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translated by Theodore C. Williams
Book III Chapter 14: The story of Andromache
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With drooping brows and lowly voice she [Note 1] cried: |
“O, happy only was that virgin blest,
daughter of Priam, summoned forth to die
in sight of Ilium, on a foeman's tomb!
No casting of the lot her doom decreed,
nor came she to her conqueror's couch a slave.
Myself from burning Ilium carried far
o'er seas and seas, endured the swollen pride
of that young scion of Achilles' race,
and bore him as his slave a son. When he
sued for Hermione, of Leda's line,
and nuptial-bond with Lacedaemon's lords,
I, the slave-wife, to Helenus was given,
and slave was wed with slave. But afterward
Orestes, crazed by loss of her he loved,
and ever fury-driven from crime to crime,
crept upon Pyrrhus in a careless hour
and murdered him upon his own hearth-stone.
Part of the realm of Neoptolemus
fell thus to Helenus, who called his lands
Chaonian, and in Trojan Chaon's name
his kingdom is Chaonia. Yonder height
is Pergamus, our Ilian citadel.
What power divine did waft thee to our shore,
not knowing whither? Tell me of the boy
Ascanius! Still breathes he earthly air?
In Troy she bore him -- is he mourning still
that mother ravished from his childhood's eyes?
what ancient valor stirs the manly soul
of thine own son, of Hector's sister's child?”
Thus poured she forth full many a doleful word
with unavailing tears. But as she ceased,
out of the city gates appeared the son
of Priam, Helenus, with princely train.
He welcomed us as kin, and glad at heart
gave guidance to his house, though oft his words
fell faltering and few, with many a tear.
Soon to a humbler Troy I lift my eyes,
and of a mightier Pergamus discern
the towering semblance; there a scanty stream
runs on in Xanthus' name, and my glad arms
the pillars of a Scaean Gate embrace.
My Teucrian mariners with welcome free
enjoyed the friendly town; his ample halls
our royal host threw wide; full wine-cups flowed
within the palace; golden feast was spread,
and many a goblet quaffed.
Note 1: she = Andromache
deiecit uultum et demissa uoce locuta est:
'o felix una ante alias Priameia uirgo,
hostilem ad tumulum Troiae sub moenibus altis
iussa mori, quae sortitus non pertulit ullos
nec uictoris heri tetigit captiua cubile!
nos patria incensa diuersa per aequora uectae
stirpis Achilleae fastus iuuenemque superbum
seruitio enixae tulimus; qui deinde secutus
Ledaeam Hermionen Lacedaemoniosque hymenaeos
me famulo famulamque Heleno transmisit habendam.
ast illum ereptae magno flammatus amore
coniugis et scelerum furiis agitatus Orestes
excipit incautum patriasque obtruncat ad aras.
morte Neoptolemi regnorum reddita cessit
pars Heleno, qui Chaonios cognomine campos
Chaoniamque omnem Troiano a Chaone dixit,
Pergamaque Iliacamque iugis hanc addidit arcem.
sed tibi qui cursum uenti, quae fata dedere?
aut quisnam ignarum nostris deus appulit oris?
quid puer Ascanius? superatne et uescitur aura?
quem tibi iam Troia—
ecqua tamen puero est amissae cura parentis?
ecquid in antiquam uirtutem animosque uirilis
et pater Aeneas et auunculus excitat Hector?'
talia fundebat lacrimans longosque ciebat
incassum fletus, cum sese a moenibus heros
Priamides multis Helenus comitantibus adfert,
agnoscitque suos laetusque ad limina ducit,
et multum lacrimas uerba inter singula fundit.
procedo et paruam Troiam simulataque magnis
Pergama et arentem Xanthi cognomine riuum
agnosco, Scaeaeque amplector limina portae;
nec non et Teucri socia simul urbe fruuntur.
illos porticibus rex accipiebat in amplis:
aulai medio libabant pocula Bacchi
impositis auro dapibus, paterasque tenebant.