In a momentous ebook, Seamus Heaney's translation of e-book VI of the Aeneid, Virgil's epic poem composed someday among 29 and 19 BC, follows the hero, Aeneas, on his descent into the underworld. In Stepping Stones, a booklet of interviews carried out through Dennis O'Driscoll, Heaney said the significance of the poem to his writing, noting that 'there's one Virgilian trip that has certainly been a continuing presence, and that's Aeneas's enterprise into the underworld. The motifs in publication VI were in my head for years - the golden bough, Charon's barge, the search to fulfill the coloration of the father.'
In this new translation, Heaney employs an identical deft dealing with of the unique mixed with the immediacy of language and faultless poetic voice as used to be on exhibit in his translation of Beowulf, a reimagining which, within the phrases of Bernard O'Donoghue, introduced the traditional poem again to lifestyles in 'a remarkable mixture of the poem's unique spirit and Heaney's voice'.
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Extra resources for Aeneid: Book VI
But the carbolic smell of corridors and the chalky smell of schoolrooms is still in my nostrils. The glazed, shiny look of matchboard is still in my eyes. I must wait for fields and hedges, and woods and fields, and steep railway cuttings, sprinkled with gorse bushes, and trucks in sidings, and tunnels and suburban gardens with women hanging out washing, and then fields again and children swinging on gates, to cover it over, to bury it deep, this school that I have hated. ‘I will not send my children to school nor spend a night all my life in London.
Yet how painful to be recalled, to be mitigated, to have one’s self adulterated, mixed up, become part of another. As he approaches I become not myself but Neville mixed with somebody – with whom? – with Bernard? Yes, it is Bernard, and it is to Bernard that I shall put the question. ’ ‘How strange,’ said Bernard, ‘the willow looks seen together. I was Byron, and the tree was Byron’s tree, lachrymose, down-showering, lamenting. Now that we look at the tree together, it has a combed look, each branch distinct, and I will tell you what I feel, under the compulsion of your clarity.
We are overcome by strange feelings. The guard holding his flag is about to blow his whistle; the train breathing steam in another moment is about to start. One wants to say something, to feel something, absolutely appropriate to the occasion. One’s mind is primed; one’s lips are pursed. And then a bee drifts in and hums round the flowers in the bouquet which Lady Hampton, the wife of the General, keeps smelling to show her appreciation of the compliment. If the bee were to sting her nose? We are all deeply moved; yet irreverent; yet penitent; yet anxious to get it over; yet reluctant to part.
Aeneid: Book VI by Virgil