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‘The Tumult of the Deep’
The Aeneid of Virgil: Book 1, Part 3
The Trojan chief in fear prayed
Asked seven times why
When so many died at Troy
Was he sparred to suffer on
*
By strong arm be slain
And lie by Hector on the plain
To repose on bloody grass
As Time uncaring passed
*
Of handless heroes he wondered
Of spears raised and arrows loosed
His kind dashed by Fate cast adrift
Left to face the North Wind’s hate
*
Swept up seething peaks
Down into the roiling deep
Ships driven by the southern gale
Oblivion grinning up hungry and pale
*
Sailors feared the submerged stones
That rose ominous as Altars
Draped in Wind King’s watery shroud
Meant to dash a ship’s bones
*
Orontes' strong ship gave way
Sunk beneath the surging sea
Arms pictures precious goods rose [1]
Among men floating in grim repose
Each ship and crew with its brave chief
Fought the brinny undertaking deep
End 3
Across cultures in antiquity, storm, flood and deluge figure heavily in tribal and national origin mythology.
Notes:
-1. “pictures” are an aspect of the ancient world modern readers are often unaware of, as depictions remaining to us are colorless and three dimensional or etched in monolithic stone. There is significant evidence that ancient folks were as involved in portraiture as early modern gentry and that wooden and fabric likenesses of loved ones, ancestors, deities and even monsters were carried about.
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