The Boat Race

THUS Italy was mov'd — nor did the chief
Æneas in his mind less tumult feel.
On ev'ry side his anxious thought he turns,
Restless, unfixt, not knowing what to choose.
And as a cistern that in brim of brass
Confines the crystal flood, if chance the sun
Smite on it, or the moon's resplendent orb,
The quiv'ring light now flashes on the walls
Now leaps uncertain to the vaulted roof:
Such were the wav'ring motions of his mind.
'Twas night — and weary nature sunk to rest.
The birds, the bleating flocks, were heard no more.
At length, on the cold ground, beneath the damp
And dewy vault, fast by the river's brink,
The Father of his country sought repose.
When lo! among the spreading poplar boughs,
Forth from his pleasant stream, propitious rose
The god of Tiber: clear transparent gauze
Infolds his loins, his brows with reeds are crown'd:
And these his gracious words to sooth his care:
" Heav'n-born, who bring'st our kindred home again,
Rescued, and giv'st eternity to Troy,
Long have Laurentum and the Latian plains
Expected thee; behold thy fixt abode,
Fear not the threats of war, the storm is pass'd,
The gods appeas'd. For proof that what thou hear'st
Is no vain forgery or delusive dream,
Beneath the grove that borders my green bank,
A milk-white swine, with thirty milk-white young
Shall greet thy wond'ring eyes. Mark well the place;
For 'tis thy place of rest, there end thy toils:
There, twice ten years elaps'd, fair Alba's walls
Shall rise, fair Alba, by Ascanius' hand.
Thus shall it be — now listen, while I teach
The means t' accomplish these events at hand.
Th' Arcadians here, a race from Pallas sprung,
Following Evander's standard and his fate,
High on these mountains, a well-chosen spot,
Have built a city, for their Grandsire's sake
Named Pallanteum. These, perpetual war
Wage with the Latians: join'd in faithful league
And arms confed'rate, add them to your camp.
Myself between my winding banks, will speed
Your well-oar'd barks to stem th' opposing tide.
Rise, goddess-born, arise; and with the first
Declining stars, seek Juno in thy pray'r,
And vanquish all her wrath with suppliant vows.
When conquest crowns thee, then remember Me.
I am the Tiber, whose caerulean stream
Heav'n favours; I with copious flood divide
These grassy banks, and cleave the fruitful meads.
My mansion, This — and lofty cities crown
My fountain-head. " — He spoke, and sought the deep,
And plung'd his form beneath the closing flood.
Æneas at the morning dawn awoke,
And rising, with uplifted eye beheld
The orient sun, then dipp'd his palms, and scoop'd
The brimming stream, and thus address'd the skies.
" Ye nymphs, Laurentian nymphs, who feed the source
Of many a stream, and thou, with thy blest flood,
O Tiber, hear, accept me, and afford,
At length afford, a shelter from my woes.
Where'er in secret cavern under ground
Thy waters sleep, where'er they spring to light,
Since thou hast pity for a wretch like me,
My off'rings and my vows shall wait thee still:
Great horned Father of Hesperian floods,
Be gracious now, and ratify thy word. "
He said, and chose two gallies from his fleet,
Fits them with oars, and clothes the crew in arms.
When lo! astonishing and pleasing sight,
The milk-white dam, with her unspotted brood,
Lay stretch'd upon the bank, beneath the grove.
To thee, the pious Prince, Juno, to thee
Devotes them all, all on thine altar bleed.
That live-long night old Tiber smooth'd his flood,
And so restrain'd it, that it seem'd to stand
Motionless as a pool, or silent lake,
That not a billow might resist their oars.
With cheerful sound of exhortation soon
Their voyage they begin; the pitchy keel
Slides through the gentle deep, the quiet stream
Admires th' unwonted burthen that it bears,
Well polish'd arms, and vessels painted gay.
Beneath the shade of various trees, between
Th' umbrageous branches of the spreading groves,
They cut their liquid way, nor day, nor night
They slack their course, unwinding as they go
The long meanders of the peaceful tide.
The glowing sun was in meridian height,
When from afar they saw the humble walls,
And the few scatter'd cottages, which now
The Roman pow'r has equall'd with the clouds;
But such was then Evander's scant domain.
They steer to shore, and hasten to the town.
It chanc'd th' Arcadian monarch on that day,
Before the walls, beneath a shady grove,
Was celebrating high, in solemn feast,
Alcides and his tutelary gods.
Pallas, his son, was there, and there the chief
Of all his youth; with these, a worthy tribe,
His poor but venerable senate, burnt
Sweet incense, and their altars smok'd with blood.
Soon as they saw the towering masts approach,
Sliding between the trees, while the crew rest
Upon their silent oars, amaz'd they rose,
Not without fear, and all forsook the feast.
But Pallas undismay'd his jav'lin seiz'd,
Rush'd to the bank, and from a rising ground
Forbade them to disturb the sacred rites.
" Ye stranger youth! what prompts you to explore
This untried way? and whither do ye steer?
Whence, and who are ye? Bring ye peace or war? "
Æneas from his lofty deck holds forth
The peaceful olive branch, and thus replies
" Trojans and enemies to the Latian state,
Whom they with unprovok'd hostilities
Have driv'n away, thou see'st. We seek Evander —
Say this — and say beside, the Trojan chiefs
Are come, and seek his friendship and his aid. "
Pallas with wonder heard that awful name,
And " Whosoe'er thou art, " he cried, " come forth;
Bear thine own tidings to my father's ear,
And be a welcome guest beneath our roof. "
He said, and press'd the stranger to his breast:
Then led him from the river to the grove,
Where, courteous, thus Æneas greets the king:
" Best of the Grecian race, to whom I bow
(So wills my fortune) suppliant, and stretch forth
In sign of amity this peaceful branch,
I fear'd thee not, altho' I knew thee well
A Grecian leader, born in Arcady,
And kinsman of th' Atridae. Me my virtue,
That means no wrong to thee — the Oracles,
Our kindred families allied of old,
And thy renown diffus'd thro' ev'ry land,
Have all conspir'd to bind in friendship to thee,
And send me not unwilling to thy shores.
Dardanus, author of the Trojan state,
(So say the Greeks) was fair Electra's son;
Electra boasted Atlas for her sire,
Whose shoulders high sustain th' aethereal orbs.
Your sire is Mercury, who Maia bore,
Sweet Maia, on Cyllene's hoary top.
Her, if we credit aught tradition old,
Atlas of yore, the selfsame Atlas, claim'd
His daughter. Thus united close in blood,
Thy race and ours one common sire confess.
With these credentials fraught, I would not send
Ambassadors with artful phrase to sound
And win thee by degrees — but came myself —
Me therefore, me thou see'st; my life the stake:
'Tis I, Æneas; who implore thine aid.
Should Daunia, that now aims the blow at thee,
Prevail to conquer us , nought then, they think,
Will hinder, but Hesperia must be theirs,
All theirs, from th' upper to the nether sea.
Take then our friendship, and return us thine.
We too have courage, we have noble minds,
And youth well tried, and exercis'd in arms. "
Thus spoke Æneas — He with fixt regard
Survey'd him speaking, features, form and mien.
Then briefly thus — " Thou noblest of thy name,
How gladly do I take thee to my heart,
How gladly thus confess thee for a friend!
In thee I trace Anchises; his thy speech,
Thy voice, thy count'nance. For I well remember,
Many a day since, when Priam journey'd forth
To Salamis, to see the land where dwelt
Hesione, his sister, he push'd on
E'en to Arcadia's frozen bounds. 'Twas then
The bloom of youth was glowing on my cheek;
Much I admir'd the Trojan chiefs, and much
Their king, the son of great Laomedon,
But most Anchises, tow'ring o'er them all.
A youthful longing seiz'd me to accost
The hero, and embrace him; I drew near,
And gladly led him to the walls of Pheneus.
Departing, he distinguish'd me with gifts,
A costly quiver stor'd with Lycian darts,
A robe inwove with gold, with gold imboss'd,
Two bridles, those which Pallas uses now.
The friendly league thou hast solicited
I give thee therefore, and to-morrow, all
My chosen youth shall wait on your return.
Meanwhile, since thus in friendship ye are come,
Rejoice with us, and join to celebrate
These annual rites, which may not be delay'd,
And be at once familiar at our board. "
He said, and bade replace the feast remov'd;
Himself upon a grassy bank dispos'd
The crew, but for Æneas order'd forth
A couch, spread with a lion's tawny shag,
And bad him share the honours of his throne.
Th' appointed youth with glad alacrity
Assist the lab'ring priest to load the board
With roasted entrails of the slaughter'd beeves,
Well-kneaded bread and mantling bowls. Well pleas'd
Æneas and the Trojan youth regale
On the huge length of a well-pastur'd chine.
Hunger appeas'd, and tables all despatch'd,
Thus spake Evander: " Superstition here,
In this our solemn feasting has no part.
No, Trojan friend, from utmost danger sav'd,
In gratitude this worship we renew.
Behold that rock which nods above the vale,
Those bulks of broken stone dispers'd around,
How desolate the shatter'd cave appears,
And what a ruin spreads th' incumber'd plain.
Within this pile, but far within, was once
The den of Cacus; dire his hateful form,
That shunn'd the day, half monster and half man.
Blood newly shed stream'd ever on the ground
Smoking, and many a visage pale and wan
Nail'd at his gate, hung hideous to the sight.
Vulcan begot the brute: vast was his size,
And from his throat he belch'd his father's fires.
But the day came that brought us what we wish'd,
Th' assistance and the presence of a God.
Flush'd with his vict'ry and the spoils he won
From triple-form'd Geryon, lately slain,
The great avenger Hercules appear'd.
Hither he drove his stately bulls, and pour'd
His herds along the vale. But the sly thief
Cacus, that nothing might escape his hand
Of villany or fraud, drove from the stalls
Four of the lordliest of his bulls, and four
The fairest of his heifers; by the tail
He dragg'd them to his den, that there conceal'd,
No footsteps might betray the dark abode.
And now, his herd with provender suffic'd,
Alcides would be gone: they as they went
Still bellowing loud, made the deep echoing woods
And distant hills resound: when hark! one ox,
Imprison'd close within the vast recess,
Lows in return, and frustrates all his hope.
Then fury seiz'd Alcides, and his breast
With indignation heav'd: grasping his club
Of knotted oak, swift to the mountain-top
He ran, he flew. Then first was Cacus seen
To tremble, and his eyes bespoke his fears.
Swift as an eastern blast he sought his den,
And dread increasing wing'd him as he went.
Drawn up in iron slings above the gate
A rock was hung enormous. Such his haste,
He burst the chains, and dropp'd it at the door,
Then grappled it with iron work within
Of bolts and bars by Vulcan's art contriv'd.
Scarce was he fast, when panting for revenge
Came Hercules; he gnash'd his teeth with rage,
And quick as lightning glanc'd his eyes around
In quest of entrance. Fiery red and stung
With indignation, thrice he wheel'd his course
About the mountain; thrice, but thrice in vain,
He strove to force the quarry at the gate,
And thrice sat down o'erwearied in the vale.
There stood a pointed rock, abrupt and rude
That high o'erlook'd the rest, close at the back
Of the fell monster's den, where birds obscene
Of ominous note resorted, choughs and daws.
This, as it lean'd obliquely to the left,
Threat'ning the stream below, he from the right
Push'd with his utmost strength, and to and fro
He shook the mass, loos'ning its lowest base;
Then shov'd it from its seat; down fell the pile;
Sky thunder'd at the fall; the banks give way,
Th' affrighted stream flows upward to his source.
Behold the kennel of the brute expos'd,
The gloomy vault laid open. So, if chance
Earth yawning to the centre should disclose
The mansions, the pale mansions of the dead,
Loath'd by the Gods, such would the gulph appear,
And the ghosts tremble at the sight of day.
The monster braying with unusual din
Within his hollow lair, and sore amaz'd
To see such sudden inroads of the light,
Alcides press'd him close with what at hand
Lay readiest, stumps of trees, and fragments huge
Of millstone size. He, (for escape was none)
Wond'rous to tell! forth from his gorge discharg'd
A smoky cloud, that darken'd all the den;
Wreath after wreath he vomited amain
The smoth'ring vapor, mixt with fiery sparks.
No sight could penetrate the veil obscure.
The hero, more provok'd, endur'd not this,
But, with a headlong leap, he rush'd to where
The thickest cloud envelop'd his abode.
There grasp'd he Cacus, spite of all his fires,
Till crush'd within his arms the monster shows
His bloodless throat, now dry with panting hard,
And his press'd eyeballs start. Soon he tears down
The barricade of rock, the dark abyss
Lies open; and th' imprison'd bulls, the theft
He had with oaths denied, are brought to light;
By th' heels the miscreant carcase is dragg'd forth,
His face, his eyes, all terrible, his breast
Beset with bristles, and his sooty jaws
Are view'd with wonder never to be cloy'd.
Hence the celebrity thou see'st, and hence
This festal day. — Potitius first enjoin'd
Posterity these solemn rites, he first
With those who bear the great Pinarian name
To Hercules devoted, in the grove
This altar built, deem'd sacred in the highest
By us, and sacred ever to be deem'd.
Come then, my friends, and bind your youthful brows
In praise of such deliv'rance, and hold forth
The brimming cup; your deities and ours
Are now the same: then drink, and freely too. "
So saying, he twisted round his rev'rend locks
A variegated poplar wreath, and fill'd
His right hand with a consecrated bowl.
At once all pour libations on the board,
All offer pray'r. And now the radiant sphere
Of day descending, eventide drew near.
When first Potitius with the priests advanc'd,
Begirt with skins, and torches in their hands.
High piled with meats of sav'ry taste, they rang'd
The chargers, and renew'd the grateful feast.
Then came the Salii, crown'd with poplar too,
Circling the blazing altars; here the youth
Advanc'd, a choir harmonious, there were heard
The rev'rend seers responsive; praise they sung,
Much praise in honour of Alcides' deeds;
How first with infant gripe two serpents huge
He strangled, sent from Juno; next they sung
How Troja and Oechalia he destroy'd,
Fair cities both, and many a toilsome task
Beneath Eurystheus, (so his step-dame will'd)
Achiev'd victorious. " Thou, the cloud-born pair,
Hylaeus fierce and Pholus, monstrous twins,
Thou slew'st the minotaur, the plague of Crete,
And the vast lion of the Nemean rock.
Thee Hell, and Cerberus, Hell's porter, fear'd,
Stretch'd in his den upon his half-gnaw'd bones.
Thee no abhorred form, not ev'n the vast
Typhaeus could appal, tho' clad in arms.
Hail, true-born son of Jove, among the Gods
At length enroll'd, nor least illustrious thou,
Haste thee propitious, and approve our songs. — "
Thus hymn'd the chorus; above all they sing
The cave of Cacus, and the flames he breath'd.
The whole grove echoes, and the hills rebound.
The rites perform'd, all hasten to the town.
The king, bending with age, held as he went
Æneas, and his Pallas by the hand,
With much variety of pleasing talk
Short'ning the way. Æneas, with a smile,
Looks round him, charm'd with the delightful scene,
And many a question asks, and much he learns
Of heroes far renown'd in ancient times.
Then spake Evander: " These extensive groves
Were once inhabited by fauns and nymphs
Produc'd beneath their shades, and a rude race
Of men, the progeny uncouth of elms
And knotted oaks. They no refinement knew
Of laws or manners civiliz'd, to yoke
The steer, with forecast provident to store
The hoarded grain, or manage what they had,
But brows'd like beasts upon the leafy boughs,
Or fed voracious on their hunted prey.
An exile from Olympus, and expell'd
His native realm by thunder-bearing Jove,
First Saturn came. He from the mountains drew
This herd of men untractable and fierce,
And gave them laws: and call'd his hiding place,
This growth of forests, Latium. Such the peace
His land possess'd, the golden age was then,
So fam'd in story; till by slow degrees
Far other times, and of far diff'rent hue
Succeeded, thirst of gold and thirst of blood.
Then came Ausonian bands, and armed hosts
From Sicily, and Latium often chang'd
Her master and her name. At length arose
Kings, of whom Tybris of gigantic form
Was chief; and we Italians since have call'd
The river by his name; thus Albula
(So was the country call'd in ancient days)
Was quite forgot. Me from my native land
An exile, thro' the dang'rous ocean driv'n,
Resistless fortune and relentless fate
Placed where thou see'st me. Phaebus, and
The nymph Carmentis, with maternal care
Attendant on my wand'rings, fix'd me here. "
[Ten lines omitted.]

He said, and shew'd him the Tarpeian rock,
And the rude spot, where now the capitol
Stands all magnificent and bright with gold,
Then overgrown with thorns. And yet ev'n then,
The swains beheld that sacred scene with awe;
The grove, the rock, inspir'd religious fear.
" This grove, " he said, " that crowns the lofty top
Of this fair hill, some deity, we know,
Inhabits, but what deity we doubt.
Th' Arcadians speak of Jupiter himself,
That they have often seen him, shaking here
His gloomy Ægis, while the thunder-storms
Came rolling all around him. Turn thine eyes,
Behold that ruin; those dismantled walls,
Were once two towns, Ianiculum —
By Janus this, and that by Saturn built,
Saturnia. " Such discourse brought them beneath
The roof of poor Evander; thence they saw,
Where now the proud and stately forum stands,
The grazing herds wide scatter'd o'er the field.
Soon as he enter'd — " Hercules, " he said,
" Victorious Hercules, on this threshold trod,
These walls contain'd him, humble as they are.
Dare to despise magnificence, my friend,
Prove thy divine descent by worth divine,
Nor view with haughty scorn this mean abode. "
So saying, he led Æneas by the hand,
And plac'd him on a cushion stuff'd with leaves,
Spread with the skin of a Lybistian bear.

[The Episode of Venus and Vulcan omitted.]

While thus in Lemnos Vulcan was employ'd,
Awaken'd by the gentle dawn of day,
And the shrill song of birds beneath the eaves
Of his low mansion, old Evander rose.
His tunic, and the sandals on his feet,
And his good sword well-girded to his side,
A panther's skin dependent from his left
And over his right shoulder thrown aslant,
Thus was he clad. Two mastiffs follow'd him,
His whole retinue and his nightly guard.
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