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The Aeneid by Virgil
translated by Theodore C. Williams
Book VIII Chapter 20: Crimes of Mezentius
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> Great leader of the Teucrians, while thy life
in safety stands, I call not Trojan power
vanquished or fallen. But to help thy war
my small means match not thy redoubled name.
Yon Tuscan river is my bound. That way
Rutulia thrusts us hard and chafes our wall
with loud, besieging arms. But I propose
to league with thee a numerous array
of kings and mighty tribes, which fortune strange
now brings to thy defence. Thou comest here
because the Fates intend. Not far from ours
a city on an ancient rock is seen,
Agylla, which a warlike Lydian clan
built on the Tuscan hills. It prospered well
for many a year, then under the proud yoke
of king Mezentius it came and bore
his cruel sway. Why tell the loathsome deeds
and crimes unspeakable the despot wrought?
May Heaven requite them on his impious head
and on his children! For he used to chain
dead men to living, hand on hand was laid
and face on face, -- torment incredible!
Till, locked in blood-stained, horrible embrace,
a lingering death they found. But at the last
his people rose in furious despair,
and while he blasphemously raged, assailed
his life and throne, cut down his guards
and fired his regal dwellings; he, the while,
escaped immediate death and fled away
to the Rutulian land, to find defence
in Turnus hospitality. To-day
Etruria, to righteous anger stirred,
demands with urgent arms her guilty king.
To their large host, Aeneas, I will give
an added strength, thyself. For yonder shores
re-echo with the tumult and the cry
of ships in close array; their eager lords
are clamoring for battle. But the song
of the gray omen-giver thus declares
their destiny: O goodly princes hell-born
of old Maeonian lineage! Ye that are
the bloom and glory of an ancient race,
whom just occasions now and noble rage
enflame against Mezentius your foe,
it is decreed that yonder nation proud
shall never submit to chiefs Italian-born.
Seek ye a king from far! So in the field
inert and fearful lies Etruria's force,
disarmed by oracles. Their Tarchon sent
envoys who bore a sceptre and a crown
even to me, and prayed I should assume
the sacred emblems of Etruria's king,
and lead their host to war. But unto me
cold, sluggish age, now barren and outworn,
denies new kingdoms, and my slow-paced powers
run to brave deeds no more. Nor could I urge
my son, who by his Sabine mother's line
is half Italian-born. Thyself art he,
whose birth illustrious and manly prime
fate favors and celestial powers approve.
Therefore go forth, O bravest chief and king
of Troy and Italy! To thee I give
the hope and consolation of our throne,
Pallas, my son, and bid him find in thee
a master and example, while he learns
the soldier's arduous toil. With thy brave deeds
let him familiar grow, and reverence thee
with youthful love and honor. In his train
two hundred horsemen of Arcadia,
our choicest men-at-arms, shall ride; and he
in his own name an equal band shall bring
to follow only thee.

Event: Aeneas visits Evander

470-519
'maxime Teucrorum ductor, quo sospite numquam
res equidem Troiae uictas aut regna fatebor,
nobis ad belli auxilium pro nomine tanto
exiguae uires; hinc Tusco claudimur amni,
hinc Rutulus premit et murum circumsonat armis.
sed tibi ego ingentis populos opulentaque regnis
iungere castra paro, quam fors inopina salutem
ostentat: fatis huc te poscentibus adfers.
haud procul hinc saxo incolitur fundata uetusto
urbis Agyllinae sedes, ubi Lydia quondam
gens, bello praeclara, iugis insedit Etruscis.
hanc multos florentem annos rex deinde superbo
imperio et saeuis tenuit Mezentius armis.
quid memorem infandas caedes, quid facta tyranni
effera? di capiti ipsius generique reseruent!
mortua quin etiam iungebat corpora uiuis
componens manibusque manus atque oribus ora,
tormenti genus, et sanie taboque fluentis
complexu in misero longa sic morte necabat.
at fessi tandem ciues infanda furentem
armati circumsistunt ipsumque domumque,
obtruncant socios, ignem ad fastigia iactant.
ille inter caedem Rutulorum elapsus in agros
confugere et Turni defendier hospitis armis.
ergo omnis furiis surrexit Etruria iustis,
regem ad supplicium praesenti Marte reposcunt.
his ego te, Aenea, ductorem milibus addam.
toto namque fremunt condensae litore puppes
signaque ferre iubent, retinet longaeuus haruspex
fata canens: "o Maeoniae delecta iuuentus,
flos ueterum uirtusque uirum, quos iustus in hostem
fert dolor et merita accendit Mezentius ira,
nulli fas Italo tantam subiungere gentem:
externos optate duces." tum Etrusca resedit
hoc acies campo monitis exterrita diuum.
ipse oratores ad me regnique coronam
cum sceptro misit mandatque insignia Tarchon,
succedam castris Tyrrhenaque regna capessam.
sed mihi tarda gelu saeclisque effeta senectus
inuidet imperium seraeque ad fortia uires.
natum exhortarer, ni mixtus matre Sabella
hinc partem patriae traheret. tu, cuius et annis
et generi fatum indulget, quem numina poscunt,
ingredere, o Teucrum atque Italum fortissime ductor.
hunc tibi praeterea, spes et solacia nostri,
Pallanta adiungam; sub te tolerare magistro
militiam et graue Martis opus, tua cernere facta
adsuescat, primis et te miretur ab annis.
Arcadas huic equites bis centum, robora pubis
lecta dabo, totidemque suo tibi nomine Pallas.'