus
and Thymber, the sons of Daucus, so alike you were
indistinguishable to kin, and a dear confusion to your parents:
but now Pallas has given you a cruel separateness.
For Evander’s sword swept off your head, Thymber:
while your right hand, Laridus, sought its owner,
and the dying fingers twitched and clutched again at the sword.
Fired by his rebuke and seeing his glorious deeds, a mixture
of remorse and pain roused the Arcadians against their enemy.
Then Pallas pierced Rhoetus as he shot past in his chariot.
Ilus gained that much time and that much respite,
since he had launched his solid spear at Ilus from far off,
which Rhoetus received, as he fled from you, noble Teuthras
and your brother Tyres, and rolling from the chariot
he struck the Rutulian fields with his heels as he died.
As in summer, when a hoped-for wind has risen,
the shepherd sets scattered fires in the woods,
the spaces between catch light, and Vulcan’s bristling
ranks extend over the broad fields, while the shepherd sits
and gazes down in triumph over the joyful flames:
so all your comrades’ courage united as one
to aid you Pallas. But Halaesus, fierce in war,
advanced against them and gathered himself behind his shield.
He killed Ladon, Pheres and Demodocus, struck off
Strymonius’s right hand, raised towards his throat,
with his shining sword, and smashed Thoas in the face
with a stone, scattering bone mixed with blood and brain.
Halaesus’s father, prescient of fate, had hidden him in the woods:
but when, in white-haired old age, the father closed his eyes in death,
the Fates laid their hands on Halaesus and doomed him
to Evander’s spear. Pallas attacked him first praying:
‘Grant luck to the spear I aim to throw, father Tiber,
and a path through sturdy Halaesus’s chest. Your oak
shall have the these weapons and the soldier’s spoils.’
The god heard his prayer: while Halaesus covered Imaon
he sadly exposed his unshielded chest to the Arcadian spear.
But Lausus, a powerful force in the war, would not allow
his troops to be dismayed by the hero’s great slaughter:
first he killed Abas opposite, a knotty obstacle in the battle.
The youth of Arcadia fell, the Etruscans fell, and you,
O Trojans, men not even destroyed by the Greeks.
The armies met, equal in leadership and strength:
the rear and front closed ranks, and the crush prevented
weapons or hands from moving. Here, Pallas pressed and urged,
there Lausus opposed him, not many years between them,
both of outstanding presence, but Fortune had denied them
a return to their country. Yet the king of great Olympos
did not allow them to meet face to face: their fate
was waiting for them soon, at the hand of a greater opponent.
Meanwhile Turnus’s gentle sister Juturna adjured him to help
Lausus, and he parted the ranks between in his swift chariot.
When he saw his comrades he cried: ‘It’s time to hold back
from the fight: it’s for me alone to attack Pallas, Pallas
is mine alone: I wish his father were here to see it.’
And his comrades drew back from the field as ordered.
When the Rutulians retired, then the youth, amazed at that proud
command, marvelled at Turnus, casting his eyes over
the mighty body, surveying all of him from the distance
with a fierce look, and answered the ruler’s words with these:
‘I’ll soon be praised for taking rich spoils, or for a glorious death:
my father is equal to either fate for me: away with your threats.’
So saying he marched down the centre of the field:
the blood gathered, chill, in Arcadian hearts.
Turnus leapt from his chariot, preparing to close on foot,
and the sight of the advancing Turnus, was no different
than that of a lion, seeing from a high point a bull far off
on the plain contemplating battle, and rushing down.
But Pallas came forward first, when he thought Turnus might
be within spear-throw, so that chance might help him, in venturing
his unequal strength, and so he spoke to the mighty heavens:
‘I pray you, Hercules, by my father’s hospitality and the feast
to which you came as a stranger, assist my great enterprise.
Let me strip the blood-drenched armour from his dying limbs,
and let Turnus’s failing sight meet its conqueror.’
Hercules heard the youth, and stifled a heavy sigh
deep in his heart, and wept tears in vain.
Then Jupiter the father spoke to Hercules, his son,
with kindly words: ‘Every man has his day, the course
of life is brief and cannot be recalled: but virtue’s task
is this, to increase fame by deeds. So many sons of gods
fell beneath the high walls of Troy, yes, and my own son
Sarpedon among them: fate calls even for Turnus,
and he too has reached the end of the years granted to him.’
So he spoke, and turned his eyes from the Rutulian fields.
Then Pallas threw his spear with all his might,
and snatched his gleaming sword from its hollow sheath.
The shaft flew and struck Turnus, where the top of the armour
laps the shoulder, and forcing a way through the rim
of his shield at last, even grazed his mighty frame.
At this, Turnus hurled his oak spear tipped
with sharp steel, long levelled at Pallas, saying:
‘See if this weapon of mine isn’t of greater sharpness.’
The spear-head, with a quivering blow, tore through
the centre of his shield, passed through all the layers
of iron, of bronze, all the overlapping bull’s-hide,
piercing the breastplate, and the mighty chest.
Vainly he pulled the hot spear from the wound:
blood and life followed, by one and the same path.
He fell in his own blood (his weapons clanged over him)
and he struck the hostile earth in death with gory lips.
Then Turnus, standing over him, cried out:
‘Arcadians, take note, and carry these words of mine
to Evander: I return Pallas to him as he deserves.
I freely give whatever honours lie in a tomb, whatever
solace there is in burial. His hospitality to Aeneas
will cost him greatly.’ So saying he planted his left foot on the corpse,
and tore away the huge weight of Pallas’s belt, engraved
with the Danaids’ crime: that band of young men foully murdered
on the same wedding night: the blood-drenched marriage chambers:
that Clonus, son of Eurytus had richly chased in gold.
Now Turnus exulted at the spoil, and gloried in winning.
Oh, human mind, ignorant of fate or fortune to come,
or of how to keep to the limits, exalted by favourable events!
The time will come for Turnus when he’d prefer to have bought
an untouched Pallas at great price, and will hate those spoils
and the day. So his friends crowded round Pallas with many
groans and tears, and carried him back, lying on his shield.
O the great grief and glory in returning to your father:
that day first gave you to warfare, the same day took you from it,
while nevertheless you left behind vast heaps of Rutulian dead!
Now not merely a rumour of this great evil, but a more trustworthy
messenger flew to Aeneas, saying that his men were a hair’s breadth
from death, that it was time to help the routed Trojans. Seeking you,
Turnus, you, proud of your fresh slaughter, he mowed down
his nearest enemies, with the sword, and fiercely drove a wide path
through the ranks with its blade. Pallas, Evander, all was before
his eyes, the feast to which he had first come as a stranger,
the right hands pledged in friendship. Then he captured
four youths alive, sons of Sulmo, and as many reared
by Ufens, to sacrifice to the shades of the dead, and sprinkle
the flames of the pyre with the prisoners’ blood.
Next he aimed a hostile spear at Magus from a distance:
Magus moved in cleverly, and the spear flew over him, quivering,
and he clasped the hero’s knees as a suppliant, and spoke as follows:
‘I beg you, by your father’s shade, by your hope in your boy
Iulus, preserve my life, for my son and my father.
I have a noble house: talents of chased silver lie buried there:
I have masses of wrought and unwrought gold. Troy’s victory
does not rest with me: one life will not make that much difference.’
Aeneas replied to him in this way: ‘Keep those many talents
of silver and gold you mention for your sons. Turnus, before we spoke,
did away with the courtesies of war, the moment he killed Pallas.
So my father Anchises’s spirit thinks, so does Iulus.’
Saying this he held the helmet with his left hand and, bending
the suppliant’s neck backwards, drove in his sword to the hilt.
Haemon’s son, a priest of Apollo and Diana, was not far away,
the band with its sacred ribbons circling his temples, and all
his robes and emblems shining white. Aeneas met him and drove him
over the plain, then, standing over the fallen man, killed him and cloaked
him in mighty darkness: Serestus collected and carried off
his weapons on his shoulders, a trophy for you, King Gradivus.
Caeculus, born of the race of Vulcan, and Umbro
who came from the Marsian hills restored order,
the Trojan raged against them: his sword sliced off Anxur’s
left arm, it fell to the ground with the whole disc of his shield
(Anxur had shouted some boast, trusting the power
of words, lifting his spirit high perhaps, promising
himself white-haired old age and long years):
then Tarquitus nearby, proud in his gleaming armour,
whom the nymph Dryope had born to Faunus of the woods,
exposed himself to fiery Aeneas. He, drawing back his spear,
pinned the breastplate and the huge weight of shield together:
then as the youth begged in vain, and tried to utter a flow of words,
he struck his head to the ground and, rolling the warm trunk over,
spoke these words above him, from a hostile heart:
‘Lie there now, one to be feared. No noble mother will bury you
in the earth, nor weight your limbs with an ancestral tomb:
you’ll be left for the carrion birds, or, sunk in the abyss,
the flood will bear you, and hungry fish suck your wounds.’
Then he caught up with Antaeus, and Lucas, in Turnus’s
front line, brave Numa and auburn Camers, son of noble Volcens,
the wealthiest in Ausonian land, who ruled silent Amyclae.
Once his sword was hot, victorious Aeneas raged
over the whole plain, like Aegeaon, who had a hundred
arms and a hundred hands they say, and breathed fire
from fifty chests and mouths, when he clashed
with as many like shields of his and drew as many swords
against Jove’s lightning-bolts. See now he was headed
towards the four horse team of Niphaeus’s chariot
and the opposing front. And when the horses saw him taking
great strides in his deadly rage, they shied and galloped in fear,
throwing their master, and dragging the chariot to the shore.
Meanwhile Lucagus and his brother Liger entered the fray
in their chariot with two white horses: Liger handling
the horses’ reins, fierce Lucagus waving his naked sword.
Aeneas could not tolerate such furious hot-headedness:
he rushed at them, and loomed up gigantic with levelled spear.
Liger said to him: ‘These are not Diomedes’s horses
that you see, nor Achille’s chariot, nor Phrygia’s plain:
now you’ll be dealt an end to your war and life.’
Such were the words that flew far, from foolish
Liger’s lips. But the Trojan hero did not ready
words in reply, he hurled his spear then against his enemies.
While Lucagus urged on his horses, leaning forward
towards the spear’s blow, as, with left foot advanced,
he prepared himself for battle, the spear entered the lower
rim of his bright shield, then pierced the left thigh:
thrown from the chariot he rolled on the ground in death:
while noble Aeneas spoke bitter words to him:
‘Lucagus, it was not the flight of your horses in fear that betrayed
your chariot, or the enemy’s idle shadow that turned them:
it was you, leaping from the wheels, who relinquished the reins.’
So saying he grasped at the chariot: the wretched brother,
Liger, who had fallen as well, held, out his helpless hands:
‘Trojan hero, by your own life, by your parents who bore
such a son, take pity I beg you, without taking this life away.’
As he begged more urgently, Aeaneas said: ‘Those were not
the words you spoke before. Die and don’t let brother desert brother.’
Then he sliced open his chest where the life is hidden.
Such were the deaths the Trojan leader caused across
that plain, raging like a torrent of water or a dark
tempest. At last his child, Ascanius, and the men
who were besieged in vain, breaking free, left the camp.
Meanwhile Jupiter, unasked, spoke to Juno:
‘O my sister, and at the same time my dearest wife,
as you thought (your judgement is not wrong)
it is Venus who sustains the Trojans’ power,
not their own right hands, so ready for war,
nor their fierce spirits, tolerant of danger.’
Juno spoke submissively to him: ‘O loveliest of husbands
why do you trouble me, who am ill, and fearful of your
harsh commands? If my love had the power it once had,
that is my right, you, all-powerful, would surely not
deny me this, to withdraw Turnus from the conflict
and save him, unharmed, for his father, Daunus.
Let him die then, let him pay the Trojans in innocent blood.
Yet he derives his name from our line: Pilumnus
was his ancestor four generations back, and often weighted
your threshold with copious gifts from a lavish hand.’
The king of heavenly Olympus briefly replied to her like this:
‘If your prayer is for reprieve from imminent death
for your doomed prince, and you understand I so ordain it,
take Turnus away, in flight, snatch him from oncoming fate:
there’s room for that much indulgence. But if thought
of any greater favour hides behind your prayers, and you think
this whole war may be deflected or altered, you nurture a vain hope.’
And Juno, replied, weeping: ‘Why should your mind not grant
what your tongue withholds, and life be left to Turnus?
Now, guiltless, a heavy doom awaits him or I stray empty
of truth. Oh, that I might be mocked by false fears,
and that you, who are able to, might harbour kinder speech!
When she had spoken these words, she darted down at once
from high heaven through the air, driving a storm before her,
and wreathed in cloud, and sought the ranks of Ilium
and the Laurentine camp. Then from the cavernous mist
the goddess decked out a weak and tenuous phantom,
in the likeness of Aeneas, with Trojan weapons (a strange
marvel to behold), simulated his shield, and the plumes
on his godlike head, gave it insubstantial speech,
gave it sound without mind, and mimicked the way
he walked: like shapes that flit, they say, after death,
or dreams that in sleep deceive the senses.
And the phantom flaunted itself exultantly
in front of the leading ranks, provoking Turnus
with spear casts, and exasperating him with words.
Turnus ran at it, and hurled a hissing spear
from the distance: it turned its heels in flight.
Then, as Turnus thought that Aeneas had retreated
and conceded, and in his confusion clung to this idle hope
in his mind, he cried: ‘Where are you off to, Aeneas?
Don’t desert your marriage pact: this hand of mine
will grant you the earth you looked for over the seas.’
He pursued him, calling loudly, brandishing his naked sword,
not seeing that the wind was carrying away his glory.
It chanced that the ship, in which King Osinius sailed
from Clusium’s shores, was moored to a high stone pier,
with ladders released and gangway ready. The swift phantom
of fleeing Aeneas sank into it to hide, and Turnus followed
no less swiftly, conquering all obstacles and leapt
up the high gangway. He had barely reached the prow
when Saturn’s daughter snapped the cable,
and, snatching the ship, swept it over the waters.
Then the vague phantom no longer tried to hide
but, flying into the air, merged with a dark cloud.
Meanwhile Aeneas himself was challenging his missing enemy
to battle: and sending many opposing warriors to their deaths,
while the storm carried Turnus over the wide ocean.
Unaware of the truth, and ungrateful for his rescue,
he looked back and raised clasped hands and voice to heaven:
‘All-powerful father, did you think me so worthy of punishment,
did you intend me to pay such a price? Where am I being taken?
From whom am I escaping? Why am I fleeing: how will I return?
Will I see the walls and camp of Laurentium again?
What of that company of men that followed me, and my standard?
Have I left them all (the shame of it) to a cruel death,
seeing them scattered now, hearing the groans as they fall?
What shall I do? Where is the earth that could gape
wide enough for me? Rather have pity on me, O winds:
Drive the ship on the rocks, the reefs (I, Turnus, beg you, freely)
or send it into the vicious quicksands, where no Rutulian,
nor any knowing rumour of my shame can follow me?
So saying he debated this way and that in his mind,
whether he should throw himself on his sword, mad
with such disgrace, and drive the cruel steel through his ribs,
or plunge into the waves, and, by swimming, gain
the curving bay, and hurl himself again at the Trojan weapons.
Three times he attempted each: three times great Juno
held him back, preventing him from heartfelt pity. He glided on,
with the help of wave and tide, cutting the depths,
and was carried to his father Daunus’s ancient city.
But meanwhile fiery Mezentius, warned by Jupiter,
took up the fight, and attacked the jubilant Trojans.
The Etruscan ranks closed up, and concentrated
all their hatred, and showers of missiles, on him alone.
He (like a vast cliff that juts out into the vast deep,
confronting the raging winds, and exposed to the waves,
suffering the force and threat of sky and sea,
itself left unshaken) felled Hebrus, son of Dolichaon,
to the earth, with him were Latagus and swift Palmus,
but he anticipated Latagus, with a huge fragment of rock
from the hillside in his mouth and face, while he hamstrung
Palmus and left him writhing helplessly: he gave Lausus the armour
to protect his shoulders, and the plumes to wear on his crest.
He killed Evanthes too, the Phrygian, and Mimas, Paris’s
friend and peer, whom Theano bore to his father Amycus
on the same night Hecuba, Cisseus’s royal daughter, pregnant
with a firebrand, gave birth to Paris: Paris lies in the city
of his fathers, the Laurentine shore holds the unknown Mimas.
And as a boar, that piny Vesulus has sheltered
for many years and Laurentine marshes have nourished
with forests of reeds, is driven from the high hills,
by snapping hounds, and halts when it reaches the nets,
snorts fiercely, hackles bristling, no one brave enough
to rage at it, or approach it, but all attacking it with spears,
and shouting from a safe distance: halts, unafraid,
turning in every direction, grinding its jaws,
and shaking the spears from its hide: so none of those
who were rightly angered with Mezentius had the courage
to meet him with naked sword, but provoked him
from afar with their missiles, and a mighty clamour.
Acron, a Greek had arrived there from the ancient lands
of Corythus, an exile, his marriage ceremony left incomplete.
When Mezentius saw him in the distance, embroiled
among the ranks, with crimson plumes, and in purple robes
given by his promised bride, he rushed eagerly into the thick
of the foe, as a ravenous lion often ranges the high coverts
(since a raging hunger drives it) and exults, with vast gaping jaws,
if it chances to see a fleeing roe-deer, or a stag with immature horns,
then clings crouching over the entrails, with bristling mane,
its cruel mouth stained hideously with blood.
Wretched Acron fell, striking the dark earth with his heels
in dying, drenching his shattered weapons with blood.
And he did not even deign to kill Orodes as he fled,
or inflict a hidden wound with a thrust of his spear:
he ran to meet him on the way, and opposed him man to man,
getting the better of him by force of arms not stealth.
Then setting his foot on the fallen man, and straining at his spear,
he called out: ‘Soldiers, noble Orodes lies here, he was no small part
of this battle.’ His comrades shouted, taking up the joyful cry:
Yet Orodes, dying, said: ‘Whoever you are, winner here,
I’ll not go unavenged, nor will you rejoice for long:
a like fate watches for you: you’ll soon lie in these same fields.’
Mezentius replied, grinning with rage: ‘Die now,
as for me, the father of gods and king of men will see to that.’
So saying he withdrew his spear from the warrior’s body.
Enduring rest, and iron sleep, pressed on Orodes’s eyes,
and their light was shrouded in eternal night.
Caedicus killed Alcathous: Sacrator killed Hydapses:
Rapo killed Parthenius, and Orses of outstanding strength.
Messapus killed Clonius, and Ericetes, son of Lycaon,
one lying on the ground fallen from his bridle-less horse,
the other still on his feet. Lycian Agis had advanced his feet
but Valerus overthrew him, with no lack of his ancestors’ skill:
Salius killed Thronius, and Nealces, famed for the javelin,
and the deceptive long-distance arrow, in turn killed Salcius.
Now grievous War dealt grief and death mutually:
they killed alike, and alike they died, winners and losers,
and neither one nor the other knew how to flee.
The gods in Jupiter’s halls pitied the useless anger of them both,
and that such pain existed for mortal beings:
here Venus gazed down, here, opposite, Saturnian Juno.
Pale Tisiphone raged among the warring thousands.
And now Mezentius shaking his mighty spear,
advanced like a whirlwind over the field. Great as Orion,
when he strides through Ocean’s deepest chasms, forging a way,
his shoulders towering above the waves, or carrying
an ancient manna ash down from the mountain heights,
walking the earth, with his head hidden in the clouds,
so Mezentius advanced in his giant’s armour.
Aeneas, opposite, catching sight of him in the far ranks
prepared to go and meet him. Mezentius stood there unafraid,
waiting for his great-hearted enemy, firm in his great bulk:
and measuring with his eye what distance would suit his spear,
saying: ‘Now let this right hand that is my god, and the weapon
I level to throw, aid me! I vow that you yourself, Lausus, as token
of my victory over Aeneas, shall be dressed in the spoils stripped
from that robber’s corpse.’ He spoke, and threw the hissing spear
from far out. But, flying on, it glanced from the shield,
and pierced the handsome Antores, nearby, between flank
and thigh, Antores, friend of Hercules, sent from Argos
who had joined Evander, and settled in an Italian city.
Unhappy man, he fell to a wound meant for another,
and dying, gazing at the sky, remembered sweet Argos.
Then virtuous Aeneas hurled a spear: it passed through
Mezentius’s curved shield of triple-bronze, through linen,
and the interwoven layers of three bull’s hides, and lodged
deep in the groin, but failed to drive home with force.
Aeneas, joyful at the sight of the Tuscan blood,
snatched the sword from his side, and pressed
his shaken enemy hotly. Lausus, seeing it, groaned heavily
for love of his father, and tears rolled down his cheeks –
and here I’ll not be silent, for my part, about your harsh death,
through fate, nor, if future ages place belief in such deeds, your actions,
so glorious, nor you yourself, youth, worthy of remembrance –
his father was retreating, yielding ground, helpless,
hampered, dragging the enemy lance along with his shield.
The youth ran forward, and plunged into the fray,
and, just as Aeneas’s right hand lifted to strike a blow,
he snatched at the sword-point, and checked him in delay:
his friends followed with great clamour, and, with a shower
of spears, forced the enemy to keep his distance till the father
could withdraw, protected by his son’s shield.
Aeneas raged, but kept himself under cover.
As every ploughman and farmer runs from the fields
when storm-clouds pour down streams of hail,
and the passer by shelters in a safe corner, under a river
bank or an arch of high rock, while the rain falls to earth,
so as to pursue the day’s work when the sun returns:
so, overwhelmed by missiles from every side,
Aeneas endured the clouds of war, while they all thundered,
and rebuked Lausus, and threatened Lausus, saying:
‘Why are you rushing to death, with courage beyond your strength?
Your loyalty’s betraying you to foolishness.’ Nevertheless
the youth raged madly, and now fierce anger rose higher
in the Trojan leader’s heart, and the Fates gathered together
the last threads of Lausus’s life. For Aeneas drove his sword
firmly through the youth’s body, and buried it to the hilt:
the point passed through his shield, too light for his threats,
and the tunic of soft gold thread his mother had woven,
blood filled its folds: then life left the body and fled,
sorrowing, through the air to the spirits below.
And when Anchises’s son saw the look on his dying face,
that face pale with the wonderment of its ending,
he groaned deeply with pity and stretched out his hand,
as that reflection of his own love for his father touched
his heart. ‘Unhappy child, what can loyal Aeneas grant
to such a nature, worthy of these glorious deeds of yours?
Keep the weapons you delighted in: and if it is something you are
anxious about, I return you to the shades and ashes of your ancestors.
This too should solace you, unhappy one, for your sad death:
you died at the hands of great Aeneas.’ Also he rebuked
Lausus’s comrades, and lifted their leader from the earth,
where he was soiling his well-ordered hair with blood.
Meanwhile the father, Mezentius, staunched his wounds
by the waters of Tiber’s river, and rested his body
by leaning against a tree trunk. His bronze helmet hung
on a nearby branch, and his heavy armour lay peacefully on the grass.
The pick of his warriors stood around: he himself, weak and panting
eased his neck, his flowing beard streaming over his chest.
Many a time he asked for Lausus, and many times sent men
to carry him a sorrowing father’s orders and recall him.
But his weeping comrades were carrying the dead Lausus,
on his armour, a great man conquered by a mighty wound.
The mind prescient of evil, knew their sighs from far off.
Mezentius darkened his white hair with dust, and lifted
both hands to heaven, clinging to the body:
‘My son, did such delight in living possess me,
that I let you face the enemy force in my place,
you whom I fathered? Is this father of yours alive
through your death, saved by your wounds? Ah, now at last
my exile is wretchedly driven home: and my wound, deeply!
My son, I have also tarnished your name by my crime,
driven in hatred from my fathers’ throne and sceptre.
I have long owed reparation to my country and my people’s hatred:
I should have yielded my guilty soul to death in any form!
Now I live: I do not leave humankind yet, or the light,
but I will leave.’ So saying he raised himself weakly on his thigh,
and, despite all, ordered his horse to be brought, though his strength
ebbed from the deep wound. His mount was his pride,
and it was his solace, on it he had ridden victorious from every battle.
He spoke to the sorrowful creature, in these words:
‘Rhaebus, we have lived a long time, if anything lasts long
for mortal beings. Today you will either carry the head of Aeneas,
and his blood-stained spoils, in victory, and avenge Lausus’s pain
with me, or die with me, if no power opens that road to us:
I don’t think that you, the bravest of creatures, will deign
to suffer a stranger’s orders or a Trojan master.’
He spoke, then, mounting, disposed his limbs as usual,
and weighted each hand with a sharp javelin,
his head gleaming with bronze, bristling with its horsehair crest.
So he launched himself quickly into the fray. In that one heart
a vast flood of shame and madness merged with grief.
And now he called to Aeneas in a great voice.
Aeneas knew him and offered up a joyous prayer:
‘So let the father of the gods himself decree it, so
noble Apollo! You then begin the conflict….’
He spoke those words and moved against him with level spear.
But Mezentius replied: ‘How can you frighten me, most savage
of men, me, bereft of my son? That was the only way you could
destroy me: I do not shrink from death, or halt for any god.
Cease, since I come here to die, and bring you, first,
these gifts.’ He spoke, and hurled a spear at his enemy:
then landed another and yet another, wheeling
in a wide circle, but the gilded shield withstood them.
He rode three times round his careful enemy, widdershins,
throwing darts from his hand: three times the Trojan hero
dragged round the huge thicket of spears fixed in his bronze shield.
Then tired of all that drawn-out delay, and burdened
by the unequal conflict, he thought hard, and finally broke free,
hurling his spear straight between the war horse’s curved temples.
The animal reared, and lashed the air with its hooves,
and throwing its rider, followed him down, from above,
entangling him, collapsing headlong onto him, its shoulder thrown.
Trojans and Latins ignited the heavens with their shouts.
Aeneas ran to him, plucking his sword from its sheath
and standing over him, cried: ‘Where is fierce Mezentius, now,
and the savage force of that spirit?’ The Tuscan replied, as, lifting
his eyes to the sky, and gulping the air, he regained his thoughts:
‘Bitter enemy, why taunt, or threaten me in death?
There is no sin in killing: I did not come to fight believing so,
nor did my Lausus agree any treaty between you and me.
I only ask, by whatever indulgence a fallen enemy might claim,
that my body be buried in the earth. I know that my people’s
fierce hatred surrounds me: protect me, I beg you,
from their anger, and let me share a tomb with my son.’
So he spoke, and in full awareness received the sword in his throat,
and poured out his life, over his armour, in a wave of blood.