Tearjerker / The Aeneid

  • Most deaths, with Pallas, Mezentius and his son (Lausus), and Camilla being standouts.
  • The final hours of Troy.
  • As Troy burns, Creusa (Aeneas's wife) is lost and killed. When he does meet her again, she appears as a ghost who prophesies his fate before disappearing as he desperately tries to embrace her.
    And thrice about her neck my arms I flung,
    And, thrice deceiv'd, on vain embraces hung.
    Light as an empty dream at break of day,
    Or as a blast of wind, she rush'd away.
  • In the Underworld, Aeneas meets the not-yet-incarnated souls of future Romans, including Marcellus, the beloved nephew of Augustus who died young before the poem was written. Aeneas recognises his short life: "If you could break free of your harsh fate, you would be Marcellus." Sad in itself, but leads to an even stronger meta-tearjerker: according to a story, when Vergil was reading part of his work to Augustus' court, Marcellus' mother Octavia passed out from grief upon hearing that scene.