| Aeneid Passages – Book I (Line references from the Mandelbaum translation)
1-12 Invocation of the Muse
I sing of arms and of a man: his fate
Had made him fugitive; he was the first
To journey from the coasts of Troy as far
As Italy and the Lavinian shores.
Across the lands and waters he was battered
Beneath the violence of High Ones, for
The savage Juno’s unforgetting anger;
And many sufferings were his in war—
Until he brought a city into being
And carried in his gods to Latium;
From this have come the Latin race, the lords
Of Alba, and the ramparts of high Rome.
30-34, 50 Cause of Juno’s anger
But she had heard that, from the blood of Troy,
A race had come that some day would destroy
The citadels of Tyre; from it, a people
Would spring, wide-ruling kings, men proud in battle
And destined to annihilate her Libya.
It was so hard to found the race of Rome.
131-143 Aeneas’ Lament for
not Dying at Troy
At once Aeneas’ limbs fall slack with chill.
He groans and stretches both hands to the stars.
He calls aloud: “O, three and four time blessed
Were those who died before their fathers’ eyes
Beneath the walls of Troy. Strongest of all
The Danaans, o Diomedes, why
Did your right hand not spill my lifeblood, why
Did I not fall upon the Ilian fields,
There where ferocious Hector lies, pierced by
Achilles’ javelin, where the enormous
Sarpedon now is still, and Simois
Has seized and sweeps beneath its waves so many
Helmets and shields and bodies of the brave!”
209-220 Virgilian Simile – Neptune
And just as, often, when a crowd of people
Is rocked by a rebellion, and the rabble
Rage in their minds, and firebrands and stones
Fly fast—for fury finds its weapons—if,
By chance, they see a man remarkable
For righteousness and service, they are silent
And stand attentively; and he controls
Their passion by his words and cools their spirits:
So all the clamor of the sea subsided
After the Father, gazing on the waters
And riding under the cloudless skies, had guided
His horses, let his willing chariot run.
276-289 Aeneas encourages his men
O comrades—surely we’re not ignorant
Of earlier disasters, we who have suffered
Things heavier than this—our god will give
And end to this as well. You have neared the rage
Of Scylla and her caves’ resounding rocks;
And you have known the Cyclops’ crags; call back
Your courage, send away your grieving fear.
Perhaps one day you will remember even
These our adversities with pleasure. Through
So many crises and calamities
We make for Latium, where fates have promised
A peaceful settlement. It is decreed
That there the realm of Troy will rise again.
Hold out, and save yourselves for kinder days.
389-417 Jupiter’s pledge to Venus
I set no limits to their fortunes and
No time; I give them empire without end.
Then even bitter Juno shall be changed;
For she, who now harasses lands and heavens
With terror, then shall hold the Romans dear
Together with me, cherishing the masters
Of all things, and the race that wears the toga.
This is what I decree. An age shall come
Along the way of gliding lustra when
The house born of Assaracus shall hold
Both Phthia and illustrious Mycenae
And rule defeated Argos. Then a Trojan
Caesar shall rise out of the splendid line.
His empire’s boundary shall be the Ocean;
The only border to his fame, the stars.
His name shall be derived from the great Iulus,
And shall be Julius. In time to come,
no longer troubled, you shall welcome him
to heaven, weighted with the Orient’s wealth;
he, too, shall be invoked with prayers. With battle
forgotten, savage generations shall
grow generous. And aged Faith and Vesta,
together with the brothers, Romulus
and Remus, shall make laws. The gruesome gates
of war, with tightly welded iron gates,
shall be shut fast. Within, unholy Rage
shall sit on his ferocious weapons, bound
behind his back by a hundred knots of brass;
he shall groan horribly with bloody lips.
Aeneid Passages - Book II (Flashback to Fall of Troy)
56-80 Laocoon’s warning about the Trojan Horse
“Poor citizens, what wild insanity is this? Do you
believe the enemy have sailed away?
Or think that any Grecian gifts are free
Of craft? Is this the way Ulysses acts?
Either Achaeans hide, shut in this wood,
Or else this is an engine built against
Our walls to spy upon our houses or
To batter down our city from above:
Some trickery is here. Trojans, do not
Trust in the horse. Whatever it may be,
I fear the Greeks, even when they bring gifts.”. . .
Had the outcome not
Been fated by the gods, and had our minds
Not wandered off, Laocoon would then
Have made our sword points foul the Argive den;
And, Troy, you would be standing yet and you,
High fort of Priam, you would still survive
92-93 Sinon’s treachery
Now listen to the treachery of the Danaans
And learn from one the wickedness of all
276-281 Sinon’s impact
Such was the art of perjured Sinon, so
Insidious, we trusted what he told.
So we were taken in by snares, forced tears –
Yes, we, whom neither Diomedes
nor Achilles of Larissa could defeat,
Nor ten long years, a thousand-galleyed fleet
393-407 Hector’s advice
“Ah, goddess-born, take flight,” he cries,
“and snatch yourself out of these flames. The enemy
has gained the walls; Troy falls from her high peak.
Our home, our Priam—these have had their due:
Could Pergamus be saved by any prowess,
Then my hand would have served. But Troy entrusts
Her holy things and household gods to you;
Take them away as comrades of your fortunes,
Seek out for them the great walls that at last,
Once you have crossed the sea, you will establish
428-433 Aeneas’ first reaction
to Greeks Within Troy's Walls
Insane, I seize my weapons. There’s no sense
In weapons, yet my spirit burns to gather
A band for battle, to rush out against
The citadel with my companions. Rage
And anger drive my mind. My only thought:
How fine a thing it is to die in arms
434-455 Panthus’ dying words
“It has come—the final day and Troy’s inevitable time.
We Trojans were; Troy has been; gone is the giant glory
of Teucrians: ferocious Jupiter
has taken all to Argos.”
474-479 Aeneas’ frustration
The gods on whom this kingdom stood have quit
Our shrines and altars, gone away. The city
That you would help is now in flames. Then let
Us rush to arms and die. The lost have only
This one deliverance: to hope for none.
706-750 Priam’s condemnation of Pyrrhus
If there is any goodness in the heavens
To oversee such acts, for this offense
And outrage may you find fitting thanks
And proper payment from the gods, for you
Have made me see the murder of my son,
Defiled a father’s face with death. Achilles—
You lie to call him father—never dealt
With Priam so—and I, his enemy;
For he had shame before the claims and trust
That are a suppliant’s. He handed back
For burial the bloodless corpse of Hector
And sent me off in safety to my kingdom.
. . .
This was the end of Priam’s destinies,
The close that fell to him by fate: to see
His Troy in flames and Pergamus laid low—
Who once was proud king over many nations
And lands of Asia. Now he lies along
The shore, a giant trunk, his head torn from
His shoulders, as a corpse without a name.
776-792 Aeneas’ wrath at Helen
In my mind a fire
is burning; anger spurs me to avenge
my falling land, to exact a debt of crime.
. . .
For though there is no memorable name
In punishing a woman and no gain
Of honor in such victory, yet I
Shall have my praise for blotting out a thing
Of evil, for my punishing of one
Who merits penalties; and it will be
A joy to fill my soul with vengeful fire,
To satisfy the ashes of my people
802-817 Venus’ command to
My son, what bitterness has kindled this
Fanatic anger? Why this madness? What
Of all your care for me—where has it gone?. . .
And those to blame are not
The hated face of the Laconian woman,
The daughter of Tyndareos, or Paris:
It is the gods’ relentlessness, the gods’
That overturns these riches, tumbles Troy
From its high pinnacle. Look now—for I
Shall tear away each cloud that cloaks your eyes
And clogs your human seeing, darkening
All things with its damp fog: you must not fear
The orders of your mother; do not doubt,
But carry out what she commands.
946-953 Anchises’ decision
Won over by this sign, my father rises,
To greet the gods, to adore the sacred star:
“Now my delay is done; I follow; where you lead,
Gods of my homeland, save my household, save my grandson.
Yours, this omen; and Troy is in your keeping.
Yes, I yield.
My son, I go with you as your companion.”
956-961 Aeneas’ resolve
“Come then, dear father, mount upon my neck;
I’ll bear you on my shoulders. That is not
Too much for me. Whatever waits for us,
We both shall share one danger, one salvation.
Let young Iulus come with me, and let
My wife Creusa follow at a distance.”
974-984 Aeneas sets out
This said, I spread a tawny lion skin
Across my bent neck, over my broad shoulders,
And then take up Anchises; small Iulus
Now clutches my right hand; his steps uneven,
He is following his father; and my wife
Moves on behind. We journey through dark places;
And I, who just before could not be stirred
By any weapons cast at me or by
The crowds of Greeks in charging columns, now
Am terrified by all the breezes, startled
By every sound, in fear for son and father.
1052-1063 Creusa’s prophecy
Along your way lie long exile, vast plains
Of sea that you must plow; but you will reach
Hesperia, where Lydian Tiber flows,
A tranquil stream, through farmer’s fruitful fields.
There days of gladness lie in wait for you:
A kingdom and a royal bride. Enough
Of tears for loved Creusa. I am not
To see the haughty homes of Myrmidons
Or of Dolopians, or be a slave
To Grecian matrons—I, a Dardan woman
And wife of Venus’ son. It is the gods’
Great Mother who keeps me upon these shores.
And now farewell, and love the son we share.
Aeneid Passages – Book IV Dido
127-132 Juno’s proposal to Venus
I have not been blind. I know you fear
Our fortresses, you have been suspicious of
The houses of high Carthage. But what end
Will come of this hate? Let us be done
with wrangling. Let us make, instead of war,
an everlasting peace and plighted wedding.
139-141 Venus’s answer to Juno
But Venus read behind the words of Juno
The motive she had hid: to shunt the kingdom
Of Italy to Libyan shores.
219-228 Aeneas & Dido in the cave
And Juno, queen of marriages, together
Now give the signal: lightning fires flash,
The upper air is witness to their mating,
And from the highest hilltops shout the nymphs.
That day was her first day of death and ruin.
For neither how things seem nor how they are deemed
Moves Dido now, and she no longer thinks
Of furtive love. For Dido calls it marriage,
And with this name she covers up her fault.
Then, swiftest of all evils, Rumor runs
Straightway through Libya’s mighty cities—Rumor,
Whose life is speed, whose going gives her force.
Timid and small at first, she soon lifts up
Her body in the air. She stalks the ground;
Her head is hidden in the clouds . . .
. . . fast-footed
and lithe of wing, she is a terrifying
enormous monster with as many feathers
as she has sleepless eyes beneath each feather
(amazingly), as many sounding tongues
and mouths, and raises up as many ears.
284-292 Iarbas’s prayer to Jupiter
We gave her shore and terms of tenure.
She has refused to marry me, she has taken
Aeneas as a lord into her lands.
And now this second Paris, with his crew
Of half-men, with his chin and greasy hair
Bound up in a bonnet of Maeonia,
Enjoys his prey; while we bring offerings
To what we have believed to be your temples,
Still cherishing your empty reputation.
304-317 Jupiter’s decree
His lovely mother did not promise such
A son to us; she did not save him twice
From Grecian arms for this—but to be master
Of Italy, a land that teems with empire
And seethes with war; to father a race from Teucer’s
High blood, to place all earth beneath his laws.
But if the brightness of such deeds is not
Enough to kindle him, if he cannot
Attempt the task for his own fame, does he—
A father—grudge Ascanius the walls
Of Rome? What is he pondering, what hope
Can hold him here among his enemies,
Not caring for his own Ausonian sons
Or for Lavinian fields. He must set sail.
And this is all; my message lies in this.
364-369 Mercury’s message to Aeneas
For if the brightness of such deeds is not
Enough to kindle you—if you cannot
Attempt the task for your own fame—remember
Ascanius growing up, the hopes you hold
For Iulus, your own heir, to whom are owed
The realm of Italy and the land of Rome.
373-382 Aeneas’ reaction
This vision stunned Aeneas, struck him dumb;
His terror held his hair erect; his voice
Held fast within his jaws. He burns to flee
From Carthage; he would quit these pleasant lands,
Astonished by such warnings, the command
Of gods. What can he do? With what words dare
He face the frenzied queen? What openings
can he employ? His wits are split, they shift
here, there; they race to different places, turning
410-414 Dido’s suspicion
Deceiver, did you even hope to hide
So harsh a crime, to leave this land of mine
Without a word? Can nothing hold you back—
Neither your love, the hand you pledged, nor even
The cruel death that lies in wait for Dido?
455-492 Aeneas’ explanation
I never hoped
To hide—do not imagine that—my flight;
I am not furtive. I have never held
The wedding torches as a husband; I
Have never entered into such agreements.
If fate had granted me to guide my life
By my own auspices and to unravel
My troubles with unhampered will, then I
Should cherish first the town of Troy . . .
. . . But now Grynaean
Apollo’s oracles would have me seize
Great Italy, the Lycian prophecies
Tell me of Italy: there is my love,
There is my homeland. . .
For often as night conceals the earth
With dew and shadows, often as the stars
Ascend, afire, my father’s anxious image
Approaches me in dreams. Anchises warns
And terrifies; I see the wrong I have done
To one so dear, my boy Ascanius,
Whom I am cheating of Hesperia,
The field assigned by fate. . .
Stop your quarrel. It is not
My own free will that leads to Italy
540-545 Aeneas’ reaction to Dido
But though he longs to soften, soothe her sorrow
And turn aside her trouble with sweet words,
Though groaning long and shaken in his mind
Because of his great love, nevertheless
Pious Aeneas carries out the gods’
Instructions. Now he turns back to his fleet.
845-856 Dido’s curse
If it must be
That he, a traitor, is to touch his harbor,
Float to his coasts, and so the fates of Jove
Demand and if this end is fixed; yet let
Him suffer war and struggles with audacious
Nations, and then—when banished from his borders
And torn from the embrace of Iulus—let him
Beg aid and watch his people’s shameful slaughter.
Not even when he has been bent low before
An unjust peace may he enjoy his kingdom,
The light that he has wished for. Let him fall
Before his time, unburied in the sand.
Aeneid Passages - Book VI
1045-1050.1 Soul of the future Augustus
Now turn your two eyes here, to look upon
Your Romans, your own people. Here is Caesar
And all the line of Iulus that will come
Beneath the might curve of heaven. This,
This is the man you heard so often promised—
Augustus Caesar, son of a god, who will
Renew a golden age in Latium
1129-1137 Rome’s mission
For others will, I do not doubt,
Still cast their bronze to breathe with softer features,
Or draw out of the marble living lines,
Plead causes better, trace the ways of heaven
With wands and tell the rising constellations;
But yours will be the rulership of nations,
Remember, Roman, these will be your arts:
To teach the ways of peace to those you conquer,
To spare defeated peoples, tame the proud.
Aeneid Passages - Book VIII
874-883 Aeneas’ Shield
Across the center of the shield were shown
The ships of brass, the strife of Actium:
You might have seen all of Leuctra’s bay
Teeming with war’s array, waves glittering
With gold. On his high stern Augustus Caesar
Is leading the Italians to battle,
Together with the senate and the people,
The household gods and Great Gods; his bright brows
Pour out a twin flame, and upon his head
His father’s Julian star is glittering.