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I lay the deep foundations of a wall,
And Ænos, nam'd from mė, the city call.
To Dionæan Venus vows are paid,
And all the pow'rs that rising labours aid;
A bull on Jove's imperial altar laid.
Not far, a rising hillock stood in view:
Sharp myrtles, on the sides, and cornels grew.
There, while I went to crop the silvan scenes,
And shade our altar with their leafy greens,
I pulld a plant-with horror I relate
A prodigy so strange, and full of fate
The rooted fibres rose; and, from the wound,
Black bloody drops distill'd upon the ground.
Mute and amaz’d, my hair with terror stood; 40
Fear shrunk my sinews, and congeald my blood.
Mann’d once again, another plant I try:
That other gush'd with the same sanguine dye.
Then fearing guilt for some offence unknown,
With pray’rs and vows the Dryads I atone,
With all the sisters of the woods, and most
The god of arms, who rules the Thracian coast
That they, or he, these omens would avert,
Release our fears, and better signs impart.
Clear'd, as I thought, and fully fix'd at length 50
To learn the cause, I tugg'd with all my strength:
I bent my knees against the ground: once more
The violated myrtle ran with gore.
Scarce dare I tell the sequel: from the womb
Of wounded earth, and caverns of the tomb, 55
groan, as of a troubled ghost, renew'd My fright, and then these dreadful words ensu'd : “Why dost thou thus my bury'd body rend? 0! spare the corps of thy unhappy friend! Spare to pollute thy pious hands with blood : 60 The tears distil not from the wounded wood; But ev'ry drop this living tree contains, Is kindred blood, and ran in Trojan veins. O! fly from this unhospitable shore, Warn’d by my fate; for I am Polydore!
65 Here loads of lances, in my blood embru’d, Again shoot upward, by my blood renew'd.”
My fault'ring tongue and shiv'ring limbs declare My horror ; and in bristles rose my hair. When Troy with Grecian arms was closely pent, 70
Old Priam, fearful of the war's event,
This hapless Polydore to Thracia sent:
Loaded with gold, he sent his darling, far
From noise and tumults, and destructive war,
Committed to the faithless tyrant's care;
Who, when he saw the pow'r of Troy decline,
Forsook the weaker, with the strong to join-'
Broke ev'ry bond of nature and of truth,
And murder’d, for his wealth, the royal youth.
O sacred hunger of pernicious gold !
What bands of faith can impious lucre hold?
my soul had shaken off her fears,
I call my father, and the Trojan peers
Relate the prodigies of heav'n-require
What he commands, and their advice desire.
All vote to leave that execrable shore,
Polluted with the blood of Polydore;
But, ere we sail, his fun'ral rites prepare,
Then, to his ghost, a tomb and altars rear.
In mournful pomp the matrons walk the round,
With baleful cypress and blue fillets crown'd,
With eyes dejected, and with hair unbound.
Then bowls of tepid milk and blood we pour,
And thrice invoke the soul of Polydore.
Now, when the raging storms no longer reign, 95
But southern gales invite us to the main,
We launch our vessels, with a prosp'rous wind,
And leave the cities and the shores behind.
An island in th' Ægæan main appears : Neptune and watry Doris claim it theirs. 100 It floated once, till Phæbus fix'd the sides To rooted earth; and now it braves the tides. Here, borne by friendly winds, we come ashore, With needful ease our weary limbs restore, And the Sun's temple and his town adore. 105
Anius, the priest and king, with laurel crown'd, His hoary locks with purple fillets bound, Who saw my sire the Delian shore ascend, Came forth with eager haste to meet his friend ; Invites him to his palace; and, in sign
110 Of ancient love, their plighted hands they join. Then to the temple of the god I went, And thus, before the shrine, my vows present :
Give, O Thymbræus! give a resting place
To the sad reliques of the Trojan race : 115
A seat secure, a region of their own,
A lasting empire, and a happier town.
Where shall we fix? where shall our labours end?
Whom shall we follow, and what fate attend?
Let not my pray’rs a doubtful answer find; 120
Bụt in clear auguries unveil thy mind.”
Scarce had I said: he shook the holy ground,
The laurels, and the lofty hills around;
And from the tripos rush'd a bellowing sound.
Prostrate we fell; confess'd the present god, 125
Who gave this answer from his dark abode :
“ Undaunted youths! go, seek that mother earth
From which your ancestors derive their birth.
The soil that sent you forth, her ancient race,
In her old bosom, shall again embrace. 130
Through the wide world th’Æneian house shall reign,
And children's children shall the crown sustain.”
Thus Phæbus did our future fates disclose;
A mighty tumult, mix'd with joy, arose.
All are concern’d to know what place the god 135
Assign'd, and where determin’d our abode.