Aeneid Book 6, lines 637 - 659

Aeneas reaches the Elysian Fields

by Virgil

Leaving Tartarus and the torments of the damned behind in their underworld journey, and leaving the golden bough that has been their passport for living entry to Hades as the prescribed offering to Queen Proserpina at her door, Aeneas and the Sibyl come to the paradise of the Elysian fields

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His demum exactis, perfecto munere divae
devenere locos laetos et amoena virecta
fortunatorum nemorum sedesque beatas.
largior hic campos aether et lumine vestit
purpureo, solemque suum, sua sidera norunt.
pars in gramineis exercent membra palaestris,
contendunt ludo et fulva luctantur harena;
pars pedibus plaudunt choreas et carmina dicunt.
nec non Threicius longa cum veste sacerdos
obloquitur numeris septem discrimina vocum,
iamque eadem digitis, iam pectine pulsat eburno.
hic genus antiquum Teucri, pulcherrima proles,
magnanimi heroes nati melioribus annis,
Ilusque Assaracusque et Troiae Dardanus auctor.
arma procul currusque virum miratur inanis;
stant terra defixae hastae passimque soluti
per campum pascuntur equi. quae gratia currum
armorumque fuit vivis, quae cura nitentis
pascere equos, eadem sequitur tellure repostos.
conspicit, ecce, alios dextra laevaque per herbam
vescentis laetumque choro paeana canentis
inter odoratum lauri nemus, unde superne
plurimus Eridani per silvam volvitur amnis.

This done, and the gift to the Goddess made,
they reached the happy land, the lovely sward
of the groves of the favoured and their blessed homes.
Here the air was more open, clothed the fields with
glowing light and beheld its own sun, its own stars.
Some train their limbs in the grassy rings, strive
in the contest and wrestle on the golden sand; some
beat the dance-floor with their feet and chant songs.
Thracian Orpheus, too, is there in his long robe, and
accompanies the line of the singers’ tune with seven
notes, plays now with fingers, now his ivory plectrum.
Here is the ancient race of Teucer, a handsome line,
high-minded heroes born in a greater age, Ilus,
Assaracus and Dardanus, founder of Troy. From a
distance he admires their phantom arms and chariots;
spears stand in the ground, while everywhere horses
graze, loose in the fields. The same pleasure they took,
alive, in arms, chariots and keeping horses
follows them under the earth. And look,
he sees others to left and right, feasting on
the grass and singing a joyful hymn under the
laurel-scented grove, from which, to Earth above,
the great river Po rolls through the wood.

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More Poems by Virgil

  1. How Aeneas will know the site of his city
  2. Fire strikes Aeneas’s fleet
  3. Aeneas tours the site of Rome
  4. The Syrian hostess
  5. Virgil’s perils on the sea
  6. Catastrophe for Rome?
  7. Love is the same for all
  8. Aeneas prepares to tell Dido his story
  9. Palinurus the helmsman is lost
  10. Signs of bad weather
  11. The death of Euryalus and Nisus
  12. Aeneas rescues his Father Anchises
  13. Dido’s release
  14. Omens for Princess Lavinia
  15. Jupiter’s prophecy
  16. Aeneas saves his son and father, but at a cost
  17. Dido and Aeneas: royal hunt and royal affair
  18. Aeneas comes to the Hell of Tartarus
  19. Laocoon warns against the Trojan horse
  20. The death of Priam
  21. A Fury rouses Turnus to war
  22. The portals of sleep
  23. Charon, the ferryman
  24. The Trojan Horse enters the city
  25. Laocoon and the snakes
  26. Juno is reconciled
  27. Aeneas’s oath
  28. Turnus at bay
  29. King Mezentius meets his match
  30. Rites for the allies’ dead
  31. Dido falls in love
  32. Turnus is lured away from battle
  33. Aeneas’s ships are transformed
  34. Hector visits Aeneas in a dream
  35. Anchises’s ghost invites Aeneas to visit the underworld
  36. Aeneas finds Dido among the shades
  37. The death of Pallas
  38. The infant Camilla
  39. Mourning for Pallas
  40. Aristaeus’s bees
  41. The Fury Allecto blows the alarm
  42. Virgil begins the Georgics
  43. The natural history of bees
  44. The farmer’s starry calendar
  45. Juno throws open the gates of war
  46. Virgil’s poetic temple to Caesar
  47. Sea-nymphs
  48. The Harpy’s prophecy
  49. Aeneas’s vision of Augustus
  50. Rumour
  51. Storm at sea!
  52. The journey to Hades begins
  53. Mercury’s journey to Carthage
  54. In King Latinus’s hall
  55. Aeneas learns the way to the underworld
  56. King Latinus grants the Trojans’ request
  57. Turnus the wolf
  58. New allies for Aeneas
  59. The Trojans reach Carthage
  60. Aeneas is wounded
  61. Virgil predicts a forthcoming birth and a new golden age
  62. The Aeneid begins
  63. Help for Father Aeneas from Father Tiber
  64. Souls awaiting punishment in Tartarus, and the crimes that brought them there.
  65. Dido and Aeneas: Hell hath no fury …
  66. The Trojans prepare to set sail from Carthage
  67. Aeneas joins the fray
  68. Aeneas sees Marcellus, Augustus’s tragic heir
  69. Aeneas arrives in Italy
  70. The death of Dido.
  71. More from Virgil’s farming Utopia
  72. The farmer’s happy lot
  73. Vulcan’s forge