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Dido to Aeneas


Aeneas would from Dido part,
    But Dido not content,
She mov'd him first with words,
    And then this letter sent.

So at Meander's streams,
    when fates bid life be gone, [n]
The snow-white swan on mossy grass,
    out-stretched tunes his moan.
Not hoping thee to move,

    this suit I undertake,
The heavens at the motion frown'd
    when first we did it make.
But fame of due desert
    my body and my mind
So lewdly lost. The loss is light,
    to loose these words of wind. [n]
Resolv'd thou art to go,
    and woeful Dido leave.
Those winds shall blow thy faith away

    that shall thy sails upheave.
Resolve thy ships at once, [n]
    and promise to untie,
To seek Italian realms which yet
    thou know'st not where they lie.
Nought mov'd with Carthage new,
    nor walls that growing be,
Nor that there was committed all
    the sovereignty to thee.
Thou leavest things full made,

    thou seekest new to make.
To search about for lands unfound,
    Land found thou dost forsake.
But grant the land thou find,
    to thee who will it giue?
Why will the soil to strangers yield,
    whereon themselves do live?
Thou must another love,
    Another Dido find,
And which again thou mayst undo,

    Another promise bind.
When wilt thou into form
    a town like Carthage bring,
And from thy palace top behold
    thy subjects as their King?
If all things else succeed,
    and nothing cross thy mind,
What place will ever yield to thee
    a wife to thee so kind?
For I like waxen torch

    in sulphur roll'd do burn.
Each day, each night Aeneas makes
    unto my thoughts return.
Unthankful he indeed,
    And deaf to what I give,
And such, as were I not a fool,
    I would without him live.
Yet though his thoughts be ill,
    I hate him not therefore.
Complain I do of his untroth, [n]

    complaining Love therefore.
Thy daughter Venus spare,
    thy brother hard embrace.
O brother Love, within thy camp,
    'point him a soldier's place.
Or me, who first began,
    for love I not disdain,
Let him but only subject yield,
    to this my careful pain.
But ah I am beguil'd,

    his boasts are boasted lies
Of mother's line. From mother's kind, [n]
    in all his course he flies.
Thee some unwieldy stone,
    or rocky mountains bred,
Or oaks which on high rocks do grow,
    or beasts by raven fed;
Or sea with winds turmoil'd,
    as now thou seest it show.
Yet thitherward art ready bent,

    in spite of waves to go.
What mean'st thou? winter lets,
    let winter's suit prevail.
See with what force the eastern blasts
    the rolling waves assail.
Since winds and waters do
    than thou more justice show,
Let me, what more to thee I would,
    to wind and waters owe.
I am not so much worth,

    which sure thou dost not think,
That while on seas from me thou flyest,
    thyself in seas should'st shrink.
Thou precious hatred bear'st,
    and pierc'st exceeding hie. [n]
If so thou mayst of me be rid,
    thou count it cheap to die.
The winds their windy force
    anon will lay aside,
And Triton will with azure steeds

    On levell'd waters glide.
Now (would the Gods) as they
    so thou could'st changed be!
Thou wilt, unless thy hardness do
    far pass the hardest tree.
What if of furious seas
    the force thou did'st not know?
Which tried so oft and found so ill,
    yet still to sea wilt go.
And though they serve at will,

    when thou dost anchors weigh,
Yet in so long a voyage chance
    no few mischances may.
And sure to cross the seas,
    small fruit faith-breakers gain.
That place on false deceivers doth
    inflict their falsehood's pain.
But most when love is wrong'd,
    for why? Of love the dame,
First naked out of wat'ry waves,

    about Cythera came.
Lest hurt who hurteth me
    undone, undo I shall,
I fear, and lest by wrack on seas,
    In seas my foes shall fall.
Live: so I better shall
    than thee by death destroy.
Thou of my death, not I of thine,
    the title shall enjoy.
Suppose a whirlwind swift

    God make these words but wind
Catch thee unwares. What courage then,
    what thoughts will pass thy mind?
Lo, straight with falsehood fraught,
    thy perjur'd tongue appears,
And Dido driven by Trojan's guile,
    of life to short her years.
Of thy betrayed wife,
    will stand before thy sight
The image sad, dishevelled, [n]

    with bleeding wounds bedight.
Let come (then wilt thou say)
    I have deserv'd this all;
And bent at thee thou wilt suppose,
    what ever lightnings fall.
Both seas and thou do rage,
    let both and breathing take.
This small delay (no small reward)
    thy journey safe shall make.
For thee my care is least,

    thy child let spared be.
Thou hast the glory of my death,
    sufficient that for thee.
What hath thy little son?
    what hath thy Gods deserv'd?
That them the waters swallow should
    from fire's force preserv'd.
But false thou hast no such,
    as me thy brags have told,
Nor ever did'st on shoulders lift,

    thy Gods and father old.
Thou liest in this and all,
    thy tongue his guileful part
Begins not first on me to play,
    nor I first feel the smart.
Ask where the mother is,
    of faire Iulus gone?
Her stony husband her forsook,
    and so she died alone.
It pitied me to hear,

    which just recompense
For me had been, but that such pain
    is less than mine offence.
That thee thy Gods condemn,
    my heart doth me assure,
Who seven years now on land on seas
    such tossing dost endure.
I thee by wrack upthrow'n
    in harbour sure did save,
And scarcely having heard thy name,

    to thee my kingdom gave.
O would with these good turns
    I me content had found,
And that infamous fame of mine
    were buried deep in ground.
That day my woe was wrought,
    when under stooping bower
Of mossy den we met alone,
    compell'd by sudden shower.
Some howling sounds I heard,

    the Nymphs I thought did so,
They Furies were, who in that sort
    foretold my fatal woe.
Chaste law of shamefast love,
    revenge on me this blame,
Ill to Sicheus kept, to whom
    aye me I go with shame.
Whose sacred Image I
    in marble chapel keep,
With leafy branches hid from sight, [n]

    and wool of whitest sheep.
Hence thrice I heard me call'd,
    I knew his well-known voice.
Himself thrice said, 'Come Dido, Come,'
    with softly whisp'ring noise.
I come without delay,
    which once was only thine,
Yet me the more to linger makes,
    this shameful fact of mine.
But pardon thou my fault,

    whose deed might well deceive,
To others he in mine offence,
    the lesse offence doth leave.
His mother heaven's imp,
    his sire a godly lode, [n]
Unto his son by reason bred
    sure hope of his abode.
If needs I must have err'd
    mine error had good ground,
Put faith in him, he no way else

    unworthy shall be found.
My faults to end persist,
    as they at first begun,
And their unlucky spindles still
    in one like tenor run.
My husband fell to ground
    before the altars slain,
My brother of that wicked act
    doth reap the wicked gain.
My self exil'd, his grave

    and country both forsake,
And forced am, by foe pursu'd,
    uneasy ways to take.
I land on land unknown,
    escap'd from foe and wave,
And bought the shore which freely yet
    to thee false wretch I gave.
A town I built, whose walls
    far out extended lie,
Provoking places near about

    maligning to envy.
Wars grow, poor stranger I,
    and woman vex'd with wars,
Scarce know how armour to provide
    and strength my gate with bars.
When thousands to me su'd,
    now all against me come,
Griev'd that, before their beds, I have
    preferr'd I know not whom.
Why stick'st to yield me bound

    into Hyarbas' hands?
I will not stick to yield mine arms
    to bide thy wicked bands.
A brother eke I have,
    who wicked hands anew,
Imbrewed first in husband's blood,
    would fain in mine imbrew.
Lay down thy sacred Gods,
    whom touching dost pollute,
Unseemly with ungodly hands

    doth godly worship suit.
If they from fire escap'd,
    that thou might'st them adore,
That ever they escap'd from fire
    thy Gods repent them sore.
And what, O wicked man,
    with child if Dido be?
And of thyself some part of thee
    there lies enclos'd in me?
The dame and ruthful babe

    at once shall be forlorn,
And by thy means to death be brought
    who yet was never born.
So with his parent shall
    Iulus' brother die.
One death at once shall two dispatch,
    whose lives in one doth lie.
But God bids thee to go,
    would God he had forbid
To come, that of thy Trojan troops

    my Carthage had been rid.
This God no doubt your guide,
    doth you those tempests raise,
And makes you on those flowing floods
    so long to spend your days.
To Troy back to turn, [n]
    it scarce were worth thy pain.
If as whiles Hector liv'd it was, [n]
    so now it were again.
Not to Scamander you, [n]

    but Tiber's streams do go,
Where grant arriv'd, what are you else,
    but such as no man know?
But as that land is hid,
    and from thy fleet doth make,
It seems old age will sooner thee,
    than thou it overtake.
Yet rather as my dower,
    this realm of mine receive,
With all Pigmalion's wealth I brought,

    and farther wandering leave.
And into Carthage Troy
    with better hap translate,
Where thou shalt sacred sceptre bear,
    enthron'd in royal state.
If thou do wars affect,
    or if thy sons desire,
Of triumph matter to procure
    by martial means aspire,
That nought may wanting be,
    such foes we will him yield,

This place for laws of peace is apt,
    apt is for spear and shield.
Now by thy mother thou,
    thy brother quiver'd boy,
By the companions of thy flight
    thy Gods, the Gods of Troy,
So may thy remnant left,
    in field all conquest win,
As Trojan war of all thy loss,

    the final end have been.
Ascanius live his years,
    with all good fortune bless'd,
And softly may the buried bones
    of old Anchises rest.
Spare now, O spare thine house,
    which gives itself to thee,
But that indeed I have thee lov'd,
    what fault canst find in me?
Of Pythia I am not,

    nor great Mycenae born,
My husband nor my father hath
    against thee armour worn.
Of wife if thou think scorn,
    not wife, but hostesse call. [n]
So thine she be, what Dido be,
    she nought regards at all.
The seas to me are known,
    on Africk coast that lie.
At times they do free passage grant,

    at times they do deny.
When weather will permit,
    hoise sail and set from land, [n]
For now the launching of thy ships
    the flowing weeds withstand.
Charge me to wait the time
    thou shalt go sure away.
Not then, no though thyself desire,
    myself will let thee stay.
Thy mates some rest require,

    thy fleet sore rent with waves,
And scarcely yet half-rigg'd anew,
    for some small respite craves.
For what have I deserv'd?
    what owe to thee I may? [n]
Henceforth, for all my marriage hopes,
    I crave but small delay.
Whiles stormy seas grow calm,
    while custom tempers love,
How patiently mishaps to bear,

    I shall the practice prove.
If not, my life to spill
    with full intent I mind.
Of cruelty thou canst not long
    in me a subject find.
Would God thou did'st but see
    mine image as I write!
I write, and full against my breast
    thy naked sword is pight. [n]
And down my cheeks along

    the tears do trickling fall,
Which by and by instead of tears,
    ingrain in blood I shall.
How well with this my fate,
    these gifts of thine agree!
To furnish out my funeral,
    the cost will slender be.
My breast shall not be now
    first pierced with this blade.
For why? There is a former wound,

    which cruel love hath made.
Anne sister, sister Anne,
    ill privy to my falt, [n]
Perform thy last obsequious love,
    unto my bones thou shalt.
When flames have me consum'd,
    write not on marble grave:
'Here Dido lies, Sicheus' wife',
    but this verse let me have:
'Aeneas, Dido gave

    both cause and sword of death:
And Dido using her own hand,
    depriv'd herself of breath'.

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