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translated by Theodore C. Williams
Book IV Chapter 1: Dido falls in love
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Now felt the Queen [Note 1] the sharp, slow-gathering pangs |
of love; and out of every pulsing vein
nourished the wound and fed its viewless fire.
Her hero's [Note 2] virtues and his lordly line
keep calling to her soul; his words, his glance,
cling to her heart like lingering, barbed steel,
and rest and peace from her vexed body fly.
A new day's dawn with Phoebus' lamp divine
lit up all lands, and from the vaulted heaven
Aurora had dispelled the dark and dew;
when thus unto the ever-answering heart
of her dear sister spoke the stricken Queen:
Anna, my sister, what disturbing dreams
perplex me and alarm? What guest is this
new-welcomed to our house? How proud his mien!
What dauntless courage and exploits of war!
Sooth, I receive it for no idle tale
that of the gods he sprang. T is cowardice
betrays the base-born soul. Ah me! How fate
has smitten him with storms! What dire extremes
of war and horror in his tale he told!
O, were it not immutably resolved
in my fixed heart, that to no shape of man
I would be wed again (since my first love
left me by death abandoned and betrayed);
loathed I not so the marriage torch and train,
I could -- who knows? -- to this one weakness yield.
Anna, I hide it not! But since the doom
of my ill-starred Sichaeus, when our shrines
were by a brother's [Note 3] murder dabbled o'er,
this man alone has moved me; he alone
has shaken my weak will. I seem to feel
the motions of love's lost, familiar fire.
But may the earth gape open where I tread,
and may almighty Jove with thunder-scourge
hurl me to Erebus' abysmal shade,
to pallid ghosts and midnight fathomless,
before, O Chastity! I shall offend
thy holy power, or cast thy bonds away!
He who first mingled his dear life with mine
took with him all my heart. T is his alone --
o, let it rest beside him in the grave!
She spoke: the bursting tears her breast o'erflowed.
Event: Love and Death of Dido
At regina graui iamdudum saucia cura
uulnus alit uenis et caeco carpitur igni.
multa uiri uirtus animo multusque recursat
gentis honos; haerent infixi pectore uultus
uerbaque nec placidam membris dat cura quietem.
postera Phoebea lustrabat lampade terras
umentemque Aurora polo dimouerat umbram,
cum sic unanimam adloquitur male sana sororem:
'Anna soror, quae me suspensam insomnia terrent!
quis nouus hic nostris successit sedibus hospes,
quem sese ore ferens, quam forti pectore et armis!
credo equidem, nec uana fides, genus esse deorum.
degeneres animos timor arguit. heu, quibus ille
iactatus fatis! quae bella exhausta canebat!
si mihi non animo fixum immotumque sederet
ne cui me uinclo uellem sociare iugali,
postquam primus amor deceptam morte fefellit;
si non pertaesum thalami taedaeque fuisset,
huic uni forsan potui succumbere culpae.
Anna (fatebor enim) miseri post fata Sychaei
coniugis et sparsos fraterna caede penatis
solus hic inflexit sensus animumque labantem
impulit. agnosco ueteris uestigia flammae.
sed mihi uel tellus optem prius ima dehiscat
uel pater omnipotens adigat me fulmine ad umbras,
pallentis umbras Erebo noctemque profundam,
ante, pudor, quam te uiolo aut tua iura resoluo.
ille meos, primus qui me sibi iunxit, amores
abstulit; ille habeat secum seruetque sepulcro.'
sic effata sinum lacrimis impleuit obortis.