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