Not sprung from noble blood, nor goddess-born, But hewn from harden’d entrails of a rock!
He hews apace; the double bars at length Yield to his ax and unresisted strength.
Here some design a mole, while others there Lay deep foundations for a theater; From marble quarries mighty columns hew, For ornaments of scenes, and future view.
Beams from its lofty height with swords we hew, Then, wrenching with our hands, th’ assault renew; And, where the rafters on the columns meet, We push them headlong with our arms and feet.
A spacious cave, within its farmost part, Was hew’d and fashion’d by laborious art Thro’ the hill’s hollow sides: before the place, A hundred doors a hundred entries grace; As many voices issue, and the sound Of Sybil’s words as many times rebound.
A choir of Nereids meet him on the flood, Once his own galleys, hewn from Ida’s wood; But now, as many nymphs, the sea they sweep, As rode, before, tall vessels on the deep.
Trust not your feet: your hands must hew way Thro’ yon black body, and that thick array: ’T is thro’ that forward path that we must come; There lies our way, and that our passage home.
Now from afar her fatal jav’lins play; Now with her ax’s edge she hews her way: Diana’s arms upon her shoulder sound; And when, too closely press’d, she quits the ground, From her bent bow she sends a backward wound.
Trembling he springs, As terror had increas’d his feet with wings; Nor stay’d for stairs; but down the depth he threw His body, on his back the door he drew (The door, a rib of living rock; with pains His father hew’d it out, and bound with iron chains): He broke the heavy links, the mountain clos’d, And bars and levers to his foe oppos’d.
He whirls his sword around, without delay, And hews thro’ adverse foes an ample way, To find fierce Turnus, of his conquest proud: Evander, Pallas, all that friendship ow’d To large deserts, are present to his eyes; His plighted hand, and hospitable ties.
Around his head he toss’d his glitt’ring brand, And from Strymonius hew’d his better hand, Held up to guard his throat; then hurl’d a stone At Thoas’ ample front, and pierc’d the bone: It struck beneath the space of either eye; And blood, and mingled brains, together fly.
Occasion offers, and I stand prepar’d; There lies our way; be thou upon the guard, And look around, while I securely go, And hew a passage thro’ the sleeping foe."