Aeneid translation notes, Book I, lines 441-519
March 5, 2014 § Leave a comment
Lucus in urbe fuit media, laetissimus umbra,
quo primum iactati undis et turbine Poeni
effodere loco signum, quod regia Iuno
monstrarat, caput acris equi; sic nam fore bello
egregiam et facilem victu per saecula gentem.
Hic templum Iunoni ingens Sidonia Dido
condebat, donis opulentum et numine divae,
aerea cui gradibus surgebant limina, nexaeque
aere trabes, foribus cardo stridebat aenis.
Hoc primum in luco nova res oblata timorem
leniit, hic primum Aeneas sperare salutem
ausus, et adflictis melius confidere rebus.
Namque sub ingenti lustrat dum singula templo,
reginam opperiens, dum, quae fortuna sit urbi,
artificumque manus inter se operumque laborem
miratur, videt Iliacas ex ordine pugnas,
bellaque iam fama totum volgata per orbem,
Atridas, Priamumque, et saevum ambobus Achillem.
Constitit, et lacrimans, ‘Quis iam locus’ inquit ‘Achate,
quae regio in terris nostri non plena laboris?
En Priamus! Sunt hic etiam sua praemia laudi;
sunt lacrimae rerum et mentem mortalia tangunt.
Solve metus; feret haec aliquam tibi fama salutem.’
Sic ait, atque animum pictura pascit inani,
multa gemens, largoque umectat flumine voltum.
A sacred grove was in the middle of the city, happiest shade, in which place the Phoenicians, thrown by storm and sea, first dug up the symbol, which royal Juno pointed out, the head of a fierce horse; this indeed destined the Carthaginians to be distinguished in war and easy to sustain for ages. Here the Sidonian queen Dido was building an enormous temple for Juno, rich in offerings and the presence of the goddess, on the steps of which were leading up to a threshold of bronze, beams jointed with bronze and the bronze doors creaked as they turned in their sockets. in this grove for the first time Aeneas dared to hope for safety and trust for the better in his afflictions. While waiting for the queen and surveying everything under the roof of the huge temple, as he admired the fortune of the city and the craftsmanship of the artisans he saw Troy in order the battle as the Trojan War was made known throughout the whole world. The sons of Atreus and Priam and Achilles who was harsh to both sides. He halted and lamented, “What place now,” he said, “Achates, in the whole world does not know of our labor? Behold, Priam. Even here are our own rewards of praise. There is compassion for suffering and mortal things touch the heart. Dismiss fear; this fame will bring some kind of safety to you.” He said this, and his spirit feeds on the empty picture, sighing often, he wets his face with plentiful crying.
A little rough, but hints of grandeur peek through here and there. More is to be seen in the following scenes depicted in the friezes Aeneas is gazing upon:
Namque videbat, uti bellantes Pergama circum
hac fugerent Graii, premeret Troiana iuventus,
hac Phryges, instaret curru cristatus Achilles.
Nec procul hinc Rhesi niveis tentoria velis
adgnoscit lacrimans, primo quae prodita somno
Tydides multa vastabat caede cruentus,
ardentisque avertit equos in castra, prius quam
pabula gustassent Troiae Xanthumque bibissent.
Parte alia fugiens amissis Troilus armis,
infelix puer atque impar congressus Achilli,
fertur equis, curruque haeret resupinus inani,
lora tenens tamen; huic cervixque comaeque trahuntur
per terram, et versa pulvis inscribitur hasta.
Interea ad templum non aequae Palladis ibant
crinibus Iliades passis peplumque ferebant,
suppliciter tristes et tunsae pectora palmis;
diva solo fixos oculos aversa tenebat.
Ter circum Iliacos raptaverat Hectora muros,
exanimumque auro corpus vendebat Achilles.
Tum vero ingentem gemitum dat pectore ab imo,
ut spolia, ut currus, utque ipsum corpus amici,
tendentemque manus Priamum conspexit inermis.
Se quoque principibus permixtum adgnovit Achivis,
Eoasque acies et nigri Memnonis arma.
Ducit Amazonidum lunatis agmina peltis
Penthesilea furens, mediisque in milibus ardet,
aurea subnectens exsertae cingula mammae,
bellatrix, audetque viris concurrere virgo.
For he was gazing at the Greek soldiers encircling the Pergama citadel here fleeing, the Trojan youth pursuing them, there crested Achilles pressing the Phrygians in his chariot. In another picture through his tears he recognizes Rhesus’ white tents, in their first sleep betrayed by Tydeus’ son [Diomedes] laying waste with great slaughter, diverting the fiery horses to his camp before they could eat of the Trojan pasture or drink from the Xanthus. In another part Troilus having lost his arms, the unhappy boy being unequal to Achilles in battle, knocked out of his chariot, the horses dragging him face-up by both his long hair and neck and his spear makes a mark through the earth. Meanwhile to the temple of unjust Pallas the Trojan women were going with their hair disheveled and they were carrying a robe as supplicants, sad and beating their breasts with the palms of their hands; the goddess was turned away, holding her eyes fixed on the ground. Three times around the walls of Troy Achilles had dragged Hector’s lifeless body and he was selling it for gold to Priam. Then indeed Aeneas gave an enormous groan from the bottom of his heart, when he viewed the spoils, the chariot, and the corpse of his friend himself, and Priam, extending his unarmed hands. He recognized also himself fighting against the Greek leaders and he recognized the battle line of the easterners and black Memnon’s arms. Penthesilea, in the midst leading an army of Amazons in the thousands with their crescent-shaped shields, raging in her eagerness for war, fastening a golden girdle beneath her exposed breasts, and although a girl she dared to fight with men, a warrior-woman.
So many stories in so few lines… and now for the bridge to the next scene, which will be posted later in the week:
Haec dum Dardanio Aeneae miranda videntur,
dum stupet, obtutuque haeret defixus in uno,
regina ad templum, forma pulcherrima Dido,
incessit magna iuvenum stipante caterva.
Qualis in Eurotae ripis aut per iuga Cynthi
exercet Diana choros, quam mille secutae
hinc atque hinc glomerantur oreades; illa pharetram
fert umero, gradiensque deas supereminet omnis:
Latonae tacitum pertemptant gaudia pectus:
talis erat Dido, talem se laeta ferebat
per medios, instans operi regnisque futuris.
Tum foribus divae, media testudine templi,
saepta armis, solioque alte subnixa resedit.
Iura dabat legesque viris, operumque laborem
partibus aequabat iustis, aut sorte trahebat:
cum subito Aeneas concursu accedere magno
Anthea Sergestumque videt fortemque Cloanthum,
Teucrorumque alios, ater quos aequore turbo
dispulerat penitusque alias avexerat oras.
Obstipuit simul ipse simul perculsus Achates
laetitiaque metuque; avidi coniungere dextras
ardebant; sed res animos incognita turbat.
Dissimulant, et nube cava speculantur amicti,
quae fortuna viris, classem quo litore linquant,
quid veniant; cunctis nam lecti navibus ibant,
orantes veniam, et templum clamore petebant.
And while the Trojan Aeneas was stupefied, clinging to one spot in a fixed gaze, the queen marched to the Temple, the beautiful body of Dido, thronged by a great crowd of young men. Such as Diana on Eurotas’ banks or the ridge of Cynthus where she trains her chorus, here and there a thousand mountain nymphs are gathering around her from behind; she bears her quiver on her shoulder and proceeding she towers above all the other goddesses (joy strike the quiet heart of Latona): such was Dido, she was bearing such delight in herself amongst the men urging on the project and the future kingdom. Then at the gates of the shrine, under the dome of the temple, hedged in by guards and resting on the high throne she sat. She was giving justice and laws to the men, and she was equalizing the workloads into fair shares or by drawing lots: when Aeneas suddenly saw approaching with a great crowd Antheas and Sergestus and brave Cloanthus and the other Trojans, whom the black storm had scattered on the sea and had borne away to entirely different shores. And Aeneas himself stood agape, and Achates struck by joy and fear; they were eager to join hands; but uncertain of their spirits and wrapped in the hollow cloud they are watching what the fortune of their men would be, which shore they left their ships, why they came; for the men were gathered from the entire fleet seeking favor and in the midst of shouting they were heading for the temple.
Here is a fitting pause for the moment. This is a bit rougher than the preceding passage, but there is a palpable sense of joy in these verses. The next section will deal with Dido’s reaction to their pleas and what follows afterward.