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ACT IV, SCENE i
Oh, the monstrous crime! I’m deceived! I call all the gods and goddess to witness, and you, infernal Styx and waters of Erebus, everything that exists in the world, if such a foul crime has ever been committed. I, a defeated woman of Phoenicia, am undone by his treachery and my chaste love. What am I doing? Where do I go? My mind, never con-quered before, is swept away by passion and ardor, cannot restrain itself. Where is he? Has he gone, alas, so quickly? I want to speak with him. In my misery, I want to put him to the test. Where am I being driven in my unhappiness? [Enter Aeneas.]
ACTUS IV, SCENA ii
DI. Deceiver, did you expect that such an outrage could be could be kept secret, such a crime could be concealed? Are you preparing to abandon Dido without having said fare-well? Are you not bound by the recent pledge of our clasped hands, the faith we shared, our conjugal love, our wedding couch? Are you not bound by Phoenician Dido, about to die a bloody death? Are you making ready a voyage under a winter sky, when Notus the North wind, heavy with clouds, and blustering Aquilo the Northeast wind stir up the deep snow, when Auster the South wind drives the Libyan sands of Syrte? Cruel man! Even if Hector’s Pergamum still stood and you were not seeking other lands and unknown homes, would you search for Pergamum through the waves and the savage sea? Are you fleeing me? Do I deserve your flight? Now I beg you by these tears, I pray by the pledge you gave (since nothing else is left me, and I know my reign and reputation are jeapordized and hang in the balance), by the gods who avenge crimes against marriage, by your hopes for Iulus, by the scepter of my realm and your life, and now also by my own ashes — if you are moved by my good deeds, my piety, my sad fate, or the beauty of my decorum, now violated, if anything about Dido was sweet to you, abandon this monstrous fancy. Have pity on me, repay me for my kindnesses.
But be this as it may, if there is any room for entreaties, hear Dido’s final wish. Because of you, all the princes of Africa and the Numidians despise me. For the sake of this same man, my outstanding glory, the widespread fame by which I was extolled to heaven, is now annihilated along with my shame, a half-dead thing. Who are you handing me over to, guest? (This one word is left for me to call you by, now that I have lost my husband.) To whom are you abandoning me? Who will despoil me? But if I had any children by you before your sad escape, who would recall you and your appearance, if I had an Ascanius playing in my hall, at whose sight I could console my mind, saying “see, my husband used to look like this, thus was Aeneas, thus he was high in the shoulders, thus he held his strong hands,” my house would have flourished with happy fortune.
AEN. Queen, I confess I wish I could comply with your wishes, nor do I have the eloquence to count up the good things you have done for me. Nor, if the Fates show me the way, let me be said to be unmindful of Elisa, or of your realm. It is rightful to say few things in my defense, but true ones. Queen, I have not hoped to conceal my departure. Do not imagine such. Neither did I carry the marriage-torches before me fraudulently, nor enter into such a disgraceful pact. If the Fates were to let me lead my life under new auspices or let me choose what to care about, I would tend the remnants of Troy, Priam’s palace would be standing. Or I would restore the reputation of my country and the defeated Phrygians and return our scattered citizens to Hector, to Priam, to myself. Now, led on by Phoebus’ decree, I am seeking Italy. Italy is my my nation, wife, dominion, salvation. If Carthage and your new citadels hold you here, since you are Phoenician, why begrudge me Latium? I too may seek a foreign empire. How often has the sorrowful shade of my father presented itself to my eyes when sleep has relaxed my linbs and sweet slumber has overcome my exhausted body! How often has my father’s baleful image come into my bedchamber, urging swift flight! My boy Iulus is cheated of the land bequeathed him by the Fates. The very messenger of the gods, the herald sent to earth by Jupiter on high (I swear this by both our heads), delivered this command. I saw this god in broad daylight as he was contemplating these walls, I heard his pleasant discourse with these ears, the orders of Jupiter almighty. Cease your lamentations, let there be a limit to reproaches. I do not seek Italy of my own will, I am not unbidden.
DI. No goddess was your mother, traitor, nor was Dardanus the founder of your wicked race. Some Sinis or Procustes sired you, wild tigers nursed you on a harsh crag of the inhospitable Caucasus, your character reverts to its first ancestors, your base blood betrays your savage pedigree.
[Aside.] What should I do in my unhappiness? In my misery, what should I complain of first? Did he groan at my weeping, turn his eyes to me when I cried? Or has he wet his cheeks with tears? Has he yielded, overcome by my entreaties? This would be a great gift for me. What can help me? Loyalty has never stood on a firm foundation. Lately I took in this needy man, cast up on my shore, exiled from his country. I gave my all to him as consolation for his misfortunes, and finally gave him my realm. The monstrous outrage! He offered as an excuse the oracle, the unoffending gods. Soothsaying Phoebus, his hostile father, the Lycian oracles summon him to his kingdom. The son of Maia, indeed, the messenger of Jupiter, Mercury, carried these horrid commands through the skies. This concern of his, this effort, claims that the gods support it, although perhaps they are indifferent. I am begging him, but I am not holding on to him.
[Aloud.] Go, follow the winds, seek your kingdom by crossing the waves, the ocean to the land promised you by the Fates. If prayers and entreaties have any power, I am confident that you will pay the penalty for this outrage, grounded on shoals and reefs, or bobbing your head among your smashed hulls, crying out for me. I shall follow. I shall be there with black fires, my ghost will never leave you. When I am dead, I shall oppress you with my ceaseless lamentation. You will pay the penalties for your crimes, traitor, nor will they be hidden from me. In death I shall hear of them, swift Rumor will visit my shade. [Exit.]
ACT IV, SCENE iii
AEN. Has she left me thus, departing and by her swift flight avoiding my response, lest in her rage she hear my equal complaint? Oh, if my sorrow could reach the absent woman’s gentle ears! See how one god compels Aeneas to leave Tyre, while another forbids me, and I can follow the bidding of neither. Cupid, I would follow you, and follow you gladly, but Jupiter’s greater command compels me. Elisa, I should gladly abandon my comrades, myself, Ascanius, everthing, if this would satisfy Jupiter and my destiny. This departure is not my fault. [Enter Ilioneus, overhearing this speech.]
IL. Aeneas, if you did not have a heart of steel, a mind everywhere calloused by many evil experiences, would you be hard enough to bear her tears, could you deny her prayers? Why hesitate here? Dido asks you, Dido has earned it. Your mind is pondering why you are departing, what you are seeking. Are you looking for Italy? Tyre is being offered, a huge empire will be given you. You are leaving a great one, no less safe. Is a wife promised you? Dido has pledged you a marriage, promised to make you a king. Are you unaware that the gods begrudge us this Italian kingdom, that they begrudge whatever good thing our star has offered? As long as you can, stay safely in this place. I fear the gods, ill-disposed towards the Teucrians. What Dido asks is a simple thing, to offer support to the Teucrians and to you.
AEN. Only her unhappy sadness opposes me with its entreaties. Previously, when Troy was standing, the Teucrians had a god for an enemy, but now the gods are satisfied. They are better disposed. But the burning of Pergamum warns us the gods’ decrees are not to be ignored.
IL. The Teucrians have been grieving over the breaking of faith no less than the spurning of divine decrees. The death of Paris teachers that pacts of hospitality are not to be ignored.
AEN. But Paris died because of his unrestrained greed. I, having been commanded, am obeying the gods’ behest.
IL. You and Paris are guilty of the same thing.
AEN. Our motives are not the same. Wanting makes the crime. He is called guilty who does wrong of his own will. I am leaving unwillingly. I have made up my mind to obey Jupiter’s command. Our departure will not be obstructed by any argument. [Exeunt. Enter Anna and Dido.]
ACTUS IV, SCENA iv
AN. Queen, although I am going to say more than is proper, and my unbridled tongue will say things you have not requested, lend an attentive ear to your sister. Anna was once pleasing to you, and concern for you still troubles me. Why torture yourself? Why willingly expose your grieving soul to evils? If he cannot be retained in your Libyan dominion, if he spurns your prayers, despises your love, abuses the faith you have not broken, then I urge you, let Aeneas play the king anywhere at all rather than have famous Dido be this prince’s slave in vain. He is badly retained whom you retain to your own harm.
DI. I am losing him, and that the same time my shame is lost.
AN. A woman is shameless when she breaks a pledge she has given, not a women who preserves it.
DI. My shame is ruined. It scarcely matters whether the fault is mine or his.
AN. But can holy matrimony be a crime?
DI. When vows are made in secret, what witness is there to know of them? What if he denies them?
AN. I have heard of Trojan faith, I am aware of Paris. But there are marriage-gods, and Juno, protectress of marriage, is your witness.
DI. I scarcely fear the gods. Rumor terrifies me, for Rumor scarcely favors the truth.
AN. Who is accusing you of breaking faith?
DI. You ask? The man who stole it.
AN As a deserter, he is seeking an unknown world.
DI. This is what makes me burn. Why delay me, sister? It is a trifling love that can heed advice. There is only one thing I ask you, I do not have time to waste the day in conversation.
AN. Speak, and I shall gladly comply.
DI. Now the sea gleams with his fleet, and everywhere the Teucrians hasten in search of the high seas, leaving behind the shore. Arrayed on their benches, the sailors beseech the gods that a stiff breeze fill their sails. They fit their oars, Aeneas urges on the departure, any delay is too long for him in his haste. If I in my unhappiness have been able to see this great catastrophe coming and bear up under it, all that is left is for you to approach our haughty enemy in supplication. I was not responsible for burning Pergamum, glory of mighty Asia. I did not overthrow his father’s sad pyre or scatter his ashes. Why does he refuse to hear my words? Let him give this final gift to me, his lover. He may look forward to escape and favorable winds. I am not asking for sweet marriage, not that this mighty man forego his Latium. I just desire what is possible, a delay so I might ease my sorrow. Go, go quickly, sister, do as you are told.
AN. Being given this task I shall not delay. I shall go to the ships. [Exeunt.]
Oh Pergamum, devoid of faith from your first foundation, then when the cunning of Laomedon cheated the gods of their rightful reward.
But why should we complain of ancient deceits? A more recent time has produced for us a greater outrage. Why seek foreign evidence? A crime involving ourselves has affected our Tyrian shores, we are astonished by fraud here at home.
Faith’s sincerity does not endure, everywhere it is smirched by foul stains. The treacherous guest shows with his hostess, the treacherous Trojan shows with the Tyrian woman, the treacherous husband shows with his wife, how greatly the Dardanian land honors faith.
Straightforward probity has deserted the earth, seeking the gods. Impious deceit clothes herself in probity’s garments. Oh, if simple virtue would return from the stars!
Go to Act V