Aeneid Book 11, lines 182 - 202

Rites for the Trojan dead

by Virgil

After the Latins’ attack on the Trojan camp has been beaten off with the return of Aeneas, and the body of Prince Pallas has been sent in great state back to his father, King Evander, the warring armies call a truce to allow funeral rites to be held for the fallen.

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Aurora interea miseris mortalibus almam
extulerat lucem referens opera atque labores:
iam pater Aeneas, iam curvo in litore Tarchon
constituere pyras. huc corpora quisque suorum
more tulere patrum, subiectisque ignibus atris
conditur in tenebras altum caligine caelum.
ter circum accensos cincti fulgentibus armis
decurrere rogos, ter maestum funeris ignem
lustravere in equis ululatusque ore dedere.
spargitur et tellus lacrimis, sparguntur et arma,
it caelo clamorque virum clangorque tubarum.
hic alii spolia occisis derepta Latinis
coniciunt igni, galeas ensisque decoros
frenaque ferventisque rotas; pars munera nota,
ipsorum clipeos et non felicia tela.
multa boum circa mactantur corpora Morti,
saetigerosque sues raptasque ex omnibus agris
in flammam iugulant pecudes. tum litore toto
ardentis spectant socios semustaque servant
busta, neque avelli possunt, nox umida donec
invertit caelum stellis ardentibus aptum.

The morn had now dispell’d the shades of night,
Restoring toils, when she restor’d the light.
The Trojan king and Tuscan chief command
To raise the piles along the winding strand.
Their friends convey the dead fun’ral fires;
Black smold’ring smoke from the green wood expires;
The light of heav’n is chok’d, and the new day retires.
Then thrice around the kindled piles they go
(For ancient custom had ordain’d it so)
Thrice horse and foot about the fires are led;
And thrice, with loud laments, they hail the dead.
Tears, trickling down their breasts, bedew the ground,
And drums and trumpets mix their mournful sound.
Amid the blaze, their pious brethren throw
The spoils, in battle taken from the foe:
Helms, bits emboss’d, and swords of shining steel;
One casts a target, one a chariot wheel;
Some to their fellows their own arms restore:
The fauchions which in luckless fight they bore,
Their bucklers pierc’d, their darts bestow’d in vain,
And shiver’d lances gather’d from the plain.
Whole herds of offer’d bulls, about the fire,
And bristled boars, and woolly sheep expire.
Around the piles a careful troop attends,
To watch the wasting flames, and weep their burning friends;
Ling’ring along the shore, till dewy night
New decks the face of heav’n with starry light.