The dismal day was come; the priests prepare Their leaven’d cakes, and fillets for my hair.
The cave, tho’ large, was dark; the dismal floor Was pav’d with mangled limbs and putrid gore.
Distracted, from the fatal sight they fled, And thro’ the town the dismal rumor spread.
Yet one remain’d— the messenger of Fate: High on a craggy cliff Celaeno sate, And thus her dismal errand did relate: ’What! not contented with our oxen slain, Dare you with Heav’n an impious war maintain, And drive the Harpies from their native reign?
Scarce had he said; Achates and his guest, With downcast eyes, their silent grief express’d; Who, short of succors, and in deep despair, Shook at the dismal prospect of the war.
This dismal news, not from uncertain fame, But sad spectators, to the hero came: His friends upon the brink of ruin stand, Unless reliev’d by his victorious hand.
Deep in the dismal regions void of light, Three daughters at a birth were born to Night: These their brown mother, brooding on her care, Indued with windy wings to flit in air, With serpents girt alike, and crown’d with hissing hair.
…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.’