Gutturaque imbuerunt infantia lacte canino: 230Hic primus pueri venit in ora cibus: Perbibit inde suae rabiem nutricis alumnus, Latrat et in toto verba canina foro. Membraque vinxerunt tinctis ferrugine pannis, A male deserto quos rapuere rogo: 235Et, ne non fultum nuda tellure iaceret, Molle super silices inposuere caput. Iamque recessurae viridi de stipite factas Admorunt oculos usque sub ora faces. Flebat, ut est fumis infans contactus amaris, 240De tribus est cum sic una locuta soror: “Tempus in inmensum lacrimas tibi movimus istas, Quae semper causa sufficiente cadent.” Dixerat; at Clotho iussit promissa valere, Nevit et infesta stamina pulla manu; 245Et, ne longa suo praesagia diceret ore, “Fata canet vates qui tua,” dixit, “erit.” Ille ego sum vates: ex me tua vulnera disces, Dent modo di vires in mea verba suas; Carminibusque meis accedent pondera rerum, 250Quae rata per luctus experiere tuos. Neve sine exemplis aevi cruciere prioris, Sint tua Troianis non leviora malis, Quantaque clavigeri Poeantius Herculis heres, Tanta venenato vulnera crure geras. 255Nec levius doleas, quam qui bibit ubera cervae, Armatique tulit vulnus, inermis opem; Quique ab equo praeceps in Aleïa decidit arva, Exitio facies cui sua paene fuit.
- 257in Aleïa Heinsius: aliena in . . . arva, alienis . . . arvis MSS.
His infant throat had they moistened with bitches’ milk: this was the first food to enter the child’s mouth: thence drank the fosterling the madness of his nurse, and o’er the whole city his snarling voice is heard. They swathed his limbs in bands of dusky hue, snatched from a pyre abandoned as accursed; and lest it lie unpropped on the naked earth they set a flint-stone beneath his baby head. And now, about to withdraw, they placed before his eyes, close by his face, a green-wood torch. The babe was weeping, smarting from the pungent smoke, when one sister of the three thus spake: “Unto endless ages have we called forth those tears of thine, which, their cause failing not, shall ever fall.” She had done; but Clotho bade her promise have power, and with hostile hand spun dark-hued threads; and that her own mouth might not utter the long presage, “There shall be a bard,” said she, “to sing thy fate,” That bard am I; from me shalt thou learn thy wounds, so do the gods but lend their strength to my words; and the weight of circumstance shall aid my songs, whose fulfilment thou shalt experience to thy sorrow. And lest the examples of a former age be lacking to thy torments, let not thine ills be lighter than those of Troy, and such wounds as the son of Poeas, heir of club-wielding Hercules, endured in his envenomed leg, mayst thou bear in thine.1 Nor mayst thou suffer less grievously than he who drank of the hind’s udders, whom the armed man wounded and the unarmed succoured;2 or than he who from his horse fell headlong to the Aleian fields, whose face was well-nigh