Tertius horrentem Zephyris laxaverat annum Phoebus et angusto cogebat limite vernum longius ire diem, cum fracta impulsaque Fatis consilia et tandem miseris data copia belli. 5prima manu rutilam de vertice Larisaeo ostendit Bellona facem dextraque trabalem hastam intorsit agens, liquido quae stridula caelo fugit et Aoniae celso stetit aggere Dirces. mox et castra subit ferroque auroque coruscis 10mixta viris turmale fremit; dat euntibus enses, plaudit equos, vocat ad portas; hortamina fortes praeveniunt, timidisque etiam brevis addita virtus. Dicta dies aderat. cadit ingens rite Tonanti Gradivoque pecus, nullisque secundus in extis 15pallet et armatis simulat sperare sacerdos. iamque suos circum pueri nuptaeque patresque funduntur mixti summisque a postibus obstant.
- 2angusto . . . vernum P: -tum . . . -no ω Σ: -tam . . . -noΨ
- 4miseris PΨ: -ri ω
Thrice 1 had Phoebus relaxed harsh winter with his Zephyrs and was constraining the vernal day to take longer than its narrow bound when wise counsels were shattered by the urging Fates and licence given to the wretches at last for war. First from Larisa’s peak Bellona showed her red torch and with her right hand sent her massive spear whirling; it sped whistling through the clear sky and landed on the lofty rampart of Aonian Dirce. Next she enters the camp and mingling with the warriors that flash with steel and gold she yells loud as a squadron, gives swords to the departing, claps horses, summons to the gates. The brave do not wait to be exhorted, even cowards gain brief access of courage.
The appointed day arrives. A huge number of beasts fall in ritual sacrifice to the Thunderer and Gradivus, and the priest, finding no good in the entrails, 2 feigns hope to the men in arms. And now children and wives and fathers pour mingling around their own and block their way from the outermost doorways. 3 Weeping is
- 1Two years had passed since Polynices left Thebes and a year since Tydeus’ embassy.
- 2 Secundus of the diviner echoes Aeneid 11.739. My suggestion in SB2 is cancelled.
- 3 Summis = extremis, the last ditch, as it were. The departing warrior forces his way out of his house against the family’s efforts to hold him back. For the preposition cf. 564 oppositis Semelen a ventre lacertis.