For the Ship of Virgil by Jose-Maria de Heredia

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The Trojan Women Setting Fire to Their Fleet, Claude Lorrain, 1643

Let Castor and let Pollux their best light
Illumine for you, Roman on the seas,
Till on the blue Aegean’s breadth you sight
Beneath Greek skies the golden Cyclades.

So let Iapyx come, the kindest wind,
To bring his breeze to ease the sailor’s toil,
Filling your sail as you smooth passage find
To bring you safe to rest on foreign soil.

Unhurt across the dolphin-cloven sea
Bear him, good vessel, Mantua’s great son;
Let the white seabirds shine auspiciously
Upon the deep where once swam Arion;

For half my soul is in the ship that brings
Great Virgil to this home of gods and kings.

Pour le vaisseau de Virgile

Que vos astres plus clairs gardent mieux du danger,
Dioscures brillants, divins frères d’Hélène,
Le poète latin qui veut, au ciel hellène,
Voir les Cyclades d’or de l’azur émerger.

Que des souffles de l’air, de tous le plus léger,
Que le doux lapyx, redoublant son haleine,
D’une brise embaumée enfle la voile pleine
Et pousse le navire au rivage étranger.

A travers l’Archipel où le dauphin se joue,
Guidez heureusement le chanteur de Mantoue ;
Prêtez-lui, fils du Cygne, un fraternel rayon.

La moitié de mon âme est dans la nef fragile
Qui, sur la mer sacrée où chantait Arion,
Vers la terre des Dieux porte le grand Virgile.

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