»  Virgil's "Aeneid"

 

The Aeneid, lines 1 to 33

by P. Vergilius Maro, 70-19 B.C.

 

•  Background

The first 11 lines are called the proem. For more on the Aeneid, see here.

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•  Text of the poem

arma virumque cano, Troiae qui primus ab oris
Italiam fato profugus Laviniaque venit
litora, multum ille et terris iactatus et alto
vi superum, saevae memorem Iunonis ob iram,
multa quoque et bello passus, dum conderet urbem
inferretque deos Latio; genus unde Latinum
Albanique patres atque altae moenia Romae.

Musa, mihi causas memora, quo numine laeso
quidve dolens regina deum tot volvere casus
insignem pietate virum, tot adire labores
impulerit. tantaene animis caelestibus irae?

urbs antiqua fuit (Tyrii tenuere coloni)
Karthago, Italiam contra Tiberinaque longe
ostia, dives opum studiisque asperrima belli,
quam Iuno fertur terris magis omnibus unam
posthabita coluisse Samo. hic illius arma,
hic currus fuit; hoc regnum dea gentibus esse,
si qua fata sinant, iam tum tenditque fovetque.

progeniem sed enim Troiano a sanguine duci
audierat Tyrias olim quae verteret arces;
hinc populum late regem belloque superbum
venturum excidio Libyae; sic volvere Parcas.
id metuens veterisque memor Saturnia belli,
prima quod ad Troiam pro caris gesserat Argis —
necdum etiam causae irarum saevique dolores
exciderant animo; manet alta mente repostum
iudicium Paridis spretaeque iniuria formae
et genus invisum et rapti Ganymedis honores:
his accensa super iactatos aequore toto
Troas, reliquias Danaum atque immitis Achilli,
arcebat longe Latio, multosque per annos
errabant acti fatis maria omnia circum.

tantae molis erat Romanam condere gentem.

•  Translation

Arms I sing and the man who first from the coasts of Troy, exiled by fate, came to Italy and Lavinian shores; much buffeted on sea and land by violence from above, through cruel Juno's unforgiving wrath, and much enduring in war also, till he should build a city and bring his gods to Latium; whence came the Latin race, the lords of Alba, and the walls of lofty Rome.

Tell me, O Muse, the cause; wherein thwarted in will or wherefore angered, did the Queen of Heaven drive a man of goodness so wondrous, to traverse so many perils, to face so many toils? Can resentment so fierce dwell in heavenly breasts?

There was an ancient city, the home of Tyrian settlers, Carthage, over against Italy and the Tiber's mouths afar, rich in wealth and stern in war's pursuits. This, 'tis said, Juno loved above all other lands, holding Samos itself less dear. Here was her armour, here her chariot; that here should be the capital of the nations, should the fates perchance allow it, was even then the goddess's aim and cherished hope.

Yet in truth she had heard that a race was springing from Trojan blood, to overthrow some day the Tyrian towers; that from it a people, kings of broad realms and proud in war, should come forth for Libya's downfall: such was the course ordained of Fate. The daughter of Saturn, fearful of this and mindful of the old war which erstwhile she had fought at Troy for her beloved Argos-- not yet, too, had the cause of her wrath and her bitter sorrows faded from her mind: deep in her heart lie stored the judgment of Paris and her slighted beauty's wrong, her hatred of the race and the honours paid to ravished Ganymede-- inflamed hereby yet more, she tossed on the wide main the Trojan remnant, left by the Greeks and pitiless Achilles, and kept them far from Latium; and many a year they wandered, driven by the fates o'er all the seas.

So vast was the struggle to found the race of Rome.