from the AENEID - Book X, ll.1-37
Virgil (Publius Vergilius Maro)prose tr. David West
Panditur interea domus omnipotentis Olympi,
conciliumque vocat divom pater atque hominum rex
sideream in sedem, terras unde arduus omnis
castraque Dardanidum adspectat populosque Latinos.
Meanwhile the house of All-powerful Olympus was thrown open and the Father of Gods and King of Men summoned a council to his palace among the stars, from whose steep heights he looked down upon all the lands of the earth, upon the Trojan camp and the peoples of Latium.
Considunt tectis bipatentibus, incipit ipse:
`Caelicolae magni, quianam sententia vobis
versa retro tantumque animis certatis iniquis?
Abnueram bello Italiam concurrere Teucris.
Quae contra vetitum discordia? Quis metus aut hos
aut hos arma sequi ferrumque lacessere suasit?
Adveniet iustum pugnae, ne arcessite, tempus,
cum fera Karthago Romanis arcibus olim
exitium magnum atque Alpes immittet apertas:
tum certare odiis, tum res rapuisse licebit.
Nunc sinite et placitum laeti componite foedus.'
The gods sat in their chamber open east and west to the light, and Jupiter began to speak: "O great dwellers in the sky, why have you gone back on your word? Why do you contend with such bitterness of heart? I had forbidden Italy to clash with the Trojans. Why is there discord against my express command? What has made them afraid and induced them to take up arms and make each other draw the sword? The time will come for war - there is no need to hasten it - when barbarous Carthage will let destruction loose upon the citadels of Rome, opening up the Alps and sending them against Italy. That will be the time for pillaging, and for hate to vie with hate. But now let it be. A treaty has been decided upon. Accept it, and be content."
Iuppiter haec paucis; at non Venus aurea contra
pauca refert:
`O pater, O hominum rerumque aeterna potestas!
Namque aliud quid sit, quod iam implorare queamus?
Cernis ut insultent Rutulli Turnusque (feratur
per medios insignis equis tumidusque) secundo
Marte ruat? Non clausa tegunt iam moenia Teucros:
quin intra portas atque ipsis proelia miscent
aggeribus moerorum et inundant sanguine fossas.
Aeneas ignarus abest. Numquamne levari
These were the few words spoken by Jupiter, but when golden Venus replied, her words were not few: "O Father, imperishable power over men and over all the world - -how could there be any other to whom we might address our prayers? - you see the Rutulians rampant and Turnus riding in glory in the midst of them, swollen with the success of his arms. A closed ring of fortifications no longer offers protection to the Trojans. They now have to fight hand to hand inside their gates, even on the ramparts of their walls, and their ditches are swimming with blood. Aeneas is far away and knows nothing of this.
obsidione sines? Muris iterum imminet hostis
nascentis Troiae (nec non exercitus alter;)
atque iterum in Teucros Aetolis surgit ab Arpis
Tydides. Equidem credo, mea volnera restant
et tua progenies mortalia demoror arma.
Si sine pace tua atque invito numine Troes
Italiam petiere, luant peccata neque illos
iuveris auxilio; sin tot responsa secuti,
quae superi manesque dabant: cur nunc tua quisquam
vertere iussa potest aut cur nova condere fata?
Quid repetem exustas Erycino in litore classes,
quid tempestatum regem ventosque furentis
Aeolia excitos aut actam nubibus Irim?
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Will you never allow them to be free of besiegers? Even as Troy is being reborn, a new enemy is threatening its walls with a new army behind him, and from Arpi the Aetolian Dio-mede is once more rising against the Trojans. I suppose I shall soon be wounded again - after all, mortals are at war and your daughter stands in their way! "If the Trojans have come to Italy without your approval, in defiance of your heavenly will, they must be punished for their sins and you must not raise a finger to help them. But if they have obeyed all the commands they have received from the gods above and the shades below, how can anyone overturn what you have ordered or fashion a new destiny? You have seen their ships burned on the shores of my own son Eryx. You have seen the king of the storms and the raging winds roused out of their Aeolian island. You have seen Iris driven down from. the clouds.
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Copyright © David West, 1990 - publ. Penguin Classics


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