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translated by Theodore C. Williams
Book IV Chapter 16: Aeneas prepares for take off
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Aeneas, faithful to a task divine, |
though yearning sore to remedy and soothe
such misery, and with the timely word
her grief assuage, and though his burdened heart
was weak because of love, while many a groan
rose from his bosom, yet no whit did fail
to do the will of Heaven, but of his fleet
resumed command. The Trojans on the shore
ply well their task and push into the sea
the lofty ships. Now floats the shining keel,
and oars they bring all leafy from the grove,
with oak half-hewn, so hurried was the flight.
Behold them how they haste -- from every gate
forth-streaming! -- just as when a heap of corn
is thronged with ants, who, knowing winter nigh,
refill their granaries; the long black line
runs o'er the levels, and conveys the spoil
in narrow pathway through the grass; a part
with straining and assiduous shoulder push
the kernels huge; a part array the file,
and whip the laggards on; their busy track
swarms quick and eager with unceasing toil.
O Dido, how thy suffering heart was wrung,
that spectacle to see! What sore lament
was thine, when from the towering citadel
the whole shore seemed alive, the sea itself
in turmoil with loud cries! Relentless Love,
to what mad courses may not mortal hearts
by thee be driven? Again her sorrow flies
to doleful plaint and supplication vain;
again her pride to tyrant Love bows down
lest, though resolved to die, she fail to prove
each hope of living:
Event: Love and Death of Dido
At pius Aeneas, quamquam lenire dolentem
solando cupit et dictis auertere curas,
multa gemens magnoque animum labefactus amore
iussa tamen diuum exsequitur classemque reuisit.
tum uero Teucri incumbunt et litore celsas
deducunt toto nauis. natat uncta carina,
frondentisque ferunt remos et robora siluis
infabricata fugae studio.
migrantis cernas totaque ex urbe ruentis:
ac uelut ingentem formicae farris aceruum
cum populant hiemis memores tectoque reponunt,
it nigrum campis agmen praedamque per herbas
conuectant calle angusto; pars grandia trudunt
obnixae frumenta umeris, pars agmina cogunt
castigantque moras, opere omnis semita feruet.
quis tibi tum, Dido, cernenti talia sensus,
quosue dabas gemitus, cum litora feruere late
prospiceres arce ex summa, totumque uideres
misceri ante oculos tantis clamoribus aequor!
improbe Amor, quid non mortalia pectora cogis!
ire iterum in lacrimas, iterum temptare precando
cogitur et supplex animos summittere amori,
ne quid inexpertum frustra moritura relinquat.