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translated by Theodore C. Williams
Book XII Chapter 26: Turnus announces the duel
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But when first the light |
of reason to his blinded soul returned,
he strained his flaming eyeballs to behold
the distant wall, and from his chariot gazed
in wonder at the lordly citadel.
For, lo, a pointed peak of flame uprolled
from tier to tier, and surging skyward seized
a tower -- the very tower his own proud hands
had built of firm-set beams and wheeled in place,
and slung its lofty bridges high in air.
Fate is too strong, my sister! Seek no more
to stay the stroke. But let me hence pursue
that path where Heaven and cruel Fortune call.
Aeneas I must meet; and I must bear
the bitterness of death, whate'er it be.
O sister, thou shalt look upon my shame
no longer. But first grant a madman's will!
He spoke; and leaping from his chariot, sped
through foes and foemen's spears, not seeing now
his sister's sorrow, as in swift career
he burst from line to line. Thus headlong falls
a mountain-boulder by a whirlwind flung
from lofty peak, or loosened by much rain,
or by insidious lapse of seasons gone;
the huge, resistless crag goes plunging down
by leaps and bounds, o'erwhelming as it flies
tall forests, woods and herds, and mortal men:
so through the scattered legions Turnus ran
straight to the city walls, where all the ground
was drenched with blood, and every passing air
shrieked with the noise of spears. His lifted hand
made sign of silence as he loudly called:
Refrain, Rutulians! O ye Latins all,
your spears withhold! The issue of the fray
is all my own. I only can repair
our broken truce by judgment of the sword.
Back fell the hostile lines, and cleared the field.
Event: Renewal of the war.
Ecce autem flammis inter tabulata uolutus
ad caelum undabat uertex turrimque tenebat,
turrim compactis trabibus quam eduxerat ipse
subdideratque rotas pontisque instrauerat altos.
'iam iam fata, soror, superant, absiste morari;
quo deus et quo dura uocat Fortuna sequamur.
stat conferre manum Aeneae, stat, quidquid acerbi est,
morte pati, neque me indecorem, germana, uidebis
amplius. hunc, oro, sine me furere ante furorem.'
dixit, et e curru saltum dedit ocius aruis
perque hostis, per tela ruit maestamque sororem
deserit ac rapido cursu media agmina rumpit.
ac ueluti montis saxum de uertice praeceps
cum ruit auulsum uento, seu turbidus imber
proluit aut annis soluit sublapsa uetustas;
fertur in abruptum magno mons improbus actu
exsultatque solo, siluas armenta uirosque
inuoluens secum: disiecta per agmina Turnus
sic urbis ruit ad muros, ubi plurima fuso
sanguine terra madet striduntque hastilibus aurae,
significatque manu et magno simul incipit ore:
'parcite iam, Rutuli, et uos tela inhibete, Latini.
quaecumque est fortuna, mea est; me uerius unum
pro uobis foedus luere et decernere ferro.'
discessere omnes medii spatiumque dedere.