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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