Now of a sudden Aeneas looked and saw
To the left, under a cliff, wide buildings girt
By a triple wall round which a torrent rushed
With scorching flames and boulders tossed in thunder,
The abyss’s Fiery River. A massive gate
With adamantine pillars faced the stream,
So strong no force of men or gods in war
May ever avail to crack and bring it down,
And high in air an iron tower stands
On which Tisiphone, her bloody robe
Pulled up about her, has her seat and keeps
Unsleeping watch over the entrance way
By day and night. From the interior, groans
Are heard, and thud of lashes, clanking iron,
[Respicit Aeneas subito, et sub rupe sinistra
moenia lata videt, triplici circumdata muro,
quae rapidus flammis ambit torrentibus amnis,
Tartareus Phlegethon, torquetque sonantia saxa.
Porta adversa ingens, solidoque adamante columnae,
vis ut nulla virum, non ipsi exscindere bello
caelicolae valeant; stat ferrea turris ad auras,
Tisiphoneque sedens, palla succincta cruenta,
vestibulum exsomnis servat noctesque diesque,
Hinc exaudiri gemitus, et saeva sonare
verbera; tum stridor ferri, tractaeque catenae.]
The Aeneid [Ænē̆is], Book 6, l. 548ff (6.548-560) (29-19 BC) [tr. Fitzgerald (1981), l. 735ff]
Tartarus, the Underworld place of punishment for the damned.
(Source (Latin)). Alternate translations:
On his left side,
Aeneas then under a Rock espide
A mighty fort surrounded with three walls,
Where Phlegeton with a swift current falls
Of flaming waves: rowling huge stones along,
The gates on adamatine pillars hung;
No strength of men, of steel, nor gods, has power
This to destroy, high stands the brazen towre.
Girt in a bloody robe Tisiphone keeps
The entrance night and day, and never sleeps.
Hence cruel lashes sound and groaning pains,
Clashing of steel, and ratling of huge chains.
[tr. Ogilby (1649)]
The hero, looking on the left, espied
A lofty tow'r, and strong on ev'ry side
With treble walls, which Phlegethon surrounds,
Whose fiery flood the burning empire bounds;
And, press'd betwixt the rocks, the bellowing noise resounds
Wide is the fronting gate, and, rais'd on high
With adamantine columns, threats the sky.
Vain is the force of man, and Heav'n's as vain,
To crush the pillars which the pile sustain.
Sublime on these a tow'r of steel is rear'd;
And dire Tisiphone there keeps the ward,
Girt in her sanguine gown, by night and day,
Observant of the souls that pass the downward way.
From hence are heard the groans of ghosts, the pains
Of sounding lashes and of dragging chains.
[tr. Dryden (1697)]
Aeneas on a sudden looks back, and under a rock on the left sees vast prisons enclosed with a triple wall, which Tartarean Phlegethon's rapid flood environs with torrents of flame, and whirls roaring rocks along. Fronting is a huge gate, with columns of solid adamant, that no strength of men, nor the gods themselves, can with steel demolish. An iron tower rises aloft; and there wakeful Tisiphone, with ehr bloody robe tucked up around her, sits to watch the vestibule both night and day. Hence groans are heard; the grating too of iron, and clank of dragging chains.
[tr. Davidson/Buckley (1854)]
Sudden Æneas turns his eyes,
When 'neath the left-hand cliff he spies
The bastions of a broad stronghold,
Engirt with walls of triple fold:
Fierce Phlegethon surrounds the same,
Foaming aloft with torrent flame,
And whirls his roaring rocks:
In front a portal stands displayed,
On adamantine columns stayed:
Nor mortal nor immortal foe
Those massy gates could overthrow
With battle's direst shocks.
An iron tower of equal might
In air uprises steep:
Tisiphone, in red robes dight,
Sits on the threshold day and night
With eyes that know not sleep.
Hark! from within there issue groans,
The cracking of the thong,
The clank of iron o'er the stones
Dragged heavily along.
[tr. Conington (1866)]
Then suddenly Aeneas, looking back,
Beneath a cliff upon the left beholds
A prison vast with triple ramparts girt,
Bound which Tartarean Phlegethon, with surge
Of foaming torrents, raves, and thundering whirl
Of rocks. A gateway huge in front is seen,
With columns of the solid adamant.
No strength of man, or even of gods, avails
Against it. Rising in the air a tower
Of iron appears: there sits Tisiphone,
Tucked in her blood-stained robes, and night and day
Guarding the entrance with her sleepless eyes.
Groans from within were heard; the cruel lash.
Then clank of iron, and of dragging chains.
[tr. Cranch (1872), l. 680ff]
Aeneas looks swiftly back, and sees beneath the cliff on the left hand a wide city, girt with a triple wall and encircled by a racing river of boiling flame, Tartarean Phlegethon, that echoes over its rolling rocks. In front is the gate, huge and pillared with solid adamant, that no warring force of men nor the very habitants of heaven may avail to overthrow; it stands up a tower of iron, and Tisiphone sitting girt in bloodstained pall keeps sleepless watch at the entry by night and day. Hence moans are heard and fierce lashes resound, with the clank of iron and dragging chains.
[tr. Mackail (1885)]
But suddenly Æneas turned, and lo, a city lay
Wide-spread 'neath crags upon the left, girt with a wall threefold;
And round about in hurrying flood a flaming river rolled,
E'en Phlegethon of Tartarus, with rattling, stony roar:
In face with adamantine posts was wrought the mighty door,
Such as no force of men nor might of heaven-abiders high
May cleave with steel; an iron tower thence riseth to the sky:
And there is set Tisiphone, with girded blood-stained gown,
Who, sleepless, holdeth night and day the doorway of the town.
Great wail and cruel sound of stripes that city sendeth out,
And iron clanking therewithal of fetters dragged about.
[tr. Morris (1900), l. 548ff]
Back looked Æneas, and espied
Broad bastions, girt with triple wall, that frowned
Beneath a rock to leftward, and the tide
Of torrent Phlegethon, that flamed around,
And made the beaten rocks rebellow with the sound.
In front, a massive gateway threats the sky,
And posts of solid adamant upstay
An iron tower, firm-planted to defy
All force, divine or human. Night and day,
Sleepless Tisiphone defends the way,
Girt up with bloody garments. From within
Loud groans are heard, and wailings of dismay,
The whistling scourge, the fetter's clank and din,
Shrieks, as of tortured fiends, and all the sounds of sin.
[tr. Taylor (1907), st. 72-73; l. 644ff]
Aeneas straightway by the leftward cliff
Beheld a spreading rampart, high begirt
With triple wall, and circling round it ran
A raging river of swift floods of flame,
Infernal Phlegethon, which whirls along
Loud-thundering rocks. A mighty gate is there
Columned in adamant; no human power,
Nor even the gods, against this gate prevail.
Tall tower of steel it has; and seated there
Tisiphone, in blood-flecked pall arrayed,
Sleepless forever, guards the entering way.
Hence groans are heard, fierce cracks of lash and scourge,
Loud-clanking iron links and trailing chains.
[tr. Williams (1910)]
Suddenly Aeneas looks back, and under a cliff on the left sees a broad castle, girt with triple wall and encircled with a rushing flood of torrent flames -- Tartarean Phlegethon, that rolls along thundering rocks. In front stands the huge gate, and pillars of solid adamant, that no might of man, nay, not even the sons of heaven, may uproot in war; there stands the iron tower, soaring high, and Tisiphone, sitting girt with bloody pall, keeps sleepless watch o'er the portal night and day. Therefrom are heard groans and the sound of the savage lash; withal, the clank of iron and dragging of chains.
[tr. Fairclough (1916)]
As he looked back, Aeneas saw, to his left,
Wide walls beneath a cliff, a triple rampart,
A river running fire, Phlegethon’s torrent,
Rocks roaring in its course, a gate, tremendous,
Pillars of adamant, a tower of iron,
Too strong for men, too strong for even gods
To batter down in warfare, and behind them
A Fury, sentinel in bloody garments,
Always on watch, by day, by night. He heard
Sobbing and groaning there, the crack of the lash,
The clank of iron, the sound of dragging shackles.
[tr. Humphries (1951)]
Aeneas looked back on a sudden: he saw to his left a cliff
Overhanging with a spread of battlements, a threefold wall about them,
Girdled too by a swift-running stream, a flaming torrent --
Hell's river of fire, whose current rolls clashing rocks along.
In front, an enormous portal, the door-posts columns of adamant,
So strong that no mortal violence nor even the heaven-dwellers
Can broach it: an iron tower stands sheer and soaring above it,
Whereupon Tisiphone sits, wrapped in a bloodstained robe,
Sleeplessly, day-long, night-long, guarding the forecourt there.
From within can be heard the sounds of groaning and brutal lashing,
Sounds of clanking iron, of chains being dragged along.
[tr. Day-Lewis (1952)]
Aeneas suddenly looks back; beneath
a rock upon his left he sees a broad
fortress encircled by a triple wall
and girdled by a rapid flood of flames
that rage: Tartarean Phlegethon whirling
resounding rocks. A giant gateway stands
in front, with solid adamantine pillars --
no force of man, not even heaven's sons,
enough to level these in war; a tower
of iron rises in the air; there sits
Tisiphone, who wears a bloody mantle.
She guards the entrance, sleepless night and day.
Both groans and savage scourgings echo there,
and then the clang of iron and dragging chains.
[tr. Mandelbaum (1971), l. 725ff]
Aeneas looked back suddenly and saw under a cliff on his left hand a broad city encircled by a triple wall and washed all round by Phlegethon, one of the rivers of Tartarus, a torrent of fire and flame, rolling and grinding great boulders in its current. There before him stood a huge gate with columns of solid adamant so strong that neither the violence of men nor the heavenly gods themselves could ever uproot them in war, and an iron tower rose into the air where Tisiphone sat with her blood-soaked dress girt up, guarding the entreance and never sleeping, night or day. They could hear the groands from the city, the cruel crack of the lash, the dragging and clanking of iron chains.
[tr. West (1990)]
Aeneas suddenly looked back, and, below the left hand cliff,
he saw wide battlements, surrounded by a triple wall,
and encircled by a swift river of red-hot flames,
the Tartarean Phlegethon, churning with echoing rocks.
A gate fronts it, vast, with pillars of solid steel,
that no human force, not the heavenly gods themselves,
can overturn by war: an iron tower rises into the air,
and seated before it, Tisiphone, clothed in a blood-wet dress,
keeps guard of the doorway, sleeplessly, night and day.
Groans came from there, and the cruel sound of the lash,
then the clank of iron, and dragging chains.
[tr. Kline (2002)]
suddenly glances back and beneath a cliff to the left
he sees an enormous fortress ringed with triple walls
and raging around it all, a blazing flood of lava,
Tartarus’ River of Fire, whirling thunderous boulders.
Before it rears a giant gate, its columns solid adamant,
so no power of man, not even the gods themselves
can root it out in war. An iron tower looms on high
where Tisiphone, crouching with bloody shroud girt up,
never sleeping, keeps her watch at the entrance night and day.
Groans resound from the depths, the savage crack of the lash,
the grating creak of iron, the clank of dragging chains.
[tr. Fagles (2006), l. 637ff]
Aeneas stole a quick glance back. To the left, under a cliff, was a massive fortress ringed with triple walls and a raging moat of fire: Phlegethon, hurling thunderous rocks. In front, a giant gate and adamantine pillars. No human force, not even warring gods, could rip them out. An iron tower reached the sky. There Tisiphone crouched wakefully, her bloody cloak hitched high. She watched the entrance day and night. You could hear groans and savage lash-strokes, irons clanking, chains being dragged.
[tr. Bartsch (2021)]
Added on 15-Dec-22 | Last updated 21-Jun-23
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