March 15th | Fastorum Liber Tertius: Martius
B • EID • NP | Idibus | III.523-710,
Idibus est Annae festum geniale Perennae
non procul a ripis, advena Thybri, tuis.
plebs venit ac virides passim disiecta per herbas 525
potat, et accumbit cum pare quisque sua.
sub Iove pars durat, pauci tentoria ponunt,
sunt quibus e ramis frondea facta casa est,
pars, ubi pro rigidis calamos statuere columnis,
desuper extentas imposuere togas. 530
sole tamen vinoque calent annosque precantur,
quot sumant cyathos, ad numerumque bibunt.
invenies illic, qui Nestoris ebibat annos,
quae sit per calices facta Sibylla suos.
illic et cantant, quicquid didicere theatris, 535
et iactant faciles ad sua verba manus
et ducunt posito duras cratere choreas,
cultaque diffusis saltat amica comis.
cum redeunt, titubant et sunt spectacula volgi,
et fortunatos obvia turba vocat. 540
occurrit nuper (visa est mihi digna relatu)
pompa: senem potum pota trahebat anus.
quae tamen haec dea sit, quoniam rumoribus errat,
fabula proposito nulla tegenda meo.
arserat Aeneae Dido miserabilis igne, 545
arserat extructis in sua fata rogis;
compositusque cinis, tumulique in marmore carmen
hoc breve, quod moriens ipsa reliquit, erat:
praebuit aeneas et causam mortis et ensem.
ipsa sua dido concidit usa manu. 550
protinus invadunt Numidae sine vindice regnum,
et potitur capta Maurus Iarba domo,
seque memor spretum, “Thalamis tamen” inquit “Elissae
en ego, quem totiens reppulit illa, fruor.”
diffugiunt Tyrii, quo quemque agit error, ut olim 555
amisso dubiae rege vagantur apes.
pellitur Anna domo lacrimansque sororia linquit 559
moenia: germanae iusta dat ante suae. 560
mixta bibunt molles lacrimis unguenta favillae,
vertice libatas accipiuntque comas;
terque “vale!” dixit, cineres ter ad ora relatos
pressit, et est illis visa subesse soror.
nacta ratem comitesque fugae pede labitur aequo 565
moenia respiciens, dulce sororis opus.
fertilis est Melite sterili vicina Cosyrae
insula, quam Libyci verberat unda freti.
hanc petit hospitio regis confisa vetusto:
hospes opum dives rex ibi Battus erat. 570
qui postquam didicit casus utriusque sororis,
“haec” inquit “tellus quantulacumque tua est.”
et tamen hospitii servasset ad ultima munus,
sed timuit magnas Pygmalionis opes.
tertia nudandas acceperat area messes, 557
inque cavos ierant tertia musta lacus; 558
signa recensuerat bis sol sua, tertius ibat 575
annus, et exilio terra paranda nova est.
frater adest belloque petit. rex arma perosus
“nos sumus imbelles, tu fuge sospes!” ait.
iussa fugit ventoque ratem committit et undis:
asperior quovis aequore frater erat. 580
est prope piscosos lapidosi Crathidis amnes
parvus ager: Cameren incola turba vocat.
illuc cursus erat, nec longius afuit inde,
quam quantum novies mittere funda potest:
vela cadunt primo et dubia librantur ab aura. 585
“findite remigio” navita dixit “aquas!”
dumque parant torto subducere carbasa lino,
percutitur rapido puppis adunca Noto,
inque patens aequor frustra pugnante magistro
fertur, et ex oculis visa refugit humus. 190
adsiliunt fluctus, imoque a gurgite pontus
vertitur, et canas alveus haurit aquas.
vincitur ars vento, nec iam moderator habenis
utitur, at votis is quoque poscit opem.
iactatur tumidas exul Phoenissa per undas 595
umidaque opposita lumina veste tegit:
tum primum Dido felix est dicta sorori
et quaecumque aliquam corpore pressit humum.
ducitur ad Laurens ingenti flamine litus
puppis et expositis omnibus hausta perit. 600
iam pius Aeneas regno nataque Latini
auctus erat, populos miscueratque duos.
litore dotali solo comitatus Achate
secretum nudo dum pede carpit iter,
aspicit errantem nec credere sustinet Annam 605
esse: quid in Latios illa veniret agros?
dum secum Aeneas, “Anna est!” exclamat Achates:
ad nomen voltus sustulit illa suos.
heu, quid agat? fugiat? quos terrae quaerat hiatus?
ante oculos miserae fata sororis erant. 610
sensit et adloquitur trepidam Cythereïus heros
(flet tamen admonitu motus, Elissa, tui):
“Anna, per hanc iuro, quam quondam audire solebas
tellurem fato prosperiore dari,
perque deos comites, hac nuper sede locatos, 615
saepe meas illos increpuisse moras.
nec timui de morte tamen, metus afuit iste.
ei mihi! credibili fortior illa fuit.
ne refer: aspexi non illo corpore digna
volnera Tartareas ausus adire domos. 620
at tu, seu ratio te nostris appulit oris
sive deus, regni commoda carpe mei.
multa tibi memores, nil non debemus Elissae:
nomine grata tuo, grata sororis, eris.”
talia dicenti (neque enim spes altera restat) 625
credidit, errores exposuitque suos.
utque domum intravit Tyrios induta paratus,
incipit Aeneas (cetera turba silet):
“hanc tibi cur tradam, pia causa, Lavinia coniunx,
est mihi: consumpsi naufragus huius opes. 630
orta Tyro est, regnum Libyca possedit in ora;
quam precor ut carae more sororis ames.”
omnia promittit falsumque Lavinia volnus
mente premit tacita dissimulatque metus;
donaque cum videat praeter sua lumina ferri 635
multa, tamen mitti clam quoque multa putat.
non habet exactum, quid agat; furialiter odit
et parat insidias et cupit ulta mori.
nox erat: ante torum visa est adstare sororis
squalenti Dido sanguinulenta coma 640
et “fuge, ne dubita, maestum fuge” dicere “tectum!”
sub verbum querulas impulit aura fores.
exsilit et velox humili super arva fenestra
se iacit: audacem fecerat ipse timor.
cumque metu rapitur tunica velata recincta, 645
currit ut auditis territa damma lupis.
corniger hanc tumidis rapuisse Numicius undis
creditur et stagnis occuluisse suis.
Sidonis interea magno clamore per agros
quaeritur: apparent signa notaeque pedum: 650
ventum erat ad ripas: inerant vestigia ripis.
sustinuit tacitas conscius amnis aquas.
ipsa loqui visa est “placidi sum nympha Numici:
amne perenne latens Anna Perenna vocor.”
protinus erratis laeti vescuntur in agris 655
et celebrant largo seque diemque mero.
sunt quibus haec Luna est, quia mensibus impleat annum;
pars Themin, Inachiam pars putat esse bovem.
invenies, qui te nymphen Azanida dicant 660
teque Iovi primos, Anna, dedisse cibos.
haec quoque, quam referam, nostras pervenit ad aures
fama nec a veri dissidet illa fide.
plebs vetus et nullis etiam nunc tuta tribunis
fugit et in Sacri vertice Montis erat;
iam quoque, quem secum tulerant, defecerat illos 665
victus et humanis usibus apta Ceres.
orta suburbanis quaedam fuit Anna Bovillis,
pauper, sed multae sedulitatis anus.
illa levi mitra canos incincta capillos
fingebat tremula rustica liba manu, 670
atque ita per populum fumantia mane solebat
dividere: haec populo copia grata fuit.
pace domi facta signum posuere Perennae,
quod sibi defectis illa ferebat opem.
nunc mihi, cur cantent, superest, obscena puellae, 675
dicere; nam coeunt certaque probra canunt.
nuper erat dea facta: venit Gradivus ad Annam
et cum seducta talia verba facit:
“mense meo coleris, iunxi mea tempora tecum:
pendet ab officio spes mihi magna tuo. 680
armifer armiferae correptus amore Minervae
uror et hoc longo tempore volnus alo.
effice, di studio similes coeamus in unum:
conveniunt partes hae tibi, comis anus.”
dixerat. illa deum promisso ludit inani 685
et stultam dubia spem trahit usque mora.
saepius instanti “mandata peregimus,” inquit;
“evicta est, precibus vix dedit illa manus.”
credit amans thalamosque parat. deducitur illuc
Anna tegens voltus, ut nova nupta, suos. 690
oscula sumpturus subito Mars aspicit Annam:
nunc pudor elusum, nunc subit ira deum.
ridet amatorem carae nova diva Minervae,
nec res hac Veneri gratior ulla fuit.
inde ioci veteres obscenaque dicta canuntur, 695
et iuvat hanc magno verba dedisse deo.
praeteriturus eram gladios in principe fixos,
cum sic a castis Vesta locuta focis:
“ne dubita meminisse: meus fuit ille sacerdos,
sacrilegae telis me petiere manus. 700
ipsa virum rapui simulacraque nuda reliqui:
quae cecidit ferro, Caesaris umbra fuit.”
ille quidem caelo positus Iovis atria vidit
et tenet in magno templa dicata foro.
at quicumque nefas ausi, prohibente deorum 705
numine, polluerant pontificale caput,
morte iacent merita. testes estote, Philippi,
et quorum sparsis ossibus albet humus.
hoc opus, haec pietas, haec prima elementa fuerunt
Caesaris, ulcisci iusta per arma patrem. 710
523 On the Ides is held the jovial feast of Anna Perennanot far from thy banks, Ο Tiber, who comest from afar. The common folk come, and scattered here and there over the green grass they drink, every lad reclining beside his lass. Some camp under the open sky; a few pitch tents; some make a leafy hut of boughs. Others set up reeds in place of rigid pilars, and stretching out their robes place them upon the reeds. But they grow warm with sun and wine, and they pray for as many years as they take cups, and they count the cups they drink. There shall you find a man who drains as many goblets as Nestor numbered years, and a woman who would live to the Sibyl’s age if cups could work the charm. There they sing the ditties they picked up in the theatres, beating time to the words with nimble hands; they set the bowl down, and trip in dances lubberly, while the spruce sweetheart skips about with streaming hair. On the way home they reel, a spectacle for vulgar eyes, and the crowd that meets them calls them “blest.” I met the procession lately; I thought it notable; a drunk old woman lugged a drunk old man.
543 But since erroneous rumours are rife as to who this goddess is, I am resolved to throw no cloak about her tale. Poor Dido had burned with the fire of love for Aeneas; she had burned, too, on a pyre built for her doom. Her ashes were collected, and on the marble of her tomb was this short stanza, which she herself dying had left:
Aeneas caused her death and lent the blade:
Dido by her own hand in dust was laid.
551 Straightway the Numidians invaded the defenceless realm, and Iarbas the Moorcaptured and took possession of the palace; and remembering how she had spurned his suit, “Lo, now,” quoth he, “I enjoy Elissa’s bridal bower, I whom she so oft repelled.” The Tyrians fled hither and thither, as each one chanced to stray, even as bees oft wander doubtingly when they have lost their king. Anna was driven from home, and weeping left her sister’s walls; but first she paid the honours due to her dead sister. The soft ashes drank unguents mixed with tears, and they received an offering of hair clipped from her head. And thrice she said, “Farewell!” thrice she took the ashes up and pressed them to her lips, and under them she thought she saw her sister. Having found a ship and comrades to share her flight, she glided before the wind, looking back at the city’s walls, her sister’s darling work.
567 There is a fertile island Melite,lashed by the waves of the Libyan sea and neighbour to the barren Cosyra. Anna steered for it, trusting to the king’s hospitality, which she had known of old; for Battus there was king, a wealthy host. When he learned the misfortunes of the two sisters, “This land,” said he, “small though it be, is thine,” and he would have observed the duties of hospitality to the end, but that he feared Pygmalion’s mighty power. For the third time the reaped corn had been carried to the threshing-floor to be stripped of the husk, and for the third time the new wine had poured into the hollow vats. Twice had the sun traversed the signs of the zodiac, and a third year was passing, when Anna was compelled to seek a new land of exile. Her brother came and demanded her surrender with threat of war. The king loathed arms and said to Anna, “We are unwarlike. Do thou seek safety in flight.” At his bidding she fled and committed her bark to the wind and the waves. Her brother was more cruel than any sea. Near the fishy streams of stony Crathis there is a champain small; the natives call it Camere. Thither she bent her course, and was no farther off than nine shots of a sling, when the sails at first dropped and flapped in the puffs of wind. “Cleave water with the oars,” the seaman said. And while they made ready to furl the sails with the ropes, the swift south wind struck the curved poop and swept the ship, despite the captain’s efforts, into the open sea; the land receded from their sight. The surge assails them, and from its lowest depths the ocean is upheaved: the hull gulps down the foaming waters. Seamanship is powerless against the wind, and the steersman no longer handles the helm, so he too resorts to prayers for help. The Phoenician exile is tossed on the swelling waves and hides her wet eyes in her robe: then for the first time did she call her sister Dido happy, and happy any woman who anywhere did tread dry land. A mighty blast pulled the ship to the Laurentine shore; she went down and perished, but all on board got safe to land.
601 By this time Aeneas had gained the kingdom and the daughter of Latinus and had blended the two peoples. While, accompanied by Achates alone, he paced barefoot a lonely path on the shore with which his wife had dowered him, he spied Anna wandering, nor could bring himself to think that it was she. Why should she come into the Latin land? thought he to himself. Meantime, “’Tis Anna!” cried Achates. At the sound of the name she looked up. Alas! what should she do? should she flee? where should she look for the earth to yawn for her? Her hapless sister’s fate rose up before her eyes. The Cythereanhero perceived her distress and accosted her; yet did he weep, touched by memory of thee, Elissa. “Anna, by this land which in days gone by thou usedst to hear a happier fate had granted me; and by the gods who followed me and here of late have found a home, I swear that they did often chide my loiterings. Nor yet did I dread her death; far from me was that fear. Woe’s me! her courage surpassed belief. Tell not the tale. I saw the unseemly wounds upon her body what time I dared to visit the house of Tartarus. But thou, whether thine own resolve or some god has brought thee to our shores, do thou enjoy my kingdom’s comforts. Much our gratitude doth owe to thee, and something, too, to Elissa. Welcome shalt thou be for thine own sake and welcome for thy sister’s.” She believed his words, for no other hope was left her, and she told her wanderings. And when she entered the palace, clad in Tyrian finery, Aeneas opened his lips, while the rest of the assembly kept silence: “My wife Lavinia, I have a dutiful reason for entrusting this lady to thy care; when I was shipwrecked I consumed her substance. She is of Tyrian descent; she owns a kingdom on the Libyan coast; I pray thee, love her as a dear sister.” Lavinia promised everything, but in the silence of her heart she hid her fancied wrong and dissembled her fears; and though she saw many presents carried before her eyes, still she thought that many were also sent secretly. She had not decided what to do. She hated like a fury, and hatched a plot, and longed to die avenged. ’Twas night: before her sister’s bed it seemed that Dido stood, her unkempt hair dabbled in blood. “Fly, fly this dismal house,” she seemed to say, “O falter not!!” At the word a blast did slam the creaking door. Up she leaped, and quick she threw herself out of the low window upon the ground: her very fear had made her bold. And as soon as terror carried her, clad in her ungirt tunic, she ran as runs a frightened doe that hears the wolves. ’Tis thought the horned Numicius swept her away in his swollen stream and hid her in his pools. Meanwhile with clamour loud they sought the lost Sidonian lady through the fields: traces and footprints met their eyes: on coming to the banks they found her tracks upon the banks. The conscious river checked and hushed his stream. Herself appeared to speak: “I am a nymph of the calm Numicius. In a perennial river I hide, and Anna Perenna is my name.” Straightway they feast joyfully in the fields over which they had roamed, and toast themselves and the day in deep draughts of wine.
657 Some think that this goddess is the moon, because the moon fills up the measure of the year (annus) by her months; others deem that she is Themis; others suppose that she is the Inachian cow.You shall find some to say that thou, Anna, art a nymph, daughter of Azan, and that thou didst give Jupiter his first food. Yet another report, which I will relate, has come to my ears, and it is not far from what we may take as true. The common folk of old, not yet protected by tribunes, had fled, and abode upon the top of the Sacred Mount; now, too, the provisions which they had brought with them and the bread fit for human use had failed them. There was a certain Anna, born at suburban Bovillae, a poor old woman, but very industrious. She, with her grey hair bound up in a light cap, used to mould country cakes with tremulous hand, and it was her wont at morn to distribute them piping hot among the people: the supply was welcome to the people. When peace was made at home, they set up a statue to Perenna, because she had supplied them in their time of need.
675 Now it remains for me to tell why girls chant ribald songs; for they assemble and sing certain scurrilous verses. When Anna had been but lately made a goddess, the Marching God (Gradivus) came to her, and taking her aside spoke as follows: “Thou art worshipping in my month, I have joined my season to thine: I have great hope in the service that thou canst render me. An armed god myself, I have fallen in love with the armed goddess Minerva; I burn and for a long time have nursed this wound. She and I are deities alike in our pursuits; contrive to unite us. That office well befits thee, kind old dame.” So he spoke. She duped the god by a false promise, and kept him dangling on in foolish hope by dubious delays. When he often pressed her, “I have done thy bidding,” said she, “she is conquered and has yielded at last to thine entreaties.” The lover believed her and made ready the bridal chamber. Thither they escorted Anna, like a bride, with a veil upon her face. When he would have kissed her, Mars suddenly perceived Anna; now shame, now anger moved the god befooled. The new goddess laughed at dear Minerva’s lover. Never did anything please Venus more than that. So old jokes are cracked and ribald songs are sung, and people love to remember how Anna choused the great god.
697 I was about to pass by in silence the swords that stabbed the prince, when Vesta spoke thus from her chaste hearth: “Doubt not to recall them: he was my priest, it was at me these sacrilegious hands struck with the steel. I myself carried the man away, and left naught but his wraith behind; what fell by the sword was Caesar’s shade.” Transported to the sky he saw the halls of Jupiter, and in the great Forum he owns a temple dedicated to him. But all the daring sinners who, in defiance of the gods’ will, profaned the pontiff’s head, lie low in death, the death they merited. Witness Philippi and they whose scattered bones whiten the ground. This, this was Caesar’s work, his duty, his first task by righteous arms to avenge his father.
See above, l. 146, and Appendix, p. 405. (i.e. “Anna Perenna.”)
Iarbas was a suitor for Dido (Virgil, Aen. iv. 36, 196): Elissa was Dido’s name.
The Carthaginians came from Tyre.
Now Pantellaria, about 150 miles from Malta.
Brother of Dido and Anna, and their enemy.
Aeneas was son of Venus, called Cytherea from her sacred island Cythera.
A river in Latium; rivers are called horned, being personified as bulls.
He probably means Isis, who was identified with Io.
This refers to the Secession of the Plebs in 494 B.C.
This story seems told to account for the worship of Anna Perenna at Bovillae.
Minerva in this story has probably taken the place of Nerio, an old goddess, the wife of Mars. See Appendix, p 407. (i.e. “Nerio.”)
The murder of Julius Caesar, 44 B.C., on the Ides of March.