Baccio Bandinelli. Laocoön. 1525.
BOOK II of VIRGIL'S AENEID.
[DEATH OF LAOCOÖN]
Us caitiffs then a far more dreadful chance|
Befel, that troubled our unarmed breasts.
Whiles Laocoon, that chosen was by lot
Neptunus' priest, did sacrifice a bull
Before the holy altar; suddenly
From Tenedon, behold! in circles great
By the calm seas come fleeting adders twain,
Which plied towards the shore (I loathe to tell)
With reared breast lift up above the seas:
Whose bloody crests aloft the waves were seen;
The hinder part swam hidden in the flood.
Their grisly backs were linked manifold.
With sound of broken waves they gat the strand,
With glowing eyen, tainted with blood and fire;
Whose waltring1 tongues did lick their hissing mouths.
We fled away; our face the blood forsook:
But they with gait2 direct to Lacon ran.
And first of all each serpent doth enwrap
The bodies small of his two tender sons;
Whose wretched limbs they bit, and fed thereon.
Then raught3 they him, who had his weapon caught
To rescue them; twice winding him about,
With folded knots and circled tails, his waist:
Their scaled backs did compass twice his neck,
With reared heads aloft and stretched throats.
He with his hands strave to unloose the knots,
(Whose sacred fillets all be-sprinkled were
With filth of gory blood, and venom rank)
And to the stars such dreadful shouts he sent,
Like to the sound the roaring bull forth lows.
Which from the altar wounded doth astart,
The swerving axe when he shakes from his neck.
The serpents twain, with hasted trail they glide
To Pallas' temple, and her towers of height:
Under the feet of the which goddess stern,
Hidden behind her target's boss4 they crept.
New gripes of dread then pierce our trembling breasts.
They said; Lacon's deserts had dearly bought
His heinous deed; that pierced had with steel
The sacred bulk, and thrown the wicked lance.
1. Tumbling, wallowing, rolling about.
2. Path, or way. Gang your gait—still used in the north—go your way.
3. Reached. The old preterite of the verb.
4. Her shield's embossed carvings.
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. 152-153.
||to Works of Henry Howard
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Persons of Interest
Field of the Cloth of Gold, 1520
Pilgrimage of Grace, 1536
The Babington Plot, 1586
The Spanish Armada, 1588
English Renaissance Drama
Images of London:
London in the time of Henry VII. MS. Roy. 16 F. ii.
London, 1510, the earliest view in print
Map of England from Saxton's Descriptio Angliae, 1579
Location Map of Elizabethan London
Plan of the Bankside, Southwark, in Shakespeare's time
Detail of Norden's Map of the Bankside, 1593
Bull and Bear Baiting Rings from the Agas Map (1569-1590, pub. 1631)
Sketch of the Swan Theatre, c. 1596
Westminster in the Seventeenth Century, by Hollar
Visscher's Panoramic View of London, 1616. COLOR