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Quote of the day: The red hair and large limbs of the inha
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The Aeneid by Virgil
translated by Theodore C. Williams
Book VI Chapter 22: The realm of criminals
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Aeneas straightway by the leftward cliff
Beheld a spreading rampart, high begirt
With triple wall, and circling round it ran
A raging river of swift floods of flame,
Infernal Phlegethon, which whirls along
Loud-thundering rocks. A mighty gate is there
Columned in adamant; no human power,
Nor even the gods, against this gate prevail.
Tall tower of steel it has; and seated there
Tisiphone, in blood-flecked pall arrayed,
Sleepless forever, guards the entering way.
Hence groans are heard, fierce cracks of lash and scourge,
Loud-clanking iron links and trailing chains.
Aeneas motionless with horror stood
o'erwhelmed at such uproar. O virgin, say
What shapes of guilt are these? What penal woe
Harries them thus? What wailing smites the air?
To whom the Sibyl, Far-famed prince of Troy,
The feet of innocence may never pass
Into this house of sin. But Hecate,
When o'er th' Avernian groves she gave me power,
Taught me what penalties the gods decree,
And showed me all. There Cretan Rhadamanth
His kingdom keeps, and from unpitying throne
Chastises and lays bare the secret sins
Of mortals who, exulting in vain guile,
Elude till death, their expiation due.
There, armed forever with her vengeful scourge,
Tisiphone, with menace and affront,
The guilty swarm pursues; in her left hand
She lifts her angered serpents, while she calls
A troop of sister-furies fierce as she.
Then, grating loud on hinge of sickening sound,
Hell's portals open wide. O, dost thou see
What sentinel upon that threshold sits,
What shapes of fear keep guard upon that gloom?

Event: Aeneas visits the Underworld

Respicit Aeneas subito et sub rupe sinistra
moenia lata uidet triplici circumdata muro,
quae rapidus flammis ambit torrentibus amnis,
Tartareus Phlegethon, torquetque sonantia saxa.
porta aduersa ingens solidoque adamante columnae,
uis ut nulla uirum, non ipsi exscindere bello
caelicolae ualeant; stat ferrea turris ad auras,
Tisiphoneque sedens palla succincta cruenta
uestibulum exsomnis seruat noctesque diesque.
hinc exaudiri gemitus et saeua sonare
uerbera, tum stridor ferri tractaeque catenae.
constitit Aeneas strepitumque exterritus hausit.
'quae scelerum facies? o uirgo, effare; quibusue
urgentur poenis? quis tantus plangor ad auras?'
tum uates sic orsa loqui: 'dux inclute Teucrum,
nulli fas casto sceleratum insistere limen;
sed me cum lucis Hecate praefecit Auernis,
ipsa deum poenas docuit perque omnia duxit.
Cnosius haec Rhadamanthus habet durissima regna
castigatque auditque dolos subigitque fateri
quae quis apud superos furto laetatus inani
distulit in seram commissa piacula mortem.
continuo sontis ultrix accincta flagello
Tisiphone quatit insultans, toruosque sinistra
intentans anguis uocat agmina saeua sororum.
tum demum horrisono stridentes cardine sacrae
panduntur portae. cernis custodia qualis
uestibulo sedeat, facies quae limina seruet?