Statius, Thebaid

LCL 207: 134-135

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ille propinquabat silvis et ab aggere celso 530scuta virum galeasque videt rutilare comantes, qua laxant rami nemus adversaque sub umbra flammeus aeratis lunae tremor errat in armis. obstipuit visis, ibat tamen, horrida tantum spicula et inclusum capulo tenus admovet ensem, 535ac prior ‘unde, viri, quidve occultatis in armis?’ non humili terrore rogat. nec reddita contra vox, fidamque negant suspecta silentia pacem. ecce autem vasto Cthonii contorta lacerto, quo duce freta cohors, fuscas intervolat auras 540hasta; sed audenti deus et Fortuna recessit. per tamen Olenii tegimen suis atraque saetis terga super laevos umeros vicina cruori effugit et viduo iugulum ferit irrita ligno. tunc horrere comae sanguisque in corda gelari. 545huc ferus atque illuc animum pallentiaque ira ora ferens (nec tanta putat sibi bella parari): ‘ferte gradum contra campoque erumpite aperto! quis timor audendi, quae tanta ignavia? solus, solus in arma voco.’ neque in his mora; quos ubi plures 550quam ratus innumeris videt excursare latebris, hos deire iugis, illos e vallibus imis crescere, nec paucos campo, totumque sub armis collucere iter, ut clausas indagine profert in medium vox prima feras, quae sola medendi 555turbata ratione via est, petit ardua dirae Sphingos et abscisis infringens cautibus uncas exsuperat iuga dura manus, scopuloque potitus,

  • 530galeas ω: cristas P
  • 543terit Hall
  • 551deire PΣ: prodire ω
  • 557dira Pω (Håkanson)
134

Book 2

Drawing near the woods, from a tall mound he sees the red gleam of soldiers’ shields and crested helmets where the branches leave an opening in the grove and in the fronting shade tremulous moonlight strays flickering upon brazen armour. Astounded by what he saw, he yet kept on, only drawing closer his bristling darts and the hilt of his sheathed sword. Then in no ignoble alarm he questions first: ‘Whence come you, men, in arms and what do you hide?’ No voice responds and the suspect silence prompts distrust of peace. But see! A spear hurled by the huge arm of Cthonius, trusted leader of the band, flies through the darkling air; but the god and Fortune shunned the venture. Yet through the covering of Olenian boar and the black bristly hide above his left shoulder and close to the blood it takes its flight and with widowed wood 51 strikes frustrate on the throat. His hair stood on end and the blood froze to his heart. Fiercely he points mind and visage pale with anger this way and that, nor thinks so many mean war against him: ‘Come face me! Out, out into the open! What fear to dare, what arrant cowardice is this? Alone I challenge you to arms, alone.’ Nor do they tarry. He sees them in numbers greater than he had thought rushing out from countless hiding places, some descending from the ridges, others multiplying from the depth of the valley, from the plain not a few, all the road gleaming with weaponry, as when a first shout brings net-encircled beasts into the open. Distraught, he has but one resource; he seeks the steep place of the fell Sphinx. Tearing his clutching hands on the sheer crag, he scales the harsh height and gains a

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DOI: 10.4159/DLCL.statius-thebaid.2004