Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, THE AENEID, by GEORGE SANTAYANA

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Classic and Contemporary Poetry

THE AENEID, by                 Poet Analysis     Poet's Biography
First Line: I sing of arms and of the man and boy
Last Line: Thus did my virtue prove its own reward.

Aeneas comes to land
On Afric's torrid strand.

I sing of arms and of the man and boy
Who first went West after the fire in Troy;
While travelling by land they suffered much,
But while on board their sufferings were such
As, though so oft, Alas! imposed by fate,
It is not fit in Epics to relate.
In love and war, for so it was decreed,
This harmless man fared very ill indeed
(A single combat or a lady's whim,
To say the truth, oft proved too much for him),
Until they built a city, -- whence it is
Spring Latin grammars, dates, and histories.

O muse, recite to me the cause or reason,
The purpose and result of Juno's treason
'Gainst pious Aeneas, who, the whole world knows,
At church was never seen to sneeze or doze,
And never would consent to go to bed
Before to her his prayers were duly said,
But who to ruin by her wrath was driven: --
Do ladies with sour tempers go to heaven?

For Carthage, great affections Juno bore,
Nor liked she Mt. Desert or Newport more,
And there she kept her carriages and horses;
But she had heard that by the Trojan forces
That very place would one day be destroyed,
And by this rumor she was much annoyed.
Of Trojan, Paris' choice, she also thought,
When Venus, Pallas, and herself each sought
To be declared the handsomest, and tried
To bribe him in her favor to decide.
Juno herself proposed unseemly cash,
And Pallas, glory, fame, and all such trash,
But Venus promised him the blameless joys
Of home -- a wife and little girls and boys.
Some have maintained that, like the modern school,
This Trojan lady-killer was a fool;
I hardly dare to favor either side: --
Pray let the Female Latin School decide!
And lastly, when the Olympians dined in state,
Queen Juno's daughter, Hebe, used to wait
Upon the table, till, with one accord,
The gods inquired if she could not afford
A trained male waiter, -- such alone were fit
To serve a banquet at which gods should sit;
So Ganymede, a Trojan, was engaged,
And thrifty Juno justly was enraged.

Thus Carthage, Paris, and this Ganymede, --
Not I, -- must answer for the things you read.

Aeneas, with full sail and bending oar,
Was gladly leaving the Sicilian shore,
When Juno thus soliloquized: "Forsooth,
I cannot kill this good-for-nothing youth!
The fates forbid! -- And yet Minerva could --
Although her reasons were not half so good --
Sink Ajax' fleet, and Ajax' person knock
And split in pieces on a pointed rock;
Whilst I, who strut a queen, Jove's sister-wife,
Am ever with a conquered race at strife!
If I don't show I am as good as she,
Who henceforth will be found to worship me?"

The goddess, by her meditations flurried,
To Aeolus, the king of tempests, hurried,
Who keeps the winds locked up within a cave,
And, sitting on them, makes them all behave.
To him Queen Juno told her purpose thus:
"That Trojan race I hate, good Aeolus,
Is cruising now not very far from here;
Let loose the winds at once, and never fear;
Drive them about and sink them on their way:
These kind attentions I shall soon repay.
With fourteen charming girls my home is blessed,
All most accomplished and divinely dressed;
Lest such abundance should confuse your heart,
The most deserving I shall set apart,
And you may marry her without delay.
I shall arrange it in the smoothest way,
For if you're shy or can't afford the ring
To pop the question is a trying thing."
Thus spoke this honest goddess; he replied:
"Two things my heart delights in you provide;
I need a wife, -- 'tis yours, O queen, to win her, --
And mine to eat what you have cooked for dinner."
This said, he bids the stormy winds arise
And toss the mountain billows to the skies.
At once Aeneas' limbs are chilled; he grasps
The mast with both his hands, and gasps,
"O thrice and four times happy those who died
Tucked in their beds, a doctor by their side,
Or who at least were killed on solid ground,
But I -- help, mother, help! -- I shall be drowned!
Oh, if I must be drowned, could it not be
In Simois Brook, not in this raging sea?"

Already Neptune felt in every bone
That Juno's tactics quite outdid his own;
And so he raised on high his dripping head,
And spat and blinked, as to the winds he said:
"How now! how dare you, scoundrels you! whom I...
But first 'tis well the storm to pacify,
Away! and tell your king that 'tis for me
And not for him to rule the boundless sea;
It is my privilege to murder there;
Great Jove can do so in the fields of air;
He rules the clouds and thunderbolts and rain;
The earth alone is everyone's domain,
There all the gods their kindly feelings vent
And torture mortals to their hearts' content;
While Pluto, in whose realm the dead are found
Forever keeps them busy underground,"
Thus Neptune spoke; and, sooner done than said,
A glassy calm upon the waters spread.

As when among a crowd of idle boys
At times arises playfulness and noise,
And spit-balls fly around and beans and chalk, --
For mischief lends them weapons, -- if in walk
By chance a teacher, each his glee restrains
The noise is hushed and guilty silence reigns, --
So, at the sight of Neptune's awful form,
Did sudden calm succeed the sudden storm.

Disgusted with the sea, Aeneas' band
Pull for the shore and make the nearest land;
And when they reach the beach for which they long
They feel another longing quite as strong.
One, hard-worked heroes naturally feel, --
So they prepare a good substantial meal.
At sight of which Aeneas dries his tears
And with these words his valiant comrades cheers:
"You've gone through much, but don't cry any more;
It's dinner time, and you've fared worse before.
We shall see better times, and we may find
It pleasant then to call these things to mind."
So, while their strength by eating they revive
And wonder when their lost friends will arrive,
Of their forlorn condition they complain
And fill themselves with cake and old champagne.

At dawn Aeneas, as explorer, meant
To make his way "through the dark continent,"
When (wonderful to tell!) before him stood,
Just in the very middle of a wood,
A strange, heterogeneous sort of creature,
Male in attire but feminine in feature.
She wore a picturesque and flowing dress --
A Highlander's costume, nor more nor less,
At once she cried, "Hallo, young man, I say
Has any of my sisters passed this way
Chasing a foaming wild-boar with a shout?"
Aeneas said -- though he could not make out
What such strange sights and sounds as these could mean --
"None of your sisters have I heard or seen. --
What shall I call you? Girl, I scarcely can,
And yet your voice is not that of a man,
O surely you are the embodied form
Of woman's rights or ladies' dress reform!
Whate'er you be, be of some use to me,
And tell me where I am." "Dear me!" said she,
"You do me too much honor; sporting suits
Are stylish now, with quivers and top-boots.
That town is Carthage, African these bounds,
Although we stand in widow Dido's grounds.
A husband and a brother Dido had,
One very rich, the other very bad.
The husband, named Sychaeus, and the brother
Began, of course, to quarrel with each other;
And, when in church, they came to blows one day,
The whole thing ending in a tragic way,
Sychaeus died intestate; but his shade
His business-like propensities displayed.
In life Sychaeus may have been a miser
But then his ghost determined to be wiser:
It came to widow Dido in a dream --
So Dido says but no one heard her scream --
Bade her depart, and showed her sums untold
Of hidden silver and of buried gold.
Induced by this, she quickly went on board,
Loading the ship with the discovered hoard,
And came to settle on this Hybian shore
And built the mansion we are now before.
Go in to see her now and you will find,
I dare be sworn, this widow Dido kind,"
She ended: as to go she turns around
Her lengthened dress begins to sweep the ground,
Her face to shine, her ringlets to dispell
Of gods' pomatum a decided smell,
And by her gait, while climbing to the skies,
She shows that she was Venus in disguise.

Before his mother left Aeneas there,
She wrapped him close in a thick cloud of air,
To shield his modest form from curious eyes,
Just as glass cases keep away the flies.
Thus sheltered, he walked up the avenue
Till near to widow Dido's house he drew.

"O happy one," he said, "who dost not roam
A wanderer still! there is no place like home."
He goes right in, nor stops to ring the bell;
And all the time, oh wonderful to tell!
He, hidden quite by the convenient cloud,
Is seen by none, though passing through a crowd.
Here, as at the upholstery he stared,
Aeneas first to hope for comfort dared;
These new surroundings somewhat calmed his fear
And made him hope that better times were near.
For, as he looked around him in the hall,
He saw, hung in a row along the wall,
The Trojan battles in which came to grief
Many an Argive and Dardanian chief.
He stood amazed, and floods of tears he shed
And groaned and moaned, and finally he said:
"What country is there now beneath the sun
That is not full of the great deeds we've done?
See, here the Greeks fight with the Trojan forces;
There noble Diomed is stealing horses;
Achilles here, thrice round the city walls
Is chasing Hector, there brave Hector falls;
His naked corpse, suspended by the heels,
Is dragged at great Achilles' chariot wheels;
Who by all this surpassing glory gains,
And profits, too, by selling the remains."
While pious Aeneas, spell-bound still, admired
The paintings that these envious thoughts inspired;
The pleasing Mrs. Dido came down stairs
To attend as usual to her household cares,
Just as an officer of recent date,
Who with his new position is elate,
Carries his sword with pleasure in his hand
And feels it quite his province to command,
And lifts his head far higher than the rest
While secret joys are thrilling through his breast,
So did this widow Dido feel and look
The dinner over and reprove the cook.

But suddenly Aeneas was astounded
To see that Mrs. Dido was surrounded
By Trojans whom the storm the previous day
Had driven off from where the others lay.
The oldest of them spoke for all the rest
And, coming nearer Dido, thus addressed:
"Over the land and sea we Trojans roam;
You, Mrs. Dido, have a pleasant home.
Under these circumstances 'twere a sin
For you not to be glad to take us in.
We do not come to plunder or to steal,
No such brave promptings do the conquered feel.
There is a place that people call the West,
A modern land, with splendid harvests blessed,
And this we hope some happy day to reach.
A storm has cast us up on this, your beach.
Your servants drive us from the kitchen fire
And money for our lodging would require!
What does this mean? If you don't think us strong,
The gods, at least, remember right and wrong."
Then widow Dido blushed, and shook her head,
And looking at the carpet, briefly said:
"Don't be afraid; I'll make this matter right,
Who has not heard about the Trojan fight?
My house is large, my family is small;
I can most easily make room for all.
Would that your king, Aeneas, too, were here!
I'll send to see if he has landed near."
She had not finished when the vanished cloud
Unveiled Aeneas to the astonished crowd.
In the bright light more brightly did he shine;
His features and his figure were divine.
For (though her operations were unseen,
Being hidden by the wonderful air screen)
His mother had, with her accustomed care,
Just washed his face and combed and brushed his hair.

Aeneas' unexpected introduction
By so obscure a process of induction
Perplexed poor Dido, quite untaught to fix
Her thoughts on Bacon's or on Venus' tricks.
But soon she said: "Well, now that you are here
You and your friends have nothing more to fear.
I hope you'll stay some little time with me
Before you sail away again to sea,
A prey to tempests and Olympian scamps:
A wanderer too, I learn to succor tramps."
Aeneas (for all summer he might stay
And no hotel bills would he have to pay)
Exclaimed: "What fitting language can I find
To thank a friend so beautiful and kind?
Ye gods! how noble her reward would be,
If to reward her you deputed me!"
And then he sent Achates on the run
For young Iulus, his much petted son;
And presents, too, he ordered him to bring,
For Mrs. Dido they were just the thing:
A yellow shawl embroidered all in gold,
Which Spartan Helen, so the story's told,
Got from her mother many years ago
And brought to Troy as part of her trousseau,
And which Aeneas purchased second-hand;
A golden necklace, which, I understand,
Had been his wife's, (why should Aeneas buy it,
Not knowing to what use he should apply it?)
And his wife's jewels he had kept in mind
Although herself he chanced to leave behind;
And then a jeweled, golden crown to match,
Which from the fire he'd had the luck to snatch.
Meantime fair Venus, with consummate art,
Thus lays a plot against poor Dido's heart:
She summons Cupid and her plan discloses:
"You know my son Aeneas now proposes
To take at Carthage a few weeks' vacation;
He's in sad need of some such relaxation.
To make it pleasant for him, it is best
Some lady's heart in him to interest.
I'll show you how the business may be done.
You are a boy, so is Aeneas' son;
Well, then, exchange for more essential things --
His shirt and trousers -- these angelic wings,
And go to Dido in Iulus' stead.
I'll see that he is safely put to bed.
When she begins to kiss you and caress,
For she is sure to do so more or less,
Just breathe upon her love's insidious breath;
'Twill comfort her for good Sychaeus' death."
That day the Trojans and the Tyrians shared
A splendid banquet Dido had prepared.
At the close of such, as history can show,
Up stairs the ladies never used to go;
Men didn't smoke, so 'twas but right, I think,
The ladies should remain with them and drink.
So Dido did; she sipped the foaming bowl
Which others drenched themselves by drinking whole.
Fair reader, be not shocked; the classic mind
Loved also pleasures of another kind.
Long-haired Iopas read them a discourse
Upon the nature of the planets' course,
Declaring, too, the scientific reason
Why nights are longer in the winter season.
The origin of species he expounded
And the Darwinian theory propounded.
Nothing could please the learned Trojans more;
The Tyrians loudly called for an encore.
But Dido, clinging to that cruel boy,
Asked many things about the siege of Troy,
Said she delighted in those deeds of glory,
And begged her guest to tell the famous story.


Which shows what latent forces
May be in wooden horses.

All shut their mouths and opened wide their ears,
Blowing his nose and brushing off his tears
And feeling he was an important man,
Aeneas cleared his throat, and thus began:

Ah! Mrs. Dido, you can hardly know
How oft my tears like mountain torrents flow,
How oft I wail and shriek in piercing tones,
How oft cold chills run up and down my bones,
How oft in fear of what the skies portend,
My bristling locks in terror stand on end,
For, if you knew all this, you would not fail
To spare me the recital of this tale.
Besides, the stars are shining overhead,
And it is time the pious went to bed.
But if you want so very much to know
How came to Troy its final overthrow,
Although to think what trouble I was in
Still moves and frightens me, -- I will begin.

The Greeks despaired, and well I think they might,
Of taking Troy in fair and open fight;
And so they had recourse to stratagem,
For which the wise Ulysses, one of them,
Was eminent, as well as for deceit,
Wit, eloquence, adventures, and conceit.
They built a horse, a mountain in its size;
If any modern sceptic this denies,
There is a proof which men but seldom see:
Just here all the authorities agree.
Within the horse's body laid away,
A chosen band of Argive heroes lay,
And filled completely, crowded side by side,
The caves and caverns hollowed out inside.
Their situation could not have been pleasant,
For, although men were tougher than at present,
The question had not yet been agitated,
How dwellings should be drained and ventilated.
Then all the other Greeks, to our delight,
Retired from Troy and soon were out of sight.
We liked to go where they had been before,
And view their camp on the deserted shore.
Some crowd around the horse, and with surprise
Behold its quite unprecedented size:
And one -- whether for gain I cannot tell,
Or loving art not wisely but too well --
Proposed to move the horse from its position
And place it in the town on exhibition.
But, on the contrary, the good and wise
That we destroy the monster all advise,
But as to methods they do not agree;
Some wish to cast the horse into the sea;
Some, to explore each hollow and recess;
And while the zealous and devout express
For an auto de fe their predilection,
The scientific favor vivisection.

Since parties were so evenly divided,
The horse's fate remained long undecided.
At last Laocoon with earnest words addressed
The meeting, and his anxious fears expressed:
"What, fellow citizens! how can you be so green?
There may be something bad in this machine;
It may be infernal and contain a lot
Of dynamite, torpedoes, and what not.
Think you the Greeks, with no ends of their own,
Would give us gifts? Thus is Ulysses known?
There's something wrong; men seldom prove so kind
When they have nothing practical in mind."
Laocoon had ceased and soon withdrew.
We all were still uncertain what to do;
But all our doubts at last were dissipated
By an event that none anticipated.
Laocoon had gone in bathing; -- well,
What do you think I am about to tell?
That he was drowned? -- I should not shudder so,
If that were all. He had the cramp? Oh no!
Two -- think of it, now -- (for they were twins)
Two horrid monster lobsters clutched his shins!
As clings the miser to his hoarded gold,
As clings self-love to boastful lies once told,
As clings the ship-wrecked to a floating plank,
So clung each lobster to a helpless shank.
He screams; we run -- not to his aid -- but all
To take the horse within the city wall;
For who can be so stupid, not to see
What must the meaning of this portent be?
Two lobsters by some god, 'twas clear, were sent
To inflict on him a cruel punishment,
Which proves he must have been a wicked man;
And so, it follows, we must take to Troy
The horse he madly urged us to destroy.
A string around the horse's neck we tie;
Each leg with wheels we thoughtfully supply;
To let it pass, our gates and turrets fall;
The fatal engine scales the battered wall;
All help; "the boys, too, sing a sacred song
Around the unmarried girls"; it moves along.
Oh Ilium, dwelling of the gods! Oh Fate!
Four times it stuck in passing through the gate;
Four times the whole was on the point of breaking;
Four times those heroes got a thorough shaking.
But all in vain it was, and all in vain
Cassandra sang her melancholy strain.
Of seers and prophets she has proved the best,
The striking opposite of all the rest,
For, strange to tell, she never was deceived,
And, stranger still, she never was believed.

There was a sound of revelry by night --
In fact, you'll find what now I have to write
All written in Childe Harold, canto third,
To which the curious reader is referred.
But one important thing is there omitted
Which to insert I beg to be permitted.
Though witty, Byron's muse is sentimental,
Unsteady in the moral and the mental;
But mine is modelled, for the greater part,
On wholesome principles of classic art,
And does not try to make out heroes frantic
With patent griefs, despairs, and loves romantic.
Or show, in sonnets of the impassioned school,
That pretty girls have flirted with a fool.
But being sensible, my lady muse,
To notice well known facts will not refuse;
For instance, she'll not say that this digression
Is the effect of sudden inspiration,
But honestly and simply will confess
It was suggested by the painful stress
Of having nothing ready for the press.
I was about to tell, when I digressed,
Of something that Lord Byron has suppressed,
The revelry was more than just a ball;
That hardly had been revelry at all.
Our noble Trojans, hearty and robust,
Were very fond of going "on a bust";
That day some slight excess might be forgiven
Since from our town we thought the foe was driven.
Full many times we fill both plate and glass
And many times around the bottles pass,
Until, stretched here and there upon the floor,
By ten o'clock we all begin to snore.
The Greeks could have it all in their own way
For buried deep in wine and sleep we lay.
And I, as the most pious and robust,
Had had the largest share, it was but just;
But then, alas! old nature is so blind
To my prerogatives, and so unkind,
Nay, so unjust! -- for which is justice true,
To give the same to all, or each his due?
But nature's undiscriminating laws
Hardheartedly unite effect and cause;
Lest ample cause its due effect should lack,
The nightmare came my reeling brain to rack.
I see dead Hector's ghost, unearthly sight,
Rise up before me to a towering height:
His feet are swollen; in his matted hair
The blood is clotted; all his wounds are bare;
Unwonted tears his bloodshot eye-balls dim;
'Tis Hector still, but oh! how changed from him
Who to the hostile galleys pushed the fight,
With Vulcan's flames and Vulcan's armor bright.
Upon this sight, in wonder and amaze
(As Mrs. Hemans would have said) I gaze;
At last I say, "O Hector, are you dumb?
Tell me at least from which place you have come.
You don't look happy; tell me what you seek;
Or have you come for nothing? speak, speak, speak."
The vision grew more hideous as I spoke;
I could not bear it now, I screamed, I woke;
But scarcely was that apparition gone
When one, more horrible, I looked upon:
Men see in dreams the sweetest things they see,
Would that the saddest but a dream might be!

I was awakened by a dreadful noise;
Down every street there ran a stream of boys;
Teams rattled by, the air with yells resounded;
In fact 'twas clear the fire alarm had sounded.
I learned then that the Greeks of Troy were masters,
And I expected nothing but disasters
But e'en that knowledge could not make me stay;
I wished to join the crowd without delay;
For there are some that sooner would expire
Than not be in the way at every fire.
So furiously I rushed to meet my death
That I was very soon quite out of breath.
I had to stop: to me it then occurred
That fearful, needless dangers I incurred.
The brazen-coated Greeks were in the town,
And I had only on my dressing gown.
This midnight summons rang the war's alarms,
And it behooves the brave to die in arms.
Then happily I saw just at my feet
A murdered Greek outstretched there in the street.
I put his armor on, that this disguise
Might blunt the sharpness of Greek spears and eyes.
In war 'tis as in politics, you know,
Honor and fraud are all one in a foe.
Ashes of Troy and of my home! be ye
My witnesses: I swear, I did not flee
From any battle or from any strife
Except when there was danger of my life,
And, but for fate, I might have chanced to die.
Yes, none had e'er as large a share as I
Of that consummate valor in his heart
Of which discretion is the better part.

On every side the Greeks and fate prevailed;
To fight with them would little have availed.
But I encountered one on whom to wreak
The vengeance that my baffled rage did seek,
For I met Helen; was she not a Greek?
I had not had good luck when fighting men;
Here was a woman; I might try again.
Her murder would have been a culmination
Suiting the hero and the situation,
But suiting neither, may be, quite as well
As what instead now actually befell.
I know not how, the nightmare came once more,
No doubt for the same reason as before;
But this was less surprising than the other:
It was not Hector now, it was my mother.
"If Priam could be saved or Priam's land
They had been saved," said she, "by your right hand.
Enough of them. But look out now, my son,
For your own father, wife, and little one.
To blame my lovely Helen were a shame;
It is the gods, the gods, you ought to blame.
Do what your mother bids, that all may say
I've brought you up in a right pious way."
Thus spoke my goddess mother: as I heard
I hastened to obey her timely word.
And, under cover of the friendly night,
To save myself and family by flight.

Now suddenly there went forth a report
Throughout the world of a most painful sort.
There is a kind of being whom in speed
No other form of evil can exceed;
He waxes strong through change and agitation,
And gets his living by exaggeration;
At first all smiles, politeness, deference,
Soon queries endless, boundless impudence.
He has wide-open ears and watchful eyes
As many as his quills, and garbles lies
As many as the questions that he plies.
As much the publisher he is, in sooth,
Of falsehood, as the herald of the truth.
This race men name the newspaper reporters,
But all immortals call them the distorters.
Hear how into their hands we heroes fall,
And from one slander learn to know them all,
The manner of my famous flight from Troy
With my dear father and my little boy,
Was not that which some laughter-loving scribe
Has taken cruel pleasure to describe.
I did not sling Anchises on my back
As if the old gentleman had been a pack;
I took my father with me in a hack,
Of which in Troy, of course, there was no lack.
Besides, who could have told that mean reporter
I ever was a packman or a porter?
Or who can say, if their lives are surveyed,
That heroes ever had an honest trade?
My little son Iulus was conveyed
In his own baby carriage by the maid.
How cruel to have made him run a race
With one who flees from foes at such a pace!
For, though my arms in battle are not strong,
For flight my legs are fortunately long.

My dear papa Anchises, I must own,
Was far too helpless to be left alone;
My piety and filial love prescribed
That with him in the carriage I should ride.
My wife would have to walk, -- but never mind.
I told her she might keep some yards behind
But never let the hack get out of sight,
Else she would lose her way in such a night.
Indeed the terror of it was excessive;
The darkness and the silence were oppressive.
Darkness, I think, and silence too, is hateful:
They seem to me more ominous and fateful
Than even hostile armies in array
From which it's possible to run away,
You've chanced to hear that soldierly remark,
That every man's a coward in the dark;
Now of the brave this may or may not be,
But it is eminently true of me.
And here I wish to call the quick attention
Of the Society for the Prevention
Of Cruelty to Children to a fact
On which immediately it ought to act.
Some children have a native hate and dread
Of being sent up in the dark to bed;
They fear the silence and the darkness; why,
They nightly feel as on that night did I;
Yet no one thinks of what they have to bear,
While I am called a hero everywhere.
Our trip was almost done, when down the street
Was heard the distant sound of tramping feet.
Out of the window then I put my head,
And, peering out into the darkness, said:

"On, driver, faster! they are drawing near;
I see their flashing arms, their measured tread I hear.
They come! the Greek! the Greek!" I cannot say
What happened next; I fainted dead away;
Nor did full consciousness return to me
Till we had reached the margin of the sea.
But, Oh! when all were ready to set sail,
Escape the Greeks, and catch the favoring gale,
I missed my wife Creusa; everywhere
I looked for her, but no, she was not there.
Some accident had carried her away;
Or she got tired, or wandered from the way;
Or of our hack she may have lost the trace
When danger counselled us to mend our pace;
For the result, which still remains the same,
The hostile gods are very much to blame,
Some madness took possession of my brain
And I resolved to enter Troy again,
To run new dangers and to risk my life;
And all for what? why, just to find my wife!
I need not say such mental aberration
In one like me must be of brief duration;
And, when I found my former home on fire,
I saw the wisest plan was to retire:
My lost Creusa never would be found;
Ghosts and armed Greeks were stalking all around;
I dread the sight of one of either kind,
But then, on seeing hosts of both combined,
My voice stuck in my throat, I could not speak,
My hair stood upright, color left my cheek.
It had been suicide to stay; then, too,
What would my poor abandoned father do
Without my words to quiet his alarm
Or the protection of my valiant arm?
I hurried back as quickly as I could
To where my father and Iulus stood;
We all embarked, and bade our home farewell.

This is the story you would have me tell:
But in narrating it I must not fail
To point a moral and adorn the tale.
Had not my piety been quite so great,
On that dread night I should have met my fate;
If I had left my aged father's side
And in that hack refused with him to ride, --
If I had failed to see that my own life
Was far more needful to him than my wife, --
My warm blood would have dyed a Grecian sword.
Thus did my virtue prove its own reward.

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