Virgil, Aeneid 1.195–207, read in Latin by Wendell Clausen

Full Text

Vina bonus quae deinde cadis onerarat Acestes

litore Trinacrio dederatque abeuntibus heros,

dividit, et dictis maerentia pectora mulcet:

"O socii—neque enim ignari sumus ante malorum—

O passi graviora, dabit deus his quoque finem.

Vos et Scyllaeam rabiem penitusque sonantis     200

accestis scopulos, vos et Cyclopea saxa

experti: revocate animos, maestumque timorem

mittite: forsan et haec olim meminisse iuvabit.

Per varios casus, per tot discrimina rerum

tendimus in Latium; sedes ubi fata quietas          210

ostendunt; illic fas regna resurgere Troiae.

Durate, et vosmet rebus servate secundis."

Notes by Thomas Jenkins

A famous passage. After the terrible storm in Book I, Aeneas and the remnants of his crew wash up on the shores of Carthage. Bloodied, battered, bruised and hungry, Aeneas' sailors seem ready to give up the chase for the promised New Troy. Aeneas takes this opportunity to give one of his rather rare speeches to his men--you might wish to compare this speech with Aeneas' despairing first utterance during the tempest, his first words of the epic.

The language, reminiscent of Odysseus' exhortations to his similarly exhausted men in the Odyssey, is stark and beautiful at the same time; Aeneas catalogues the various misadventures that the men have already endured and survived, and then holds out the promise of a new homeland, a shining city on the hill. Above all, Aeneas insists that god (deus) or fate (fatum) will show the way, believing that the Trojans' "manifest destiny" is to rebuild their lives on the shores of Italy. The lines immediately following this speech [not included here] indicate, however, that Aeneas must struggle to keep up his sanguine appearance in the face of doubt.

The passage also boasts Virgil's arguably most famous line: "it may be that in the future you will be helped by remembering the past" (forsan et haec olim meminisse iuvabit). [This may be familiar to modern readers as the dedication to innumerable high school yearbooks.]

Related content

Virgil, Aeneid 1.195–207 (Dryden's translation) read by Kathleen M. Coleman)

See also: Latin poetry
Last updated on 09/09/2015