Arriving in Italy, But Not at the Journey’s End: Aeneid 6.1-12

I am currently in Siena, Italy (leading a summer study-abroad program for the month). My travels took about 20 hours followed by a mad search through Florence for a lost student who had neither phone nor money. (And today I travel south to retrieve more students from Rome!). I arrived in Siena tired and worn. But once I opened the Aeneid to consider Aeneas’ arrival on the Italian peninsula, I realized my complaints were quite unbecoming:

“He spoke this crying and then gave rein to the fleet
And they finally reached the Eubaean shores of Cumae.
They turn the prows toward the sea and then fasten the ships
safe by anchor where the curved boats make a shelter
on the shore. An eager band of youths leap down
on the Italian strand; one part seeks the seeds of flame
contained in a flint’s vein; another seizes trees
used as beasts’ thick roofs; and another traces along the river’s path.
But dutiful Aeneas climbs the hills where Apollo rules
On high and seeks the hollow cave of the horrid Sibyl,
the prophet whose mind and great soul the Delian inspires
as he lays open for her the secrets yet to come.”

Sic fatur lacrimans, classique immittit habenas,
et tandem Euboïcis Cumarum adlabitur oris.
Obvertunt pelago proras; tum dente tenaci
ancora fundabat naves, et litora curvae
praetexunt puppes. Iuvenum manus emicat ardens
litus in Hesperium; quaerit pars semina flammae
abstrusa in venis silicis, pars densa ferarum
tecta rapit silvas, inventaque flumina monstrat.
At pius Aeneas arces, quibus altus Apollo
praesidet, horrendaeque procul secreta Sibyllae
antrum immane petit, magnum cui mentem animumque
Delius inspirat vates, aperitque futura.

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