Itur

Ascanius

Aetheria tum forte plaga crinitus Apollo
desuper Ausonias acies urbemque videbat
nube sedens, atque his victorem adfatur Iülum:
‘macte nova virtute, puer, sic itur ad astra,
dis genite et geniture deos. iure omnia bella
gente sub Assaraci fato ventura resident,
nec te Troia capit.’ simul haec effatus ab alto
aethere se mittit, spirantes dimovet auras
Ascaniumque petit; formam tum vertitur oris
antiquum in Buten. hic Dardanio Anchisae
armiger ante fuit fidusque ad limina custos;
tum comitem Ascanio pater addidit. ibat Apollo
omnia longaevo similis vocemque coloremque
et crines albos et saeva sonoribus arma,
atque his ardentem dictis adfatur Iülum:
‘sit satis, Aenide, telis impune Numanum
oppetiisse tuis. primam hanc tibi magnus Apollo
concedit laudem et paribus non invidet armis;
cetera parce, puer, bello.’ sic orsus Apollo
mortales medio aspectus sermone reliquit
et procul in tenuem ex oculis evanuit auram.
agnovere deum proceres divinaque tela
Dardanidae pharetramque fuga sensere sonantem.
ergo avidum pugnae dictis ac numine Phoebi
Ascanium prohibent, ipsi in certamina rursus
succedunt animasque in aperta pericula mittunt.
(Vergil, Aen. 9.638-663)

At that moment Apollo, the youthful god, whose hair is never
cut, chanced to be seated on a cloud, looking down from the
expanse of heaven on the armies and cities of Italy, and he
addressed these words to the victorious Iulus: ‘You have become
a man, young Iulus, and we salute you! This is the way that
leads to the stars. You are born of the gods and will live to be
the father of gods. Justice demands that all the wars that Fate
will bring will come to an end under the offspring of Assaracus.
Troy is not large enough for you.’ At these words he plunged
down from the heights of heaven, parting the breathing winds,
and made for Ascanius, taking on the features of old Butes.
Butes had once been armour-bearer to the Dardan Anchises and
the trusted guard of his door, and Aeneas had then appointed
him as companion to his son Ascanius. This was the guise in
which Apollo came, the old man Butes to the life—voice,
colouring, white hair, weapons grimly clanking—and these were
the words he spoke to Iulus in the flush of his victory: ‘Let that
be enough, son of Aeneas. Numanus has fallen to your arms
and you are unhurt. Great Apollo has granted you this first taste
of glory and does not grudge you arrows as sure as his own.
You must ask for no more, my boy, in this war.’ So began
Apollo, but while speaking, he left the sight of men, fading
from their eyes into the insubstantial air. The Trojan leaders
recognized the god. They knew his divine arrows and the quiver
that sounded as he flew. So, although Ascanius was thirsting for
battle, they held him back, urging upon him the words of
Phoebus Apollo and the will of the god. But they themselves
went back into battle and put their lives into naked danger.
(tr. David West)

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