from the AENEID - Book VII, ll.1-24
Virgil (Publius Vergilius Maro)prose tr. David West
Tu quoque litoribus nostris, Aeneia nutrix,
aeternam moriens famam, Caieta, dedisti;
et nunc servat honos sedem tuus ossaque nomen
Hesperia in magna, siqua est ea gloria, signat.
At pius exsequiis Aeneas rite solutis,
aggere composito tumuli, postquam alta quierunt
aequora, tendit iter velis portumque relinquit.
Adspirant aurae in noctem nec candida cursus
Luna negat, splendet tremulo sub lumine pontus.
Proxima Circaeae raduntur litora terrae,
dives inaccessos ubi Solis filia lucos
adsiduo resonat cantu tectisque superbis
urit odoratam nocturna in lumina cedrum,
arguto tenuis percurrens pectine telas.
Hinc exaudiri gemitus iraeque leonum
vincla recusantum et sera sub nocte rudentum,
saetigerique sues atque in praesaepibus ursi
saevire ac formae magnorum ululare luporum,
quos hominum ex facie dea saeva potentibus herbis
induerat Circe in voltus ac terga ferarum.
Quae ne monstra pii paterentur talia Troes
delati in portus neu litora dira subirent,
Neptunus ventis implevit vela secundis
atque fugam dedit et praeter vada fervida vexit.
You too, Caieta, nurse of Aeneas, have given by your death eternal fame to our shores; the honour paid you there even now protects your resting-place, and your name marks the place where your bones lie in great Hesperia, if that glory is of any value. Good Aeneas duly performed the funeral rites and heaped up a barrow for the tomb, and when there was calm on the high seas, he set sail and left the port behind him. A fair breeze kept blowing as night came on, the white moon lit their course and the sea shone in its shimmering rays. Keeping close inshore, they skirted the land where Circe, the daughter of the Sun, lives among her riches. There she sets the untrodden groves ringing with never-ending sing-ing and burns the fragrant cedar wood in her proud palace to lighten the darkness of the night as her sounding shuttle runs across the delicate warp. From her palace could be heard growls of anger from lions fretting at their chains and roaring late into the night, the raging of bristling boars and penned bears and howling from huge creatures in the shape of wolves. These had all been men, but with her irresistible herbs the savage goddess had given them the faces and hides of wild beasts. To protect the devout Trojans from suffering these monstrous changes, Neptune kept them from sailing into the harbour or coming near that deadly shore. He filled their sails with favouring winds and took them past the boiling breakers to safety.

Copyright © David West, 1990 - publ. Penguin Classics this book
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