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‘His Divine Mother’
The Aeneid of Virgil, Book 1, Part 8
Jove commanded Cyllenius
Down from Heaven’s steep
Winging before unfurling Fate
Redressing Libya’s mortal laws
Bearing Jove’s rod of peace
Trojans protected under Heaven’s law
Marooned in the shades of night
Aeneas harried of soul forsook sleep
Standing under dawn in the sight
New lands eager and anxious to seek
The hero explored the unplowed shore
His ships hid under a rocky ledge
Of the forest-shaded mountain
Two darts in hand from his band he parts
By true Achates he is attended
Deep into the untended wood
Before his eyes a huntress appeared
His mother Venus deceptively stood
By her dress a virgin by her air a queen
Her bow slung like a nymph of the wood
Her hair flung wanton as a she-wolf
She seemed a virgin of the Spartan blood
[she spoke]
Strangers my sister have you seen
Wearing the painted bow case
A spotted lynx hide she wore
In pursuit of the tusky boar
[Aeneas spoke]
No huntress have we seen
Virgin so haughty and serene
You seem sister of the day
Not a huntress coursing prey
Pray tell a stranger
Long in tempests tossed
What realm we wander
Among what powers are we lost
Upon what goddess we must call
When on her altar offerings fall
End 8
-1. Cyllenius was a name for Hermes, escort of souls, messenger of the divine and patron of athletes and travelers, named after Mount Cyllene in Arkadia, on Redface-island, north of the Silent Land.
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