Exploring The Waste Land - Show supplementary text


Theodore C. Williams poetic translation

English translations in notes windowVirgil's original Latin
John Dryden poetic translationIn NOTES frame
T.C. Williams poetic translationIn DEFINTIONS frame
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Better by far to round the distant goal
of the Trinacrian headlands, veering wide
from thy true course, than ever thou shouldst see
that shapeless Scylla in her vaulted cave,
where grim rocks echo her dark sea-dogs' roar.
Yea, more, if aught of prescience be bestowed
on Helenus, if trusted prophet he,
and Phoebus to his heart true voice have given,
o goddess-born, one counsel chief of all
I tell thee oft, and urge it o'er and o'er.
To Juno's godhead lift thy Ioudest prayer;
to Juno chant a fervent votive song,
and with obedient offering persuade
that potent Queen. So shalt thou, triumphing,
to Italy be sped, and leave behind

When wafted to that shore,
repair to Cumae's hill, and to the Lake
Avernus with its whispering grove divine.
There shalt thou see a frenzied prophetess,
who from beneath the hollow scarped crag
sings oracles, or characters on leaves
mysterious names. Whate'er the virgin writes,
on leaves inscribing the portentous song,
she sets in order, and conceals them well
in her deep cave, where they abide unchanged
in due array. Yet not a care has she,
if with some swinging hinge a breeze sweeps in,
to catch them as they whirl: if open door
disperse them flutterlig through the hollow rock,
she will not link their shifted sense anew,
nor re-invent her fragmentary song.
Oft her unanswered votaries depart,
scorning the Sibyl's shrine. But deem not thou
thy tarrying too Iong, whate'er thy stay.
Though thy companions chide, though winds of power
invite thy ship to sea, and well would speed
the swelling sail, yet to that Sibyl go.
Pray that her own lips may sing forth for thee
the oracles, uplifting her dread voice
in willing prophecy. Her rede shall tell
of Italy, its wars and tribes to be,
and of what way each burden and each woe
may be escaped, or borne. Her favoring aid
will grant swift, happy voyages to thy prayer.
Such counsels Heaven to my lips allows.
arise, begone! and by thy glorious deeds
set Troy among the stars!

Exploring The Waste Land - [Home] [E-mail] File date: Sunday, September 29, 2002