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ACT III, SCENE i
They cross over the stage on the way to the hunt.
GHOST OF SYCHAEUS
The earth has split and I, Sychaeus, have made my sad way by avenues rough with rock out of Tartarus, bearing before me in my left hand a gloomy torch for the new bridal-chamber of Elisa, once my wife. For what rumor reached me, deep underground? That Dido is raging with love for her Teucrian guest? That a stranger was admitted into the midst of her realm? That he occupies her husband’s place? Where should I go? Where should I take my tears? Dido, if now Sychaeus has completely left your mind, if now you are undertaking a second marriage, has Libya produced no princes whom you might love? Will you, a fortunate woman, marry this wretch, a pious woman marry a traitor? A queen marry a fugitive? A Tyrian woman marry a Trojan? Paris rendered the entire Phrygian race hateful. He kidnapped his hostess, this wanderer will abandon his. Refrain, Dido. Loyalty is rare in guests and guests’ faith wanders just as they do. He forsook his fatherland. He will forsake a foreign country — and how much more a wife? He carries his household gods with him, seeking Latium. But you, Megaera, attack this breast with your furies, make him burn. It is enough. Let Aeneas guard against wrongdoing. Why should I not go within? I shall stay and ward off this evil. [Exit into the palace.]
ACT III, SCENE ii
Storm caused by Juno.
THE NYMPHS' LAMENT
Nymphs sing on the stage.
Alas, pour out your wail, beat your breast with your hands. Proclaim, alas, that an evil omen has come to the Tyrians.
Let the earth resound and heaven echo, let the river banks redouble our laments, let the forests howl and the mountains and oceans resound.
Alas for the wedding, alas for the evil marriage, alas for this wedlock such as no former age has seen, no future hour will witness.
The glades’ lament will not cease, we nymphs shall also weep, and sad Echo will groan from within her deep caverns.
ACT III, SCENE iii
Coming out of the forest.
It is good, it is fulfilled. We have achieved the outcome planned by my mother’s wiles, encompassed by mine. Has she fallen in love? She is drunk with love, she has caught With my mouth I return her kiss with one of my own, which is something other than just a pleasantry. While she plays with me sportively, I have tricked her with my fraud. She drank? I cadged a sip. She gazed at me? I turned my face to her. She called? I appeared. She caressed me? I perched in her lap. A rascal, I deceived this simpleton, shrewdly I tricked the pious woman. Now that she is destroyed I have left her, although she fancies her cares completely departed. And now Jupiter's consort and my mother have made a specious pact. They fix a day for the marriage, send the lovers into the forest, set the sky a-whirling with rain, and appoint this cavern the place for the wedding. Soon the bridegroom will lead out his bride. But some great task is summoning me to the city. Somebody in Tyre is always falling in love. [Exit.]
They return from the hunt.
ACT III, SCENE iv
Descending from heaven.
I, the eloquent son of Jupiter, greatest of the gods, and of my mother Maia, the gods’ swift messenger, have left the shining precincts of the lofty air. What’s this place? What region? On what land do I alight? Does this sight cheat my desire, or is this Libya? Is this the new Carthage? Unless I am mistaken, this is it. I recognize the city’s features. Here’s the threshold of Dido’s palace. Here the Phyrgians’ leader Aeneas lingers, bewitched. He is the reason for my arrival. Let nobody imagine this duty of mine is an easy one, flying hither and thither at Jove’s command. My godhead is to be held in reverence throughout all the lands. Doing the gods’ errands is serious business, only to be entrusted to someone quite clever. Whether I choose to travel by land or fly over the waters, I am borne by the rapid flash of my wings. What is the power, the virtue of my wand? With it I summon souls out of wan Dis, with it I despatch other men to the infernal Styx. I bring sleep, again I banish it, I unseal eyes shut by grim death. Trusting in my staff I come over the sea, I skim along driving winds and clouds roiling with aetherial turbulence.
But look, who’s coming out of the palace? It is Aeneas, accompanied by his friend Achates. [Enter Aeneas and Achates.]
ACT III, SCENE v
MERCURY, TO AENEAS
You are building walls for lofty Carthage and constructing a fine city in devotion to your wife, forgetful of your own affairs, unmindful of your kingdom. The ruler of gods and men, the universal judge who makes the heavens and earth spin by his command, has bid me convey to you his orders, coming through the swift breezes. What are you building? What hope makes you waste your time lingering in Libya, in lands forbidden you by your destiny? What’s the point of your delays? If the reputation of your great accomplishments fails to move you, and you do not wish to achieve great glory for your effort, at least think of Ascanius, consider the hopes of your heir Iulus, to whom is bequeathed domination over the land of Latium. Do you, a father, begrudge your son these citadels? Your mother Venus did not tell me you are such a man, nor for this did she twice rescue you from the Greeks’ deception, but because you were a man who would govern unruly Italy, who would propagate the Teucrians’ ancient blood-line and, as a victor, give laws to the world. This is the sum of my mission: set sail. [Exit.]
ACT III, SCAENE vi
AEN. I am wholly shaking with fear. Terror strikes my mind, dark night comes over my eyes. My tongue permits no easy expression of my words. But what could you say, Aeneas, what can you utter? How would it be proper for you to defend yourself? My shifting mind is snatched hither and thither, as the Euripus changes its current seven times in a day. Amazed by such a divine command, I must be off, abandoning this land in flight. But with what discourse can I mollify you, Dido, as you rage at me? What face can I put on? What words should I say first? What excuse is sufficient? Uncertain in my mind, I am pulled in different directions, like a ship in mid-ocean, as the steersman guides it in one way, the tide in another. Juno, restore the tide that brought me to Libya. Your anger fell more lightly on them, by way of a rehearsal. Whoever has crossed the sea because of a god’s anger, love the storms — take it from one who knows.
ACH. Great-hearted leader of the Trojans, sole support of our captive nation, I beg you to calm your emotions and make yourself obedient to Jupiter’s herald. When two evils occur, the lesser is to be chosen.
AEN. That is so, Achates. But who is to be the judge?
ACH. When Jupiter is doing the bidding, does the judge’s identity elude you?
AEN. But Jupiter, god of hospitality, forbids flight.
ACH. Why do you call our ordained journey a disgraceful flight?
AEN. Thus rumor will portray it.
ACH. But rumor is false and fickle.
AEN. But is to be feared in her fickleness.
ACH. But the gods are to be feared more.
AEN. But Dido is dear to me.
ACH. Think of Ascanius.
AEN. I am also thinking of great Carthage.
ACH. Is the land of Italy, owed you by the Fates, any the lesser?
AEN. The voyage is long.
ACH. Jupiter shows the way.
ACH. But Juno is savage.
ACH. This is matter to build your reputation.
AEN. But I am indebted to Elisa for everything — my ships, my men, Iulus’ life.
ACH. Thank her appropriately.
AEN. Let every thanks be offered her, it will prove me an ingrate.
ACH. The man who reproaches a grateful man loses his moral standing.
AEN. She loves me.
ACH. Then perhaps she’ll follow you.
AEN. She’s out of her mind.
ACH. Then flee.
AEN. But she willl beg me by the faith she showed me in my misery, by her hospitality, her tears, our pledge, whatever was sweet to me while I was with her.
ACH. Beg her in turn by the life of Ascanius, by the gods’ dire warnings, the kingdom of Latium granted you by destiny, your new nations. Restrain your tears, and courageously show yourself to be hard and intractable, stop your ears, endure her miserable complaints, withstand them, shake them off. Be like a lofty oak which, when the northerly winds strike it from this side and that, striving to uproot it with their blasts, still clings to the rocks, and just as high as it thrusts its top into the air, equally deep it plunges its roots down to deepest Styx.
AEN. Enough, Achates. Let Jupiter’s command convince me. And you, whichever holy god you were, I obey. I pray, be with me in your kindness, aid my journey, bring me propitious stars in a sky made placid by your hand.
ACH. But order the captains Mnester and Cleanthus to gather up weapons with stealth. Let them prepare the fleet, muster their shipmates from the city to their boats, but keep straight faces, concealing the reason for this new plan. In the meantime, while Dido in her ardor is still ignorant, not believing that her great love is being broken off, you must attempt a meeting, deciding the suitable moment for an interview, what approach is propitious for your affairs.
AEN. The care remaining for you, Achates, is to arm the fleet. I call men and the gods, also holy Faith, to witness that, Dido, I leave your land against my will. (Exit Aeneas to the palace and Achates to the ship.)
Oh, how swift an evil is Rumor, plying her business with great speed! Shameless, she gathers strength as she goes. At first always small out of timidity, afterwards she surges upward, striding over the land, and soon raises her head to the clouds.
They say that Earth, provoked by her hatred of the gods, gave birth to her as the younger sister of Coeus and Enceladus, swift of foot, with gossamer wings, a horrid monster. As many as there are feathers on her body, such is the number of eyes beneath them, such is the number of tongues, such the number of speaking mouths, such the number of greedy ears perked up.
She flies through the midnight sky, nor do her eyes close in sleep. Sometimes as warden she perches on the high housetops or the lofty battlements. Garrously she terrifies great cities, announcing the false, announcing the true.
With her manifold voice she rejoices in filling the ears of entire peoples, singing things done, singing things left undone. She sings that a strange guest has come, a man of Teucrian blood, whom Dido has seen fit to marry. Now they have spent the entire winter in luxury, unmindful of government. The foul goddess has poured this news into men’s ears throughout the cities of Libya.
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