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.


More Poems by Virgil

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