« ÎnapoiContinuă »
Aye, and ungreeted—Night and thy right hand
My witness be—for that I may not brook
A parent's weeping. But do thou, I pray,
Comfort her need and aid her loneliness.
Let me bear hence this hope of thee: hereby
Into all dangers I shall boldlier go.”
Touched to the heart, the Dardans wept, and fair
lulus before all, whose soul was wrung
With likeness of the love he bore his sire.
Then thus he speaks: “Assure thee of all done
That thy great exploit merits: for she shall be
As my own mother, lacking but the name
Crëusa; nor slight honor waits the womb
That bore so nobly. Let what fortune may
Be the deed's sequel, by this head I vow,
As oft my sire was wont, whate'er to thee
I promise, prosperously returned, the same
Shall for thy mother and thy kin abide.”
Weeping he spake, and from his shoulder doffs
A gilded sword, which erst Lycaon of Crete
Wrought with rare skill, and fitted for the hand
With ivory sheath. A shaggy lion's hide
Mnestheus to Nisus gives; Aletes true
Makes interchange of helmets. Thus arrayed
Onward they move, whom all the band of chiefs,
Both young and old, escorting to the gates,
Follow with vows.
And fair Iulus too,
Armed with man's thought and spirit beyond his years,
Full many a message to his sire bade bear.
But one and all the rude winds rend amain,
And to the clouds consign them unfulfilled.
Thence issuing forth, they cross the trench, and seek Through shades of night the foeman's camp—yet first To be the death of many.
In drunken sleep
Stretched on the greensward scattered forms they see,
Cars tilted on the beach, 'twixt wheels and reins
Their masters, and with these one litter of arms
And wine. First spake the son of Hyrtacus:
“Now for a bold stroke! now, Euryalus,
The deed itself invites; here lies our way.
Watch thou, and keep wide outlook, lest some hand
Should from behind assail us: here will I
Deal havoc, and by a broad lane lead thee on.”
He spake, then checks his utterance, and lets drive
At haughty Rhamnes, who, it chanced, high-propped
On heaped carpets, the full-chested breath
Of sleep was heaving—king himself, and seer,
Best-loved of kingly Turnus; but no whit
His seer-craft might avail to ward off doom.
Three of his folk hard by, at random laid
And the armor-bearer, aye, and charioteer,
Of Remus, close beside his horses caught,
And with the sword shears through their lolling necks;
Then from their lord himself he lops the head,
And leaves the red trunk gurgling; with black gore
Reek couch and greensward. Lamyrus withal,
Lamus, and young Serranus, who that night
Had played full long, and in his beauty's pride
Lay there limb-vanquished by the o’erpotent god-
Ah! happier had he played a night-long bout,
Nor made an end till morn!—such havoc as when
An unfed lion, ravaging amid
Full sheepfolds—for mad famine goads him on-
Mangles and rends the mild flock mute with fear,
And roars with blood-stained mouth. Nor less meanwhile
The slaughter of Euryalus; he too
Rages like fire, and, as they blocked his path,
Falls on a vast and nameless crowd, and slays
Fadus, Herbesus, Rhoetus, Abaris,
Or ere they knew it. Rhoetus awake saw all,
But crouched in fear behind a mighty bowl;
Full in whose breast, as up he rose, the youth
At arm's length, to the hilt, his sword-blade plunged,
And steeped in death withdrew it. He
forth The red life, dying, and blood-mingled wine; The other on his dark errand hotly hies. Now was he making for Messapus' train, Where the last gleams of dying fire, and steeds Tethered arow, and grazing, he beheld, When Nisus briefly—for he saw him borne Beyond all bounds with lust of carnage-cried: "Forbear we now; the unfriendly dawn draws nigh. We have drunk full deep of vengeance, through the foe Hewed out a passage.” Many a trophy fairMen's arms of solid silver wrought, and bowls, And sumptuous coverlets, they leave behind. Euryalus the trappings tears away And gold-bossed belt of Rhamnes, which of yore Right wealthy Caedicus sent as a gift To Remulus of Tibur, when from far For friend he sought him: to his grandson's hand Dying he left them, by the Rutule host After his death in war and battle won. These he tears off, and on his shoulders brave Binds, but in vain, then dons Messapus' helm Well-fitted, plume-adorned. So forth from camp They pass, and make for safety.
But meanwhile Horsemen, sent forward from the Latin town, While halts the main host on the plain arrayed,
Came bringing answers for King Turnus' ear,
Three hundred, shield-men all, by Volscens led.
Even now they approach the camp, and near the wall,
When at some distance they descry the twain
Rounding the path to leftward; and the helm
In glimmer of night betrayed Euryalus
Unheedful, and flashed back the opposing ray:
Nor seen for naught. Cries Volscens from his troop:
“Stand, warriors; wherefore thus afoot? and say
Who are ye that go armed, and whither fare?”
Naught urge they in reply, but speed amain
Into the woods, and trust them to the night.
The horsemen interpose, bar right and left
The well-known crossways, and with sentinels
Fringe every outlet. The wood bristled wide
With brambles and dark ilex, every way
Choked with impenetrable thorns; the path
Through the dim forest-tracks gleamed brokenly.
Euryalus by darkness of the boughs
Perplexed, and spoil-encumbered, is by fear
Fooled of his bearings. Nisus wins clear off:
And now, all heedless, he had passed the foe,
And region, afterward from Alba's name
Hight Alban—then the lofty cattle-stalls
Of King Latinus—when he stopped, looked back
For his lost friend, in vain. "Euryalus,
Unhappy one! where have I left thee? how
Follow, and unthrid all the tangled path
Of treacherous woodland?” Therewith, questing back,
His footsteps he retraces, roaming on
Through the hushed brakes. He hears the horses' tread,
Hears the loud din and signals of pursuit.
Nor long the time till to his ear a shout
Comes, and he sees Euryalus, whom trapped
By the false ground and darkness, and confused
By sudden onslaught, the whole band even now
Hale onward, struggling valiantly, in vain.
What can he do? Say, with what force, what arms
A rescue dare?
Or should he rush on doom
Amid the sword-blades, and precipitate
Through wounds a glorious death? Quick drawing back
His arm, and brandishing a spear, he looks
Up to the moon in heaven, and prays
aloud: "Thou, goddess, thou, Latona's child, be near To aid my effort, glory of the stars And guardian of the groves; if Hyrtacus My sire hath ever to thine altars brought Gifts for my sake, if any I myself Have added from the chase, and in thy dome Hung them, or fastened to thy sacred roof, Let me confound this banded mass, and guide My darts through air.” He spake, and hurls the steel With his whole body's strength. The flying spear Sunders the shades of night, meets the turned back Of Sulmo, and there snaps, the splintered shaft Riving his heart: he, spouting from his breast The hot life-stream, rolls over, chilled in death, And long gasps heave his palpitating sides. All eyes look every way. He thereupon The keenlier poises, see! a second dart Aimed from the ear-tip. While they hesitate, Through Tagus' either temple sped the spear Hissing, and clave warm in the pierced brain. Volscens storms fiercely, but can nowhere spy The wielder of the weapon, nor whereon To launch his fury. “Thou at least,” he cried,