The Aeneid

by: Virgil

Book IX

1

Turnus, who sped with flying pace before His tardy troops, a chosen band with him Of twenty horsemen, unforeseen approached. On a white-spotted Thracian steed he rode; His helmet is of gold, with flaming crest, “And which of you, O youths,” he cries, “with me Will first attack the foe? Behold!” With that He hurled a javelin through the air; and thus Began the battle; then across the field He gallops.

2

“One half of their success is lost to them: The land is in our hands. The Italians tribes Bring their armed thousands. They frighten me not, These answers of the gods, whatever they be, The Phrygians boast. Enough that it was given To Venus and the Fates, that they should reach The Ausonian shores. I also have my fate Allotted, to destroy the accursed race, Now that my bride is torn from me.”

3

But nonetheless he presses on, and whirls His flashing sword, till in the clamoring throat Of the Rutulian chief he plunged the steel, And, dying, dealt a death-blow to his foe. Then on the lifeless body of his friend He throws himself, pierced through with many a wound, And there, at last in placid death he slept.

4

You Muses, and your chief, Calliope! Inspire me now to sing what deeds of death Were done that day by Turnus; what brave souls Were sent to Orcus; and unfold with me The war’s vast outlines. For you, O goddesses, Bear all in mind, and can rehearse them all.

5

Then, dripping from his limbs Black sweat-drop run in streams; nor can he breathe. Exhausted, panting, heaves his weary frame. Until at last with a great bound he leapt, With all his armor on, into the stream. The yellow flood received and bore him up Upon its gentle waves, and washed away The stains of slaughter from his limbs; and back, Rejoicing, to his friends returned the chief.