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From here is the road which leads to the water of Acheron of Hades. Here thick with mud, and
with a huge abyss, a whirlpool boils and it belches all the sand into the Cocytus.
The dreaded ferryman guards the water and rivers. Filthy in his squalor Charon, on whose chin
lies a great mass of unkempt white hair, his eyes stand out of their sockets as flames. His dirty
garment hangs down from his shoulders by a knot. By himself he propels the boat with the pole
and he attends to the sails and carries upstream the bodies in the rust coloured boat. Now he is
older, but the old age of a God is fresh and green.
To here, the whole crowd was rushing, streaming out to the riverbank. Mothers and husbands,
the bodies of great-souled heroes finished with life, boys and unmarried girls and young men who
put on their funeral pyres in front of their parent's eyes:
As many as the leaves that glide down and fall in the woods in the first frost of the autumn, or as
many as the birds that flock together to the land from the deep waters, when the cold season
drives them across the sea and sends them into sunny lands.
They were standing, begging to make the crossing first, they were stretching out their hands in
longing for the further riverbank. But the grim boat man receives now these now those. But
others he moves far away and keeps them off the sand.
Aneas indeed amazed and moved by the commotion says `say o maiden, what does the gathering at
the mirror mean? What do the souls seek? By what distinction do these people leave the riverbank
and those sweep over the lead covered shallows with oars?'
To him, the aged priestess spoke briefly in this way: `Son of Anchisa, most certain offspring of
the gods. You see the deep pools of the Cocytus and the marsh of the Styx. By whose divine
power the Gods dare to swear and deceive.
All of the crowd which you see is helpless and unburied. That ferryman is Charon these, whose
the vow carries, are the buried. Nor is it permitted to carry them across the awesome banks and
the noisy streams before their bones find rest in graves. They wonder and flit about these shores
for a hundred years. Only then they are admitted and revisit the longed-for pools.'
The son of Anchises stopped and checked his footsteps. Thinking many things and playing in his
heart their unfair fate.
Therefore they continue their journey they had begun and they approach a river. But the boatman
caught sight of them even from the waters of the Styx. They are going through the silent woods
and turning their steps towards the bank.
Thus first and of his own accord he challenges them with words and rebukes them. `Whoever you
are, who approaches my river armed, come speak, why have you come, and now from where you
are check your step?'
This is the place of the shadows and of sleep and sleep-inducing nights. It is forbidden to carry a
living body in a Stygian boat. Nor indeed did I rejoice when Hercules come, and I received him
on the lake, nor when I received Theseus and Pinthus.
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Although they were sons of Gods and invincible in strength. That man sought to put the guard
of Hades into chains by force and dragged him trembling from the throne of the kingdom itself.
These men attempted to lead away the Mistress of Pluto from her wedding chamber. `
In reply to this the Amphrysian prophet briefly spoke.…read more
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Here a more generous sky clothes the plains with radiant light and they know their
own Sun, their own stars.
Some exercise their limbs on the grassy wrestling grounds. They compete in sport and they
wrestle on the yellow sand others beat out dances with their feet and recite songs.
Furthermore the long robed Thracian Priest (Orpheus) utters seven different notes as an
accompaniment, now with his fingers, now with an ivory quill.…read more
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An unfortunate man, however his descendants will praise these deeds: love of his country will
conquer and a limitless desire for praise.…read more