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C.D. Warner, et al., comp. The Library of the World’s Best Literature.
An Anthology in Thirty Volumes. 1917.

Rhea Silvia’s Dream

By Ennius (239–169 B.C.)

  • The tenderest passage extant seems modeled on a briefer sketch in Io’s account of her own sorrows, in Æschylus’s ‘Prometheus.’ The Vestal Rhea Silvia has been startled by a prophetic dream:—

  • RAISING her trembling body, the crone with a light had approached her:

    This is the tale she affrighted relates, when roused from her slumber:—

    “Daughter of Eurydicè, by our father dearly beloved,

    Force and life are wholly from out my body departed!

    Ay, for it seemed that a goodly man amid beautiful willows

    Bore me by banks of rivers and unknown places. Thereafter,

    Sister mine, in solitude—so I fancied—I wandered:

    Slowly I sought thee, with wistful heart, but could not descry thee,

    Tracing thy feet; for nowhere a pathway guided my footsteps.

    Then in these words, and aloud, methought my father addressed me:

    ‘O my daughter, for thee is first great sorrow appointed:

    Then in turn shall fortune revisit thee, out of the river.’

    Such were my father’s words, O sister, and then he departed,

    Suddenly, nor was he seen by me, though heartily longed for:

    Not though often my hands to the azure expanses of heaven

    I with tears held forth, and in loving accents addressed him:—

    Then, with pain, from my weary heart had slumber departed.”