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‘Of Laws and Justice’
The Aeneid of Virgil, Book 1, Part 16
Aeneas turns to see his fellow chiefs
Antheus and brave Sergestus
With Cloanthus so strong
Backed by a Trojan throng
So recently among the tempest lost
And widely scattered on another coast
Unseen Aeneas taken with wonder stands
Eager to clasp their hands
.
In doubt he remains
Within the hollow haze [1]
As they related their cruel fate
And the queen’s mercy await
These were the spokesmen
Elected by their countrymen
.
[Ilioneus spoke]
O queen blessed by Heaven
To found a city in this far haven
To rule its native savages
We victims of the waves’ ravages
Tossed from sea to sea
We beg your clemency
We unhappy fugitives seek your grace
Please spare this remnant of a pious race
Our ships our at your mercy
We came seeking no prey
[2]
End 16
Notes
-1. This is variously described as an enveloping mist, a hollow cloud, and invokes in this reader’s mind a paranormal vantage employed as literary device, such as the ghost visitations in Dicken’s a Christmas Carol
-2. As bland as this section is in term of narrative, it is the crux of the heroic experience with the Odyssey and the Argonautica reflecting the piratical perspective of the lone warrior bands that the Trojan refugee are so keen to distance themselves from, indicating that the seed stories for this epic were generated by the same displacement of tribal peoples as those tales of adventure noted above and the invasion of Troy that generated this story and the Odyssey.
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