from THE AENEID - ITHE PROLOGUE
Virgil (P. Vergilius Maro)trans. Alan Crosier
Arma virumque cano, Troiae qui primus ab oris
Italiam, fato profugus, Laviniaque venit
litora, multum ille et terris iactatus et alto
vi superum saevae memorem Iunonis ob iram;
multa quoque et bello passus, dum conderet urbem,
inferretque deos Latio, genus unde Latinum,
Albanique patres, atque altae moenia Romae.




Musa, mihi causas memora, quo numine laeso,
quidve dolens, regina deum tot volvere casus
insignem pietate virum, tot adire labores
impulerit.Tantaene animis caelestibus irae?

Urbs antiqua fuit, Tyrii tenuere coloni,
Karthago, Italiam contra Tiberinaque longe
ostia, dives opum studiisque asperrima belli;
quam Iuno fertur terris magis omnibus unam

posthabita coluisse Samo; hic illius arma,
hic currus fuit; hoc regnum dea gentibus esse,
si qua fata sinant, iam tum tenditque fovetque.
Progeniem sed enim Troiano a sanguine duci
audierat, Tyrias olim quae verteret arces;
hinc populum late regem belloque superbum
venturum excidio Libyae: sic volvere Parcas.




Id metuens, veterisque memor Saturnia belli,
prima quod ad Troiam pro caris gesserat Argis -
necdum etiam causae irarum saevique dolores
exciderant animo: manet alta mente repostum
iudicium Paridis spretaeque iniuria formae,
et genus invisum, et rapti Ganymedis honores.
His accensa super, iactatos aequore toto
Troas, reliquias Danaum atque immitis Achilli,
arcebat longe Latio, multosque per annos
errabant, acti fatis, maria omnia circum.
Tantae molis erat Romanam condere gentem!



My fateful tale concerns a man of war,
And what the vengeful Juno had in store
To try our hero, exiled first from Troy,
On sea and land before he could enjoy
The spoils of arduous battle, make his home
In Italy, and found high-towered Rome.
All this he did, and gave his gods a shrine
On Latin ground; the noble Alban line
Grew strong. But long before he came to beach
At that Lavinian shore he strove to reach,

There’s much, O Muse, that we two have to tell
Of crimes and calumnies, and how it fell
That such a man was hounded on his ways:
How heaven’s wrath a mortal heart betrays!

There stood a town across from Italy
Right opposite where Tiber fronts the sea;
Carthage, wealthy colony of Tyre,
Power of arms its people’s fierce desire.

Now, Juno loved this place above the rest,
Even Samos. Carthage she loved best.
She kept her weapons and her chariots there;
In time, and if the Fates allowed, she’d dare
Extend the city’s empire far and wide.
But rumour murmured, people prophesied -
Trojan blood would rise again to fight
And put her haughty Tyrians all to flight.
This doom the Parcae fashioned on their loom:
A conquering force all Libya would consume.

Fearing this, and mindful how she’d laid
Long siege to Troy, and came to Greece’s aid
In its campaign, also she recalled
The insult dealt her pride when (how it galled
To think it!) mortal Paris judged, and gave
The prize to Venus - brazen Trojan knave!
Another, too: Jove’s favourite Ganymede
He raised to heavenly service, paid no heed
To her, his sister-wife! And so she flung
The Trojans (those Achilles spared) among
The tempests, kept them from their promised land,
Their destined home on Latium’s distant strand.
So Saturn’s daughter journey’s end delayed:
Such years of toil till mighty Rome was made!

Click here 2 for another translation of this poem.

Trans. Copyright © Alan Crosier 2003


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