Aeneid

Virgil

Vergil. Aeneid. John Dryden. trans.

  1. Aurora's first young beams to earth were pouring
  2. as from Tithonus' saffron bed she sprang;
  3. while from her battlements the wakeful Queen
  4. watched the sky brighten, saw the mated sails
  5. push forth to sea, till all her port and strand
  6. held not an oar or keel. Thrice and four times
  7. she smote her lovely breast with wrathful hand,
  8. and tore her golden hair. “Great Jove,” she cries,
  9. “Shall that departing fugitive make mock
  10. of me, a queen? Will not my men-at-arms
  11. draw sword, give chase, from all my city thronging?
  12. Down from the docks, my ships! Out, out! Begone!
  13. Take fire and sword! Bend to your oars, ye slaves!
  14. What have I said? Where am I? What mad thoughts
  15. delude this ruined mind? Woe unto thee,
  16. thou wretched Dido, now thy impious deeds
  17. strike back upon thee. Wherefore struck they not,
  18. as was most fit, when thou didst fling away
  19. thy sceptre from thy hand? O Iying oaths!
  20. O faith forsworn! of him who brings, they boast,
  21. his father's gods along, and bowed his back
  22. to lift an age-worn sire! Why dared I not
  23. seize on him, rend his body limb from limb,
  24. and hurl him piecemeal on the rolling sea?
  25. Or put his troop of followers to the sword,
  26. ascanius too, and set his flesh before
  27. that father for a feast? Such fearful war
  28. had been of doubtful issue. Be it so!
  29. What fears a woman dying? Would I had
  30. attacked their camp with torches, kindled flame
  31. from ship to ship, until that son and sire,
  32. with that whole tribe, were unto ashes burned
  33. in one huge holocaust—myself its crown!
  34. Great orb of light whose holy beam surveys
  35. all earthly deeds! Great Juno, patroness
  36. of conjugal distress, who knowest all!
  37. Pale Hecate, whose name the witches cry
  38. at midnight crossways! O avenging furies!
  39. O gods that guard Queen Dido's dying breath!
  40. Give ear, and to my guiltless misery
  41. extend your power. Hear me what I pray!
  42. If it be fated that yon creature curst
  43. drift to the shore and happy haven find,
  44. if Father Iove's irrevocable word
  45. such goal decree—there may he be assailed
  46. by peoples fierce and bold. A banished man,
  47. from his Iulus' kisses sundered far,
  48. may his own eyes see miserably slain
  49. his kin and kind, and sue for alien arms.
  50. nor when he basely bows him to receive
  51. terms of unequal peace, shall he be blest
  52. with sceptre or with life; but perish there
  53. before his time, and lie without a grave
  54. upon the barren sand. For this I pray.
  55. This dying word is flowing from my heart
  56. with my spilt blood. And—O ye Tyrians! I
  57. sting with your hatred all his seed and tribe
  58. forevermore. This is the offering
  59. my ashes ask. Betwixt our nations twain,
  60. No Iove! No truce or amity! Arise,
  61. Out of my dust, unknown Avenger, rise!
  62. To harry and lay waste with sword and flame
  63. those Dardan settlers, and to vex them sore,
  64. to-day, to-morrow, and as long as power
  65. is thine to use! My dying curse arrays
  66. shore against shore and the opposing seas
  67. in shock of arms with arms. May living foes
  68. pass down from sire to son insatiate war!”
  1. She said. From point to point her purpose flew,
  2. seeking without delay to quench the flame
  3. of her loathed life. Brief bidding she addressed
  4. to Barce then, Sichaeus' nurse (her own
  5. lay dust and ashes in a lonely grave
  6. beside the Tyrian shore), “Go, nurse, and call
  7. my sister Anna! Bid her quickly bathe
  8. her limbs in living water, and procure
  9. due victims for our expiating fires.
  10. bid her make haste. Go, bind on thy own brow
  11. the sacred fillet. For to Stygian Jove
  12. it is my purpose now to consummate
  13. the sacrifice ordained, ending my woe,
  14. and touch with flame the Trojan's funeral pyre.”
  15. The aged crone to do her bidding ran
  16. with trembling zeal. But Dido (horror-struck
  17. at her own dread design, unstrung with fear,
  18. her bloodshot eyes wide-rolling, and her cheek
  19. twitching and fever-spotted, her cold brow
  20. blanched with approaching death)—sped past the doors
  21. into the palace garden; there she leaped,
  22. a frenzied creature, on the lofty pyre
  23. and drew the Trojan's sword; a gift not asked
  24. for use like this! When now she saw the garb
  25. of Ilian fashion, and the nuptial couch
  26. she knew too well, she lingered yet awhile
  27. for memory and tears, and, falling prone
  28. on that cold bed, outpoured a last farewell:
  29. “Sweet relics! Ever dear when Fate and Heaven
  30. upon me smiled, receive my parting breath,
  31. and from my woe set free! My life is done.
  32. I have accomplished what my lot allowed;
  33. and now my spirit to the world of death
  34. in royal honor goes. The founder I
  35. of yonder noble city, I have seen
  36. walls at my bidding rise. I was avenged
  37. for my slain husband: I chastised the crimes
  38. of our injurious brother. Woe is me!
  39. Blest had I been, beyond deserving blest,
  40. if but the Trojan galleys ne'er had moored
  41. upon my kingdom's bound!”So saying, she pressed
  42. one last kiss on the couch. “Though for my death
  43. no vengeance fall, O, give me death!” she cried.
  44. “O thus! O thus! it is my will to take
  45. the journey to the dark. From yonder sea
  46. may his cold Trojan eyes discern the flames
  47. that make me ashes! Be this cruel death
  48. his omen as he sails!” She spoke no more.
  49. But almost ere she ceased, her maidens all
  50. thronged to obey her cry, and found their Queen
  51. prone fallen on the sword, the reeking steel
  52. still in her bloody hands. Shrill clamor flew
  53. along the lofty halls; wild rumor spread
  54. through the whole smitten city: Ioud lament,
  55. groans and the wail of women echoed on
  56. from roof to roof, and to the dome of air
  57. the noise of mourning rose. Such were the cry
  58. if a besieging host should break the walls
  59. of Carthage or old Tyre, and wrathful flames
  60. o'er towers of kings and worshipped altars roll.
  61. Her sister heard. Half in a swoon, she ran
  62. with trembling steps, where thickest was the throng,
  63. beating her breast, while with a desperate hand
  64. she tore at her own face, and called aloud
  65. upon the dying Queen. “Was it for this
  66. my own true sister used me with such guile?
  67. O, was this horrid deed the dire intent
  68. of altars, Iofty couch, and funeral fires?
  69. What shall I tell for chiefest of my woes?
  70. Lost that I am! Why, though in death, cast off
  71. thy sister from thy heart? Why not invite
  72. one mortal stroke for both, a single sword,
  73. one agony together? But these hands
  74. built up thy pyre; and my voice implored
  75. the blessing of our gods, who granted me
  76. that thou shouldst perish thus—and I not know!
  77. In thy self-slaughter, sister, thou hast slain
  78. myself, thy people, the grave counsellors
  79. of Sidon, and yon city thou didst build
  80. to be thy throne!—Go, fetch me water, there!
  81. That I may bathe those gashes! If there be
  82. one hovering breath that stays, let my fond lips
  83. discover and receive!” So saying, she sprang up
  84. from stair to stair, and, clasping to her breast
  85. her sister's dying form, moaned grievously,
  86. and staunched the dark blood with her garment's fold.
  87. Vainly would Dido lift her sinking eyes,
  88. but backward fell, while at her heart the wound
  89. opened afresh; three times with straining arm
  90. she rose; three times dropped helpless, her dimmed eyes
  91. turned skyward, seeking the sweet light of day, —
  92. which when she saw, she groaned. Great Juno then
  93. looked down in mercy on that lingering pain
  94. and labor to depart: from realms divine
  95. she sent the goddess of the rainbow wing,
  96. Iris, to set the struggling spirit free
  97. and loose its fleshly coil. For since the end
  98. came not by destiny, nor was the doom
  99. of guilty deed, but of a hapless wight
  100. to sudden madness stung, ere ripe to die,
  101. therefore the Queen of Hades had not shorn
  102. the fair tress from her forehead, nor assigned
  103. that soul to Stygian dark. So Iris came
  104. on dewy, saffron pinions down from heaven,
  105. a thousand colors on her radiant way,
  106. from the opposing sun. She stayed her flight
  107. above that pallid brow: “I come with power
  108. to make this gift to Death. I set thee free
  109. from thy frail body's bound.” With her right hand
  110. she cut the tress: then through its every limb
  111. the sinking form grew cold; the vital breath
  112. fled forth, departing on the viewless air.