Virgil: The Aeneid

5. BOOK V (continued)

Now, when the following morn had chas'd away
The flying stars, and light restor'd the day,
Aeneas call'd the Trojan troops around,
And thus bespoke them from a rising ground:
"Offspring of heav'n, divine Dardanian race!
The sun, revolving thro' th' ethereal space,
The shining circle of the year has fill'd,
Since first this isle my father's ashes held:
And now the rising day renews the year;
A day for ever sad, for ever dear.
This would I celebrate with annual games,
With gifts on altars pil'd, and holy flames,
Tho' banish'd to Gaetulia's barren sands,
Caught on the Grecian seas, or hostile lands:
But since this happy storm our fleet has driv'n
(Not, as I deem, without the will of Heav'n)
Upon these friendly shores and flow'ry plains,
Which hide Anchises and his blest remains,
Let us with joy perform his honors due,
And pray for prosp'rous winds, our voyage to renew;
Pray, that in towns and temples of our own,
The name of great Anchises may be known,
And yearly games may spread the gods' renown.
Our sports Acestes, of the Trojan race,
With royal gifts ordain'd, is pleas'd to grace:
Two steers on ev'ry ship the king bestows;
His gods and ours shall share your equal vows.
Besides, if, nine days hence, the rosy morn
Shall with unclouded light the skies adorn,
That day with solemn sports I mean to grace:
Light galleys on the seas shall run a wat'ry race;
Some shall in swiftness for the goal contend,
And others try the twanging bow to bend;
The strong, with iron gauntlets arm'd, shall stand
Oppos'd in combat on the yellow sand.
Let all be present at the games prepar'd,
And joyful victors wait the just reward.
But now assist the rites, with garlands crown'd."
He said, and first his brows with myrtle bound.
Then Helymus, by his example led,
And old Acestes, each adorn'd his head;
Thus young Ascanius, with a sprightly grace,
His temples tied, and all the Trojan race.
 Aeneas then advanc'd amidst the train,
By thousands follow'd thro' the flow'ry plain,
To great Anchises' tomb; which when he found,
He pour'd to Bacchus, on the hallow'd ground,
Two bowls of sparkling wine, of milk two more,
And two (from offer'd bulls) of purple gore,
With roses then the sepulcher he strow'd
And thus his father's ghost bespoke aloud:
"Hail, O ye holy manes! hail again,
Paternal ashes, now review'd in vain!
The gods permitted not, that you, with me,
Should reach the promis'd shores of Italy,
Or Tiber's flood, what flood soe'er it be."
Scarce had he finish'd, when, with speckled pride,
A serpent from the tomb began to glide;
His hugy bulk on sev'n high volumes roll'd;
Blue was his breadth of back, but streak'd with scaly gold:
Thus riding on his curls, he seem'd to pass
A rolling fire along, and singe the grass.
More various colors thro' his body run,
Than Iris when her bow imbibes the sun.
Betwixt the rising altars, and around,
The sacred monster shot along the ground;
With harmless play amidst the bowls he pass'd,
And with his lolling tongue assay'd the taste:
Thus fed with holy food, the wondrous guest
Within the hollow tomb retir'd to rest.
The pious prince, surpris'd at what he view'd,
The fun'ral honors with more zeal renew'd,
Doubtful if this place's genius were,
Or guardian of his father's sepulcher.
Five sheep, according to the rites, he slew;
As many swine, and steers of sable hue;
New gen'rous wine he from the goblets pour'd.
And call'd his father's ghost, from hell restor'd.
The glad attendants in long order come,
Off'ring their gifts at great Anchises' tomb:
Some add more oxen: some divide the spoil;
Some place the chargers on the grassy soil;
Some blow the fires, and off entrails broil.

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