“O dea, si prima repetens ab origine pergam,
et vacet annalis nostrorum audire laborum,
ante diem clauso componet Vesper Olympo.
nos Troia antiqua, si vestras forte per auris
Troiae nomen iit, diversa per aequora vectos
forte sua Libycis tempestas appulit oris.
sum pius Aeneas, raptos qui ex hoste Penatis
classe veho mecum, fama super aethera notus;
Italiam quaero patriam, et genus ab Iove summo.
bis denis Phrygium conscendi navibus aequor,
matre dea monstrante viam, data fata secutus;
vix septem, convulsae undis Euroque, supersunt;
ipse ignotus, egens, Libyae deserta peragro,
Europa atque Asia pulsus.”
(Vergil, Aen. 1.372-385)
“Goddess, if I’d retrace our story to its start,
if you had time to hear the saga of our ordeals,
before I finished the Evening Star would close
the gates of Olympus, put the day to sleep . . .
From old Troy we come—Troy it’s called, perhaps
you’ve heard the name—sailing over the world’s seas
until, by chance, some whim of the winds, some tempest
drove us onto Libyan shores. I am Aeneas, duty-bound.
I carry aboard my ships the gods of house and home
we seized from enemy hands. My fame goes past the skies.
I seek my homeland—Italy—born as I am from highest Jove.
I launched out on the Phrygian sea with twenty ships,
my goddess mother marking the way, and followed hard
on the course the Fates had charted. A mere seven,
battered by wind and wave, survived the worst.
I myself am a stranger, utterly at a loss,
trekking over this wild Libyan wasteland,
forced from Europe, Asia too, an exile—”
(tr. Robert Fagles)