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STORY OF BOOKS I.-VII.
I. — The Aeneid opens with the events of the seventh summer after the fall of Troy. Aeneas, who, as the chosen instrument of the Fates, is to found a mighty nation in Italy, is still seeking his future home, and has just departed with his fleet from the shores of Sicily. The successful termination of his voyage seems almost assured, when Juno, who has pursued him through his seven years' wanderings with relentless hostility, and who is now roused to a fever of jealous hatred at the prospect of his final triumph, again appears, determined to thwart his plans and blast his hopes. By flattering promises she prevails upon Aeolus, king of the winds, to raise a tempest for the destruction of the Trojan fleet. The tempest is at its height and the Trojans are in imminent peril, when Neptune interposes to rebuke the winds and calm the troubled waters. At length, spent with toil, Aeneas and his followers find refuge in a sheltered harbor and effect a landing.
The shore which the Trojans have reached is the coast of Africa, where Queen Dido, driven from Tyre by the monstrous crimes of her brother, is founding the city of Carthage. At the intercession of Venus, the mother of Aeneas, Jupiter implants in the heart of Dido a kindly feeling towards the strangers who have arrived on her coast, and thus prepares the way for their hospitable reception. On the following day, the queen graciously receives Aeneas in the presence of her nobles, and soon is inspired with passionate love for him through the secret machinations of Venus. At a banquet
celebrated in his honor, she invites him to tell the story of the siege of Troy and of his seven years' wanderings.
II. To an audience hushed in breathless silence Aeneas tells his story. At the close of the ten years' siege of Troy, the Greeks, under pretence of propitiating Pallas by a votive offering, built a huge wooden horse and filled it with warriors. Beguiled by the cunning lies of a pretended deserter from the Greek force, the Trojans dragged this horse into their city. Under cover of the night, the armed men descended from the horse, the gates of the city were opened, and the whole army of the Greeks rushed in. The citizens, now buried in sleep and incapable of resistance, were ruthlessly butchered; Priam's palace was stormed and sacked, and Priam himself slain; and Aeneas, after vainly endeavoring with a devoted band of followers to stem the tide of murderous slaughter, took refuge, with his father Anchises, his son Iulus, and a crowd of fugitives, on the neighboring hills. Here, under comforting assurances from the gods of a brighter future, they made preparations for a voyage to the distant and unknown western land, Hesperia, where the Fates had decreed that their descendants should become a mighty nation.
III. At the opening of the following summer, the Trojans, having now built and equipped their fleet, embarked for their long voyage. Having no definite knowledge of the situation of the land to which they were to direct their course, they first sailed to the coast of Thrace, but were there warned to depart by a voice from the grave of the murdered Polydorus. So they consulted the oracle of Apollo at Delos; but, misinterpreting the response, they next proceeded to Crete, whence they were soon driven by the outbreak of a pestilence. They were on the point of sending messengers to Delos to find out how they had offended the gods, when the Penates appeared to Aeneas in a vision with the tidings that Italy, not Crete, was
STORY OF BOOKS I.-VII.
their destined home. Accordingly they next set sail for Italy, but were driven on the shores of the Strophades. Here the malignant Celaeno, queen of the Harpies, filled them with dismay by the prediction that, before they should succeed in founding the city promised by the Fates, they would be compelled by hunger to gnaw their very tables. Their next landing-place was Buthrotum, on the coast of Epirus. Here Helenus, the seer, told them that the shore on which they should find a white sow, with a litter of thirty young, lying in the shade of the trees, would be the limit of their wanderings and the site of their permanent abode. Avoiding Scylla and Charybdis, as they continued their voyage, and escaping the giant Cyclopes, they finally reached the harbor of Drepanum on the western coast of Sicily. "I had just departed from Sicily," says Aeneas in conclusion, "when Heaven drove me on your shores."
IV. — As Aeneas tells his story, Dido's admiration and love for the hero of such perilous adventures mount higher. She makes a confidante of her sister Anna, who fans the flame by warm expressions of approval and sympathy. Juno, too, seeing in a union between Aeneas and Dido a possible means of overreaching Destiny and securing for Carthage the gift of universal sway that has been awarded by the Fates to Rome, joins with Venus in a plot for promoting such a union. This purpose they accomplish, and the royal pair are united.
Forthwith the mischievous consequences are seen in the infatuation of the royal lovers. Aeneas forgets in Dido's society the high destiny that awaits him, and Dido no longer finds pleasure in watching over her newly established government. In the midst of this idle dalliance, Mercury, despatched by Jupiter, rudely awakens Aeneas from his dreamy self-indulgence and rouses him to action. Aeneas, restored to a sense of responsibility for the future of his race, gives orders to his men
to prepare the fleet for sailing. Tearful messages from the queen and stormy interviews follow; but neither entreaties nor reproaches can move the Trojan leader from his purpose. At last the fleet sets sail, and Dido, overcome by grief and shame, falls on her sword and expires on the funeral pile which she has erected.
V. Hardly is the fleet of Aeneas out of sight of land, when a storm arises, which drives the ships on the coast of Sicily. It is the anniversary of Anchises' death, and by providential guidance, as it would seem, the Trojans have on this date reached the spot which will forever be hallowed as the final resting-place of their revered counsellor. What can be more fitting than that they should make sacrifices and celebrate funeral games in his honor? Accordingly, after appropriate sacrifices, Aeneas institutes a series of contests. The first is a spirited boat-race, in which Cloanthus is the winner; the second is a foot-race, in which Euryalus, through the questionable generosity of his friend Nisus, gains the first prize; the third is a boxing-match, in which the braggart champion Dares is severely punished by the sturdy old Entellus; the fourth is a contest in archery, in which the shaft of the aged Acestes bursts into flame in mid-air. Finally, the youth, under the leadership of Iulus, execute certain equestrian movements known as the " game of Troy."
At this point, the joy of the spectators is turned into dismay by a calamity that had well-nigh proved fatal. Through the instigation of Juno, the Trojan women, who have been left by themselves on the sea-shore during the progress of the games, seized with an uncu.Hable longing for release from further wanderings, set fire to the ships of the fleet. Four ships are thus destroyed, so that it becomes necessary for Aeneas to leave behind a part of his followers in Sicily. At night the spirit of Anchises appears to him in a vision and bids him