Monday, May 18, 2015

Tu Marcellus Eris

Non illi se quisquam impune tulisset
obuius armato, seu cum pedes iret in hostem
seu spumantis equi foderet calcaribus armos.
Heu, miserande puer, si qua fata aspera rumpas,
tu Marcellus eris. manibus date lilia plenis,
purpureos spargam flores animamque nepotis
his saltem accumulem donis, et fungar inani

No foe, unpunish'd, in the fighting field
Shall dare thee, foot to foot, with sword and shield;
Much less in arms oppose thy matchless force,
When thy sharp spurs shall urge thy foaming horse.
Ah! couldst thou break thro' fate's severe decree,
A new Marcellus shall arise in thee!
Full canisters of fragrant lilies bring,
Mix'd with the purple roses of the spring;
Let me with fun'ral flow'rs his body strow;
This gift which parents to their children owe,
This unavailing gift, at least, I may bestow!"

Aeneid VI, translated by John Dryden

Suetonius write that when Virgil read the Aeneid to Emperor Augustus and his sister, Octavia, mother of Marcellus, she was overcome and fainted.

Painting by Ingres, 1812.

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