The Journey Back, Day 4: The Exile

The hardy Trojans feel a cold shiver go through them,

Their prince from the depths of his heart beseeches

The god: “Phoebus, you always had pity for Troy

And her troubles, it was you who steadied

Paris’ aim and directed the arrow

Into Achilles, you who were pilot

As I entered sea after sea, skirting the coasts

Of distant land masses, remotest Massylia,

The sandbanked Syrtian gulfs. Here then at last

We set foot on Italia that seemed for so long

The unreachable: henceforth let Trojan ill fortune

Be a thing of the past. For now, all you gods

And goddesses, you to whom Troy’s name and fame

Gave affront, divine law constrains you

To spare us, the last of its relicts. And you,

Seeress most holy, to whom the future lies open,

Grant what I ask (no more in the end than my fate

Has assigned): home ground for my people

In Latium, refuge for our wandering gods

And all Troy ever held sacred. Then to Phoebus

Apollo, and Diana, I will set up a temple

In solid marble and inaugurate feast days In the god’s honour.

And for you, O all gracious one,

A sanctuary will be established, a vault

Where I shall preserve divinations from lots

And oracles you’ll have vouchsafed to my people;

And in your service I shall ordain chosen men.

Yet one thing I ask of you: not to inscribe

Your visions in verse on the leaves

In case they go frolicking off

In the wind. Chant them yourself, I beseech you.”

So saying, Aeneas fell silent.

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