« PreviousContinue »
Part of the Fourth Book of VIRGIL'S ÆNEIS
Beginning at Verse 437: *** Taleíque miserrima fletus “ Fertque refertque foror.
And ending with “ Adnixi torquent spumas, et cærula verrunt.” Ver.583. Α'
LL this her weeping * sister does repeat
To the stern man, whom nothing could intreat';
Lost were her prayers, and fruitless were her tears !
Fate, and great Jove, had stopt his gentle ears.
As when loud winds a well-grown oak would rend
Up by the roots, this way and that they bend
His reeling trunk ; and with a boisterous found
Scatter his leaves, and strew them on the ground :
He fixed ftands; as deep his roots do lie
Down to the centre, as his top is high :
No less on every side the Hero prest,
Feels love, and pity, shake his noble breast;
And down his cheeks though fruitless tears do roll,
Unmov'd remains the purpose of his soul.
Then Dido, urged with approaching fate,
Begins the light of cruel heaven to hate.
Her resolution to dispatch, and die,
Confirm'd by many a horrid prodigy!
The water, consecrate for sacrifice,
Appears all black to her amazed eyes;
The wine to putrid blood converted flows,
Which from her none, not her own sister, knows.
Besides, there stood, as facred to her * Lord,
A marble temple which she much ador’d;
With snowy fleeces and fresh garlands crown'd;
Hence every night proceeds a dreadful sound;
Her husband's voice invites her to his tomb:
And dismal owls presage the ills to come.
Besides, the prophecies of wizards old.
Increas'd her terror, and her fall foretold :
Scorn'd and deserted to herself she seems;
And finds Æneas cruel in her dreams.
So, to mad Pentheus, double Thebes appears;
And Furies howl in his distemper'd ears.
Orestes so, with like distraction tost,
Is made to fly his mother's angry ghost.
Now grief and fury to their height arrive;
Death she decrees, and thus does it contrive.
Her grieved fifter, with a chearful grace,
(Hope well-dissembled shining in her face)
She thus deceives. Dear fifter! let us prove
The cure I have invented for
love. Beyond the land of Æthiopia lies The place where Atlas does support the skies:
Hence came an old magician, that did keep
Th' Hesperian fruit, and made the dragon fleep :
Her potent charms do troubled fouls relieve,
And, where she lists, makes calinest minds to grieve :
The course of rivers, and of heaven, can stop,
And call trees down from th' airy mountain's top.
Witness, ye Gods ! and thou, my dearest part !
How loth I am to tempt this guilty art.
Erect a pile, and on it let us place
That bed, where I my ruin did embrace :
With all the reliques of our impious guest,
Arms, spoils, and presents, let the pile be drest;
(The knowing woman thus prescribes) that we
May rase the man out of our memory.
Thus fpeaks the Queen, but hides the fatal end
For which the doth those facred rites pretend.
Nor worse effects of grief her sister thought
Would follow, than Sichæus' murder wrought;
Therefore obeys her : and now heaped high
The cloven oaks and lofty pines do lie;
Hung all with wreaths and flowery garlands round;
So by herself was her own funeral crown'd!
Upon the top the Trojan's image lies,
And his sharp fword, wherewith anon she dies.
They by the altar stand, while with loofe hair
The magic prophetess begins her prayer :
On Chaos, Erebus, and all the Gods,
Which in th' infernal shades bave their abodes,
She loudly calls; besprinkling all the room
With drops, suppos’d from Lethe's lake to come.
She seeks the knot which on the forehead grows
Of new-foal'd colts, and herbs by moon-light mows.
A cake of leaven in her pious hands
Holds the devoted Queen, and barefoot stands :
One tender foot was bare, the other shod,
Her robe ungirt, invoking every God,
And every Power; if any be above,
Which takes regard of ill-requited love!
Now was the time, when weary mortals steep
Their careful temples in the dew of Sleep :
On seas, on earth, and all that in them dwell,
A death-like quiet and deep filence fell :
But not on Dido! whose untamed mind
Refus'd to be by sacred night confin'd:
A double passion in her breast does move,
Love, and fierce anger for neglected love.
Thus fne afflicts her soul : What shall I do?
With fate inverted, shall I humbly woo ?
And some proud prince, in wild Numidia born,
Pray to accept me, and forget my scorn ?
Or, shall I with th' ungrateful Trojan go,
Quit all my ftate, and wait upon my foe?
Is not enough, by fad experience ! known
The perjur'd'race of false Laomedon ?
With my Sidonians shall I give them chace,
Bands hardly forced from their native place?
No-die! and let this sword thy fury tame;
Nought but thy blood can quench this guilty flame.
Ah sister! vanquish'd with iny passion, thou Betray dkt me first, dispensing with my vow.
Had I been constant to Sichæus still,
And fingle liv’d, I had not known this ill !
Such thoughts torment the Queen's enraged breaft,
While the Dardanian does securely rest
In his tall ship, for sudden flight prepar'd;
To whom once more the son of Jove appear'd;
Thus seems to speak the youthful Deity,
Voice, hair, and colour, all like Mercury.
Fair Venus' seed! canst thou indulge thy sleep,
Nor better guard in such great danger keep?
Mad, by neglect to lofe fo fair a wind!
If here thy ships the purple morning find,
Thou Dialt behold this hostile harbour shine
With a new fleet, and fires, to ruin thine
She meditates revenge, resolv'd to die;
Weigh anchor quickly, and her fury fly.
This faid, the God in shades of night retir'd.
Amaz'd Æneas, with the warning fir'd,
Shakes off dull Neep, and rousing up his men,
Behold! the Gods command our flight again,
Fall to your oars, and all your canvas spread :
What God soe'er that thus vouchsafes to lead,
We follow gladly, and thy will obey,
Alift us still, smoothing our happy way,
And make the rest propitious! With that word,
He cuts the cable with his shining sword :
Through all the navy doth like ardor reign,
They quit the shore, and rush into the main :
Plac'd on their banks, the lusty Trojans sweep
Neptune's smooth face, and cleave the yielding deep."