Aeneid Book 10, lines 633 - 665

Turnus is lured away from battle

by Virgil

Stung by the death of his young protégé, Pallas, at the hands of Turnus, Aeneas cuts his way across the battlefield, killing many of Turnus’s troops. Aeneas’s enemy Juno, Queen of the Gods, fearing for Turnus’s safety, obtains permission from Jupiter to lure him off the battlefield and out of Aeneas’s way. The English is from John Dryden’s translation.

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Haec ubi dicta dedit, caelo se protinus alto
misit agens hiemem nimbo succincta per auras,
Iliacamque aciem et Laurentia castra petivit.
tum dea nube cava tenuem sine viribus umbram
in faciem Aeneae (visu mirabile monstrum)
Dardaniis ornat telis, clipeumque iubasque
divini adsimulat capitis, dat inania verba,
dat sine mente sonum gressusque effingit euntis,
morte obita qualis fama est volitare figuras
aut quae sopitos deludunt somnia sensus.
at primas laeta ante acies exsultat imago
inritatque virum telis et voce lacessit.
instat cui Turnus stridentemque eminus hastam
conicit; illa dato vertit vestigia tergo.
tum vero Aenean aversum ut cedere Turnus
credidit atque animo spem turbidus hausit inanem:
‘quo fugis, Aenea? thalamos ne desere pactos;
hac dabitur dextra tellus quaesita per undas.’
talia vociferans sequitur strictumque coruscat
mucronem, nec ferre videt sua gaudia ventos.
Forte ratis celsi coniuncta crepidine saxi
expositis stabat scalis et ponte parato,
qua rex Clusinis aduectus Osinius oris.
huc sese trepida Aeneae fugientis imago
conicit in latebras, nec Turnus segnior instat
exsuperatque moras et pontis transilit altos.
vix proram attigerat, rumpit Saturnia funem
avulsamque rapit revoluta per aequora navem.
illum autem Aeneas absentem in proelia poscit;
obvia multa virum demittit corpora morti,
tum levis haud ultra latebras iam quaerit imago,
sed sublime volans nubi se immiscuit atrae,
cum Turnum medio interea fert aequore turbo.

Thus having said, involv’d in clouds, she flies,
And drives a storm before her thro’ the skies.
Swift she descends, alighting on the plain,
Where the fierce foes a dubious fight maintain.
Of air condens’d a specter soon she made;
And, what Aeneas was, such seem’d the shade.
Adorn’d with Dardan arms, the phantom bore
His head aloft; a plumy crest he wore;
This hand appear’d a shining sword to wield,.
And that sustain’d an imitated shield.
With manly mien he stalk’d along the ground,
Nor wanted voice belied, nor vaunting sound.
(Thus haunting ghosts appear to waking sight,
Or dreadful visions in our dreams by night.)
The specter seems the Daunian chief to dare,
And flourishes his empty sword in air.
At this, advancing, Turnus hurl’d his spear:
The phantom wheel’d, and seem’d to fly for fear.
Deluded Turnus thought the Trojan fled,
And with vain hopes his haughty fancy fed.
“Whither, O coward?” (thus he calls aloud,
Nor found he spoke to wind, and chas’d a cloud,)
“Why thus forsake your bride! Receive from me
The fated land you sought so long by sea.”
He said, and, brandishing at once his blade,
With eager pace pursued the flying shade.
By chance a ship was fasten’d to the shore,
Which from old Clusium King Osinius bore:
The plank was ready laid for safe ascent;
For shelter there the trembling shadow bent,
And skipp’t and skulk’d, and under hatches went.
Exulting Turnus, with regardless haste,
Ascends the plank, and to the galley pass’d.
Scarce had he reach’d the prow: Saturnia’s hand
The haulsers cuts, and shoots the ship from land.
With wind in poop, the vessel plows the sea,
And measures back with speed her former way.
Meantime Aeneas seeks his absent foe,
And sends his slaughter’d troops to shades below.
The guileful phantom now forsook the shroud,
And flew sublime, and vanish’d in a cloud.
Too late young Turnus the delusion found,
Far on the sea, still making from the ground.