“Robert Fagles, shortly before his death, set the bar very high for translating the Aeneid. Sarah Ruden has soared over the bar…. The translation is alive in every part…. This is the first translation since Dryden’s that can be read as a great English poem in itself.”
—Garry Wills, New York Review of Books
“They drew for starting places, and the captains
Stood on the sterns in radiant gold and purple.
The young men of the crews wore poplar garlands.
Their shoulders glistened with the oil rubbed on.
They sat and took a tight grip on the oars,
Keen for the signal; throbbing trepidation
And greed for praise clutched at their leaping hearts.
The trumpet blared, and instantly they sprang
Over the line. Their shouting struck the sky.
Their arms drew back, they whipped the sea to foam.
The ships cut trenches in a row. The surface
Split with the force of oars and trident beaks.”