hermes 2

Dixerat. ille patris magni parere parabat
imperio; et primum pedibus talaria nectit
aurea, quae sublimem alis sive aequora supra
seu terram rapido pariter cum flamine portant.
tum virgam capit: hac animas ille evocat Orco
pallentis, alias sub Tartara tristia mittit,
dat somnos adimitque et lumina morte resignat.
illa fretus agit ventos et turbida tranat
nubila. iamque volans apicem et latera ardua cernit
Atlantis duri caelum qui vertice fulcit,
Atlantis, cinctum adsidue cui nubibus atris
piniferum caput et vento pulsatur et imbri;
nix umeros infusa tegit, tum flumina mento
praecipitant senis, et glacie riget horrida barba.
hic primum paribus nitens Cyllenius alis
constitit; hinc toto praeceps se corpore ad undas
misit avi similis, quae circum litora, circum
piscosos scopulos humilis volat aequora iuxta.
(Vergil, Aen. 4.238-255)

So he spoke. And the other prepared to obey these parental
Orders. He first straps boots to his feet. They are ankle-high, golden,
And, having wings, take him upwards in flight over seas, over dry land,
Swift as a rising current of air. Next he picks up his special
Wand, which he uses to call up the pale, wan spirits from Orcus,
Or to dispatch others down below earth, into Tartarus’ grimness.
With it, he gives or takes sleep, makes eyes remain open on deathbeds,
And, with its help, he can navigate winds, weather turbulent cloudbanks.
Now, as he swoops, he discerns both the summit and steep flanks of rugged
Atlas, who levers aloft, on his peak, all the weight of the heavens,
Atlas, whose pine-covered head is eternally banded with storm clouds,
Battered by wind and by rain. Round his shoulders is strewn a mantle
Thickened with snowfall; and down from the chin of this elderly being
Cataracts plunge, and his beard-bristle freezes to icicled stiffness.
Here Mount Cyllene’s god, powered in on his glistening paired wings,
First touched down. From there, powered out by the weight of his body,
Seaward he dived like a tern, who’s been circling shorelines and cliff pools
Teeming with fish, skimming wave-tops.
(tr. Frederick Ahl)

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