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The Aeneid
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The Aeneid
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  • From this ill-omen’d hour in time arose Debate and death, and all succeeding woes.
  • These omens are your own, And you can yet restore the ruin’d town.
  • A greater omen, and of worse portent, Did our unwary minds with fear torment, Concurring to produce the dire event.
  • The Tyrians, landing near this holy ground, And digging here, a prosp’rous omen found: From under earth a courser’s head they drew, Their growth and future fortune to foreshew.
  • Then Calchas bade our host for flight And hope no conquest from the tedious war, Till first they sail’d for Greece; with pray’rs besought Her injur’d pow’r, and better omens brought.
  • Scarce landed, the first omens I beheld Were four white steeds that cropp’d the flow’ry field.
  • These flames, from far, may the false Trojan view; These boding omens his base flight pursue!
  • I land; with luckless omens then adore Their gods, and draw a line along the shore; I lay the deep foundations of a wall, And Aenos, nam’d from me, the city call.
  • But old Anchises, off’ring sacrifice, And lifting up to heav’n his hands and eyes, Ador’d the greater gods: ’Avert,’ said he, ’These omens; render vain this prophecy, And from th’ impending curse a pious people free!’
  • With joy, these happy omens I obey, And follow to the war the god that leads the way.
  • The speech had omen, that the Trojan race Should find repose, and this the time and place.
  • Shouts from the land give omen to their course, And the pitch’d vessels glide with easy force.
  • Then, fearing guilt for some offense unknown, With pray’rs and vows the Dryads I atone, With all the sisters of the woods, and most The God of Arms, who rules the Thracian coast, That they, or he, these omens would avert, Release our fears, and better signs impart.
  • When thirty rolling years have run their race, Thy son Ascanius, on this empty space, Shall build a royal town, of lasting fame, Which from this omen shall receive the name.
  • The Dardan prince put on a smiling face, And strain’d Acestes with a close embrace; Then, hon’ring him with gifts above the rest, Turn’d the bad omen, nor his fears confess’d.
  • Amaz’d, with running water we prepare To quench the sacred fire, and slake his hair; But old Anchises, vers’d in omens, rear’d His hands to heav’n, and this request preferr’d: ’If any vows, almighty Jove, can bend Thy will; if piety can pray’rs commend, Confirm the glad presage which thou art pleas’d to send.’
  • A pointed flinty rock, all bare and black, Grew gibbous from behind the mountain’s back; Owls, ravens, all ill omens of the night, Here built their nests, and hither wing’d their flight.
  • Then Numitor from his dead brother drew Th’ ill-omen’d spear, and at the Trojan threw: Preventing fate directs the lance awry, Which, glancing, only mark’d Achates’ thigh.
  • Unknowing of the cause, The chief admires their speed, and happy omens draws.
  • Great Theron fell, an omen of the fight; Great Theron, large of limbs, of giant height.
  • Turnus shall fall extended on the plain, And, in this omen, is already slain.
  • Ye gods, I take your omen, and obey.
  • Juturna from afar beheld her fly, And knew th’ ill omen, by her screaming cry And stridor of her wings.
  • My goddess mother, whose indulgent care Foresaw the dangers of the growing war, This omen gave, when bright Vulcanian arms, Fated from force of steel by Stygian charms, Suspended, shone on high: she then foreshow’d Approaching fights, and fields to float in blood.
  • Then they, whose mothers, frantic with their fear, In woods and wilds the flags of Bacchus bear, And lead his dances with dishevel’d hair, Increase the clamor, and the war demand, (Such was Amata’s interest in the land,) Against the public sanctions of the peace, Against all omens of their ill success.
  • …stars decree; Whom Phoebus taught unerring prophecy, From his own tripod, and his holy tree; Skill’d in the wing’d inhabitants of air, What auspices their notes and flights declare: O say— for all religious rites portend A happy voyage, and a prosp’rous end; And ev’ry power and omen of the sky Direct my course for destin’d Italy; But only dire Celaeno, from the gods, A dismal famine fatally forebodesO say what dangers I am first to shun, What toils vanquish, and what course to run.’
  • BOOK III "When Heav’n had overturn’d the Trojan state And Priam’s throne, by too severe a fate; When ruin’d Troy became the Grecians’ prey, And Ilium’s lofty tow’rs in ashes lay; Warn’d by celestial omens, we retreat, To seek in foreign lands a happier seat.
  • ) Firm thy own omens; lead us on to fight; And let thy Phrygians conquer in thy right.
  • Then fixing on the queen his ardent eyes, Firm to his first intent, he thus replies: "O mother, do not by your tears prepare Such boding omens, and prejudge the war.
  • …the blue-ey’d maid For her stol’n statue and her tow’r betray’d, Warn’d by the seer, to her offended name We rais’d and dedicate this wondrous frame, So lofty, lest thro’ your forbidden gates It pass, and intercept our better fates: For, once admitted there, our hopes are lost; And Troy may then a new Palladium boast; For so religion and the gods ordain, That, if you violate with hands profane Minerva’s gift, your town in flames shall burn, (Which omen, O ye gods, on Graecia turn!

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  • He looked for an omen before going into battle.
  • that butterflies were a good omen.
    Paulo Coelho  --  The Alchemist

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