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Be this the song, slow moving tow’rd the shore,
Hector is dead and Ilion is no more.
Then his fell soul a thought of vengeance bred,
(Unworthy of himself and of the dead)
The nervous ancles bord, his feet he bound
With thongs inserted thro' the double wound;
These fix'd, up high behind the rolling wain,
His graceful head was trail'd along the plain.
Of Turnus for Lavinia disespous'd,
Now, Erato ! thy poet's mind inspire,
And fill his soul with thy celestial fire,
Relate what Latium was; her ancient kings :
Declare the past and present state of things,
When first the Trojan fleet Ausonia sought,
And how the rivals loved, and how they fought.
These are my theme: and how the war began,
And how concluded by the godlike man ;
Latinus, old and mild, had long possess'd
The Latin sceptre and his people bless'd;
His father Faunus ; a Laurentian dame,
His mother, Marcia was her name.
But Faunus came from Picus: Picus drew
His birth from Saturn, if records be true.
Thus king Latinus, in the third degree,
Had Saturn author of his family.
But this old peaceful prince, as heaven decreed,
Was bless'd with no male issue to succeed;
His sons, in blooming youth, were snatch'd by
One only daughter heir'd the royal state.
Among the crow'd, but far above the resty
Young Turnus to the beauteous maid address'd.
Turnus, for high descent and graceful mein,
Was first and favour'd by the Latian queen ;
With him she strove to join Lavinia's hand;
But dire portents the purpos'd match withstand.
Deep in the palace, of long growth, there stood
A laurel's trunk, a venerable wood;
Where rites, divine were paid, whose holy hair
Was kept and cut with superstitious care.
This plant Latinus, when his town he wall’d,
Then found, and from the tree Laurentum call'd
And last, in honour of his new abode,
He vow'd the laurel to the laurel’s god.
It happen'd once, (a boding prodigy!)
A swarm of bees, that cut the liquid sky,
(Unknown from whence they took their airy
Upon the topmost branch in clouds alight;
There, with their feet together clung,
And a long cluster from the laurel hung.
An ancient augur prophecied from thence:
Behold, on Latin shore a foreign prince,
From the same part of heav'n his navy stands,
To the same part on earth ; his army lands;
The town he conquers, and the tow'r commands."
Yet more, when fair Lavinia fed the fire
Before the gods, and stood beside her sire,
(Strange to relate!) the flames, involved in smoke
Of incense, from the sacred altar broke,
Caught her dishevell'd hair and rich attire:
Her crown and jewels crackled in the fire ;
From thence the fuming trail began to spread,
And lambent glories danc'd about her head.
This new portent the seer with wonder views, Then pausing, thus his prophesy renews: “ The nymph, who scatters flaming fire around, Shall shine with honour, shall herself be crown'd; But, caus’d by her irrevocable fate, War shall the country waste and change the state.” Latinus, frighted with this dire ostent, For council to his father Faunus went, And sought the shades renown'd by prophecy, Which near Albunea's sulph'rous fountain lie. No sooner were his eyes in slumber bound, When, from above, a more than mortal sound Invades his ear; and thus the vision spoke: “ Seek not my seed in Latian bands to yoke Our fair Lavinia, nor the gods provoke. A foreign son upon the shore descends, Whose martial fame from pole to pole extends. His race, in arms and arts of peace renown'd, Not Latium shall contain nor Europe bound: 'Tis theirs whate'er the sun surveys around." These answers, in the silent night receiv'd, The king himself devulg'd, the land believ'd : The fame through all the neighb'ring nations flew, When now the Trojan navy was in view. Beneath a shady tree, the hero spread His table on the turf, with cakes of bread ; And, with his chiefs, on forest fruits he fed. They sate ; (not without the gods' command) Their homely fare dispatch'd, the hungry band Invade their trenchers next, and soon devour, To mend their scanty meal, the cakes of flour. Ascanius this observ'd, and smiling said, “ See we devour the plates on which we fed.”
The speech had omen, that the Trojan race
Should find repose, and this the time and place.
Æneas took the word, and thus replies :
(Confessing fate with wonder in his eyes)
“ All hail ! O earth; all hail! my household
Behold the destin'd place of our abodes ;
For thus Anchises prophesied of old,
And this our fatal place of rest foretold :"
A posting messenger dispatch'd from hence:
Of this fair troop advised the aged prince,
That foreign men, of mighty stature, came ;
Uncouth their habit, and unknown their name.
The king ordains their entrance, and ascends
His regal seat, surrounded by his friends.
Tell me, ye Trojans ; for that name you own;
Nor is your course upon our coasts unknown;
Say what you seek, and whither were you bound?
Were you by stress of weather cast aground?
Or come your shipping in our port to lay,
Spent and disabled in so long a way?
Say what you want: the Latians you shall find
Not forc'd to goodness, but by will inclin'd;
For since the time of Saturn's holy reign,
His hospitable customs we retain.
VIRGIL'S ÆNEIS. The action of this much-admired poem of Virgil comprehends eight years: the first seven are merely episodes, such as Juno's attempts to destroy the Trojans ; his shipwreck; he visits the Elysian Felds ; &c. Æneas is said to be the son of Venus and Anchises; having escaped the destruction of Troy, after many adventures and
dangers, arrives in Italy; from whence I have chosen the part of the poem for the amusement of
my young readers. 36 At joust and tournament
An ancient diversion; when the combatants, armed, and with lances in their hands, ran at one another full gallop. First introduced into Germany, A. D. 835, by Henry the Fowler, a Saxon prince, who was elected emperor of Germany; and into England by king Henry IV., A.D. 1409,
in Smithfield, before the English nobility. 49
and after him the star
The evening star.
The star that bids the shepherd fold,
Now the top of heaven doth hold. COMUS. 64. With darkness, thrice the equinoctial line
He circled, four times cross'd the car of night
From pole to pole, traversing each colure ;
The equator, or equinoctial line, divides the
globe into two equal parts, forming the northern
and southern hemispheres: hence it takes its name
of equator or equaller.
Two poles turn round the globe, one sean to rise
O’er Scythian hills, and one in Lybian skies ;
The first sublime in heav'n, tha last is whirld
Beneath the regions of the nether world :
There, as they say, perpetual night is found,
In silence brooding on the unhappy ground;
Or where Aurora leaves our northern sphere,
She lights the downward heaven and rises there ;
And when on us she breathes the living light
Red vesper kindles there the tapers of the night.