Circe transforms Scylla into a sea monster; Aeneas lands at Carthage and just as quickly leaves for Cumae.
Iamque Giganteis iniectam faucibus Aetnen
arvaque Cyclopum, quid rastra, quid usus aratri,
nescia nec quicquam iunctis debentia bubus
liquerat Euboicus tumidarum cultor aquarum,
liquerat et Zanclen adversaque moenia Regi 5
navifragumque fretum, gemino quod litore pressum
Ausoniae Siculaeque tenet confinia terrae.
inde manu magna Tyrrhena per aequora vectus
herbiferos adiit colles atque atria Glaucus
Sole satae Circes, variarum plena ferarum. 10
quam simul adspexit, dicta acceptaque salute,
‘diva, dei miserere, precor! nam sola levare
tu potes hunc,’ dixit ‘videar modo dignus, amorem.
quanta sit herbarum, Titani, potentia, nulli
quam mihi cognitius, qui sum mutatus ab illis. 15
neve mei non nota tibi sit causa furoris:
litore in Italico, Messenia moenia contra,
Scylla mihi visa est. pudor est promissa precesque
blanditiasque meas contemptaque verba referre;
at tu, sive aliquid regni est in carmine, carmen 20
ore move sacro, sive expugnacior herba est,
utere temptatis operosae viribus herbae
nec medeare mihi sanesque haec vulnera mando,
fine nihil opus est: partem ferat illa caloris.’
at Circe (neque enim flammis habet aptius ulla 25
talibus ingenium, seu causa est huius in ipsa,
seu Venus indicio facit hoc offensa paterno,)
talia verba refert: ‘melius sequerere volentem
optantemque eadem parilique cupidine captam.
dignus eras ultro (poteras certeque) rogari, 30
et, si spem dederis, mihi crede, rogaberis ultro.
neu dubites absitque tuae fiducia formae,
en ego, cum dea sim, nitidi cum filia Solis,
carmine cum tantum, tantum quoque gramine possim,
ut tua sim, voveo. spernentem sperne, sequenti 35
redde vices, unoque duas ulciscere facto.’
talia temptanti ‘prius’ inquit ‘in aequore frondes’
Glaucus ‘et in summis nascentur montibus algae,
Sospite quam Scylla nostri mutentur amores.’
indignata dea est et laedere quatenus ipsum 40
non poterat (nec vellet amans), irascitur illi,
quae sibi praelata est; venerisque offensa repulsa,
protinus horrendis infamia pabula sucis
conterit et tritis Hecateia carmina miscet
caerulaque induitur velamina perque ferarum 45
agmen adulantum media procedit ab aula
oppositumque petens contra Zancleia saxa
Region ingreditur ferventes aestibus undas,
in quibus ut solida ponit vestigia terra
summaque decurrit pedibus super aequora siccis. 50
parvus erat gurges, curvos sinuatus in arcus,
grata quies Scyllae: quo se referebat ab aestu
et maris et caeli, medio cum plurimus orbe
sol erat et minimas a vertice fecerat umbras.
hunc dea praevitiat portentificisque venenis 55
inquinat; hic pressos latices radice nocenti
spargit et obscurum verborum ambage novorum
ter noviens carmen magico demurmurat ore.
Scylla venit mediaque tenus descenderat alvo,
cum sua foedari latrantibus inguina monstris 60
adspicit ac primo credens non corporis illas
esse sui partes, refugitque abigitque timetque
ora proterva canum, sed quos fugit, attrahit una
et corpus quaerens femorum crurumque pedumque
Cerbereos rictus pro partibus invenit illis: 65
statque canum rabie subiectaque terga ferarum
inguinibus truncis uteroque exstante coercet.
Flevit amans Glaucus nimiumque hostiliter usae
viribus herbarum fugit conubia Circes;
Scylla loco mansit cumque est data copia, primum 70
in Circes odium sociis spoliavit Ulixem;
mox eadem Teucras fuerat mersura carinas,
ni prius in scopulum, qui nunc quoque saxeus exstat,
transformata foret: scopulum quoque navita vitat.
Hunc ubi Troianae remis avidamque Charybdin 75
evicere rates, cum iam prope litus adessent
Ausonium, Libycas vento referuntur ad oras.
excipit Aenean illic animoque domoque
non bene discidium Phrygii latura mariti
Sidonis; inque pyra sacri sub imagine facta 80
incubuit ferro deceptaque decipit omnes.
rursus harenosae fugiens nova moenia terrae
ad sedemque Erycis fidumque relatus Acesten
sacrificat tumulumque sui genitoris honorat.
quasque rates Iris Iunonia paene cremarat, 85
solvit et Hippotadae regnum terrasque calenti
sulphure fumantis Acheloiadumque relinquit
Sirenum scopulos, orbataque praeside pinus
Inarimen Prochytenque legit sterilique locatas
colle Pithecusas, habitantum nomine dictas. 90
quippe deum genitor, fraudem et periuria quondam
Cercopum exosus gentisque admissa dolosae,
in deforme viros animal mutavit, ut idem
dissimiles homini possent similesque videri,
membraque contraxit naresque a fronte resimas 95
contudit et rugis peraravit anilibus ora
totaque velatos flaventi corpora villo
misit in has sedes nec non prius abstulit usum
verborum et natae dira in periuria linguae;
posse queri tantum rauco stridore reliquit. 100
Has ubi praeteriit et Parthenopeia dextra
moenia deseruit, laeva de parte canori
Aeolidae tumulum et, loca feta palustribus ulvis,
litora Cumarum vivacisque antra Sibyllae
intrat et, ut manes adeat per Averna paternos, 105
orat. at illa diu vultum tellure moratum
erexit tandemque deo furibunda recepto
‘magna petis,’ dixit, ‘vir factis maxime, cuius
dextera per ferrum, pietas spectata per ignes.
pone tamen, Troiane, metum: potiere petitis 110
Elysiasque domos et regna novissima mundi
me duce cognosces simulacraque cara parentis.
invia virtuti nulla est via.’ dixit et auro
fulgentem ramum silva Iunonis Avernae
monstravit iussitque suo divellere trunco. 115
paruit Aeneas et formidabilis Orci
vidit opes atavosque suos umbramque senilem
magnanimi Anchisae; didicit quoque iura locorum,
quaeque novis essent adeunda pericula bellis.
And now Aetna, heaped upon the giant’s head,and the fields of the Cyclops, which knew naught of the harrow or the plow, which owed no debt to yoked cattle, all these the Euboean haunter of the swelling waves had left behind; he had left Zancle also, and the walls of Rhegium which lay opposite, and the shipwrecking strait which, confined by double shores, hems in the Ausonian and Sicilian land. Thence, swimming along with mighty strength through the Tyrrhene sea, Glaucus came to the herb-clad hills and the courts of Circe, daughter of the Sun, full of manifold beasts. When he beheld her, and a welcome had been given and received, he thus addressed the goddess: “O goddess, pity a god, I pray you! for you alone, if I but seem worthy of it, can help this love of mine. What magic potency herbs have, O Titaness, no one knows better than myself, for I was changed by them. That the cause of my mad passion may be known to you, on the Italian coast, opposite Messene’s walls, I saw Scylla. I am ashamed to tell of the promises and prayers, the coaxing words I used, all scornfully rejected. But do you, if there is any power in charms, sing a charm with your sacred lips; or, if herbs are more effectual, use the tried strength of efficacious herbs. And I do not pray that you cure me or heal me of these wounds: end not my love; let her but bear her part of this burning heat.” But Circe (for no one has a heart more susceptible to such flames than she, whether the cause of this is in herself, or whether Venus, offended by her father’s tattling, made her so) replied: “Much better would you follow one whose strong desire and prayer was even as your own, whose heart burned with an equal flame. You were worthy on your own part to be wooed, and could be, of a truth; and, if you give some hope, I tell you truly you shall indeed be wooed. But in case you doubt this, and lack all faith in your own power to charm, lo, I, goddess though I be, though the daughter of the shining Sun, though I have such magic powers in song and herb, I pray that I may be yours. Scorn her who scorns, and requite her love who loves you; and so in one act repay us both.” But to her prayer Glaucus replied: “Sooner shall foliage grow on the sea, and sooner shall seaweeds spring up on the mountain-tops, than shall my love change while Scylla lives.” The goddess was enraged; and, since she could not harm the god himself (and would not because of her love for him), she turned her wrath upon the girl who was preferred to her. In hurt anger at the refusal of her love, she straightway bruised together uncanny herbs with juices of dreadful power, singing while she mixed them Hecate’s own charms. Then, donning an azure cloak, she took her way from her palace through the throng of beasts that fawned upon her as she passed, and made for Rhegium, lying opposite Zancle’s rocky coast. She fared along the seething waters, on which she trod as on the solid ground, skimming dry-shod along the surface of the sea. There was a little pool, curving into a deep bow, a peaceful place where Scylla loved to come. Thither would she betake her from the heat of sea and sky, when the sun at his strongest was in mid-heaven, and from his zenith had drawn the shadows to their shortest compass. This pool, before the maiden’s coming, the goddess befouls and contaminates with poisons potent in generating deformity. Hereupon she sprinkles liquors brewed from noxious roots, and a charm, dark with its maze of uncanny words, thrice nine times she murmurs over with lips well skilled in magic. Then Scylla comes and wades waist-deep into the water; when all at once she sees her loins disfigured with barking monster-shapes. And at the first, not believing that these are parts of her own body, she flees in fear and tries to drive away the boisterous, barking things. But what she flees she takes along with her; and, feeling for her thighs, her legs, her feet, she finds in place of these only gaping dogs’-heads, such as a Cerberus might have. She stands on ravening dogs, and her docked loins and her belly are enclosed in a circle of beastly forms.
Glaucus, her lover, wept at the sight and fled the embrace of Circe, who had used too cruelly her potent herbs. But Scylla remained fixed in her place and, when first a chance was given her to vent her hate on Circe, she robbed Ulysses of his companions. She also would have wrecked the Trojan ships had she not before their coming been changed into a rock which stands there to this day. The rock also is the sailors’ dread.
When the Trojan vessels had successfully passed this monster and greedy Charybdis too, and when they had almost reached the Ausonian shore, the wind bore them to the Libyan coast. There the Sidonian queenreceived Aeneas hospitably in heart and home, doomed ill to endure her Phrygian lord’s departure. On a pyre, built under pretence of sacred rites, she fell upon his sword; and so, herself disappointed, she disappointed all. Leaving once more the new city built on the sandy shore, Aeneas returned to the land of Eryx and friendly Acestes, and there he made sacrifice and paid due honours to his father’s tomb. Then he cast off the ships which Iris, Juno’s messenger, had almost burned, and soon had sailed past the kingdom of Hippotades, past the lands smoking with hot sulphur fumes, and the rocky haunt of the Sirens, daughters of Acheloüs. And now, his vessel having lost her pilot, he coasts along Inarime and Prochyte and Pithecusae, situate on a barren hill, called from the name of its inhabitants. For the father of the gods, hating the tricks and lies of the Cercopians and the crimes committed by that treacherous race, once changed the men to ugly animals in such a way that they might be unlike human shape and yet seem like them. He shortened their limbs, blunted and turned back their noses, and furrowed their faces with deep wrinkles as of age. Then he sent them, clothed complete in yellow hair, to dwell in these abodes. But first he took from them the power of speech, the use of tongues born for vile perjuries, leaving them only the utterance of complaint in hoarse, grating tones.
When he had passed these by and left the walled city of Parthenope upon the right, he came upon the left to the mound-tomb of the tuneful son of Aeolusand the marshy shores of Cumae, and, entering the grotto of the long-lived sibyl, prayed that he might pass down through Avernus’ realm and see his father’s shade. The sibyl held her eyes long fixed upon the earth, then lifted them at last and, full of mad inspiration from her god, replied: “Great things do you ask, you man of mighty deeds, whose hand, by sword, whose piety, by fire, has been well tried. But have no fear, Trojan; you shall have your wish, and with my guidance you shall see the dwellings of Elysium and the latest kingdom of the universe; and you shall see your dear father’s shade. There is no way denied to virtue.” She spoke and showed him, deep in Avernal Juno’s forest, a bough gleaming with gold, and bade him pluck it from its trunk. Aeneas obeyed; then saw grim Orcus’ possessions, and his own ancestral shades, and the aged spirit of the great-souled Anchises. He learned also the laws of those places, and what perils he himself must undergo in new wars.
See v. 346 ff.
The Aeolian Isles.