The Aeneid (Again)

August 6 was this blog’s first birthday. In the post that started off these discursive ramblings about the objects I live among, I tried out the Virgilian lottery—a form of soothsaying where you open Virgil’s works at random and whatever passage you land on is supposed to tell your fortune. 

So I flipped open my copy of The Aeneid and pointed at a pair of lines about the hero receiving the gift of a chariot and two fire-breathing horses. This led me to believe that someone would soon be giving me a car, or, at the very least, a pony. She wouldn’t actually exhale flames, of course, but she would be reddish in hue and I would name her something like Sparkler. Or Blaze. 

Though I have yet to get my chariot or pony, I have decided to consult the Virgilian lottery again to mark this site’s first anniversary. After all, if I abandoned things that didn’t work after one try, I never would have written a second blog post. 

Just now, I closed my eyes, opened my copy of Robert Fagles’s translation of The Aeneid, and set my finger down on a passage in Book Eleven describing a chaotic scene on the battlefield after the killing of Camilla, a Volscian warrior princess who takes a spear to the ribs, right below the boob she leaves exposed while fighting. 

According to a commentary I found online, Camilla makes her eye-catching wardrobe choice so that her tunic won’t impede her bow-and-arrowing. But this explanation makes no sense to me, because wouldn’t a tunic get in your way a lot less than having a titty flopping around all over the place? If anything, what Camilla needed was a sports bra.  

In any case, I don’t think it’s a good sign that my Virgilian fortune is all about death and destruction and inadequate bust support. In fact, the last three lines of the stanza I pointed to go like this: 

As a dust storm dark as night goes whirling toward the walls,
the mothers stand at the lookouts, beating their breasts,
raising the women’s shrilling wails to the starry sky.

First of all: again with the breasts. 

Second, nothing in those lines conveys hope for the future, so, if you don’t mind, I’ll go back to holding out for Sparkler of the reddish coat and strawberry-blond mane. 

And speaking of things I don’t have: Before we commence year two, it seems fitting to pause for a moment of remembrance for the objects that inspired posts here but have since fallen out of my possession due to getting lost, replaced, or thrown out.

Consider this my version of the “In Memoriam” segment of the Oscars broadcast. While you read the section below, I suggest imagining a special appearance by Josh Groban to sing a solemn version of “What a Wonderful World.”

In Memoriam

HALLWAY RUG (2017–2020)
Peed on by dog and replaced

THESE GLASSES (2019–2020)
Replaced with new pair that I suspect are too big for my face

Whereabouts unknown; presumed eaten by dryer

Let us mourn the loss of these quotidian totems in the manner of the ancients: with shrilling wails, the rending of garments, and the beating of our poorly supported breasts.    

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s