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translated by Theodore C. Williams
Book V Chapter 8: Minoetes is thrown overboard
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Forth-flying from his peers, |
while all the crowd acclaims, sped Gyas' keel
along the outmost wave. Cloanthus next
pushed hard upon, with stronger stroke of oars
but heavier ship. At equal pace behind
the Pristis and the Centaur fiercely strive
for the third place. Now Pristis seems to lead,
now mightier Centaur past her flies, then both
ride on together, prow with prow, and cleave
long lines of foaming furrow with swift keels.
Soon near the rock they drew, and either ship
was making goal, -- when Gyas, in the lead,
and winner of the half-course, loudly hailed
Menoetes, the ship's pilot: Why so far
to starboard, we? Keep her head round this way!
Hug shore! Let every oar-blade almost graze
that reef to larboard! Let the others take
the deep-sea course outside! But while he spoke,
Menoetes, dreading unknown rocks below,
veered off to open sea. Why steer so wide?
Round to the rock,Menoetes! Gyas roared, --
again in vain, for looking back he saw
Cloanthus hard astern, and ever nearer,
who, in a trice, betwixt the booming reef
and Gyas' galley, lightly forward thrust
the beak of Scylla to the inside course,
and, quickly taking lead, flew past the goal
to the smooth seas beyond. Then wrathful grief
flamed in the warrior's heart, nor was his cheek
unwet with tears; and, reckless utterly
of his own honor and his comrades, lives,
he hurled poor, slack Menoetes from the poop
headlong upon the waters, while himself,
pilot and master both, the helm assuming,
urged on his crew, and landward took his way.
But now, with heavy limbs that hardly won
his rescue from the deep, engulfing wave,
up the rude rock graybeard Menoetes climbed
with garment dripping wet, and there dropped down
upon the cliff's dry top. With laughter loud
the Trojan crews had watched him plunging, swimming,
and now to see his drink of bitter brine
spewed on the ground, the sailors laughed again.
Effugit ante alios primisque elabitur undis
turbam inter fremitumque Gyas; quem deinde Cloanthus
consequitur, melior remis, sed pondere pinus
tarda tenet. post hos aequo discrimine Pristis
Centaurusque locum tendunt superare priorem;
et nunc Pristis habet, nunc uictam praeterit ingens
Centaurus, nunc una ambae iunctisque feruntur
frontibus et longa sulcant uada salsa carina.
iamque propinquabant scopulo metamque tenebant,
cum princeps medioque Gyas in gurgite uictor
rectorem nauis compellat uoce Menoeten:
'quo tantum mihi dexter abis? huc derige cursum;
litus ama et laeua stringat sine palmula cautes;
altum alii teneant.' dixit; sed caeca Menoetes
saxa timens proram pelagi detorquet ad undas.
'quo diuersus abis?' iterum 'pete saxa, Menoete!'
cum clamore Gyas reuocabat, et ecce Cloanthum
respicit instantem tergo et propiora tenentem.
ille inter nauemque Gyae scopulosque sonantis
radit iter laeuum interior subitoque priorem
praeterit et metis tenet aequora tuta relictis.
tum uero exarsit iuueni dolor ossibus ingens
nec lacrimis caruere genae, segnemque Menoeten
oblitus decorisque sui sociumque salutis
in mare praecipitem puppi deturbat ab alta;
ipse gubernaclo rector subit, ipse magister
hortaturque uiros clauumque ad litora torquet.
at grauis ut fundo uix tandem redditus imo est
iam senior madidaque fluens in ueste Menoetes
summa petit scopuli siccaque in rupe resedit.
illum et labentem Teucri et risere natantem
et salsos rident reuomentem pectore fluctus.