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translated by Theodore C. Williams
Book X Chapter 29: Mezentius kills Acron and Orodes
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From ancient Corythus had Acron come, |
a Greek, who left half-sung his wedding-song,
and was an exile; him Mezentius saw
among long lines of foes, with flaunting plumes
and purple garments from his plighted spouse.
Then as a starving lion when he prowls
about high pasture-lands, urged on his way
by maddening hunger (if perchance he see
a flying she-goat or tall-antlered stag)
lifts up his shaggy mane, and gaping wide
his monstrous jaws, springs at the creature's side,
feeding foul-lipped, insatiable of gore:
so through his gathered foes Mezentius
flew at his prey. He stretched along the ground
ill-fated Acron, who breathed life away,
beating the dark dust with his heels, and bathed
his broken weapons in his blood. Nor deigned
Mezentius to strike Orodes down
as he took flight, nor deal a wound unseen
with far-thrown spear; but ran before his face,
fronting him man to man, nor would he win
by sleight or trick, but by a mightier sword.
Soon on the fallen foe he set his heel,
and, pushing hard, with heel and spear, cried out:
Look ye, my men, where huge Orodes lies,
himself a dangerous portion of this war!
With loyal, loud acclaim his peers reply;
but thus the dying hero: Victor mine,
whoe'er thou art, I fall not unavenged!
Thou shalt but triumph for a fleeting hour.
Like doom for thee is written. Speedily
thou shalt this dust inhabit, even as I!
Mezentius answered him with wrathful smile:
Now die! What comes on me concerns alone
the Sire [Note 1] of gods and Sovereign of mankind.
So saying, from the wounded breast he plucked
his javelin: and on those eyes there fell
inexorable rest and iron slumber,
and in unending night their vision closed.
Note 1: Sire = Jupiter
Venerat antiquis Corythi de finibus Acron,
Graius homo, infectos linquens profugus hymenaeos.
hunc ubi miscentem longe media agmina uidit,
purpureum pennis et pactae coniugis ostro,
impastus stabula alta leo ceu saepe peragrans
(suadet enim uesana fames), si forte fugacem
conspexit capream aut surgentem in cornua ceruum,
gaudet hians immane comasque arrexit et haeret
uisceribus super incumbens; lauit improba taeter
sic ruit in densos alacer Mezentius hostis.
sternitur infelix Acron et calcibus atram
tundit humum exspirans infractaque tela cruentat.
atque idem fugientem haud est dignatus Oroden
sternere nec iacta caecum dare cuspide uulnus;
obuius aduersoque occurrit seque uiro uir
contulit, haud furto melior sed fortibus armis.
tum super abiectum posito pede nixus et hasta:
'pars belli haud temnenda, uiri, iacet altus Orodes.'
conclamant socii laetum paeana secuti;
ille autem exspirans: 'non me, quicumque es, inulto,
uictor, nec longum laetabere; te quoque fata
prospectant paria atque eadem mox arua tenebis.'
ad quem subridens mixta Mezentius ira:
'nunc morere. ast de me diuum pater atque hominum rex
uiderit.' hoc dicens eduxit corpore telum.
olli dura quies oculos et ferreus urget
somnus, in aeternam clauduntur lumina noctem.