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Quote of the day: The dark complexion of the Silures, thei
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The Aeneid by Virgil
translated by Theodore C. Williams
Book VI Chapter 10: Entering the Underworld
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After these toils, they hasten to fulfil
What else the Sibyl said. Straightway they find
A cave profound, of entrance gaping wide,
O'erhung with rock, in gloom of sheltering grove,
Near the dark waters of a lake, whereby
No bird might ever pass with scathless wing,
So dire an exhalation is breathed out
From that dark deep of death to upper air --
Hence, in the Grecian tongue, Aornos called.
Here first four youthful bulls of swarthy hide
Were led for sacrifice; on each broad brow
The priestess sprinkled wine; 'twixt the two horns
Outplucked the lifted hair, and cast it forth
Upon the holy flames, beginning so
Her offerings; then loudly sued the power
of Hecate, a Queen in heaven and hell.
Some struck with knives, and caught in shallow bowls
The smoking blood. Aeneas' lifted hand
Smote with a sword a sable-fleeced ewe
To Night, the mother of th' Eumenides,
And Earth, [Note 1] , her sister dread; next unto thee,
O Proserpine, a curst and barren cow;
Then unto Pluto, Stygian king, he built
An altar dark, and piled upon the flames
The ponderous entrails of the bulls, and poured
Free o'er the burning flesh the goodly oil.
Then lo! at dawn's dim, earliest beam began
Beneath their feet a groaning of the ground
The wooded hill-tops shook, and, as it seemed,
She-hounds of hell howled viewless through the shade
To hail their Queen. Away, O souls profane!
Stand far away! the priestess shrieked, nor dare
Unto this grove come near! Aeneas, on!
Begin thy journey! Draw thy sheathed blade!
Now, all thy courage! now, th' unshaken soul!
She spoke, and burst into the yawning cave
With frenzied step he follows where she leads,
And strides with feet unfaltering at her side.

Event: Aeneas visits the Underworld

Note 1: Earth = Gaea

His actis propere exsequitur praecepta Sibyllae.
spelunca alta fuit uastoque immanis hiatu,
scrupea, tuta lacu nigro nemorumque tenebris,
quam super haud ullae poterant impune uolantes
tendere iter pennis: talis sese halitus atris
faucibus effundens supera ad conuexa ferebat.
[unde locum Grai dixerunt nomine Aornum.]
quattuor hic primum nigrantis terga iuuencos
constituit frontique inuergit uina sacerdos,
et summas carpens media inter cornua saetas
ignibus imponit sacris, libamina prima,
uoce uocans Hecaten caeloque Ereboque potentem.
supponunt alii cultros tepidumque cruorem
succipiunt pateris. ipse atri uelleris agnam
Aeneas matri Eumenidum magnaeque sorori
ense ferit, sterilemque tibi, Proserpina, uaccam;
tum Stygio regi nocturnas incohat aras
et solida imponit taurorum uiscera flammis,
pingue super oleum fundens ardentibus extis.
ecce autem primi sub limina solis et ortus
sub pedibus mugire solum et iuga coepta moueri
siluarum, uisaeque canes ululare per umbram
aduentante dea. 'procul, o procul este, profani,'
conclamat uates, 'totoque absistite luco;
tuque inuade uiam uaginaque eripe ferrum:
nunc animis opus, Aenea, nunc pectore firmo.'
tantum effata furens antro se immisit aperto;
ille ducem haud timidis uadentem passibus aequat.