A long narrative poem in elevated style presenting characters of high position in adventures forming an organic whole through their relation to a central heroic figure and through their development of episodes important to the history of a nation or race.
The Aeneid, Book I
A grove stood in the city, rich in shade, Where storm-tost Tyrians, past the perilous brine, Dug from the ground, by royal Juno's aid, A war-steed's head, to far-off days a sign That wealth and prowess should adorn the line. Here, by the goddess and her gifts renowned, Sidonian Dido built a stately shrine. All brazen rose the threshold; brass was round The door-posts; brazen doors on grating hinges sound.
Here a new sight Aeneas' hopes upraised, And fear was softened, and his heart was mann'd. For while, the queen awaiting, round he gazed, And marvelled at the happy town, and scanned The rival labours of each craftsman's hand, Behold, Troy's battles on the walls appear, The war, since noised through many a distant land, There Priam and th' Atridae twain, and here Achilles, fierce to both, still ruthless and severe.
Pensive he stood, and with a rising tear, "What lands, Achates, on the earth, but know Our labours? See our Priam! Even here Worth wins her due, and there are tears to flow, And human hearts to feel for human woe. Fear not," he cries, "Troy's glory yet shall gain Some safety." Thus upon the empty show He feeds his soul, while ever and again Deeply he sighs, and tears run down his cheeks like rain.
He sees, how, fighting round the Trojan wall, Here fled the Greeks, the Trojan youth pursue, Here fled the Phrygians, and, with helmet tall, Achilles in his chariot stormed and slew. Not far, with tears, the snowy tents he knew Of Rhesus, where Tydides, bathed in blood, Broke in at midnight with his murderous crew, And drove the hot steeds campward, ere the food Of Trojan plains they browsed, or drank the Xanthian flood.
There, reft of arms, poor Troilus, rash to dare Achilles, by his horses dragged amain, Hangs from his empty chariot. Neck and hair Trail on the ground; his hand still grasps the rein; The spear inverted scores the dusty plain. Meanwhile, with beaten breasts and streaming hair, The Trojan dames, a sad and suppliant train, The veil to partial Pallas' temple bear. Stern, with averted eyes the Goddess spurns their prayer.
Thrice had Achilles round the Trojan wall Dragged Hector; there the slayer sells the slain. Sighing he sees him, chariot, arms and all, And Priam, spreading helpless hands in vain. Himself he knows among the Greeks again, Black Memnon's arms, and all his Eastern clan, Penthesilea's Amazonian train With moony shields. Bare-breasted, in the van, Girt with a golden zone, the maiden fights with man.