Kate Milner Rabb
Part 3 out of 8
Quickly Wainamoinen prepared for his journey, and mounted his magic steed,
that galloped over the plains of Kalevala and crossed the waste of blue
sea-water as though it were land.
But the envious Youkahainen was informed of the journey, and had prepared
a cruel cross-bow and three poisoned arrows. In spite of the protests of
his mother, he waited for the hero and shot at him three times. The third
arrow struck Wainamoinen's horse, which sank to the bottom of the ocean,
leaving the hapless rider struggling in the water. "Seven summers must he
tread the waves," chuckled Youkahainen; "eight years ride the billows."
For six days Wainamoinen floated on the waters; then he was rescued by a
huge eagle that carried him on its back to Pohyola, the dismal Sariola,
and left him on a barren promontory, where he bemoaned his unhappy fate.
Here he was found by Louhi, the toothless dame of Pohyola, who took him
home and fed him. Then she promised to provide him with a sledge that he
might journey safely home if he would forge for her the Sampo, a magical
jewel that gave success to its possessor. If he could make her this, she
would also give him her daughter in marriage. "I cannot forge the Sampo,
but if thou wilt help me to my distant country I will send thee my brother
Ilmarinen, the blacksmith, who can forge for thee the magic Sampo, and win
thy beautiful daughter."
Louhi provided a sledge and horse, and as Wainamoinen seated himself she
warned him, as he journeyed, not to look upward before nightfall, or some
great misfortune would befall him.
The maiden of the Rainbow, beautiful daughter of Pohyola, was sitting on
the rainbow weaving, and Wainamoinen, hearing the whizzing of the loom,
forgot the warning, and, looking up, was filled with love for the maiden.
"Come to me," he cried.
"The birds have told me," she replied, "that a maiden's life, as compared
to a married woman's, is as summer to coldest winter. Wives are as dogs
enchained in kennels."
When Wainamoinen further besought her, she told him that she would
consider him a hero when he had split a golden hair with edgeless knives
and snared a bird's egg with an invisible snare. When he had done these
things without difficulty, she demanded that he should peel the sandstone,
and cut her a whipstick from the ice without making a splinter. This done,
she commanded that he should build her a boat from the fragments of her
distaff, and set it floating without the use of his knee, arm, hand, or
foot to propel it.
While Wainamoinen was engaged in this task, Hisi, the god of evil, caused
him to cut his knee with the axe. None of his charms availed to stanch the
blood, so he dragged himself to his sledge and sought the nearest village.
In the third cottage he found a graybeard, who caused two maids to dip up
some of the flowing blood, and then commanded Wainamoinen to sing the
origin of iron. The daughters of Ukko the Creator had sprinkled the
mountains with black, white, and red milk,--from this was formed iron.
Fire caught the iron and carried it to its furnace, and later Ilmarinen
worked the unwilling metal into various articles. As he sought something
to harden it, Hisi's bird, the hornet, dropped poison into the water; and
the iron dipped into it, formed the hard steel, which, angry because it
could not be broken, cut its brother, and vowed that it would ever cause
man's blood to flow in torrents.
The old man then addressed the crimson stream flowing from the wound, and
prayed to mighty Ukko to stop it.
When it ceased to flow at his prayer, he sent forth his son to gather
various charmed plants, steep them, and make a magic balsam. After many
attempts the son was successful; and the balsam, applied to Wainamoinen's
wound, healed it immediately.
Wainamoinen returned home and sought Ilmarinen, who refused to go north to
forge the Sampo. Inducing his brother to climb a lofty fir-tree to bring
down the Moon and the Bear he had conjured there, the wizard caused a
great storm-wind to arise and blow Ilmarinen to the woodlands of Pohyola.
There the blacksmith at once set up a forge, and after four days' work saw
the Sampo rising from the furnace, its many colored lid rocking and
grinding, every day, many measures of meal.
Joyfully Louhi received the magic Sampo and locked it in a secret chamber
under the copper-bearing mountains. But when Ilmarinen asked for the hand
of the Rainbow Maid, he was refused. "Never shall I, in my lifetime, say
farewell to maiden freedom." So the blacksmith was compelled to return
alone to Wainola.
While Ilmarinen was forging the Sampo and Wainamoinen was building the
magic boat, Lemminkainen, or Ahti, the reckless wizard, king of the
islands, was longing for a bride from Ehstland. In spite of his mother's
entreaties, Lemminkainen went to Ehstland, and when he found it was
impossible to gain the favor of Kylliki, the Sahri maid of beauty, he
carried her off by force in his sledge. She became reconciled to him when
he promised that he would never go to battle, and she in turn vowed that
she would not visit the village dances. They lived happily together until
Lemminkainen tarried late at the fishing one evening, and Kylliki went to
the village dance. When Lemminkainen returned, his sister told him of
Kylliki's broken vow; and in spite of the prayers of his mother and wife,
the hero declared that he would break his promise and go to war. To the
Northland he would go, and win another wife. "When my brush bleeds, then
you may know that misfortune has overtaken me," he said angrily, flinging
his hairbrush at the wall.
Through many dangers he passed unscathed by the aid of his magic, until he
stood in the halls of Louhi and asked for her daughter, the Rainbow
"First bring me the wild moose from the Hisi-fields and forests," said
From Kauppi, able smith, Lemminkainen procured the wondrous snow-shoes;
but Hisi, who heard the boasts of the hero, fashioned a wild moose that
ran so rapidly that Lemminkainen could not overtake it, but broke his
snow-shoes in the race. He besought Ukko and the mistress of the forest
and her king, and at last, with their aid, the moose was captured and led
home to Louhi.
"Now bridle the flaming horse of Hisi," said she.
The mighty stallion stood on the Hisi mountain, breathing fire and smoke.
When the hero saw him he prayed to Ukko, "Let the hail and icy rain fall
upon him." His prayer was granted; and, going forward, Lemminkainen prayed
the steed to put its head into the golden head-stall, promising to treat
it with all gentleness. Then he led it to the courts of Sariola.
"Now kill for me the swan that swims in Tuoni, the black death-river. One
shot only canst thou have. If thou succeed, then mayst thou claim thy
When Lemminkainen entered Pohyola he had slain all his opponents but one
blind shepherd, whom he spared because he despised his helplessness. This
object of his scorn was waiting for him, and when Lemminkainen approached
the river he fell by a shot from the enemy, regretting, as he died, that
he had not asked his mother's advice before attempting to reach Tuoni.
Nasshut, the shepherd, threw the hero's body into the river, where it was
seized and cut in pieces by the son of Tuoni.
At home the mother and wife awaited anxiously tidings of their hero. When
they saw blood trickling from the brush, the mother could wait no longer,
but at once set out for the dreary Northland. After repeated threats, she
wrested from Louhi the fact that her son had gone to Tuoni; from the Sun
she learned his fate.
Quickly seeking Ilmarinen, the mother bade him forge for her a mighty
rake. With this she raked the deep death-river, collected the pieces of
the hero, bound them together with the aid of the goddess Suonetar, and
making a balsam, the materials for which were brought her by the bee, she
healed her hero son, comforted him, and led him back to Kalevala.
In the mean time, Wainamoinen, who was building his boat for the Rainbow
Maid, found that he had forgotten three magic words with which to fasten
in the ledges and complete the boat's forecastle.
After examining in vain the mouths of the wild animals, he sought the dead
hero Wipunen, forced open his jaws, and accidentally fell into his mouth.
Wipunen quickly swallowed him; but Wainamoinen, setting up a forge in his
body, caused him such discomfort that the giant was glad to give his
information, and get rid of his unwelcome visitor. Having thus learned the
secrets of the ages, and among them the three magic words, Wainamoinen
hastened home and finished his boat.
The boat builded, he at once set out for the Northland to woo the Rainbow
Maid. The boat was bedecked with silver and gold, and the linen sails were
blue, white, and scarlet. The sails were merely for ornament, however, for
the boat moved over the ocean without the aid of oars or sails.
Wainamoinen's departure from Kalevala was observed by Anniki, the sister
of Ilmarinen, who at once told her brother. With her assistance, Ilmarinen
cleansed the black from his ruddy countenance, and jumping into his
sledge, was soon on the way to Sariola. The approach of the heroes was
perceived by Louhi. "Daughter," said she, "the old man brings thee a boat
full of treasures; take him. Do not wed the empty-handed youth."
"Thy advice is good, but I will not take it. The young man shall be my
When Wainamoinen was refused in spite of his gifts, Louhi addressed
herself to Ilmarinen, and set him, in turn, three tasks: to plough the
serpent field of Hisi, to muzzle Tuoni's bear, and to catch the pike of
Mana, in the river of Tuoni.
With the help of his sweetheart, Ilmarinen accomplished these tasks, and
the wedding day was set. Old Wainamoinen, heavy hearted, journeyed
homeward, and sent the edict to his people that in the future old men
should not go wooing, or strive with younger men.
Great preparations were made for the wedding feast; the mighty ox of
Karjala was slain, and for the first time, beer was brewed in Pohyola.
Invitations were sent to all the people of Pohyola and the tribes of
Kalevala, to all save Lemminkainen.
When Ilmarinen returned for his bride, he was received with honor, and the
wedding feast was merry. But when the time came to take the bride away,
the Rainbow Maid was unwilling, she who before had been so ready to go
with him. Many times had she been told of the miseries of the wife: her
husband's slave, her whole life one of service, one long endeavor to
please her husband's mother and father. After her lament, Osmatar, the
Bride-adviser, instructed her how to please her husband's family, and
admonished Ilmarinen to guard well his Bride of Beauty. Then the two set
forth together, the Rainbow Maid shedding many tears at parting with her
The bride and groom were received with joy by Ilmarinen's family, and old
Wainamoinen himself sang at the wedding feast.
But Lemminkainen was angry because he had received no invitation to the
wedding, and in spite of his mother's advice, set out to make war against
the Lapps. He successfully overcame all the terrors that beset him, and
reached Sariola, but was so coldly received there that, enraged at such
treatment, he slew his host, the landlord of Pohyola, and fled homeward to
escape the hosts whom Louhi called to defend her.
His mother sent him to the isle of refuge to escape the northern hosts. In
the centre of the tenth ocean it rose, the refuge of his father; there he
must abide three years, and must take a vow not to fight again for sixty
The three years passed speedily on the happy isle, where dwelt many
maidens who admired the reckless hero, and he departed just in time to
escape the swords of the jealous heroes of the isle. His ancient home was
in ashes when he returned, his mother missing; but while he mourned for
her, he chanced upon her, hiding from the Lapps in the forest. Again he
determined to seek out his enemies and be revenged on them. Taking with
him his friend Tiera he sought the north, but was met by the Frost-Fiend
and compelled to return.
To the house of Ilmarinen the blacksmith, was sold by Untamoinen a slave,
Kullervo. He was a giant who had done naught but evil, until in despair
his master sold him to the blacksmith. Kullervo, or Kullerwoinen, was made
a shepherd and sent forth with the flocks. But rage at the blacksmith's
wife, who baked a stone in his bread on which he broke the magic knife of
his people, caused him to transform the flocks into wolves, who tore the
Rainbow Wife to pieces when she went to milk them.
Then Kullerwoinen fled from the blacksmith, and set out to find his
tribe-people, but on the way unknowingly corrupted his sister, and in
despair at his evil deeds, destroyed himself.
Ilmarinen was full of grief at the loss of his wife. Unhappy and restless,
he forged for himself a bride of gold; but the image failed to satisfy
him, and Wainamoinen, reproving him, forbade his people in the future to
worship any graven image. Then the blacksmith again sought the north to
win the sister of his former bride, but was met with bitter reproaches for
the sorrow he had brought upon the family. Nevertheless, he seized the
maiden to carry her away, but she was so angry and so unhappy that he
changed her to a seagull and came home wifeless and sad.
Wainamoinen and Ilmarinen soon conceived the idea of going to the
Northland to win back the Sampo. On the way they allied to themselves the
wizard Lemminkainen. As they approached the whirlpool near Pohyola, their
vessel stuck on the shoulders of a great pike. When neither Lemminkainen
nor Ilmarinen could slay it, Wainamoinen impaled it on his fire-sword, and
the three banqueted on the great fish. From its bones, Wainamoinen framed
the first harp. No one could win music from it but its creator; but when
he touched its strings and sang, the very trees danced about him, wild
animals lay in peace at his feet, and the hearts of men were ravished. As
his listeners wept at the strains, Wainamoinen's tears rolled down into
the ocean. Thence the duck brought them, changed to pearls, receiving for
a reward its beautiful coat. Such was the origin of sea-pearls.
When Wainamoinen had put the inhabitants of Pohyola to sleep with his
magic music, the heroes found the Sampo with little difficulty, and bore
it away from the copper mountain. But as they hastened home, the
discordant voice of Lemminkainen, who sang for joy of their capture,
caused the crane to screech, and the bird's cry roused the people of
Pohyola. Louhi speedily discovered her loss, and started in pursuit of the
heroes. In various ways she attacked them,--with war ships that were
stopped by a reef conjured up by Wainamoinen, by a terrible storm, and by
a giant eagle that perched on their boat. In their struggle with her the
Sampo was broken and its fragments scattered on the ocean. Louhi left
them, uttering dire threats; and Wainamoinen, gathering up what fragments
of the Sampo he could find, buried them where they would bring prosperity
to his people.
Now Wainamoinen longed to sing to his harp to rejoice the hearts of his
people, but the magic instrument had been lost in the storm conjured by
Louhi. After raking the sea for it in vain, he constructed a new harp from
the birch-tree, and delighted the people with his songs.
In revenge for the theft of the Sampo, Louhi sent nine diseases upon
Wainamoinen's people,--colic, pleurisy, fever, ulcer, plague, consumption,
gout, sterility, and cancer, the offspring of the fell Lowyatar; but by
the use of vapor baths and balsams Wainamoinen healed his people. Then
Louhi sent Otso the Bear, the honey-eater, but he was slain by the hero,
who made a banquet of his flesh for the people. Enraged at her failures,
she stole the sun, moon, and fire, and left Kalevala in darkness. Ukko,
taking pity on his people, struck lightning from his fire-sword and gave
the fire-child to a virgin to be cared for. In an unguarded moment it
sprang earthward, fell into the sea, and was swallowed by a fish, that, in
the agonies of torment, was swallowed by another. Wainamoinen went fishing
with Ilmarinen, and at last caught the gray pike,--found in it the trout,
found in the trout the whiting, and in the whiting the fireball. When he
attempted to seize the fireball he burned his fingers, and dropped it.
Ilmarinen did likewise. Then the ball rolled rapidly away until
Wainamoinen caught it in an elm-tree, and took it home to gladden his
people. Still they were cheerless without the sun and moon, and
Wainamoinen was obliged to go to Louhi and compel her to give up the sun
and moon. When he returned there was joy in Kalevala.
In the Northland dwelt a happy maiden, Mariatta, who, eating of the magic
berry, as she wandered one day in the fields, bore by it a child which she
called Flower. Her parents cast her off, and as no one would take her in,
she was compelled to go to the flaming steed of Hisi, in whose manger the
child was born. Once when she slumbered the child vanished, and she sought
for it in vain, until told by the sun that it was in Wainola, sleeping
among the reeds and rushes.
The child grew in grace and beauty, but no priest would baptize him, all
saying that he was a wizard. Wainamoinen, too, counselled that he be
destroyed; but when the two weeks old babe lifted its head and reproached
him, saying that he had committed many follies but had been spared by his
people, Wainamoinen baptized him, and gave him the right to grow a hero
and become a mighty ruler over Karyala.
As Wainamoinen grew feeble with the passing years, he built himself a boat
of copper, and singing a plaintive song in which he said the people of
Suomi would look forward to his return as a time of peace and plenty, he
set forth, sailing through the dusk of evening to the fiery sunset, and
anchored in the purple horizon, leaving behind him for an heritage his
harp, his wondrous songs, and his wisdom sayings.
SELECTIONS FROM THE KALEVALA.
ILMARINEN'S WEDDING FEAST.
Ilmarinen, the blacksmith, visited the Northland, won the Rainbow Maid,
and successfully performed the tasks set by her mother Louhi. Great
preparations were made in Pohyola for the wedding, and the coming of the
bridegroom was anxiously expected.
Louhi, hostess of the Northland,
Ancient dame of Sariola,
While at work within her dwelling,
Heard the whips crack on the fenlands,
Heard the rattle of the sledges;
To the northward turned her glances,
Turned her vision to the sunlight,
And her thoughts ran on as follow:
"Who are these in bright apparel,
On the banks of Pohya-waters,
Are they friends or hostile armies?"
Then the hostess of the Northland
Looked again and well considered,
Drew much nearer to examine,
Found they were not hostile armies,
Found that they were friends and suitors;
In the midst was Ilmarinen,
Son in-law to ancient Louhi.
When the hostess of Pohyola
Saw the son-in-law approaching,
She addressed the words that follow:
"I had thought the winds were raging,
That the piles of wood were falling,
Thought the pebbles in commotion,
Or perchance the ocean roaring;
Then I hastened nearer, nearer,
Drew still nearer and examined,
Found the winds were not in battle,
Found the piles of wood unshaken,
Found the ocean was not roaring,
Nor the pebbles in commotion;
Found my son-in-law was coming
With his heroes and attendants,
Heroes counted by the hundreds.
"Should you ask of me the question,
How I recognized the bridegroom
Mid the host of men and heroes,
I should answer, I should tell you:
'As the hazel-bush in copses,
As the oak-tree in the forest,
As the moon among the planets;
Drives the groom a coal-black courser,
Running like a famished black-dog,
Flying like the hungry raven,
Graceful as the lark at morning,
Golden cuckoos, six in number,
Twitter on the birchen cross-bow;
There are seven blue-birds singing
On the racer's hame and collar.'"
Noises hear they in the court-yard,
On the highway hear the sledges.
To the court comes Ilmarinen,
With his body-guard of heroes;
In the midst the chosen suitor,
Not too far in front of others,
Not too far behind his fellows.
Spake the hostess of Pohyola:
"Hie ye hither, men and heroes,
Haste, ye watchers, to the stables,
There unhitch the suitor's stallion,
Lower well the racer's breast-plate,
There undo the straps and buckles,
Loosen well the shafts and traces,
And conduct the suitor hither,
Give my son-in-law good welcome!"
Ilmarinen turned his racer
Into Louhi's yard and stables,
And descended from his snow-sledge
Spake the hostess of Pohyola:
"Come, thou servant of my bidding,
Best of all my trusted servants,
Take at once the bridegroom's courser
From the shafts adorned with silver,
From the curving arch of willow,
Lift the harness trimmed in copper,
Tie the white-face to the manger,
Treat the suitor's steed with kindness,
Lead him carefully to shelter
By his soft and shining bridle,
By his halter tipped with silver;
Let him roll among the sand-hills,
On the bottoms soft and even,
On the borders of the snow-banks,
In the fields of milky color.
Lead the hero's steed to water,
Lead him to the Pohya-fountains,
Where the living streams are flowing,
Sweet as milk of human kindness,
From the roots of silvery birches,
Underneath the shade of aspens.
"Feed the courser of the suitor,
With the sweetest corn and barley,
With the summer-wheat and clover,
In the caldron steeped in sweetness;
Feed him at the golden manger,
In the boxes lined with copper,
At my manger richly furnished,
In the warmest of the hurdles;
Tie him with a silk-like halter,
To the golden rings and staples,
To the hooks of purest silver,
Set in beams of birch and oak-wood;
Feed him on the hay the sweetest,
Feed him on the grains nutritious,
Give the best my barns can furnish.
"Curry well the suitor's courser
With the curry-comb of fish-bone,
Brush his hair with silken brushes,
Put his mane and tail in order,
Cover well with silken blankets,
Blankets wrought in gold and silver,
Buckles forged from shining copper.
"Come, ye small lads of the village,
Lead the suitor to my chambers,
With your auburn locks uncovered,
From your hands remove your mittens,
See if ye can lead the hero
Through the door without his stooping,
Lifting not the upper cross-bar,
Sinking not the oaken threshold,
Moving not the oaken casings,
Great the hero who must enter.
"Ilmarinen is too stately,
Cannot enter through the portals,
Not the son-in-law and bridegroom,
Till the portals have been lengthened;
Taller by a head the suitor
Than the doorways of the mansion."
Quick the servants of Pohyola
Tore away the upper cross-bar,
That his cap might not be lifted;
Made the oaken threshold lower
That the hero might not stumble;
Made the birch-wood portals wider,
Opened full the door of welcome,
Easy entrance for the suitor.
Speaks the hostess of the Northland
As the bridegroom freely passes
Through the doorway of her dwelling:
"Thanks are due to thee, O Ukko,
That my son-in-law has entered!
Let me now my halls examine;
Make the bridal chambers ready,
Finest linen on my tables,
Softest furs upon my benches,
Birchen flooring scrubbed to whiteness,
All my rooms in perfect order."
Then the hostess of Pohyola
Visited her spacious dwelling,
Did not recognize her chambers;
Every room had been remodelled,
Changed by force of mighty magic;
All the halls were newly burnished,
Hedgehog bones were used for ceilings,
Bones of reindeer for foundations,
Bones of wolverine for door-sills,
For the cross-bars bones of roebuck,
Apple-wood were all the rafters,
Alder-wood, the window casings,
Scales of trout adorned the windows,
And the fires were set in flowers.
All the seats were made of silver,
All the floors of copper-tiling,
Gold-adorned were all the tables,
On the floor were silken mattings,
Every fire-place set in copper,
Every hearth-stone cut from marble,
On each shelf were colored sea-shells,
Kalew's tree was their protection.
To the court-room came the hero,
Chosen suitor from Wainola,
These the words of Ilmarinen:
"Send, O Ukko, health and pleasure
To this ancient home and dwelling,
To this mansion richly fashioned!"
Spake the hostess of Pohyola:
"Let thy coming be auspicious
To these halls of thee unworthy,
To the home of thy affianced,
To this dwelling lowly fashioned,
Mid the lindens and the aspens.
"Come, ye maidens that should serve me,
Come, ye fellows from the village,
Bring me fire upon the birch-bark,
Light the fagots of the fir-tree,
That I may behold the bridegroom,
Chosen suitor of my daughter,
Fairy Maiden of the Rainbow,
See the color of his eyeballs,
Whether they are blue or sable,
See if they are warm and faithful."
Quick the young lads from the village
Brought the fire upon the birch-bark,
Brought it on the tips of pine-wood;
And the fire and smoke commingled
Roll and roar about the hero,
Blackening the suitor's visage,
And the hostess speaks as follows:
"Bring the fire upon a taper,
On the waxen tapers bring it!"
Then the maidens did as bidden,
Quickly brought the lighted tapers,
Made the suitor's eyeballs glisten,
Made his cheeks look fresh and ruddy;
Eyes were neither blue nor sable,
Sparkled like the foam of waters,
Like the reed-grass on the margin,
Colored as the ocean-jewels,
Iridescent as the rainbow.
"Come, ye fellows from the hamlets,
Lead my son-in-law and hero
To the highest seat at table,
To the seat of greatest honor,
With his back upon the blue-wall,
Looking on my bounteous tables,
Facing all the guests of Northland."
Then the hostess of Pohyola
Served her guests in great abundance,
Richest drinks and rarest viands,
First of all she served the bridegroom;
On his platters honeyed biscuit,
And the sweetest river-salmon,
Seasoned butter, roasted bacon,
All the dainties of Pohyola.
Then the servants served the others,
Filled the plates of all invited
With the varied food of Northland.
Spake the hostess of Pohyola:
"Come, ye maidens from the village,
Hither bring the beer in pitchers,
In the urns with double handles,
To the many guests in-gathered.
Ere all others, serve the bridegroom."
Thereupon the merry maidens
Brought the beer in silver pitchers
From the copper-banded vessels,
For the wedding guests assembled;
And the beer, fermenting, sparkled
On the beard of Ilmarinen,
On the beards of many heroes.
When the guests had all partaken
Of the wondrous beer of barley,
Spake the drink in merry accents
Through the tongues of the magicians,
Through the tongue of many a hero,
Through the tongue of Wainamoinen,
Famed to be the sweetest singer
Of the Northland bards and minstrels.
* * * * *
"Grant, O Ukko, my Creator,
God of love, and truth, and justice,
Grant thy blessing on our feasting,
Bless this company assembled,
For the good of Sariola,
For the happiness of Northland!
May this bread and beer bring joyance,
May they come in rich abundance,
May they carry full contentment
To the people of Pohyola,
To the cabin and the mansion;
May the hours we spend in singing,
In the morning, in the evening,
Fill our hearts with joy and gladness!
Hear us in our supplications,
Grant to us thy needed blessings,
Send enjoyment, health, and comfort,
To the people here assembled,
To the host and to the hostess,
To the bride and to the bridegroom,
To the sons upon the waters,
To the daughters at their weavings,
To the hunters on the mountains,
To the shepherds in the fenlands,
That our lives may end in honor,
That we may recall with pleasure
Ilmarinen's magic marriage
To the Maiden of the Rainbow,
Snow-white virgin of the Northland."
_Crawford's Translation, Rune XXI._
THE BIRTH OF THE HARP.
Wainamoinen, Ilmarinen, and the wizard Lemminkainen started to the
Northland to win back the Sampo forged for Louhi by Ilmarinen. On the way
their boat stuck on the shoulders of a great pike, which was killed by
Wainamoinen. The three then landed, ordered the pike to be cooked by the
maidens, and feasted until nothing remained of the fish but a heap of
Wainamoinen, ancient minstrel,
Looked upon the pile of fragments,
On the fish-bones looked and pondered,
Spake these words in meditation:
"Wondrous things might be constructed
From the relics of this monster,
Were they in the blacksmith's furnace,
In the hands of the magician,
In the hands of Ilmarinen."
Spake the blacksmith of Wainola:
"Nothing fine can be constructed
From the bones and teeth of fishes
By the skilful forger-artist,
By the hands of the magician."
These the words of Wainamoinen:
"Something wondrous might be builded
From these jaws, and teeth, and fish-bones;
Might a magic harp be fashioned,
Could an artist be discovered
That could shape them to my wishes."
But he found no fish-bone artist
That could shape the harp of joyance
From the relics of their feasting,
From the jaw-bones of the monster,
To the will of the magician.
Thereupon wise Wainamoinen
Set himself at work designing;
Quick became a fish-bone artist,
Made a harp of wondrous beauty,
Lasting joy and pride of Suomi.
Whence the harp's enchanting arches?
From the jaw-bones of the monster.
Whence the necessary harp-pins?
From the pike-teeth, firmly fastened.
Whence the sweetly singing harp-strings?
From the tail of Lempo's stallion.
Thus was born the harp of magic
From the mighty pike of Northland,
From the relics from the feasting
Of the heroes of Wainola.
All the young men came to view it,
All the aged with their children,
Mothers with their beauteous daughters,
Maidens with their golden tresses;
All the people on the islands
Came to view the harp of joyance,
Pride and beauty of the Northland.
Wainamoinen, ancient minstrel,
Let the aged try the harp-strings,
Gave it to the young magicians,
To the dames and to their daughters,
To the maidens, silver-tinselled,
To the singers of Wainola.
When the young men touched the harp-strings,
Then arose the notes of discord;
When the aged played upon it,
Dissonance their only music.
Spake the wizard, Lemminkainen:
"O ye witless, worthless children,
O ye senseless, useless maidens,
O ye wisdom-lacking heroes,
Cannot play this harp of magic,
Cannot touch the notes of concord!
Give to me this thing of beauty,
Hither bring the harp of fish-bones,
Let me try my skillful fingers."
Lemminkainen touched the harp-strings,
Carefully the strings adjusted,
Turned the harp in all directions,
Fingered all the strings in sequence,
Played the instrument of wonder,
But it did not speak in concord,
Did not sing the notes of joyance.
Spake the ancient Wainamoinen:
"There is none among these maidens,
None among these youthful heroes,
None among the old magicians,
That can play the harp of magic,
Touch the notes of joy and pleasure.
Let us take the harp to Pohya,
There to find a skillful player
That can touch the strings in concord."
Then they sailed to Sariola,
To Pohyola took the wonder,
There to find the harp a master.
All the heroes of Pohyola,
All the boys and all the maidens,
Ancient dames and bearded minstrels,
Vainly touched the harp of beauty.
Louhi, hostess of the Northland,
Took the harp-strings in her fingers;
All the youth of Sariola,
Youth of every tribe and station,
Vainly touched the harp of fish-bone;
Could not find the notes of joyance,
Dissonance their only pleasure;
Shrieked the harp-strings like the whirlwinds,
All the tones were harsh and frightful.
* * * * *
Wainamoinen, ancient minstrel,
The eternal wisdom-singer,
Laves his hands to snowy whiteness,
Sits upon the rock of joyance,
On the stone of song he settles,
On the mount of song he settles,
On the mount of silver clearness,
On the summit, golden colored,
Takes the harp by him created,
In his hands the harp of fish-bone,
With his knee the arch supporting,
Takes the harp-strings in his fingers,
Speaks these words to those assembled:
"Hither come, ye Northland people,
Come and listen to my playing,--
To the harp's entrancing measures,
To my songs of joy and gladness."
Then the singer of Wainola
Took the harp of his creation,
Quick adjusting, sweetly tuning,
Deftly plied his skillful fingers
To the strings that he had fashioned.
Now was gladness rolled on gladness,
And the harmony of pleasure
Echoed from the hills and mountains;
Added singing to his playing,
Out of joy did joy come welling,
Now resounded marvellous music,
All of Northland stopped and listened.
Every creature in the forest,
All the beasts that haunt the woodlands
On their nimble feet came bounding,
Came to listen to his playing,
Came to hear his songs of joyance.
Leaped the squirrels from the branches,
Merrily from birch to aspen;
Climbed the ermines on the fences,
O'er the plains the elk deer bounded,
And the lynxes purred with pleasure;
Wolves awoke in far-off swamp-lands,
Bounded o'er the marsh and heather,
And the bear his den deserted,
Left his lair within the pine-wood,
Settled by a fence to listen,
Leaned against the listening gate-posts,
But the gate-posts yield beneath him;
Now he climbs the fir-tree branches
That he may enjoy and wonder,
Climbs and listens to the music
Of the harp of Wainamoinen.
Tapiola's wisest senior,
Metsola's most noble landlord,
And of Tapio, the people,
Young and aged, men and maidens,
Flew like red-deer up the mountains
There to listen to the playing,
To the harp of Wainamoinen.
Tapiola's wisest mistress,
Hostess of the glen and forest,
Robed herself in blue and scarlet,
Bound her limbs with silken ribbons,
Sat upon the woodland summit,
On the branches of a birch-tree,
There to listen to the playing,
To the high-born hero's harping,
To the songs of Wainamoinen.
All the birds that fly in mid-air
Fell like snow-flakes from the heavens,
Flew to hear the minstrel's playing,
Hear the harp of Wainamoinen.
Eagles in their lofty eyrie
Heard the songs of the enchanter;
Swift they left their unfledged young ones,
Flew and perched around the minstrel.
From the heights the hawks descended,
From the clouds down swooped the falcon,
Ducks arose from inland waters,
Swans came gliding from the marshes;
Tiny finches, green and golden,
Flew in flocks that darkened sunlight,
Came in myriads to listen,
Perched upon the head and shoulders
Of the charming Wainamoinen,
Sweetly singing to the playing
Of the ancient bard and minstrel.
And the daughters of the welkin,
Nature's well-beloved daughters,
Listened all in rapt attention;
Some were seated on the rainbow,
Some upon the crimson cloudlets,
Some upon the dome of heaven.
In their hands the Moon's fair daughters
Held their weaving-combs of silver;
In their hands the Sun's sweet maidens
Grasped the handles of their distaffs,
Weaving with their golden shuttles,
Spinning from their silver spindles,
On the red rims of the cloudlets,
On the bow of many colors.
As they hear the minstrel playing,
Hear the harp of Wainamoinen,
Quick they drop their combs of silver,
Drop the spindles from their fingers,
And the golden threads are broken,
Broken are the threads of silver.
All the fish in Suomi-waters
Heard the songs of the magician,
Came on flying fins to listen
To the harp of Wainamoinen.
Came the trout with graceful motions,
Water-dogs with awkward movements,
From the water-cliffs the salmon,
From the sea-caves came the whiting,
From the deeper caves the bill-fish;
Came the pike from beds of sea-fern,
Little fish with eyes of scarlet,
Leaning on the reeds and rushes,
With their heads above the surface;
Came to hear the harp of joyance,
Hear the songs of the enchanter.
Ahto, king of all the waters,
Ancient king with beard of sea-grass,
Raised his head above the billows,
In a boat of water-lilies,
Glided to the coast in silence,
Listened to the wondrous singing,
To the harp of Wainamoinen.
These the words the sea-king uttered:
"Never have I heard such playing,
Never heard such strains of music,
Never since the sea was fashioned,
As the songs of this enchanter,
This sweet singer, Wainamoinen."
Satko's daughters from the blue-deep,
Sisters of the wave-washed ledges,
On the colored strands were sitting,
Smoothing out their sea-green tresses
With the combs of molten silver,
With their silver-handled brushes,
Brushes forged with golden bristles.
When they hear the magic playing,
Hear the harp of Wainamoinen,
Fall their brushes on the billows,
Fall their combs with silver handles
To the bottom of the waters,
Unadorned their heads remaining,
And uncombed their sea-green tresses.
Came the hostess of the waters,
Ancient hostess robed in flowers,
Rising from her deep sea-castle,
Swimming to the shore in wonder,
Listened to the minstrel's playing,
To the harp of Wainamoinen.
As the magic tones re-echoed,
As the singer's song outcircled,
Sank the hostess into slumber,
On the rocks of many colors,
On her watery couch of joyance,
Deep the sleep that settled o'er her.
Wainamoinen, ancient minstrel,
Played one day and then a second,
Played the third from morn to even.
There was neither man nor hero,
Neither ancient dame nor maiden,
Not in Metsola a daughter,
Whom he did not touch to weeping;
Wept the young and wept the aged,
Wept the mothers, wept the daughters,
At the music of his playing,
At the songs of the magician.
_Crawford's Translation, Runes XL.-XLI._
The Aeneid was written by Publius Vergilius Maro, commonly known as
Vergil, who was born at Andes, near Mantua, Oct. 15, 70 B. C., and died at
Brundusium, Sept. 22, 19 B.C.
He was educated at Cremona, Milan, Naples, and Rome. When the lands near
Cremona and Mantua were assigned by Octavianus to his soldiers after the
battle of Philippi, Vergil lost his estates; but they were afterwards
restored to him through Asinius Pollio.
He became a favorite of Augustus, and spent part of his time in Rome, near
his patron, Maecenas, the emperor's minister.
Vergil's first work was the Bucolics, in imitation of Theocritus. His
second work, the Georgics, treats of husbandry. The Aeneid relates the
adventures of Aeneas, the legendary ancestor of the Romans.
The Aeneid is in twelve books, of which the first six describe the
wanderings of Aeneas, and the last six his wars in Italy. Its metre is the
Vergil worked for eleven years on the poem, and considered it incomplete
at his death.
The Aeneid tells the story of the flight of Aeneas from burning Troy to
Italy, and makes him an ancestor of the Romans. With the story of his
wanderings are interwoven praises of the Caesars and the glory of Rome.
It is claimed that because Vergil was essentially a poet of rural life, he
was especially fitted to be the national poet, since the Roman life was
founded on the agricultural country life. He also chose a theme which
particularly appealed to the patriotism of the Romans. For this reason,
the poem was immediately received into popular favor, and was made a
text-book of the Roman youths. It is often said of Vergil by way of
reproach, that his work was an imitation of Homer, and the first six books
of the Aeneid are compared to the Odyssey, the last six to the Iliad. But
while Vergil may be accused of imitation of subject matter, his style is
his own, and is entirely different from that of Homer. There is a tender
grace in the Roman writer which the Greek does not possess. Vergil also
lacks that purely pagan enjoyment of life; in its place there is a tender
melancholy that suggests the passing of the golden age. This difference of
treatment, this added grace and charm, which are always mentioned as
peculiarly Vergil's own, united with his poetical feeling, and skill in
versification, are sufficient to absolve him from the reproach of a mere
The Aeneid was greatly admired and imitated during the Middle Ages, and
still retains its high place in literature.
BIBLIOGRAPHY AND CRITICISM, THE AENEID.
R. W. Brown's History of Roman Classical Literature, n. d., pp. 257-265;
John Alfred Church's Story of the Aeneid, 1886;
Domenico Comparetti's Virgil in the Middle Ages, Tr. by Benecke, 1895;
C. T. Cruttwell's Virgil (see his History of Roman Literature, n. d. pp.
John Davis's Observations on the poems of Homer and Virgil, out of the
James Henry's Aeneidea: or Critical, Exegetical, and Aesthetical Remarks
on the Aeneis, 1873;
James Henry's Notes of Twelve Years' Voyage of Discovery in the first six
Books of the Aeneid, 1853;
J. W. Mackail's Virgil (see his Latin Literature, 1895, pp. 91-106);
H. Nettleship's The Aeneid (see his Vergil, 1880, pp. 45-74);
H. T. Peck and R. Arrowsmith's Roman Life in Latin Prose and Verse, 1894,
Leonhard Schmitz's History of Latin Literature, 1877, pp. 106-108;
W. Y. Sellar's Roman Poets of the Augustan Age, Vergil, Ed. 2, 1883;
W. S. Teuffel's Aeneis (see his History of Roman Literature, 1891, pp.
J. S. Tunison's Master Virgil, the author of the Aeneid, as he seemed in
the Middle Ages, 1888;
Robert Y. Tyrrell's Virgil (see his Latin Poetry, 1895, pp. 126-161);
A Forgotten Virtue, Macmillan, 1895, xii. 51-56, an article on the Aeneid,
"the epic of piety;"
Scene of the last six books of the Aeneid, Blackwood, 1832, xxxii. 76-87;
A. A. Knight's The Year in the Aeneid, Education, 1886, vi. 612-616;
William C. Cawton's The Underworld in Homer, Virgil, and Dante, Atlantic,
1884, liv. 99-110.
STANDARD ENGLISH TRANSLATIONS, THE AENEID.
The Aeneid, Tr. by J. Conington, 1887;
The Aeneid, Tr. by C. P. Cranch, 1872;
The Aeneid, Tr. by John Dryden (1697), 1884;
The Aeneid, Tr. by William Morris, 1882;
The Aeneid, Tr. by W. S. Thornhill, 1886;
The Aeneid, Tr. by J. A. Wilstach, 1884;
The Aeneid, Tr. by J. W. Mackail, 1890.
THE STORY OF THE AENEID.
For many years the heroic Aeneas, who escaped from falling Troy to seek the
shores of Italy, there to found the lofty walls of Rome, was tossed upon
the sea by the wrath of cruel Juno.
The fates foretold that these future Romans would overthrow a city dearer
to her than Samos,--Carthage, founded by the Tyrians, opposite Italy, and
far from the Tiberine mouths. For this rich city Juno desired boundless
rule,--hence her hatred of the Trojans. Moreover, she had not forgotten
the judgment of Paris, her slighted charms, and the supplanting of Hebe by
After having tossed the unhappy hero and his men over many seas, Juno,
observing their approach to Italy, hastened to Aeolia, where King Aeolus
ruled over the struggling winds and tempests, chained in vast caves.
Bribed by Juno, Aeolus sent forth a tempest that scattered the ships of
Aeneas, and would have destroyed them had it not been for the interposition
Suspecting his sister's treachery, Neptune angrily dismissed the winds,
and hastened to the relief of the Trojans. Cymothoe and Triton pushed the
ships from the rocks, he himself assisting with his trident. Then, driving
over the rough waves in his chariot, he soothed the frenzy of the sea.
The wearied Aeneans speedily sought a harbor on the Libyan shore, a long
and deep recess bordered by a dense grove. In the cliffs was a cave, with
sweet waters and seats carved from the living rock,--the abode of the
nymphs. Gathering here the seven ships that survived the fury of the
storm, Aeneas landed, and feasted with his comrades.
The next morning Aeneas, accompanied by his friend Achates, sallied forth
from the camp at dawn, to learn, if possible, something of the land on
which they had been thrown. They had gone but a little way in the depths
of the forest when they met Aeneas's mother, Venus, in the guise of a
Spartan maid, her bow hung from her shoulders, her hair flowing to the
"Hast thou seen my sister?" she inquired, "hunting the boar, wrapped in a
spotted lynx hide, her quiver at her back?"
"Nay, we have seen no one," replied Aeneas. "But what shall I call thee,
maiden? A goddess, a nymph? Be kind, I pray thee, and tell us among what
people we have fallen, that before thy altars we may sacrifice many a
"I am unworthy of such honors," Venus answered. "This land is Libya, but
the town is Tyrian, founded by Dido, who fled hither from her brother
Pygmalion, who had secretly murdered her husband, Sichaeus, for his gold.
To Dido, sleeping, appeared the wraith of Sichaeus, pallid, his breast
pierced with the impious wound, and revealed to her her brother's crime,
showed where a hoard of gold was concealed, and advised her to leave the
"Gathering together a company of those who wished to flee from the tyrant,
Dido seized the ships, loaded them with the gold, and fled to Libya, where
she is now erecting the walls and towers of New Carthage. I would advise
thee to hasten forward and seek our queen. If augury fail me not, I read
from yonder flight of swans the return of thy missing ships and comrades."
As she turned to go, her neck shone with a rosy refulgence, ambrosial
fragrance breathed from her, her robe flowed down about her feet and
revealed the goddess. As she vanished, her son stretched longing hands
after her. "Ah, mother, why dost thou thus trifle with me? Why may not I
clasp thy loved hands and exchange true words with thee?"
Wrapped in a cloud by Venus, Aeneas and Achates mounted a hill that
overlooked the city, and looked down wondering on the broad roofs and the
paved streets of Carthage. The busy Tyrians worked like the bees in early
summer: some moving the immense masses of stone, some founding the
citadel, others laying off the sites for the law courts and sacred Senate
House. "O happy ye whose walls now rise!" exclaimed Aeneas, as he and
Achates mingled with the crowd, still cloud-wrapped, and entered the vast
temple built to Juno. Here Aeneas's fear fell from him; for as he waited
for the queen's coming, he saw pictured on the walls the fall of his own
dear city, and wept as he gazed upon the white tents of Rhesus, and
Hector's disfigured body.
As he wept, the beautiful Dido entered, joyously intent on her great work,
and, seating herself on her throne, proceeded to give laws to the Tyrians,
and assign their work to them.
Suddenly, to the amazement of Aeneas and Achates, in burst their lost
comrades, Antheus, Sergestus, Gyas, Cloanthus, and other Trojans,
demanding of Dido a reason for their rough reception. To whom the queen
"Let fear desert your hearts; I, too, have suffered, and know how to aid
the unfortunate. And whither hath not the fame of Troy penetrated? I will
aid you in leaving this coast, or give you a home with me, treating you as
I treat my Tyrians. Would only that Aeneas's self stood with you!"
Then burst Aeneas forth from his cloud-wrapping, made more beautiful by
Venus, the purple bloom of youth on his face, joy in his eyes. "Here am I,
Trojan Aeneas, to render thanks to thee, divine Dido."
Dido, charmed with the hero, prepared a banquet for him in her splendid
hall, curtained with rich drapery, and adorned with costly plate, whereon
were pictured the proud deeds of her ancestors. Hither came the Trojans
with gifts for Dido,--a rich robe stiff with gold embroidery, a veil
embroidered with the yellow acanthus, ornaments of Helen, the sceptre of
Ilione, a pearl and gold necklace, and a double crown of gems and gold.
Beside Achates tripped Cupid, for Venus, suspecting the craft of the
Tyrians, had hidden Ascanius on Mount Ida, and sent her own son in his
guise, to complete Aeneas's conquest of Dido.
After the feast was over, the great beakers were brought in and crowned
with garlands. Dido called for the beaker used by Belus and all his
descendants, and pouring a libation, drank to the happiness of the Trojan
wanderers, and passed the cup around the board. Iopas, the long-haired
minstrel, sang, and the night passed by in various discourse. Dido,
forgetting Sichaeus, hung on the words of Aeneas, questioning him of Priam
and Hector, and at last demanding the story of his wanderings.
"Thou orderest me, O queen, to renew my grief, the destruction of Troy by
the Greeks, which deeds I have seen, and a part of which I have been.
"Despairing of conquering Troy, the Greeks attempted to take it by
stratagem. By the art of Pallas, they framed a heaven-high horse, within
which were concealed picked men for our destruction. Leaving this behind
them, they sailed, ostensibly for home, in reality for Tenedos.
"When we supposed them gone we joyfully went forth to examine the deserted
camp and the giant horse. As we wondered at it, and Laocooen, priest of
Neptune, urged us to destroy it, a crowd of shepherds approached with a
youth whom they had found hiding in the sedges. His name was Sinon. He was
a Greek, but he was hated by Ulysses, and had fled to save his life. The
Greeks had sailed home, he assured us, leaving the horse as a votive
offering to Pallas. They had hoped that its great bulk would prevent the
Trojans from taking it inside their walls, for once within the city, Troy
could never be taken.
"We Trojans were credulous, and Sinon's tale was plausible. To increase
our belief in it, while Laocooen was sacrificing a bull to Neptune, we saw
coming over the sea from Tenedos two huge serpents, their crimson crests
towering high, their breasts erect among the waves, their long folds
sweeping over the foaming sea. As we fled affrighted, they seized the two
sons of Laocooen, twining their coils around the wretched boys; and when
their father hastened to their aid, caught him in their huge coils,
staining his fillets with black blood. 'Laocooen suffered for his crime,'
we said, when, the priest slain, the serpents crept to Pallas's altar, and
curled themselves around the feet of the goddess. Then joyfully we made a
breach in the walls, put rollers under the horse, and, with music and
dancing, dragged it within the walls.
"That night as we lay sleeping after revelry and feasting, Sinon crept
down, opened the horse, and freed the men, who were soon joined by the
other Greeks, returned from Tenedos.
"In a dream Hector's shade appeared to me, and, weeping, bade me fly.
'Troy falls. Do thou go forth and save her household deities!' As I woke,
sounds of battle penetrated to my palace halls, removed somewhat from the
city, and embowered in trees; and I rushed forth, forgetful of Hector's
warning. I saw the streets swimming in Trojan blood, Trojan women and
children led captive, Cassandra dragged from her shrine. Enraged, I
gathered a band and slew many Greeks. But when I saw the impious Pyrrhus
enter the palace and slay Priam at the altar, I recognized the uselessness
of my struggle, and turned to my home.
"Taking my old father Anchises on my back, and leading Iulus by the hand,
I set forth, followed by my wife Creusa. But when I looked behind me at
the city gates, my wife was gone. Mad with despair, I rushed back to the
citadel, crying, 'Creusa! Creusa!' Our homestead was in flames, the
streets filled with Greeks; but as I roamed through the town, I met her
pallid shape. 'O husband, rage not against heaven's decrees! Happy days
will come for thee on the banks of the Tiber. Farewell, and love with me
"Without the gates I was joined by other fugitives; and after the
departure of the Greeks we built ships from the timbers of Mount Ida, and
loading these with our household gods and a few spoils from the city, we
departed to seek new homes.
"In Thrace, our first stopping-place, I learned that Polydore, Priam's
son, who had been entrusted to the care of the Thracian king, had been
slain by him for his gold, when the fortunes of Troy fell. We hastened to
leave this accursed land, and sought Delos, only to be instructed by
Apollo that we must seek the home from which our forefathers had come.
Anchises, who remembered the legends of our race, thought this must be
Crete; so to Crete we sailed, and there laid the foundations of a city,
only to be driven thence by a plague and a threatened famine.
"In a dream my household gods instructed me that Dardanus, the founder of
our race, had come from Hesperia, and thither we must bend our course.
Tempests drove us about the sea for three suns, until, on the fourth, we
landed at the isle of the Harpies,--loathsome monsters, half woman, half
bird, who foul everything they touch. When we had slain the cattle and
prepared to banquet, they drove us from the tables; and when attacked by
us, uttered dire threats of future famine.
"At Epirus we heard that Andromache had wed Prince Helenus, who had
succeeded to the rule of Pyrrhus, two Trojans thus being united. As I
landed here, anxious to prove the truth of the rumor, I met Andromache
herself in a grove near the town, sacrificing at an empty tomb dedicated
to Hector. Pyrrhus had made her his slave after the fall of Troy, but
after he wedded Hermione, he had given her to Helenus, himself a slave.
When Pyrrhus died, part of his realm fell to Helenus, and here the two had
set up a little Troy.
"Helenus received us kindly, instructed us as to our route, and gave us
rich gifts; and Andromache, remembering her dead Astyanax, wept over lulus
as she parted with him.
"As we passed Sicily we took up a Greek, Achemenides, a companion of
Ulysses, who had been left behind, and had since been hiding in deadly
terror from the Cyclops. We ourselves caught sight of the monster
Polyphemus, feeling his way to the shore to bathe his wounded eye.
"Instructed by Helenus, we avoided Scylla and Charybdis, and reached
Sicily, where my father died. We were just leaving the island when the
storm arose that brought us hither. The rest thou knowest."
The guests departed from the banquet hall; but the unhappy Dido, consumed
with love, imparted her secret to her sister Anna.
"Why shouldst thou weep, sister dear? Why regret that thou hast at last
forgotten Sichaeus? Contend not against love, but strive to unite Trojan
and Tyrian. Winter comes on, and thou canst detain him while the sea rages
and the winds are fierce and the rains icy."
Her ambitious plans for her city forgotten, Dido wandered through the
streets, mad with love and unable to conceal her passion. She led AEneas
among the walls and towers, made feasts for him, and begged again and
again to hear the story of his wandering. At other times she fondled
Ascanius, leaving her youths undrilled, and the city works abandoned.
Perceiving that Aeneas, well content, seemed to forget that his goal was
Hesperia, Mercury was dispatched by Jupiter to warn him to depart from
"Why stoppest thou here?" questioned the herald of the gods. "If thou
carest not for thyself, think of Ascanius, thine heir. His must be the
Italian realms, the Roman world."
The horror-stricken Aeneas stood senseless with fear. He longed to escape,
but how leave the unhappy Dido? Quickly calling his comrades, he commanded
them to fit out the fleet in silence, hoping to find a time when he could
break the news to Dido gently.
But who can deceive a lover? Rumor bore the report to Dido, who, mad with
grief, reproached Aeneas. "Perfidious one! didst thou think to escape from
me? Does not our love restrain thee, and the thought that I shall surely
die when thou art gone? I have sacrificed all to thee; now leave me not
lonely in my empty palace."
Aeneas remained untouched. He would ever retain the kindest memories of his
stay in Carthage. He had never held out the hope of wedlock to her. A
higher power called him, and, bidden by Jove, he must depart, for
Ascanius's sake, to Italy.
The fainting Dido was carried to her palace, whence she could watch the
hurried preparations for the departure. As she watched, life became
intolerable to her. Pretending to her sister that she was preparing to
perform a magic spell to release her from the bonds of love, she reared a
mighty pyre in her court, wreathed it with funereal garlands, and placed
thereon Aeneas's couch, garments, and sword. With her hair dishevelled, she
then invoked Hecate, and sprinkling Avernian water and poisons on it, and
casting thereon various love charms, she called the gods to witness that
she was determined to die. As the ships left the harbor, she tore her
hair, one moment accusing herself because she had not torn Aeneas to pieces
when in her power, at another vowing to follow him. Then, anxious to
forget her grief, she mounted, the pyre, and threw herself on the sword of
her faithless, lover.
Far out at sea, the Aeneans, looking back, dimly guessed the meaning of the
flames that brightened the stormy skies.
Contrary winds compelled Aeneas to seek harbor in Sicily. Its king,
Acestes, was his friend, and there he had buried his father Anchises. A
year had elapsed since his death, and in honor of the anniversary, Aeneas
instituted funeral games, in which there were trials of skill in rowing,
foot-racing, archery, and boxing.
While the spectators were applauding the feats of skill, the Trojan women,
at the instigation of Juno, set fire to the ships, that they might compel
Aeneas to remain in Sicily. By Jupiter's aid, some of the vessels were
saved, and Aeneas, acting on the advice of Nautes, allowed the women and
those Trojans who so desired, to remain in Sicily, and himself marked out
for them the foundations of their city.
While here Aeneas was urged by Anchises in a dream to visit the Cumaean
Sibyl, that, with her assistance, he might visit Elysium and talk with
In the lofty temple, the Sibyl, inspired by the god, encouraged the hero.
"Success will at last be thine, and Juno will be won over to thee. But
great labors must thou undergo."
To visit the underworld was no easy task, she assured him. "The gates of
Dis stand open night and day; small trouble it is to descend thereto, but
to retrace one's steps, and regain the upper air, there lies the toil."
Aeneas must first possess a golden branch to present to Proserpina, and
celebrate the funeral rites of his friend, Misenus, who yet lay unburied.
While Aeneas worked in the forest, felling trees for Misenus's bier, the
doves of Venus descended and aided him to find the tree, from which he
plucked the gleaming branch.
Across the Styx, past the dread Cerberus, Aeneas and the Sibyl went,
through the abode of babes and those who died for deeds they did not do,
and into the mourning fields, where the disappointed in love were hedged
in with myrtle sprays. Here Aeneas descried Dido dimly through the clouds,
and wept to see her fresh wound. Many were his protestations of his
faithfulness, and strong his declaration that he left her only at the
command of the gods. But without raising her eyes, Dido turned coldly away
to where her former husband returned her love for love. Past the chamber
of torture, beyond Phlegethon, guarded by Tisiphone and Tartarus, in whose
depths the wicked were punished, they went, and entered the beautiful
fields of Elysium, where Aeneas found his father.
To his son, Anchises explained that the souls that visited the underworld
were punished according to their deserts, and then sent into Elysium.
Cleansed there of all impurities, and with the memories of the past washed
from them by Lethe, they again visited the world in another form. Pointing
out a crowd that passed them, he indicated to Aeneas the illustrious men
who would make his race famous in Italy. First his son Silvius, born of
Lavinia, his Italian wife to be; Numitor, Romulus, the founder of Rome,
Caesar, and greatest of all, Augustus Caesar, who would usher in the
Comforted by the prophecies of Anchises, Aeneas sought the upper world, and
collecting his companions, set sail for the mouth of the Tiber.
Latinus the king welcomed Aeneas, and received his proposals for his
daughter Lavinia's hand with favor, remembering an ancient prophecy that
Lavinia was to wed a foreign prince. But queen Amata, aroused by Juno,
insisted that Lavinia should be espoused to Turnus, chief of the
Rutulians. Stung by the fury Alecto, she stirred up the people until they
demanded that Latinus declare war against Aeneas; and when he hesitated,
Juno herself threw open the gates of the temple of Janus.
Leaving part of his forces in Latium with Ascanius, Aeneas, instructed in a
dream by father Tiber, sailed up the river to Pallanteum, the future site
of Rome, to gain the alliance of Evander, an Arcadian king unfriendly to
Evander, who was celebrating a solemn feast to Hercules, together with his
only son Pallas, and his senate, welcomed the warriors to his modest home,
promised his alliance, and sent forth with Aeneas his son Pallas and four
hundred knights. He also advised him to go to Argylla, whose people were
stirred up against Turnus because he protected their tyrant king
While Aeneas was thus seeking allies, his troops in Latium had been
attacked and besieged by Turnus, and were greatly in need of the hero's
aid. While the hosts of Turnus were sleeping after their drunken revelry,
Nisus proposed to his beloved Euryalus that they steal through the Latin
line with messages to Aeneas. Their proposal was applauded by the elders,
and Iulus, weeping, promised to cherish them forever for their courage.
As the youths passed among the sleeping Latins, the desire for slaughter
overcame them, and they slew Rhamnes, as he lay upon his gorgeous rugs,
Lamus, and many others, Euryalus taking Rhamnes's golden-studded belt and
Messapus's helmet as booty. Unfortunately they had delayed too long in
slaughter; as they neared the camp of Turnus, Volscens, returning with
reinforcements, caught sight of the shining helmet of Euryalus. The youth,
flying, became separated from Nisus, and was captured by the enemy. Nisus,
who returned to rescue his friend, sent weapon after weapon from his
retreat, and when he saw Euryalus about to suffer death from Volscens,
rushed forth to save him, only to fall dead upon the body of his
Angry at the slaughter committed by Nisus and Euryalus, Turnus, on his
return, attempted to scale the intrenchments. The fight raged fiercely
around the walls and towers; but just as the victory seemed to be with
Turnus, Aeneas returned with his Tuscan allies, effected a landing, and
began to put the enemy to flight, slaying the tyrant Mezentius and his
Turnus, hearing of the danger of his friend Lausus, at the hands of
Pallas, who had already wrought great slaughter, sought him out, amazing
the young warrior by his great size. Pallas faced him bravely; but while
his spear only grazed the shoulder of Turnus, the spear of the Rutulian
crushed the folds of iron, bronze, and hides, the corselet's rings of
steel, and buried itself in Pallas's breast.
Turnus took the sword-belt from Pallas's body; but because of the merit of
the young warrior, yielded his body to the Arcadians to be carried to King
Enraged at the death of his friend, Aeneas fought more fiercely. Especially
anxious was he to meet Turnus; but Juno, determined, if possible, to save
her favorite, decoyed Turnus off the battle-field by assuming the guise of
After a truce, during which the armies buried their dead, and the body of
Pallas was sent home to his father, the armies again came together, the
Latins being reinforced by the Amazons, under the leadership of Camilla.
Camilla had been reared by her father, the exile Metabus, and, early
trained to warlike pursuits, had consecrated herself to Diana. Beautiful
as a goddess was she, and so light of foot that she could fly over the
tops of the tallest wheat without harming the ears.
Within the walls of Latium there was quarrelling between the parties,
Drances, leader of the peace party, accusing Turnus of bringing on and
continuing the hostilities. The approach of Aeneas brought these disputes
to an abrupt conclusion, and Camilla, with Turnus, hastened to battle.
Many victims fell by Camilla's hand that day, as she rode about the field,
her breast bare, her hand clasping her double battle-axe, before Aruns
struck her down and fled, frightened at his victory.
In Latium the unhappiness increased, and Turnus, enraged at the reproaches
heaped upon him, declared that he would decide the war by single combat
with Aeneas. Latinus made no secret of his regret at having been compelled
to break his compact with Aeneas; but Amata, still furious, raged against
Aeneas, and declared that she would die if he were made her son-in-law.
The preparations were made for the single combat, the sacrifices at the
altars, the crowds assembled to witness the combat; but just as the kings
were solemnizing the agreement, Turnus's sister, Juturna, a river goddess,
beloved of Jupiter, renewed the hostilities that Turnus might be saved. A
weapon hurled from the Latin ranks caused the indignant Trojans to rise in
arms, forgetful of the treaty, and the fight raged more fiercely than
Juturna, fearful from Juno's words of the fate of Turnus, assumed the
guise of Metiscus, his charioteer, and drove her brother over the field
far from the angry Aeneas, who, weary of waiting for Turnus, turned towards
Latium. The frightened people rushed hither and thither, and the queen,
seeing the approaching foe, the roofs in flames, and no troops of Turnus
in sight, supposed the Rutulian dead, and hanged herself.
In the mean time, Turnus, remote from the fight, reproached his sister.
"Think'st thou not I recognized thee? Thy deceit is in vain. Is to die so
wretched a thing? Let us go to the battle. At least, I will die not
unworthy of my ancestry."
As he spoke, Saces, wounded and bleeding, rushed to him, imploring:
"Turnus, have pity on us; come to our rescue! The Latins call thee, the
queen is dead, the phalanxes crowd thick around the gates, while thou
drivest idly here."
Turnus, amazed, confused, and shamed, saw flames consuming the towers of
"Now, sister, the fates control. Desist! It is too late, I will be shamed
no more!" Leaping from his chariot, he rushed forward, demanding that war
cease in order that he and Aeneas might decide the battle in single combat.
When Turnus's sword broke on the helmet of Aeneas,--the sword of his
charioteer, that he had seized by mistake instead of his own Styx-hardened
blade,--he turned and fled, Aeneas pursuing.
Above, in Olympus, Jupiter and Juno quarrelled, as they watched the heroes
circling over the yellow sand.
"Give over thy enmity," said the omnipotent father. "Thou hast caused the
treaty to be violated; even now thou hast made Juturna return the lost
sword to Turnus--in vain. Grieve no more, and goad no longer these
suffering men of Troy."
Then Juno yielded, stipulating only that the Trojans lay aside their
ancient name, that Latium remain Latium, and the future growth Roman.
Juturna, warned by Jove's messenger, a bird of evil omen, tore her locks
and beat her breast, regretting the gift of immortality conferred on her
by Jove. Then wrapping her gray veil about her, she fled to her watery
throne that she might not see the death of her brother. The frightened
Turnus, still fleeing from Aeneas, abandoned his sword and took up instead
a mighty rock, a landmark such as scarce six men could uplift.
Hurling this at Aeneas, he stood, his blood running chill, his eyes cast
towards the Rutuli, the town, and the spear of Aeneas, that, shrieking
through the air, doom laden, wrecked his heavy shield and pierced his
"Mercy!" he prayed. "Fate hath given thee the advantage. Think, thou
duteous son, of my old father, Daunus."
As Aeneas stood, softened, and ready to grant the request, the sword-belt
of Pallas caught his eye.
"Shalt thou escape, decked out with Pallas's spoils? No, not I slay thee,
but Pallas! His hand immolates thee!" As he spoke he plunged his sword in
Chilly death came, and the warrior's spirit fled, groaning to the shades.
SELECTION FROM THE AENEID.
NISUS AND EURYALUS.
While Aeneas, finding the Latins hostile to him, sailed up the Tiber in
search of allies, the troops he left behind under Ascanius were attacked
by Turnus, and their slight fortifications besieged. They were sorely
pressed, and longed to be able to inform Aeneas of their need.
Nisus was guardian of the gate,
No bolder heart in war's debate,
The son of Hyrtacus, whom Ide
Sent, with his quiver at his side,
From hunting beasts in mountain brake
To follow in Aeneas' wake:
With him Euryalus, fair boy;
None fairer donned the arms of Troy;
His tender cheek as yet unshorn
And blossoming with youth new-born.
Love made them one in every thought:
In battle side by side they fought;
And now in duty at the gate
The twain in common station wait.
"Can it be Heaven," said Nisus then,
"That lends such warmth to hearts of men,
Or passion surging past control
That plays the god to each one's soul?
Long time, impatient of repose,
My swelling heart within me glows,
And yearns its energy to fling
On war, or some yet grander thing.
See there the foe, with vain hope flushed!
Their lights are scant, their stations hushed:
Unnerved by slumber and by wine
Their bravest chiefs are stretched supine.
Now to my doubting thought give heed
And listen where its motions lead.
Our Trojan comrades, one and all,
Cry loud, Aeneas to recall,
And where, they say, the men to go
And let him of our peril know?
Now if the meed I ask they swear
To give you--nay, I claim no share,
Content with bare renown--
Meseems, beside yon grassy heap
The way I well might find and keep,
To Pallanteum's town."
The youth returns, while thirst of praise
Infects him with a strange amaze:
"Can Nisus aim at heights so great,
Nor take his friend to share his fate?
Shall I look on, and let you go
Alone to venture 'mid the foe?
Not thus my sire Opheltes, versed
In war's rude toil, my childhood nursed,
When Argive terror filled the air
And Troy was battling with despair:
Nor such the lot my youth has tried,
In hardship ever at your side,
Since, great Aeneas' liegeman sworn,
I followed Fortune to her bourne:
Here, here within this bosom burns
A soul that mere existence spurns,
And holds the fame you seek to reap,
Though bought with life, were bought full cheap."
"Not mine the thought," brave Nisus said,
"To wound you with so base a dread:
So may great Jove, or whosoe'er
Marks with just eyes how mortals fare,
Protect me going, and restore
In triumph to your arms once more.
But if--for many a chance, you wis,
Besets an enterprise like this--
If accident or power divine
The scheme to adverse end incline,
Your life at least I would prolong:
Death does your years a deeper wrong.
Leave me a friend to tomb my clay,
Rescued or ransomed, which you may;
Or, e'en that boon should chance refuse,
To pay the absent funeral dues.
Nor let me cause so dire a smart
To that devoted mother's heart,
Who, sole of all the matron train,
Attends her darling o'er the main,
Nor cares like others to sit down
An inmate of Acestes' town."
He answers brief: "Your pleas are naught:
Firm stands the purpose of my thought:
Come, stir we: why so slow?"
Then calls the guards to take their place,
Moves on by Nisus, pace with pace,
And to the prince they go.
All other creatures wheresoe'er
Were stretched in sleep, forgetting care:
Troy's chosen chiefs in high debate
Were pondering o'er the reeling state,
What means to try, or whom to speed
To show Aeneas of their need.
There stand they, midway in the field,
Still hold the spear, still grasp the shield:
When Nisus and his comrade brave
With eager tones admittance crave;
The matter high; though time be lost,
The occasion well were worth the cost,
Iulus hails the impatient pair,
Bids Nisus what they wish declare.
Then spoke the youth: "Chiefs I lend your ears,
Nor judge our proffer by our years.
The Rutules, sunk in wine and sleep,
Have ceased their former watch to keep:
A stealthy passage have we spied
Where on the sea the gate opes wide:
The line of fires is scant and broke,
And thick and murky rolls the smoke.
Give leave to seek, in these dark hours,
Aeneas at Evander's towers,
Soon will you see us here again
Decked with the spoils of slaughtered men.
Nor strange the road: ourselves have seen
The city, hid by valleys green,
Just dimly dawning, and explored
In hunting all the river-board."
Out spoke Aletes, old and gray:
"Ye gods, who still are Ilium's stay,
No, no, ye mean not to destroy
Down to the ground the race of Troy,
When such the spirit of her youth,
And such the might of patriot truth."
Then, as the tears roll down his face,
He clasps them both in strict embrace:
"Brave warriors! what rewards so great,
For worth like yours to compensate?
From Heaven and from your own true heart
Expect the largest, fairest part:
The rest, and at no distant day,
The good Aeneas shall repay,
Nor he, the royal youth, forget
Through all his life the mighty debt."
"Nay, hear me too," Ascanius cried,
"Whose life is with my father's tied:
O Nisus! by the home-god powers
We jointly reverence, yours and ours,
The god of ancient Capys' line,
And Vesta's venerable shrine,
By these dread sanctions I appeal
To you, the masters of my weal;
Oh, bring me back my sire again!
Restore him, and I feel no pain.
Two massy goblets will I give;
Rich sculptures on the silver live;
The plunder of my sire,
What time he took Arisba's hold;
Two chargers, talents twain of gold,
A bowl beside of antique mould
By Dido brought from Tyre.
Then, too, if ours the lot to reign
O'er Italy by conquest ta'en,
And each man's spoil assign,--
Saw ye how Turnus rode yestreen,
His horse and arms of golden sheen?
That horse, that shield and glowing crest
I separate, Nisus, from the rest
And count already thine.
Twelve female slaves, at your desire,
Twelve captives with their arms entire,
My sire shall give you, and the plain
That forms Latinus' own domain.
But you, dear youth, of worth divine,
Whose blooming years are nearer mine,
Here to my heart I take, and choose
My comrade for whate'er ensues.
No glory will I e'er pursue,
Unmotived by the thought of you:
Let peace or war my state befall,
Thought, word, and deed, you share them all."
The youth replied: "No after day
This hour's fair promise shall betray,
Be fate but kind. Yet let me claim
One favor, more than all you name:
A mother in the camp is mine,
Derived from Priam's ancient line:
No home in Sicily or Troy
Has kept her from her darling boy.
She knows not, she, the paths I tread;
I leave her now, no farewell said;
By night and this your hand I swear,
A parent's tears I could not bear.
Vouchsafe your pity, and engage
To solace her unchilded age:
And I shall meet whate'er betide
By such assurance fortified."
With sympathy and tender grief
All melt in tears, Iulus chief,
As filial love in other shown
Recalled the semblance of his own:
And, "Tell your doubting heart," he cries,
"All blessings wait your high emprise:
I take your mother for my own,
Creusa, save in name alone,
Nor lightly deem the affection due
To her who bore a child like you.
Come what come may, I plight my troth
By this my head, my father's oath,
The bounty to yourself decreed
Should favoring gods your journey speed,
The same shall in your line endure,
To parent and to kin made sure."
He spoke, and weeping still, untied
A gilded falchion from his side,
Lycaon's work, the man of Crete,
With sheath of ivory complete:
Brave Mnestheus gives for Nisus' wear
A lion's hide with shaggy hair;
Aletes, old in danger grown,
His helmet takes, and gives his own.
Then to the gates, as forth they fare,
The band of chiefs with many a prayer
The gallant twain attends:
Iulus, manlier than his years,
Oft whispering, for his father's ears
Full many a message sends:
But be it message, be it prayer,
Alike 'tis lost, dispersed in air.
The trenches past, through night's deep gloom
The hostile camp they near:
Yet many a foe shall meet his doom
Or ere that hour appear.
There see they bodies stretched supine,
O'ercome with slumber and with wine;
The cars, unhorsed, are drawn up high;
'Twixt wheels and harness warriors lie,
With arms and goblets on the grass
In undistinguishable mass.
"Now," Nisus cried, "for hearts and hands:
This, this the hour our force demands.
Here pass we: yours the rear to mind,
Lest hostile arm be raised behind;
Myself will go before and slay,
While carnage opes a broad highway."
So whispers he with bated breath,
And straight begins the work of death
On Rhamnes, haughty lord;
On rugs he lay, in gorgeous heap,
From all his bosom breathing sleep,
A royal seer by Turnus loved:
But all too weak his seer-craft proved
To stay the rushing sword.
Three servants next the weapon found
Stretched 'mid their armor on the ground:
Then Remus' charioteer he spies
Beneath the coursers as he lies,
And lops his downdropt head;
The ill-starred master next he leaves,
A headless trunk, that gasps and heaves:
Forth spouts the blood from every vein,
And deluges with crimson rain,
Green earth and broidered bed.
Then Lamyrus and Lamus died,
Serranus, too, in youth's fair pride:
That night had seen him long at play:
Now by the dream-god tamed he lay:
Ah, had his play but matched the night,
Nor ended till the dawn of light!
So famished lion uncontrolled
Makes havoc through the teeming fold,
As frantic hunger craves;
Mangling and harrying far and near
The meek, mild victims, mute with fear,
With gory jaws he raves.
Nor less Euryalus performs:
The thirst of blood his bosom warms;
'Mid nameless multitudes he storms,
Herbesus, Fadus, Abaris kills
Slumbering and witless of their ills,
While Rhoetus wakes and sees the whole,
But hides behind a massy bowl.
There, as to rise the trembler strove,
Deep in his breast the sword he drove,
And bathed in death withdrew.
The lips disgorge the life's red flood,
A mingled stream of wine and blood:
He plies his blade anew.
Now turns he to Messapus' band,
For there the fires he sees
Burnt out, while coursers hard at hand
Are browsing at their ease,
When Nisus marks the excess of zeal,
The maddening fever of the steel,
And checks him thus with brief appeal:
"Forbear we now; 't will soon be day:
Our wrath is slaked, and hewn our way."
Full many a spoil they leave behind
Of solid silver thrice refined,
Armor and bowls of costliest mould
And rugs in rich confusion rolled.
A belt Euryalus puts on
With golden knobs, from Rhamnes won,
Of old by Caedicus 't was sent,
An absent friendship to cement,
To Remulus, fair Tibur's lord,
Who, dying, to his grandson left
The shining prize: the Rutule sword
In after days the trophy reft.
Athwart his manly chest in vain
He binds these trappings of the slain;
Then 'neath his chin in triumph laced
Messapus' helm, with plumage graced,
The camp at length they leave behind,
And round the lake securely wind.
Meanwhile a troop is on its way,
From Latium's city sped,
An offshoot from the host that lay
Along the host in close array,
Three hundred horsemen, sent to bring
A message back to Turnus, king,
With Volscens at their head.
Now to the camp they draw them nigh,
Beneath the rampart's height,
When from afar the twain they spy,
Still steering from the right;
The helmet through the glimmering shade
At once the unwary boy betrayed,
Seen in the moon's full light.
Not lost the sight on jealous eyes:
"Ho! stand! who are ye?" Volscens cries,
"Whence come, or whither tend?"
No movement deign they of reply,
But swifter to the forest fly,
And make the night their friend.
With fatal speed the mounted foes
Each avenue as with network close,
And every outlet bar.
It was a forest bristling grim
With shade of ilex, dense and dim:
Thick brushwood all the ground o'ergrew:
The tangled ways a path ran through,
Faint glimmering like a star.
The darkling boughs, the cumbering prey
Euryalus's flight delay:
His courage fails, his footsteps stray:
But Nisus onward flees;
No thought he takes, till now at last
The enemy is all o'erpast,
E'en at the grove, since Alban called,
Where then Latinus' herds were stalled:
Sudden he pauses, looks behind
In eager hope his friend to find:
In vain: no friend he sees.
"Euryalus, my chiefest care,
Where left I you, unhappy? where?
What clue may guide my erring tread
This leafy labyrinth back to thread?"
Then, noting each remembered track,
He thrids the wood, dim-seen and black.
Listening, he hears the horse-hoofs' beat,
The clatter of pursuing feet.
A little moment--shouts arise,
And lo! Euryalus he spies,
Whom now the foemen's gathered throng
Is hurrying helplessly along.
While vain resistance he essays,
Trapped by false night and treacherous ways.
What should he do? what force employ
To rescue the beloved boy?
Plunge through the spears that line the wood,
And death and glory win with blood?
Not unresolved, he poises soon
A javelin, looking to the Moon:
"Grant, goddess, grant thy present aid,
Queen of the stars, Latonian maid,
The greenwood's guardian power;
If, grateful for success of mine,
With gifts my sire has graced thy shrine,
If e'er myself have brought thee spoil,
The tribute of my hunter's toil,
To ornament thy roof divine,
Or glitter on thy tower,
These masses give me to confound,
And guide through air my random wound."
He spoke, and hurled with all his might;
The swift spear hurtles through the night:
Stout Sulmo's back the stroke receives:
The wood, though snapped, the midriff cleaves.
He falls, disgorging life's warm tide,
And long-drawn sobs distend his side.
All gaze around: another spear
The avenger levels from his ear,
And launches on the sky.
Tagus lies pierced through temples twain,
The dart deep buried in his brain.
Fierce Volscens storms, yet finds no foe,
Nor sees the hand that dealt the blow,
Nor knows on whom to fly.
"Your heart's warm blood for both shall pay,"
He cries, and on his beauteous prey
With naked sword he sprang.
Scared, maddened, Nisus shrieks aloud:
No more he hides in night's dark shroud,
Nor bears the o'erwhelming pang:
"Me, guilty me, make me your aim,
O Rutules! mine is all the blame;
He did no wrong, nor e'er could do;
That sky, those stars attest 't is true;
Love for his friend too freely shown,
This was his crime, and this alone."
In vain he spoke: the sword, fierce driven,
That alabaster breast had riven.
Down falls Euryalus, and lies
In death's enthralling agonies:
Blood trickles o'er his limbs of snow;
"His head sinks gradually low":
Thus, severed by the ruthless plough,
Dim fades a purple flower:
Their weary necks so poppies bow,
O'erladen by the shower.
But Nisus on the midmost flies,
With Volscens, Volscens in his eyes:
In clouds the warriors round him rise,
Thick hailing blow on blow:
Yet on he bears, no stint, no stay,
Like thunderbolt his falchion's sway:
Till as for aid the Rutule shrieks
Plunged in his throat the weapon reeks:
The dying hand has reft away
The life-blood of its foe.
Then, pierced to death, asleep he fell
On the dead breast he loved so well.
Blest pair! if aught my verse avail,
No day shall make your memory fail
From off the heart of time,
While Capitol abides in place,
The mansion of the Aeneian race,
And throned upon that moveless base
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