National Epics
By Kate Milner Rabb

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Public Domain Books

Selections From the Kalevala


Ilmarinen, the blacksmith, visited the Northland, won the Rainbow Maid, and successfully performed the tasks set by her mother Louhi. Great preparations were made in Pohyola for the wedding, and the coming of the bridegroom was anxiously expected.

  Louhi, hostess of the Northland,
  Ancient dame of Sariola,
  While at work within her dwelling,
  Heard the whips crack on the fenlands,
  Heard the rattle of the sledges;
  To the northward turned her glances,
  Turned her vision to the sunlight,
  And her thoughts ran on as follow:
  “Who are these in bright apparel,
  On the banks of Pohya-waters,
  Are they friends or hostile armies?”

  Then the hostess of the Northland
  Looked again and well considered,
  Drew much nearer to examine,
  Found they were not hostile armies,
  Found that they were friends and suitors;
  In the midst was Ilmarinen,
  Son in-law to ancient Louhi.

  When the hostess of Pohyola
  Saw the son-in-law approaching,
  She addressed the words that follow:

  “I had thought the winds were raging,
  That the piles of wood were falling,
  Thought the pebbles in commotion,
  Or perchance the ocean roaring;
  Then I hastened nearer, nearer,
  Drew still nearer and examined,
  Found the winds were not in battle,
  Found the piles of wood unshaken,
  Found the ocean was not roaring,
  Nor the pebbles in commotion;
  Found my son-in-law was coming
  With his heroes and attendants,
  Heroes counted by the hundreds.

  “Should you ask of me the question,
  How I recognized the bridegroom
  Mid the host of men and heroes,
  I should answer, I should tell you:
  ’As the hazel-bush in copses,
  As the oak-tree in the forest,
  As the moon among the planets;
  Drives the groom a coal-black courser,
  Running like a famished black-dog,
  Flying like the hungry raven,
  Graceful as the lark at morning,
  Golden cuckoos, six in number,
  Twitter on the birchen cross-bow;
  There are seven blue-birds singing
  On the racer’s hame and collar.’”

  Noises hear they in the court-yard,
  On the highway hear the sledges.
  To the court comes Ilmarinen,
  With his body-guard of heroes;
  In the midst the chosen suitor,
  Not too far in front of others,
  Not too far behind his fellows.
  Spake the hostess of Pohyola:

  “Hie ye hither, men and heroes,
  Haste, ye watchers, to the stables,
  There unhitch the suitor’s stallion,
  Lower well the racer’s breast-plate,
  There undo the straps and buckles,
  Loosen well the shafts and traces,
  And conduct the suitor hither,
  Give my son-in-law good welcome!”

  Ilmarinen turned his racer
  Into Louhi’s yard and stables,
  And descended from his snow-sledge
  Spake the hostess of Pohyola:

  “Come, thou servant of my bidding,
  Best of all my trusted servants,
  Take at once the bridegroom’s courser
  From the shafts adorned with silver,
  From the curving arch of willow,
  Lift the harness trimmed in copper,
  Tie the white-face to the manger,
  Treat the suitor’s steed with kindness,
  Lead him carefully to shelter
  By his soft and shining bridle,
  By his halter tipped with silver;
  Let him roll among the sand-hills,
  On the bottoms soft and even,
  On the borders of the snow-banks,
  In the fields of milky color.
  Lead the hero’s steed to water,
  Lead him to the Pohya-fountains,
  Where the living streams are flowing,
  Sweet as milk of human kindness,
  From the roots of silvery birches,
  Underneath the shade of aspens.

  “Feed the courser of the suitor,
  With the sweetest corn and barley,
  With the summer-wheat and clover,
  In the caldron steeped in sweetness;
  Feed him at the golden manger,
  In the boxes lined with copper,
  At my manger richly furnished,
  In the warmest of the hurdles;
  Tie him with a silk-like halter,
  To the golden rings and staples,
  To the hooks of purest silver,
  Set in beams of birch and oak-wood;
  Feed him on the hay the sweetest,
  Feed him on the grains nutritious,
  Give the best my barns can furnish.

  “Curry well the suitor’s courser
  With the curry-comb of fish-bone,
  Brush his hair with silken brushes,
  Put his mane and tail in order,
  Cover well with silken blankets,
  Blankets wrought in gold and silver,
  Buckles forged from shining copper.

  “Come, ye small lads of the village,
  Lead the suitor to my chambers,
  With your auburn locks uncovered,
  From your hands remove your mittens,
  See if ye can lead the hero
  Through the door without his stooping,
  Lifting not the upper cross-bar,
  Sinking not the oaken threshold,
  Moving not the oaken casings,
  Great the hero who must enter.

  “Ilmarinen is too stately,
  Cannot enter through the portals,
  Not the son-in-law and bridegroom,
  Till the portals have been lengthened;
  Taller by a head the suitor
  Than the doorways of the mansion."
  Quick the servants of Pohyola
  Tore away the upper cross-bar,
  That his cap might not be lifted;
  Made the oaken threshold lower
  That the hero might not stumble;
  Made the birch-wood portals wider,
  Opened full the door of welcome,
  Easy entrance for the suitor.

  Speaks the hostess of the Northland
  As the bridegroom freely passes
  Through the doorway of her dwelling:

  “Thanks are due to thee, O Ukko,
  That my son-in-law has entered!
  Let me now my halls examine;
  Make the bridal chambers ready,
  Finest linen on my tables,
  Softest furs upon my benches,
  Birchen flooring scrubbed to whiteness,
  All my rooms in perfect order.”

  Then the hostess of Pohyola
  Visited her spacious dwelling,
  Did not recognize her chambers;
  Every room had been remodelled,
  Changed by force of mighty magic;
  All the halls were newly burnished,
  Hedgehog bones were used for ceilings,
  Bones of reindeer for foundations,
  Bones of wolverine for door-sills,
  For the cross-bars bones of roebuck,
  Apple-wood were all the rafters,
  Alder-wood, the window casings,
  Scales of trout adorned the windows,
  And the fires were set in flowers.
  All the seats were made of silver,
  All the floors of copper-tiling,
  Gold-adorned were all the tables,
  On the floor were silken mattings,
  Every fire-place set in copper,
  Every hearth-stone cut from marble,
  On each shelf were colored sea-shells,
  Kalew’s tree was their protection.

  To the court-room came the hero,
  Chosen suitor from Wainola,
  These the words of Ilmarinen:

  “Send, O Ukko, health and pleasure
  To this ancient home and dwelling,
  To this mansion richly fashioned!"
  Spake the hostess of Pohyola:

  “Let thy coming be auspicious
  To these halls of thee unworthy,
  To the home of thy affianced,
  To this dwelling lowly fashioned,
  Mid the lindens and the aspens.

  “Come, ye maidens that should serve me,
  Come, ye fellows from the village,
  Bring me fire upon the birch-bark,
  Light the fagots of the fir-tree,
  That I may behold the bridegroom,
  Chosen suitor of my daughter,
  Fairy Maiden of the Rainbow,
  See the color of his eyeballs,
  Whether they are blue or sable,
  See if they are warm and faithful.”

  Quick the young lads from the village
  Brought the fire upon the birch-bark,
  Brought it on the tips of pine-wood;
  And the fire and smoke commingled
  Roll and roar about the hero,
  Blackening the suitor’s visage,
  And the hostess speaks as follows:

  “Bring the fire upon a taper,
  On the waxen tapers bring it!”

  Then the maidens did as bidden,
  Quickly brought the lighted tapers,
  Made the suitor’s eyeballs glisten,
  Made his cheeks look fresh and ruddy;
  Eyes were neither blue nor sable,
  Sparkled like the foam of waters,
  Like the reed-grass on the margin,
  Colored as the ocean-jewels,
  Iridescent as the rainbow.

  “Come, ye fellows from the hamlets,
  Lead my son-in-law and hero
  To the highest seat at table,
  To the seat of greatest honor,
  With his back upon the blue-wall,
  Looking on my bounteous tables,
  Facing all the guests of Northland.”

  Then the hostess of Pohyola
  Served her guests in great abundance,
  Richest drinks and rarest viands,
  First of all she served the bridegroom;
  On his platters honeyed biscuit,
  And the sweetest river-salmon,
  Seasoned butter, roasted bacon,
  All the dainties of Pohyola.
  Then the servants served the others,
  Filled the plates of all invited
  With the varied food of Northland.
  Spake the hostess of Pohyola:

  “Come, ye maidens from the village,
  Hither bring the beer in pitchers,
  In the urns with double handles,
  To the many guests in-gathered.
  Ere all others, serve the bridegroom.”

  Thereupon the merry maidens
  Brought the beer in silver pitchers
  From the copper-banded vessels,
  For the wedding guests assembled;
  And the beer, fermenting, sparkled
  On the beard of Ilmarinen,
  On the beards of many heroes.

  When the guests had all partaken
  Of the wondrous beer of barley,
  Spake the drink in merry accents
  Through the tongues of the magicians,
  Through the tongue of many a hero,
  Through the tongue of Wainamoinen,
  Famed to be the sweetest singer
  Of the Northland bards and minstrels.


  “Grant, O Ukko, my Creator,
  God of love, and truth, and justice,
  Grant thy blessing on our feasting,
  Bless this company assembled,
  For the good of Sariola,
  For the happiness of Northland!
  May this bread and beer bring joyance,
  May they come in rich abundance,
  May they carry full contentment
  To the people of Pohyola,
  To the cabin and the mansion;
  May the hours we spend in singing,
  In the morning, in the evening,
  Fill our hearts with joy and gladness!
  Hear us in our supplications,
  Grant to us thy needed blessings,
  Send enjoyment, health, and comfort,
  To the people here assembled,
  To the host and to the hostess,
  To the bride and to the bridegroom,
  To the sons upon the waters,
  To the daughters at their weavings,
  To the hunters on the mountains,
  To the shepherds in the fenlands,
  That our lives may end in honor,
  That we may recall with pleasure
  Ilmarinen’s magic marriage
  To the Maiden of the Rainbow,
  Snow-white virgin of the Northland.”

Crawford’s Translation, Rune XXI. THE BIRTH OF THE HARP.

Wainamoinen, Ilmarinen, and the wizard Lemminkainen started to the Northland to win back the Sampo forged for Louhi by Ilmarinen. On the way their boat stuck on the shoulders of a great pike, which was killed by Wainamoinen. The three then landed, ordered the pike to be cooked by the maidens, and feasted until nothing remained of the fish but a heap of bones.

  Wainamoinen, ancient minstrel,
  Looked upon the pile of fragments,
  On the fish-bones looked and pondered,
  Spake these words in meditation:

  “Wondrous things might be constructed
  From the relics of this monster,
  Were they in the blacksmith’s furnace,
  In the hands of the magician,
  In the hands of Ilmarinen.”

Spake the blacksmith of Wainola:

  “Nothing fine can be constructed
  From the bones and teeth of fishes
  By the skilful forger-artist,
  By the hands of the magician."
  These the words of Wainamoinen:

  “Something wondrous might be builded
  From these jaws, and teeth, and fish-bones;
  Might a magic harp be fashioned,
  Could an artist be discovered
  That could shape them to my wishes.”

  But he found no fish-bone artist
  That could shape the harp of joyance
  From the relics of their feasting,
  From the jaw-bones of the monster,
  To the will of the magician.
  Thereupon wise Wainamoinen
  Set himself at work designing;
  Quick became a fish-bone artist,
  Made a harp of wondrous beauty,
  Lasting joy and pride of Suomi.
  Whence the harp’s enchanting arches?
  From the jaw-bones of the monster.
  Whence the necessary harp-pins?
  From the pike-teeth, firmly fastened.
  Whence the sweetly singing harp-strings?
  From the tail of Lempo’s stallion.
  Thus was born the harp of magic
  From the mighty pike of Northland,
  From the relics from the feasting
  Of the heroes of Wainola.
  All the young men came to view it,
  All the aged with their children,
  Mothers with their beauteous daughters,
  Maidens with their golden tresses;
  All the people on the islands
  Came to view the harp of joyance,
  Pride and beauty of the Northland.

  Wainamoinen, ancient minstrel,
  Let the aged try the harp-strings,
  Gave it to the young magicians,
  To the dames and to their daughters,
  To the maidens, silver-tinselled,
  To the singers of Wainola.
  When the young men touched the harp-strings,
  Then arose the notes of discord;
  When the aged played upon it,
  Dissonance their only music.
  Spake the wizard, Lemminkainen:

  “O ye witless, worthless children,
  O ye senseless, useless maidens,
  O ye wisdom-lacking heroes,
  Cannot play this harp of magic,
  Cannot touch the notes of concord!
  Give to me this thing of beauty,
  Hither bring the harp of fish-bones,
  Let me try my skillful fingers."
  Lemminkainen touched the harp-strings,
  Carefully the strings adjusted,
  Turned the harp in all directions,
  Fingered all the strings in sequence,
  Played the instrument of wonder,
  But it did not speak in concord,
  Did not sing the notes of joyance.
  Spake the ancient Wainamoinen:

  “There is none among these maidens,
  None among these youthful heroes,
  None among the old magicians,
  That can play the harp of magic,
  Touch the notes of joy and pleasure.
  Let us take the harp to Pohya,
  There to find a skillful player
  That can touch the strings in concord.”

  Then they sailed to Sariola,
  To Pohyola took the wonder,
  There to find the harp a master.
  All the heroes of Pohyola,
  All the boys and all the maidens,
  Ancient dames and bearded minstrels,
  Vainly touched the harp of beauty.

  Louhi, hostess of the Northland,
  Took the harp-strings in her fingers;
  All the youth of Sariola,
  Youth of every tribe and station,
  Vainly touched the harp of fish-bone;
  Could not find the notes of joyance,
  Dissonance their only pleasure;
  Shrieked the harp-strings like the whirlwinds,
  All the tones were harsh and frightful.


  Wainamoinen, ancient minstrel,
  The eternal wisdom-singer,
  Laves his hands to snowy whiteness,
  Sits upon the rock of joyance,
  On the stone of song he settles,
  On the mount of song he settles,
  On the mount of silver clearness,
  On the summit, golden colored,
  Takes the harp by him created,
  In his hands the harp of fish-bone,
  With his knee the arch supporting,
  Takes the harp-strings in his fingers,
  Speaks these words to those assembled:

  “Hither come, ye Northland people,
  Come and listen to my playing,–
  To the harp’s entrancing measures,
  To my songs of joy and gladness.”

  Then the singer of Wainola
  Took the harp of his creation,
  Quick adjusting, sweetly tuning,
  Deftly plied his skillful fingers
  To the strings that he had fashioned.
  Now was gladness rolled on gladness,
  And the harmony of pleasure
  Echoed from the hills and mountains;
  Added singing to his playing,
  Out of joy did joy come welling,
  Now resounded marvellous music,
  All of Northland stopped and listened.
  Every creature in the forest,
  All the beasts that haunt the woodlands
  On their nimble feet came bounding,
  Came to listen to his playing,
  Came to hear his songs of joyance.
  Leaped the squirrels from the branches,
  Merrily from birch to aspen;
  Climbed the ermines on the fences,
  O’er the plains the elk deer bounded,
  And the lynxes purred with pleasure;
  Wolves awoke in far-off swamp-lands,
  Bounded o’er the marsh and heather,
  And the bear his den deserted,
  Left his lair within the pine-wood,
  Settled by a fence to listen,
  Leaned against the listening gate-posts,
  But the gate-posts yield beneath him;
  Now he climbs the fir-tree branches
  That he may enjoy and wonder,
  Climbs and listens to the music
  Of the harp of Wainamoinen.

  Tapiola’s wisest senior,
  Metsola’s most noble landlord,
  And of Tapio, the people,
  Young and aged, men and maidens,
  Flew like red-deer up the mountains
  There to listen to the playing,
  To the harp of Wainamoinen.
  Tapiola’s wisest mistress,
  Hostess of the glen and forest,
  Robed herself in blue and scarlet,
  Bound her limbs with silken ribbons,
  Sat upon the woodland summit,
  On the branches of a birch-tree,
  There to listen to the playing,
  To the high-born hero’s harping,
  To the songs of Wainamoinen.

  All the birds that fly in mid-air
  Fell like snow-flakes from the heavens,
  Flew to hear the minstrel’s playing,
  Hear the harp of Wainamoinen.
  Eagles in their lofty eyrie
  Heard the songs of the enchanter;
  Swift they left their unfledged young ones,
  Flew and perched around the minstrel.
  From the heights the hawks descended,
  From the clouds down swooped the falcon,
  Ducks arose from inland waters,
  Swans came gliding from the marshes;
  Tiny finches, green and golden,
  Flew in flocks that darkened sunlight,
  Came in myriads to listen,
  Perched upon the head and shoulders
  Of the charming Wainamoinen,
  Sweetly singing to the playing
  Of the ancient bard and minstrel.
  And the daughters of the welkin,
  Nature’s well-beloved daughters,
  Listened all in rapt attention;
  Some were seated on the rainbow,
  Some upon the crimson cloudlets,
  Some upon the dome of heaven.

  In their hands the Moon’s fair daughters
  Held their weaving-combs of silver;
  In their hands the Sun’s sweet maidens
  Grasped the handles of their distaffs,
  Weaving with their golden shuttles,
  Spinning from their silver spindles,
  On the red rims of the cloudlets,
  On the bow of many colors.
  As they hear the minstrel playing,
  Hear the harp of Wainamoinen,
  Quick they drop their combs of silver,
  Drop the spindles from their fingers,
  And the golden threads are broken,
  Broken are the threads of silver.

  All the fish in Suomi-waters
  Heard the songs of the magician,
  Came on flying fins to listen
  To the harp of Wainamoinen.
  Came the trout with graceful motions,
  Water-dogs with awkward movements,
  From the water-cliffs the salmon,
  From the sea-caves came the whiting,
  From the deeper caves the bill-fish;
  Came the pike from beds of sea-fern,
  Little fish with eyes of scarlet,
  Leaning on the reeds and rushes,
  With their heads above the surface;
  Came to hear the harp of joyance,
  Hear the songs of the enchanter.

  Ahto, king of all the waters,
  Ancient king with beard of sea-grass,
  Raised his head above the billows,
  In a boat of water-lilies,
  Glided to the coast in silence,
  Listened to the wondrous singing,
  To the harp of Wainamoinen.
  These the words the sea-king uttered:

  “Never have I heard such playing,
  Never heard such strains of music,
  Never since the sea was fashioned,
  As the songs of this enchanter,
  This sweet singer, Wainamoinen.”

  Satko’s daughters from the blue-deep,
  Sisters of the wave-washed ledges,
  On the colored strands were sitting,
  Smoothing out their sea-green tresses
  With the combs of molten silver,
  With their silver-handled brushes,
  Brushes forged with golden bristles.
  When they hear the magic playing,
  Hear the harp of Wainamoinen,
  Fall their brushes on the billows,
  Fall their combs with silver handles
  To the bottom of the waters,
  Unadorned their heads remaining,
  And uncombed their sea-green tresses.

  Came the hostess of the waters,
  Ancient hostess robed in flowers,
  Rising from her deep sea-castle,
  Swimming to the shore in wonder,
  Listened to the minstrel’s playing,
  To the harp of Wainamoinen.
  As the magic tones re-echoed,
  As the singer’s song outcircled,
  Sank the hostess into slumber,
  On the rocks of many colors,
  On her watery couch of joyance,
  Deep the sleep that settled o’er her.

  Wainamoinen, ancient minstrel,
  Played one day and then a second,
  Played the third from morn to even.
  There was neither man nor hero,
  Neither ancient dame nor maiden,
  Not in Metsola a daughter,
  Whom he did not touch to weeping;
  Wept the young and wept the aged,
  Wept the mothers, wept the daughters,
  At the music of his playing,
  At the songs of the magician.
      Crawford’s Translation, Runes XL.-XLI.

The Aeneid was written by Publius Vergilius Maro, commonly known as Vergil, who was born at Andes, near Mantua, Oct. 15, 70 B. C., and died at Brundusium, Sept. 22, 19 B.C.

He was educated at Cremona, Milan, Naples, and Rome. When the lands near Cremona and Mantua were assigned by Octavianus to his soldiers after the battle of Philippi, Vergil lost his estates; but they were afterwards restored to him through Asinius Pollio.

He became a favorite of Augustus, and spent part of his time in Rome, near his patron, Maecenas, the emperor’s minister.

Vergil’s first work was the Bucolics, in imitation of Theocritus. His second work, the Georgics, treats of husbandry. The Aeneid relates the adventures of Aeneas, the legendary ancestor of the Romans.

The Aeneid is in twelve books, of which the first six describe the wanderings of Aeneas, and the last six his wars in Italy. Its metre is the dactyllic hexameter.

Vergil worked for eleven years on the poem, and considered it incomplete at his death.

The Aeneid tells the story of the flight of Aeneas from burning Troy to Italy, and makes him an ancestor of the Romans. With the story of his wanderings are interwoven praises of the Caesars and the glory of Rome.

It is claimed that because Vergil was essentially a poet of rural life, he was especially fitted to be the national poet, since the Roman life was founded on the agricultural country life. He also chose a theme which particularly appealed to the patriotism of the Romans. For this reason, the poem was immediately received into popular favor, and was made a text-book of the Roman youths. It is often said of Vergil by way of reproach, that his work was an imitation of Homer, and the first six books of the Aeneid are compared to the Odyssey, the last six to the Iliad. But while Vergil may be accused of imitation of subject matter, his style is his own, and is entirely different from that of Homer. There is a tender grace in the Roman writer which the Greek does not possess. Vergil also lacks that purely pagan enjoyment of life; in its place there is a tender melancholy that suggests the passing of the golden age. This difference of treatment, this added grace and charm, which are always mentioned as peculiarly Vergil’s own, united with his poetical feeling, and skill in versification, are sufficient to absolve him from the reproach of a mere imitator.

The Aeneid was greatly admired and imitated during the Middle Ages, and still retains its high place in literature.

Bibliography and Criticism, the Aeneid.

R. W. Brown’s History of Roman Classical Literature, n. d., pp. 257-265;

John Alfred Church’s Story of the Aeneid, 1886;

Domenico Comparetti’s Virgil in the Middle Ages, Tr. by Benecke, 1895;

C. T. Cruttwell’s Virgil (see his History of Roman Literature, n. d. pp. 252-375);

John Davis’s Observations on the poems of Homer and Virgil, out of the French, 1672;

James Henry’s Aeneidea: or Critical, Exegetical, and Aesthetical Remarks on the Aeneis, 1873;

James Henry’s Notes of Twelve Years’ Voyage of Discovery in the first six Books of the Aeneid, 1853;

J. W. Mackail’s Virgil (see his Latin Literature, 1895, pp. 91-106);

H. Nettleship’s The Aeneid (see his Vergil, 1880, pp. 45-74);

H. T. Peck and R. Arrowsmith’s Roman Life in Latin Prose and Verse, 1894, pp. 68-70;

Leonhard Schmitz’s History of Latin Literature, 1877, pp. 106-108;

W. Y. Sellar’s Roman Poets of the Augustan Age, Vergil, Ed. 2, 1883;

W. S. Teuffel’s Aeneis (see his History of Roman Literature, 1891, pp. 434-439);

J. S. Tunison’s Master Virgil, the author of the Aeneid, as he seemed in the Middle Ages, 1888;

Robert Y. Tyrrell’s Virgil (see his Latin Poetry, 1895, pp. 126-161);

A Forgotten Virtue, Macmillan, 1895, xii. 51-56, an article on the Aeneid, “the epic of piety;”

Scene of the last six books of the Aeneid, Blackwood, 1832, xxxii. 76-87;

A. A. Knight’s The Year in the Aeneid, Education, 1886, vi. 612-616;

William C. Cawton’s The Underworld in Homer, Virgil, and Dante, Atlantic, 1884, liv. 99-110.

Standard English Translations, the Aeneid.

The Aeneid, Tr. by J. Conington, 1887;

The Aeneid, Tr. by C. P. Cranch, 1872;

The Aeneid, Tr. by John Dryden (1697), 1884;

The Aeneid, Tr. by William Morris, 1882;

The Aeneid, Tr. by W. S. Thornhill, 1886;

The Aeneid, Tr. by J. A. Wilstach, 1884;

The Aeneid, Tr. by J. W. Mackail, 1890.


For many years the heroic Aeneas, who escaped from falling Troy to seek the shores of Italy, there to found the lofty walls of Rome, was tossed upon the sea by the wrath of cruel Juno.

The fates foretold that these future Romans would overthrow a city dearer to her than Samos,–Carthage, founded by the Tyrians, opposite Italy, and far from the Tiberine mouths. For this rich city Juno desired boundless rule,–hence her hatred of the Trojans. Moreover, she had not forgotten the judgment of Paris, her slighted charms, and the supplanting of Hebe by Ganymede.

After having tossed the unhappy hero and his men over many seas, Juno, observing their approach to Italy, hastened to Aeolia, where King Aeolus ruled over the struggling winds and tempests, chained in vast caves.

Bribed by Juno, Aeolus sent forth a tempest that scattered the ships of Aeneas, and would have destroyed them had it not been for the interposition of Neptune.

Suspecting his sister’s treachery, Neptune angrily dismissed the winds, and hastened to the relief of the Trojans. CymothoŽ and Triton pushed the ships from the rocks, he himself assisting with his trident. Then, driving over the rough waves in his chariot, he soothed the frenzy of the sea.

The wearied Aeneans speedily sought a harbor on the Libyan shore, a long and deep recess bordered by a dense grove. In the cliffs was a cave, with sweet waters and seats carved from the living rock,–the abode of the nymphs. Gathering here the seven ships that survived the fury of the storm, Aeneas landed, and feasted with his comrades.

The next morning Aeneas, accompanied by his friend Achates, sallied forth from the camp at dawn, to learn, if possible, something of the land on which they had been thrown. They had gone but a little way in the depths of the forest when they met Aeneas’s mother, Venus, in the guise of a Spartan maid, her bow hung from her shoulders, her hair flowing to the wind.

“Hast thou seen my sister?” she inquired, “hunting the boar, wrapped in a spotted lynx hide, her quiver at her back?”

“Nay, we have seen no one,” replied Aeneas. “But what shall I call thee, maiden? A goddess, a nymph? Be kind, I pray thee, and tell us among what people we have fallen, that before thy altars we may sacrifice many a victim.”

“I am unworthy of such honors,” Venus answered. “This land is Libya, but the town is Tyrian, founded by Dido, who fled hither from her brother Pygmalion, who had secretly murdered her husband, Sichaeus, for his gold. To Dido, sleeping, appeared the wraith of Sichaeus, pallid, his breast pierced with the impious wound, and revealed to her her brother’s crime, showed where a hoard of gold was concealed, and advised her to leave the country.

“Gathering together a company of those who wished to flee from the tyrant, Dido seized the ships, loaded them with the gold, and fled to Libya, where she is now erecting the walls and towers of New Carthage. I would advise thee to hasten forward and seek our queen. If augury fail me not, I read from yonder flight of swans the return of thy missing ships and comrades.”

As she turned to go, her neck shone with a rosy refulgence, ambrosial fragrance breathed from her, her robe flowed down about her feet and revealed the goddess. As she vanished, her son stretched longing hands after her. “Ah, mother, why dost thou thus trifle with me? Why may not I clasp thy loved hands and exchange true words with thee?”

Wrapped in a cloud by Venus, Aeneas and Achates mounted a hill that overlooked the city, and looked down wondering on the broad roofs and the paved streets of Carthage. The busy Tyrians worked like the bees in early summer: some moving the immense masses of stone, some founding the citadel, others laying off the sites for the law courts and sacred Senate House. “O happy ye whose walls now rise!” exclaimed Aeneas, as he and Achates mingled with the crowd, still cloud-wrapped, and entered the vast temple built to Juno. Here Aeneas’s fear fell from him; for as he waited for the queen’s coming, he saw pictured on the walls the fall of his own dear city, and wept as he gazed upon the white tents of Rhesus, and Hector’s disfigured body.

As he wept, the beautiful Dido entered, joyously intent on her great work, and, seating herself on her throne, proceeded to give laws to the Tyrians, and assign their work to them.

Suddenly, to the amazement of Aeneas and Achates, in burst their lost comrades, Antheus, Sergestus, Gyas, Cloanthus, and other Trojans, demanding of Dido a reason for their rough reception. To whom the queen replied:–

“Let fear desert your hearts; I, too, have suffered, and know how to aid the unfortunate. And whither hath not the fame of Troy penetrated? I will aid you in leaving this coast, or give you a home with me, treating you as I treat my Tyrians. Would only that Aeneas’s self stood with you!”

Then burst Aeneas forth from his cloud-wrapping, made more beautiful by Venus, the purple bloom of youth on his face, joy in his eyes. “Here am I, Trojan Aeneas, to render thanks to thee, divine Dido.”

Dido, charmed with the hero, prepared a banquet for him in her splendid hall, curtained with rich drapery, and adorned with costly plate, whereon were pictured the proud deeds of her ancestors. Hither came the Trojans with gifts for Dido,–a rich robe stiff with gold embroidery, a veil embroidered with the yellow acanthus, ornaments of Helen, the sceptre of Ilione, a pearl and gold necklace, and a double crown of gems and gold.

Beside Achates tripped Cupid, for Venus, suspecting the craft of the Tyrians, had hidden Ascanius on Mount Ida, and sent her own son in his guise, to complete Aeneas’s conquest of Dido.

After the feast was over, the great beakers were brought in and crowned with garlands. Dido called for the beaker used by Belus and all his descendants, and pouring a libation, drank to the happiness of the Trojan wanderers, and passed the cup around the board. Iopas, the long-haired minstrel, sang, and the night passed by in various discourse. Dido, forgetting Sichaeus, hung on the words of Aeneas, questioning him of Priam and Hector, and at last demanding the story of his wanderings.

“Thou orderest me, O queen, to renew my grief, the destruction of Troy by the Greeks, which deeds I have seen, and a part of which I have been.

“Despairing of conquering Troy, the Greeks attempted to take it by stratagem. By the art of Pallas, they framed a heaven-high horse, within which were concealed picked men for our destruction. Leaving this behind them, they sailed, ostensibly for home, in reality for Tenedos.

“When we supposed them gone we joyfully went forth to examine the deserted camp and the giant horse. As we wondered at it, and LaocoŲn, priest of Neptune, urged us to destroy it, a crowd of shepherds approached with a youth whom they had found hiding in the sedges. His name was Sinon. He was a Greek, but he was hated by Ulysses, and had fled to save his life. The Greeks had sailed home, he assured us, leaving the horse as a votive offering to Pallas. They had hoped that its great bulk would prevent the Trojans from taking it inside their walls, for once within the city, Troy could never be taken.

“We Trojans were credulous, and Sinon’s tale was plausible. To increase our belief in it, while LaocoŲn was sacrificing a bull to Neptune, we saw coming over the sea from Tenedos two huge serpents, their crimson crests towering high, their breasts erect among the waves, their long folds sweeping over the foaming sea. As we fled affrighted, they seized the two sons of LaocoŲn, twining their coils around the wretched boys; and when their father hastened to their aid, caught him in their huge coils, staining his fillets with black blood. ’LaocoŲn suffered for his crime,’ we said, when, the priest slain, the serpents crept to Pallas’s altar, and curled themselves around the feet of the goddess. Then joyfully we made a breach in the walls, put rollers under the horse, and, with music and dancing, dragged it within the walls.

“That night as we lay sleeping after revelry and feasting, Sinon crept down, opened the horse, and freed the men, who were soon joined by the other Greeks, returned from Tenedos.

“In a dream Hector’s shade appeared to me, and, weeping, bade me fly. ’Troy falls. Do thou go forth and save her household deities!’ As I woke, sounds of battle penetrated to my palace halls, removed somewhat from the city, and embowered in trees; and I rushed forth, forgetful of Hector’s warning. I saw the streets swimming in Trojan blood, Trojan women and children led captive, Cassandra dragged from her shrine. Enraged, I gathered a band and slew many Greeks. But when I saw the impious Pyrrhus enter the palace and slay Priam at the altar, I recognized the uselessness of my struggle, and turned to my home.

“Taking my old father Anchises on my back, and leading Iulus by the hand, I set forth, followed by my wife Creusa. But when I looked behind me at the city gates, my wife was gone. Mad with despair, I rushed back to the citadel, crying, ’Creusa! Creusa!’ Our homestead was in flames, the streets filled with Greeks; but as I roamed through the town, I met her pallid shape. ’O husband, rage not against heaven’s decrees! Happy days will come for thee on the banks of the Tiber. Farewell, and love with me our boy!’

“Without the gates I was joined by other fugitives; and after the departure of the Greeks we built ships from the timbers of Mount Ida, and loading these with our household gods and a few spoils from the city, we departed to seek new homes.

“In Thrace, our first stopping-place, I learned that Polydore, Priam’s son, who had been entrusted to the care of the Thracian king, had been slain by him for his gold, when the fortunes of Troy fell. We hastened to leave this accursed land, and sought Delos, only to be instructed by Apollo that we must seek the home from which our forefathers had come. Anchises, who remembered the legends of our race, thought this must be Crete; so to Crete we sailed, and there laid the foundations of a city, only to be driven thence by a plague and a threatened famine.

“In a dream my household gods instructed me that Dardanus, the founder of our race, had come from Hesperia, and thither we must bend our course. Tempests drove us about the sea for three suns, until, on the fourth, we landed at the isle of the Harpies,–loathsome monsters, half woman, half bird, who foul everything they touch. When we had slain the cattle and prepared to banquet, they drove us from the tables; and when attacked by us, uttered dire threats of future famine.

“At Epirus we heard that Andromache had wed Prince Helenus, who had succeeded to the rule of Pyrrhus, two Trojans thus being united. As I landed here, anxious to prove the truth of the rumor, I met Andromache herself in a grove near the town, sacrificing at an empty tomb dedicated to Hector. Pyrrhus had made her his slave after the fall of Troy, but after he wedded Hermione, he had given her to Helenus, himself a slave. When Pyrrhus died, part of his realm fell to Helenus, and here the two had set up a little Troy.

“Helenus received us kindly, instructed us as to our route, and gave us rich gifts; and Andromache, remembering her dead Astyanax, wept over lulus as she parted with him.

“As we passed Sicily we took up a Greek, Achemenides, a companion of Ulysses, who had been left behind, and had since been hiding in deadly terror from the Cyclops. We ourselves caught sight of the monster Polyphemus, feeling his way to the shore to bathe his wounded eye.

“Instructed by Helenus, we avoided Scylla and Charybdis, and reached Sicily, where my father died. We were just leaving the island when the storm arose that brought us hither. The rest thou knowest.”

The guests departed from the banquet hall; but the unhappy Dido, consumed with love, imparted her secret to her sister Anna.

“Why shouldst thou weep, sister dear? Why regret that thou hast at last forgotten Sichaeus? Contend not against love, but strive to unite Trojan and Tyrian. Winter comes on, and thou canst detain him while the sea rages and the winds are fierce and the rains icy.”

Her ambitious plans for her city forgotten, Dido wandered through the streets, mad with love and unable to conceal her passion. She led ∆neas among the walls and towers, made feasts for him, and begged again and again to hear the story of his wandering. At other times she fondled Ascanius, leaving her youths undrilled, and the city works abandoned.

Perceiving that Aeneas, well content, seemed to forget that his goal was Hesperia, Mercury was dispatched by Jupiter to warn him to depart from Carthage.

“Why stoppest thou here?” questioned the herald of the gods. “If thou carest not for thyself, think of Ascanius, thine heir. His must be the Italian realms, the Roman world.”

The horror-stricken Aeneas stood senseless with fear. He longed to escape, but how leave the unhappy Dido? Quickly calling his comrades, he commanded them to fit out the fleet in silence, hoping to find a time when he could break the news to Dido gently.

But who can deceive a lover? Rumor bore the report to Dido, who, mad with grief, reproached Aeneas. “Perfidious one! didst thou think to escape from me? Does not our love restrain thee, and the thought that I shall surely die when thou art gone? I have sacrificed all to thee; now leave me not lonely in my empty palace.”

Aeneas remained untouched. He would ever retain the kindest memories of his stay in Carthage. He had never held out the hope of wedlock to her. A higher power called him, and, bidden by Jove, he must depart, for Ascanius’s sake, to Italy.

The fainting Dido was carried to her palace, whence she could watch the hurried preparations for the departure. As she watched, life became intolerable to her. Pretending to her sister that she was preparing to perform a magic spell to release her from the bonds of love, she reared a mighty pyre in her court, wreathed it with funereal garlands, and placed thereon Aeneas’s couch, garments, and sword. With her hair dishevelled, she then invoked Hecate, and sprinkling Avernian water and poisons on it, and casting thereon various love charms, she called the gods to witness that she was determined to die. As the ships left the harbor, she tore her hair, one moment accusing herself because she had not torn Aeneas to pieces when in her power, at another vowing to follow him. Then, anxious to forget her grief, she mounted, the pyre, and threw herself on the sword of her faithless, lover.

Far out at sea, the Aeneans, looking back, dimly guessed the meaning of the flames that brightened the stormy skies.

Contrary winds compelled Aeneas to seek harbor in Sicily. Its king, Acestes, was his friend, and there he had buried his father Anchises. A year had elapsed since his death, and in honor of the anniversary, Aeneas instituted funeral games, in which there were trials of skill in rowing, foot-racing, archery, and boxing.

While the spectators were applauding the feats of skill, the Trojan women, at the instigation of Juno, set fire to the ships, that they might compel Aeneas to remain in Sicily. By Jupiter’s aid, some of the vessels were saved, and Aeneas, acting on the advice of Nautes, allowed the women and those Trojans who so desired, to remain in Sicily, and himself marked out for them the foundations of their city.

While here Aeneas was urged by Anchises in a dream to visit the Cumaean Sibyl, that, with her assistance, he might visit Elysium and talk with him.

In the lofty temple, the Sibyl, inspired by the god, encouraged the hero. “Success will at last be thine, and Juno will be won over to thee. But great labors must thou undergo.”

To visit the underworld was no easy task, she assured him. “The gates of Dis stand open night and day; small trouble it is to descend thereto, but to retrace one’s steps, and regain the upper air, there lies the toil." Aeneas must first possess a golden branch to present to Proserpina, and celebrate the funeral rites of his friend, Misenus, who yet lay unburied.

While Aeneas worked in the forest, felling trees for Misenus’s bier, the doves of Venus descended and aided him to find the tree, from which he plucked the gleaming branch.

Across the Styx, past the dread Cerberus, Aeneas and the Sibyl went, through the abode of babes and those who died for deeds they did not do, and into the mourning fields, where the disappointed in love were hedged in with myrtle sprays. Here Aeneas descried Dido dimly through the clouds, and wept to see her fresh wound. Many were his protestations of his faithfulness, and strong his declaration that he left her only at the command of the gods. But without raising her eyes, Dido turned coldly away to where her former husband returned her love for love. Past the chamber of torture, beyond Phlegethon, guarded by Tisiphone and Tartarus, in whose depths the wicked were punished, they went, and entered the beautiful fields of Elysium, where Aeneas found his father.

To his son, Anchises explained that the souls that visited the underworld were punished according to their deserts, and then sent into Elysium. Cleansed there of all impurities, and with the memories of the past washed from them by Lethe, they again visited the world in another form. Pointing out a crowd that passed them, he indicated to Aeneas the illustrious men who would make his race famous in Italy. First his son Silvius, born of Lavinia, his Italian wife to be; Numitor, Romulus, the founder of Rome, Caesar, and greatest of all, Augustus Caesar, who would usher in the golden age.

Comforted by the prophecies of Anchises, Aeneas sought the upper world, and collecting his companions, set sail for the mouth of the Tiber.

Latinus the king welcomed Aeneas, and received his proposals for his daughter Lavinia’s hand with favor, remembering an ancient prophecy that Lavinia was to wed a foreign prince. But queen Amata, aroused by Juno, insisted that Lavinia should be espoused to Turnus, chief of the Rutulians. Stung by the fury Alecto, she stirred up the people until they demanded that Latinus declare war against Aeneas; and when he hesitated, Juno herself threw open the gates of the temple of Janus.

Leaving part of his forces in Latium with Ascanius, Aeneas, instructed in a dream by father Tiber, sailed up the river to Pallanteum, the future site of Rome, to gain the alliance of Evander, an Arcadian king unfriendly to Turnus.

Evander, who was celebrating a solemn feast to Hercules, together with his only son Pallas, and his senate, welcomed the warriors to his modest home, promised his alliance, and sent forth with Aeneas his son Pallas and four hundred knights. He also advised him to go to Argylla, whose people were stirred up against Turnus because he protected their tyrant king Mezentius.

While Aeneas was thus seeking allies, his troops in Latium had been attacked and besieged by Turnus, and were greatly in need of the hero’s aid. While the hosts of Turnus were sleeping after their drunken revelry, Nisus proposed to his beloved Euryalus that they steal through the Latin line with messages to Aeneas. Their proposal was applauded by the elders, and Iulus, weeping, promised to cherish them forever for their courage.

As the youths passed among the sleeping Latins, the desire for slaughter overcame them, and they slew Rhamnes, as he lay upon his gorgeous rugs, Lamus, and many others, Euryalus taking Rhamnes’s golden-studded belt and Messapus’s helmet as booty. Unfortunately they had delayed too long in slaughter; as they neared the camp of Turnus, Volscens, returning with reinforcements, caught sight of the shining helmet of Euryalus. The youth, flying, became separated from Nisus, and was captured by the enemy. Nisus, who returned to rescue his friend, sent weapon after weapon from his retreat, and when he saw Euryalus about to suffer death from Volscens, rushed forth to save him, only to fall dead upon the body of his slaughtered friend.

Angry at the slaughter committed by Nisus and Euryalus, Turnus, on his return, attempted to scale the intrenchments. The fight raged fiercely around the walls and towers; but just as the victory seemed to be with Turnus, Aeneas returned with his Tuscan allies, effected a landing, and began to put the enemy to flight, slaying the tyrant Mezentius and his son.

Turnus, hearing of the danger of his friend Lausus, at the hands of Pallas, who had already wrought great slaughter, sought him out, amazing the young warrior by his great size. Pallas faced him bravely; but while his spear only grazed the shoulder of Turnus, the spear of the Rutulian crushed the folds of iron, bronze, and hides, the corselet’s rings of steel, and buried itself in Pallas’s breast.

Turnus took the sword-belt from Pallas’s body; but because of the merit of the young warrior, yielded his body to the Arcadians to be carried to King Evander.

Enraged at the death of his friend, Aeneas fought more fiercely. Especially anxious was he to meet Turnus; but Juno, determined, if possible, to save her favorite, decoyed Turnus off the battle-field by assuming the guise of Aeneas.

After a truce, during which the armies buried their dead, and the body of Pallas was sent home to his father, the armies again came together, the Latins being reinforced by the Amazons, under the leadership of Camilla. Camilla had been reared by her father, the exile Metabus, and, early trained to warlike pursuits, had consecrated herself to Diana. Beautiful as a goddess was she, and so light of foot that she could fly over the tops of the tallest wheat without harming the ears.

Within the walls of Latium there was quarrelling between the parties, Drances, leader of the peace party, accusing Turnus of bringing on and continuing the hostilities. The approach of Aeneas brought these disputes to an abrupt conclusion, and Camilla, with Turnus, hastened to battle. Many victims fell by Camilla’s hand that day, as she rode about the field, her breast bare, her hand clasping her double battle-axe, before Aruns struck her down and fled, frightened at his victory.

In Latium the unhappiness increased, and Turnus, enraged at the reproaches heaped upon him, declared that he would decide the war by single combat with Aeneas. Latinus made no secret of his regret at having been compelled to break his compact with Aeneas; but Amata, still furious, raged against Aeneas, and declared that she would die if he were made her son-in-law.

The preparations were made for the single combat, the sacrifices at the altars, the crowds assembled to witness the combat; but just as the kings were solemnizing the agreement, Turnus’s sister, Juturna, a river goddess, beloved of Jupiter, renewed the hostilities that Turnus might be saved. A weapon hurled from the Latin ranks caused the indignant Trojans to rise in arms, forgetful of the treaty, and the fight raged more fiercely than before.

Juturna, fearful from Juno’s words of the fate of Turnus, assumed the guise of Metiscus, his charioteer, and drove her brother over the field far from the angry Aeneas, who, weary of waiting for Turnus, turned towards Latium. The frightened people rushed hither and thither, and the queen, seeing the approaching foe, the roofs in flames, and no troops of Turnus in sight, supposed the Rutulian dead, and hanged herself.

In the mean time, Turnus, remote from the fight, reproached his sister. “Think’st thou not I recognized thee? Thy deceit is in vain. Is to die so wretched a thing? Let us go to the battle. At least, I will die not unworthy of my ancestry.”

As he spoke, Saces, wounded and bleeding, rushed to him, imploring: “Turnus, have pity on us; come to our rescue! The Latins call thee, the queen is dead, the phalanxes crowd thick around the gates, while thou drivest idly here.”

Turnus, amazed, confused, and shamed, saw flames consuming the towers of Latium.

“Now, sister, the fates control. Desist! It is too late, I will be shamed no more!” Leaping from his chariot, he rushed forward, demanding that war cease in order that he and Aeneas might decide the battle in single combat.

When Turnus’s sword broke on the helmet of Aeneas,–the sword of his charioteer, that he had seized by mistake instead of his own Styx-hardened blade,–he turned and fled, Aeneas pursuing.

Above, in Olympus, Jupiter and Juno quarrelled, as they watched the heroes circling over the yellow sand.

“Give over thy enmity,” said the omnipotent father. “Thou hast caused the treaty to be violated; even now thou hast made Juturna return the lost sword to Turnus–in vain. Grieve no more, and goad no longer these suffering men of Troy.”

Then Juno yielded, stipulating only that the Trojans lay aside their ancient name, that Latium remain Latium, and the future growth Roman.

Juturna, warned by Jove’s messenger, a bird of evil omen, tore her locks and beat her breast, regretting the gift of immortality conferred on her by Jove. Then wrapping her gray veil about her, she fled to her watery throne that she might not see the death of her brother. The frightened Turnus, still fleeing from Aeneas, abandoned his sword and took up instead a mighty rock, a landmark such as scarce six men could uplift.

Hurling this at Aeneas, he stood, his blood running chill, his eyes cast towards the Rutuli, the town, and the spear of Aeneas, that, shrieking through the air, doom laden, wrecked his heavy shield and pierced his thigh.

“Mercy!” he prayed. “Fate hath given thee the advantage. Think, thou duteous son, of my old father, Daunus.”

As Aeneas stood, softened, and ready to grant the request, the sword-belt of Pallas caught his eye.

“Shalt thou escape, decked out with Pallas’s spoils? No, not I slay thee, but Pallas! His hand immolates thee!” As he spoke he plunged his sword in Turnus’s breast.

Chilly death came, and the warrior’s spirit fled, groaning to the shades.


Preface  •  The R‚m‚yana  •  The Story of the R‚m‚yana  •  Selections From the R‚m‚yana  •  The Story of the Mah‚-Bh‚rata  •  Selections From the Mah‚-Bh‚rata  •  The Iliad  •  The Story of the Iliad  •  Selections From the Iliad  •  The Story of the Odyssey  •  Selections From the Odyssey  •  The Kalevala  •  The Story of the Kalevala  •  Selections From the Kalevala  •  Selection From the Aeneid  •  Beowulf  •  The Story of Beowulf  •  Selection From Beowulf  •  Selections From the Nibelungen Lied  •  The Story of the Song of Roland  •  Selections From the Song of Roland  •  The Story of the Shah-Nameh  •  Selections From the Shah-Nameh  •  The Story of the Poem of the Cid  •  Selections From the Poem of the Cid  •  The Divine Comedy - The Hell  •  The Story of the Divine Comedy - The Hell  •  The Divine Comedy - The Purgatory  •  The Story of the Divine Comedy - The Purgatory  •  The Divine Comedy - The Paradise  •  The Story of the Divine Comedy - The Paradise  •  Selections From the Divine Comedy - Count Ugolino  •  Selection From the Orlando Furioso  •  The Lusiad  •  The Story of the Lusiad  •  Selections From the Lusiad  •  The Jerusalem Delivered  •  The Story of the Jerusalem Delivered  •  Selection From the Jerusalem Delivered  •  The Story of Paradise Lost  •  Selections From Paradise Lost  •  Apostrophe to Light  •  The Story of Paradise Regained  •  Selection From Paradise Regained