Why Did Aeneas Kill Turnus?

Allie Hershey (’25) argues that Vergil subverts our expectations of heroism by not painting Aeneas as a perfectly good Roman. Rather, he portrays him as a realistic role model to Roman citizens. Turnus, on the other hand, while he has many good qualities, represents “force without wisdom.”

Victorious warrior looms over defeated warrior, surrounded by observers.
Giacomo del Po, “The Fight between Aeneas and King Turnus, from Virgil’s Aeneid” (ca. 1700) Los Angeles County Museum of Art

Vergil, Aeneid 10.491-10.497, 10.500-10.505, translated by Allie Hershey:

“Arcadians,” he says, “remember this and take back my words to Evander,
I return Pallas to him in the way that Evander deserves.
Whatever honor there is in a tomb, whatever comfort is in a burial,
I give freely. His hospitality to Aeneas will come at no small price.
And saying that, he pressed on the corpse with his left foot,
seizing the huge weight of Pallas’ belt.”

Oh, how the human mind is unaware of fate and future fortune and how to show restraint when exalted by success! There will be a time for Turnus, when he wishes to purchase Pallas untouched at a great price, and will hate those spoils and the day.


The Tragic and Powerful Myth of Queen Dido

Lindsay Werner (’25) explores the powerful and passionate language used by Dido as she confronts her faithless lover Aeneas in Book 4 of Vergil’s Aeneid.

Classical city under construction along the banks of a river.
“Dido building Carthage, or The Rise of the Carthaginian Empire,” Joseph Mallord William Turner (1815). National Gallery, London.

Vergil, Aeneid 4.365–370, 373-376, 382-387, translated by Lindsay Werner:

You do not have a goddess as your parent, nor is Dardanus the founder of your line, treacherous man; but the Caucasus teeming with hard crags produced you and the Hyrcanean tigresses moved their breasts towards you. For why do I pretend, or what greater things do I hold myself back for? He has not groaned with (respect for) my weeping, has he? He has not turned his eyes, has he? He hasn’t cried tears having been won over, or pitied his lover, has he?

Trust is safe nowhere. Having been expelled onto the shore, I received the needy man, and I placed him in a part of my kingdom insanely; I brought back (his) lost fleet, I brought back the comrades from death. Oh inflamed I am being carried by frenzy!

Indeed I hope that, if the pious gods have any power, he will drain the cup of punishments in the middle of the rocks, and that he will often call out Dido by name. Being away I will follow with black fires, and, when cold death has severed my limbs from my soul, my ghost will be present in all places. You will pay the price, wicked man. I will hear and this rumor will come to me under the deepest shades (the underworld).

Unraveling Turnus—The Tragic Hero of Vergil’s Aeneid (7.435-463)

Sarah Tessler (’25) examines the scene in the seventh Book of the Aeneid in which the fury Allecto infects Turnus with war frenzy. Through Turnus’ character arc, she argues, Vergil emphasizes the devastating consequences of conflict, including a loss of individual identity, and the inevitable cycle of violence and suffering.

Warrior in Roman armor brandishing sword and shouting
Image generated using AI by Sarah Tessler

Hic iuvenis vatem inridens sic orsa vicissim                    435
ore refert: ‘classis invectas Thybridis undam
non, ut rere, meas effugit nuntius auris;
ne tantos mihi finge metus. nec regia Iuno
immemor est nostri.
sed te victa situ verique effeta senectus,                           440
o mater, curis nequiquam exercet, et arma
regum inter falsa vatem formidine ludit.
cura tibi divum effigies et templa tueri;
bella viri pacemque gerent quis bella gerenda.’

olli somnum ingens rumpit pavor, ossaque et artus
perfundit toto proruptus corpore sudor.
arma amens fremit, arma toro tectisque requirit;           460
saevit amor ferri et scelerata insania belli,
ira super:

At this, the young man, mocking the priestess,
replied in turn: “The news of the fleet having arrived into the Tiber’s waters
has not escaped my ears, as you suppose.
Do not imagine so many fears for me; nor
is Queen Juno forgetful of us.
But old age worries you, worn out by decrepitude and truth
O Mother, it pointlessly occupies [you] with cares
It deceives the priestess with false fears amidst the arms of kings
Men wage wars and peace, by whom wars must be waged.

A huge fright broke his sleep, and sweat
perfused from every limb.
Frenzied, he howled for arms; and looked for the hidden arms in couches;
the love of arms and the wicked madness of war raged,
anger above all. [trans. Sarah Tessler]


The Sacrifice of Palinurus (Aeneid 5.851-871)

Lucian Kapushoc (’25) discusses the meaning of the Palinurus episode at the end of the the fifth Book of the Aeneid, assesses two recent translations, those of Robert Fagles (2006 and Sarah Ruden (2021), and provides his own translation.

sketch of a crumbling grave monument overlooking the shore of the Mediterranean
Engraving by Wilhelm Gmelin (1760 – 1820) Cénotaphe de Palinurus

talia dicta dabat, clauumque adfixus et haerens
nusquam amittebat oculosque sub astra tenebat.
ecce deus ramum Lethaeo rore madentem
uique soporatum Stygia super utraque quassat 855
tempora, cunctantique natantia lumina soluit.
uix primos inopina quies laxauerat artus,
et super incumbens cum puppis parte reuulsa
cumque gubernaclo liquidas proiecit in undas
praecipitem ac socios nequiquam saepe uocantem; 860
ipse uolans tenuis se sustulit ales ad auras.
currit iter tutum non setius aequore classis
promissisque patris Neptuni interrita fertur.
iamque adeo scopulos Sirenum aduecta subibat,
difficilis quondam multorumque ossibus albos 865
(tum rauca adsiduo longe sale saxa sonabant),
cum pater amisso fluitantem errare magistro
sensit, et ipse ratem nocturnis rexit in undis
multa gemens casuque animum concussus amici:
‘o nimium caelo et pelago confise sereno, 870
nudus in ignota, Palinure, iacebis harena.’

At the end of the fifth Book of the Aeneid Palinurus, after being assigned by Aeneas to the vital job as helmsman for the lead ship in the fleet, falls victim to sleep and goes overboard. Clutching a fragment of the ship he shouts back in vain as he drifts off. After belatedly realizing that Palinurus has been lost, Aeneas takes the helm himself as he mourns the loss of his pilot. The last description of Palinurus is of his dead body lying unburied on an unknown shore (Virgil 5.852-872). The death concludes the seafaring portion of Aeneas’s journey but Palinurus’s presence in the story is not limited to his finale. His loss at sea fulfills a hidden promise made by Neptune that the fleet would reach Italy safely with only one crew member lost (Virgil 5.814–815). His earthly form did end up making it to shore but he was then knifed by bandits and left for dead (Virgil 6.359–361). His final fate was revealed by the Sibyl in the underworld when Aeneas is trying to cross the River Acheron, and Palinurus shows up on shore among the crowd of unburied souls (Virgil 6.337). He laments his fate and asks for passage across the river, but the Sibyl scolds him and assures him that someone would come and bury him. Palinurus delights when he finds out he will enter the underworld and that the beach he died on will be named after him.

Palinurus’ death occupies a significant place at the midpoint of the story, between land and sea, at an important turning point in Aeneas’s journey (Quint 50). With his sacrifice Virgil both emulates and contradicts Homer (Quint 1993: 91). On the one hand, Palinurus drifts through the open sea just as Odysseus did.On the other hand, Odysseus was the sole survivor of his crew, while Aeneas loses only one crewmember. While Odysseus had to give up his entire crew to get home, Aeneas had to give up Palinurus, and took his place as leader at the helm (Quint 1993: 89). If Palinurus is accepted as a stand-in for Aeneas, it also fulfills a divine plea from Dido that Aeneas be plagued by hardship and die prematurely, “unburied on some desolate beach” (Virgil 4.609–620). Palinurus, Creusa, Anchises, and Dido are some of the losses Aeneas and the Trojans sustain during the transition from Troy to Italy.

We are not meant to blame Palinurus for forsaking his duty but rather asked to see him as a victim of a cosmic fate over which he had no control. His devotion to his post and to Aeneas is shown by the broken fragment of the ship he still clings to in the water. Sacrifices such as this were meant to reaffirm the relationship between gods and humans. They paradoxically serve as reassurance that the gods are still on Aeneas’s side and his journey is still fated (O’Hara 2014: 112).  It’s not all bad for Palinurus, either. He is promised a burial and entrance into the underworld and he delights when The Sybil tells him that the beach he died on will forever be named after him. The place in Italy is still called Capo Palinuro.

Two good contemporary translations are those of Robert Fagles (2006) and Sarah Ruden (2021), who have both published impressive editions of The Aeneid unique in style and tone. In his translation Fagles balances the hopeful fate of the Trojans with sympathy for the native Italians who suffer their invasion. His tone bears strong narrative emphasis, encapsulating the themes of epic poetry and manifesting them in a world where epic poetry is no longer as common and esteemed as it used to be. The most notable aspect of Sarah Ruden’s version of The Aeneid is how she has formatted it to keep each line roughly a complete thought. This forces compression in words and ideas due to the differences between Latin and English (Ruden 2021: xxviii). The shortness helps maintain the elevated tone of The Aeneid that is absent in many other versions. The translation is as versatile as is required for such a story and retains many of the literary themes that Virgil made rich use of such as enjambment and speed. A translator’s style is present throughout the entire work and sets each version apart from the others. The coverage of a segment such as Palinurus will be equally unique.

Fagles’ style puts the reader right next to Palinurus using ecce as the imperative watch (Virgil 5.854). This creates a more personal tone that invests the reader into the fate of Palinurus with a natural buildup of suspense. The natural phenomenon of sleep is personified as a god and Palinurus’s fall happens as fast and as suddenly as one would pass out from exhaustion. The tragic undertones of the episode are realized with the direct translation of nudus as naked to complete the indecent and pitiful picture of Palinurus’ fate (Virgil  5. 872). Fagles does a good job of creating sympathy for Palinurus and then compensating equally with his eventual happy ending. Ruden provides a similar bystander perspective of the event in line for line verse which results in a more broken up sequence as to keep each line similar to its counterpart in The Aeneid and to stay within the meter. Her sentences start and stop as abruptly as one’s thoughts when battling fatigue. She discards ecce for a more impersonal tone fitting an independent reader (Virgil  5.854). Nudus turns into unburied to further lament Palinurus’s state, deprived of the proper rites and treatments of a valued member of Aeneas’s crew (Virgil 5.872). Changes in tone between versions likewise change the atmosphere and feeling in episodes like Palinurus without changing the core subject matter. Translations can make the experience more personal like Fagles or emphasize or more stoic and mythic like Ruden.

I translate as follows:

Thus he spoke to himself and Palinurus kept his hands stuck to the helm and his feet planted to the deck, rooted in place with his gaze fixed on the stars.

Hark, Sleep descends upon from on high wielding a sleepy branch, dripping with Lethaean dew and twilight power, which he waves over the temples of our oblivious helmsman; who struggled in vain as his swimming eyes began to ease.

Unanticipated weariness had already relaxed his body when Sleep, leaning over him, loosened his arms from the helm and pushed him headfirst over the rail into the rolling sea. Clutching hard onto the part of the stern he ripped off with him, Palinurus shouts in vain to his comrades back on the ship as Sleep flies off into the thin breeze.

The unaffected fleet runs its unchanged course over the sea just as Neptune had promised.

Here, the Sirens’ Rocks, once dangerous and stained white with the bones of countless sailors, now ring far and wide with the unending surf; And Father Aeneas, feeling his ship to float freely with no pilot, grabs the wheel, and guides the fleet across the midnight sea. He groans, shaken by the death of his comrade.

‘Oh Palinurus, you trusted too much in the sea and stars, and now your body will lie bare and unburied on an unnamed shore.’

My version aims to retain the personal and narrative tone that I like in Fagles with increased alliteration. The maritime nature of the episode is likewise emphasized with the use of Hark for ecce (Virgil 5.854) and sailors supplied with multorum (Virgil 5.65). Sleep is personified to a further extent and the elements of the sea and the Sirens’ rocks are played up to complete the tone.

Works Cited

Quint, David. Epic and Empire. Princeton 1993.

O’Hara, J. “Palinurus,” in Richard Thomas and Jan M. Ziolkowski, eds., The Virgil Encyclopedia, 3 vols. (Malden, MA: Wiley-Blackwell, 2014).

Virgil, Aeneid, Translated by Robert Fagles. Penguin Books, 2006.

Virgil, Aeneid, Translated by Sarah Ruden, Introduction by Susanna Braund. Yale University Press 2021.


Translating Rumor (Vergil, Aeneid 4.173-197)

Virginia Hargraves (’27) discusses the Rumor passage in Book 4 of the Aeneid, examining the recent translations of Shadi Bartsch and Sarah Ruden, then offers an adaptation of her own, based on “Rumor Has It” by Adele.

Sculpture of bird like figure wearing a Venetian style mask
Lindsey M Dillon, “Venetian Rumor”

Extemplo Libyae magnas it Fama per urbes,
Fama, malum qua non aliud uelocius ullum:
mobilitate uiget uirisque adquirit eundo,                                       175
parua metu primo, mox sese attollit in auras
ingrediturque solo et caput inter nubila condit.
illam Terra parens ira inritata deorum
extremam, ut perhibent, Coeo Enceladoque sororem
progenuit pedibus celerem et pernicibus alis,                              180
monstrum horrendum, ingens, cui quot sunt corpore plumae,
tot uigiles oculi subter (mirabile dictu),
tot linguae, totidem ora sonant, tot subrigit auris.
nocte uolat caeli medio terraeque per umbram
stridens, nec dulci declinat lumina somno;                                  185
luce sedet custos aut summi culmine tecti
turribus aut altis, et magnas territat urbes,
tam ficti prauique tenax quam nuntia ueri.
haec tum multiplici populos sermone replebat
gaudens, et pariter facta atque infecta canebat:                        190
uenisse Aenean Troiano sanguine cretum,
cui se pulchra uiro dignetur iungere Dido;
nunc hiemem inter se luxu, quam longa, fouere
regnorum immemores turpique cupidine captos.
haec passim dea foeda uirum diffundit in ora.                         195
protinus ad regem cursus detorquet Iarban
incenditque animum dictis atque aggerat iras.

“Immediately Rumor goes through the great cities of Libya, Rumor, an evil than which no other is swifter: she thrives with speed and gains strength by going, small with fear at first, soon she lifts herself into the air and walks on the ground and hides her head among the clouds. The Earth, provoked by anger against the gods, so they say, gave birth to her last as the sister of Coeus and Enceladus, quick on her feet and with nimble wings, a horrible monster, huge, who has as many feathers on her body, as there are  watchful eyes beneath (amazing to say), as many tongues, as many mouths are speaking, as many pricked up ears. She flies at night in the middle of the sky and the earth shrieking though the dark, her eyes do not close with sweet sleep; by day she sits as a guard either on the top of the highest roofs or on high towers, and alarms the great cities, holding on as much to false and evil things as to being a messenger of the truth. Now rejoicing she keeps filling the nations with various rumors, and she keeps singing true and untrue things equally: that Aeneas born from Trojan blood has come, beautiful Dido deigns to join herself to that man; now they are keeping the long winter warm together in luxury, forgetful of their kingdoms and captive to their shameful desire. The foul goddess spreads this on the mouths of men everywhere. At once she turns her course to King Iarbas and sets fire to his spirit with her words and increases his anger.”

In the fourth book of the Aeneid, following the metaphorical marriage between the Carthaginian queen and the Trojan hero, Vergil includes an extended depiction of Rumor personified as the goddess Fama. Rumor, described more specifically as a “foul goddess,” dea foeda, gleefully spreads the news of Dido and Aeneas’s private relationship through the city streets, inciting anger and unrest among their own people (4.195). As a result of Rumor’s wild and erratic behavior, Aeneas eventually comes to see Dido as a distraction and is reminded by the gods of his fate in Italy. Departing in secret from Carthage, Aeneas leaves behind Dido, who is so distraught from heartbreak that she abandons her role as queen and commits suicide while the Trojan fleet sails away from the Carthaginian shores.

Vergil opens this symbolic passage straightaway with a sense of urgency, using the Latin word extemplo, “immediately,” setting a frantic tone for the passage to follow (173). This is further emphasized in the next line with the comparative adjective velocius, “swifter.” Nothing one can match Rumor’s speed (174). Here, Vergil is already beginning to paint the image of Rumor as an uncontrollable creature who cannot be tamed. This portrayal of the goddess might also foreshadow the unfortunate future of Queen Dido, as both are compared to a female follower of Bacchus later in the epic. After Dido learns of Aeneas’s plan to leave Carthage in secret, she “runs wildly,” bacchatur through the city before confronting Aeneas (4.301). When Dido finally succumbs to her miserable state, Rumor is said to have similarly “run wildly,” bacchatur through the city, spreading the mournful news, acting as a dramatic echo of the dead queen’s actions (4.666).

Vergil also stresses the power of Fama as a deity, specifically noting her apparent omnipresence in the “skies,” auras and on the “ground” solo and among the “clouds” nubila (176-177). The polysyndeton in this line is what draws the reader’s attention to Rumor’s ability to seemingly be in a multitude of places at once because of her impressive speed and agility. Vergil uses various poetic devices throughout his entire epic, but this passage in particular is full of repetitions, most notably alliteration and anaphora, in addition to this example of polysyndeton. Not only does the phrase ira inritata almost exactly repeat in translation, meaning either “provoked by anger” or “angered by anger,” but it is also alliterated, producing a repetitive rhythm and tonal effect when spoken aloud (178). The repetition of tot, “so many,” or totidem, “as many,” in the list of Rumor’s descriptive traits, tot vigiles oculi…tot linguae, totidem ora…tot subrigit auris, is an example of anaphora in epic verse (182-183). These literary techniques and poetic devices, which are all repetitive in nature, stress the rhythmic pattern and verse of the epic while drawing attention to these specific phrases, many of which highlight the disturbing characteristics and actions of Rumor.

Vergil creates a suspenseful atmosphere to emphasize the direness of Aeneas’s situation in Carthage, where he is sidetracked from his fated journey to Italy. Rumor’s act of “shrieking,” stridens creates a palpable, almost audible sense of horror for the reader, distinguishing Rumor from mere gossip, which a contemporary audience might understand it as (185). This terrifying tone is also seen in Vergil’s direct description of Rumor as a “horrible monster,” monstrum horrendum, with the goddess personified as a female winged creature (181). In contrast, however, the other female figure present in this scene, Dido, is described as pulchra, “beautiful,” although to a Roman audience, her actions would perhaps seem like a distraction keeping Aeneas from his Trojan duty (4.192). Vergil therefore creates a connection between Rumor and Dido for the reader based on their egregious actions, despite the contrast in their outward appearances.

Vergil seems to be using personified Rumor to propel the storyline of his epic foreword, literally with the goddess’s speed. This section comes directly after what Dido understands to be her marriage to Aeneas, and already the goddess is polluting the streets of Carthage with this fact mixed with her own exaggerated “lies,” infecta (190). Although this relationship has somewhat just begun, Vergil is already alluding to its imminent collapse. While she may revel in falsehoods, Rumor eventually represents reality for both Dido and Aeneas when her deceitful behavior plagues both lovers by the end of book four. While attempting to leave Carthage in secret, Aeneas manipulates and deceives Dido, sending the heartbroken queen into a frenzy. Incited by Aeneas’s impious act, Dido similarly deceives Anna before taking her own life. This passage, therefore, ultimately builds the tension of the epic and creates a reference of what is to come with Rumor’s terrifying description and dishonest conduct.

In her 2021 translation of the Aeneid, Shadi Bartsch seeks to construct a “parallel experience” to Vergil’s epic poem in English (Bartsch 57). She believes that Latin “gives each translator a choice,” and she chooses to stay truthful to the original language, tempo, tone, metaphors, and verse of Vergil (52). The poetic device she seems most concerned with is alliteration, which she replicates frequently in her translation and uses to emphasize certain aspects of the analogy in English as Vergil does in Latin. Early in the passage she uses alliteration to contrast Rumor’s initial fear with her growing power, beginning as “small and scared” but building “speed” and “strength” as she flies (Vergil 175-176). This also resembles the typical course of daily gossip, which begins as an individual rumor but increases and strengthens as it spreads.

Another example of alliteration is Bartsch’s description of the goddess as “fast of foot and fleet of wing” while simultaneously being a “huge, horrific monster” (180-181). While “fast of foot” is very direct in word choice and meaning, “fleet of wing” is more ornate and complex. Already having used the word “fast,” Bartsch finds an alternate translation for speed while still fitting it into the alliteration of the phrase. Although Vergil does not alliterate the phrase monstrum horrendum, ingens, the Latin does have a rhythmic beat, especially in the first two words, which Bartsch retains by inverting the word order and alliterating the phrase, translating it as “a huge, horrific monster” (181).

Bartsch is also dedicated to preserving a similar tone of panic and alarm as Vergil, which she accomplishes through her animalistic word choice in this passage. Rather than the common meaning “lifts” or “raises” for attollit, Bartsch translates the phrase sese attollit in auras as “she rears to the skies” (176). The English verb “rears” typically only refers to animals, specifically horses, but in this case fits the actions of a wild bird. Another possible translation inferred from attollit could be “soars,” which offers a more bird-like quality to the passage (176). Bartsch returns to more characteristic descriptions of a winged creature with the verbs “screeching” for stridens and “perches” as a more specialized translation for the common Latin verb sedet (185-187). Although Vergil does not classify his comparison of Rumor to a specific bird species, his description of the goddess almost seems like that of a vulture or a similar bird of prey, exploiting and feeding on the secrets of Dido and Aeneas. By attempting to replicate the original meaning and meter of the poem directly into English, Bartsch successfully fosters a terrifying atmosphere almost identical to that of Vergil’s, which only intensifies the fear for the reader of the events to come later in the epic.

In contrast, Sarah Ruden’s methodology for her 2021 Aeneid translation seems to be taking each of Vergil’s lines or phrases and reimagining them in poetic English. She states that the most effective aspect of Vergil’s writing is its “Roman epic style,” but because English works very differently to Latin, she makes some alterations in her translation (Ruden 7). While Vergil frequently repeats the same Latin words as a common thread throughout the epic, Ruden believes this would come across as boring and monotonous in English, so instead she chooses to “vary the vocabulary,” using different translations for the same Latin word (8). Although the Aeneid is written in dactylic hexameter, Ruden uses iambic pentameter in her translation as it is more flexible with the English language (9). She seeks to embrace the sense of the Latin and the “flavor” of the Aeneid, rather than default to a word-for-word translation (10). By doing this, she is able to leave behind the expected, and often awkward, English translations for a more interpretive and aesthetic style reminiscent of Vergil’s extraordinary poetic abilities.

She too utilizes an abundance of alliteration in her translation with phrases such as “tiny and timid” and “sweet sleep,” as well as word repetition with phrases such as “quick-footed, quick-winged,” which resemble the alliteration of the original Latin: pedibus celerem et pernicibus alis (4.176–179, 185). But for the most part, Ruden seeks to completely reinterpret the Latin, like in the phrase “Her claws hold both true news and evil lies” for tam ficti pravique tenax quam nuntia veri (188), while the original Latin might literally translate to “holding on as much to false and crooked things as to being a messenger of the truth.” Ruden uses her liberty as a translator to alter the Latin to fit the grandiose style of her translation. In this phrase, Ruden’s most notable modification is translating the adjective tenax with the noun “claws,” adding to the passage’s bird-like imagery, rather than simply as “tenacious” (188). This rearrangement of the original passage displays Ruden’s frequent decision to completely depart from Vergil’s word choice and verse.

Ruden prefers a loftier, more exaggerated translation, often opting for rare or unusual word choices rather than the expected English translations. “A blaring mouth” for ora sonant not only alters the number from plural “mouths” to singular, but the verb becomes an adjective describing the one “mouth” (183). “Blaring” is also a slightly jarring translation for sonant, which is typically understood to mean either “speaking” or simply “making a sound.” Similarly, for the Latin word populos, with its clear English cognate “people,” she chooses the more mythical and outdated word “realms” (189). While Shadi Bartsch uses her liberty as a translator to remain as faithful as possible to the original Latin, emulating Vergil’s tone by attempting to directly copy his words into English without losing his meter or meaning, Sarah Ruden disregards the details of Vergil’s Latin to reproduce the magnificent style and heroic design of the Aeneid in reimagined English. With her over-the-top, dramatic translations, Ruden creates an atmosphere of fantasy and magnificence suitable for an epic poem full of legends, battles, and fated destinies.

Re-written Verse Translation – Aeneid 4.173-197

[Based on “Rumour Has It” by Adele from the perspective of Italy, personified]

“Now Rumor has it” that you’ve forgotten your path,

You’re giving into Dido and her beautiful wrath.

“Haven’t you heard the rumors” that are filling the streets?

They know you as Aeneas, a hero despite the Greeks.

“Now Rumor has it” that “you’ve got your head in the clouds,”

That you’ve forgotten your kingdom, that’s what’s heard in the crowds.

That Dido wants to marry you, says Rumor flying swiftly,

But please don’t forget, Aeneas, that “you and I have history.”

“Now Rumor” sings these tales (so amazing to say),

But “she is a stranger,” boy, don’t give your fate away.

“All these words” the quick goddess does “whisper in my ear,”

Although her image makes it hard to have faith in what I hear.

“Now Rumor has it” that “she made a fool out of you,”

Exposing all your winter plans madly as she flew.

Speeding ‘round at night, all I see is gleaming eyes,

But when it comes to gossip, well, “she’s got it all” in the skies.

“Now Rumor has it” Dido melts your heart, “cold to the core”

Now Rumor reaches Iarbas and she brings the heat some more.

Although she has the beauty, and I guess that’s why you “strayed,”

“Is that really what you want,” Aeneas, what of the Trojan name?

Works Cited

Bartsch, Shadi, translator. The Aeneid. By Vergil, Random House, 2021.

Ruden, Sarah, translator. The Aeneid. By Vergil, Yale University Press, 2021.