from Book 7 of Eneados


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english translation

from Book 7 of Eneados

        (in which the Latins prepare for war against the Trojans)

Long unstirred, becalmed, Italy
Instantly erupts in martial fury:
Foot soldiers flood the fertile fields
As lords on horseback strut behind their shields,
Trampling the earth to a frenzy of dust.
Each man seeks the weapon he loves most:
Some polish spearheads till the steel gleams;
Some burnish armor, massaging the seams
With grease and lard; some slowly hone
The blades of axes on sleek whetstones.
All are proud to let their pennons fly,
And all rejoice at the trumpet’s cry.

Five of the greatest and chiefest of cities
Bring to blazing life their weaponries:
They fashion forges whose steel anvils ring:
Rich Atina, and haughty Tiburine,
Ardea the jewel, and Crustumerium,
And Antemnae graced by tower and column
And ringed all round with war-proof walls:
In each city’s forge the hammer stroke falls,
As smiths well-skilled in metal and flame
Summon forth breastplate, barding, and helm,
Bend willow branches to brace their targes,
Stretch leather on bucklers to shield their charges,
Knit hauberks together, link by steel link,
Buff poleyns, schynbalds, and faulds for the flank,
Enameling each piece with the star-shine of silver.
Hungry for iron and steel, they pilfer
Plows for coulters, soams, and shares;
Likewise, all scythes and harvesting shears
Are brought, dismantled, and recast:
The tools of peace are now things of the past,
Wholly transformed into weapons for knights
To safeguard their country and maintain their rights.

Once they assemble their weapons and gear,
The draft-trumpet blasts the challenge of war.
The command is passed from rank to rank:
“The battle draws nigh; we stand on the brink.”
The foot soldier tugs his helmet down
To muffle his fear in the din of the throng.
The charioteer drives his steeds to the yoke;
They stamp and snort and sweat and smoke.
The captain swaggers behind his great shield,
Wrapped in his hauberk of steel laced with gold.
His corslet, breastplate, and terrible sword
Have cut from their tongues the plow’s peaceful word.



original Scots poem

from Book 7 of Eneados

Unsterit lang tyme and unmovit, Itale
Now birnis into fury bellicall.
Sum grathis thame on fute to gae in feild,
Sum hie montit on hors bak under scheild
The dusty pouder updrivand with ane stoure,
And every man socht wappinnis and armoure:
Thare schynand scheildis sum did burnis wele,
And sum polist scharp spere hedis of stele,
To mak thame bricht with fat creische or same,
And on quhitstanis thare axis scharpis at hame:
To bere pyncellis it gladis thame up and doun,
And are rejocit to here the trumpettis soun.
Five of the gretest and maist cheif cieteis,
Thare wappinnis to renew in all degreis,
Set up forgis and stele styddyis fyne,
Riche Atina, and the proude Tiburine,
Ardea the ciete, and Crustumerie
And eik Antemne with strang towris hie,
And werelie wallis battellit all about:
The sikkir helmes penys and forgis out,
Thare targis bow thay of the licht sauch-tre,
And bos bukleris coverit with corbulye:
Sum stele hawbrekis forgis furth of plate,
Birnyst flawkertis and leg harnes fut hate,
With latit sowpyl silver weil ammelyt:
Al instrumentis of pleuch graith irnit or stelit,
As culturis, sokkys, and the sowmes grete,
With sythis and all hukis that scheris quhete,
War thidder brocht, and tholis tempyr new,
The lust of all sic werklomes wer adew:
Thay dyd thame forge in swerdis of mettal brycht,
For to defend thare cuntre and thare richt.
Be this thare armour grathyt and thare gere,
The draucht trumpet blawis the brag of were:
The slughorn, ensenye, or the wache cry
Went for the battall all suld be reddy:
He pullis doun his sellat quhare it hang,
Sum dele affrait of the noyis and thrang:
He drivis furth the stampand hors on raw
Unto the yoik, the chariotis to draw:
He clethis him with his scheild and semys bald,
He claspis his gilt habirihone and thrinfald:
He in his breistplait strang and his birnye,
Ane sovir swerd beltis law doun by his the.
Ze Musis now, sueit Godessis ichone . . .