Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, ed. Poems of Places: An Anthology in 31 Volumes.
Italy: Vols. XI–XIII. 1876–79.



By Virgil (70–19 B.C.)

(From Æneid, Book VIII)
Translated by C. P. Cranch

EVANDER then, Rome’s earliest founder, spoke:

“These groves were once by native Fauns and Nymphs

Inhabited, and men who took their birth

From tough oak-trunks. No settled mode of life

Had they, nor culture; nor knew how to yoke

Their steers, or heap up wealth, or use their stores

With frugal hands; but the rough chase supplied

Their food, or boughs of trees. Then Saturn came

From high Olympus, fleeing before Jove.

An exile from the kingdoms he had lost.

This stubborn race through mountain wilds dispersed

He brought together, and to them gave laws;

And called the region Latium, since he had lurked

In safety on its shores. Beneath his reign

The golden age, so called, was seen. In peace

He ruled his people; till by gradual steps

There came a faded and degenerate age,

And love of war succeeded, and of gain.

Then came Ausonians and Sicanians;

And oft the name Saturnia was changed.

Then kings succeeded, and the form immense

Of rugged Thybris, from whom came the name

Tiber; while that of Albula was lost.

Me, from my country driven to lands remote,

Chance and inevitable fate have placed

Upon these shores; the nymph Carmentis too,

My mother, urging me with warnings dread,

And great Apollo who first prompted me.”

Then moving onward, he an altar shows,

And gate, which now the name Carmental bears

In Rome; an old revered memorial

Of the prophetic nymph who first foretold

The future heroes of Æneas’ line,

And noble Pallanteum; next, the grove

Points out, which Romulus the Asylum named;

Then the Lupercal cool beneath the rocks,

Named after Pan, by old Arcadian wont;

And Argiletum’s grove he shows, and tells

Of Argus’ death, his guest; and calls the spot

To witness, he was guiltless of the deed.

Then on to the Tarpeian rock he leads

The way, and to the Capitol, now decked

With gold, then rough with bushes wild.

E’en then the dark religion of the place

Haunted the timorous peasants with vague fears.

“Within this grove, upon this wooded hill,”

He said, “some deity his dwelling made;

But who or what, none knows. The Arcadians

Think they have seen great Jove himself, when oft

With his right hand he shook his darkening shield,

And called his clouds around him. Yon two towns

With ruined walls thou seest, the relics old

And monuments of ancient days: this one

Was reared by Janus, that by Saturn built;

Saturnia and Janiculum their names.”