The Latin text is that in the ' Elementary Classics' booklet edited by the Rev. H.M. Stephenson, M.A., Macmillan & Co. (1888). As in this edition, the translation below is divided into sections of approximately 20-30 lines, each introduced by a brief title.
Ll. 31-55. Anna advises Dido to take a positive view of her feelings for Aeneas.
Ll. 56-89. Dido, disregarding everything else, gives way to her passionate love for Aeneas.
Many English translations of Virgil's Aeneid exist, many in poetic form, whether seeking to copy the poem's hexameter rhythm or using another type of metre. Others are in prose, but most if not all of these translations are more or less free versions of Virgil's work, and, however attractive they are in their own right and however well they may capture the true spirit of this great epic, they do not always make it easy for the reader to appreciate the literal meaning of the words Virgil used. The prose translation below aims to keep as closely as possible to the actual structure of Virgil's Latin text, in order that the reader can understand the exact meaning of the words, although it is inevitable that the resultant English can sometimes become somewhat laboured, if not a little clumsy. However, where it is impossible to retain the exact structure of Virgil's words without the English wording descending into semi-gibberish (e.g. where Virgil uses participles as an alternative to a second main verb or a subordinate clause; or instances where verbs are used impersonally), a freer translation is offered, while a more exact rendering of the actual Latin is then given in brackets. Where words have been omitted in the Latin text and have to be added to elucidate the meaning, these words are also placed in parenthesis. In the case of possessive and demonstrative pronouns, however, where Latin habitually understands such words without the need being felt to express them directly, these words are included naturally in the translation in order to avoid the monotony that would arise from too frequent a recourse to the use of brackets. Book IV of the "Aeneid" is a sublime piece of poetry, and Virgil's account of the tragic death of Dido would surely wring the heart of the emotions of all but the most stony-hearted. Indeed, Boris Johnson in his book "The Dream of Rome" (2007) describes Book IV as 'the best book of the best poem of the best poet'.
The Latin text is that in the ' Elementary Classics' booklet edited by the Rev. H.M. Stephenson, M.A., Macmillan & Co. (1888). As in this edition, the translation below is divided into sections of approximately 20-30 lines, each introduced by a brief title.
Ll. 1-30. Queen Dido confesses her attraction to the Trojan prince Aeneas to her sister Anna, but vows to remain faithful to the memory of her first husband Sychaeus.
But the Queen, now wounded for a long time with a deep love, nourishes the wound with her (life's) blood, and is consumed by an unseen fire. The great valour of the man (i.e. Aeneas) and the great glory of his line come repeatedly into her mind; his features and his words stick in her pierced breast, and love does not give kindly rest to her limbs. The next day was traversing the earth by the lamp of Phoebus (i.e. the sun), and Aurora (i.e. dawn) had dislodged the damp shade from the sky, when, scarcely coherent, she addressed her sympathetic sister thus: " Sister Anna, what dreams agitate and alarm me (lit. alarm me, having been agitated)? Who (is) this stranger ( who) enters our house as a guest? Bearing himself, what (dignity is) in his face! What (courage is) in his valiant heart and weapons! Indeed, I believe, nor (is) my belief unfounded, that his stock is of the gods: fear exposes unheroic spirits. Alas, tossed about by what fates, what wars endlessly endured was he recounting! If it were not seated fixed and immovable in my mind that I do not wish to join myself to anyone in the bonds of matrimony, since my first love deceived and cheated (me) (lit. cheated me, having been deceived) by his death; if one had not wearied of the marriage-bed and torch, I could perhaps have yielded to this one temptation. For I will admit (it), Anna, after the death of my poor Sychaeus and our household gods having been scattered by a brother's murder, he alone has moved my feelings and incited my heart to waver ( lit. my wavering heart):I recognise the footsteps of old flames. But I would pray either that the earth gapes open to its depths for me or that the almighty Father (of the gods) blasts me with a thunderbolt to the shades, the pale shades of Erebus and its bottomless night, before I betray you, Shame, or I relax your laws. That man who first joined me to himself took away my love; may he keep (it) with himself and guard (it) in the grave." Having spoken out thus, she filled her lap with the tears that had welled up ( lit. with tears having welled up).
Ll. 31-55. Anna advises Dido to take a positive view of her feelings for Aeneas.
Anna replies: " O (you) more dear to your sister than the light (of life), are you going to waste away all through your youth sorrowing, (and) will you have known neither sweet children nor the rewards of love? Do you believe that ashes and spirits, having been buried, care about this? Be that as it may, no husbands have consoled you as you grieve (lit. you grieving), not in Libya, not beforehand in Tyre; (not) the slighted Iarbas and the other chiefs, whom the rich African soil rears with triumphs: will you even fight with a welcome love? And does it not come into your mind in whose lands you have settled? On this side, the cities of the Gaetuli, a nation invincible in war, and the unbridled Numidians, and the inhospitable Syrtis surround (you); on that side, a region unpeopled through drought and the Barcaei running wildly far and wide. What should I tell (you) of the wars arising (against you) in Tyre and the threats of your brother? Indeed, I think that, with divine auspices and a favourable Juno, the ships of Ilium have held their course through the wind. Sister, what a city, what kingdoms you will see rising here with such a marriage! With the arms of the Teucrians (i.e. the Trojans) accompanying (them), with what grand achievements shall Punic glory distinguish itself? May you only ask the favour of the gods and, sacrifices having been performed, indulge your guest and string together reasons for delaying (him), while winter at sea and a rainy Orion rage violently, and his ships are battered, while the weather (is) forbidding. These words having been spoken, she inflamed her burning breast with love, and gave hope to her doubting mind, and set free her modesty.
Ll. 56-89. Dido, disregarding everything else, gives way to her passionate love for Aeneas.
Firstly, they approach the shrines and seek the leave (of the gods) around the altars: they sacrifice sheep, chosen by custom, to Ceres the law-giver, to Phoebus (i.e. Apollo) and to father Lyaeus (i.e. Bacchus), (and), above all, to Juno, to whom the marriage-bond is a duty. The most beautiful Dido, herself, holding a sacred dish in her right hand pours (wine) into the middle of the horns of a white cow; or she walks in state to richly laden altars before the faces of the gods, and she begins the day with (similar) gifts, and, the breasts of the cattle having been opened up, staring, she examines the breathing entrails. Alas, the minds of the priests are ignorant! How do prayers, how (do) temples, assist a passionate woman? Meanwhile, a flame eats the soft marrow of her bones, and a wound lives quietly within her breast. The unfortunate Dido is on fire and, running madly, she wanders through the whole city, like a hind, an arrow having been shot, which a shepherd, hunting among the woods of Crete, pierces with arrows from afar, and, unaware, he leaves the flying steel: she roams the woods and glades of (Mount) Dicte in flight; the deadly shaft sticks in her side. Sometimes, she takes Aeneas with her through the middle of the battlements, and she shows (him) the wealth of Sidon and the city which she has planned (lit. the city having been planned); she begins to speak out but stops in mid-voice. Sometimes, the day ending, she asks for banquets to be repeated (lit. the same banquets), and, demented, she asks to hear of the toils of Ilium (i.e. of the Trojans) again, and again she hangs on the lips (of the man) telling the story. Afterwards, when they had parted, and the fading moon had dimmed her light in turn, and the falling stars urge sleep, she grieves alone in her empty house and clings to the couch which he has left (lit. the couch having been left): she, being lost, both hears and sees him in his absence (lit. him being absent) or she detains Ascanius on her knee, entranced by his likeness to his father, as if she could deceive her unspeakable love. The towers, having been begun, did not rise; her young men did not exercise their weapons or prepare harbours or ramparts as safeguards in war: the works, both the huge threat of the walls, and the crane, having been made equal (in height) to the sky, hang suspended.
Ll. 90-104. Juno, apparently pitying Dido, proposes to Venus that there should be a marriage-alliance beween the Trojans and the Carthaginians.
As soon as the daughter of Saturn (i.e. Juno), the dear wife of Jupiter, realised that she (i.e. Dido) was held by such a fatal danger, and that her reputation was not standing in the way of passion, she accosted Venus with these words: " Both you and your boy (i.e. Cupid) are indeed winning great glory and ample spoils, and a great and memorable name, if one woman has been conquered by the cunning of two gods. Nor does it fool me at all that you, fearing our fortifications, have viewed the houses of lofty Carthage with suspicion ( lit. have regarded the houses ... having been suspected). But what will be the end (to all this)? Or for what (is the need) for such great rivalry now? Why do we not arrange instead an everlasting peace and marriage-contract? You have what you have sought with your whole mind: loving Dido burns and has drawn her passion through her bones. So let us rule this people in common and with shared auspices; let it be permitted (for her) to serve a Phrygian husband and to commit her Tyrians to your right hand as her dowry.
Ll. 105-128. Venus, although she sees through Juno's scheme to divert the power of the Trojans to Carthage, agrees to the marriage proposal, subject to Jupiter's approval; Juno then instructs Venus as to how the marriage will be brought about.
Venus - for she perceived that (she) (i.e. Juno) had spoken with a pretended purpose, by which to divert the kingdom of Italy to Libyan shores - began to speak thus in reply: " Who (could be so) mad as to reject such (an offer) or prefer to contend with you in war, if only a happy outcome would follow the plan which you relate? But I am borne by the fates, uncertain whether Jupiter wishes there to be one city for the Tyrians and for those having journeyed from Troy, or (whether) he would approve peoples being mingled, or treaties being joined. You (are) his wife; (it is) right for you to test his mind by praying. Go on; I shall follow." Then royal Juno answered thus: " This task will be with me. Now pay attention, I shall show (you) in a few (words) by what means it is possible for what is urgent to be brought about. Aeneas and that very wretched Dido are preparing to go hunting, when tomorrow's Titan (i.e. sun) uplifts its first rising and uncovers the world with its rays. While the beaters are scurrying about and covering the glades with a circle of nets, at this time I shall pour d0wn (on them) from above a black cloud of rain mixed with hail, and I shall rouse all the sky with thunder. Their companions will scatter and will be covered by dark night: Dido and the Trojan leader will come to the same cave. I shall be there, and, if your assured will is for me (in this), I shall join (them) in lasting marriage and I shall assign her (as) his own. This will be their wedding." Cytherea (i.e. Venus), not being opposed to (her)asking, smiled, her (i.e. Juno's) deceit having been detected.
Vv. 129-159. Aeneas and Dido take part in the hunt, in which Ascanius excels.
Meanwhile, rising Aurora (i.e. Dawn) leaves the Ocean. Her rays having arisen, a picked band of young men goes from the gates: ( there are) wide-meshed nets, stop-nets and hunting spears with broad blades, and Massylian horsemen and a pack of keen-scented hounds come running. At the door, the chiefs of the Carthaginians wait for their queen lingering in her bed-chamber, and resplendent in purple and gold stands her horse, and he champs fiercely at his foaming bit. At last, she comes forward, a great entourage thronging around her, wearing a Sidonian cloak with an embroidered border: her quiver (is) of gold, her hair is gathered in a golden (clasp), (and) a golden brooch fastens her purple tunic. Nor do both the Phrygian (i.e. Trojan) companions and the joyful Iulus (i.e. Ascanius) not come forward. Aeneas, himself the most handsome, carries himself (as) a comrade before all the others, and unites the (two) columns. (It is) like when Apollo abandons the Lycian winter and the streams of Xanthus, and visits his mother's Delos, and renews the dances, and, mingled together around the altar, both Cretans and Dryopes and the tattooed Agathyrsians cheer: he himself walks among the ridges of (Mount) Cynthus, and, shaping his streaming hair he presses (it) with a soft chaplet of leaves , and holds (it in place) with a gold(band); the arrows sound on his shoulders: Aeneas went no more slowly than him; no less grace shines from his noble face. When they came (lit. it was come) into the mountains and impassable lairs, behold, suddenly wild goats, dislodged from the top of a crag, come running down from the slopes; from another direction, deer traverse the open plain with speed and a dusty herd masses together in flight and leaves the mountains. And, in the middle of the valley, the boy Ascanius rejoices on a lively horse, and he outstrips now these, now those, at a gallop, and, through his prayers, he wishes for a foaming boar to be given among the harmless flocks, or (for) a tawny lion to descend from the mountain.
Ll. 160-172. The storm breaks; Aeneas and Dido, sheltering in the same cave, consummate their marriage.
Meanwhile, the sky begins to be confounded by a great noise; a cloud of rain, mixed together with hail, follows on. Both the Tyrian companions and the Trojan youth and the Dardanian (i.e. Trojan) grandson of Venus searched in panic in all directions through the fields: rivers rush down from the mountains. Dido and the Trojan leader come to the same cave. Both Tellus (i.e. earth) and Juno, (as) the bride-escorter, give the signal first: fires shone, and the sky (was) aware of the marriage, and the Nymphs howled from the peaks of the mountain-tops. That was the first day of her death and the cause of her troubles. For she is not moved by appearance or by report, nor does Dido now think of her love (as) secret: she calls it a marriage; by this name she conceals her guilt.
Ll. 173-197. The monster, Rumour, spreads the news of the so-called marriage throughout Libya.
Immediately, Rumour goes through the great cities of Libya, than which evil not any other (goes) swifter: she is small at first through fear; she soon lifts herself up into the air, and she walks on the ground, and hides her head among the clouds. Her mother earth bore her, exasperated with rage against the gods, as they say, a last (child), a sister to Coeus and Enceladus, swift with quick feet and wings; a horrible monster, huge, on whose body there are as many feathers as (there are) watchful eyes underneath, (and) strange to tell, as (there are) tongues, just as (there are) mouths that sound, (and) as (there are) ears that prick up. She flies at night between the sky and the earth, shrieking through the darkness, and she does not droop her eyes in sweet sleep. In the day-light she settles down (as) a guard, either on the roof of the highest house or on tall towers, and she scares great cities, as tenacious of fasehood and wrong as (she is) a reporter of the truth. Then, she happily fills the people full with various gossip and tells fact and fiction equally: (that) Aeneas, grown from a Trojan stock, has come, to whom (as) a husband the lovely Dido sees fit to join herself; now, during the winter, as long (as it is), they are keeping warm in luxury between themselves, forgetful of their kingdoms and captured by shameful lust. The goddess (i.e. Rumour) spreads around indiscriminately these foul things on to the lips of men. In due course, she bends her course to king Iarbas and inflames his mind and fuels his wrath with words.
Ll. 198-218. Iarbas complains about Dido's conduct to his father, Jupiter.
This man (i.e. Iarbas), sown from Ammon (i.e. Jupiter), a Garamantian nymph having been raped, placed a hundred huge temples (and) a hundred altars to Jupiter throughout his broad kingdoms, and had consecrated fires, the eternal watch-fires of the gods, and the earth enriched with the blood of flocks, and temple-gates draped with wreaths. And he, distracted in his mind, and inflamed by the bitter rumour, is said, before the altars, in the midst of the sacred presence of the gods, to have prayed devoutly to Jupiter as a suppliant with outstretched hands: "Almighty Jupiter, to whom the Moorish nation, feasting on embroidered couches, pours a Bacchic (offering) in your honour, do you see this? Or do we shudder at you in vain, father, when you hurl your thunderbolts, and do unaimed fires in the clouds terrify our minds, and do meaningless noises confound (us)? This woman, who, wandering in our territories, has founded a small city at a price (we dictated), to whom we gave a (piece of) shore for ploughing (lit. suitable to be ploughed), and to whom (we gave) laws for the place, has rejected our (offer of) marriage, and has accepted Aeneas (as) lord in her kingdom. And now this Paris, with his eunuch retinue, having bound his chin and his hair dripping (with perfume)(lit. having been bound in respect of his chin and his dripping hair) with a Phrygian cap, is master of (what) he has seized: we bring gifts to (what are) doubtless your temples, and we indulge your worthless reputation."
Ll. 219-237. Jupiter orders Mercury to find Aeneas and remind him of his Italian destiny.
The Almighty heard (him) praying with such words, and holding the altar, and he turned his eyes towards the royal city and the lovers, (who were) forgetful of their better reputation. Then, he addresses Mercury thus, and commands the following things: " Come, go (on your way), my son, call up the Zephyrs (i.e. the west winds), and glide on your wings, and speak to the Dardanian (i.e. Trojan) leader who is now lingering in Tyrian Carthage, and does not regard (as important) the cities given (to him) by destiny, and take my words (to him) through the swift winds. (His) most beautiful mother did not promise to us that that man (would be) such a man, and on that account twice rescued (him) from the arms of the Greeks, but he would be (the man) who would rule Italy, pregnant with empire and clamorous with (the noise of) war, and would bequeath a lineage from the high blood of Teucer, and would subdue the whole world under laws. If the glory of such things inflames (him) not at all (lit. in respect of nothing), and he himself does not take up the task on account of his own fame, does the father begrudge the citadel of Rome to Ascanius? Or with what hope does he linger among a hostile tribe, and not regard (as important) his Ausonian (i.e. Italian) progeny and the Lavinian (i.e. Latin) fields? Let him sail: this is our main (command); let this be our message at this time."
Ll. 238-278. Mercury finds Aeneas superintending the building of Carthage; he delivers Jupiter's message, and then departs.
He (i.e. Jupiter) had spoken. He (i.e. Mercury) prepared to obey the command of his great father: firstly, he fastens to his feet his golden sandals, which carry (him) aloft by their wings above both sea and earth like with a swift blast of wind. Then, he takes up his wand; by this he summons pale souls to Orcus (i.e. the underworld), (and) sends others down to grim Tartarus (i.e. the infernal regions); it gives sleep and takes (it) away, and opens the eyes (of men) in death: relying upon this, he drives the winds and floats through the turbulent clouds. And now, flying, he discerns the crest and steep sides of Atlas the enduring, who supports the sky upon his head, of Atlas, whose pine-covered head constantly surrounded by black clouds is beaten both by wind and by rain; fallen snow covers his shoulders: then, rivers run headlong down the chin of the old man, and his shaggy beard is stiff with ice. Here Cyllenius (i.e. Mercury) settles first on equally poised wings; hence he despatched himself headlong to the waves with the whole (weight of) his body, like a bird which flies low close to the sea along the shore around rocks full of fish. Not otherwise did the offspring of (Mount) Cyllene fly between earth and sky to the sandy shore of Libya. When first he touched the huts in the outskirts with his feet, he sees Aeneas laying the foundations of the citadel and making new buildings: and his sword was studded with yellow jasper, and, hanging from his shoulders, a cloak was shining with Tyrian purple which wealthy Dido had made (as) a gift and had picked out the cross-thread with a fine (line) of gold. He (i.e. Mercury) accosted (him) forthwith: " So now you are laying the foundations of lofty Carthage, and, in thrall to your wife, you are building up a beautiful city, alas, forgetful of your kindom and your own destiny. The ruler of the gods, himself, who turns heaven and earth by his will, sends me down to you from bright Olympus; he, himself, orders (me) to bring (to you) these commands through the swift winds: what are you thinking of? Or with what intention do you spend idle (hours) in the lands of Libya? if the glory of so great a destiny does not move you (lit. moves you in respect of nothing), and if you, yourself, do not take up the task on behalf of your own reputation, spare a thought for Ascanius as he grows up (lit. growing up) and the hopes of Iulus (i.e. Ascanius), your heir, to whom the kingdom of Italy and the land of Rome are owed. Having spoken with such lips, Cyllenius (i.e. Mercury) relinquished mortal vision in the midst of his speech, and vanished out of eyesight far away into the insubstantial air.
Ll. 279-295. Horror-struck at this vision and the message from the gods, Aeneas determines to set sail for Italy at once.
But in truth Aeneas was struck dumb (and) senseless by this vision, and his hair stood on end with horror, and his voice stuck in his throat. He was burning (with desire) to be gone in flight, and to leave this sweet land, having been thunder-struck by so great a warning and command from the gods. Alas, what should he do? With what address should he now dare to conciliate the infatuated queen? What first opening could he take up? And he turns his mind over rapidly, now hither, now thither, and hurries in various directions, and turns through all (possibilities). This policy (i.e. sailing) seemed preferable to hesitating: he calls Mnestheus and Sergestus, and the brave Serestus: let them silently fit out the fleet, and muster the companions on the shore; let them prepare their weapons, and let them conceal the reason for the change of plan (lit. for things needing to be changed). Meanwhile, he, himself, because kindest Dido would know nothing and would not expect that such great loves could be shattered, would try (some) approaches, both what (would be) the gentlest time for speaking, (and) what (would be) the right manner for (handling) things? Joyfully, they (i.e. the Trojans) all obey his command swiftly, and fulfil their instructions.
Ll. 296-330. Dido taunts Aeneas for his faithlessness and treachery, but begs him not to desert her.
But the queen (who can deceive a lover?) had a premonition of the deceit, and knew about the coming removal first, fearing everything (even when) safe. The same unholy rumour that the fleet was being equipped and the voyage was being prepared was reported to (her) in her passionate state. Powerless of mind, she rages, and, incensed, she rushes wildly through the city; like a Thyiad (i.e. a Bacchante) roused by the shaking of the sacred emblems (lit. the sacred emblems having been shaken), when, (the name of) Bacchus having been heard, the triennial orgies goad (her), and (Mount) Cithaeron calls her in the night. At last, she accosts Aeneas, unbidden, with these words: " Traitor, did you actually expect that you could conceal so great a crime, and leave my country silently? Does neither our love, nor your right hand once given by you, nor Dido about to die of a cruel death, detain you? But why indeed, cruel man, do you strive to prepare the fleet under this wintry sky, and hasten to go over the deep (sea) in the midst of the Aquilones (i.e. the north winds)? Why? Even if you were not seeking foreign fields and unknown homes, and old Troy were still standing, would Troy be sought by a fleet across (such) a stormy sea? Are you not fleeing from me? I (beg) you by these tears and your own right hand - since I, myself, have nothing else left now to my poor self - , by our union, by our marriage having been commenced, if I have deserved anything good from you, or there was anything at all of me sweet to you: have pity on my collapsing house, and, I implore you, if (there is) still some room for prayers, discard that plan of yours. On account of you, the peoples of Libya and the kings of the Nomads (i.e. the Numidians) hate (me), (and) the Tyrians are hostile; on account of you as well, my modesty, and my former good name, by which alone I reached the stars, have been blotted out. My guest, are you abandoning me although I am dying (lit. dying)? (Guest), since this remains the only name for my husband. Why do I delay? Until my brother Pygmalion pulls down my walls, or Gaetulian Iarbas takes (me) captive? At least if some child had been born to me from you before your flight, if some tiny Aeneas were playing in my courtyard, who, in spite of all, would reproduce you in his face, for my part I would not seem altogether betrayed and abandoned."
Ll. 331-361. In his reply, Aeneas acknowledges his deep gratitude to Dido, but indicates that he never intended to remain in Carthage, and that, indeed, the gods have commanded him to set sail for Italy.
She had spoken. He, on account of Jupiter's warning words, kept his eyes unmoved and, with great effort, mastered the anguish in his heart. At last, he replied with a few (words): "Queen, I shall never deny that you have rendered in service (to me) very many things which you can enumerate in speech; nor will it displease me to remember Elissa (i.e. Dido), while I remember myself, (and) while my spirit rules these limbs. I shall speak a few (words) about the facts. I did not expect to conceal this flight in secret, do not think (that); nor have I ever pretended the torch of wedlock, or have I entered into this contract. If the fates were permitting me to lead my life in accordance with my own auspices, and to settle my concerns of my own accord, I should first be tending the city of Troy and the dear remnants of my people; the lofty palace of Priam would still be standing and I should have built by hand a renewed Pergama (i.e. the citadel of Troy) for the defeated. But now Grynean Apollo, and the oracles of Lycia, have ordered (us) to seize hold of the land of Italy. This is my love, this (is) my fatherland. If the citadel of Carthage and the sight of a Libyan city detains you, a Phoenician, what is invidious about settling the Teucrians (i.e Trojans) in the land of Ausonia (i.e. Italy)? And (it is) permissible for us to look for a foreign kingdom. As often as the night covers the earth with damp shadows, as often as the fiery stars arise, the anxious ghost of my father Anchises warns (me) in my sleep and frightens me; my boy Ascanius, and the wrongs (I have done) to his dear head, (warn) me, (he) whom I am robbing of his kingdom in Hesperia (i.e. Italy) and the lands decreed (to him) by fate. Now, even the messenger of the gods, having been sent by Jupiter himself, I swear (it) on both of our heads, has brought down his commands through the swift winds. I, myself, have seen the god in the clear light (of day), entering your walls, and I have drunk in his voice with these ears. Stop inflaming both me and yourself by your complaints. I am pursuing Italy not of my own accord."
Ll. 362-392. Dido replies with a passionate reproach.
All the time she looks at him while he says (lit. him saying) these things with a backward glance , rolling her eyes hither (and) thither, and she surveys all (of him) with speechless eyes, and, incensed, she speaks out thus: "Neither (is) your mother divine, nor (was) Dardanus the founder of your race; but the rough Caucasus fathered you on its hard rocks, and Hyrcanian tigers offered (you) their udders. For why should I pretend (now)? Or for what greater things should I keep myself back? He did not sigh at my weeping, did he? Did he turn his eyes? Having been overcome, did he shed (any) tears, or pity (the one) loving (him)? What shall I put before what? Neither greatest Juno at one time, nor father Saturnius (i.e. Jupiter) at another time, see these things with inpartial eyes. Nowhere is faith secure. Thrown upon on my shore, I welcomed (him)in need, and in my madness I placed (him) with a share of my kingdom; I restored his lost fleet, and his companions from death. Alas, I am borne along on fire with rage! Now, (there is) the augur Apollo, now the oracles of Lycia, now the messenger of the gods, sent by Jupiter himself, brings awful orders through the winds. Doubtless, this is work for the gods, and this concern disturbs (them while) at rest. I do not hold you, nor do I refute your words. Go, search for Italy in the winds; look for your kingdom over the waves. For my part, I hope that, if the gods' righteous power can (do) anything, you will drain (the cup of) retribution on the rocks, and you will frequently call on the name Dido (as you are drowning). (Though) far away, I shall follow(you) with black fires; and, when cold death withdraws my body from its breath, I shall be there (with you) as a ghost in all places. You will pay the penalty, you villain; I shall hear, and this news will come to me among the deepest shades." With these words, she breaks off in the middle of her speech, and, desperate, she flees the day, and turns away and removes herself from his eyes, leaving (him) hesitating over many things in fear and preparing to say many things. Her attendants take (her) up, and carry her fainting limbs back to her bed-chamber and lay (her) on her bed.
Ll. 393-407. Although he is deeply grieved, Aeneas continues the preparations to depart.
But pious Aeneas, although he longs to soothe (her) sorrowing by consoling (her) and to avert her anxieties by his words, groaning deeply, and having been shaken in his spirit by his great love (for her), nevertheless carries out the commands of the gods, and revisits his ships.Then, indeed, the Teucrians (i.e. Trojans) throw themselves into their work, and they haul down their tall ships along the whole shore. The greased hull is afloat, and they carry oars with leaves (still on them) and unworked timbers from the forest, in their eagerness for the journey. You could see (them) on the move, and rushing from all of the city; even as ants, when they plunder a huge heap of corn-meal, mindful of winter, and they store (it) in their homes: a black column goes over the plain, and the convey their booty through the grass by a narrow path; some push large grains of corn by their shoulders with great effort; others marshal the column and chastise the stragglers; the whole track seethes with activity.
Ll. 408-436. Overcome by her love, Dido begs her sister to ask Aeneas at least to delay his departure.
What feelings did you have (lit. were the feelings to you), Dido, seeing such things, or what groans did you give, when you looked out and saw from the top of your citadel the broad shore seething, and you saw before your eyes the whole sea confounded by such great shouting? (O) relentless love, what do you compel the human heart (to do)? Again, she is compelled to go into tears, again (she is compelled) to test (him) by praying, and, as a suppliant, to submit her pride to love, lest, being about to die needlessly, she should leave anything unexplored. "Anna, you see the hastening all over the beach: they have gathered around there from all directions; already the canvas invites the winds, and the sailors have been joyfully placing garlands on their sterns. If (only) I could have expected this very terrible grief, and I shall be able to endure (it), sister. Yet, Anna, do perform this one (service) for my poor self; for that traitor respected you alone, he even entrusted to you his (secret) feelings, you alone had become acquainted with soft approaches towards the man and the right time (for making them). Go (to him), sister, and, as a suppliant, address our proud enemy. I did not vow with the Danaans (i.e. Greeks) at Aulis to wipe out the Trojan race, nor did I send a fleet against the Pergama (i.e. the citadel of Troy): nor did I tear up the ashes or the spirit of his father Anchises, (s0) why does he refuse to admit my words into his cruel ears? Whither is he rushing? May he give this last gift to his poor lover: and let him await an easy escape and following winds. I am begging no longer for our former marriage, which he has betrayed, nor that he forgoes his precious Latium and abandons his kingdom: I am seeking leisure time, a respite and an interval for my anguish, while my fortune teaches me, having been defeated, to grieve. I beg this last indulgence, - pity your sister; when you have given this to me, I shall repay (it) with interest at my death."
Ll. 437-449. Aeneas refuses to be moved from his purpose.
She begged in such words, and and such tearful (messages) her very unhappy sister both carries and carries again. But he is moved by no weeping, nor does he hear any voices with compliance; the fates stand in the way, and god blocks the kindly ears of the man. Just as the Boreae (i.e. the north winds) off the Alps with blasts, now on this side, now on that side, vie between themselves to uproot the mighty oak with timber full of years; the noise is heard, and, on high, the trunk having been shaken violently, leaves bestrew the ground: itself, it adheres to the rocks, and stretches with its roots as deeply into Tartarus (i.e. the underworld) as (it stretches) with its crown towards the winds of the upper air: not otherwise the hero is assailed on this side and on that side by unceasing voices, and feels deeply the pain in his mighty heart: his mind remains unmoved; the tears roll in vain.
Ll. 450-473. Dido begins to plan for her own death.
Then, indeed, unhappy Dido, terrified by the fates, prays for death; it wearies (her) to look up at the dome of the sky. The more to fulfil her purpose, and to leave the light (of life), she saw, when she placed gifts on incense-bearing altars, the sacred milk turn black, and the wine, having been poured, turn itself into fifthy gore. This was seen by no one (else), (and) she did not tell her very sister. Moreover, there was in her palace a shrine (made) of marble to her former husband, which she venerated with remarkable honour, wreathed with snowy fleeces and sacred foliage: from here, when dark night covered the earth, she thought that the voice and the words of her husband calling (her) were heard, and a lonely owl often used to lament from the roof-tops in a funereal song, and draw long notes into a wail. And, besides, many prophecies of pious seers horrify her by their terrible warning. A savage Aeneas drives her frenzied in her sleep; and it seems that she is always left alone by herself, always travelling (along) a long road without companions, and searching for Tyrians in a deserted land. Like (her), a deranged Pentheus sees a column of the Eumenides (i.e. the Furies), and a double sun, and duplicate (cities of) Thebes show themselves: or (like her, is) Orestes, son of Agamemnon, when, hunted across the stage, he flees (from) his mother, (who is) armed with torches and black snakes, and the avenging Dirae (i.e. the Furies) are sitting on the threshold.
Ll. 474-503. Dido persuades Anna to construct a pyre on which to burn the belonging of Aeneas, and thus to release her from her passion for him.
So, when overcome by grief she develops madness, and detemined to die, she, herself, planned with herself the time and the means, and, accosting her sorrowful sister with words, she conceals her plan in her face, and she lights up the hope in her brow: "Sister, I have found a way - rejoice with your sister - to bring him back to me, or to free me, the loving (one), from him. Close to the border of the ocean and the setting sun is the most distant region of the Ethiopians, where greatest Atlas turns on his shoulders the axis (of the sky) studded with blazing stars: here, having been pointed out to me, (there is) a priestess of the Massylian people, the guardian of the sacred enclosure of the Hesperides, and the rich food which she used to give to the dragon, and she guarded the sacred branches on the tree, sprinkling oozing honey and sleep-inducing poppy- seed. She undertakes that she frees by her spells the minds (of those) whom she wishes, but to let loose cruel cares on others; (she undertakes) to stay the water in streams, and to turn the stars backwards; ;and at night she rouses the spirits of the dead; you will perceive that the earth bellows under your feet, and the ash-trees come down from the mountains. I call the gods and yourself, dear sister, and your own sweet life, to witness that I have recourse to the magic arts unwillingly. Erect in secret a funeral-pyre on high in the interior of our palace, and let them lay on top (of it) the arms of the man, which that villain has left hanging in my bed-chamber, and all his remaining belongings, and the marriage-bed, by which I was destroyed: the priestess obliges and commands (me) to wipe out all reminders of that abominable man." Having said these things, she fell silent; at the same time a pallor comes over her features. But Anna did not understand that her sister was veiling her funeral by these strange rites, nor did she realise that the passion in her mind was so great, or fear (anything) more serious than on the death of Sychaeus. So, she prepares as she had been ordered (lit. her commands).
Ll. 504-521. Once the pyre has been raised the priestess invokes the gods, and Dido makes a dying appeal.
But the queen, the pyre having been erected on high in the innermost part of the palace, huge with pine-torches and hewn holm-oak, both festoons the place with garlands, and crowns (it) with funereal greenery; (and) on top she lays on a bed his remaining possessions and the sword (which he has) left behind, and an effigy, not unware of the future. Altars are standing (all) around, and the priestess, with dishevelled hair (lit. dishevelled in respect of her hair), thunders through her mouth (the names of) three hundred gods, and Erebus and Chaos and the triple Hecate, and the three faces of the virgin Diana. She also sprinkles water, pretending (it to be) from the sping of Avernus; also herbs were sought, cut in the moonlight by bronze sickles, bursting with the milk of black poison; a love(-charm) is sought also, ripped from the forehead of a new-born horse. She, herself (i.e. Dido), standing close to the altar and with meal in her pious hands, freed from fastenings in respect of one foot, in unbound clothing, about to die, calls upon the gods and the stars (which are) conscious of destiny; then, if (there is) a power, both just and mindful, which has a concern for (lit. has for a concern) lovers in a compact not equally (observed), she prays (to it).
Ll. 522-553. Night comes, but Dido cannot sleep; in her restless state, she sees death as the only course open to her.
It was night, and over the earth weary creatures were snatching peaceful sleep, and the woods and the wild seas had rested, when the stars roll in the middle of their gliding path, (and) when all the land is silent, beasts and colourful birds, both those that, far and wide, occupy the watery lakes, and those (that occupy) the country rough with thickets, having been settled in sleep under the silent night, soothed their cares, and their hearts forgetful of their labours. But the unhappy Phoenissa (i.e. Dido) (is) not (quiet) of mind, nor is she ever relaxed in sleep, nor does she receive (the gift of) night in her eyes or in her mind: her torment doubles, and rising again (and) again, her love rages, and surges in a great tide of anger. Thus, indeed, she begins (to speak with herself), and so she communes with herself in her heart: "Well, what am I to do ? Shall I try again former suitors to be scorned (by them), and shall I, as a suppliant, seek marriages with the Nomads (i.e. Numidians), whom I have so often already disdained (as) husbands? So, shall I follow the fleet of Ilium (i.e. Troy) and the utmost commands of the Teucrians (i.e. Trojans)? (Why,) because it pleases (them), having been relieved by my help previously, and (because) gratitude stands firm among (them), mindful indeed of my former service. But who will allow, suppose I wished (it), or welcome me, the hated (one), in their proud ships. Alas, do you not know, (O) lost one, and do you not yet perceive the falsehood of the race of Laomedon? What then? Shall I accompany rejoicing sailors into exile alone? Or shall I proceed, being attended by my Tyrians and all the band of my (supporters), and shall I drive again to the open sea (those) whom I tore away from the city of Sidon with difficulty, and shall I order (them) to give their sails to the winds? But you must die, as you have deserved, and avert your grief with the sword. You, having been overcome by my tears, you, sister, first load (me) in my madness with these ills, and expose (me) to the enemy. It was not permitted to me to pass my life ignorant of the marriage-bed without conscience in the manner of wild beasts, and not to touch such cares! I have not kept the faith, promised to the ashes of Sychaeus!" She let such lamentations burst forth from her breast.
Ll. 554-583. Aeneas is warned by Mercury in a dream to set sail at once, lest his ships be attacked by Dido.
Aeneas, now sure of going, was snatching sleep on his lofty stern, things having now been duly prepared. The figure of the god, coming with the same countenance, presented itself to him in his sleep, and thus, seeming like Mercury in all respects, both in voice and radiance, both in yellow hair and limbs comely with youth: "Son of the goddess (i.e. Aeneas), can you prolong sleep at this (time of) crisis? Can you not see the dangers for the near future which are standing (all) around you, (you) madman, and do you not hear the following Zephyrs (i.e. west winds) blowing? She (i.e. Dido), determined to die, is turning over in her mind schemes and dreadful crimes, and is stirring up the changing tides of her anger. Are you not flying from here in haste, while the ability (to do so) hurries (you) away? You will see, at one time, the sea disturbed by her ships, and cruel torches shining, and, at another time, the shore blazing with flames, if Aurora (i.e. dawn) finds you lingerng on this coast. Come then, break with delays. A woman (is) fickle and variable always." Having spoken thus, he mingled himself with the black night. Then, indeed, Aeneas, terrified by the sudden apparition, hastily lifts his body from sleep, and rouses his companions: " Wake up quickly, men, and sit (upon) your rowing-benches; unfurl your sails speedily. A god has been sent from high heaven to hasten our flight and, behold again, he urges us to cut our twisted cables. We follow you, (O) blessed of the gods, whoever you are, and once more we obey your command rejoicing. O may you be present (with us) and may you graciously help us, and may you place propitious stars in the sky." He spoke, and he draws his flashing sword from its scabbard, and strikes the hawsers with his unsheathed blade.The same ardour seizes them (all) simultaneously; and they hurry and rush about: they abandoned the shore; the sea hides under their ships; bending (to it), they churn the foam and sweep the blue (sea).
Ll. 584-629. As she watches Aeneas and his fleet depart, Dido laments afresh and invokes a solemn curse upon the Trojans, which leads to future enmity between their descendants and her Carthaginian desendants.
And Aurora (i.e. Dawn), leaving the saffron-coloured bed of Tithonus, was firstly now sprinkling the earth with new light. The queen looked out from her watch-tower, as soon as the light grew white, (and) she saw both the fleet proceeding with sails in a levelled line, and the shore and harbour empty without oarsmen, and, having beaten her breast by hand three times and four times, and, having torn her lovely golden hair, she says, " Oh, Jupiter, will this intruder go and be allowed to make a mockery of my kingdom? Will they not get their weapons ready and pursue (him) from all over the city, and will (not) others pull down their ships from the docks? Go on, bring flames quickly, give your sails (to the winds), pull on the oars. What am I saying? Or where am I? What madness is changing my purpose? Unhappy Dido! Do his impious deeds strike home to you (only) now? It was fitting at the time when you gave (him) your sceptre. Behold, the right hand and the pledge (of him) who, they say, carried the household-gods of his native-land with him, (and) who had borne on his shoulders his father, worn out with age! Could I not have seized and torn asunder his body (lit. have torn asunder his body, having been seized), and scattered (his limbs) in the sea? (Could I) not have destroyed by the sword his companions, (could I) not (have destroyed) Ascanius, himself, and served (him as) suitable for a feast at his father's table? But (it will be objected) that the outcome of (such a) battle would have been doubtful. - (Suppose) it had been; whom did I, about to die, have to fear? I might have carried torches into their camp, and I might have filled his decks with flames, I might have extinguished both son and father with their (whole) race, (and) I might have flung my very self indeed on the top (of them). (O) sun, (you) who surveys all the works of the earth with your flames, and you, Juno, (who is) the agent of, and (who is) aware of this anguish, and Hecate, (who is) bewailed at nightly three -road junctions throughout the cities, and the avenging Dirae (i.e. Furies), and the gods of dying Elissa (i.e. Dido), listen to these (words), and direct your deserved divine power to these evils, and hear my prayers. If that abominable soul reaches harbour and it is necessary (for him) to float to the land, and the fates of Jupiter are demanding thus, this goal remains (lit. sticks): but, having been harassed in war by the arms of a daring people, and exiled from his territory, and torn from the embrace of Iulus (i.e. Ascanius), let him implore help, and let him see the undeserved deaths of his men; nor, when he has submitted himself to the terms of an unjust peace, may he enjoy his kingdom or the light (of life) having been prayed for, but let him fall before his day and (lie) unburied in the middle of a strand. This I pray for; I pour out this last cry with my (life's) blood. Then you, O Tyrians, pursue with hatred his lineage and all his future descendants, and send this service to my ashes. Let there be no love between our peoples, nor treaties. May you, some avenger, arise from my bones, (you) who may pursue the Dardanian (i.e. Trojan) settlers both with torch and sword, now (or) hereafter (or) at whatever time your strength will allow. I imprecate your shores opposed to their shores, your waves to their waves, your arms to their arms.
Ll. 630-662. Dido mounts the funeral-pyre, and stabs herself with Aeneas' sword.
She says these words, and began to turn her mind in all directions, seeking to break off the hateful light (of life). Then, she spoke briefly to Sychaeus' nurse, Barce; for she kept her own (nurse) as black ashes in her former homeland: "My dear nurse, fetch my sister, Anna, hither; tell (her) to hasten to sprinkle her body with river water, and to take with her the beasts and sacrifices (as) instructed: thus may she come, and you, yourself, (should) cover your temples with a sacred fillet. It is my intention to perform sacred rites to Stygian Jupiter, which I have begun and duly prepared (lit. I have...prepared, having been begun), and to put an end to my love-cares; and to commit the pyre of the Dardan's (i.e. Trojan's) life to the flames." Thus she speaks. She, with the zeal of an old woman, quickened her step. But Dido, frantic and desperate at the enormity of her purpose, rolling her blood-shot eyes, and stained with flecks in respect of her trembling cheeks, and pale at the death which was about to happen, bursts through the inner door of her house, and, in a wild state, climbs the lofty pyre, and draws the Dardanian (i.e. Trojan) sword, a gift not sought for this use. At this point, she caught site of the Iliacan (i.e. Trojan) clothing, and the well-known bed, she lingered a little for tears and a thought, and lay down on the bed and spoke these last words: "Sweet relics, while the fates and god allowed, receive this spirit, and release me from these cares. I have lived (my life), and finished the course which fortune had allotted to me; and now my stately portrait will go under the earth. I have established a famous city; I have seen my walls: having avenged my husband, I have exacted retribution from a hostile brother: happy, alas, all too happy, if only the Dardanian(i.e.Trojan) keels had never touched my shores!" She spoke: and, pressing her face into the bed, she says, "I shall die unavenged, but let me die. Thus, thus, it pleases me to go down (among) the shades. May that pitiless Dardan (i.e.Trojan) drink to the full this fire with his eyes from the deep, and may he take the (evil) omen of my death with him."
Ll. 663-705. Anna laments over the body of her sister, whom she finds dying on top of the pyre; Iris is sent by Juno to release Dido from her final agony.
She had spoken: and in the midst of these (words), her attendants see her falling on the blade, and the sword foaming with blood, and her stained hands. Their shouting goes to the top of the courtyard; Rumour runs riot through the shocked city. The roofs resound with lamentations and with groaning; the sky echoes with the loud mourning. Not otherwise than if the whole of Carthage or ancient Tyre were falling to an invading enemy, and flames were rolling wildly both over the roofs of men and over the roofs of gods. Half-dead, her sister hears, and she rushes in terror and in frantic haste through the middle (of the crowd), marring her face with her finger- nails and her breast with her fists, and she calls (her) as she is dying (lit. dying) by name: "Was that (which you spoke of) this (which you are now doing), sister? Did you ask me in deceit? Were they preparing for me that pyre for this, and those fires and altars for this? Having been abandoned, what shall I complain about first? Did you scorn your sister as a companion while you were dying (lit. dying)? You should have called me to the same fate: the same agony by sword and the same hour might have taken (us) both. Did I even form (this pyre) with these hands, and did I call upon our ancestral gods with my voice, in order that I should be cruelly absent, with you lying thus? Sister, you have slain yourself and me and the people and leaders of Sidon, and your city. Come, I shall wash your wounds with water, and, if any last breath lingers above you, I shall catch (it) with my lips." Speaking thus, she had climbed to the top of the pyre, and clasping her sister, (still) just breathing, to her breast, she caressed her with a groan, and tried to staunch the dark blood with her dress. She (i.e. Dido), trying to raise her heavy eyes, fails again; the wound, fixed deep into her breast, gurgles. Three times raising herself, and supported on her elbow, she lifted (herself) up: three times she rolled back on to the bed, and, with wandering eyes, she sought the daylight in the high heaven, and, having found (it), she groaned. Then all-powerful Juno, having pity on her long anguish and her difficult death, sent down Iris from Olympus to release her struggling spirit and fettered limbs. For, since she was dying, neither through fate nor by a death deserved, but miserably, before her day, and inflamed by a sudden passion, Proserpina had not yet taken away a golden (lock of) hair from her head, and condemned her soul to Stygian Orcus (i.e. the underworld). Therefore, Iris, dewy on saffron-coloured wings, trailing a thousand different colours, the sun (being) opposite, flies down through the sky, and hovered over her head: "As (lit. having been) ordered, I take this (as) an offering to Dis (i.e. Pluto), and I release you from that body of yours." Thus she speaks, and cuts the (lock of) hair with her hand. And, at the same time, all warmth fell away, and her life passed into the winds.