The Trojans would have kept standing, fascinated
By all on display, except that just then Achates,
Who’d been sent on ahead, came back accompanied
By the Sibyl, Deiphobe, daughter of Glaucus, priestess
Of Diana and Phoebus. Who addressed the prince:
“This is no time to be standing staring here.
It would be better now to pick out for sacrifice
Seven bullocks from a herd that has not been yoked,
And an equal number of properly chosen ewes.”
Having spoken these words to Aeneas (whose men
Are quick to obey her instructions) the priestess
Summons the Trojans into her high inner sanctum.
At Cumae, behind the broad cliff, an enormous cave
Has been quarried: a hundred entrances, a hundred
Wide-open mouths lead in, and out of them scramble
A hundred echoing voices, the Sibyl’s responses.
They arrived at that threshold and the vestal cried, “Now!
Now you must ask what your fate is. The god
Is here with us! Apollo!” Her countenance suddenly
Paled and convulsed, hair got dishevelled,
Breast was aheave, heart beating wilder and wilder.
Before their eyes she grows tall, something not mortal
Enters, she is changed by the breath of the god
Breathing through her. “Aeneas of Troy,” she demands,
“Your vows and your prayers, why do you wait? Pray,
For until you have prayed, the jaws of this cavern
Won’t echo or open.” And there she fell silent.