Vestibulum ante ipsum primoque in limine Pyrrhus
exsultat telis et luce coruscus aena: 470
qualis ubi in lucem coluber mala gramina pastus,
frigida sub terra tumidum quem bruma tegebat,
nunc, positis nouus exuuiis nitidusque iuuenta,
lubrica conuoluit sublato pectore terga
arduus ad solem, et linguis micat ore trisulcis. 475
una ingens Periphas et equorum agitator Achillis,
armiger Automedon, una omnis Scyria pubes
succedunt tecto et flammas ad culmina iactant.


Before the very entrance way and on the first threshold,
Pyrrhus rejoices in his weapons and is flashing in bronze light
Just like when a snake, having fed on bad grain, whom the
freezing cold covered up under the land, swollen, but now renewed, his skin having been set aside
and shining in his youth, he coils his slimy back with his breast raised up
lofty to the sun, into the light, and he darts with tripartite tongues in his mouth.
Together with him, huge Periphas, and the charioteer of Achilles,
Automedon the bearer of their arms, and also all the youth of Scyros
approach the palace and throw flames to the peak (rooftop).

Ipse inter primos correpta dura bipenni
limina perrumpit postisque a cardine uellit 480
aeratos; iamque excisa trabe firma cauauit
robora et ingentem lato dedit ore fenestram.
apparet domus intus et atria longa patescunt;
apparent Priami et ueterum penetralia regum,
armatosque uident stantis in limine primo. 485


He himself, with the double ax having been snatched up,
breaks through the hard threshold, he tears the bronze doors
from their hinges; and already he hollowed out the solid oaks,
with timber having been torn out, and he gave a huge window with a wide mouth.
The house within appears and the long hallways are opened;
the inner chambers of Priam and of the old kings,
and they see the armed men standing in the beginning of the threshold.

At domus interior gemitu miseroque tumultu
miscetur, penitusque cauae plangoribus aedes
femineis ululant; ferit aurea sidera clamor.
tum pauidae tectis matres ingentibus errant
amplexaeque tenent postis atque oscula figunt. 490


But the inside of the house is confused with a groan
and wretched upheaval, and deep within the hollow house
cries out with feminine wailing; and the sound strikes the golden stars.
Then the fearful mothers wander the vast halls,
and having embraced them, they hold the doors and plant kisses on them.

Instat ui patria Pyrrhus; nec claustra nec ipsi
custodes sufferre ualent; labat ariete crebro
ianua, et emoti procumbunt cardine postes.
fit uia ui; rumpunt aditus primosque trucidant
immissi Danai et late loca milite complent. 495


Pyrrhus presses on with his paternal strength; neither the fastenings
nor the sentinels themselves are able to withstand him; the gate totters
with a thick (repeated) battering ram, and the doors, moved from their hinge, fall.
A way is made by violence; they break entrance and the Danaans having been let in
slaughter the first ones and they fill the places widely with soldiers.

Non sic, aggeribus ruptis cum spumeus amnis
exiit oppositasque euicit gurgite moles,
fertur in arua furens cumulo camposque per omnis
cum stabulis armenta trahit. uidi ipse furentem
caede Neoptolemum geminosque in limine Atridas, 500
uidi Hecubam centumque nurus Priamumque per aras
sanguine foedantem quos ipse sacrauerat ignis.


Not thus, when the levees have been burst, when a foamy torrent
departs from its banks and overcomes the opposing masses by means of its whirlpool,
It is carried, raging into the fields by means of a swell and through all the fields
it drags the cattle along with their pens. I myself saw Neoptolemus raging in slaughter
and the twin sons of Atrius on the threshold,
I saw Hecuba and her hundred daughter-in-laws, and I saw Priam polluting with blood
the very fires which he himself had consecrated, through the altars.

Quinquaginta illi thalami, spes tanta nepotum,
barbarico postes auro spoliisque superbi
procubuere; tenent Danai qua deficit ignis. 505
Forsitan et Priami fuerint quae fata requiras.
urbis uti captae casum conuulsaque uidit
limina tectorum et medium in penetralibus hostem,
arma diu senior desueta trementibus aeuo
circumdat nequiquam umeris et inutile ferrum 510
cingitur, ac densos fertur moriturus in hostis.


Those fifty bedrooms, such hope of grandchildren,
doorposts proud with barbarian gold and spoils, fall;
The Greeks hold wherever the fire fails (wherever there isn't fire, there's a Greek soldier).
Perhaps you might inquire what were the fates of even Priam.
As he saw the fall of the captured city and the shattered thresholds of the
buildings and the enemy in the center of the sanctuary,
for a long time elderly, he fastens the arms unused because of age
on his trembling shoulders in vain and he girds the useless iron,
and he is carried, about to die, into the thick ([of the]) enemy.

Aedibus in mediis nudoque sub aetheris axe
ingens ara fuit iuxtaque ueterrima laurus
incumbens arae atque umbra complexa penatis.
hic Hecuba et natae nequiquam altaria circum, 515
praecipites atra ceu tempestate columbae,
condensae et diuum amplexae simulacra sedebant.


In the middle of the house under the bare axis of the sky
there was a huge altar and next to it a very ancient laurel tree
leaning over the altar and having embrace the household gods with shade
here Hecuba and her daughters in vain around the altars
just as flitting doves in a dark storm,
grouped together and having embraced the goddess' statue they were sitting.