intention, from his settled purpose,
nor the tyrant’s threatening face, nor the winds
the stormy masters of the troubled Adriatic,
nor Jupiter’s mighty hand with its lightning:
if the heavens fractured in their fall,
still their ruin would strike him, unafraid.
By these means Pollux, and wandering Hercules,
in their effort, reached the fiery citadels,
where Augustus shall recline one day,
drinking nectar to stain his rosy lips.
Bacchus, for such virtues your tigers drew you,
pulling at the yoke holding their untamed necks:
for these virtues, Romulus, escaped
with horses that were Mars’, from Acheron,
while Juno, in the council of the gods, spoke
welcome words: ‘Ilium, Ilium is in
the dust, through both Paris’s fatal,
sinful judgement, and that foreign woman:
Ilium was mine, and virgin Minerva’s,
and its citizens, and its treacherous king,
from the time when Laomedon robbed
the gods, withholding the payment agreed.
The infamous guest no longer shines for his
Spartan adulteress, nor does Priam’s house,
betrayed, hold back the fierce Achaeans,
with Hector’s help: now the ten-year battle,
which our quarrels long extended, is ended.
From this moment on I’ll abandon my fierce
anger, and I’ll restore my hated
grandson, he who was born of a priestess
of Troy, to Mars: I’ll allow him to enter
the regions of light, and to drink sweet nectar,
and to be enrolled, and take his place,
here, among the quiet ranks of the gods.
Let the exiles rule happily in any
place they choose, so long as there’s a width of sea,
roaring, between Ilium and Rome,
so long as the cattle trample over
the tombs of Paris and of Priam, and wild
beasts hide their offspring there with impunity:
and let their Capitol stand gleaming,
let warlike Rome make laws for conquered Medes.
Let her extend her dreaded name to farthest
shores, there where the straits separate Africa
and Europe, there where the swollen Nile
irrigates the lands beside the river,
firm in ignoring gold still undiscovered,
that’s better where it is while earth conceals it,
than mining it for our human use,
with hands that grasp everything that’s sacred.
Whatever marks the boundaries of the world,
let Rome’s might reach it, eager to see regions
where solar fires perform their revels,
or places where the mists and rain pour down.
But I prophesy such fate for her warlike citizens,
with this proviso: that they show no excess
of piety, or faith in their powers,
wishing to rebuild Troy’s ancestral roofs.
Troy’s fortunes would revive with evil
omens, and they’d repeat their sad disaster,
while I, who am Jove’s wife and sister,
would lead the victorious armies.
If her bronze walls were to rise again three times
with Apollo’s help, three times they’d be destroyed,
shattered by my Argives, and, three times,
the captive wife would mourn sons and husband.’
What are you saying, Muse? This theme doesn’t suit
the happy lyre. Stop wilfully repeating
divine conversations, and weakening
great matters with these trivial metres.

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