Aeneid

Virgil

Vergil. Aeneid. John Dryden. trans.

  1. So Venus spoke, and Venus' son replied:
  2. “No voice or vision of thy sister fair
  3. has crossed my path, thou maid without a name!
  4. Thy beauty seems not of terrestrial mould,
  5. nor is thy music mortal! Tell me, goddess,
  6. art thou bright Phoebus' sister? Or some nymph,
  7. the daughter of a god? Whate'er thou art,
  8. thy favor we implore, and potent aid
  9. in our vast toil. Instruct us of what skies,
  10. or what world's end, our storm-swept lives have found!
  11. Strange are these lands and people where we rove,
  12. compelled by wind and wave. Lo, this right hand
  13. shall many a victim on thine altar slay!”
  1. Then Venus: “Nay, I boast not to receive
  2. honors divine. We Tyrian virgins oft
  3. bear bow and quiver, and our ankles white
  4. lace up in purple buskin. Yonder lies
  5. the Punic power, where Tyrian masters hold
  6. Agenor's town; but on its borders dwell
  7. the Libyans, by battles unsubdued.
  8. Upon the throne is Dido, exiled there
  9. from Tyre, to flee th' unnatural enmity
  10. of her own brother. 'T was an ancient wrong;
  11. too Iong the dark and tangled tale would be;
  12. I trace the larger outline of her story:
  13. Sichreus was her spouse, whose acres broad
  14. no Tyrian lord could match, and he was-blessed
  15. by his ill-fated lady's fondest love,
  16. whose father gave him her first virgin bloom
  17. in youthful marriage. But the kingly power
  18. among the Tyrians to her brother came,
  19. Pygmalion, none deeper dyed in crime
  20. in all that land. Betwixt these twain there rose
  21. a deadly hatred,—and the impious wretch,
  22. blinded by greed, and reckless utterly
  23. of his fond sister's joy, did murder foul
  24. upon defenceless and unarmed Sichaeus,
  25. and at the very altar hewed him down.
  26. Long did he hide the deed, and guilefully
  27. deceived with false hopes, and empty words,
  28. her grief and stricken love. But as she slept,
  29. her husband's tombless ghost before her came,
  30. with face all wondrous pale, and he laid bare
  31. his heart with dagger pierced, disclosing so
  32. the blood-stained altar and the infamy
  33. that darkened now their house. His counsel was
  34. to fly, self-banished, from her ruined land,
  35. and for her journey's aid, he whispered where
  36. his buried treasure lay, a weight unknown
  37. of silver and of gold. Thus onward urged,
  38. Dido, assembling her few trusted friends,
  39. prepared her flight. There rallied to her cause
  40. all who did hate and scorn the tyrant king,
  41. or feared his cruelty. They seized his ships,
  42. which haply rode at anchor in the bay,
  43. and loaded them with gold; the hoarded wealth
  44. of vile and covetous Pygmalion
  45. they took to sea. A woman wrought this deed.
  46. Then came they to these lands where now thine eyes
  47. behold yon walls and yonder citadel
  48. of newly rising Carthage. For a price
  49. they measured round so much of Afric soil
  50. as one bull's hide encircles, and the spot
  51. received its name, the Byrsa. But, I pray,
  52. what men are ye? from what far land arrived,
  53. and whither going?” When she questioned thus,
  54. her son, with sighs that rose from his heart's depths,
  55. this answer gave:
  1. “Divine one, if I tell
  2. my woes and burdens all, and thou could'st pause
  3. to heed the tale, first would the vesper star
  4. th' Olympian portals close, and bid the day
  5. in slumber lie. Of ancient Troy are we—
  6. if aught of Troy thou knowest! As we roved
  7. from sea to sea, the hazard of the storm
  8. cast us up hither on this Libyan coast.
  9. I am Aeneas, faithful evermore
  10. to Heaven's command; and in my ships I bear
  11. my gods ancestral, which I snatched away
  12. from peril of the foe. My fame is known
  13. above the stars. I travel on in quest
  14. of Italy, my true home-land, and I
  15. from Jove himself may trace my birth divine.
  16. With twice ten ships upon the Phryglan main
  17. I launched away. My mother from the skies
  18. gave guidance, and I wrought what Fate ordained.
  19. Yet now scarce seven shattered ships survive
  20. the shock of wind and wave; and I myself
  21. friendless, bereft, am wandering up and down
  22. this Libyan wilderness! Behold me here,
  23. from Europe and from Asia exiled still!”
  24. But Venus could not let him longer plain,
  25. and stopped his grief midway:
  1. “Whoe'er thou art,
  2. I deem that not unblest of heavenly powers,
  3. with vital breath still thine, thou comest hither
  4. unto our Tyrian town. Go steadfast on,
  5. and to the royal threshold make thy way!
  6. I bring thee tidings that thy comrades all
  7. are safe at land; and all thy ships, conveyed
  8. by favoring breezes, safe at anchor lie;
  9. or else in vain my parents gave me skill
  10. to read the skies. Look up at yonder swans!
  11. A flock of twelve, whose gayly fluttering file,
  12. erst scattered by Jove's eagle swooping down
  13. from his ethereal haunt, now form anew
  14. their long-drawn line, and make a landing-place,
  15. or, hovering over, scan some chosen ground,
  16. or soaring high, with whir of happy wings,
  17. re-circle heaven in triumphant song:
  18. likewise, I tell thee, thy Iost mariners
  19. are landed, or fly landward at full sail.
  20. Up, then! let yon plain path thy guidance be,”
  1. She ceased and turned away. A roseate beam
  2. from her bright shoulder glowed; th' ambrosial hair
  3. breathed more than mortal sweetness, while her robes
  4. fell rippling to her feet. Each step revealed
  5. the veritable goddess. Now he knew
  6. that vision was his mother, and his words
  7. pursued the fading phantom as it fled:
  8. “Why is thy son deluded o'er and o'er
  9. with mocking dreams,—another cruel god?
  10. Hast thou no hand-clasp true, nor interchange
  11. of words unfeigned betwixt this heart and thine?”
  12. Such word of blame he spoke, and took his way
  13. toward the city's rampart. Venus then
  14. o'erveiled them as they moved in darkened air,—
  15. a liquid mantle of thick cloud divine,—
  16. that viewless they might pass, nor would any
  17. obstruct, delay, or question why they came.
  18. To Paphos then she soared, her Ioved abode,
  19. where stands her temple, at whose hundred shrines
  20. garlands of myrtle and fresh roses breathe,
  21. and clouds of orient sweetness waft away.
  1. Meanwhile the wanderers swiftly journey on
  2. along the clear-marked road, and soon they climb
  3. the brow of a high hill, which close in view
  4. o'er-towers the city's crown. The vast exploit,
  5. where lately rose but Afric cabins rude,
  6. Aeneas wondered at: the smooth, wide ways;
  7. the bastioned gates; the uproar of the throng.
  8. The Tyrians toil unwearied; some up-raise
  9. a wall or citadel, from far below
  10. lifting the ponderous stone; or with due care
  11. choose where to build, and close the space around
  12. with sacred furrow; in their gathering-place
  13. the people for just governors, just laws,
  14. and for their reverend senate shout acclaim.
  15. Some clear the harbor mouth; some deeply lay
  16. the base of a great theatre, and carve out
  17. proud columns from the mountain, to adorn
  18. their rising stage with lofty ornament.
  19. so busy bees above a field of flowers
  20. in early summer amid sunbeams toil,
  21. leading abroad their nation's youthful brood;
  22. or with the flowing honey storing close
  23. the pliant cells, until they quite run o'er
  24. with nectared sweet; while from the entering swarm
  25. they take their little loads; or lined for war,
  26. rout the dull drones, and chase them from the hive;
  27. brisk is the task, and all the honeyed air
  28. breathes odors of wild thyme. “How blest of Heaven.
  29. These men that see their promised ramparts rise!”
  30. Aeneas sighed; and swift his glances moved
  31. from tower to tower; then on his way he fared,
  32. veiled in the wonder-cloud, whence all unseen
  33. of human eyes,—O strange the tale and true!—
  34. he threaded the thronged streets, unmarked, unknown.
  1. Deep in the city's heart there was a grove
  2. of beauteous shade, where once the Tyrians,
  3. cast here by stormful waves, delved out of earth
  4. that portent which Queen Juno bade them find,—
  5. the head of a proud horse,—that ages long
  6. their boast might be wealth, luxury and war.
  7. Upon this spot Sidonian Dido raised
  8. a spacious fane to Juno, which became
  9. splendid with gifts, and hallowed far and wide
  10. for potency divine. Its beams were bronze,
  11. and on loud hinges swung the brazen doors.
  12. A rare, new sight this sacred grove did show,
  13. which calmed Aeneas' fears, and made him bold
  14. to hope for safety, and with lifted heart
  15. from his low-fallen fortunes re-aspire.
  16. For while he waits the advent of the Queen,
  17. he scans the mighty temple, and admires
  18. the city's opulent pride, and all the skill
  19. its rival craftsmen in their work approve.
  20. Behold! he sees old Ilium's well-fought fields
  21. in sequent picture, and those famous wars
  22. now told upon men's lips the whole world round.
  23. There Atreus' sons, there kingly Priam moved,
  24. and fierce Pelides pitiless to both.
  25. Aeneas paused, and, weeping, thus began:
  26. “Alas, Achates, what far region now,
  27. what land in all the world knows not our pain?
  28. See, it is Priam! Virtue's wage is given—
  29. O even here! Here also there be tears
  30. for what men bear, and mortal creatures feel
  31. each other's sorrow. Therefore, have no fear!
  32. This story of our loss forbodes us well.”
  1. So saying, he received into his heart
  2. that visionary scene, profoundly sighed,
  3. and let his plenteous tears unheeded flow.
  4. There he beheld the citadel of Troy
  5. girt with embattled foes; here, Greeks in flight
  6. some Trojan onset 'scaped; there, Phrygian bands
  7. before tall-plumed Achilles' chariot sped.
  8. The snowy tents of Rhesus spread hard by
  9. (he sees them through his tears), where Diomed
  10. in night's first watch burst o'er them unawares
  11. with bloody havoc and a host of deaths;
  12. then drove his fiery coursers o'er the plain
  13. before their thirst or hunger could be stayed
  14. on Trojan corn or Xanthus' cooling stream.
  15. Here too was princely Troilus, despoiled,
  16. routed and weaponless, O wretched boy!
  17. Ill-matched against Achilles! His wild steeds
  18. bear him along, as from his chariot's rear
  19. he falls far back, but clutches still the rein;
  20. his hair and shoulders on the ground go trailing,
  21. and his down-pointing spear-head scrawls the dust.
  22. Elsewhere, to Pallas' ever-hostile shrine,
  23. daughters of Ilium, with unsnooded hair,
  24. and lifting all in vain her hallowed pall,
  25. walked suppliant and sad, beating their breasts,
  26. with outspread palms. But her unswerving eyes
  27. the goddess fixed on earth, and would not see.
  28. Achilles round the Trojan rampart thrice
  29. had dragged the fallen Hector, and for gold
  30. was making traffic of the lifeless clay.
  31. Aeneas groaned aloud, with bursting heart,
  32. to see the spoils, the car, the very corpse
  33. of his lost friend,—while Priam for the dead
  34. stretched forth in piteous prayer his helpless hands.
  35. There too his own presentment he could see
  36. surrounded by Greek kings; and there were shown
  37. hordes from the East, and black-browed Memnon's arms;
  38. her band of Amazons, with moon-shaped shields,
  39. Penthesilea led; her martial eye
  40. flamed on from troop to troop; a belt of gold
  41. beneath one bare, protruded breast she bound—
  42. a warrior-virgin braving mail-clad men.
  1. While on such spectacle Aeneas' eyes
  2. looked wondering, while mute and motionless
  3. he stood at gaze, Queen Dido to the shrine
  4. in lovely majesty drew near; a throng
  5. of youthful followers pressed round her way.
  6. So by the margin of Eurotas wide
  7. or o'er the Cynthian steep, Diana leads
  8. her bright processional; hither and yon
  9. are visionary legions numberless
  10. of Oreads; the regnant goddess bears
  11. a quiver on her shoulders, and is seen
  12. emerging tallest of her beauteous train;
  13. while joy unutterable thrills the breast
  14. of fond Latona: Dido not less fair
  15. amid her subjects passed, and not less bright
  16. her glow of gracious joy, while she approved
  17. her future kingdom's pomp and vast emprise.
  18. Then at the sacred portal and beneath
  19. the temple's vaulted dome she took her place,
  20. encompassed by armed men, and lifted high
  21. upon a throne; her statutes and decrees
  22. the people heard, and took what lot or toil
  23. her sentence, or impartial urn, assigned.
  24. But, lo! Aeneas sees among the throng
  25. Antheus, Sergestus, and Cloanthus bold,
  26. with other Teucrians, whom the black storm flung
  27. far o'er the deep and drove on alien shores.
  28. Struck dumb was he, and good Achates too,
  29. half gladness and half fear. Fain would they fly
  30. to friendship's fond embrace; but knowing not
  31. what might befall, their hearts felt doubt and care.
  32. Therefore they kept the secret, and remained
  33. forth-peering from the hollow veil of cloud,
  34. haply to learn what their friends' fate might be,
  35. or where the fleet was landed, or what aim
  36. had brought them hither; for a chosen few
  37. from every ship had come to sue for grace,
  38. and all the temple with their voices rang.
  1. The doors swung wide; and after access given
  2. and leave to speak, revered Ilioneus
  3. with soul serene these lowly words essayed:
  4. “O Queen, who hast authority of Jove
  5. to found this rising city, and subdue
  6. with righteous governance its people proud,
  7. we wretched Trojans, blown from sea to sea,
  8. beseech thy mercy; keep the curse of fire
  9. from our poor ships! We pray thee, do no wrong
  10. unto a guiltless race. But heed our plea!
  11. No Libyan hearth shall suffer by our sword,
  12. nor spoil and plunder to our ships be borne;
  13. such haughty violence fits not the souls
  14. of vanquished men. We journey to a land
  15. named, in Greek syllables, Hesperia:
  16. a storied realm, made mighty by great wars
  17. and wealth of fruitful land; in former days
  18. Oenotrians had it, and their sons, 't is said,
  19. have called it Italy, a chieftain's name
  20. to a whole region given. Thitherward
  21. our ships did fare; but with swift-rising flood
  22. the stormful season of Orion's star
  23. drove us on viewless shoals; and angry gales
  24. dispersed us, smitten by the tumbling surge,
  25. among innavigable rocks. Behold,
  26. we few swam hither, waifs upon your shore!
  27. What race of mortals this? What barbarous land,
  28. that with inhospitable laws ye thrust
  29. a stranger from your coasts, and fly to arms,
  30. nor grant mere foothold on your kingdom's bound?
  31. If man thou scornest and all mortal power,
  32. forget not that the gods watch good and ill!
  1. A king we had; Aeneas,—never man
  2. in all the world more loyal, just and true,
  3. nor mightier in arms! If Heaven decree
  4. his present safety, if he now do breathe
  5. the air of earth and is not buried low
  6. among the dreadful shades, then fear not thou!
  7. For thou wilt never rue that thou wert prompt
  8. to do us the first kindness. O'er the sea
  9. in the Sicilian land, are cities proud,
  10. with martial power, and great Acestes there
  11. is of our Trojan kin. So grant us here
  12. to beach our shattered ships along thy shore,
  13. and from thy forest bring us beam and spar
  14. to mend our broken oars. Then, if perchance
  15. we find once more our comrades and our king,
  16. and forth to Italy once more set sail,
  17. to Italy, our Latin hearth and home,
  18. we will rejoicing go. But if our weal
  19. is clean gone by, and thee, blest chief and sire,
  20. these Libyan waters keep, and if no more
  21. Iulus bids us hope,—then, at the least,
  22. to yon Sicilian seas, to friendly lands
  23. whence hither drifting with the winds we came,
  24. let us retrace the journey and rejoin
  25. good King Acestes.” So Ilioneus
  26. ended his pleading; the Dardanidae
  27. murmured assent.
  1. Then Dido, briefly and with downcast eyes,
  2. her answer made: “O Teucrians, have no fear!
  3. Bid care begone! It was necessity,
  4. and my young kingdom's weakness, which compelled
  5. the policy of force, and made me keep
  6. such vigilant sentry my wide co'ast along.
  7. Aeneas and his people, that fair town
  8. of Troy—who knows them not? The whole world knows
  9. those valorous chiefs and huge, far-flaming wars.
  10. Our Punic hearts are not of substance all
  11. insensible and dull: the god of day
  12. drives not his fire-breathing steeds so far
  13. from this our Tyrian town. If ye would go
  14. to great Hesperia, where Saturn reigned,
  15. or if voluptuous Eryx and the throne
  16. of good Acestes be your journey's end,
  17. I send you safe; I speed you on your way.
  18. But if in these my realms ye will abide,
  19. associates of my power, behold, I build
  20. this city for your own! Choose haven here
  21. for your good ships. Beneath my royal sway
  22. Trojan and Tyrian equal grace will find.
  23. But O, that this same storm had brought your King.
  24. Aeneas, hither! I will bid explore
  25. our Libya's utmost bound, where haply he
  26. in wilderness or hamlet wanders lost.”
  1. By these fair words to joy profoundly stirred,
  2. Father Aeneas and Achates brave
  3. to cast aside the cloud that wrapped them round
  4. yearned greatly; and Achates to his King
  5. spoke thus: “O goddess-born, in thy wise heart
  6. what purpose rises now? Lo! All is well!
  7. Thy fleet and followers are safe at land.
  8. One only comes not, who before our eyes
  9. sank in the soundless sea. All else fulfils
  10. thy mother's prophecy.” Scarce had he spoke
  11. when suddenly that overmantling cloud
  12. was cloven, and dissolved in lucent air;
  13. forth stood Aeneas. A clear sunbeam smote
  14. his god-like head and shoulders. Venus' son
  15. of his own heavenly mother now received
  16. youth's glowing rose, an eye of joyful fire,
  17. and tresses clustering fair. 'T is even so
  18. the cunning craftsman unto ivory gives
  19. new beauty, or with circlet of bright gold
  20. encloses silver or the Parian stone.
  21. Thus of the Queen he sued, while wonderment
  22. fell on all hearts. “Behold the man ye seek,
  23. for I am here! Aeneas, Trojan-born,
  24. brought safely hither from yon Libyan seas!
  25. O thou who first hast looked with pitying eye
  26. on Troy's unutterable grief, who even to us
  27. (escaped our Grecian victor, and outworn
  28. by all the perils land and ocean know),
  29. to us, bereft and ruined, dost extend
  30. such welcome to thy kingdom and thy home!
  31. I have no power, Dido, to give thanks
  32. to match thine ample grace; nor is there power
  33. in any remnant of our Dardan blood,
  34. now fled in exile o'er the whole wide world.
  35. May gods on high (if influence divine
  36. bless faithful lives, or recompense be found
  37. in justice and thy self-approving mind)
  38. give thee thy due reward. What age was blest
  39. by such a birth as thine? What parents proud
  40. such offspring bore? O, while the rivers run
  41. to mingle with the sea, while shadows pass
  42. along yon rounded hills from vale to vale,
  43. and while from heaven's unextinguished fire
  44. the stars be fed—so Iong thy glorious name,
  45. thy place illustrious and thy virtue's praise,
  46. abide undimmed.—Yet I myself must go
  47. to lands I know not where.” After this word
  48. his right hand clasped his Ioved Ilioneus,
  49. his left Serestus; then the comrades all,
  50. brave Gyas, brave Cloanthus, and their peers.
  1. Sidonian Dido felt her heart stand still
  2. when first she looked on him; and thrilled again
  3. to hear what vast adventure had befallen
  4. so great a hero. Thus she welcomed him:
  5. “What chance, O goddess-born, o'er danger's path
  6. impels? What power to this wild coast has borne?
  7. Art thou Aeneas, great Anchises' son,
  8. whom lovely Venus by the Phrygian stream
  9. of Simois brought forth unto the day?
  10. Now I bethink me of when Teucer came
  11. to Sidon, exiled, and of Belus' power
  12. desired a second throne. For Belus then,
  13. our worshipped sire, despoiled the teeming land
  14. of Cyprus, as its conqueror and king.
  15. And since that hour I oft have heard the tale
  16. of fallen Troy, of thine own noble name,
  17. and of Achaean kings. Teucer was wont,
  18. although their foe, to praise the Teucrian race,
  19. and boasted him of that proud lineage sprung.
  20. Therefore, behold, our portals are swung wide
  21. for all your company. I also bore
  22. hard fate like thine. I too was driven of storms
  23. and after long toil was allowed at last
  24. to call this land my home. O, I am wise
  25. in sorrow, and I help all suffering souls!”
  26. So saying, she bade Aeneas welcome take
  27. beneath her royal roof, and to the gods
  28. made sacrifice in temples, while she sent
  29. unto the thankful Trojans on the shore
  30. a score of bulls, and of huge, bristling swine,
  31. a herd of a whole hundred, and a flock
  32. of goodly lambs, a hundred, who ran close
  33. beside the mother-ewes: and all were given
  34. in joyful feast to please the Heavenly Powers.
  35. Her palace showed a monarch's fair array
  36. all glittering and proud, and feasts were spread
  37. within the ample court. Rich broideries
  38. hung deep incarnadined with Tyrian skill;
  39. the board had massy silver, gold-embossed,
  40. where gleamed the mighty deeds of all her sires,
  41. a graven chronicle of peace and war
  42. prolonged, since first her ancient line began,
  43. from royal sire to son.
  1. Aeneas now
  2. (for love in his paternal heart spoke loud
  3. and gave no rest) bade swift Achates run
  4. to tell Ascanius all, and from the ship
  5. to guide him upward to the town,—for now
  6. the father's whole heart for Ascanius yearned.
  7. And gifts he bade them bring, which had been saved
  8. in Ilium's fall: a richly broidered cloak
  9. heavy with golden emblems; and a veil
  10. by leaves of saffron lilies bordered round,
  11. which Argive Helen o'er her beauty threw,
  12. her mother Leda's gift most wonderful,
  13. and which to Troy she bore, when flying far
  14. in lawless wedlock from Mycenae's towers;
  15. a sceptre, too, once fair Ilione's,
  16. eldest of Priam's daughters; and round pearls
  17. strung in a necklace, and a double crown
  18. of jewels set in gold. These gifts to find,
  19. Achates to the tall ships sped away.
  1. But Cytherea in her heart revolved
  2. new wiles, new schemes: how Cupid should transform
  3. his countenance, and, coming in the guise
  4. of sweet Ascanius, still more inflame
  5. the amorous Queen with gifts, and deeply fuse
  6. through all her yielding frame his fatal fire.
  7. Sooth, Venus feared the many-languaged guile
  8. which Tyrians use; fierce Juno's hate she feared,
  9. and falling night renewed her sleepless care.
  10. Therefore to Love, the light-winged god, she said:
  11. “Sweet son, of whom my sovereignty and power
  12. alone are given! O son, whose smile may scorn
  13. the shafts of Jove whereby the Titans fell,
  14. to thee I fly, and humbly here implore
  15. thy help divine. Behold, from land to land
  16. Aeneas, thine own brother, voyages on
  17. storm-driven, by Juno's causeless enmity.
  18. Thou knowest it well, and oft hast sighed to see
  19. my sighs and tears. Dido the Tyrian now
  20. detains him with soft speeches; and I fear
  21. such courtesy from Juno means us ill;
  22. she is not one who, when the hour is ripe,
  23. bids action pause. I therefore now intend
  24. the Tyrian Queen to snare, and siege her breast
  25. with our invading fire, before some god
  26. shall change her mood. But let her bosom burn
  27. with love of my Aeneas not less than mine.
  28. This thou canst bring to pass. I pray thee hear
  29. the plan I counsel. At his father's call
  30. Ascanius, heir of kings, makes haste to climb
  31. to yon Sidonian citadel; my grace
  32. protects him, and he bears gifts which were saved
  33. from hazard of the sea and burning Troy.
  34. Him lapped in slumber on Cythera's hill,
  35. or in Idalia's deep and hallowing shade,
  36. myself will hide, lest haply he should learn
  37. our stratagem, and burst in, foiling all.
  38. Wear thou his shape for one brief night thyself,
  39. and let thy boyhood feign another boy's
  40. familiar countenance; when Dido there,
  41. beside the royal feast and flowing wine,
  42. all smiles and joy, shall clasp thee to her breast
  43. while she caresses thee, and her sweet lips
  44. touch close with thine, then let thy secret fire
  45. breathe o'er her heart, to poison and betray.”
  46. The love-god to his mother's dear behest
  47. gave prompt assent. He put his pinions by
  48. and tripped it like Iulus, light of heart.
  49. But Venus o'er Ascanius' body poured
  50. a perfect sleep, and, to her heavenly breast
  51. enfolding him, far, far away upbore
  52. to fair Idalia's grove, where fragrant buds
  53. of softly-petalled marjoram embower
  54. in pleasurable shade.
  1. Cupid straightway
  2. obeyed his mother's word and bore the gifts,
  3. each worthy of a king, as offerings
  4. to greet the Tyrian throne; and as he went
  5. he clasped Achates' friendly hand, and smiled.
  6. Father Aeneas now, and all his band
  7. of Trojan chivalry, at social feast,
  8. on lofty purple-pillowed couches lie;
  9. deft slaves fresh water on their fingers pour,
  10. and from reed-woven basketry renew
  11. the plenteous bread, or bring smooth napery
  12. of softest weave; fifty handmaidens serve,
  13. whose task it is to range in order fair
  14. the varied banquet, or at altars bright
  15. throw balm and incense on the sacred fires.
  16. A hundred more serve with an equal band
  17. of beauteous pages, whose obedient skill
  18. piles high the generous board and fills the bowl.
  19. The Tyrians also to the festal hall
  20. come thronging, and receive their honor due,
  21. each on his painted couch; with wondering eyes
  22. Aeneas' gifts they view, and wondering more,
  23. mark young Iulus' radiant brows divine,
  24. his guileful words, the golden pall he bears,
  25. and broidered veil with saffron lilies bound.
  26. The Tyrian Queen ill-starred, already doomed
  27. to her approaching woe, scanned ardently,
  28. with kindling cheek and never-sated eyes,
  29. the precious gifts and wonder-gifted boy.
  30. He round Aeneas' neck his arms entwined,
  31. fed the deep yearning of his seeming sire,
  32. then sought the Queen's embrace; her eyes, her soul
  33. clave to him as she strained him to her breast.
  34. For Dido knew not in that fateful hour
  35. how great a god betrayed her. He began,
  36. remembering his mother (she who bore
  37. the lovely Acidalian Graces three),
  38. to make the dear name of Sichaeus fade,
  39. and with new life, new love, to re-possess
  40. her Iong-since slumbering bosom's Iost desire.
  1. When the main feast is over, they replace
  2. the banquet with huge bowls, and crown the wine
  3. with ivy-leaf and rose. Loud rings the roof
  4. with echoing voices; from the gilded vault
  5. far-blazing cressets swing, or torches bright
  6. drive the dark night away. The Queen herself
  7. called for her golden chalice studded round
  8. with jewels, and o'er-brimming it with wine
  9. as Belus and his proud successors use,
  10. commanded silence, and this utterance made:
  11. “Great Jove, of whom are hospitable laws
  12. for stranger-guest, may this auspicious day
  13. bless both our Tyrians and the wanderers
  14. from Trojan shore. May our posterity
  15. keep this remembrance! Let kind Juno smile,
  16. and Bacchus, Iord of mirth, attend us here!
  17. And, O ye Tyrians, come one and all,
  18. and with well-omened words our welcome share!”
  19. So saying, she outpoured the sacred drop
  20. due to the gods, and lightly from the rim
  21. sipped the first taste, then unto Bitias gave
  22. with urgent cheer; he seized it, nothing loth,
  23. quaffed deep and long the foaming, golden bowl,
  24. then passed to others. On a gilded Iyre
  25. the flowing-haired Iopas woke a song
  26. taught him by famous Atlas: of the moon
  27. he sang, the wanderer, and what the sun's
  28. vast labors be; then would his music tell
  29. whence man and beast were born, and whence were bred
  30. clouds, lightnings, and Arcturus' stormful sign,
  31. the Hyades, rain-stars, and nigh the Pole
  32. the great and lesser Wain; for well he knew
  33. why colder suns make haste to quench their orb
  34. in ocean-stream, and wintry nights be slow.
  35. Loudly the Tyrians their minstrel praised,
  36. and Troy gave prompt applause. Dido the while
  37. with varying talk prolonged the fateful night,
  38. and drank both long and deep of love and wine.
  39. Now many a tale of Priam would she crave,
  40. of Hector many; or what radiant arms
  41. Aurora's son did wear; what were those steeds
  42. of Diomed, or what the stature seemed
  43. of great Achilles. “Come, illustrious guest,
  44. begin the tale,” she said, “begin and tell
  45. the perfidy of Greece, thy people's fall,
  46. and all thy wanderings. For now,—Ah, me!
  47. Seven times the summer's burning stars have seen
  48. thee wandering far o'er alien lands and seas.”