Vergil, Aeneid 4.642-705

And trembling and wild Dido, turning her bloody eyesight
from the monstrous undertakings, and suffused with splotches
in respect to her trembling cheeks, and wan for death about to be,
broke into the inner threshold of the house and, frenzied,
mounted the high funeral pyre and unsheathed the sword
of the Trojan, the gift not having been asked for these uses.
Here, after she saw the Trojan vestments and familiar
bed, she, having hesitated, reclined somewhat on the bed with
tears and mind and spoke final words:
“Sweet mementos, while god did allow such fates,
accept this spirit and release me from these worries.
I have lived and Fortune has given such a course to be completed,
and now my great image will go under the lands.
I have established a renowned city, seen my bulwarks;
avenged, I have accepted payment from the hated brother of men;
I would have been fortunate—alas, excessively fortunate—if
the Trojan ships had never reached our shores.”
She spoke, and pressed her mouth to the bed: “We, unavenged, will die,
but let us die,” she affirms. “Thus, thus he helps me to go under the shades.
Let the Trojan drink in hence the fire with his cruel eyes from
the sea, and let him bear all of our death with him.”

She had spoken, and her compatriots beheld her, collapsed on the sword,
through the midst of such things, and they say through her spread hands
the sword foaming with blood. A clamour goes to the high
atria: Rumour rages through the shaken city.
With lamentation and with a groan and with a feminine wait
the houses boil; heaven resounds with great wailings,
not other than if all Carthage or ancient Tyre falls
from enemies having been let in, and raging flames
are turned both through the roofs of men and of gods.
The breathless sister heard, and, terrified, rushed through their midst
along the trembling path, defiling her mouth with wails and her breast
with fists, and she called to her, dying, by name:
“Was this that, sister? Did you ask me with deceit?
By this is the funeral pyre itself mine, and did the altar’s fires prepare this?
Why do I, deserted, firstly, complain? Dying, did you scorn your
sister and fleet? Would that you had called me to the fates themselves:
would that the sadness and that time had carried us both to iron.
Indeed, have I built with these hands, and have I called our ancestral
gods with a voice that, with you thusly places, I might be absent?
I have killed you and me, sister, and the people, and Sidonian ancestors,
and your city. Give help that I might wash with waters the wounds,
and that, if her last breath wanders about her, I might
catch it in a kiss.” Having spoken thusly, she mounts high steps,
and, embraced, cherished her dying sister in her lap
with lamentation and she did staunch the black bloods with her garb.
Again, she, having tried, failed to raise her heavy eyes;
the pierced wound under her breast gurgled.
Thrice having struggled, she lifted herself, raising herself with an arm,
thrice she has been released in the bed, and, with wandering eyes,
seeks light in the high sky, and laments it having been found.

Then omnipotent Juno, having pitied the long sorrow and
painful deaths, sent Iris from Olympus
who might release her struggling spirit and bound limbs.
Indeed, because she did not perish by fate or earned death,
but, miserable, before her day, and, incensed, with sudden madness;
not yet had Proserpina taken away from her head tawny hair
and condemned her head to Stygian Orcus.
Therefore, dewy Iris flies down through the sky on yellow wings,
carrying a thousand different colours with the sun facing,
and stood ready above Dido’s head. “I, bidden, take this
offerring to Dis and I release you from that body.”
Thus she affirms and with her right hand cuts a hair: and all heat had
fallen from this one, and her life receded into the winds.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s