Poem William Wordsworth

Now when the Gods had crush’d the Asian State

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Now when the Gods had crush’d the Asian State
And Priam’s race, by too severe a fate ;
When they were pleas’d proud Ilium to destroy,
And smokes upon the ground Neptunian Troy ;
The sad Survivors, from their country driven,
This fate I dread not; on etc. C. W.

Seek distant shores, impell’d by signs from Heaven.
Beneath Antandros we prepare a Fleet —
There my Companions muster at the feet
Of Phrygian Ida, dubious in our quest,
And where the Fates may suffer us to rest. 10
Scarcely had breath ‘d the earliest summer gales

Before Anchises bid to spread the sails ;
Weeping I quit the Port, my native coast,
And fields where Troy once was ; and soon am lost
An Exile on the bosom of the seas, 15
With Friends, Son, household Gods and the great Deities.

Right opposite is spread a peopled Land,
Where once the fierce Lycurgus held command ;
The martial Thracians plough its champain wide, \
To Troy by hospitable rites allied, > 20

While Fortune favour ‘d to this coast we hied ;
Where entering with unfriendly Fates, I lay
My first foundations in a hollow bay ;
And call the men ^Eneades, — to share

With the new Citoyens the name I bear.

To Dionaean Venus we present,
And to the Gods who aid a fresh intent,
The sacred offerings ; and with honour due
Upon the shore a glossy Bull I slew

To the great King of Heaven. A Mount was near

Upon whose summit cornel trees uprear

Their boughs, and myrtles rough with many a spear.
Studious to deck the Altar with green shoots,
Thither I turn’d ; and, tugging at the roots

Strove to despoil the thicket ; when behold

A dire portent, and wondrous to be told!
No sooner was the shatter’d root laid bare
Of the first Tree I struggled to uptear,

Than from the fibres drops of blood distill’d,

Whose blackness stain’d the ground: — me horror thrilTd:
My frame all shudder’d, and my blood was chiird.

Persisting in the attempt, I toil’d to free
The flexile body of another tree,
Anxious the latent causes to explore ;

And from the bark blood trickled as before.

Revolving much in mind forthwith I paid
Vows to the sylvan Nymphs, and sought the aid
Of Father Mars, spear-shaking God who yields
His stern protection to the Thracian fields ;

That to a prosperous issue they would guide

The accident, the omen turn aside.

But, for a third endeavour, when with hands

Eagerly strain ‘d, knees press’d against the sands,

I strive the myrtle lances to uproot

With my whole strength (speak shall I, or be mute ?)

From the deep tomb a mournful groan waa sent

And a voice followed, uttering this lament:

“Torment me not, ^Eneas. Why this pain

Given to a buried Man ? O cease, refrain,

And spare thy pious hands this guilty stain!

Troy brought me forth, no alien to thy blood

Nor yields a senseless trunk this sable flood.

Oh fly the cruol land ; the greedy shore

Forsake with speed, for I am Polydore.

A flight of iron darts have pierced me through,

Took* life, and into this sharp thicket grew.”

Then truly did I stand aghast, cold fear

Strangling my voice, and lifting up my hair.

Erewhile from Troy had Priam sent by stealth

This Polydore, and with him stores of wealth ;

Trusting the Thracian King his Son would rear :

For wretched Priam now gave way to fear,

Seeing the Town beleaguer ‘d. These alarms

Spread to the Thracian King, and when the Arms

Of Troy were quelled, to the victorious side

Of Agamemnon he his hopes allied ;

Breaking through sacred laws without remorse,

Slew Polydore, and seized the gold by force.

What mischief to poor mortals has not thirst

Of gold created ! appetite accurs’d !

Soon as a calmer mind I could recal

I seek the Chiefs, my Father above all ;

Report the omen, and their thoughts demand.

One mind is theirs, — to quit the impious Land ;

With the first breezes of the South to fly

Sick of polluted hospitality.

Forthwith on Polydore our hands bestow

A second burial, and fresh mould upthrow ;

And to his Manes raise beside the mound

Altars, which, as they stood in mournful round,

Cerulean fillets and black cypress bound;

And with loose hair a customary Band

Of Trojan Women in the circle stand.

From cups warm milk and sacred blood we pour,

Thus to the tomb the Spirit we restore ;

And with a farewell cry its future rest implore.

Then, when the sea grew calm, and gently creeps
The soft South-wind and calls us to the Deeps,
The Crew draw down our Ships ; they crowd the Shore,
The Port we leave ; with Cities sprinkl’d o’er,

Slowly the Coast recedes, and then is seen no more.

In the ‘mid Deep there lies a spot of earth,
Sacred to her who gave the Nereids birth ;
And to ^gean Neptune. Long was toss’d

This then unfruitful ground, and driven from coast to coast ;
But, as it floated on the wide-spread sea,
The Archer- God, in filial piety,
Between two Sister islands bound it fast
For Man’s abode, and to defy the blast.

Thither we steer. At length the unruffled Place no

Received our Vessels in her calm embrace.
We land — and, when the pleasant soil we trod,
Adored the City of the Delian God,
Anius, the King (whose brows were wreath’d around
With laurel garlands and with fillets bound,

His sacred symbols as Apollo’s Priest)
Ad vane ‘d to meet us, from our ships releas’d ;
He recognized Anchises ; and their hands
Gladly they join, renewing ancient Bands

Of Hospitality ; nor longer waits

The King, but leads us to his friendly gates.

To seek the Temple was my early care ;
To whose Divinity I bow’d in prayer
Within the reverend Pile of ancient stone :

“Thymbreus ! painful wanderings have we known

Grant, to the weary, dwellings of their own !
A City yield, a Progeny ensure,
A habitation destined to endure ! —
— To us, sad relics of the Grecian Sword,

(All that is left of Troy) another Troy accord!

What shall we seek ? whom follow ? ‘where abide
Vouchsafe an augury our course to guide ;

Father, descend, and thro’ our Spirits glide!” J
— Then shook, or seem’d to shake, the entire Abode ;
A trembling seiz’d the Laurels of the God ;

The mountain rock’d ; and sounds with murmuring swell
Roll’d from the Shrine ; upon the ground I fell,

And heard the guiding voice our fates foretell.

“Ye patient Dardans ! that same Land which bore
From the first Stock your Fathers heretofore ;

That ancient Mother will unfold her breast
For your return, — seek Her with faithful quest ;
So shall the ^Enean Line command the earth
As long as future years to future years give birth.”

Thus Phoebus answer’d, and forthwith the crowd

Burst into transport vehement and loud :
All ask what Phoebus wills ; and where the bourne
To which Troy’s wandering Race are destin’d to return.
Then spake my aged Father, turning o’er

Traditions handed down from days of yore ;

“Give ear,” he said, “O Chieftains, while my words
Unfold the hopes this Oracle affords !
On the mid sea the Cretan Island lies,
Dear to the sovereign Lord of earth and skies ;
There *is the Idean Mount, and there we trace

The fountain-head, the cradle of our race.
A hundred Cities, places of command,
Rise in the circle of that fruitful land ;
Thence to Rhoetean shores (if things oft heard
I faithfully remember) Teucer steer ‘d,

Our first progenitor ; and chose a spot
His Seat of government when Troy was not ;
While yet the Natives housed in vallies deep,
Ere Pergamus had risen, to crown the lofty steep.
From Crete came Cybele; from Crete we gained

All that the Mother of the Gods ordain’d ;
The Cory bant ian Cymbals thence we drew,
The Idaean Grove ; and faithful Silence, due
To rites mysterious ; and the Lion pair

Ruled by the Goddess from her awful Car.

Then haste — the Mandate of the Gods obey
And to the Gnossian Realms direct our way ;
But first the winds propitiate, and if Jove
From his high Throne the enterprize approve,
The third day’s light shall bring our happy Fleet

To a safe harbour on the shores of Crete.”

He spake, appropriate Victims forth were led,
And by his hand upon the Altars bled ;
A Bull to soothe the God who rules the Sea —
A Bull, O bright Apollo ! fell to thee,

A sable sheep for Hyems doth he smite,
For the soft Zephyrs one of purest white.
Fame told that regions would in Crete be found
Bare of the foe, deserted tracts of ground ;

Left by Idomeneus, to recent flight

Driven from those realms — his patrimonial right.

Chear’d by a hope those valiant seats to gain

We quit the Ortygian Shore, and scud along the Main.

Near ridgy Naxos, travers’d by a rout

Of madding Bacchanals with song and shout ;

By green Donysa rising o’er the Deeps ;

Olearos, and snow-white Parian steeps ;

Flying with prosperous sail thro’ sounds and seas

Starr’d with the thickly -clustering Cyclades.

Confused and various clamour rises high ;

“To Crete and to our Ancestors” we cry

While Ships and Sailors each with other vie.

Still freshening from the stern the breezes blow,

And speed the Barks they chase, where’er we go ;

Till rest is giv’n upon the ancient Shores

Of the Curetes to their Sails and Oars.

So with keen hope I trace a circling Wall

And the new City, by a name which all

Repeat with gladness, Pergamus I call.

The thankful Citoyens I then exhort

To love their hearths, and raise a guardian Fort.

— The Fleet is drawn ashore ; in eager Bands

The Settlers cultivate the allotted lands ;

And some for Hymeneal rites prepare ;

I plan our new Abodes, fit laws declare ;

But pestilence now came, and tainted the wide air.

To piteous wasting were our limbs betrayed

On trees and plants the deadly season preyed.

The men relinquished their dear lives, — or life

Remaining, dragged their frames in feeble strife.

Thereafter, Sirius clomb the sultry sky,

Parch ‘d every herb to bare sterility ;

And forc’d the sickly corn its nurture to deny.

My anxious Sire exhorts to seek once more

The Delian shrine, and pardon thence implore ;

Ask of the God to what these sorrows tend,

Whence we must look for aid, our voyage whither bend.

‘Twas night, and couch’d upon the dewy ground
The weary Animals in sleep were bound,

When those Penates which my hands had snatch’d 225

From burning Troy, while on my bed I watch’d,
Appeared, and stood before me, to my sight
Made manifest by copious streams of light
Pour’d from the body of the full-orbed Moon,


That thro’ the loop-holes of my chamber shone. 230

Thus did they speak: “We come, the Delegates

Of Phoebus, to foretell thy future fates :

Things which his Delian tripod to thine ear

Would have announced, thro’ us he utters here.

When Troy was burnt we crost the billowy sea \ 235

Faithful Attendants on thy arms, and We |

Shall raise to Heaven thy proud Posterity. J

But thou thy destined wanderings stoutly bear,

And for the Mighty, mighty seats prepare ;

These thou must leave ; — Apollo ne’er design’d 240

That thou in Crete a resting-place should ‘st find.

There is a Country styled by Men of Greece

Hesperia — strong in arms — the soil of large increase,

^Enotrians held it ; men of later fame

Call it Italia, from their Leader’s name ; 245

Our home is there ; there lies the native place

Of Dardaiius, and lasius — whence our race.

Rise then ; and to thy aged Father speak

Indubitable tidings ; — bid him seek

The Ausonian Land, and Corithus ; Jove yields 230

No place to us among Dictean fields.”

Upon the sacred spectacle I gaz’d,
And heard the utterance of the Gods, amaz’d.
Sleep in this visitation had no share ;

Each face I saw — the fillets round their hair ! 255

Chilled with damp fear I started from the bed,
And raised my hands and voice to heav’n — then shed
On the recipient hearth untemper’d wine
In prompt libation to the powers divine.

This rite performed with joy, my Sire I sought 260

Charged with the message that the Gods had brought ;
When I had open’d all in order due
The truth found easy entrance ; for he knew
The double Ancestors, the ambiguous race,

And own’d his new mistake in person and in place. 265

Then he exclaim’d “O Son, severely tried
In all that Troy is fated to abide,
This course Cassandra’s voice to me made known ;
She prophesied of this, and she alone ;

Italia oft she cried, and words outthrew 270

Of realms Hesperian, to our Nation due :
But how should Phrygians such a power erect ?
Whom did Cassandra’s sayings then affect ?
Now, let us yield to Phoebus, and pursue


The happier lot he offers to our view.” 275

All heard with transport what my Father spake.

This habitation also we forsake ;

And strait, a scanty remnant left behind,

Once more in hollow Ships we court the helpful wind.

But when along the Deep our Gallies steer’d, 280

And the last speck of land had disappeared,
And nought was visible, above, around,
Save the blank sky, and ocean without bound,
Then came a Tempest -laden Cloud that stood

Right over me, and rouz’d the blackening flood. 285

The fleet is scatter ‘d, while around us rise
Billows that every moment magnifies.
Day fled, and heaven, enveloped in a night
Of stormy rains, is taken from our sight ;

By instincts of their own the clouds are riven 290

And prodigal of fire — while we are driven
Far from the points we aim’d at, every bark
Errant upon the waters rough and dark.
Even Palinurus owns that night and day,

Thus in each other lost, confound his way. 295

Three sunless days we struggle with the gales,
And for three starless nights all guidance fails ;
The fourth day came, and to our wistful eyes
The far-oflt Land then first began to rise,

Lifting itself in hills that gently broke 300

Upon our view, and rolling clouds of smoke.
Sails drop ; the Mariners, with spring and stoop \

Timed to their oars, the eddying waters scoop, >

The Vessels skim the waves, alive from prow to poop. J

Saved from the perils of the stormy seas, 305

We disembark upon the Strophades ;
Amid the Ionian Waters lie this pair
Of Islands, and that Grecian name they bear.
The brood of Harpies, when in fear they left

The doors of Phineus, — of that home bereft 310

And of their former tables — thither fled,
There dwelt with dire Celseno at their head.
No plague so hideous, for impure abuse
Of upper air, did ever Styx produce,

Stirr’d by the anger of the Gods, to fling 315

From out her waves some new-born monstrous Thing.
Birds they, with virgin faces, crooked claws ; \
Of filthy paunch and of insatiate maws, 1

And pallid mien — from hunger without pause. J


Here safe in port we saw the fields o’erspread 320

With beeves and goats, untended as they fed.
Prompt slaughter follows ; offerings there we pay,
And call on Jove himself to share the prey.
Then, couch by couch, along the bay we rear,

And feast well pleased upon that goodly chear. 325

But, clapping loud their wings, the Harpy brood
Hush from the mountain — pounce upon our food,
Pollute the morsels which they fail to seize —
And, screaming, load with noisome scents the breeze.
Again — but now within a long-drawn glade 330

O’erhung with rocks and boughs of roughest shade
We deck our tables, and replace the fire
Upon the Altars ; but, with noises dire,
From different points of Heaven, from blind retreats,
They flock — and hovering o’er defile the meats. 335

“War let them have,” I cried, and gave command
To stem the next foul onset, arms in hand.
Forthwith the men withdraw from sight their shields
And hide their swords where grass a covert yields,
But when the Harpies with loud clang once more 340

Gathered, and spread upon the curved shore,
From a tall eminence in open view
His trumpet sound of charge Misenus blew ;
Then do our swords assault those Fowls obscene,
Of generation aqueous and terrene. 345

But what avails it ? oft repeated blows
They with inviolable plumes oppose ;
Baffle the steel, and, leaving stains behind
And spoil half eaten, mount upon the wind ;

Celaeno only on a summit high 350

Perched — and there vented this sad prophecy.

“By war, Descendants of Laomedon!
For our slain Steers, by war would ye atone ?
Why seek the blameless Harpies to expel

From regions where by right of birth they dwell ? 355

But learn, and fast within your memories hold,^
Things which to Phoebus Jupiter foretold, J
Phoebus to me, and I to you unfold, J

I, greatest of the Furies. Ye, who strive

For Italy, in Italy shall arrive ; 360

Havens within that wished-for land, by leave
Of favouring winds, your Navy shall receive ;
But do not hope to raise those promised Walls
Ere on your head the curse of hunger falls ;


And, for the slaughter of our herds, your doom 365

Hath been your very tables to consume,

Gnaw’d and devoured thro’ utter want of food!”

She spake, and, borne on wings, sought refuge in the wood.

The haughty spirits of the Men were quail’d,

A shuddering fear thro’ every heart prevail’d ; 370

On force of arms no longer they rely
To daunt whom prayers and vows must pacify,
Whether to Goddesses the offence were given,
Or they with dire and obscene Birds had striven.
Due Rites ordain’d, as on the shore he stands, 375

My Sire Anchises, with uplifted hands,
Invokes the greater Gods ; “Ye Powers, disarm
This threat, and from your Votaries turn the harm!”
Then bids to loose the Cables and unbind
The willing canvas, to the breeze resign’d. 380

Where guides the Steersman and the south winds urge
Our rapid keels, we skim the foaming surge,
Before us opens midway in the flood
Zacynthus, shaded with luxuriant wood ;

Dulichium now, and Same next appears ; 385

And Neritos a craggy summit rears ;
We shun the rocks of Ithaca, ill Nurse
Of stern Ulysses ! and her soil we curse ;
Then Mount Leucate shews its vapoury head ;

Where, from his temple, Phoebus strikes with dread 390

The passing Mariner ; but no mischance
Now fear’d, to that small City we advance ;
Gladly we haul the sterns ashore, and throw
The biting Anchor out from every prow.

Unlook’d-for land thus reach’d, to Jove we raise 395

The votive Altars which with incense blaze ;
Our Youth, illustrating the Actian Strand
With Trojan games, as in their native land
Imbue their naked limbs with slippery oil,

And pant for mastery in athletic toil ; 400

Well pleas’d so fair a voyage to have shap’d
‘Mid Grecian Towns on every side escap’d.
Sol thro’ his annual round meanwhile had pass’d,
And the Sea roughened in the wintry blast ;

High on the Temple Gate a brazen shield 405

I fixed, which mighty Abbas used to wield ;
Inscriptive verse declar’d, why this was done,


“Arms from the conquering Greeks and by JEneas won.”

Then at my word the Ships their moorings leave,

And with contending oars the waters cleave; 410

Phaeacian Peaks beheld in air and lost

As we proceed, Epirus now we coast ;

And, a Chaonian harbour won, we greet

Buthrotas, perch’d upon her lofty seat.

Helenus, Son of Priam, here was Chief, 415

(So ran the tale ill-fitted for belief),
Govern’d where Grecian Pyrrhus once had reign’d,
Whose sceptre wielding he, therewith, had gain’d
Andromache his Spouse, — to nuptials led

Once more by one whom Troy had borne and bred. 420

I long’d to greet him, wish’d to hear his fate
As his own voice the Story would relate.
So from the Port in which our gallies lay,
Right tow’rds the City I pursu’d my way.

A Grove there was, where by a streamlet’s side 425

With the proud name of Simois dignified,
Andromache a solemn service paid,
(As chanc’d that day) invoking Hector’s shade ;
There did her hands the mournful gifts present
Before a tomb — his empty monument 430

Of living green -sward hallowed by her care ; \
And two funereal Altars, planted near, J

Quicken’d the motion of each falling tear, J
When my approach she witness’d, and could see
Our Phrygian Arms, she shrank as from a prodigy, 435

In blank astonishment and terror shook,
While the warm blood her tottering limbs forsook.
She swoon’d and long lay senseless on the ground,
Before these broken words a passage found ;

”Was that a re&l Shape which met my view ? 440

Son of a Goddess, is thy coming true ?
Liv’st thou ? or, if the light of life be fled,
Hector, where is he ?” This she spake, — then spread
A voice of weeping thro’ the Grove, and I

Utter’d these few faint accents in disturb’d reply. 445

“Fear not to trust thine eyes ; I live indeed,
And fraught with trouble is the life I lead.
Fallen from the height, where with thy glorious Mate
Thou stood’st, Andromache, what change had Fate
To offer worthy of thy former state ? 450

Say, did the Gods take pity on thy vows ?
Or have they given to Pyrrhus Hector’s Spouse ?”


Then she with downcast look, and voice subdu’d ;
“Thrice happy Virgin, thou of Priam’s blood,

Who, in the front of Troy by timely doom, 455

Did’st pour out life before a hostile tomb ;
And, slaughter’d thus, wert guarded from the wrong
Of being swept by lot amid a helpless throng !
O happiest above all who ne’er did press

A conquering Master’s bed, in captive wretchedness! 460

I, since our Ilium fell, have undergone
(Wide waters cross’d) whate’er Achilles’ Son
Could in the arrogance of birth impose,
And faced in servitude a Mother’s throes.

Hereafter, he at will the knot unty’d, 465

To seek Hermione a Spartan Bride ;
And me to Trojan Helenus he gave —
Captive to Captive — if not Slave to Slave.
Whereat, Orestes with strong love inflam’d

Of her now lost whom as a bride he claim ‘d, 470

And by the Furies driv’n, in vengeful ire
Smote Pyrrhus at the Altar of his Sire.
He, by an unexpected blow, thus slain,
On Helenus devolv’d a part of his Domain,

Who call’d the neighbouring fields Chaonian ground, 475

Chaonia named the Region wide around,
From Trojan Chaon, — chusing for the site
Of a new Porgamus yon rocky height.
But thee a Stranger in a land unknown

What Fates have urg’d ? What winds have hither blown ? 480
Or say what God upon our coasts hath thrown ?
Survives the Boy Ascanius ? In his heart
Doth his lost Mother still retain her part ?
What, Son of great ^Eneas, brings he forth

In emulation of his Father’s worth ? 485

In Priam’s Grandchild doth not Hector raise
High hopes to reach the virtue of past days ?”

Then follow’d sobs and lamentations vain ;
But from the City, with a numerous train,

Her living Consort Helenus descends ; 490

He saw, and gave glad greeting to his Friends ;
And tow’rds his hospitable palace leads
While passion interrupts the speech it feeds.
As we advance I gratulate with joy
Their dwindling Xanthus, and thoir little Troy ; 495

470 bride] wife MS.


Their Pergamus aspiring in proud state, \

As if it strove the old to emulate ; j

And clasp the threshold of their Scaean Gate.)

Nor fails this kindred City to excite

In my Associates unreserv’d delight ; 500

And soon in ample Porticos the King

Receives the Band with earnest welcoming ;

Amid the Hall high festival we hold,

Refresh’d with viands serv’d in massy gold

And from resplendent goblets, votive wine 505

Flows in libations to the Powers divine.

Two joyful days thus past, the southern breeze
Once more invites my Fleet to trust the Seas ;
To Helenus this suit I then prefer :

“Illustrious Trojan! Heaven’s interpreter! 510

By prescient Phoebus with his spirit fill’d,
SkilTd in the tripod, in the Laurel skill’d ;
Skill’d in the stars, and what by voice or wing
Birds to the intelligence of mortals bring ;

Now mark: — to Italy my course I bend \ 515

Urged by the Gods who for this aim portend, >
By every sign they give, a happy end. J

The Harpy Queen, she only doth presage
A curse of famine in its utmost rage ;

Say thou what perils I am first to shun, 520

What course for safe deliverance must be run ?”

Then Helenus (the accustom’d Victims slain)
Invoked the Gods their favour to obtain.
This done, he loos’d the fillets from his head, \
And took my hand ; and, while a holy dread J 525

Possess’d me, onward to the Temple led, J
Thy Temple, Phoebus! — from his lip then flow’d
Communications “of the inspiring God. —
“No common auspices (this truth is plain) \

Conduct thee, Son of Venus ! o’er the Main ; J 530

The high behests of Jove this course ordain J
But, that with safer voyage thou may’st reach
The Ausonian harbour, I will clothe in speech
Some portion of the future ; Fate hath hung

Clouds o’er the rest, or Juno binds my tongue. 535

And first, that Italy, whose coasts appear,
To thy too confident belief, so near,
With havens open for thy sails, a wide
And weary distance doth from thee divide.
501 Soon in a spacious Portico MS.


Trinacrian waves shall bend the pliant oar ; 54°

Thou, thro’ Ausonian gulphs, a passage must explore,

Trace the Circean Isle, the infernal Pool,

Before thy City rise for stedfast rule.

Now mark these Signs, and store them in thy mind ; \

When, anxiously reflecting, thou shalt find J 545

A bulky Female of the bristly Kind J

On a sequester ‘d river’s margin laid,

Where Ilex branches do the ground o’ershade,

With thirty young ones couch’d in that Recess,

White as the pure white Dam whose teats they press, 550

There found thy City ; — on that soil shall close

All thy solicitudes, in fixed repose.

Nor dread Celaeno’s threat, the Fates shall clear

The way, and at thy call Apollo interfere.

But shun those Lands where our Ionian sea 555

Washes the nearest shores of Italy.

On all the coasts malignant Greeks abide ;

Narycian Locrians there a Town have fortified ;

Idomeneus of Crete hath compassed round

With soldiery the Sallentinian ground ; 560

There, when Thessalian Philoctetes chose

His resting-place, the small Petilia rose.

And when, that sea past over, thou shalt stand

Before the Altars, kindled on the strand,

While to the Gods are offer’d up thy vows, 565

Then in a purple veil enwrap thy brows,

And sacrifice thus cover ‘d, lest the sight

Of any hostile face disturb the rite.

Be this observance kept by thee and thine,

And this to late posterity consign! 570

But when by favouring breezes wafted o’er

Thy Fleet approaches the Sicilian shore,

And dense Pelorus gradually throws

Its barriers open to invite thy prows,

That passage shunn’d, thy course in safety keep 575

By steering to the left, with ample sweep.

” ‘Tis said when heaving Earth of yore was rent
This ground forsook the Hesperian Continent ;
Nor doubt, that power to work such change might lie
Within the grasp of dark Antiquity. 580

543 stedfast] settled MS. 548 On ground which Ilex branches

overshade MS. 552 Thy cares and labours in assured repose MS.

554 . . . and Phoebus at thy call appear MS. 566 Then cast a purple

amice o’er MS.


Then flow’d the sea between, and, where the force

Of roaring waves establish’d the divorce,

Still, thro’ the Straits, the narrow waters boil,

Dissevering Town from Town, and soil from soil.

Upon the right the dogs of Scylla fret ; 585

The left by fell Charybdis is beset ;

Thrice tow’rds the bottom of a vast abyss

Down, headlong down the liquid precipice

She sucks the whirling billows, and, as oft,

Ejecting, sends them into air aloft. 59<>

But Scylla, pent within her Cavern blind,

Thrusts forth a visage of our human kind,

And draws the Ship on rocks ; She, fair in show,

A woman to the waist, is foul below ;

A huge Sea-Beast — with Dolphin tails, and bound 595

With water Wolves and Dogs her middle round !

But Thou against this jeopardy provide

Doubling Pachynus with a circuit wide ;

Thus shapeless Scylla may be left unseen,

Unheard the yelling of the brood marine. 600

But, above all if Phoebus I revere

Not unenlighten’d, an authentic Seer,

Then, Goddess -born, (on this could I enlarge

Repeating oft and oft the solemn charge)

Adore imperial Juno, freely wait \ 605

With gifts on Juno’s Altar, supplicate >

Her potent favour, and subdue her hate ; j

So shalt thou seek, a Conqueror at last,

The Italian shore, Trinacrian dangers past !

Arrived at Cumae and the sacred floods 610

Of black Avernus resonant with woods,

Thou shalt behold the Sybil where She sits \

Within her cave,* rapt in extatic fits, |

And words and characters to leaves commits. J

The prophecies which on those leaves the Maid 6×5

Inscribes, are by her hands in order laid

‘Mid the secluded Cavern, where they fill

Their several places, undisturb’d and still.

But if a light wind entering thro’ the door

Scatter the thin leaves on the rocky floor, 620

She to replace her prophecies will use

No diligence ; all flutter where they chuse,

In hopeless disconnection loose and wild ;

608-9 So shalt thou reach (Sicilian limits past)

The Italian shore, a conqueror at last. MS. D. W.


And they, who sought for knowledge, thus beguiTd

Of her predictions, from the cave depart, 625

And quit the Sybil with a murmuring heart.

But thou, albeit ill-dispos’d to wait,

And prizing moments at their highest rate,

Tho* Followers chide, and ever and anon

The flattering winds invite thee to be gone, 630

Beg of the moody Prophetess to break

The silent air, and for thy guidance speak.

She will disclose the features of thy doom,

The Italian Nations, and the Wars to come ;

How to escape from hardships, or endure, \ 635

And make a happy termination sure ; >

Enough — chains bind the rest, or clouds obscure. J

Go then, nor in thy glorious progress halt,

But to the stars the Trojan name exalt!”

So spake the friendly Seer, from hallow’d lips, 640

Then orders sumptuous presents to the Ships ;
Smooth ivory, massy gold, with ponderous store
Of vasos fashion ‘d from the paler ore ;
And Dodonaean Cauldrons, nor withholds

The golden halbork, knit in triple folds, 645

That Neoptolemus erewhile had worn ;
Nor his resplendent crest which waving plumes adorn.
Rich offerings also grace my Father’s hands ;
Horses he adds with Equerries, and Bands

Of Bowers, and supply of Arms commands. 650

— Meanwhile Anchisos bids the Fleet unbind
Its sails for instant seizure of the wind.
The Interpreter of Phoebus then address’d
This gracious farewell to his ancient Guest ;

“Anchises ! to celestial honors led, 655

Beloved of Venus, whom she deign’d to wed,
Care of the Gods, twice snatch’d from Ilium lost,
Now for Ausonia be these waters cross’d!
Yet must thou only glide along the shores

To which I point ; far lies the Land from ours 660

Whither Apollo’s voice directs your powers:
Go, happy Parent of a pious Son,
No more — I baulk the winds that press thee on.”

638-9 Go then ; and high as heaven’s ethereal vault

The Trojan name by glorious deeds exalt. MS. D. W.
641 … orders Presents to our parting Ships. MS, D. W. 659 Yet

only hope to MS. D. W.


Nor less Andromache, disturb ‘d in heart

That parting now, we must for ever part, 665

Embroider’d Vests of golden thread bestows ;

A Phrygian Tunic o’er Ascanius throws;

And studious that her bounty may become

The occasion, adds rich labours of the loom ;

“Dear Child,” she said, “these also, to be kept 670

As the memorials of my hand, accept !

Last gifts of Hector’s Consort, let them prove

To thee the symbols of enduring love ;

Take what Andromache at parting gives,

Fair Boy! — sole Image that for me survives 675

Of my Astyanax, — in whom his face,

His eyes are seen, his very hands I trace ;

And now, but for obstruction from the tomb,

His years had open’d into kindred bloom.”

To these, while gushing tears bedew’d my cheek, 680

Thus in the farewell moment did I speak :

“Live happy Ye, whose race of fortune run \

Permits such life ; from trials undergone |

We to the like are call’d, by you is quiet won. J

No seas have Ye to measure, nor on you \ 685

Is it impos’d Ausonia to pursue, J

And search for fields still flying from the view. J

Lo Xanthus here in miniature ! — there stands

A second Troy, the labour of your hands,

With happier auspices — in less degree 690

Exposed, I trust, to Grecian enmity.

If Tiber e’er receive me, and the sod

Of Tiber’s meadows by these feet be trod,

If e’er I see our promis’d City rise,

These neighbouring Nations bound by ancient ties 695

Hesperian and Epirian, whose blood came

From DardamiSf whose lot hath been the same,

Shall make one Troy in spirit. May that care

To our Descendants pass from heir to heir!”

We coast the high Ceraunia, whence is found 700

The shortest transit to Italian ground ;

678-9 And his unfolding youth with thine kept pace MS. D. W.
683-4 one peril if we shun

*Tis but to meet a worse: by you is Quiet won. MS. D. W.
688-9 Before your sight a mimic Xanthus flows ;

By your own hands the Troy that guards you rose MS. D. W.
694-5 If e’er our destined City I behold,

Then neighbouring Towns, and Tribes akin of old MS. D. W.


Meanwhile the sun went down, and shadows spread

O’er every mountain dark’ned to its head.

Tired of their oars the Men no sooner reach

Earth’s wish’d-for bosom than their limbs they stretch 705

On the dry margin of the murmuring Deep,

Where weariness is lost in timely sleep.

Ere Night, whose Car the Hours had yok’d and rein’d,

Black Night, the middle of her orbit gain’d,

Up from his couch did Palinurus rise, ^ 710

Looks to the wind for what it signifies, 1

And to each breath of air a watchful ear applies. J

Next all the Stars gliding thro’ silent Heaven

The Bears, Arcturus, and the cluster’d Seven,

Are noted, — and his ranging eyes behold 715

Magnificent Orion arm’d in gold.

When he perceives that all things low and high

Unite to promise fix’d serenity,

He sends the summons forth ; our Camp we raise, —

Are gone, — and every Ship her broadest wings displays. 720

Now, when Aurora redden *d in a sky }

From which the Stars had vanish’d, we descry I
The low faint hills of distant Italy. J

* Italia!” shouts Achates; round and round \

“Italia” flies with gratulant rebound, > 7*5

From all who see the coast, or hear the happy sound. J
Not slow is Sire Anchises to entwine
With wreaths a goblet, which he fill’d with wine,
Then, on the Stern he took his lofty stand,

And cried, “Ye Deities of sea and land 730

Thro’ whom the Storms are govern’d, speed our way
By breezes docile to your kindliest sway!’*
— With freshening impulse breathe the wish’d-for gales,
And, as the Ships press on with greedy sails,

Opens the Port ; and, peering into sight, 735

Minerva’s Temple tops a craggy height.
The Sails are furl’d by many a busy hand ;
The veering prows are pointed to the Strand.
Curved into semblance of a bow, the Haven
Looks to the East ; but not a wave thence driven 740

704-7 Eased of the oar, upon earth’s wished-for breast

We seek refreshment and prepare for rest MS. D. W.
We press the bosom of the wished for land ;
And, as we lay dispersed along the Strand,
Our bodies we refresh and dewy sleep
Fell upon weary limbs beside the lulling deep. MS. W.W.
917.17 IV A a


Disturbs its peacefulness ; their foamy spray

Breaks upon jutting rocks that fence the Bay.

Two towering cliffs extend with gradual fall

Their arms into the Sea, and frame a wall

In whose embrace the harbour hidden lies ; \ 745

And, as its shelter deepens on our eyes, 1

Back from the shore Minerva’s Temple flies. J

Four snow-white Horses, grazing the wide fields,
Are the first omen which OUT landing yields ;

Then Sire Anchises — “War thy tokens bear 750

O Hospitable land ! The Horse is arm’d for war ;
War do these menace, but as Steed with Steed \
Oft joins in friendly yoke, the sight may breed >
Fair hope that peace and concord will succeed.” J
To Pollas then in clanking armour mail’d, ^ 755

Who hatt’d us first, exulting to be hail’d, 1

Prayers we address — with Phrygian amice veil’d ; J
And, as by Helenus enjoin’d, the fire
On Juno’s Altar fumes — to Juno vows aspire.
When we had ceas’d this service to present 760

That instant, seaward are our Sail -yards bent,
And we forsake the Shore — with cautious dread
Of ground by Native Grecians tenanted.

The Bay is quickly reach’d that draws its name \
From proud Tarentum, proud to share the fame ) 765

Of Hercules tho’ by a dubious claim: J

Right opposite we ken the Structure holy
Of the Lacinian Goddess rising slowly ;
Next the Caulonian Citadel appear ‘d

And the Scylacian bay for Shipwrecks fear’d ; 770

Lo, as along the open Main we float,
Mount Etna, yet far off ! and far remote
Groans of the Sea we hear ; — deep groans and strokes
Of angry billows beating upon rocks ;

And hoarse surf -clamours, — while the flood throws up 775

Sands from the depths of its unsettled cup.
My Sire exclaim’d, * ‘Companions, we are caught
By fell Charybdis, — flee as ye were taught ;
These, doubtless, are the rocks, the dangerous shores
Which Helenus denounc’d — away — with straining oars.” 780

Quick, to the left the Master Galley veers
With roaring prow, as Palinurus steers ;
And for the left the bands of Rowers strive,
While every help is caught that winds can give.


The whirlpool’s dizzy altitudes we scale, 785

For ghastly sinking when the waters fail.

The hollow rocks thrice gave a fearful cry ; \

Three times we saw the clashing waves fling high >

Their foam dispers’d along a drizzling sky. J

The flagging wind forsook us with the sun, 79°

And to Cyclopian shores a darkling course we run.

The Port, which now we chance to enter, lies
By winds unruffl’d tho’ of ample size ;
But all too near is Etna, thundering loud ;

And ofttimes casting up a pitchy cloud 795

Of smoke — in whirling convolutions driven,
With weight of hoary ashes, high as heaven,
And globes of flame ; and sometimes he gives vent
To rocky fragments, from his entrails rent ;

And hurls out melting substances — that fly 800

In thick assemblage, and confound the sky ;
While groans and lamentations burthensome
Tell to the air from what a depth they come.
The enormous Mass of Etna, so ’tis said,

On lightening-scorch’d Enceladus was laid ; 805

And ever pressing on the Giant’s frame,
Breathes out, from fractur’d chimneys, fitful flame,
And, often as he turns his weary side \

Murmuring Trinacria trembles far and wide, J

While wreaths of smoke ascend and all the welkin hide. J 810

We, thro’ the night, enwrapp’d in woods obscure,
The shock of those dire prodigies endure,
Nor could distinguish whence might come the sound ;
For all the stars to ether’s utmost bound

Were hidden or bedimm’d, and Night withheld 815

The Moon, in mist and lowering fogs conceal’d.

[Desunt 11. 688-706]

Those left, we harbour’d on the joyless coast
Of Drepanum, here harass’d long and toss’d,
And here my Sire Anchises did I lose,

Help in my cares, and solace of my woes. 820

Here, O best Father ! best beloved and best
Didst thou desert me when I needed rest,
Thou, from so many perils snatch’d in vain :
Not Helenus, though much in doleful strain

He prophesied, this sorrow did unfold,

Not dire Celaeno this distress foretold.
This trouble was my last ; Celestial Powers
O Queen, have brought me to your friendly shores.”

— Sole speaker, thus ^Bneas did relate

To a hush’d audience the decrees of Fate,

His wandering course remeasur’d, till the close
Now reach ‘d, in silence here he found repose.

Nuns Fret Not at Their Convent’s Narrow Room
Inscription for the Moss-Hut at Dove Cottage


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