Certain Books of Virgil's {AE}neis: Book II

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BOOK IIWhen Prince Æneas from the royal seatThus gan to speak: O Queen, it is thy willI should renew a woe cannot be told,How that the Greeks did spoil and overthrowThe Phrygian wealth and wailful realm of Troy;Those ruthful things that I myself beheld,And whereof no small part fell to my share;Which to express, who could refrain from tears?What Myrmidon? or yet what Dolopes?What stern Ulysses' waged soldier?And lo! moist night now from the welkin falls,And stars declining counsel us to rest.But since so great is thy delight to hearOf our mishaps and Troyës last decay,Though to record the same my mind abhorsAnd plaint eschews, yet thus will I begin.

The Greekës chieftains, all irk'd with the war,Wherein they wasted had so many years,And oft repuls'd by fatal destiny,A huge horse made, high raised like a hill,By the divine science of Minerva,--Of cloven fir compacted were his ribs,--For their return a feigned sacrifice,--The fame whereof so wander'd it at point.In the dark bulk they clos'd bodies of men,Chosen by lot, and did enstuff by stealthThe hollow womb with armed soldiers.

There stands in sight an isle hight Tenedon,Rich and of fame while Priam's kingdom stood,Now but a bay and road unsure for ship.Hither them secretly the Greeks withdrew,Shrouding themselves under the desert shore;And weening we they had been fled and gone,And with that wind had fet the land of Greece,Troy{:e} discharg'd her long continued dole.The gates cast up, we issued out to play,The Greekish camp desirous to behold,The places void and the forsaken coasts.Here Pyrrhus' band, there fierce Achilles', pight;Here rode their ships, there did their battles join.Astonied some the scathful gift beheld,Behight by vow unto the chaste Minerve,All wond'ring at the hugeness of the horse.And first of all Timœtes gan adviseWithin the walls to lead and draw the same,And place it eke amid the palace court,--Whether of guile, or Troyes fate it would.Capys, with some of judgment more discreet,Will'd it to drown, or underset with flame,The suspect present of the Greek's deceit,Or bore and gauge the hollow caves uncouth;So diverse ran the giddy people's mind.

Lo! foremost of a rout that follow'd him,Kindled Laöcoön hasted from the tower,Crying far off: "O wretched citizens,What so great kind of frenzy fretteth you?Deem ye the Greeks, our enemies, to be gone?Or any Greekish gifts can you supposeDevoid of guile? Is so Ulysses known?Either the Greeks are in this timber hid,Or this an engine is to annoy our walls,To view our towers, and overwhelm our town.Here lurks some craft. Good Troyans, give no trustUnto this horse, for, whatsoever it be,I dread the Greeks, yea, when they offer gifts."


© Henry Howard