They say that Numa, when his soul had learned
from these and others' teachings, then returned to his own city; and when he was urged
to take the reins, he ruled the Latin state.
There, with the nymph Egeria, the wife
he'd wedded happily, and guided by
the Muses, Numa trained in sacred rites
the Latins; and to them he taught the arts
of peace--for until then, they were warlike.
And when he'd reached the end of his long life
and rule, at Numa's death his people wept:
the Latin mothers and the commoners
and elders--all were mourners. And his wife,
abandoing the city, went to hide
in the thick woods that filled Aricia's valley.
And there, her loud laments disturbed the rites
and worship of Diana (for Orestes
had brought her cult to Latium from Greece).
The nymphs who graced those woods, that lake, beseeched
Egeria to stay her tears; again,
again, they spoke consoling words; again,
again, the son of Theseus joined their pleas:
"You've wept enough," he said; "you're not alone
in suffering a fate that merits tears.
Just look at others' griefs much like your own,
and you will bear the loss with greater calm.
But others' anguish did not help assuage
the sorrow of Egeria. She lay
prostrate, along a mountain's base and wept,
until Diana, seeing her bereft,
a widow torn by pious grief, took pity
on sorrowing Egeria and gave
her body liquid shape: her limbs became
the waters of a cool, eternal spring.