Aeneid Comparisons

This page allows you to compare 3 versions of The Aeneid side by side, two verse renderings and one prose translation.
For more information about The Aeneid, view our Aeneid Page Enjoy!

ROBERT FITZGERALD (1965)   

ROBERT FAGLES (2006)

DAVID WEST (1990)



Book 1: Invocation
I sing of warfare and a man at war.
From the sea-coast of Troy in early days
He came to Italy by destiny,
To our Lavinian western shore,
A fugitive, this captain, buffeted
Cruelly on land as on the sea
By blows from powers of the air—behind them
Baleful Juno in her sleepless rage.
And cruel losses were his lot in war,
Till he could found a city and bring home
His gods to Latium, land of the Latin race,
The Alban lords, and the high walls of Rome.
Wars and a man I sing—an exile driven on by Fate,
he was the first to flee the coast of Troy,
destined to reach Lavinian shores and Italian soil,
yet many blows he took on land and sea from the gods above—
thanks to cruel Juno's relentless rages—and many losses
he bore in battle too, before he could found a city,
bring his gods to Latium, source of the Latin race,
the Alban lords and the high walls of Rome.
I sing of arms and a man, fated to be an exile, who long since left the the land of Troy and came to Italy to the shores of Lavinium; and a great pounding he took by land and sea at the hands of the heavenly gods because of the fierce and unforgetting anger of Juno. Great too were his suffererings in war before he could found his city and carry his gods into Latium. This was the beginning of the Latin, the Alban fathers and the high walls of Rome.
Book 2: Troy Burns
She hid herself in the deep gloom of night,
And now the dire forms appeared to me
Of great immortals, enemies of Troy.
I knew the end then: Ilium was going down
In fire, the Troy of Neptune going down,
As in high mountains when the countrymen
Have notched an ancient ash, then make their axes
Ring with might and main, chopping away
To fell the tree—ever on the point of falling,
Shaken through all its foliage, and the treetop
Nodding; bit by bit the strokes prevail
Until it gives a final groan at last
And crashes down in ruin from the height.
Then at last I saw it all, all Ilium settling into her embers,
Neptune's Troy, toppling over now from her roots
like a proud, veteran ash on its mountain summit,
chopped by stroke after stroke of the iron axe as
woodsmen fight to bring it down, and over and
over it threatens to fall, its boughs shudder,
its leafy crown quakes and back and forth it sways
till overwhelmed by its wounds, with a long last groan
it goes—torn up from its heights it crashes down
in ruins from its ridge...
She finished speaking, and melted into the denses shadows of that night, and there before my eyes I saw the dreadful vision of the gods in all their might, the enemies of Troy.
At that moment I seemed to see the whole of Ilium settling into the flames and Neptune's Troy toppling over from its foundations like an ancient ash high in the mountains which farmers have hacked with blow upon blow of their double axes, labouring to fell it; again and again it threatens to fall, its foliage shudders and its head trembles and nods until at last it succumbs to its wounds and breaks with a dying groan, spreading ruin along the ridge.
 
 
 
 
Book 4: Rest After the Funeral Games
Now dewy Night had touched her midway mark
Or nearly, and the crews, relaxed in peace
On their hard rowing benches, took their rest,
When Somnus, gliding softly from the stars
Put the night air aside, parted the darkness,
Palinurus, in quest of you. He brought
Bad dreams to you, in all your guiltlessness.
Upon the high poop deck the god sat down
In Phorbas' guise, and said:
"Son of Iasius,
Palinurus, the very sea itself
Moves the ships onward. There's a steady breeze.
The hour for rest has come. Put down your head
And steal a respite for your tired eyes.
I'll man your tiller for a while."
...By now dark Night had nearly reached her turning-point in the sky,
and stretched on the hard thwarts beneath their oars
the crews gave way to a deep, quiet rest, when down
from the stars the God of Sleep came gliding gently,
cleaving the dark mists and scattering shadows,
hunting you, Palinurus, bringing you fatal sleep
in all your innocence. Like Phorbas to the life,
the god sat high astern, pouring his persuasions
into your ears: "Son of Iasius, Palinurus, the sea,
all on its own, is sweeping the squadrons on,
the wind is blowing steady. Time to sleep.
Come, put your head down, steal some rest
for your eyes worn out from labor.
For a moment I'll take on your work myself."
The dank night was near the mid-point of the sky. The sailors were taking their rest in peace and quiet, stretched out under their oars along the hard benches, when the God of Sleep, parting the dark and misty air, came gliding lightly down from the stars of heaven. He was coming to you, Palinurus, bringing deadly dreams you did not deserve. The god took the shapeof Phrobas and sat on the high poop pouring these soft words into the ears of Palinurus: "Son of Iasius, the sea is carrying the ships along itself. The breeze is gentle and steady. This is an hour for sleep. Put down your head and steal a little time from your labours to rest your tired eys. I'll take over short watch for you myself."
Book 8: Old Tiber Comes to Aeneas at Night
He let his mind run, passing quickly over
All he might do, as when from basins full
Of unstilled water, struck by a ray of sun
Or the bright disk of moon, a flickering light
Plays over walls and corners and flies up
To hit high roofbeams and coffered ceiling.
Now it was night, and through the lands of earth
Deep slumber held all weary living things
Of bird and beast kind, when the Trojan prince,
Aeneas, heartsick at the woe of war,
Lay down upon the riverside
In the cold air, under the open sky,
And gave his body at long last repose.
Before him as he slept the very god
Of that place, Tiberinus of fair waters,
Lifting his hoary head through poplar leaves,
Appeared all veiled in cobweb cloak of grey
And crowned with shady sedge.

...Watching it all,
the Trojan hero heaved in a churning sea of anguish,
his thoughts racing, here, there, probing his options,
shifting to this plan, that-- as quick as flickering light
thrown off by water in bronze bowls reflects the sun
or radiant moon, now flittering near and far, now
rising to strike a ceiling's gilded fretwork.
The dead of night.
Over the earth all weary living things, all birds and flocks
were fast asleep when captain Aeneas, his heart racked
by the threat of war, lay down on a bank beneath
the chilly arc of the sky and at long last
indulged his limbs in sleep. Before his eyes
the god of the lovely river, old Tiber himself,
seemed to rise from among the poplar leaves
gowned in his blue-grey linen fine as mist
with a shady crown of reeds to wreathe his hair...

His thoughts moved swiftly, now here, now there, darting in every possible direction and turning to every possible event, like light flickering from water in bronze vessels as it is reflected from the sun or its image the moon, now flying far and wide in all drections, now rising to strike the high coffers of a ceiling.
It was night, and over the whole earth the weary animals, all manner of flocks, were already deep in sleep before Father Aeneas, on the bank of the river, under the cold vault of the sky. Heart sick at the sadness of war, lay down at last and gave rest to his body. There on that lovely river he saw in his sleep the god of the place, old Tiber himself, rising among the leaves of the poplars. He was veiled in a blue-green cloak of fine-spun flax and dark reeds shaded his hair.
Book 19: Turnus Dies
For when the sight came home to him,
Aeneas raged at the relic of his anguish
Worn by this man as trophy. Blazing up
And terrible in his anger, he called out:
"You in your plunder, torn from one of mine,
Shall I be robbed of you? This wound will come
From Pallas: Pallas makes this offering
And from your criminal blood exacts his due."
He sank his blade in fury in Turnus' chest.
Then all the body slackened in death's chill,
And with a groan for that indignity
His spirit fled into the gloom below.
Aeneas, soon as his eyes drank in that plunder—keepsake
of his own savage grief—flaring up in fury,
terrible in his rage, he cries: "Decked in the spoils
you stripped from one I loved—escape my clutches? Never—
Pallas strikes this blow, Pallas sacrifices you now,
makes you pay the price with your own guilty blood!"
In the same breath, blazing with wrath he plants
His iron sword hilt-deep in the enemy's heart.
Turnus' limbs went limp in the chill of death.
his life breath fled with a groan of outrage
down to the shades below.
Aeneas feasted his eyes on the sight of this spoil, this reminder of his own wild grief, then, burning with mad passion and terrible in his wrath, he cried: "Are you to escape me now, wearing the spoils stripped from the body of those I loved? By this would which I now give, it is Pallas who makes sacrifice of you. It is Pallas who exacts the penalty in your guilty blood."
Blazing with rage, he plunged the steel full into his enemy's breast. The limbs of Turnus were dissolved in cold and his life left him with a groan, fleeing in anger down to the shades.