The Aeneid Love Quotes
How we cite our quotes: Citations follow this format: (Book.Line). We used Robert Fitzgerald's translation.
The goddess spoke and wrapped her snowy arms
This way and that about him as he lingered,
Cherishing him in her swansdown embrace.
And instantly he felt the flame of love
Invading him as ever; into his marrow
Ran the fire he knew, and through his bones,
As when sometimes, ripped by a thunder peal,
A fiery flash goes jagged through the clouds.
His wife, contented with her blandishment,
Sure of her loveliness, perceived it all.
Lord Vulcan, captive to immortal passion,
Answered her (8.516-527)
In this scene, the goddess Venus is using her charms to get Vulcan, her husband, to make a suit of armor for her (but not Vulcan's) son Aeneas. The irony, of course, is that Vulcan is the god of fire – and hence of metal-working – but the fire of love is of another order entirely, and he is powerless to resist it. This passage incorporates motifs found in many other depictions of love elsewhere in the book. Can you see any connections between it and the other quotations in this section?
"No, me! Me! Here I am! I did it! Take
Your swords to me, Rutulians. All the trickery
Was mine. He had not dared to do anything,
He could not. Heaven's my witness, and the stars
That look down on us, all he did was care
Too much for a luckless friend." (9.605-610)
With these words, Nisus seals his fate – calling attention to himself in a desperate (but failed) attempt to prevent his young lover, Euryalus, from being killed. Nisus's closing words here – in which he refers to Euryalus's loyalty in coming along with him on the night expedition – show that their relationship was based on more than just Euryalus's good looks. The same conclusion can be drawn from Nisus's spirit of sacrifice.
Cunerus, never could I pass you by, […]
Nor you with your scant following, Cupavo,
Plumage of swan upon your crest: a sign
Reproaching Amor and his goddess mother
With your own father's change of form.
Cycnus, they say, when mourning Phaëthon […]
Among the new leaves, quieting with song
His woe for love lost, dressed himself
In softest plumage as in snowy age
And left the earth and chanting sought the stars. (10.255, 257-261, 263-266)
The "I" in these lines is Virgil, who is singling out individual warriors for praise. "Amor," of course, is the personification of love. Two things are noteworthy in this passage. The first is the little flashback of Cycnus (whose name means "swan") turning into a swan out of grief for his dead friend Phaëthon, a pretty striking allegory of the power of this emotion. The second is Cupavo himself, whose reaction to all this is to "reproach" the god and goddess of love. Do you think this reproach might be why Virgil singles him out for special praise?