The guileful god about the hero long, With children’s play, and false embraces, hung; Then sought the queen: she took him to her arms With greedy pleasure, and devour’d his charms.
Presuming of his force, with sparkling eyes Already he devours the promis’d prize.
With three enormous mouths he gapes; and straight, With hunger press’d, devours the pleasing bait.
Ascanius this observ’d, and smiling said: "See, we devour the plates on which we fed."
These gifts the greedy flames to dust devour; Then on the living coals red wine they pour; And, last, the relics by themselves dispose, Which in a brazen urn the priests inclose.
They sate; and, (not without the god’s command,) Their homely fare dispatch’d, the hungry band Invade their trenchers next, and soon devour, To mend the scanty meal, their cakes of flour.
He said (his tears a ready passage find), Devouring what he saw so well design’d, And with an empty picture fed his mind: For there he saw the fainting Grecians yield, And here the trembling Trojans quit the field, Pursued by fierce Achilles thro’ the plain, On his high chariot driving o’er the slain.
What earth will open her devouring womb, To rest a weary goddess in the tomb!
How dire a tempest, from Mycenae pour’d, Our plains, our temples, and our town devour’d; What was the waste of war, what fierce alarms Shook Asia’s crown with European arms; Ev’n such have heard, if any such there be, Whose earth is bounded by the frozen sea; And such as, born beneath the burning sky And sultry sun, betwixt the tropics lie.
Our ships are haul’d upon the yellow strand; The youth begin to till the labor’d land; And I myself new marriages promote, Give laws, and dwellings I divide by lot; When rising vapors choke the wholesome air, And blasts of noisome winds corrupt the year; The trees devouring caterpillars burn; Parch’d was the grass, and blighted was the corn: Nor ’scape the beasts; for Sirius, from on high, With pestilential heat infects the sky: My men— some fall, the rest in fevers fry.
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Men, boys, and women, stupid with surprise, Where’er she passes, fix their wond’ring eyes: Longing they look, and, gaping at the sight, Devour her o’er and o’er with vast delight; Her purple habit sits with such a grace On her smooth shoulders, and so suits her face; Her head with ringlets of her hair is crown’d, And in a golden caul the curls are bound.
The prince himself, with awful dread possess’d, His vows to great Apollo thus address’d: "Indulgent god, propitious pow’r to Troy, Swift to relieve, unwilling to destroy, Directed by whose hand the Dardan dart Pierc’d the proud Grecian’s only mortal part: Thus far, by fate’s decrees and thy commands, Thro’ ambient seas and thro’ devouring sands, Our exil’d crew has sought th’ Ausonian ground; And now, at length, the flying coast is found.
The sacred priests with ready knives bereave The beasts of life, and in full bowls receive The streaming blood: a lamb to Hell and Night (The sable wool without a streak of white) Aeneas offers; and, by fate’s decree, A barren heifer, Proserpine, to thee, With holocausts he Pluto’s altar fills; Sev’n brawny bulls with his own hand he kills; Then on the broiling entrails oil he pours; Which, ointed thus, the raging flame devours.