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presents

the Annotated Popular Edition of

 

 

 

 

DIDO, QUEEN of CARTHAGE

by Christopher Marlowe
and Thomas Nashe

1585-6

 

 

Annotations and notes © Copyright ElizabethanDrama.org, 2017
This annotated play may be freely copied and distributed.


 

DRAMATIS PERSONAE:

 

 

Gods:

 

Jupiter, King of the Gods.

 

Ganymede, Cup-bearer to the Gods.

 

Cupid, God of Love.

 

Mercury, or Hermes, the Messenger God.

 

 

Goddesses:

 

Juno, Queen of the Gods.

 

Venus, Goddess of Love and Beauty.

 

 

Trojans:

 

Aeneas.

 

     Ascanius, his son

 

Achates.

 

Ilioneus.

 

Cloanthus.

 

Sergestus.

 

 

Carthaginians:

 

Dido, Queen of Carthage.

 

Anna, her sister.

 

Nurse.

 

 

Other African Leader:

 

Iarbus, King of Gaetulia.

 

 

Lords, &c.

 

 

 

ACT I.

 

 

SCENE I.

 

 

Here the curtains drawn: - there is discovered

 

Jupiter dandling Ganymede upon his knee,

 

and Mercury lying asleep.

 

 

 

Jup.  Come, gentle Ganymede, and play with me:

 

 

I love thee well, say Juno what she will.

 

 

 

 

Gany.  I am much better for your worthless love,

 

 

That will not shield me from her shrewish blows:

 

 

To-day, whenas I filled into your cups,

 

 

And held the cloth of pleasance while you drank,

 

 

She reached me such a rap for that I spilled,

 

 

As made the blood run down about mine ears.

 

 

 

 

Jup.  What! dares she strike the darling of my thoughts?

 

 

By Saturn's soul, and this earth-threat'ning hair,

 

 

That, shaken thrice, makes nature's buildings quake,

 

 

I vow, if she but once frown on thee more,

 

 

To hang her, meteor-like, 'twixt Heaven and earth,

 

 

And bind her hand and foot with golden cords,

 

 

As once I did for harming Hercules!

 

 

 

 

Gany.  Might I but see that pretty sport afoot,

 

 

O how would I with Helen's brother laugh,

 

 

And bring the gods to wonder at the game.

 

 

Sweet Jupiter! if e'er I pleased thine eye,

 

 

Or seemèd fair, walled-in with eagle's wings,

 

 

Grace my immortal beauty with this boon,

 

 

And I will spend my time in thy bright arms.

 

 

 

 

Jup.  What is't, sweet wag, I should deny thy youth?

 

 

Whose face reflects such pleasure to mine eyes,

 

 

As I, exhaled with thy fire-darting beams,

 

 

Have oft driven back the horses of the Night,

 

 

Whenas they would have haled thee from my sight.

 

 

Sit on my knee, and call for thy content,

 

 

Control proud Fate, and cut the thread of Time;

 

 

Why, are not all the gods at thy command,

 

 

And Heaven and earth the bounds of thy delight?

 

 

Vulcan shall dance to make thee laughing sport,

 

 

And my nine daughters sing when thou art sad;

 

 

From Juno's bird I'll pluck her spotted pride,

 

 

To make thee fans wherewith to cool thy face:

 

 

And Venus' swans shall shed their silver down,

 

 

To sweeten out the slumbers of thy bed:

 

 

Hermes no more shall shew the world his wings,

 

 

If that thy fancy in his feathers dwell,

 

 

But, as this one, I'll tear them all from him,

 

 

Do thou but say, "their colour pleaseth me."

 

 

Hold here, my little love, these linkèd gems

 

 

My Juno wore upon her marriage day,

 

 

Put thou about thy neck, my own sweet heart,

 

 

And trick thy arms and shoulders with my theft.

 

 

 

 

Gany.  I would have a jewèl for mine ear,

 

 

And a fine brooch to put into my hat,

 

 

And then I'll hug with you an hundred times.

 

 

 

 

Jup.  And shall have, Ganymede, if thou wilt be my love.

 

 

 

 

Enter Venus.

 

 

 

 

Venus.  Aye, this is it; you can sit toying there,

 

 

And playing with that female wanton boy,

 

 

While my Aeneas wanders on the seas,

 

 

And rests a prey to every billow's pride.

 

 

Juno, false Juno, in her chariot's pomp,

 

 

Drawn through the heavens by steeds of Boreas' brood,

 

 

Made Hebe to direct her airy wheels

 

 

Into the windy country of the clouds;

 

 

Where, finding Aeölus intrenched with storms,

 

 

And guarded with a thousand grisly ghosts,

 

 

She humbly did beseech him for our bane,

 

 

And charged him drown my son with all his train.

 

 

Then ‘gan the winds break ope their brazen doors,

 

 

And all Aeolia to be up in arms;

 

 

Poor Troy must now be sacked upon the sea,

 

 

And Neptune's waves be envious men of war;

 

 

Epeus' horse, to Aetna's hill transformed,

 

 

Preparèd stands to wrack their wooden walls;

 

 

And Aeölus, like Agamemnon, sounds

 

 

The surges, his fierce soldiers, to the spoil:

 

 

See how the night, Ulysses-like, comes forth,

 

 

And intercepts the day as Dolon erst!

 

 

Ah, me! The stars surprised, like Rhesus' steeds,

 

 

Are drawn by darkness forth Astraeus' tents.

 

 

What shall I do to save thee, my sweet boy?

 

 

Whenas the waves do threat our crystal world,

 

 

And Proteus, raising hills of floods on high,

 

 

Intends, ere long, to sport him in the sky.

 

 

False Jupiter! reward'st thou virtue so?

 

 

What! Is not piety exempt from woe?

 

 

Then die, Aeneas, in thy innocence,

 

 

Since that religion hath no recompense.

 

 

 

 

Jup.  Content thee, Cythereä, in thy care,

 

 

Since thy Aeneas' wandering fate is firm,

 

 

Whose weary limbs shall shortly make repose

 

 

In those fair walls I promised him of yore:

 

 

But first in blood must his good fortune bud,

 

 

Before he be the lord of Turnus' town,

 

 

Or force her smile, that hitherto hath frowned:

 

 

Three winters shall he with the Rutiles war,

 

 

And, in the end, subdue them with his sword;

 

 

And full three summers likewise shall he waste,

 

 

In managing those fierce barbarian minds;

 

 

Which once performed, poor Troy, so long suppressed,

 

 

From forth her ashes shall advance her head,

 

 

And flourish once again, that erst was dead.

 

 

But bright Ascanius, beauty's better work,

 

 

Who with the sun divides one radiant shape,

 

 

Shall build his throne amidst those starry towers,

 

 

That earth-born Atlas, groaning, underprops:

 

 

No bounds, but Heaven, shall bound his empery,

 

 

Whose azured gates, enchasèd with his name,

 

 

Shall make the morning haste her gray uprise,

 

 

To feed her eyes with his engraven fame.

 

 

Thus, in stout Hector's race, three hundred years

 

 

The Roman sceptre royal shall remain,

 

 

Till that a princess, priest-conceived by Mars,

 

 

Shall yield to dignity a double birth,

 

 

Who will eternish Troy in their attempts.

 

 

 

 

Venus.  How may I credit these thy flattering terms,

 

 

When yet both sea and sands beset their ships,

 

 

And Phoebus, as in Stygian pools, refrains

 

 

To taint his tresses in the Tyrrhene main?

 

 

 

 

Jup.  I will take order for that presently: −

 

 

Hermes, awake! and haste to Neptune's realm;

 

 

Whereas the wind-god, warring now with Fate,

 

 

Besiege the offspring of our kingly loins,

 

 

Charge him from me to turn his stormy powers,

 

 

And fetter them in Vulcan's sturdy brass,

 

 

That durst thus proudly wrong our kinsman's peace.

 

 

 

 

[Exit Hermes.]

 

 

 

 

Venus, farewell! thy son shall be our care; −

 

 

Come, Ganymede, we must about this gear.

 

 

 

 

[Exeunt Jupiter and Ganymede.]

 

 

 

 

Venus.  Disquiet seas, lay down your swelling looks,

 

 

And court Aeneas with your calmy cheer,

 

 

Whose beauteous burden well might make you proud,

 

 

Had not the heavens, conceived with hell-born clouds,

 

 

Veiled his resplendent glory from your view;

 

 

For my sake, pity him, Oceänus,

 

 

That erst-while issued from thy wat'ry loins,

 

 

And had my being from thy bubbling froth:

 

 

Triton, I know, hath filled his trump with Troy,

 

 

And, therefore, will take pity on his toil,

 

 

And call both Thetis and Cymodoce,

 

 

To succour him in this extremity.

 

 

 

 

Enter Aeneas, Ascanius, Achates, and one or two more.

 

 

 

 

What do I see? my son now come on shore?

 

 

Venus, how art thou compassed with content,

 

 

The while thine eyes attract their sought-for joys: −

 

 

Great Jupiter! still honoured may’st thou be,

 

 

For this so friendly aid in time of need! −

 

 

Here in this bush disguisèd will I stand,

 

 

While my Aeneas spends himself in plaints,

 

 

And Heaven and earth with his unrest acquaints.

 

 

 

 

Æn.  You sons of care, companions of my course,

 

 

Priam's misfortune follows us by sea,

 

 

And Helen's rape doth haunt us at the heels.

 

 

How many dangers have we overpast?

 

 

Both barking Scylla, and the sounding rocks,

 

 

The Cyclops' shelves, and grim Ceraunia's seat,

 

 

Have you o'ergone, and yet remain alive.

 

 

Pluck up your hearts, since fate still rests our friend,

 

 

And changing heavens may those good days return,

 

 

Which Pergama did vaunt in all her pride.

 

 

 

 

Acha.  Brave Prince of Troy, thou only art our god,

 

 

That, by thy virtues, free’st us from annoy,

 

 

And mak'st our hopes survive to coming joys!

 

 

Do thou but smile, and cloudy Heaven will clear,

 

 

Whose night and day descendeth from thy brows;

 

 

Though we be now in éxtreme misery,

 

 

And rest the map of weather-beaten woe,

 

 

Yet shall the agèd sun shed forth his hair,

 

 

To make us live unto our former heat,

 

 

And every beast the forest doth send forth,

 

 

Bequeath her young ones to our scanted food.

 

 

 

 

Asc.  Father, I faint; good father, give me meat.

 

 

 

 

Æn.  Alas! sweet boy, thou must be still a while,

 

 

Till we have fire to dress the meat we killed.

 

 

Gentle Achates, reach the tinder-box,

 

 

That we may make a fire to warm us with,

 

 

And roast our new-found victuals on this shore.

 

 

 

 

Venus.  See what strange arts necessity finds out:

 

 

How near, my sweet Aeneas, art thou driven!

 

 

 

 

Æn.  Hold; take this candle, and go light a fire;

 

 

You shall have leaves and windfall boughs enow

 

 

Near to these woods, to roast your meat withal:

 

 

Ascanius, go and dry thy drenchèd limbs,

 

 

While I with my Achates rove abroad,

 

 

To know what coast the wind hath driven us on,

 

 

Or whether men or beasts inhabit it.

 

 

 

 

Acha.  The air is pleasant, and the soil most fit

 

 

For cities, and society's supports;

 

 

Yet much I marvel that I cannot find

 

 

No steps of men imprinted in the earth.

 

 

 

 

Venus.  [Aside]

 

 

Now is the time for me to play my part. −

 

 

Ho, young men! saw you, as you came,

 

 

Any of all my sisters wand’ring here,

 

 

Having a quiver girded to her side,

 

 

And clothèd in a spotted leopard's skin?

 

 

 

 

Æn.  I neither saw nor heard of any such.

 

 

But what may I, fair virgin, call your name,

 

 

Whose looks set forth no mortal form to view,

 

 

Nor speech bewrays aught human in thy birth?

 

 

Thou art a goddess that delud'st our eyes,

 

 

And shroud'st thy beauty in this borrowed shape;

 

 

But whether thou the sun's bright sister be,

 

 

Or one of chaste Diana's fellow nymphs,

 

 

Live happy in the height of all content,

 

 

And lighten our extremes with this one boon,

 

 

As to instruct us under what good Heaven

 

 

We breathe as now, and what this world is called

 

 

On which, by tempest's fury, we are cast?

 

 

Tell us, O, tell us, that are ignorant;

 

 

And this right hand shall make thy altars crack

 

 

With mountain heaps of milk-white sacrifice.

 

 

 

 

Venus.  Such honour, stranger, do I not affect;

 

 

It is the use for Tyrian maids to wear

 

 

Their bow and quiver in this modest sort,

 

 

And suit themselves in purple for the nonce,

 

 

That they may trip more lightly o'er the lawns,

 

 

And overtake the tuskèd boar in chase.

 

 

But for the land whereof thou dost inquire,

 

 

It is the Punic kingdom, rich and strong,

 

 

Adjoining on Agenor's stately town,

 

 

The kingly seat of southern Libya,

 

 

Whereas Sidonian Dido rules as queen.

 

 

But what are you that ask of me these things?

 

 

Whence may you come, or whither will you go?

 

 

 

 

Æn.  Of Troy am I, Aeneas is my name;

 

 

Who driv’n by war from forth my native world,

 

 

Put sails to sea to seek out Italy;

 

 

And my divine descent from sceptred Jove:

 

 

With twice twelve Phrygian ships I ploughed the deep,

 

 

And made that way my mother Venus led;

 

 

But of them all scarce seven do anchor safe,

 

 

And they so wracked and weltered by the waves,

 

 

As every tide tilts 'twixt their oaken sides;

 

 

And all of them, unburthened of their load,

 

 

Are ballasted with billows' watery weight.

 

 

But hapless I, God wot! poor and unknown,

 

 

Do trace these Libyan deserts all despised,

 

 

Exiled forth Europe and wide Asia both,

 

 

And have not any coverture but Heaven.

 

 

 

 

Venus.  Fortune hath favoured thee, whate'er thou be,

 

 

In sending thee unto this courteous coast:

 

 

In God's name, on! and haste thee to the court,

 

 

Where Dido will receive ye with her smiles;

 

 

And for thy ships, which thou supposest lost,

 

 

Not one of them hath perished in the storm,

 

 

But are arrivèd safe, not far from hence;

 

 

And so I leave thee to thy fortune's lot,

 

 

Wishing good luck unto thy wandering steps.

 

 

 

 

[Exit.]

 

 

 

 

Æn.  Achates, 'tis my mother that is fled;

 

 

I know her by the movings of her feet: −

 

 

Stay, gentle Venus, fly not from thy son;

 

 

Too cruèl! why wilt thou forsake me thus?

 

 

Or in these shades deceiv'st mine eyes so oft?

 

 

Why talk we not together hand in hand,

 

 

And tell our griefs in more familiar terms?

 

 

But thou art gone, and leav'st me here alone,

 

 

To dull the air with my discoursive moan.

 

 

 

 

[Exeunt.]

 

 

 

 

 

 

ACT I, SCENE II.

 

 

 

 

Enter Iarbus, followed by Ilioneus, Cloanthus,

 

 

and Sergestus.

 

 

 

 

Ilio.  Follow, ye Trojans! follow this brave lord,

 

 

And ‘plain to him the sum of your distress.

 

 

 

 

Iarb.  Why, what are you, or wherefore do you sue?

 

 

 

 

Ilio.  Wretches of Troy, envíèd of the winds,

 

 

That crave such favour at your honour's feet,

 

 

As poor distressèd misery may plead:

 

 

Save, save, O save our ships from cruèl fire,

 

 

That do complain the wounds of thousand waves,

 

 

And spare our lives, whom every spite pursues.

 

 

We come not, we, to wrong your Libyan gods,

 

 

Or steal your household lares from their shrines:

 

 

Our hands are not prepared to lawless spoil,

 

 

Nor armèd to offend in any kind;

 

 

Such force is far from our unweaponed thoughts,

 

 

Whose fading weal, of victory forsook,

 

 

Forbids all hope to harbour near our hearts.

 

 

 

 

Iarb.  But tell me, Trojans, Trojans if you be,

 

 

Unto what fruitful quarters were ye bound,

 

 

Before that Boreas buckled with your sails?

 

 

 

 

Cloan.  There is a place, Hesperia termed by us,

 

 

An ancient empire, famousèd for arms,

 

 

And fertile in fair Ceres' furrowed wealth,

 

 

Which now we call Italia, of his name

 

 

That in such peace long time did rule the same.

 

 

Thither made we;

 

 

When suddenly, gloomy Orion rose,

 

 

And led our ships into the shallow sands;

 

 

Whereas the southern wind, with brackish breath,

 

 

Dispersed them all amongst the wreckful rocks;

 

 

From thence a few of us escaped to land;

 

 

The rest, we fear, are folded in the floods.

 

 

 

 

Iarb.  Brave men at arms, abandon fruitless fears,

 

 

Since Carthage knows to entertain distress.

 

 

 

 

Serg.  Aye, but the barbarous sort do threat our ships,

 

 

And will not let us lodge upon the sands;

 

 

In multitudes they swarm unto the shore,

 

 

And from the first earth interdict our feet.

 

 

 

 

Iarb.  Myself will see they shall not trouble ye:

 

 

Your men and you shall banquet in our court,

 

 

And every Trojan be as welcome here

 

 

As Jupiter to silly Baucis' house.

 

 

Come in with me, I'll bring you to my queen,

 

 

Who shall confirm my words with further deeds.

 

 

 

 

Serg.  Thanks, gentle lord, for such unlooked-for grace;

 

 

Might we but once more see Aeneas' face,

 

 

Then would we hope to ‘quite such friendly turns,

 

 

As shall surpass the wonder of our speech.

 

 

 

 

[Exeunt.]

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

ACT II.

 

 

 

 

SCENE I.

 

 

 

 

Enter Aeneas, Achates, and Ascanius.

 

 

 

 

Æn.  Where am I now? These should be Carthage walls.

 

 

 

 

Acha.  Why stands my sweet Aeneas thus amazed?

 

 

 

 

Æn.  O my Achates! Theban Niobe,

 

 

Who, for her sons' death, wept out life and breath,

 

 

And, dry with grief, was turned into a stone,

 

 

Had not such passions in her head as I.

 

 

Methinks, that town there should be Troy, yon Ida's Hill,

 

 

There Xanthus' stream, because here's Priamus,

 

 

And when I know it is not, then I die.

 

 

 

 

Acha.  And in this humour is Achates too;

 

 

I cannot choose but fall upon my knees

 

 

And kiss his hand; O, where is Hecuba?

 

 

Here she was wont to sit, but, saving air,

 

 

Is nothing here; and what is this but stone?

 

 

 

 

Æn.  O, yet this stone doth make Aeneas weep;

 

 

And, would my prayers (as Pygmalion's did)

 

 

Could give it life, that under his condúct

 

 

We might sail back to Troy, and be revenged

 

 

On these hard-hearted Grecians, which rejoice

 

 

That nothing now is left of Priamus!

 

 

O, Priamus is left, and this is he:

 

 

Come, come aboard; pursue the hateful Greeks.

 

 

 

 

Acha.  What means Aeneas?

 

 

 

 

Æn.  Achates, though mine eyes say this is stone,

 

 

Yet thinks my mind that this is Priamus;

 

 

And when my grievèd heart sighs and says no,

 

 

Then would it leap out to give Priam life. −

 

 

O, were I not at all, so thou might’st be! −

 

 

Achates, see, King Priam wags his hand;

 

 

He is alive; Troy is not overcome!

 

 

 

 

Acha.  Thy mind, Aeneas, that would have it so,

 

 

Deludes thy eye-sight. Priamus is dead.

 

 

 

 

Æn.  Ah, Troy is sacked, and Priamus is dead;

 

 

And why should poor Aeneas be alive?

 

 

 

 

Asc.  Sweet father, leave to weep, this is not he,

 

 

For were he Priam, he would smile on me.

 

 

 

 

Acha.  Aeneas, see, here come the citizens;

 

 

Leave to lament, lest they laugh at our fears.

 

 

 

 

Enter Cloanthus, Sergestus, Ilioneus, and others.

 

 

 

 

Æn.  Lords of this town, or whatsoever style

 

 

Belongs unto your name, vouchsafe of ruth

 

 

To tell us who inhabits this fair town,

 

 

What kind of people, and who governs them:

 

 

For we are strangers driven on this shore,

 

 

And scarcely know within what clime we are.

 

 

 

 

Ilio.  I hear Aeneas' voice, but see him not,

 

 

For none of these can be our general.

 

 

 

 

Acha.  Like Ilioneus speaks this noble man,

 

 

But Ilioneus goes not in such robes.

 

 

 

 

Serg.  You are Achates, or I [am] deceived.

 

 

 

 

Acha.  Aeneas, see Sergestus, or his ghost!

 

 

 

 

Ilio.  He names Aeneas; let us kiss his feet.

 

 

 

 

Cloan.  It is our captain, see Ascanius!

 

 

 

 

Serg.  Live long Aeneas and Ascanius!

 

 

 

 

Æn.  Achates, speak, for I am overjoyed.

 

 

 

 

Acha.  O, Ilioneus, art thou yet alive?

 

 

 

 

Ilio.  Blest be the time I see Achates' face.

 

 

 

 

Cloan.  Why turns Aeneas from his trusty friends?

 

 

 

 

Æn.  Sergestus, Ilioneus, and the rest,

 

 

Your sight amazed me: O, what destinies

 

 

Have brought my sweet companions in such plight?

 

 

O, tell me, for I long to be resolved.

 

 

 

 

Ilio.  Lovely Aeneas, these are Carthage walls,

 

 

And here Queen Dido wears th' imperial crown;

 

 

Who, for Troy's sake, hath entertained us all,

 

 

And clad us in these wealthy robes we wear.

 

 

Oft hath she asked us under whom we served,

 

 

And when we told her, she would weep for grief,

 

 

Thinking the sea had swallowed up thy ships;

 

 

And now she sees thee, how will she rejoice!

 

 

 

 

Serg.  See, where her servitors pass through the hall,

 

 

Bearing a banquet; Dido is not far.

 

 

 

 

Ilio.  Look where she comes: Aeneas, view her well.

 

 

 

 

Æn.  Well may I view her, but she sees not me.

 

 

 

 

Enter Dido and her Train.

 

 

 

 

Dido.  What stranger art thou, that dost eye me thus?

 

 

 

 

Æn.  Sometime I was a Trojan, mighty queen:

 

 

But Troy is not; − what shall I say I am?

 

 

 

 

Ilio.  Renownèd Dido, 'tis our general,

 

 

Warlike Aeneas.

 

 

 

 

Dido.  Warlike Aeneas! and in these base robes?

 

 

Go, fetch the garment which Sicheus wore. −

 

 

 

 

Exit an Attendant who brings in the garment,

 

 

which Aeneas puts on.

 

 

 

 

Brave prince, welcome to Carthage and to me,

 

 

Both happy that Aeneas is our guest!

 

 

Sit in this chair, and banquet with a queen;

 

 

Aeneas is Aeneas, were he clad

 

 

In weeds as bad as ever Irus wore.

 

 

 

 

Æn.  This is no seat for one that's comfortless:

 

 

May it please your grace to let Aeneas wait;

 

 

For though my birth be great, my fortune's mean,

 

 

Too mean to be companion to a queen.

 

 

 

 

Dido.  Thy fortune may be greater than thy birth:

 

 

Sit down, Aeneas, sit in Dido's place,

 

 

And if this be thy son, as I suppose,

 

 

Here let him sit; − be merry, lovely child.

 

 

 

 

Æn.  This place beseems me not; O, pardon me.

 

 

 

 

Dido.  I'll have it so; Aeneas, be content.

 

 

 

 

Asc.  Madam, you shall be my mother.

 

 

 

 

Dido.  And so I will, sweet child: − be merry, man,

 

 

Here's to thy better fortune and good stars.

 

 

 

 

Æn.  In all humility, I thank your grace.

 

 

 

 

Dido.  Remember who thou art; speak like thyself;

 

 

Humility belongs to common grooms.

 

 

 

 

Æn.  And who so miserable as Aeneas is?

 

 

 

 

Dido.  Lies it in Dido's hands to make thee blest?

 

 

Then be assured thou art not miserable.

 

 

 

 

Æn.  O Priamus, O Troy, Oh Hecuba!

 

 

 

 

Dido.  May I entreat thee to discourse at large,

 

 

And truly too, how Troy was overcome?

 

 

For many tales go of that city's fall,

 

 

And scarcely do agree upon one point:

 

 

Some say Antenor did betray the town;

 

 

Others report 'twas Sinon's perjury;

 

 

But all in this, that Troy is overcome,

 

 

And Priam dead; yet how, we hear no news.

 

 

 

 

Æn.  A woeful tale bids Dido to unfold,

 

 

Whose memory, like pale Death's stony mace,

 

 

Beats forth my senses from this troubled soul,

 

 

And makes Aeneas sink at Dido's feet.

 

 

 

 

Dido.  What! faints Aeneas to remember Troy,

 

 

In whose defence he fought so valiantly?

 

 

Look up, and speak.

 

 

 

 

Æn.  Then speak, Aeneas, with Achilles' tongue!

 

 

And Dido, and you Carthaginian peers,

 

 

Hear me! but yet with Myrmidons' harsh ears,

 

 

Daily inured to broils and massacres,

 

 

Lest you be moved too much with my sad tale.

 

 

The Grecian soldiers, tired with ten years' war,

 

 

Began to cry, "Let us unto our ships,

 

 

Troy is invincible. Why stay we here?"

 

 

With whose outcries Atrides being appalled,

 

 

Summoned the captains to his princely tent;

 

 

Who, looking on the scars we Trojans gave,

 

 

Seeing the number of their men decreased,

 

 

And the remainder weak, and out of heart,

 

 

Gave up their voices to dislodge the camp,

 

 

And so in troops all marched to Tenedos;

 

 

Where, when they came, Ulysses on the sand

 

 

Assayed with honey words to turn them back:

 

 

And as he spoke, to further his intent,

 

 

The winds did drive huge billows to the shore,

 

 

And Heaven was darkened with tempestuous clouds:

 

 

Then he alleged the gods would have them stay,

 

 

And prophesied Troy should be overcome:

 

 

And therewithal he called false Sinon forth,

 

 

A man compact of craft and perjury,

 

 

Whose ‘ticing tongue was made of Hermes' pipe,

 

 

To force a hundred watchful eyes to sleep:

 

 

And him, Epeus having made the horse,

 

 

With sacrificing wreaths upon his head,

 

 

Ulysses sent to our unhappy town,

 

 

Who, grovelling in the mire of Xanthus' banks,

 

 

His hands bound at his back, and both his eyes

 

 

Turned up to Heaven, as one resolved to die,

 

 

Our Phrygian shepherds haled within the gates,

 

 

And brought unto the court of Priamus;

 

 

To whom he used action so pitiful,

 

 

Looks so remorseful, vows so forcible,

 

 

As therewithal the old man, overcome,

 

 

Kissed him, embraced him, and unloosed his bands.

 

 

And then, - O Dido, pardon me!

 

 

 

 

Dido.  Nay, leave not here; resolve me of the rest.

 

 

 

 

Æn.  Oh! the enchanting words of that base slave

 

 

Made him to think Epeus' pine-tree horse

 

 

A sacrifice t' appease Minerva's wrath;

 

 

The rather, for that one Laöcoön,

 

 

Breaking a spear upon his hollow breast,

 

 

Was with two wingèd serpents stung to death.

 

 

Whereat, aghast, we were commanded straight,

 

 

With reverence, to draw it into Troy,

 

 

In which unhappy work was I employed:

 

 

These hands did help to hale it to the gates,

 

 

Through which it could not enter, 'twas so huge.

 

 

O, had it never entered, Troy had stood!

 

 

But Priamus, impatient of delay,

 

 

Enforced a wide breach in that rampired wall,

 

 

Which thousand battering rams could never pierce,

 

 

And so came in this fatal instrument:

 

 

At whose accursèd feet, as overjoyed,

 

 

We banqueted, till, overcome with wine,

 

 

Some surfeited, and others soundly slept.

 

 

Which Sinon viewing, caused the Greekish spies

 

 

To haste to Tenedos, and tell the camp:

 

 

Then he unlocked the horse, and suddenly

 

 

From out his entrails, Neoptolemus,

 

 

Setting his spear upon the ground, leaped forth,

 

 

And after him a thousand Grecians more,

 

 

In whose stern faces shined the quenchless fire

 

 

That after burnt the pride of Asià.

 

 

By this the camp was come unto the walls,

 

 

And through the breach did march into the streets,

 

 

Where, meeting with the rest, "Kill! Kill!" they cried.

 

 

Frighted with this confusèd noise, I rose,

 

 

And looking from a turret, might behold

 

 

Young infants swimming in their parents' blood!

 

 

Headless carcasses piled up in heaps!

 

 

Virgins, half-dead, dragged by their golden hair,

 

 

And with main force flung on a ring of pikes!

 

 

Old men with swords thrust through their agèd sides,

 

 

Kneeling for mercy to a Greekish lad,

 

 

Who, with steel poleaxes, dashed out their brains.

 

 

Then buckled I mine armour, drew my sword,

 

 

And thinking to go down, came Hector's ghost,

 

 

With ashy visage, bluish sulphur eyes,

 

 

His arms torn from his shoulders, and his breast

 

 

Furrowed with wounds, and, that which made me weep,

 

 

Thongs at his heels, by which Achilles' horse

 

 

Drew him in triumph through the Greekish camp,

 

 

Burst from the earth, crying "Aeneas, fly,

 

 

Troy is a-fire! the Grecians have the town!"

 

 

 

 

Dido.  O, Hector! who weeps not to hear thy name?

 

 

 

 

Æn.  Yet flung I forth, and, desperate of my life,

 

 

Ran in the thickest throngs, and, with this sword,

 

 

Sent many of their savage ghosts to hell.

 

 

At last came Pyrrhus, fell and full of ire,

 

 

His harness dropping blood, and on his spear

 

 

The mangled head of Priam's youngest son;

 

 

And, after him, his band of Myrmidons,

 

 

With balls of wild-fire in their murdering paws,

 

 

Which made the funeral-flame that burnt fair Troy;

 

 

All which hemmed me about, crying, "This is he!"

 

 

 

 

Dido.  Ah, how could poor Aeneas ‘scape their hands?

 

 

 

 

Æn.  My mother, Venus, jealous of my health,

 

 

Conveyed me from their crooked nets and bands;

 

 

So I escaped the furious Pyrrhus' wrath:

 

 

Who then ran to the palace of the king,

 

 

And at Jove's altar finding Priamus,

 

 

About whose withered neck hung Hecuba,

 

 

Folding his hand in her’s, and jointly both

 

 

Beating their breasts, and falling on the ground,

 

 

He, with his faulchion's point raised up at once,

 

 

And with Megaera's eyes stared in their face,

 

 

Threat'ning a thousand deaths at every glance;

 

 

To whom the agèd king thus trembling spoke: −

 

 

"Achilles' son, remember what I was,

 

 

Father of fifty sons, but they are slain;

 

 

Lord of my fortune, but my fortune's turned!

 

 

King of this city, but my Troy is fired!

 

 

And now am neither father, lord, nor king!

 

 

Yet who so wretched but desires to live?

 

 

O, let me live, great Neoptolemus!"

 

 

Not moved at all, but smiling at his tears,

 

 

This butcher, whilst his hands were yet held up,

 

 

Treading upon his breast, struck off his hands.

 

 

 

 

Dido.  O end, Aeneas, I can hear no more.

 

 

 

 

Æn.  At which the frantic queen leaped on his face,

 

 

And in his eyelids hanging by the nails,

 

 

A little while prolonged her husband's life.

 

 

At last the soldiers pulled her by the heels,

 

 

And swung her howling in the empty air,

 

 

Which sent an echo to the wounded king:

 

 

Whereat, he lifted up his bed-rid limbs,

 

 

And would have grappled with Achilles' son,

 

 

Forgetting both his want of strength and hands;

 

 

Which he, disdaining, whisked his sword about,

 

 

And with the wind thereof the king fell down;

 

 

Then from the navel to the throat at once

 

 

He ripped old Priam, at whose latter gasp,

 

 

Jove's marble statue 'gan to bend the brow,

 

 

As loathing Pyrrhus for this wicked act.

 

 

Yet he, undaunted, took his father's flag,

 

 

And dipped it in the old king's chill-cold blood,

 

 

And then in triumph ran into the streets,

 

 

Through which he could not pass for slaughtered men;

 

 

So, leaning on his sword, he stood stone still,

 

 

Viewing the fire wherewith rich Ilion burned.

 

 

By this, I got my father on my back,

 

 

This young boy in mine arms, and by the hand

 

 

Led fair Creusa, my beloved wife;

 

 

When thou, Achates, with thy sword mad'st way,

 

 

And we were round environed with the Greeks,

 

 

O there I lost my wife! and had not we

 

 

Fought manfully, I had not told this tale.

 

 

Yet manhood would not serve; of force we fled;

 

 

And as we went unto our ships, thou know’st

 

 

We saw Cassandra sprawling in the streets,

 

 

Whom Ajax ravished in Diana's fane,

 

 

Her cheeks swollen with sighs, her hair all rent,

 

 

Whom I took up to bear unto our ships;

 

 

But suddenly the Grecians followed us,

 

 

And I, alas! was forced to let her lie.

 

 

Then got we to our ships, and, being aboard,

 

 

Polyxena cried out, "Aeneas! stay!

 

 

The Greeks pursue me! stay, and take me in!"

 

 

Moved with her voice, I leaped into the sea,

 

 

Thinking to bear her on my back aboard,

 

 

For all our ships were launched into the deep,

 

 

And, as I swam, she, standing on the shore,

 

 

Was by the cruèl Myrmidons surprised,

 

 

And, after that, by Pyrrhus sacrificed.

 

 

 

 

Dido.  I die with melting ruth; Aeneas, leave!

 

 

 

 

Anna.  O what became of agèd Hecuba?

 

 

 

 

Iarb.  How got Aeneas to the fleet again?

 

 

 

 

Dido.  But how ‘scaped Helen, she that caused this war?

 

 

 

 

Æn.  Achates, speak, sorrow hath tired me quite.

 

 

 

 

Acha.  What happened to the queen we cannot show;

 

 

We hear they led her captive into Greece:

 

 

As for Aeneas, he swam quickly back,

 

 

And Helena betrayed Deïphobus,

 

 

Her lover, after Alexander died,

 

 

And so was reconciled to Menelaus.

 

 

 

 

Dido.  O, had that ‘ticing strumpet ne'er been born!

 

 

Trojan, thy ruthful tale hath made me sad.

 

 

Come, let us think upon some pleasing sport,

 

 

To rid me from these melancholy thoughts.

 

 

 

 

[Exeunt omnes.]

 

 

 

 

Enter Venus and Cupid, at another door.

 

 

Venus takes Ascanius by the sleeve.