An Essay on Virgil's Æneid
By Christopher Pitt, A. M.
Late Fellow of New-College in Oxford.
–Longè sequere, & Vestigia semper adora. Statius.
Printed for A. Bettesworth at the Red Lyon in Pater-noster-Row; and W. Hinchliffe at Dryden’s Head under the Royal-Exchange.
Translation of the First Book.
RMS and the Man I sing, the first who bore
His Course to Latium, from the Trojan Shore;
By Fate expell’d, on Land and Ocean tost;
Before he reach’d the fair Lavinian Coast.
Doom’d by the Gods a Length of Wars to wage,5
And urg’d by Juno’s unrelenting Rage;
E'er the brave Hero rais'd, in these Abodes,
His destin'd Walls, and fix'd his wand'ring Gods.
Hence the fam'd Latian Line, and Senates come,
The Tow'rs and Triumphs of Imperial Rome.10
Say, Muse, what Causes could so far incense
Celestial Pow'rs? and what the dire Offence
That mov'd Heav'n's awful Empress to impose
On such a pious Prince a Weight of Woes,
Expos'd to Dangers, and with Toils opprest?15
Can Rage so fierce inflame an heav'nly Breast?
Against th' Italian Coast, of ancient Fame
A City rose, and Carthage was the Name;
A Tyrian Colony; from Tyber far;
Rich, rough, and brave, and exercis'd in War.20
Which Juno far above all Realms, above
Her own dear Samos, honour'd with her Love.
Here stood her Chariot, here her Armour lay,
Here she design'd, would Destiny give way,
Ev'n then the Seat of universal Sway.25
But of a Race she heard, that should destroy
The Tyrian Tow'rs, a Race deriv'd from Troy,
Who proud in Arms, triumphant by their Swords,
Should rise in Time, the World's victorious Lords;
By Fate design'd her Carthage to subdue,30
And on her ruin'd Empire raise a New.
This fear'd the Goddess; and in Mind she bore
The late long War her Fury rais'd before
For Greece at Troy; nor was her Wrath resign'd,
But every Cause hung heavy on her Mind;35
Her injur'd Form, and Paris' Judgment, roll
Deep in her Breast, and kindle all her Soul;
Th' immortal Honours of the ravish'd Boy,
And last, the whole detested Race of Troy.
With all these Motives fir'd, from Latium far40
She drove the Relicks of the Grecian War:
Fate urg'd their Course; and long they wander'd o'er
The boundless Ocean, tost from Shore to Shore.
So vast the Work to build so vast a Frame,
And raise the Glories of the Roman Name!45
Scarce from Sicilian Shores the shouting Train
Spread their broad Sails, and plow'd the foamy Main;
When haughty Juno thus her Rage exprest;
Th' eternal Wound still rankling in her Breast.
Then must I stop? are all my Labours vain?50
And must this Trojan Prince in Latium reign?
Belike, the Fates may baffle Juno's Aims;
And why could Pallas, with avenging Flames,
Burn a whole Navy of the Grecian Ships,
And whelm the scatter'd Argives in the Deeps?55
She, for the Crime of Ajax, from above
Launch'd thro' the Clouds the fiery Bolts of Jove;
Dash'd wide his Fleet, and, as her Tempest flew,
Expos'd the ocean's inmost Deeps to View.
Then, while transfix'd, the blasted Wretch expires60
Flames from his Breast, and fires succeeding Fires,
Snatch'd in a Whirlwind, with a sudden Shock,
She hurl'd him headlong on a pointed Rock.
But I, who move Supreme in Heav'n's Abodes,
Jove's Sister-Wife, and Empress of the Gods,65
With this one Nation must a War maintain
For Years on Years; and wage that War in vain.
And now what Suppliants will invoke my Name,
Adore my Pow'r, or bid my Altars frame?
Thus fir'd with Rage and Vengeance, down she flies70
To dark Æolia, from the distant Skies,
Impregnated with Storms; whose Tyrant binds
The blust'ring Tempests, and reluctant Winds.
Their Rage Imperial Æolus restrains
With rocky Dungeons, and with Heaps of Chains.75
The bellowing Brethren, in the Mountain pent,
Roar round the Cave, and struggle for a Vent.
From his high Throne, their Fury to asswage,
He shakes his Sceptre, and controuls their Rage;
Or, down the Void their rapid Whirls are driv'n80
Earth, Air, and Ocean, and the Tow'rs of Heav'n.
But Jove, the mighty Ruin to prevent,
In gloomy Caves th' aerial Captives pent:
O'er their wild Rage the pond'rous Rocks he spread,
And hurl'd huge Heaps of Mountains on their Head:85
And gave a King commission'd to restrain
And curb the Tempest, or to loose the Rein.
Whom thus the Queen addrest. Since mighty Jove,
The King of Men, and Sire of Gods above,
Gives thee, great Æolus, the Pow'r to raise90
Storms at thy sovereign Will, or smooth the Seas;
A Race, I long have labour'd to destroy,
Waft to Hesperia the Remains of Troy.
Ev'n now their Navy cuts the Thuscan Floods,
Charg'd with their Exiles, and their vanquish'd Gods.95
Wing all thy furious Winds; o'erwhelm their Ships;
Disperse, or drown the Wretches in the Deeps.
Twice sev'n bright Nymphs of beauteous Shape are mine,
For thy Reward the fairest I'll resign,
And make the charming Deiopeia thine;100
She, on thy Bed, long Blessings shall confer,
And make thee Father of a Race like her.
'Tis your's, great Queen, replies the Pow'r, to lay
The Task, and mine to listen and obey.
By you, I sit a Guest with Gods above,105
And share the Graces and the Smiles of Jove:
By you, these Realms, this Sceptre I maintain,
And wear these Honours of the stormy Reign.
So spoke th' obsequious God, and, while he spoke,
Whirl'd his vast Spear, and pierc'd the hollow Rock.110
The Winds, embattled, as the Mountain rent,
Flew all at once impetuous thro’ the Vent:
Earth, in their Course, with giddy Whirls they sweep,
Rush to the Seas, and bare the Bosom of the Deep:
East, West, and South, all black with Tempests, roar,115
And roll vast Billows to the trembling Shore.
The Cordage cracks; with unavailing Cries
The Trojans mourn; while sudden Clouds arise,
And ravish from their Sight the Splendors of the Skies.
Night hovers o’er the Deeps; the Day retires;120
The Heav’ns flash thick with momentary Fires;
Loud Thunders shake the Poles; from ev’ry Place
Grim Death appear’d, and glar’d in ev’ry Face.
Congeal’d with Fear the Trojan Hero stands,
He groans, and spreads to Heav’n his lifted Hands.125
Thrice happy those whose Fate it was to fall
(Exclaims the Chief) beneath the Trojan Wall.
Oh! ’twas a glorious Fate to die in Fight,
To die, so bravely, in their Parents’ sight!
Oh! had I there, beneath Tydides' Hand,130
That bravest Hero of the Grecian Band,
Pour’d out this Soul, with martial Glory fir’d,
And in that Field triumphantly expir’d!
Where Hector fell, by fierce Achilles' Spear,
And great Sarpedon, the renown’d in War;135
Where Simois' Streams, incumber’d with the Slain,
Roll’d , and Helms, and Heroes to the Main.
Thus while he mourns, the Northern Blast prevails,
Breaks all his Oars, and rends his flying Sails;
The Prow turns round; the Galley leaves her Side140
Bare to the working Waves, and roaring Tide;
While in huge Heaps the gathering Surges spread,
And hang in wat’ry Mountains o’er his Head.
These, ride on Waves sublime; those, see the Ground
Low in the boiling Deeps, and dark Profound.145
Three shatter’d Gallies the strong Southern Blast
On hidden Rocks, with dreadful Fury, cast;
Th’ Italians call them Altars, when they stood
Sublime, and heav’d their Backs above the Flood.
Three more, fierce Eurus on the Syrtes threw150
From the main Sea, and (terrible to view)
He dash’d, and left the Vessels, on the Land,
Intrench’d with Mountains of surrounding Sand.
Struck by a Billow, in the Hero’s view,
From Prow to Stern the shatter’d Galley flew155
Which bore Orontes, and the Lycian Crew:
Swept off the Deck, the Pilot, from the Ship,
Stun’d by the Stroke, shot headlong down the Deep:
The Vessel, by the Surge tost round and round,
Sunk, in the whirling Gulf devour’d and drown’d.160
Some from the dark Abyss emerge again;
Arms, Planks, and Treasures, float along the Main.
And now thy Ship, Ilioneus, gives Way,
Nor thine, Achates, can resist the Sea;
Nor old Alethes his strong Galley saves,165
And Abas yields to the victorious Waves:
The Storm dissolves their well-compacted Sides,
Which drink at many a Leak the hostile Tides.
Mean time great Neptune from beneath the Main,
Heard the loud Tumults in his wat’ry Reign,170
And saw the furious Tempest wide around
Work up the Waters, from the vast Profound.
Then for his liquid Realms alarm’d, the God
Lifts his high Head above the stormy Flood,
Majestic and serene; he rolls his Eyes;175
And scatter’d wide the Trojan Navy spies,
Opprest by Waves below, by Thunders from the Skies.
Full well he knew his Sister’s endless Hate,
Her Wiles and Arts to sink the Trojan State.
To Eurus, and the Western Blast, he cry’d,180
Does your high Birth inspire this boundless Pride,
Audacious Winds! without a Pow’r from me,
To raise, at Will, such Mountains on the Sea?
Thus to confound Heav’n, Earth, the Air, and Main?
Whom I–but first I’ll calm the Waves again.185
But if you tempt my Rage a second Time,
Know, that some heavier Vengeance waits the Crime.
Hence; fly with speed; from me your Tyrant tell,
That to my Lot this wat’ry Empire fell.
Bid him his Rocks, your darksome Dungeons, keep,190
Nor dare usurp the Trident of the Deep.
There, in that gloomy Court, display his Pow’r,
And in their Caverns hear his Tempests roar.
He spoke, and speaking chac’d the Clouds away,
Hush’d the loud Billows, and restor'd the Day.195
Cymothoe guards the Vessels in the Shock,
And Triton heaves ’em from the pointed Rock.
He, with his Trident, disengag’d the Ships,
And clear’d the Syrtes, and compos'd the Deeps.
Then mounted on his radiant Car he rides,200
And wheels along the Level of the Tides.
As when Sedition fires th’ ignoble Crowd,
And the wild Rabble storms, and thirsts for Blood:
Of Stones, and Brands, a mingled Tempest flies,
With all the sudden Arms that Rage supplies:205
If some grave Sire appears, amid the Strife,
In Morals strict, and Innocence of Life,
All stand attentive; while the Sage controuls
Their Wrath, and calms the Tempest of their Souls.
So did the roaring Deeps their Rage compose,210
When the great Father of the Floods arose.
Rapt by his Steeds, he flies in open Day,
Throws up the Reins, and skims the wat’ry Way.
The Trojans, weary’d with the Storm, explore
The nearest Land, and reach the Lybian Shore.215
Far in a Deep Recess, her jutting Sides
An Isle projects, to break the rolling Tides,
And forms a Port, where, curling from the Sea,
The Waves sſteal back, and wind into a Bay.
On either Side, sublime in Air, arise220
Two tow’ring Rocks, whose Summits brave the Skies;
Low at their Feet the sleeping Ocean lies.
Crown’d with a gloomy Shade of waving Woods,
Their awful Brows hang nodding o’er the Floods.
Oppos’d to these, a secret Grotto stands,225
The haunt of Nereids, fram’d by Nature’s Hands;
Where polish’d Seats appear of living Stone,
And limpid Rills, that tinkle as they run.
No Cable here, nor circling Anchor binds
The floating Vessel, harrast with the Winds.230
The Dardan Hero brings to this Retreat
Sev’n shatter’d Ships, the Relics of his Fleet.
With fierce Desire to gain the friendly Strand,
The Trojans leap in Rapture to the Land,
And drench’d in Brine, lye strech’d along the Sand.235
Achates strikes a Flint, and from the Stroke
The lurking Seeds of Fire in Sparkles broke;
The catching Flame on Leaves and Stubble preys,
Then gathers Strength, and mounts into a Blaze.
Tir’d with their Labours, they prepare to dine,240
And grind their Corn, infected with the Brine.
Æneas mounts a Rock, and thence surveys
The wide and wat’ry Prospect of the Seas;
Now hopes the shatter’d Phrygian Ships to find,
Antheus, or Capys, driving with the Wind;245
And now Caicus' glitt’ring Arms to spy,
Wide o’er the vast Horizon darts his Eye.
The Chief could view no Vessel on the Main;
But three tall Stags, stalk’d proudly o’er the Plain;
Before the Herd their beamy Fronts they rais’d, 250
Stretch’d out in length the Train along the Valley graz’d.
The Prince, who spy’d ’em on the Shore below,
Stop’d Short–then snatch’d the feather’d Shafts and Bow:
Which good Achates bore; his Arrows fled;
And first he laid the lordly Leaders dead;255
Next all th’ ignoble Vulgar he pursu’d,
And with his Shafts dispers’d ’em thro’ the Wood:
Nor ceas’d the Chief, ’till stretch’d beneath his Feet,
Lay sev’n huge Stags, the Number of his Fleet.
Back to the Port the Victor bends his Way,260
And with his Friends divides the copious Prey.
The generous Wine, to crown the genial Feast,
Which kind Acestes gave his parting Guest,
Next to his sad Associates he imparts;
And with these Words revives their drooping Hearts.265
Friends! we have felt severer Ills than those,
By long Experience exercis’d in Woes.
And soon, to these Disasters, shall be giv’n
A certain Period, by relenting Heav’n.
Think, how you saw the dire Cyclopean Shore, 270
Heard Scylla’s Rocks, and all her Monsters, roar.
Dismiss your Fears; on these Misfortunes past
Your Minds with Pleasure may reflect at last.
Thro’ such varieties of Woes, we tend
To promis’d Latium, where our Toils shall end: 275
Where the kind Fates shall peaceful Seats ordain,
And Troy, in all her Glories, rise again.
With manly Patience bear your present State,
And with firm Courage wait a better Fate.
So spoke the Chief, and hid his inward Smart; 280
Hope smooth’d his Looks, but Anguish rack’d his Heart.
The hungry Crowd prepare, without Delay,
The Feast to hasten, and divide the Prey.
Some from the Body strip the smoaking Hide,
Some cut in Morsels, and the Parts divide; 285
These bid, with busy Care, the Flames aspire,
Those roast the Limbs, yet quiv’ring o’er the Fire,
Thus, while their Strength and Spirits they restore,
The brazen Cauldrons smoak along the Shore.
Stretch’d on the Grass, their Bodies they recline,290
Enjoy the rich Repast, and quaff the gen’rous Wine.
The Rage of Hunger quell’d, they past away
In long and melancholy Talk the Day;
Nor knew, by Fears and Hopes alternate led,
Whether to deem their Friends distrest, or dead.295
Apart the pious Chief, who suffer’d most,
Bemoans brave Gyas and Cloanthus lost:
For Lycus’ Fate, for Amycus he weeps,
And great Orontes, whelm’d beneath the Deeps.
Now, from high Heav’n, Imperial Jove surveys300
The Nations, Shores, and navigable Seas;
There, as he sate, inthron’d above the Skies,
Full on the Lybian Realms he fix’d his Eyes.
When, lo! the mournful Queen of Love appears;
Her starry Eyes were dim’d with streaming Tears;305
Who to the Sire her humble Suit addrest,
The Schemes of Fate revolving in his Breast.
Oh thou! whose sacred, and eternal Sway,
Aw’d by thy Thunders, Men, and Gods obey;
What have my poor exhausted Trojans done?310
Or what, alas! my dear unhappy Son?
Still, for the Sake of Italy, deny’d
All other Coasts, and barr’d the World beside?
Sure, once you promis’d, that a Race divine
Of Roman Chiefs should spring from Teucer’s Line;315
The World in future Ages to command,
And in their Empire grasp the Sea and Land.
Oh! sov’reign Father, say! what Cause could move
The fixt unalterable Word of Jove!
Which sooth’d my Grief, when Ilion felt her Doom,320
And Troy I balanced with the Fates of Rome.
But see! their Fortune still pursues her Blow;
When wilt thou fix a Period to their Woe?
In safety, bold Antenor broke his Way
Thro’ Hosts of Foes, and pierc’d th’ Illyrian Bay,325
Where, thro’ nine ample Mouths, Timavus pours,
Wide as a Sea, and deluges the Shores;
The Flood rebellows, and the Mountain roars.
Yet, with his Colonies, secure he came,
Rais’d Padua’s Walls, and gave the Realms a Name. 330
Then fix’d his Trojan Arms; his Labours cease;
And now the hoary Monarch reigns in Peace.
But we, your Progeny, ordain’d to rise
And share th’ eternal Honours of the Skies,
To glut the Rage of one, our Vessels lost,335
(Hard Fate!) thrown wide, and barr’d the promis’d Coast.
Are these the Palms that Virtue must obtain?
And is our Empire thus restor’d again?
The Sire of Men and Gods, superior, smil’d
On the sad Queen, and gently kiss’d his Child. 340
Then, with those Looks that clear the clouded Skies,
And calm the raging Tempest, he replies.
Daughter, dismiss your Fears; by Doom divine
Fixt are the Fates of your immortal Line.
Your Eyes Lavinium’s promised Walls shall see,345
And here we ratify our first Decree.
Your Son, the brave Æneas, soon shall rise,
Himself a God; and mount the starry Skies.
To sooth your Care, these Secrets I relate
From the dark Volumes of eternal Fate:350
The Chief fair Italy shall reach, and there
With mighty Nations wage a dreadful War,
New Cities raise, the savage Natives awe,
And to the conquer’d Kingdoms give the Law.
The fierce Rutulians, vanquish’d by his Sword,355
Three Years shall Latium own him sovereign Lord.
Your dear Ascanius then, the royal Boy,
(Now call'd Iulus, since the Fall of Troy)
While thirty rolling Years their Orbs complete,
Shall wear the Crown, and from Lavinium’s Seat360
Transfer the Kingdom; and, of mighty Length
Shall raise proud Alba, glorying in her Strength.
There, shall the Trojan Race enjoy the Pow’r,
And fill the Throne three hundred Winters more.
Ilia, the royal Priestess, next shall bear365
Two lovely Infants to the God of War.
Nurst by a tawny Wolf, her eldest Son,
Imperial Romulus, shall mount the Throne;
From his own Name, the People Romans call,
And from his Father Mars, his rising Wall.370
No Limits have I fixt, of Time, or Place,
To the vast Empire of the godlike Race.
Ev’n haughty Juno shall the Nation love,
Who now alarms Earth, Seas, and Heav’n above;
And joyn her friendly Counsels to my own,375
With endless Fame the Sons of Rome to crown,
The World’s majestic Lords, the Nation of the Gown.
This Word be Fate—an Hour shall wing its Way,
When Troy in Dust shall proud Mycenae lay.
In Greece, Assaracus his Sons shall reign,380
And vanquisht Arcos wear the Victor’s Chain.
Then Caesar, call’d by great Iulus’ Name,
(Whose Empire Ocean bounds, the Stars his Fame)
Sprung from the noble Trojan Line, shall rise
Charg’d with his Eastern Spoils, and mount the Skies. 385
Him, shall you see, advanc’d to these Abodes;
Ador’d by Rome; a God among the Gods.
From that blest Hour, all Violence shall cease,
The Age grow mild, and soften into Peace.
With righteous Remus shall Quirinus reign, 390
Old Faith, and Vesta, shall return again;
With solid Hinges shall old Janus bar,
And close with Bolts, the horrid Gates of War.
Within the Fane dire Fury shall be found,
With a huge Heap of shatter’d Arms around; 395
Wrapt in an hundred Chains, beneath the Load
The Fiend shall roar, and grind his Teeth in Blood.
The Thund’rer said; and down the aereal Way
Sent with his high Commands the Son of May;
That Carthage may throw wide her friendly Tow’rs,400
And grant her Guests the Freedom of her Shores:
Lest Dido, blind to Fate, and Jove’s Decree,
Should shut her Ports, and drive them to the Sea.
Swift on the Steerage of his Wings he flies,
And shoots the vast Expansion of the Skies. 405
Arriv’d, th’ Almighty’s Orders he performs.
Charm’d by the God, no more the Nation storms
With jealous Rage; in chief the Queen inclin’d
To Peace, and mild Benevolence of Mind.
All Night involv’d in Cares Æneas lay, 410
But rose impatient at the Dawn of Day,
To view the Coast, the Country to explore,
And learn if Men, or Beasts, possest the Shore,
(For wide around the gloomy Wast extends)
And bear the Tydings to his anxious Friends. 415
Beneath a shelving Rock his Fleet dispos’d,
With waving Woods and awful Shades inclos’d,
Two glitt’ring Spears he shook with martial Pride,
And forth he march’d; Achates at his Side.
As thro’ the Wilds the Chief his Course pursu’d,420
He meets his Goddess-Mother in the Wood;
In Show, an Huntress she appear’d, array’d
In Arms and Habit, like a Spartan Maid;
Or swift Harpalyce of Thrace, whose Speed
Out-flew the Wings of Winds, and tir’d the rapid Steed.425
Bare was her Knee, and with an easy Pride
Her polisht Bow hung graceful at her Side.
Close, in a Knot, her flowing Robes she drew;
Loose to the Winds her wanton Tresses flew.
Ho! gentle Youths, she cry’d, have you beheld430
One of my Sisters, wand’ring o’er the Field,
Girt with a speckled Lynxes vary’d Hide,
A painted Quiver rattling at her Side?
Or have you seen her with an eager Pace
Urge with full Cries the foaming Boar in Chace?435
None of your charming Sisterhood (he said)
Have we beheld, or heard, oh! beauteous Maid.
Your Name, oh! Nymph, or oh! fair Goddess, say,
A Goddess sure, or Sister of the Day,
You draw your Birth from some immortal Line,440
Your Looks are heav’nly, and your Voice divine.
Tell me, on what new Climate are we thrown?
Alike the Natives and the Lands unknown!
By the wild Waves, and swelling Surges tost,
We wander Strangers on a foreign Coast.445
Then will we still invoke your sacred Name,
And with fat Victims shall your Altars flame.
No Goddess’ awful Name, she said, I bear;
For know, the Tyrian Maids, by Custom, here,
The purple Buskin, and a Quiver wear.450
Your Eyes behold Agenor’s Walls aspire;
The Punick Realms; a Colony from Tyre.
See! wide around, wast Lybia’s Bounds appear,
Whose swarthy Sons are terrible in War.
From her fierce Brother’s Vengeance, o’er the Main, 455
From Tyre, fled Dido, and enjoys the Reign:
The Tale is intricate, perplex’d, and long;
Hear then, in short, the Story of her Wrong.
Sichaeus was her Lord, beyond the Rest
Of the Phœnician Race, with Riches blest; 460
Much lov’d by Dido, whom her Father led
Pure, and a Virgin, to his nuptial Bed.
Her Brother, fierce Pygmalion, fill’d the Throne
Of Tyre, in Vice superior and alone.
Ev’n at the sacred Altar in a Strife, 465
By stealth, the Tyrant shed his Brother’s Life;
Blind with the Charms of Gold, his Faulchion drove,
Stern, and regardless of his Sister’s Love.
Then, with fond Hopes, deceiv’d her for a Time,
And forg'd Pretences to conceal the Crime. 470
But her unbury’d Lord, before her Sight,
Rose, in a frightful Vision of the Night:
Around her Bed he stalks; pale, wond’rous pale;
And staring wide, unfolds the horrid Tale,
Of the dire Altars, dash’d with Blood around;475
Then bares his Breast, and points to ev’ry Wound:
Warns her to fly the Land, without Delay;
And, to support her thro’ the tedious Way,
Shows where, in massy Piles, his bury’d Treasures lay.
Rous’d, and alarm’d, the Wife her Flight intends,480
Obeys the Summons, and convenes her Friends:
They meet, they joyn, and in her Cause engage
All, who detest, or dread, the Tyrant’s Rage.
Some Ships, already rigg’d, they seiz’d, and stow’d
Their Sides with Gold; then launch’d into the Flood.485
They sail; the bold Exploit a Woman guides;
Pygmalion’s Wealth is wasted o’er the Tides.
They came, where now you see new Carthage rise,
And yon’ proud Cittadel invade the Skies.
The wand’ring Exiles bought a Space of Ground490
Which one Bull-hide inclos’d and compast round;
Hence Byrsa nam’d: But now, ye Strangers, say,
Who? whence you are? and whither lies your Way?
Deep, from his Soul, he draws a Length of Sighs,
And, with a mournful Accent, thus replies.495
Shou’d I, O Goddess, from their Source, relate,
Or you attend, the Annals of our Fate;
The golden Sun wou’d sink, and Ev’ning close,
Before my Tongue cou’d tell you half our Woes.
By Grecian Foes expell’d, from Troy we came,500
From ancient Troy (if e’er you heard the Name)
Thro’ various Seas; when lo! a Tempest roars,
And raging drives us on the Lybian Shores.
The good Æneas am I call’d; my Fame,
And brave Exploits, have reach’d the starry Frame:505
From Grecian Flames, I bear my rescu’d Gods,
Safe in my Vessels, o’er the stormy Floods.
In search of ancient Italy I rove,
And draw my Lineage from almighty Jove.
A Goddess-Mother and the Fates, my Guides,510
With twenty Ships, I plough’d the Phrygian Tides.
Scarce sev’n of all my Fleet are left behind,
Rent by the Waves, and shatter’d by the Wind.
My self, from Europe, and from Asia, cast,
A helpless Stranger, rove the Lybian Wast.515
No more cou’d Venus hear her Son bewail
His various Woes, but interrupts his Tale.
Who-e’er you are, arriv’d in these Abodes,
No Wretch I deem abandon’d by the Gods;
Hence then, with haste, to yon’ proud Palace bend520
Your Course, and on the gracious Queen attend.
Your Friends are safe, the Winds are chang’d again,
Or all my Skill in Augury is vain.
See those twelve Swans, a Flock triumphant, fly,
Whom lately, shooting from th’ ethereal Sky,525
Th’ imperial Bird of Jove dispers’d around,
Some hov’ing o’er, some settling on the Ground.
As these returning clap their sounding Wings,
Ride round the Skies, and sport in airy Rings;
So, have your Friends and Ships possest the Strand,530
Or with full bellying Sails approach the Land.
Haste to the Palace then, without Delay,
And, as this Path directs, pursue your Way.
She said, and turning round, her Neck she show’d,
That with celestial Charms divinely glow’d.535
Her waving Locks immortal Odours shed,
And breath’d ambrosial Scents around her Head.
Her sweeping Robe trail’d pompous as she trod,
And her majestic Port confess’d the God.
Soon as he knows her thro’ the coy Disguise,540
He thus pursues his Mother as she flies.
Must never, never more our Hands be joyn’d?
Are you, like Heav’n, grown cruel and unkind?
Why must those borrow’d Shapes delude your Son?
And why, ah! why those Accents not your own?545
He said; then sought the Town; but Venus shrowds
And wraps their Persons in a Veil of Clouds;
That none may interpose, with fond Delay,
Nor see, nor touch, nor ask them of their Way.
Thro’ Air sublime the Queen of Love retreats550
To Paphos’ stately Tow’rs, and blissful Seats:
Where to her Name an hundred Altars rise,
And Gums, and flow’ry Wreaths, perfume the Skies.
Now o’er the lofty Hill they bend their Way,
Whence all the rising Town in Prospect lay,555
And Tow’rs and Temples; for the Mountain’s Brow
Hung bending o’er, and shaded all below.
Where once the Cottage stood, with glad Surprize
The Prince beholds the stately Palace rise;
On the pav’d Streets, and Gates, looks wond’ring down,560
And all the Crowd and Tumult of the Town.
The Tyrians ply their Work; with many a Groan
These roll, or heave some huge Stone;
Those bid the lofty Cittadel ascend;
Some in vast Length th’ embattled Walls extend;565
Others for future Dwellings choose the Ground,
Mark out the Spot, and draw the Furrow round.
Some, useful Laws propose, and some, the Choice
Of sacred Senates, and elect by Voice.
These sink a spacious Mole beneath the Sea,570
Those an huge Theatre’s Foundation lay;
Hew massy Columns from the Mountain’s Side,
Of future Scenes an ornamental Pride.
Thus to their Toils, in early Summer, run
The clust’ring Bees, and labour in the Sun;575
Lead forth, in Colonies, their buzzing Race,
Or work the liquid Sweets, and thicken to a Mass.
The busy Nation flies from Flow’r to Flow’r,
And hoards, in curious Cells, the golden Store;
A chosen Troop before the Gate attends,580
Heaves off the Burdens, and relieves their Friends;
Warm at the fragrant Work, in Bands, they drive
The Drone, a lazy Robber, from the Hive.
The Prince surveys the lofty Tow’rs, and cries,
Blest, blest are you, whose Walls already rise:585
Then, strange to tell, he mingled with the Crowds,
And past, unseen, involv’d in mantling Clouds.
Amid the Town, a stately Grove display’d
A cooling Shelter, and delightful Shade.
Here, tost by Winds and Waves, the Tyrians found590
A Courser’s Head, within the sacred Ground;
An Omen sent by Juno, to declare
A fruitful Soil, and Race renown’d in War.
A Temple here Sidonian Dido rais’d
To Heav’n’s dread Empress, that with Riches blaz’d;595
Unnumber’d Gifts adorn’d the costly Shrine,
By her own Presence hallow’d and divine.
Brass were the Steps, the Beams with Brass were strong,
And the resounding Doors, on brazen Hinges, rung.
Here, a strange Scene before his Eyes appears,600
To raise his Courage, and dispel his Fears;
Here first, he hopes his Fortunes to redress;
And finds a glimmering Prospect of Success.
While for the Queen he waited, and amaz’d
O’er the proud Shrine and pompous Temple gaz’d;605
While he the Town admires, and wond’ring stands
At the rich Labours of the Artist’s Hands;
Amid the story’d Walls, he saw appear,
Drawn to the Life, the tedious Trojan War;
The War, that Fame had blaz’d the World around,610
And ev’ry Battle fought on Phrygian Ground.
There Priam stood, and Agamemnon here,
And Peleus’ Son, to both alike severe.
Struck with the View, oh! Friend, the Hero cries,
(Tears, as he spoke, came starting from his Eyes)615
Lo! the wide World our Miseries employ;
What Realm abounds not with the Woes of Troy?
See! where the venerable Priam stands!
See Virtue honour’d in the Lybian Sands!
For Troy, the generous Tears of Carthage flow;620
And Tyrian Breasts are touch’d with human Woe.
Now banish Fear, for since the Trojan Name
Is known, we find our Safety in our Fame.
Thus, while his Soul the moving Picture fed,
A Show’r of Tears the groaning Hero shed.625
For here, the fainting Greeks in Flight he view’d,
And there, the Trojans to their Walls pursu’d
By plum’d Achilles, with his dreadful Spear,
Whirl’d on his kindling Chariot thro’ the War.
Nor far from thence, proud Rhaesus’ Tents he knows630
By their white Veils, that match’d the winter Snows,
Betray’d and stretch’d amidst his slaughter’d Train,
And, while he slept, by fierce Tydides slain.
Who drove his Coursers from the Scene of Blood,
E’er the fierce Steeds had tasted Trojan Food,635
Or drank divine Scamander’s fatal Flood.
There Troilus flies disarm’d, unhappy Boy!
From stern Achilles, round the Fields of Troy;
Unequal he! to such an Arm in War!
Supine, and trailing, from his empty Car,640
Still, tho’ in Death, he grasps the flowing Reins,
His startled Coursers whirl him o’er the Plains,
The Spear, inverted, streaks the Dust around,
His snowy Neck and Tresses sweep the Ground.
Mean time a pensive supplicating Train645
Of Trojan Matrons, to Minerva’s Fane
In sad Procession with a Robe repair,
Beat their white Breasts, and rend their golden Hair.
Unmov’d with Pray’rs, disdainfully she frown’d,
And fixt her Eyes, relentless, on the Ground.650
Achilles here, his Vengeance to enjoy,
Thrice dragg’d brave Hector round the Walls of Troy:
Then to the mournful Sire, the Victor sold
The breathless Body of his Son, for Gold.
His Groans now deepened, and new Tears he shed,655
To see the Spoils, and Chariot of the Dead,
And Priam both his trembling Hands extend,
And, gash’d with Wounds, his dear disfigur’d Friend.
Mixt with the Grecian Peers, and hostile Train,
Himself he view’d, conspicuous in the Plain.660
And swarthy Memnon, glorious to behold,
His Eastern Hosts, and Arms that flame with Gold.
With Fury storm’d Penthesilea there,
And led, with moony Shields, her Amazons to War;
Around her Breast her golden Belt she threw;665
Then thro’ the thick-embattled Squadrons flew;
Amidst the Thousands stood the dire Alarms,
And the fierce Maid engag’d the Men in Arms.
Thus, while the Trojan Hero stood amaz’d,
And, fixt in Wonder, on the Picture gaz’d,670
With all her Guards, fair Dido, from below,
Ascends the Dome, majestically slow.
As on Eurotas’ Banks, or Cynthus’ Heads,
A thousand beauteous Nymphs Diana leads:
While round their quiver’d Queen the Quires advance,675
She tow’rs majestic, as she leads the Dance;
She moves in Pomp superior to the Rest,
And secret Transports touch Latona’s Breast.
So past the graceful Queen amidst her Train,
To speed their Labours, and her future Reign.680
Then with her Guards surrounded, in the Gate,
Beneath the midmost Arch, sublime she sate.
She shares their Labours, or by Lots she draws;
And to the Crowd administers the Laws.
When lo! Æneas as brave Cloanthus spies,685
Antheus, and great Sergestus, with surprize,
Approach the Throne, attended by a Throng
Of Trojan Friends, that pour’d in Tides along;
Whom the wild whistling Winds and Tempests bore,
And widely scatter’d on another Shore.690
Lost in his Hopes and Fears, amaz’d he stands,
And with Achates longs to joyn their Hands:
But doubtful of th’ Event, he first attends,
Wrapt in the Cloud, the Fortune of his Friends;
Anxious, and eager ’till he knew their State,695
And where their Vessels lay, and what their Fate.
With Cries, the royal Favour to implore,
They came, a Train selected, from the Shore:
Then, Leave obtain’d, Ilioneus begun,
And, with their common Suit, addrest the Throne.700
Oh! Queen, indulged by Jove, these lofty Tow’rs
And this proud Town to raise on Lybian Shores,
With high Commands, a savage Race to awe,
And to the barb’rous Natives give the Law,
We wretched Trojans, an abandon’d Race,705
Tost round the Seas, implore your royal Grace;
Oh! check your Subjects, and their Rage reclaim,
E’er their wild Fury wrap our Fleet in Flame.
Oh! save a pious Race; regard our Cry;
And view our Anguish with a melting Eye.710
We come not, mighty Queen, an hostile Band,
With Sword and Fire, and, ravaging the Land,
To bear your Spoils triumphant to the Shore:
No——to such Thoughts the vanquish’d dare not soar.
Once by Oenotrians till’d, there lies a Place,715
’Twas call’d Hesperia by the Grecian Race,
(For martial Deeds, and Fruits, renown’d by Fame)
But since, Italia, from the Leader’s Name;
To that blest Shore we steer’d our destin’d Way,
When sudden, dire Orion rows’d the Sea;720
All charg’d with Tempests rose the baleful Star,
And on our Navy pour’d his wat’ry War;
With sweeping Whirlwinds cast our Vessels wide,
Dash’d on rough Rocks, or driving with the Tide:
The few sad Relicks of our Navy bore725
Their Course to this unhospitable Shore.
What are the Customs of this barbarous Place?
What more than Savage this inhuman Race?
In Arms they rise, and drive us from the Strand,
From the last Verge, and Limits of the Land.730
Know, if divine and human Laws you slight,
The Gods, the Gods will all our Wrongs requite;
Vengeance is their’s; and their’s to guard the Right.
Æneas was our King, of high Renown;
Great, Good, and Brave; and War was all his own.735
If still he lives, and breaths this vital Air,
Nor we, his Friends and Subjects, shall despair;
Nor you, great Queen, repent, that you employ
Your kind Compassion in the Cause of Troy.
Besides, on high the Trojan Ensigns soar,740
And Trojan Cities grace Sicilia’s Shore;
Where great Acestes, of the Dardan Strain,
Deriv’d from ancient Teucer, holds his Reign.
Permit us, from your Woods, new Planks and Oars
To fell, and bring our Vessels on your Shores;745
That, if our Prince and Friends return again,
With Joy, for Latium, we may plow the Main.
But if those Hopes are vanisht quite away.
If lost, and swallow’d in the Lybian Sea,
You lye, great Guardian of the Trojan State,750
And young Iulus shares his Father's Fate;
Oh! let us seek Sicilia’s Shores again,
And fly from hence to good Acestes’ Reign.
He spoke; a loud Assent ran murmuring thro’ the Train.
Thus then, in short, the gracious Queen replies,755
While on the Ground she fixt her modest Eyes.
Trojans, be bold; against my Will, my Fate,
A Throne unsettled, and an infant State,
Bid me defend my Realms with all my Pow’rs,
And guard with these Severities my Shores.760
Lives there a Stranger to the Trojan Name,
Their Valour, Arms, and Chiefs of mighty Fame?
We know the War that set the World on Fire,
Nor are so void of Sense the Sons of Tyre.
For here his Beams indulgent Phoebus sheds,765
And rolls his flaming Chariot o’er our Heads.
Seek you, my Friends, the blest Saturnian Plains,
Or fair Trinacria, where Acestes reigns?
With Aids supply’d, and furnish’d from my Stores,
Safe will I send you from the Lybian Shores.770
Or would you stay to raise this growing Town?
Fix here your Seat; and Carthage is your own.
Haste, draw your Ships to Shore; to me the same,
Your Troy and Tyre shall differ but in Name.
And oh! that great Æneas had been tost,775
By the same Storm, on the same friendly Coast.
But I will send, my Borders to explore,
And trace the Windings of the mazy Shore.
Perchance, already thrown on these Abodes,
He roams the Towns, or wanders thro’ the Woods.780
Rais’d in their Hopes the Friend and Hero stood;
And long’d to break, transported, from the Cloud.
Oh! Goddess-born! cry’d brave Achates, say,
What are your Thoughts, and why this long Delay?
All safe you see; your Friends and Fleet restor’d:785
One (whom we saw) the whirling Gulf devour’d.
Lo! with the Rest your Mother’s Words agree,
All but Orontes scap’d the raging Sea.
Swift as he spoke, the Vapours break away,
Dissolve in Æther, and refine to Day.790
Radiant, in open View, Æneas stood,
In Form and Looks, majestic as a God.
Flush’d with the rosy Bloom of Youth he glows,
His Hair in Ringlets, curl’d by Venus, flows;
The Queen of Love the Glance divine supplies,795
And breathes immortal Spirit in his Eyes.
Like Parian Marble, beauteous to behold,
Or Silver’s milder Gleam, in burnish’d Gold,
Or polish’d Iv’ry, shone the godlike Man:
All stood surpriz’d; and thus the Prince began.800
Æneas, whom you seek, you here survey;
Escap’d the Tempest of the Lybian Sea.
O Dido, gracious Queen, who make alone
The Woes, and Cause, of wretched Troy your own,
And shelter in your Walls, with pious Care,805
Her Sons, the Relicks of the Grecian War,
Who all the Forms of Misery have bore,
Storms on the Sea, and Dangers on the Shore;
Nor we, nor all the Dardan Nation, hurl’d
Wide o’er the Globe, and scatter’d round the World,810
But the good Gods, with Blessings, shall repay
Your bounteous Deeds; the Gods and only they,
(If pious Acts, if Justice they regard)
And your clear Conscience stands its own Reward.
How blest this Age that has such Virtue seen?815
How blest the Parents of so great a Queen?
While to the Sea the Rivers roll, and Shades
With awful Pomp surround the Mountain Heads,
While Æther shines, with golden Planets grac’d,
So long your Honour, Name, and Praise shall last.820
Whatever Realm my Fortune has assign’d,
Still will I bear your Image in my Mind.
Thus having said, the pious Chief extends
His Hands around, and hails his joyful Friends:
His Left, Sergestus grasp’d with vast Delight,825
To great Ilioneus he gave the Right.
Cloanthus, Gyas, and the Trojan Train,
All, in their Turns, embrac’d the Prince again.
Charm’d with his Presence, Dido gaz’d him o’er,
Admir’d his Fortune much, his Person more.830
What Fate, O Goddess-born, she said, has tost
So brave a Hero on this barbarous Coast?
Are you Æneas, who in Ida’s Grove;
Sprung from Anchises and the Queen of Love
By Simois’ Streams? and now I call to Mind,835
When Teucer left his native Shores behind;
The banisht Prince to Sidon came, to gain
Great Belus’ Aid, to fix him in his Reign;
Then the rich Cyprian Isle, my warlike Sire
Subdu’d, and ravag’d wide with Sword and Fire.840
From him I learnt the Grecian Kings of Fame,
The Fall of Ilion, and your glorious Name:
He on your Valour, tho’ a Foe, with Joy
Would dwell, and proudly trace his Birth from Troy.
Come to my Palace then, my royal Guest,845
And, with your Friends, indulge the genial Feast.
My Wand’rings and my Fate, resembling yours,
At length have fixt me on the Lybian Shores;
And, touch’d with Miseries my self have known,
I view, with pity, Woes so like my own.850
She spoke, then leads him to her proud Abodes,
Ordains a Feast, and Offerings to the Gods.
Twice fifty bleating Lambs and Ewes she sends,
And twice ten brawny Oxen to his Friends:
A hundred bristly Boars, and monst’rous Swine;855
With Bacchus’ Gifts, a Store of generous Wine.
The inner Rooms in regal Pomp display’d,
The splendid Feasts in ample Halls are made;
Where, labour’d o’er with Art, rich Carpets lye,
That glow refulgent with the purple Dye.860
The Boards are pil’d with Plate of curious Mould;
And their Forefather’s glorious Deeds, enroll’d,
Blaz’d round the Bowls, and charg’d the rising Gold.
No more the Prince his eager Love supprest,
And all the Parent struggled in his Breast.865
He sends Achates to inform his Son,
And guide the young Ascanius to the Town;
(On his Ascanius turn his Fear and Joy,
The Father’s Cares are center’d in the Boy)
To bring rich Presents to the Queen of Tyre,870
And Relicks, rescu’d from the Trojan Fire.
A Mantle, wrought with saffron Foliage round;
And a stiff Robe, with golden Figures crown’d,
Fair Helen’s Dress, when fir’d with lawless Joy,
She left her native Walls to ruin Troy,875
(Her Mother’s Present in the bridal Hour;)
With Gold a shining Sceptre studded o’er,
That wont Ilione’s fair Hand to grace,
The eldest Nymph of Priam’s beauteous Race;
Her Necklace, strung with Pearls; her Crown, that glows880
Instar’d with Gems and Gold, in double Rows.
To bring the splendid Gifts, without Delay,
Swift to the Fleet Achates bends his Way.
But beauteous Venus in her Breast design’d
New Wiles, and plan’d new Counsels in her Mind,885
That winged Cupid to the Court shou’d come
Like sweet Ascanius, in Ascanius’ Room;
With the rich Gifts the Tyrian Queen inspire,
And kindle in her Veins the raging Fire.
Her dread of Juno’s Arts, who guards the Place,890
Her just Suspicions of the treach’rous Race,
Break, each revolving Night, her golden Rest:
And thus the suppliant Queen the God addrest.
Oh Son! my Strength, my Pow’r! who fire above
Immortal Breasts, nor dread the Bolts of Jove.895
To thee I fly, thy Succour to implore;
Court thy Protection, and thy Pow’r adore.
How haughty Juno’s restless Rage has tost
Your Brother round the Seas, and ev’ry Coast,
Is but to mention what too well you know,900
Who sigh’d my Sighs, and wept a Mother’s Woe.
Him, in her Town, the Tyrian Queen detains,
With soft Seducements, from the Latian Plains.
But much I fear that hospitable Place,
Where Juno reigns, the Guardian of the Race:905
And least this fair Occasion she improve,
Know, I design to fire the Queen with Love;
A Love, beyond the Cure of Pow’rs divine;
A Love as strong, and violent as mine.
But how the proud Phoenician to surprize910
With such a Passion, hear what I advise.
The royal Youth, Ascanius, from the Port
Hastes, by his Father’s Summons, to the Court;
With costly Presents charg’d, he takes his Way,
Sav’d from the Trojan Flames, and stormy Sea;915
But to prevent Suspicion, will I steep
His Temples in the Dews of balmy Sleep,
Then to Cythera’s sacred Seats remove,
Or softly lay him in th’ Idalian Grove.
This one revolving Night, thy self a Boy,920
Wear thou the Features of the Youth of Troy;
And when the Queen, transported with thy Charms,
Amidst the Feast, shall strain thee in her Arms,
The gentle Poison by Degrees inspire
Thro’ all her Breast; then fan die rising Fire,925
And kindle all her Soul. The Mother said,
With Joy the God her soft Commands obey’d.
Aside his Quiver, and his Wings he flung,
And like the Boy Iulus, tript along.
Mean time the Goddess on Ascanius throws930
A balmy Slumber and a sweet Repose;
Lull’d in her Lap to rest, the Queen of Love,
Convey’d him to the soft Idalian Grove.
Wrapt in a flow’ry Bed her Charge she laid,
And breathing round him rose the fragrant Shade.935
Now Cupid, pleas’d his Orders to obey,
Brought the rich Gifts; Achates led the Way.
He came, and found on costly Carpets spread
The Queen majestic midst her golden Bed.
The great Æneas and the Trojans lye940
On pompous Couches, stain’d with Tyrian Dye.
Soft Towels for their Hands th’ Attendants bring,
And limpid water from the chrystal Spring.
They wash; the menial Train the Tables spread;
And heap in glitt’ring Canisters the Bread.945
To dress the Feast, full fifty Handmaids joyn,
And burn rich Incense to the Pow’rs divine;
A hundred Boys and Virgins stood around,
The Banquet marshal’d, and the Goblets crown’d.
To fill th’ embroider’d Beds the Tyrians come950
Frequent and full; and crowd the regal Room.
The Guests the gorgeous Gifts and Boy admire,
His Voice, and Looks, that glow with youthful Fire;
The Veil and Foliage wond’ring they behold,
And the rich Robe that slam’d with figur’d Gold:955
But chief the Queen, the Boy and Presents move,
The Queen, already doom’d to fatal Love.
Insatiate in her Joy, she fate amaz’d,
Gaz’d on his Face, and kindled as she gaz’d.
First, his dissembled Father he carest,960
Hung round his Neck, and play’d upon his Breast;
Then to the Queen’s Embraces he withdrew,
She look’d, and lent her Soul at every View;
Then took him on her Lap, devour’d his Charms;
Nor knew poor Dido, blind to future Harms,965
How great a God she fondled in her Arms.
But he, now mindful of his Mother, stole
By slow Degrees Sichaeus from her Soul;
Her Soul, rekindling, in her Husband’s stead
Admits the Prince; the Living for the Dead.970
Soon as the Banquet paus’d, to raise their Souls,
With sparkling Wine they crown the massy Bowls.
Thro’ the wide Hall the rolling Eccho bounds,
The Palace rings, the vaulted Dome resounds.
The blazing Torches, and the Lamps, display,975
From golden Roofs, an artificial Day.
Now Dido crowns the Bowl of State with Wine,
The Bowl of Belus, and the regal Line.
Her Hands aloft the shining Goblet hold,
Pond’rous with Gems, and rough with sculptur’d Gold.980
When silence was proclaim’d, the royal Fair
Thus to the Gods addrest her fervent Pray’r.
Almighty Jove! who plead’st the Stranger’s Cause;
Great guardian God of hospitable Laws!
Oh! grant this Day to circle still with Joy,985
Thro’ late Posterity, to Tyre and Troy.
Be thou, O Bacchus! God of Mirth! a Guest;
And thou, O Juno! grace the genial Feast.
And you, my Lords of Tyre, your Fears remove,
And show your Guests Benevolence and Love.990
She said, and on the Board, in open View,
The first Libations to the Gods she threw:
Then sip’d the Wine, and gave to Bitia’s Hand.
He rose, obedient to the Queen’s Command;
At once the thirsty Trojan swill’d the Whole,995
Sunk the full Gold, and drain’d the foaming Bowl.
Then thro’ the Peers, with sparkling Nectar crown’d,
The Goblet circles, and the Health goes round.
With curling Tresses grac’d, and rich Attire,
Iopas stands, and sweeps his golden Lyre;1000
The Truths, which ancient Atlas taught, he sings,
And Nature’s Secrets, on the sounding Strings:
Why Cynthia changes; why the Sun retires,
Shorn of his radiant Beams, and genial Fires;
From what Originals, and Causes, came1005
Mankind and Beasts, the Rain, and rising Flame;
Arcturus, dreadful with his stormy Star;
The wat’ry Hyads, and the Northern Car;
Why Suns in Summer the slow Night detain,
And rush so swift in Winter to the Main.1010
With Shouts the Tyrians praise the Song divine,
And in the loud Applause the Trojans joyn.
The Queen, in various Talk, prolongs the Hours,
Drinks deep of Love, and ev’ry Word devours;
This Moment longs of Hector to enquire,1015
The next of Priam, his unhappy Sire;
What Arms adorn’d Aurora’s glorious Son;
How high above his Hosts Achilles shone;
How brave Tydides thunder’d on his Car;
How his fierce Coursers swept the Ranks of War.1020
Nay, but at large, my godlike Guest, relate
The Grecian Wiles, she said, and Ilion’s Fate;
How far your Course around the Globe extends,
And what the Woes and Fortunes of your Friends:
For since you wander’d every Shore and Sea,1025
Have sev’n revolving Summers roll’d away.
The End of the First Book of the Æneid.
HE few following Notes are partly my own, and partly drawn from the Commentators of Virgil, and especially from the ingenious Dr. Trapp; who has given us an Abstract of their Annotations, with a great many excellent Observations of his own. I have us’d their Comments as they came in my Way, without any particular Citations; and have flung together these Remarks, only for the Benefit of the English Reader who knows little of the original Language, and some meer English Criticks, who know nothing of their own.
Verse 4. Lavinian Coast.] So call’d from Lavinia, the Daughter of King Latinus, and Wife of Æneas. One of the Commentators, indeed, derives the Name from Lavinus, the Brother of Latinus; but is at a Loss to prove there was ever such a Person.
Verse 36. Her injur’d Form, &c.] The Reader may please to observe, that this irreconcileable Hatred of Juno to the Trojans, was owing altogether to the Neglect of her Beauty, in all the Instances here mentioned; Paris had prefer’d Venus, and Jupiter Electra to Her: She had, indeed, more than a personal Quarrel with Ganymede, because he was advanc’d to be Cupbearer to Jupiter, in the Room of Hebe her only Daughter.
Verse 53. And why could Pallas, &c.] Ajax the Less, as Homer calls him, the Son of Oileus, and Leader of the Locrians, in his Return from Troy, was overtaken by a violent Tempest, and himself Thunderstruck by Pallas, in Revenge for having ravish’d Cassandra, the Daughter of Priam, in her Temple. Homer gives us a different Account, in the Fourth Book of the Odyssey, and says, that he was drown’d by Neptune for his execrable Blasphemies, and Defiance of the Gods, in a Storm.
Verse. 114. Rush to the Seas, &c.] Virgil is so happy in the Variety of his Periods, and the Superiority of his Language, to all others but the Greek, that it is impossible for a Translation, in English, and in Rhyme, to do him Justice in this Particular. As it does not look graceful to run the Sense too frequently out of one Couplet into another, and as Rhyme will not admit of such a Variety of Periods as blank Verse, some Care has been taken in this Translation to endeavour at something equivalent, either by closing the Sense with a Triplet, (which is sometimes practis'd by Mr. Pope, and too frequently by Mr. Dryden) or by making Use of the Alexandrian Line, which is a Liberty I have seldom taken, unless it appears Necessary, or at least proper (as in this Place) to express the Length, the Vastness, the Rapidity, or Slowness of an Image, according to the establish'd Rule of making the Sound an Eccho to the Sense.
Verse 124. Congeal'd with Fear, &c.] There is not a Passage in Virgil that has been more severely canvast by the Critics than this, where the Hero of the Poem is represented in such a Fright. Monsieur St. Evremont in particular, is very ridiculously Merry upon it, and after having laught at his Want of Courage, and Excess of Piety, concludes that he was fitter to make Founder of an Order than an Empire. But by that Critic's Leave, Æneas weeps on a much juster Occasion than Achilles in Homer; his Tears are the Tears of a King and a Hero; he does not weep for himself, but his Subjects; nor grieve for the Approach of Death, but the Manner of it; for thro’ the whole Speech, he passionately wishes he had dy’d warm in the Field of Battle. Besides, such a Fright appears very Justifiable in him, or any Hero of those Ages, when it was a received Opinion, that drowning was an accursed Death, and that those who were depriv’d of the Rites of Sepulture, were condemn’d to wander an hundred Years on the Banks of the River , before they were transported to the Elysian Fields; as we read in the sixth Æneid.
Hæc Omnis, quam cernis, inops inhumataque Turba est;
Portitor ille, Charon; hi, quos vehit unda, sepulti.
Nec ripas datur horrendas, nec rauca fluenta
Transportare prius, quam sedibus Ossa quiêrunt;
Centum errant annos, volitantque hæc litora circum;
Tum demum admissi stagna exoptata revisunt.
L. 6. V. 324.
Verse 147. On hidden Rocks, &c.] This Passage has been charg’d with Contradiction, because the Rocks are said to be hidden, and yet to appear with a huge Ridge above the Water. Ruaeus says, that the Islands themselves might appear above the Surface with a great Prominence, and the Rocks which were about the Islands may lye under the Water. Dr. Trapp’s Words are these. They (i. e. the Rocks) were conceal’d below, tho’ they had a Dorsum immane, a large prominent Ridge on the Surface. For my Part, I see no Difficulty or Contradiction in the Passage, For why may we not suppose, that they appear'd above the Water in a Calm, and were hidden under the Waves (as in the present Case) in a Storm.
Verse 298. For Lycus’ Fate, &c.] Nothing but extream Haste in Writing could have made Mr. Dryden translate this Passage so meanly.
Mourns th’ uncertain State
Of Gyas, Lycus, and of Amycus,
The Day, but not their Sorrows ended thus.
How vastly different is the Conduct of Mr. Pope, in his Translation of the Catalogue of the Ships, where, for some hundred Lines together, he is engag’d in a Heap of proper Names; yet that great Master, by his exquisite Skill in Sounds and Numbers, has set them to Music, and deriv’d from them the finest Harmony the World. But we ought to pass by these, and a great many other low and vulgar Expressions in Mr. Dryden, if we consider that his Necessities oblig’d him to translate all the Works of Virgil in three Years.
Verse 424. Or swift Harpalyce, &c.] The Translation follows Huetius, who reads Eurum instead of Hebrum; I have endeavour’d to image the Rapidity of Harpalyce in the Run of the Verse. Nor is this too Extravagant for Virgil, who in the seventh Æneid, paints the Swiftness of Camilla in as bold a Manner, in those charming Lines which fly along with the Virgin they describe.
Illa vel intactæ segetis per summa volaret
Culmina, nec teneras cursu læsisset aristas;
Vel Mare per medium fluctu suspensa tumenti
Ferret iter, celeres neque tingeret æquore Plantas.
Verse 504. The good Æneas am I call’d, &c.] To defend this Passage which may disgust a squeamish modern Critic, I shall transcribe the Words of a very ingenious Author, whom I am proud to call my Friend, and to quote upon any Occasion. ‘Custom and Prejudice have now render’d it unpolite, and even shocking, for a Man, almost in any Case, to commend himself: But it was not thus anciently. It is certain, that it was not thus in the Times of those Heroes whom Homer describes; and Homer therefore acts with Propriety, in making Ulysses say that Nestor and himself were the wisest of all the Grecians. Now, is the Translator, in this Case, to follow his Author or not? Is he to preserve the Manners of the Ancients, in the Characters of his Heroes, or is he to modernize them, and to make Ulysses and Achilles appear the most accomplish’d, finest Gentlemen in the World’?——What this learned Gentleman says in Defence of Homer’s Heroes, is applicable to Æneas who was their Cotemporary. And Virgil, with the utmost Propriety, makes his Hero commend himself with that Freedom and Openness of Behaviour, that was in Use among the Ancients; when Men spoke to express their Thoughts, as they now do to conceal them.
Verse 539. And her majestic Port confest the God.] The Translation in this Place ventures to call Venus a God. Virgil calls her so in the next Book. And in this very Verse he takes as great a Liberty, by leaving two Vowels opening upon one another. The Word Θεὸς in the Greek is us’d promiscuously in either Gender. (Not to mention Euripides, Demosthenes, Lucan, and Statius) Minerva is call’d a God by Homer in the fifth Iliad, and by Mr. Pope, as good an Authority, in the Translation.
Verse 636.———Scamander’s fatal Flood.] The River Scamander, or Xanthus, is here call’d fatal, because if the Horses of Rhaesus King of Thrace, who came to the Assistance of Priam, had drank of that River, it was decreed by the Fates, that Troy should not be taken. Diomed slew Rhaesus and his Guards, and drove away the Horses the same Night they arriv’d in the Trojan Camp.
I shall close these few Remarks with a Word or two concerning this Translation. I have endeavour’d, thro’ the Whole, to practise my Lord Roscommon’s Rule,
Your Author always will the best advise;
Fall as he falls, and as he rises, rise.
but with what Success, is with all Deference submitted to the Reader; I have us’d a few of Mr. Dryden’s Rhimes and Expressions, where he adheres closely to the Sense of Virgil, or I must have wander’d from the Original myself; but I have not been so free with him, in this Particular, as he is with my Lord Lauderdale. Had I borrow’d more from him, this Translation, perhaps, had been so much the better. Far be it from me, therefore, to think I am able to do Virgil justice, or to improve on Mr. Dryden’s Translation; the utmost Merit I pretend to, is to have avoided those low and vulgar Expressions, and technical Terms, and Deviations from the Original, which he is guilty of too frequently; if I may be allow’d to deliver my Opinion of Mr. Dryden’s Performance, after so great a Judge as Mr. Pope, it ſhould be in the Words of Sir John Denham.
Great are its Faults, but glorious is its Flame.
After all, I had never presum’d to make any Attempt on Virgil, after so great a Man as Mr. Dryden; but I undertook this small Performance at the Request of some very learned and ingenious Friends, and particularly of a worthy Gentleman, who has done Virgil great Justice in his Translation of the two first Books of the Georgicks, who was pleas’d to write to me on this Occasion, in Terms that I cannot repeat without Vanity. To him, therefore, I desire to dedicate this my first Attempt on the Æneid, who is so well acquainted, by Experience, with the Difficulties, as well as the Beauties, of Virgil. And if I gain no Reputation by this Performance, yet I shall think myself sufficiently honour’d with the Friendship and Acquaintance, of so learned and polite a Gentleman as Mr. Benson.
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