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‘His Divine Mother’
The Aeneid of Virgil, Book 1, Part 8
Jove commanded Cyllenius
Down from Heaven’s steep
Winging before unfurling Fate
Redressing Libya’s mortal laws
Bearing Jove’s rod of peace
Trojans protected under Heaven’s law
.
Marooned in the shades of night
Aeneas harried of soul forsook sleep
Standing under dawn in the sight
New lands eager and anxious to seek
.
The hero explored the unplowed shore
His ships hid under a rocky ledge
Of the forest-shaded mountain
Two darts in hand from his band he parts
.
By true Achates he is attended
Deep into the untended wood
Before his eyes a huntress appeared
His mother Venus deceptively stood
By her dress a virgin by her air a queen
Her bow slung like a nymph of the wood
Her hair flung wanton as a she-wolf
She seemed a virgin of the Spartan blood
.
[she spoke]
Strangers my sister have you seen
Wearing the painted bow case
A spotted lynx hide she wore
In pursuit of the tusky boar
.
[Aeneas spoke]
No huntress have we seen
Virgin so haughty and serene
You seem sister of the day
Not a huntress coursing prey
.
Pray tell a stranger
Long in tempests tossed
What realm we wander
Among what powers are we lost
Upon what goddess we must call
When on her altar offerings fall
End 8
Notes
-1. Cyllenius was a name for Hermes, escort of souls, messenger of the divine and patron of athletes and travelers, named after Mount Cyllene in Arkadia, on Redface-island, north of the Silent Land.
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