Magnanimum Aeaciden formidatamque Tonanti progeniem et patrio vetitam succedere caelo, diva, refer. quamquam acta viri multum incluta cantu Maeonio (sed plura vacant), nos ire per omnem 5(sic amor est) heroa velis Scyroque latentem Dulichia proferre tuba nec in Hectore tracto sistere, sed tota iuvenem deducere Troia. tu modo, si veterem digno deplevimus haustu, da fontes mihi, Phoebe, novos ac fronde secunda 10necte comas: neque enim Aonium nemus advena pulso nec mea nunc primis augescunt tempora vittis. scit Dircaeus ager meque inter prisca parentum nomina cumque suo numerant Amphione Thebae. At tu, quem longe primum stupet Itala virtus 15Graiaque, cui geminae florent vatumque ducumque certatim laurus (olim dolet altera vinci), da veniam ac trepidum patere hoc sudare parumper pulvere: te longo necdum fidente paratu molimur magnusque tibi praeludit Achilles.
Goddess, tell of great-hearted Aeacides and offspring feared of the Thunderer and forbidden to succeed to his father’s heaven. 1 The hero’s deeds, ’tis true, are much famed in Maeonian song, but more are yet to celebrate. Be it your pleasure that I (so I crave) traverse the whole hero, bringing him forth by Dulichian trump as he hides in Scyros, nor stopping at Hector’s drag, but singing the warrior through Troy’s whole story. Only do you, Phoebus, grant me new founts if I have drained the old one with a worthy draught, and bind my hair with auspicious 2 leafage; for no stranger do I knock at the Aonian grove, nor are these the first fillets to amplify my temples. The land of Dirce knows it, and Thebes numbers me among her forbears’ ancient names along with her own Amphion.
But you, the wonder of Italy’s and Greece’s manhood first by far, for whom the twin laurels of bards and captains flourish in rivalry (one of the twain is long since sad to be surpassed), 3 give me good leave; suffer me in my eagerness to sweat awhile in this dust. On you I work in long and not yet confident preparing, and great Achilles is your prelude.
- 1Offspring that would have been if Jupiter had not been warned that if he married Thetis she would bear him a son greater than himself. Hence her marriage to a mortal, Peleus.
- 2 Secunda could mean ‘second,’ referring to the Thebaid.
- 3Domitian’s early achievements in poetry had been eclipsed by his victories in war.