DIDO AND AENEAS
A New English Translation
William Harris, Prof. Em. Middlebury
This text is intended for a reading-dramatic performance by several voices, so it has been printed BOLD for ease of reading out loud and recording.
Section 1, line 1 ff.
Let me chant ARMIES and that HEROIC MAN first
who won his way to Italy and her Latian coast,
from Troy's shores, tough refugee of destiny,
a man much wracked about on land and sea
(violence from above, to sate the unforgetting wrath
of Juno the Cruel) --- much scourged he was in war,
as he struggled to build himself a city, and to find
his gods a home in Latium. The Father ---- HE ----
of the Latian people, of the chiefs of Alba's clans,
and those grand walls of our high-towering Rome.
Section 2, line 8 ff.
Bring to mind, O My Heart, what reason, what treason
against her godhead, or what pain had she received,
that SHE, a Queen of Heaven drove a man of piety,
so fine a man, to spin on the wheel of misfortune,
drove him to bear the brunt of so much hardship?
Can God in Heaven feel a hate like this.........?
Section 3, line 12 ff.
Of old there was a city, | the people came from Tyre,
CARTHAGE its name, | over against Italy and Tiber's port,
yet far removed, | a rich and mighty realm,
formed to roughness by warfare's iron trade.
Section 4, line 15 ff.
It was a spot where Juno, it was said, 18
loved to dwell more than in all the world beside,
even her beloved Samos holding second place.
For here was her armor, here her chariot, and here
HERE she planned to fix by royal act (could Fate be brought to agree)
"Empire of the Nations", that was even then her aim,
that her cherished scheme.
Section 5, line 20 ff.
But she had heard the blood of Troy was sowing seed
of a race to overturn one day those Towers Of Tyre,
and from that seed a nation, monarch of broad realms,
glorious in war, would bring to the African shores ||
sheer ruin and desolation. So turns the wheel of Fate!
Section 6, line 23 ff.
With these fears in her mind, || and with a lively memory
of that old war which first she had waged at Troy
for her beloved Argives' sake....(nor had yet the causes
of that feud and the bitter pangs they roused
yet vanished from her mind --- no, they still remain
stored up in her soul's depths, that judgment of Paris,
and the wrong done to her slighted beauty, also that race
abhorred from the womb, and that gay state
enjoyed by God with his ravished Ganymede)
With this fuel added to the fire, the Trojans yet
poor remnants of Grecian havoc and Achilles' spear,
she had tossed from sea to sea, kept them far away
from Latium. For long, long years they were wandering,
destiny ever driving them, this whole ocean round.
So vast the cost it was to build the realm of Rome. 33
Section 7, line 34 ff.
Scarce out of sight of the land of Sicily now, see them
spreading their sails with joyfulness to the deep,
scattering with their brazen prows the briny spray
Section 8, line 30 ff.
...when Juno, the everlasting wound still rankling in her heart
thus communed within herself: "And am I now
to give up what I have taken in hand, baffled, without power
to prevent this King of the Trojans from reaching Italy?
And is it just because, forsooth, the Fates forbid ? ||
What? was Athena strong enough to burn the Grecian fleet,
and whelm the crews in sea, for the offense of one single man,
for that frenzy of schizophrenic Ajax, Oileus' son ?
Aye, she with her own hand launched from the clouds
Jove's winged fire, dashed the ships apart,
and turned sea-floor up bare with the driving wind,
and HIM gasping out the flame which pierced his guts
she caught in the blast, impaled on a rock's hard point.
Section 9, line 46 ff.
While I, who walk the sky as its queen, wife-sister too 49
Of GOD, I am battling with this single nation for long years.
After this, || will there be any at my altars to pray to me,
To bring to me sacrifice as gift on bended knee?
Section 10, line 50 ff.
With such thoughts sweeping through the solitude
of her enkindled breast, the goddess comes
now to the stormcloud's birthplace, the teeming womb
of fierce southern blasts, A E O L I A. Here, in caverns vast
King Aeolus is busy binding to his sway
struggling windblasts and tempests howling loud,
bridling them with bonds of chain and prison bars.
They, in their passion, are raving at the closed doors,
while the huge rock roars echoes back. King Aeolus sits
aloft in his fortress, his sceptre in his hand,
now soothing their moods and allaying their mad rage.
But......were he to fail in this, why sea and land,
and the height of heaven, would all be forced
along by their blast, and swept out through the air.
Section 11, line 60 ff.
But the Almighty Sire had buried them, dark and deep 64
in caverns, with just this fear before his eyes,
and placed upon them giant bulks of mountains massed
and given a king who, by his contract's terms,
would know how to tighten, or now to slack the reins.........
|| upon command.|| It was to this "Warden" that Juno made,
so sweet and suppliant silky smooth, this sly address:
Section 12, line 65 ff.
AEOLUS!... ||... for it is to thee that the Sire of Gods
and king of men has given power: Now to calm the winds,
or? Now to rouse the billows! || There is a people I love not
sailing down there on the Tyrrhenian sea,
smuggling into Italy TROY and their damaged deities.
NOW! YOU, lash winds to fury, sink and whelm their ships,
scatter them apart, strew out their corpses on the sea.
Section 13, line 71 ff.
Twice seven nymphs are of my train, surpassing fair;
of these, her (whose form is fairest, Deiopea) I give to thee
in lasting wedlock, and consecrate her as thy own
that all her days (for services so great!) she pass with thee,
and make thee.... soon.... sire of lovely, handsome progeny.
Section 14, line 76 ff.
Aeolus returns "Yours, great | Queen, is but the task80
to search out | what is wanted in your heart.
For me to do your bidding | is...... right and just.
You made this realm, | small as it is, all mine,
and mine the sceptre, | you've been the agency for me
getting God's smile, | a couch at the banquets of the gods.
You made me "Lord of Cloudbursts and Roaring Hurricanes".
Section 15, line 81 ff.
AND SO...||....soon as this was said, he turned his spear,
and pushed the hollow mountain on its side.
The winds, as though in marching column formed,
rush forth where they see an exit, as they sweep
over the earth in hurricane. Down they swoop on the sea,
and from its very bottom crash down the whole expanse
---one and all, East and South and South-West
with storms thronging his back, and roll huge billows
shoreward. Hark to the shrieks of the crew,
and the creaking of the cables! In an instant the clouds
snatch sky and daylight from the Trojans' eyes.
Night lies on the deep, the black and heavy sea,
pole thunders to pole, the heavens flash
thick with white fire, and all nature brandishes
instant death before the seamen's' faces.
Section 16, line 92 ff.
At once Aeneas" limbs are unstrung, chilled. He groans
aloud, stretching his clasped hands to the stars,
fetching from his stomach words like these: "0 happy they,
thrice and again, whose lot it was, in their fathers" sight,
under Troy's lofty walls to meet their death!
You, Achilles Tydides, bravest of the Danaan race,
why was it not mine to lay me low on Ilion's plains,
and yield this fated life to your right hand?
Aye, there it is that Hector lies stretched out deep, 191
still stern as in life, dead by Achilles" spear,
there lies Sarpedon's giant bulk, there Simois flows,
seizing and sweeping down its channel those many shields,
arms and the helmets, the bodies of the brave!"
Section 17, line 102 ff.
Such words he flung wildly forth, as a blasting roar
from the north strikes your sail full in front
and lifts the billows to the stars. Shattered the oars,
the prow turns, the ship's side turned to the waves,
down crashes in a heap a craggy mountain mass of water.
Look! men are hanging on the surge's crest----
the yawning deep gives them a glimpse of land
down among the billows, surf and sand raving together.
Section 18, line 108 ff.
Three ships the South catches, flings upon hidden rocks 123
(these rocks, as they stand with the waves all about them,
the Italians call "Altars"), a huge ridge rising above the sea.
Three more the East drives from the main to shallow tide,
a piteous sight, dashes on shoals, embanks in mounds of sand.
One with the Lycians sailing, and trusty Orontes, the sea
strikes from high on the stern before Aeneas' eyes.
Down goes the helmsman, washed off, topples on his head,
while "she" is thrice whirled round by the billows on the spot
and swallowed down at once by the greedy gulf.
You might see them here and there swimming in that vast abyss
heroes' arms, and planks, and Troy's treasures glimmering up
through the water. Already Ilioneus' stout ship,
already brave Achates', and that in which Abas sailed,
and that with old Aletes, are worsted by the storm,
their side jointings loosened, as one and all give entry
to the watery enemy and failing split apart..
Section 19, line 124 ff.
Meantime the roaring riot of the ocean and the storm let loose
have reached the Mind Of Neptune. Those once still waters
disgorged from their deep beds trouble him grievously,
and raising his tranquil brow above the water's surface
he casts a broad glance, sweeping over the sea.
There he sees Aeneas' fleet tossed here and there
over the whole expanse----the Trojans whelmed
under the billows, and the crashing ruin of the sky.
Nor failed this brother of Juno, Neptune, to read her craft
and hatred there. East and West he calls before him now
and bespeaks them thus :
Section 20, line 132 ff.
But it were best now to calm the troubled waves 141
(Henceforth you shall pay me for your crimes in far other coin.).
But now make goodspeed with your flight, and give your king
this message. "Not to him did lot of Fate assign
Empire on the Sea and the Terrible Trident, but to ME!
His sway is over those enormous rocks, where you, Euros
and others like you are dwelling. There in that "Court"
let Aeolus lord it, rule his wind-jail with chain and bar.
Section 21, line 142 ff.
He speaks and ere his words are gone, he's soothed
the swelling waters, and routed the mustered clouds,
brought back the sun in triumph. Triton and Cymothoe
mermaid combine their efforts to push the vessels off
from the sharp pointed rocks, but the god himself
levers them up with his mighty trident, and levels out
the quicksands, allays the sea, and on chariot-wheels
of lightest motion he glides along the water's top.
Section 22, line 148 ff.
Even as when in a great crowd tumult is often stirred,
and the base crowd waxes wild and frantic, brands and stones
are flying already, rage suiting the weapon to the hand..........
At that moment, should their eyes fall on some man of weight,
for duty well performed and public worth, all tongues are hushed
ears fixed in attention, while his words soothe and sway
So fell in silence all the thunderings of the sea, 156
soon as the Sea Father, with the waves before him in prospect
and the clear sky all about him, guides his steeds at will,
and as he flies flings reins freely to the obedient team
Section 23, line 157 ff.
But spent with toil, the family of Aeneas labors now
to gain any shore that is near, reaching the Libyan coast.
There is a spot retiring deep into the land,
where an island forms a haven by the barrier of its sides,
which break each billow from the main and send it back
shattered into the deep indented hollows. On either side
of this close bay are huge rocks, and two great crags
rising in menace to the sky. Under their summits far and wide
the water's hushed in shelter, while a theatral ring
of waving woods, a black forest of stiffening shade,
overhangs it from the heights. Under the encircling brow
that flouts the deep, is a cave with pendent crags,
within which are fresh springs and seats in the living rock,
the home of the nymphs. No need of cable here
to hold the weary bark or an anchor's crooked fang
to grapple her to the shore.
Here with seven ships mustered 179
from his whole fleet, Aeneas enters, with intense yearning
just for dry land. The Trojans disembark, they take hold
of the wished-for shore, and lay their brine drenched limbs
upon the beach. And now first Achates from a flint
struck out a spark, and received the fire as it dropped
into a cradle of leaves, placing dry fire-food all about it,
and spreading the strong blaze among the tinder.
Then their flour, even soaked and spoiled as it was,
and the corn-goddess' tin armory they bring out,
though sick of fortune, and make ready to parch the grain
rescued at the fire, and crush it with the milling stone.
Section 24, line 180 ff.
Aeneas meanwhile clambers up a rock, tries to get
a full view far and wide over the sea, if haply he may see
aught of Antheus and the Phrygian biremes, driven by the gale,
or Capys, or high on the stern the arms of Caicus. No sail in sight!
Three stags he sees at distance straying on the shore,
and after these the whole herd follows in the rear
grazing among the hollows in long array.
At once be took his stand, and caught up a bow 197
and arrows fleet, which true Achates was carrying,
and lays low first the leaders themselves, bearing their heads
aloft with antlers like trees, then the smaller sort
he scatters with his shafts pursuing the whole rout
among the leafy woods. Nor stays his hand till there lie
victoriously || three huge bodies || the sum of them
tallied even with his ships Next he returns
to the haven and gives all his comrades shares.
The wine next, (which that good Acestes had stowed
in casks on the Trinacrian shore and gave them all
at parting with his own princely hand) he portions out,
and speaks words of comfort to their sorrowing hearts
Section 25, line 198 ff.
"Comrades! for comrades we are, no strangers now
to hardships, our hearts have felt already deeper wounds.
For these too heaven will find a balm. My, men,
you have even looked on Scylla in her raging madnesses,
and heard those yells that thrill the rocks, you have made
trial of the crags of the Cyclops. Come, call your spirits back,
banish these doleful fears. Who knows but that some day
this too will be recalled and remembered with a smile?
Through many chances, through many perils of fortune,
we will make our way to Latium, where the Fates hold out
to us a quiet settlement. There Troy's empire has leave
to rise again from its ashes. Bear up, hold firm,
and reserve yourselves now for some brighter days."
Section 26, line 203 ff.
This said, heart-sick with overwhelming care, be wears
hope on his face, but grief deep buried in his heart.
Girding themselves to deal with the venison,
their forthcoming meal, they cut hide from the ribs,
and lay bare the flesh ---- some cut it into chunks,
and impale it yet quivering on spits, others on the beach
set cauldrons, supply them with flame. Then with food
they recall their strength, and, stretched along the turf,
feast on old wine and fat venison to their hearts' content.
Their hunger sated by the meal and the boards removed,
they vent in long talk their anxious yearning, talking of
missing comrades, balanced between hope and fear,
to think of them as alive, or as suffering the last change,
and deaf already to the voice that calls them now.
But good Aeneas" grief exceeds the rest, now he groans
for bold Orontes" fortune, now for Amycus", and in deep heart
laments for the cruel fate of Lycus, for the gallant Gyas
the gallant Cloanthus. 222
Section 27, line 223 ff.
And now at last their mourning has an end, when far above
Jupiter, from the height of ether (looking down
on the sea with its fluttering sails, on tile-flat surface of earth,
the shores, and the broad tribes of men) on heaven's crest,
paused, and fixed his downward gaze on Libya's realms.
Section 28, line 227 ff.
To Him speaks Lady Venus, revolving in her breast
such thoughts as these, sad beyond her wont, with tears
suffusing her starry eyes, "0 thou, who by thy laws
everlasting sway the two commonwealths of Men and Gods,
aweing them by thy lightening, what can my poor Aeneas
ever have done to merit such wrath? What can the Trojans?
They, after the many deaths they have suffered, yet find
the whole world barred against them, because of ||| Italy.
From them it was assured, as years rolled on
that the Romans, those warrior chiefs, were to spring,
yes, from Teucer's blood revived, to rule land and sea
with absolute sway. Such was thy promise! Has this purpose,
my father, wrought a change in thee ? This, I know,
this was my constant solace when Troy's star set
in ruin, as I sat balancing destiny against destiny.
And now here is the same mis-Fortune, pursuing hard
these same brave men she has so oft discomfited. 240
Section 29, line 240 ff.
Mighty King, what end of suffering have you to offer them?
Antenor, indeed, found means to escape right through
the midst of the Achaeans, to thread in safety the windings
up the Illyrian coast, and the realms of the Liburnians,
up at the gulf's head, and to pass the springs of Timavus
whence through nine mouths, amid the rocks re-echoed roar,
the sea comes bursting up, deluges the fields with billows
thundering. Yet in that spot he built the city of Patavium
for his Trojans to dwell in, and gave them a place and name
among the nations, and set respite for the arms of Troy.
Now he reposes, lapped in the calm of peace.
Section 30, line 250 ff.
Meantime we are severed far from the Italian shores 253
(we of thine own blood, to whom thy nod secures
the pinnacle of heaven) our ships, most monstrously
lost as you see --- all to sate the malice of one cruel heart.
Is this the reward of piety ? Restoring a king unto his throne ? "
Section 31, line 254 ff.
Smiling lightly on her, that planter of gods and men,
with the face which calms the fitful moodiness of the sky,
touched with a kiss his daughter's lips, then addressed her thus:
"Give your fears a respite, O my Lady of Cythera.
Your people's destiny still abides unchanged for you.
Your eyes shall see the city of your heart, the promised walls
of Lavinium, your arms shall bear your hero Aeneas aloft
to the stars in heaven. Nor has my purpose wrought a change.
That hero (I will speak out, in pity for the care that rankles yet
to wake the secrets of Fate's book from those distant pages
where they are slumbering.) your hero shall wage a mighty war
in Italy, crush haughty tribes, and set for his warriors
a polity and a city, till the third summer shall have seen
him King over Latium, and three winters in camp have passed
over the Rutulians' defeat. But the boy Ascanius, who has now
the new name of Iulus (Ilus he was, while the royalty of Ilion
stood firm) shall let thirty of the sun's great courses fulfill
their monthly rounds while he is sovereign, then transfer
Empire from Lavinium's seat, then build with power and might
Alba The Long. Here for full three hundred years
the crown shall be worn in turn by Hector's line,
till a royal priestess Ilia, by that war-god great with child,
shall be the mother of twin sons. And of these two, the one
proud to wear the tawny hide of his nursing mother wolf
ROMULUS, will take up the scepter, and build a town anew,
the city of Mars, and give the people his name || ROMANS.
To them I assign no limit, no date of empire;
my grant to them is dominion absolute without end. 279
Section 32, line 280 ff.
Nay, Juno your savage foe, who now in her blind terror,
can let neither sea, nor land, nor heaven rest,
shall soon amend her counsels, and vie with me
in watching over these Romans, lords of earth,
that great toga-ed nation of the gown. So it is willed.
The time shall come, as Rome's years roll on, this house
of Assaracus shall bend to its yoke Phthia and renowned
Mycenae, and queen it over vanquished Greece.
Section 33, line 286 ff.
Then, shall be born child of illustrious line, Trojan as your own,
CAESAR, born to extend his empire to the sea,
his glory to the stars, Julius in name as in blood, the heir
of mighty Iulus. HIM thou shall one day welcome safely up,
into the sky, a warrior laden with far Eastern spoils;
to Him, as to Aeneas, men shall pray and make their vows.
In his days war shall cease, and savage times grow mild.
Faith with her hoary head, Vesta, Quirinus, and Remus too
his brother, shall give law to the world. Grim, iron-bound,
closely welded, the gates of war shall now be closed.
Discord, that fiend prisoner, sits within on piles of arms
deadly as he himself, hands bound behind his back
with a hundred brazen chains, he shall ghastly seethe,
and roar from his throat of blood."
Section 34, line 297 ff.
So saying, word from on high that Carthage The New,
with her lands and her towers, shall now opened be
to welcome in the Teucrians, lest Dido ignorant of Fate,
should drive them from her borders. Down flies messenger
Mercury through the vast abyss of air, with wings for oars,
already now speedily alighting on the shore of Libya.
See ! he is doing his bidding already. The Punic nation
resigns the fierceness of its nature at the god's pleasure.
Above all the rest, the queen admits into her bosom
thoughts of peace towards the Trojans, a kindliness of heart 304
Section 35, line 305 ff.
But Aeneas the Good, | that whole night | these many things,
revolving, --- soon as the gracious dawn is vouchsafed, resolves
to go out and explore this new region, inquire what shores
be these on which the wind has driven him, who dwells there,
(for he sees it is a wilderness, is it men or beasts ?)
and bring his comrades back the news. His fleet he hides
in the wooded grove behind a hollow ledge, with a wall of trees
with stiffening shade on each side. With Achates, his close ally
he moves along, grasping two spear shafts of broad iron blade.
Section 36, line 314 ff.
He had reached the middle of the wood, when his right way
was crossed by his mother, wearing a maiden's mien and dress,
a maiden's armor, Spartan, (or even as Harpalyce of Thrace,
who tires steed after steed, and heading the swift waters
of her own Hebrus as she flies along). She had a shapely bow
duly slung from her shoulders in true huntress style,
hair streaming in the wind, her knee bare and a flowing scarf
gathered round her in a knot. Soon as she sees them there,
"Ho! youths," cries she, "if you have chanced to see
one of my sisters wandering in these parts, tell where to find her,
wandering with a quiver, a spotted Iynx-hide tied about her.
Or, it may be, chasing a foaming boar with her hounds in full cry." 324
Section 37, line 325 ff.
Thus Venus spoke, and Venus' son replied: "No sight or sound
of any sister of thine. Thou (what name shall I give thee, maiden.
for thy face is not of earth, nor the tone of thy voice human?
Some goddess surely thou art, Phoebus' sister perhaps,
or one of the blood of nymphs?) Be gracious, whoever thou art,
relieve our hardship, and tell us now under what sky,
or on what realms of earth we are thrown. For we are here
utter strangers to the men and the place. We are wandering,
as you see, by the driving of the wind and the mighty sea.
Do this, and victim shall fall at your altar by this hand of mine."
Section 38, line 335 ff.
Then Venus: "No!, I can not lay my claim to any such pedigree.
Tyrian maidens, like me, are wont to carry the quiver,
tie the purple buskin high up the calf. This land you now see
is Punic realm, the nation Tyrian and the town Agenor's.
But on the frontiers are the Libyans, a race ill to handle in war.
Dido is Queen, left her home in Tyre to escape her brother's ill.
Lengthy her tale of wrongs, lengthy the windings of its course,
but I will pass rapidly from point to point. Her husband Sychaeus
wealthiest of Phoenician land-owners, loved by his poor wife
with fervid passion. On him her father had bestowed her
in maiden bloom, linked by good omens of a first bridal.
Section 39, line 345 ff.
But the crown of Tyre was on the head of brother Pygmalion,
in crime monstrous beyond the rest of men. Between these two,
came insane fury. Impious and evil that he was, Pygmalion
at the very altar of the palace, the love of gold blinding his eyes,
surprises Sychaeeus with his stealthy steel, and lays him low,
without a thought for his sister's passion. He kept the deed
long concealed, with many a counterfeit story he sustained
the mockery of false hope in her pining love-lorn heart. 352
Section 40, line 353 ff.
But lo ! in her sleep there came to her no less than an ghost
of her unburied spouse, with a strange unearthly pallid face,
the ruthless altar and his breast gored with the steel. He laid bare
the one and the other, and unveiled from first to last
that dark domestic crime. Then urges her to speed her flight,
and quit her home forever, in aid of her journey he unseals
a hoard of treasure long hid in the earth, masses of silver and gold
which none else knew. Dido's soul was stirred, she began
to ready her flight, and friends to share it. There they meet,
those whose hate of the tyrant was fell or whose fear was bitter.
Ships, that chanced to lie ready in the harbor, they seize,
and freight down with gold. Away it floats over the deep,
that greedy Pygmalion's wealth. And who heads the enterprise ?
A woman ! So they came to the spot where you now see
yonder those lofty walls, the rising citadel of Carthage The New.
There they bought ground, from the transaction came
the name Byrsa, much as could string round with a bull's hide.
But who are you men after all? What coast are you from,
or whither are you holding on your journeying? "
That question he answers thus, with a heavy sigh,
and a voice fetched from the bottom of his diaphragm. 371
Section 41, line 372 ff.
"Fair goddess! if I begin from first and thus proceed
in order, and had thou leisure to listen to the chronicle
of all our sufferings, we would first close the Olympian gates
and lay the day to sleep. For us, bound from ancient Troy,
(if a Tyrian ear has ever chanced to hear the name of Troy?),
wanderers over diverse seas already, we have been driven now
by a storm's wild will upon your Libyan coasts. I am Aeneas,
styled The Good, who am bearing with me in my fleet,
rescued from the sea, the gods of Troy --- a name blazed
by rumor above the stars. I am sailing in quest of Italy,
looking there for an ancestral home, and a pedigree
drawn from high Jove himself. With twice ten ships
I climbed the Phrygian ocean, a goddess mother guiding me
and a chart of oracles to follow. Scarce seven ships remain,
shattered by wind and wave. So here am I, a stranger, nay,
a beggar, wandering over your Libyan desert lands,
driven in flight from Europe and Asia alike."
Section 42, line 402 ff.
Venus could bear the complaint no longer, she spoke out
straight off, striking into the middle of his sorrowing.
"Whoever you are, I know well it is not under the frown
of heavenly powers that you drew the breath of life,
to have arrived thus at our Tyrian town. Only go on,
and make your way straight hence to the queen's palace.
For I give you news that your comrades are returned
your fleet brought back, wafted to shelter by shifting gales,
---unless my learning of augury was in vain, and my parents
taught me cheats!. (Look up at those twelve exultant swans
in victorious column, which an Eagle, the bird of Jove,
swooping from the height of ether, was just now driving
in confusion arrayed over the wide un-sheltered sky.
But now their line stretches away, some alighting on the ground,
others just looking down on those alighted, as they, rallying,
ply their whirring wings, spreading their train around the sky,
and uttering song in triumph.) Even so your vessels
your gallant crews are now either safe in the port,
or entering the haven with sails full spread. Only go on,
and where the road leads you, now direct your steps."
Section 43, line 402 ff.
She said, and as she turned away, there flashed on their sight
her neck's roseate hue, her ambrosial locks breathed
from her head a heavenly fragrance, her robe streamed
down to her very feet, her walk revealed the Goddess true
Section 44, line 405 ff.
Soon as he knew his mother, he pursued her flying steps
with words like these: "Why will you be cruel like the rest,
mocking your son these many times with feigned semblance's?
Why is it not mine to grasp your hand in my hand,
to hear and return the true language of the heart?"
Section 45, line 410 ff.
Upbraiding her thus, he went his way to the walls of town.
But Venus fenced them around with a dim cloaked cloud,
wrapping them as a goddess can in a misty mantle spread,
that none may see them, touch them, put hindrance in their path,
or ask the reason of their coming. She makes her way aloft
to Paphos, glad to revisit the abode she loves, where stands
her temple of a hundred altars, with Sabean incense
ever smoking and fragrant with garlands ever new.
Section 46, line 418 ff.
Meanwhile, they push on their way, where the path leads,
already they are climbing the hill which hangs heavily
over the city, and looks from above on the towers
rising to meet it. Aeneas marvels at the mass of buildings,
once a mere hamlet of huts, he marvels at the gates,
the civic din, and the paved highways. Tyrians are moving,
alive and on fire, intent, some on piling the walls aloft
and upheaving the citadel, rolling stones from underneath
by force of hand. Others on making choice for dwelling site
and enclosing it with a trench. They are ordaining now the law
and its guardians, with the senate's sacred majesty.
Here are some digging out harbors, there are others laying deep
the foundations of a theater, and hewing from the rocks
enormous columns, the lofty ornaments of a stage to be.
Section 47, line 430 ff.
(Such are the toils that keep the commonwealth of bees
at work in the sun among the flowery meads
when summer is new, when they lead out the nation's hope,
the young now grown, to mass together honey, clear and flowing,
and strain the cells to bursting with its nectarous sweets,
or relieve of their burdens those who are coming in,
or collect a troop and expel from their stalls the drones,
that lazy thriftless herd. The work is all fire, a scent of thyme
breathes from the fragrant honey.)
"O happy they,439
whose city is rising already" cries Aeneas, looking upward
to roof and dome. In he goes, close fenced by his mist-cloud,
(miraculous to tell), he threads his way through the midst
and mingles unperceived.
Section 48, line 441 ff.
A grove there was in the heart of the city, plenteous of shade,
the spot where first, fresh from the buffeting of wind and wave,
the Punic folk dug up the token which queenly Juno
had bidden them expect, the sacred head of a fiery steed.
"For even thus", said she, "the nation should be renowned
in war and rich in sustenance for a lifetime of centuries."
Here Dido, Sidon's daughter, was building a vasty temple
to Juno, rich in offerings with the goddess special presence.
Bright brass was the threshold with its rising steps,
clamped with brass the posts, hinges creaked on brazen doors.
In this grove first that new thing (!!) appeared, to soothe away fear,
and here it was that Aeneas first dared to hope that all was safe,
and in his shattered fortunes now place a better trust.
Section 49, line 453 ff.
While his eye ranges over all under the temple's massy roof,
waiting there for the queen, while he is marveling
at the city's prosperous star, the various artists hands
vying with each other, their tasks and the toil they cost,
his mind beholds scene after scene the old battles of Ilion,
and the war that Fame had already blazed across the world.
He sees Atreus' sons, and Priam, and the enemy of both,
Achilles. He stops short, and breaking into tears, calls aloud
"What place is there left, Achates, what clime on earth
that is not full aware of our sad story? See there | | Priam.
Here, too, worth finds its due reward. Here, too,
there are tears for human fortune, and kind hearts
that are touched by mortality. Be free from fear.
This renown of ours will bring some measure of safety."
So speaking, he feeds his soul on this empty portraiture,
with many a sigh, lets copious rivers run down his cheeks.
For he still was seeing how, as they battled round Pergamum,
here the Greeks were flying, the Trojan youth in hot pursuit.
Here the Phrygians, and at their heels in his chariot Achilles,
with that dreadful crest. Not far from this he sees with tears
the snowy canvas of Rhesus' tent which, all surprised in sleep,
Tydides Achilles was devastating with wide carnage,
himself bathed in blood.
See ! he drives off the fiery steeds back to his own camp,
ere they can taste the pastures of Troy or drink of Xanthus.
There in another part is Troilus in flight, his armor fallen off
unhappy boy, fighting with Achilles in unequal combat,
dragged away by his horses, hanging half out of the empty car,
his head thrown back, but the reins still in his hands,
his neck and his hair are trailed along the ground.
His inverted spear is dragging, drawing lines in the dust.
Meanwhile to the temple of Pallas, their goddess enemy,
the Trojan dames were moving with locks disheveled,
carrying the sacred robe, in suppliant guise of mourning,
their breasts bruised with their hands, while the grim goddess kept
her eyes riveted on the ground, with her face turned away.
Thrice had Achilles dragged Hector round the walls of Ilion,
and was now selling for gold his body, thus robbed of breath.
Heavy indeed was the groan that Aeneas fetched up
from the bottom of his heart, when he saw the spoils,
the car, the very body of his friend, and Priam, stretching forth
his helpless hands. Himself, too, he recognizes in the front
of the Achaean ranks, the squadrons of the East, and the arms
of the swarthy Memnon. There, leading the columns of Amazons,
with their moony shields, is Penthesilea in her martial frenzy
blazing out, the center of thousands, as she loops up her big breast
in a bra of gold, that Warrior Queen, nerving herself ready
to engage the shock of combat, || mad maiden marching on men.
Section 50, line 494 ff.
With these things flicking before the wondering eyes
of Aeneas the Dardan, while he is standing bewildered,
and continues riveted in one set gaze --- the royal Queen
has moved towards the temple, DIDO, of loveliest presence,
a vast train of youths thronging round her. (Like on Eurotas banks,
or along the ridges of Cynthus, Diana is footing the dance,
while all attending her, a thousand mountain nymphs
mass themselves on either side. And she, quiver on her shoulder
she steps, towers, over the whole goddess sisterhood,
while divine Latona's bosom thrills silently with delight)
Such was Dido, such she moved triumphant through the midst,
to speed the work which had for its purpose "Great Empire".
Then, at the doors of the goddess, under the midmost temple vaults
with a fence of armed men round her, supported high
on her throne, she took her seat. There she was giving laws,
judgments to her citizens, making equal the burden of their tasks
by fair partition, or draughting it by lot. Suddenly Aeneas sees
coming among the great crowd Antheus and Sergestus,
and brave Cloanthus, and others of the Teucrians,
whom the black storm had scattered over the deep,
and carried far away to other coasts. Astounded was he,
overwhelmed too was Achates, all for great joy and fear.
Eagerly were they burning to join their hands with theirs, 519
but the unexplained mystery still confounds their minds.
They carry on the concealment, look out from the hollow cloud
that wraps them, to learn what fortune their shipmates had,
on what shore they left their fleet, what is their errand here.
For they were on their way, a deputation from all the crews,
going to sue for grace, making for the temple with loud cries.
Section 51, line 522 ff.
"Gracious queen, to whom Jupiter has given it to found
this New Carthago, to restrain by force of law
the pride of savage nations, we hapless Trojans, driven off
by the winds over every sea, make to you our prayer :
Hold off from our ships the horrors of fire, have pity, Queen,
on a pious race, vouchsafe a nearer view to our affairs.
We are not come to carry the havoc of the sword
into the homes of Libya, snatch booty and rush it to the shore;
such violence is not in our nature, such insolence
not for the vanquished.
But there is a place over the sea,
far to the West, the Greeks have called it || HESPERIA ||,
a land old in story, strong in arms and fruitfulness of soil.
The Oenotrians were its settlers, now reports have said
that later generations call the nation ||Italia || the name
after their ancient leader. Thither were we voyaging,
when rising with a sudden swell, Orion, lord of storm,
carried us into hidden shoals far away. The stress of gales
racing over the water and the surge o'er mastered us,
on pathless rocks scattered us here and there.
And what was left of us, a remnant, drifted to your shores.
What race of men have we found here? What country barbarous
sanctions a native custom like what we have found here,
where even the hospitality of the sand is forbidden us.
They draw the sword, forbid us setting foot on shore.
If you defy the race of men, the weapons mortals wield, 560
yet you must deal with gods, who survey right and wrong.
Aeneas was our king, than whom no man has breathed more just,
more eminent in piety, or in war and martial skill.
If the Fates still keep our hero alive, if he breathes this air,
and does not yet lie down in death's cruel shade
---- then all our fears are over. Be not uneasy to have made
the first advance in the contest of kindly courtesy.
The realm of Sicily, too, has cities for us, store of arms,
and a hero-king of Trojan blood, Acestes. Give us leave
but to lay up on shore our. storm-smashed fleet,
to fashion timber in your forests, strip boughs for oars,
so if we are allowed to sail away, comrades and king
restored to us, we may make our joyful way to Italy, to Latium.
Or, if our safety is swallowed up, and Aeneas, our leader,
king of the Trojans, is now prey of the Libyan deep,
and a nation's hope lives no longer in Iulus, then, at least,
we may make for Sicania's straits, the halls standing ready
to welcome us, whence we came hither. We may yet find a king
in Acestes." Such was the speech of Ilioneus. At once
a roar of accord burst from all, those sons of Dardanus.
Section 52, line 560 ff.
Then briefly Dido, with downcast look, makes her reply:
" Teucrians ! unburden your hearts of fear, lay your anxieties
aside. It is the stress of danger and the infancy of my kingdom
that makes me put this policy in motion to protect my frontiers
with a guard all about. The men of Aeneas and the city of Troy,
who can be ignorant of them ? the deeds and who did them,
and all the blaze of that mighty war? The wits are not so blunt
we Punic folk carry with us, not so wholly does the sun
turn his back on our Tyrian town when he harnesses his steeds.
Whether you choose Hesperia the Great and the old realm of Saturn
or the land of Eryx and their king Acestes, I send you on your way
with an escort to protect you, and will furthermore
supply you with stores.
But would you like to settle down along with me
in my kingdom here ? Look at the city I am building, it is yours.
Lay up your ships, Trojan and Tyrian shall be dealt by me
without distinction. Would to heaven your king too were here,
driven by the gale that drove you hither, himself the "Lord Aeneas".
For my part, I will send trusty messengers along the coast,
with orders to traverse the furthest parts of Libya, should he be
shipwrecked and wandering in forest or town or anywhere." 578
Section 53, line 579 ff.
Scarce had he spoken when the cloud that enveloped them
suddenly parts asunder and clears into the open sky.
Out stood Aeneas, and shone again in the bright sunshine,
his face and his chest the image of a god, for his lady mother
had shed her graceful tresses on her son's brow,
glowing with the flush of youth, and she had breathed
the breath of beauty and gladness into his eyes,
loveliness such as the artist's brush imparts to ivory,
silver or Parian marble enchased with yellow gold.
Section 54, line 594 ff.
Now he addresses the queen, and speaks suddenly
to the astonishment of all: "Here am I, he whom you seek,
right here before you, Aeneas O' Troy, and snatched indeed
from the jaws of the Libyan wave. O My Lady's kind good heart,
that alone of all has found pity for Troy's cruel agonies,
for us poor remnants of Danaean fury, utterly spent
by all the chances of land and sea, destitute of all.
To make us partners of its city, of this hall and home,
to pay such debt of gratitude, Lady, is more than we can do,
more than can be done by the survivors of our nation,
now scattered the wide world over. May the gods
(if there are powers that regard the pious, if justice and conscious
rectitude count for aught anywhere on earth) may they give
the rewards you merit ! What age had happiness to bring you forth?
What godlike parents gave such nobility to the world ?
While the rivers run into: the sea, while the shadows sweep
along the mountainsides, while the stars draw life from sky,
your glory your name your praise shall still endure,
whatever, wherever the lands which may yet beckon me." 610
So saying, he stretches to his friend Ilioneus his right hand,
his left to Serestus, and the rest, gallant Cloanthus and Gyas too..
Section 55, line 613 ff.
Astounded was Dido, Sidon's daughter, first at the hero,
his presence, his enormous suffering. She bespoke him thus:
"What ill misfortune is it, Goddess-born, that is hunting you
through such a wilderness of perils ? what violence
throws you on our savage coasts ? Are you, indeed,
the famed Aeneas, whom to Anchises the Dardanian,
Venus, Queen of Light and Love, bore by Simois' stream?
Aye, I remember Teucer coming to Sidon, driven afar
from the borders of his fatherland, hoping still to gain
a new kingdom by the aid of Belus. It was Belus, my sire,
then laying waste the rich fields of Cyprus and ruling the isle
with a conqueror's sway. Ever since that time, I knew
the fate of Troy, your name and the Pelasgian royalty.
Foe as he was, he extolled the Teucrians with signal praise,
and professed that he himself came of ancient Trojan stock.
Come then, brave men, and make our dwellings here your home.
I too, have had a fortune like yours, after the buffeting
of countless sufferings, I have been pleased that I find rest
here in this land at last. Myself no stranger to sadness, I learn
to succor the sorrowing."
Section 56, line 631 ff.
With these words, at that same moment
she ushers Aeneas into her queenly palace, orders a sacrifice
before the temples of the gods. Meantime, as if this were naught,
she sends to his ships at the shore twenty bulls, a hundred swine
huge with backs all bristling, a hundred fattening lambs
still with their mothers, and the wine-god's bountiful joviality. 636
The palace within is laid out with all splendor of regal luxury,
In the center of the mansion they make ready for the banqueting.
The coverlets are embroidered all of princely purple hue,
on the tables is massy silver, chased on gold are gallant exploits
of Tyrian ancestors, a long, long chain of story, deriving down
through hero after hero, when that old nation was yet young.
Section 57, line 643 ff.
Aeneas, for his fatherly love would not leave his heart at rest,
sends on Achates with speed to the ships to tell Ascanius
the news and conduct him back to the city. On Ascanius
all this fond parent's anxieties are centered. Presents too,
rescued from the ruins of Ilion, he bids him bring
a cloak stiff with flgured gold, and a veil with bordering
of yellow acanthus, (adornments of Argive Helen, carried away
from Mycenae, going to Troy to her unblessed bridal,
her mother Leda's marvelous gift, and the scepter too
which Ilione, eldest of Priam's daughters, had once borne
a string of pearls for the neck, and the double coronal
of jewels and gold). With this to dispatch, Achates even now
was wending back his way back unto the stranded ships. 656
Section 58, line 657 ff.
But our Lady of Cythera was casting up new wiles in her breast,
that Cupid, form and feature changed, may soon arrive
in the form of the charmer boy Ascanius, and by his presents
influence the queen to madness, turn the marrow of her bones
to fire. She fears that two-faced generation, the sons of Tyre
all double-tongued. Juno's hatred scorches her like flame,
and as night draws on, a fretful worry wings back to her.
So with these words she addresses her winged boy Cupido:
Section 59, line 664 ff.
"My son, who art alone my strength and mighty power,
my son, who laugh in scorn at our father's thunderbolts,
to you I fly for aid, make suppliant prayer for your magic powers.
Your brother Aeneas is tossed on the sea the whole world round
by Juno's implacable rancor. I need not tell you now,
nay, you have often mingled your own grief with mine.
He is now the guest of Dido, that Phoenician woman and a spell
of courteous tongue is laid on him, which I fear may be
taking shelter under Juno's wing. She can never idle be
at a time where so much hangs. I plan to be first in the field,
surprising the Queen by stratagem, encompassing her with fire,
that no power work a change in her, but passion for Aeneas
may keep her mine.
See the way in which we will bring this about,
listen to what I have been thinking. The young heir of royalty,
at his loved father's summons, is making ready to go here,
to the Sidonian city (my soul's darling that he is) bearing gifts
that have survived the sea and the flames of Troy.
Him I will lull in deep sleep, hide him in my hallowed shrine
high off on Cythera or Idalia, that by no chance he know
or mar our plot. Do then for a single night, and no more,
artfully counterfeit his form, and put on the boy's usual look,
yourself a boy, that when Dido, at the height of her joy,
shall take you into her lap, (while the princely board is laden
with the vine-god's liquor flowing), she shall be caressing You
and printing her fondest kisses on Your cheek, so you may breathe
concealed fire into her veins, and steal upon her with this poison." 688
Section 60, line 659 ff.
At once Love complies with his fond mother's words,
puts off his wings, and struts off rejoicing in Iulus' gait.
As for Ascanius, Venus sprinkles him over now with dew
of gentle slumber, and carries him, as a goddess may,
lapped in her bosom, into Idalia's lofty groves, where
a soft couch of amaracus enfolds him with its flowers,
and the fragrant breathing of its sweetest shade.
Meanwhile Cupid was on his way in all obedience,
bearing the royal presents to the Tyrians, glad to follow
Achates. When he arrives, he finds the queen already
settled on the gorgeous tapestry of a golden couch, centrally.
.Already father Aeneas, already the chivalry of Troy
are flocking in and stretching themselves here and there
on coverlets of purple. Servants bring water for their hands,
deftly producing the bread from the baskets, presenting towels
fine with shorn nap. Within are fifty maidens, who are charged
to stack up provisions in lasting store and light up with fire
the Gods of the Hearth. A hundred other girls, and also male
servitors of equal number and equal age, load up the table
with dishes, set forth the cups. The Tyrians now have come,
assembling in crowds through the festive hall, scattering
themselves as invited over the couches' embroidery.
Section 61, line 709 ff.
There is marveling at Aeneas' presents, marveling at Iulus,
at those glowing features (where the god shines through!),
those words which he feigns so well, at the robe and the veil
with yellow acanthus border. Chief of all Dido, the unhappy victim
of coming ruin cannot satisfy herself with gazing. She kindles
as she looks, this Phoenician woman, charmed with the boy,
with the presents alike. He, long hugged long in Aeneas' arms
and on his shoulder, pleasing the intense fondness of the sire
(feigned to be his), he finds his way to the queen. Riveted
by him, she is riveted eye and heart, and ever and anon
fondles him in her lap. Poor Dido, unconscious how great a god
is sitting heavy on that wretched lap. But he, his mind still bent
on his mother's order, starts to efface the name of Sychaeus
letter by letter, endeavoring to surprise by a live passion
affections long dormant, and a heart so long unused to love. 722
Section 62, line 723 ff.
When the banquet's first lull was come, and the board removed,
then they set up huge wreathed bowls well filled with wine.
A din rings to the roof, sound rolls through those spacious halls;
lamps hang from the gilded ceiling, burning brightly, bursts
of flambeaux put out the night. The queen called for a cup,
heavy with jewels and gold, filled it with unmixed wine;
the same which had been used by Belus, and every king
from Belus downward. Silence was commanded through the hall. 730
"Jupiter, for thou hast name of lawgiver for guest and host,
grant that this day may be auspicious alike for the Tyrians
and the voyagers from Troy, and that its memory
may long live among our posterity. Be with us, Bacchus,
the giver of jollity, and Juno, the queen of our blessings;
and you, the Lords of Tyre, with goodwill grace this meeting."
She said, and poured on the table an offering of tile wine,
the libation made, she touched the cup first with her lips,
then handed it to Bitias, rallying his slowness. Eagerly he quaffed
the foaming goblet, drenched himself deep in brimming gold.
Section 63, line 740 ff.
Then came the other lords in order, Iopas that long-haired bard
(he, whose teacher was the mighty Atlas) who takes his gilded lyre,
and fills the hall with music. His song is of the wanderings
of the moon and the agonies of the sun, whence sprung
man's race and the animals, whence rain-water and fire,
Arcturus and the showery Hyades, and the twin Bears,
why winter suns make haste to dip in sea, and what the cause
retarding nights to move so slowly. Applause breaks forth
from Trojan side and the Tyrians eagerly follow their lead. 747
Section 64, line 748 ff.
With varied talk, too, she kept lengthening out the night,
that unhappy Dido, drinking draughts of love long and deep,
as she asked much about Ilion, about Hector much, and now
what were the arms in which Aurora's son had come to fight,
now what Diomedes' steeds were like, how great Achilles was.
"But come now and tell us, our gentle guest," cries she,
"tell us the story from the very first, the Grecians' strategies,
the sad fate of your country, and your own wanderings
for this is now the seventh summer that is wafting you
a wanderer still over every land and wave."
Section 65, Book II, 1-5 ff.
EVERY tongue was hushed, and every eye fixe'd intently,
when from his high couch, sire Aeneas thus began to chant:
"Too cruel to be told, great Queen, is the great sorrow, but still
you bid me revive, how the power of Troy and its empire
met with piteous overthrow from the Danaans then,
heart-rending sights which my own eyes saw,
and scenes in which I had a large part to play.................
HOWEVER......... the Queen, so long shot through with leaden love
feeds the poison into her bloodstream, blind in a blinding furor........
DIDO AND AENEAS The End of Part One
The Start of Part Two DIDO AND AENEAS
Prof. Em. Middlebury College