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translated by Theodore C. Williams
Book X Chapter 27: Turnus understands
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By chance in covert of a lofty crag |
a ship stood fastened and at rest; her sides
showed ready bridge and stairway; she had brought
Osinius, king of Clusium. Thither came
Aeneas' counterfeit of flight and fear,
and dropped to darkness. Turnus, nothing loth,
gave close chase, overleaping every bar,
and scaling the high bridge; but scarce he reached
the vessel's prow, when Juno cut her loose,
the cables breaking, and along swift waves
pushed her to sea. Yet in that very hour
Aeneas to the battle vainly called
the vanished foe, and round his hard-fought path
stretched many a hero dead. No longer now
the mocking shadow sought to hide, but soared
visibly upward and was lost in cloud,
while Turnus drifted o'er the waters wide
before the wind. Bewildered and amazed
he looked around him; little joy had he
in his own safety, but upraised his hands
in prayer to Heaven: O Sire omnipotent! [Note 1]
Didst thou condemn me to a shame like this?
Such retribution dire? Whither now?
Whence came I here? What panic wafts away
this Turnus -- if t is he? Shall I behold
Laurentum's towers once more? But what of those
my heroes yonder, who took oath to me,
and whom -- O sin and shame! -- I have betrayed
to horrible destruction? Even now
I see them routed, and my ears receive
their dying groans. What is this thing I do?
Where will the yawning earth crack wide enough
beneath my feet? Ye tempests, pity me!
On rocks and reef -- t is Turnus' faithful prayer,
let this bark founder; fling it on the shoals
of wreckful isles, where no Rutulian eye
can follow me, or Rumor tell my shame.
With such wild words his soul tossed to and fro,
not knowing if to hide his infamy
with his own sword and madly drive its blade
home to his heart, or cast him in the sea,
and, swimming to the rounded shore, renew
his battle with the Trojan foe. Three times
each fatal course he tried; but Juno's power
three times restrained, and with a pitying hand
the warrior's purpose barred. So on he sped
o'er yielding waters and propitious tides,
far as his father Daunus' ancient town.
Note 1: omnipotent = Jupiter
Forte ratis celsi coniuncta crepidine saxi
expositis stabat scalis et ponte parato,
qua rex Clusinis aduectus Osinius oris.
huc sese trepida Aeneae fugientis imago
conicit in latebras, nec Turnus segnior instat
exsuperatque moras et pontis transilit altos.
uix proram attigerat, rumpit Saturnia funem
auulsamque rapit reuoluta per aequora nauem.
tum leuis haud ultra latebras iam quaerit imago,
sed sublime uolans nubi se immiscuit atrae,
illum autem Aeneas absentem in proelia poscit;
obuia multa uirum demittit corpora morti,
cum Turnum medio interea fert aequore turbo.
respicit ignarus rerum ingratusque salutis
et duplicis cum uoce manus ad sidera tendit:
'omnipotens genitor, tanton me crimine dignum
duxisti et talis uoluisti expendere poenas?
quo feror? unde abii? quae me fuga quemue reducit?
Laurentisne iterum muros aut castra uidebo?
quid manus illa uirum, qui me meaque arma secuti?
quosque (nefas) omnis infanda in morte reliqui
et nunc palantis uideo, gemitumque cadentum
accipio? quid ago? aut quae iam satis ima dehiscat
terra mihi? uos o potius miserescite, uenti;
in rupes, in saxa (uolens uos Turnus adoro)
ferte ratem saeuisque uadis immittite syrtis,
quo nec me Rutuli nec conscia fama sequatur.'
haec memorans animo nunc huc, nunc fluctuat illuc,
an sese mucrone ob tantum dedecus amens
induat et crudum per costas exigat ensem,
fluctibus an iaciat mediis et litora nando
curua petat Teucrumque iterum se reddat in arma.
ter conatus utramque uiam, ter maxima Iuno
continuit iuuenemque animi miserata repressit.
labitur alta secans fluctuque aestuque secundo
et patris antiquam Dauni defertur ad urbem.