Virgil, The Aeneid Bk I: 81-123 Aeolus Raises the Storm


When he had spoken, he reversed his trident and struck

the hollow mountain on the side: and the winds, formed ranks,

rushed out by the door heíd made, and whirled across the earth.

They settle on the sea, East and West wind,

and the wind from Africa, together, thick with storms,

stir it all from its furthest deeps, and roll vast waves to shore:

follows a cry of men and a creaking of cables.

Suddenly clouds take sky and day away

from the Trojanís eyes: dark night rests on the sea.

It thunders from the pole, and the aether flashes thick fire,

and all things threaten immediate death to men.

Instantly Aeneas groans, his limbs slack with cold:

stretching his two hands towards the heavens,

he cries out in this voice: ĎOh, three, four times fortunate

were those who chanced to die in front of their fatherís eyes

under Troyís high walls! O Diomede, son of Tydeus

bravest of Greeks! Why could I not have fallen, at your hand,

in the fields of Ilium, and poured out my spirit,

where fierce Hector lies, beneath Achillesís spear,

and mighty Sarpedon: where Simois rolls, and sweeps away

so many shields, helmets, brave bodies, of men, in its waves!í

Hurling these words out, a howling blast from the north,

strikes square on the sail, and lifts the seas to heaven:

the oars break: then the prow swings round and offers

the beam to the waves: a steep mountain of water follows in a mass.

Some ships hang on the breakerís crest: to others the yawning deep

shows land between the waves: the surge rages with sand.

The south wind catches three, and whirls them onto hidden rocks

(rocks the Italians call the Altars, in mid-ocean,

a vast reef on the surface of the sea) three the east wind drives

from the deep, to the shallows and quick-sands (a pitiful sight),

dashes them against the bottom, covers them with a gravel mound.

A huge wave, toppling, strikes one astern, in front of his very eyes,

one carrying faithful Orontes and the Lycians.

The steersmanís thrown out and hurled headlong, face down:

but the sea turns the ship three times, driving her round,

in place, and the swift vortex swallows her in the deep.

Swimmers appear here and there in the vast waste,

menís weapons, planking, Trojan treasure in the waves.

Now the storm conquers Iloneusís tough ship, now Achates,

now that in which Abas sailed, and old Aletesís:

their timbers sprung in their sides, all the ships

let in the hostile tide, and split open at the seams.