Noctivagum

Forest-At-Night-21

Auxerat hora metus, iam se vertentis Olympi
ut faciem raptosque simul montesque locosque
ex oculis circumque graves videre tenebras.
ipsa quies rerum mundique silentia terrent
astraque et effusis stellatus crinibus aether;
ac velut ignota captus regione viarum
noctivagum qui carpit iter non aure quiescit,
non oculis, noctisque metus niger auget utrimque
campus et occurrens umbris maioribus arbor,
haud aliter trepidare viri.
(Valerius Flaccus, Arg. 2.38-47a)

Their fear deepened with the night as they beheld the face of the heavens turning and the mountains and all places rapt from view and all around thick darkness. The very stillness of Nature, the silent constellations in the heavens, the firmament starred with streaming meteors filled them with fear. And as a traveller by night overtaken in some unknown spot upon the road keeps ear and eye alert, while the darkening landscape to left and right and trees looming up with shadows strangely huge do but make heavier the terrors of night, even so the heroes quailed. (tr. John Henry Mozley)

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