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translated by Theodore C. Williams
Book II Chapter 32: Aeneas finds Creusa's ghost
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The walls and gloomy gates whence forth I [Note 1] came |
I first revisit, and retrace my way,
searching the night once more. On all sides round
horror spread wide; the very silence breathed
a terror on my soul. I hastened then
back to my fallen home, if haply there
her feet had strayed; but the invading Greeks
were its possessors, though the hungry fire
was blown along the roof-tree, and the flames
rolled raging upward on the fitful gale.
To Priam's house I haste, and climb once more
the citadel; in Juno's temple there,
the chosen guardians of her wasted halls,
Phoenix and dread Ulysses watched the spoil.
Here, snatched away from many a burning fane,
Troy's treasures lay, -- rich tables for the gods,
thick bowls of messy gold, and vestures rare,
confusedly heaped up, while round the pile
fair youths and trembling virgins stood forlorn.
Yet oft my voice rang dauntless through the gloom,
from street to street I cried with anguish vain;
and on Creusa piteously calling,
woke the lamenting echoes o'er and o'er.
While on this quest I roamed the city through,
of reason reft there rose upon my sight --
O shape of sorrow! -- my Creusa's ghost,
hers truly, though a loftier port it wore.
I quailed, my hair rose, and I gasped for fear;
but thus she spoke, and soothed my grief away:
“Why to these frenzied sorrows bend thy soul,
O husband ever dear! The will of Heaven
hath brought all this to pass. Fate doth not send
Creusa the long journeys thou shalt take,
or hath th' Olympian King so given decree.
Long is thy banishment; thy ship must plough
the vast, far-spreading sea. Then shalt thou come
unto Hesperia, whose fruitful plains
are watered by the Tiber, Lydian stream,
of smooth, benignant Bow. Thou shalt obtain
fair fortunes, and a throne and royal bride.
For thy beloved Creusa weep no more!
No Myrmidon's proud palace waits me now;
Dolopian shall not scorn, nor Argive dames
command a slave of Dardan's royal stem
and wife to Venus' son. On these loved shores
the Mother of the Gods compels my stay.
Farewell! farewell! O, cherish evermore
thy son and mine!" Her utterance scarce had ceased,
when, as I strove through tears to make reply,
she left me, and dissolved in empty air.
Thrice would my frustrate arms her form enfold;
thrice from the clasp of hand that vision fled,
like wafted winds and like a fleeting dream.
Note 1: I = Aeneas
principio muros obscuraque limina portae,