The Journey Back, Day 1: The Arrival

In tears as he speaks, Aeneas loosens out sail

And gives the whole fleet its head, so now at last

They ride ashore on the waves at Euboean Cumae.

There they turn round the ships to face out to sea.

Anchors bite deep, craft are held fast, curved

Sterns cushion on sand, prows frill the beach.

Now a band of young hotbloods vaults quickly out

On to the shore of Italia, some after flint

For the seedling fire it hides in its veins,

Some crashing through woodland thickets, the haunts

Of wild beasts, pointing amazed at new rivers.

But Aeneas, devoted as ever, has taken the road

Up towards a fort, the high seat of Apollo,

Then on to a place apart, a vast scaresome cavern,

The Sibyl’s deep-hidden retreat. There the god breathes

Into her, overwhelmingly, knowledge and vision,

Opening her eyes to the future. Before long

They pass through the golden precincts and groves

Of Diana, the goddess of crossroads. 

 

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