HENRY HOWARD, EARL OF SURREY
Federico Barocci. Aeneas' Flight from Troy, 1598.
BOOK II of VIRGIL'S AENEID.
[AENEAS' FLIGHT FROM TROY]
With this I went, and guided by a god|
I passed through my foes, and eke1 the flame:
Their weapons and the fire eke gave me place.
And when that I was come before the gates,
And ancient building of my father's house;
My father, whom I hoped to convey
To the next hills, and did him thereto 'treat,2
Refused either to prolong his life,
Or bide exile after the fall of Troy.
'All ye,' quod he, 'in whom young blood is fresh,
Whose strength remains entire and in full power,
Take ye your flight.
For if the gods my life would have prorogued,
They had reserved for me this wonning place,3
It was enough, alas! and eke too much,
To see the town of Troy thus razed once;
To have lived after the city taken.
When ye have said, this corpse laid out forsake;
My hand shall seek my death, and pity shall
Mine enemies move, or else hope of my spoil.
As for my grave, I weigh the loss but light:
For I my years, disdainful to the gods,
Have lingered forth, unable to all needs,
Since that the sire of gods and king of men
Strake me with thunder, and with levening blast.'4
Such things he gan rehearse, thus firmly bent:
But we besprent with tears, my tender son,
And eke my sweet Creusa,5 with the rest
Of the household, my father 'gan beseech,
Not so with him to perish all at once,
Nor so to yield unto the cruel fate:
Which he refused, and stack6 to his intent.
Driven I was to harness then again,
Miserably my death for to desire.
For what advice, or other hope was left?
'Father! thought'st thou that I may once remove,'
Quod I, 'a foot, and leave thee here behind?
May such a wrong pass from a father's mouth?
If gods' will be, that nothing here be saved
Of this great town, and thy mind bent to join
Both thee and thine to ruin of this town:
The way is plain this death for to attain.
Pyrrhus7 shall come besprent with Priam's blood,
That gored the son before the father's face,
And slew the father at the altar eke.
O sacred mother!8 was it then for this
That you me led through flame, and weapons sharp,
That I might in my secret chamber see
Mine enemies; and Ascanius my son,
My father, with Creusa my sweet wife,
Murdered, alas! the one in the other's blood?
Why, servants! then, bring me my arms again.
The latter day us vanquished doth call.
Render me now to the Greeks' sight again:
And let me see the fight begun of new:
We shall not all unwroken9 die this day.'
About me then I girt my sword again,
And eke my shield on my left shoulder cast,
And bent me so to rush out of the house.
Lo! in my gate my spouse, clasping my feet,
For against his father young Iulus10 set.
'If thou wilt go,' quod she, 'and spill thyself,
Take us with thee in all that may betide.
But as expert if thou in arms have set
Yet any hope, then first this house defend,
Whereas thy son, and eke thy father dear,
And I, sometime thine own dear wife, are left.'
Her shrill loud voice with plaint thus filled the house;
When that a sudden monstrous marvel fell:
For in their sight, and woful parents' arms,
Behold a light out of the button sprang
That in tip of Iulus' cap did stand;
With gentle touch whose harmless flame did shine
Upon his hair, about his temples spread.
And we afraid, trembling for dreadful fear,
Bet11 out the fire from his blazing tress,
And with water 'gan quench the sacred flame.
Anchises glad his eyen lift to the stars;
With hands his voice to heaven thus he bent.
'If by prayer, almighty Jupiter,
Inclined thou mayst be, behold us then
Of ruth at least, if we so much deserve.
Grant eke thine aid, Father! confirm this thing.'
Scarce had the old man said, when that the heavens
With sudden noise thundered on the left hand:
Out of the sky, by the dark night there fell
A blazing star, dragging a brand or flame,
Which with much light gliding on the house top,
In the forest of Ida hid her beams;
The which full bright cendleing12 a furrow, shone,
By a long tract appointing us the way:
And round about of brimstone rose a fume.
My father vanquished then, beheld the skies,
Spake to the gods, and the holy star adored:
'Now, now,' quod he, 'no longer I abide:
Follow I shall where ye me guide at hand.
O native gods! your family defend;
Preserve your line, this warning comes of you,
And Troye stands in your protection now.
Now give I place, and whereso that thou go,
Refuse I not, my son, to be thy fere.'13
This did he say; and by that time more clear
The cracking flame was heard throughout the walls.
And more and more the burning heat drew near.
'Why then! have done, my father dear,' quod I,
'Bestride my neck forthwith, and sit thereon,
And I shall with my shoulders thee sustain,
Ne shall this labour do me any dere.14
What so betide, come peril, come welfare,
Like to us both and common there shall be.
Young Iulus shall bear me company;
And my wife shall follow far off my steps.
Now ye, my servants, mark well what I say:
Without the town ye shall find, on a hill,
An old temple there stands, whereas some time
Worship was done to Ceres the goddess;15
Beside which grows an aged cypress tree,
Preserved long by our forefathers' zeal:
Behind which place let us together meet.
And thou, Father, receive into thy hands
The reliques all, and the gods of the land:
The which it were not lawful I should touch,
That come but late from slaughter and bloodshed,
Till I be washed in the running flood.'
When I had said these words, my shoulders broad,
And laied neck with garments 'gan I spread,
And thereon cast a yellow lion's skin;
And thereupon my burden I receive.
Young Iulus clasped in my right hand,
Followeth me fast with unegal16 pace;
And at my back my wife. Thus did we pass
By places shadowed most with the night.
And me, whom late the dart which enemies threw,
Nor press of Argive17 routs could make amazed,
Each whispering wind hath power now to fray,
And every sound to move my doubtful mind:
So much I dread my burden, and my fere.
And now we 'gan draw near unto the gate,
Right well escaped the danger, as me thought,
When that at hand a sound of feet we heard.
My father then, gazing throughout the dark,
Cried on me, 'Flee, son! they are at hand.'
With that bright shields, and shene18 armours I saw.
But then, I know not what unfriendly god
My troubled wit from me bereft for fear:
For while I ran by the most secret streets,
Eschewing still the common haunted track,
From me caitiff, alas! bereaved was
Creusa then, my spouse, I wot19 not how;
Whether by fate, or missing of the way,
Or that she was by weariness retained:
But never sith20 these eyes might her behold;
Nor did I yet perceive that she was lost,
Ne21 never backward turned I my mind,
Till we came to the hill, whereas there stood
The old temple dedicate to Ceres.
And when that we were there assembled all,
She was only away, deceiving us
Her spouse, her son, and all her company.
What god or man did I not then accuse,
Near woode22 for ire? or what more cruel chance
Did hap to me, in all Troy's overthrow?
Ascanius to my feres I then betook,23
With Anchises, and eke the Troyan gods.
And left them hid within a valley deep.
And to the town I 'gan me hie again,
Clad in bright arms, and bent for to renew
Aventures past, to search throughout the town,
And yield my head to perils once again.
And first the walls and dark entry I sought
Of the same gate whereat I issued out;
Holding backward the steps where we had come
In the dark night, looking all round about:
In every place the ugsome24 sights I saw;
The silence self of night aghast my sprite.
From hence again I passed unto our house,
If she by chance had been returned home.
The Greeks were there, and had it all beset:
The wasting fire, blown up by drift of wind,
Above the roof in blazing flame sprang up;
The sound whereof with fury pierced the skies.
To Priam's palace, and the castle then
I made; and there at Juno's sanctuair,
In the void porches, Phenix, Ulysses eke
Stern guardians stood, watching of the spoil.
The riches here were set, reft from the brent25
Temples of Troy: the tables of the gods,
The vessels eke that were of massy gold,
And vestures spoiled, were gathered all in heap:
The children orderly, and mothers pale for fright,
Long ranged on a row stood round about.
So bold was I to show my voice that night
With clepes26 and cries to fill the streets throughout,
With Creuse' name in sorrow, with vain tears;
And often-sithes the same for to repeat.
The town restless with fury as I sought,
The unlucky figure of Creusa's ghost,
Of stature more than wont,27 stood 'fore mine eyen.
Abashed28 then I woxe:29 therewith my hair
'Gan start right up: my voice stack in my throat:
"When with such words she 'gan my heart remove:
'What helps, to yield unto such furious rage,
Sweet spouse?' quod she, 'Without will of the gods
This chanced not: ne lawful was for thee
To lead away Creusa hence with thee:
The King of the high heaven suffereth it not.
A long exile thou art assigned to bear,
Long to furrow large space of stormy seas:
So shalt thou reach at last Hesperian30 land,
Where Lybian Tiber31 with his gentle stream
Mildly doth flow along the fruitful fields.
There mirthful wealth, there kingdom is for thee;
There a king's child prepared to be thy make.32
For thy beloved Creusa stint33 thy tears:
For now shall I not see the proud abodes
Of Myrmidons,34 nor yet of Dolopes35:
Ne I, a Troyan lady, and the wife
Unto the son of Venus, the goddess,
Shall go a slave to serve the Greekish dames.
Me here the god's great mother holds
And now farewell: and keep in father's breast
The tender love of thy young son and mine.'
This having said, she left me all in tears,
And minding much to speak; but she was gone,
And subtly fled into the weightless air.
Thrice raught36 I with mine arms to accoll37 her neck:
Thrice did my hands vain hold the image escape,
Like nimble winds, and like the flying dream.
So night spent out, return I to my feres;
And there wondering I find together swarmed
A new number of mates, mothers, and men
A rout exiled, a wretched multitude,
From each-where flock together, prest to pass
With heart and goods, to whatsoever land
By sliding seas, me listed38 them to lead.
1. eke, also.
2. 'treat, entreat.
3. wonning place, dwelling-place.
4. levening, lightning.
5. Creusa, wife of Aeneas.
6. stack, stuck.
7. Pyrrhus, also called Neoptolemus, son of Achilles, who first killed
one of the sons of Priam, King of Troy, then Priam himself.
8. Aeneas' mother was Venus, Goddess of Love.
9. unwroken, unavenged (from 'wreak vengeance'; past participle 'wroken').
10. Iulus, other name of Aschanius, his son.
11. Bet, old past tense form for "beat."
12. cendleing, kindling.
13. fere, companion.
14. dere, harm; injury.
15. Goddess of the Harvest.
16. unegal, unequal; uneven.
17. Argive, Greek, particularly of the city of Argos.
18. shene, shiny.
19. wot, new (from the Saxon verb wote, to know)
20. sith, since.
21. ne, nor.
22. woode, crazy.
23. betook, gave (from the Saxon betoke).
24. ugsome, horrible (from uglysome).
25. brent, burnt.
26. clepes, calls.
27. i.e., larger or taller than usual.
28. abashed, aghast; affrighted.
29. woxe, waxed; grew.
30. Hesperian, western.
31. Lybian, var. spelling of 'Libyan'; Tiber is the river that runs through Rome.
32. make, mate.
33. stint, stop.
34. The Myrmidons were an ancient tribe of Greece. They were the soldiers of Achilles.
35. The Dolopes were a tribe in Thessaly, on the outskirts of Greece.
They were soldiers of Neoptolemus, or Pyrrhus, son of Achilles.
36. raught, reached.
37. accoll, embrace.
38. me listed, I wished.]
Surrey, Henry Howard, Earl of. "Second Book of Virgil's Aeneid."
Poetical Works of Henry Howard, Earl of Surrey. Robert Bell, Ed.
London: John W. Parker & Sons, 1854. 169-176.
||to Works of Henry Howard
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