Aeneid 4.642-705



At trepida et coeptis immanibus effera Dido
sanguineam voluens aciem, maculisque trementis
interfusa genas et pallida morte futura,
interiora domus inrumpit limina et altos 645
conscendit furibunda rogos ensemque recludit
Dardanium, non hos quaesitum munus in usus.


But trembling and driven wild by these tremendous undertakings,
turning her bloodshot eye, and stained on her trembling cheeks
with spots and pale because of impending death,
Dido breaks into the interior thresholds of the house and, bound to fury,
she climbs up the high funeral pyres and she uncovers
the Trojan sword, a gift not sought for these purposes.

Hic, postquam Iliacas vestis notumque cubile
conspexit, paulum lacrimis et mente morata
incubuitque toro dixitque novissima verba: 650
'Dulces exuviae, dum fata deusque sinebat,
accipite hanc animam meque his exsoluite curis.


Here, after she spots the Trojan clothing and the well-known bed,
for a little while delayed by tears and memories,
she lies on the bed and she says her final words:
"Oh sweet spoils, sweet while the fates and the god allowed,
accept this spirit and free me from these cares.

Vixi et quem dederat cursum Fortuna peregi,
et nunc magna mei sub terras ibit imago.
urbem praeclaram statui, mea moenia vidi, 655
ulta virum poenas inimico a fratre recepi,
felix, heu nimium felix, si litora tantum
numquam Dardaniae tetigissent nostra carinae.'


I have lived and I completed the course which fortune had given,
and now a great image of me will go under the earth.
I have established a renowned city, I have seen my walls [rise],
having avenged my husband I have received the punishment from my brother,
[I would have been] happy, indeed too happy, if only the Dardanian keels [ships]
had never touched our shores."

NOTE: Dido has gone emo.

Dixit, et os impressa toro 'Moriemur inultae,
sed moriamur' ait. 'Sic, sic iuvat ire sub umbras. 660
hauriat hunc oculis ignem crudelis ab alto
Dardanus, et nostrae secum ferat omina mortis.'
Dixerat, atque illam media inter talia ferro
conlapsam aspiciunt comites, ensemque cruore
spumantem sparsasque manus. It clamor ad alta 665
atria: concussam bacchatur Fama per urbem.


She spoke, and having pressed her face on the couch, said
"We shall die unavenged
but let us die. Thus, thus it is pleasing to go under the shades.
May he, the cruel Dardanian, drink up this fire with his eyes from the sea,
and may he carry with him omens of our death."
Thus she spoke, and the comrades see her, in the middle of such things,
having fallen on the sword and and her hands spattered.
The shout goes to the highest point of the atrium and the Rumor
shouts throughout the raging city.

Lamentis gemituque et femineo ululatu
tecta fremunt, resonat magnis plangoribus aether,
non aliter quam si immissis ruat hostibus omnis
Karthago aut antiqua Tyros, flammaeque furentes 670
culmina perque hominum volvantur perque deorum.
audiit exanimis trepidoque exterrita cursu
unguibus ora soror foedans et pectora pugnis
per medios ruit, ac morientem nomine clamat:
'Hoc illud, germana, fuit? Me fraude petebas? 675


The walls were roaring with lamentations and groaning and feminine wailing,
The upper air resounds with much beating, not otherwise than if all of Carthage
or ancient Tyre, should collapse with the enemy having been led in, and the raging flames
are turned through the roof peaks of man and through those of the gods.
Her sister, out of her mind, terrified by the rapid running, befouling her face with her nails,
harming her chest with blows, heard, and rushes through the crowd, and she calls the one
who is dying by name: "Was this what you were after? Were you asking me fraudulently?"

Hoc rogus iste mihi, hoc ignes araeque parabant?
Quid primum deserta querar? Comitemne sororem
sprevisti moriens? Eadem me ad fata vocasses,
idem ambas ferro dolor atque eadem hora tulisset.
His etiam struxi manibus patriosque vocaui 680
voce deos, sic te ut posita, crudelis, abessem?


Did that funeral pyre, did these flames, did these altars prepare this thing for me?
Having been bereft, what bereavement shall I address first? You dying rejected your
sister as a comrade? If you had called me to the same fate, then the same grief and
the same time would have brought both of us to the sword. And so I built with these
very hands and I called the ancestral gods with my voice so that I could be absent
with you placed in this way, oh cruel one?

Exstinxti te meque, soror, populumque patresque
Sidonios urbemque tuam. Date, vulnera lymphis
abluam et, extremus si quis super halitus errat,
ore legam.' Sic fata gradus evaserat altos, 685
semianimemque sinu germanam amplexa fovebat
cum gemitu atque atros siccabat veste cruores.


You have extinguished both you and me, sister, and your people and your
Siodonian ancestors and your city. Let me wash your wounds with water and,
if any last breath should wander further let me catch it with my mouth."
Thus having spoken, she climbed the high steps and having embraced her,
she cherished her half alive sister in her bosom with a groan and she dried her
black blood with her garment.

NOTE: "... catch it with my mouth." It was a Roman custom to catch with a kiss the last breath of a dying relative or friend.

Illa grauis oculos conata attollere rursus
deficit; infixum stridit sub pectore vulnus.
Ter sese attollens cubitoque adnixa levauit, 690
ter revoluta toro est oculisque errantibus alto
quaesiuit caelo lucem ingemuitque reperta.


And she [Dido] having tried to lift her heavy eyes again
collapses; and the wound stuck under her breast groans.
Three times she, raising herself and leaning on her elbow, lifted herself,
and three times she turned back onto the couch, and with her eyes wandering
she sought the light in the high sky and [the light] having been found, she groans.


Tum Iuno omnipotens longum miserata dolorem
difficilisque obitus Irim demisit Olympo
quae luctantem animam nexosque resolveret artus. 695
Nam quia nec fato merita nec morte peribat,
sed misera ante diem subitoque accensa furore,
nondum illi flavum Proserpina vertice crinem
abstulerat Stygioque caput damnaverat Orco.


Then omnipotent Juno, having taken pity on her (Dido's) long grief
and difficult death, sent Iris from Olympus,
who would unfasten her struggling soul and tightly bound limbs.
For since she perished not by fate, nor by a deserved death,
but rather she died wretched and before her day and having been inflamed by a sudden madness,
Persephone had not yet taken away the blond hair from her head
nor had she condemned her head to Stygian Orcus .

"Teque isto corpore solvo." - 4.703
"Teque isto corpore solvo." - 4.703

Ergo Iris croceis per caelum roscida pennis 700
mille trahens varios adverso sole colores
devolat et supra caput astitit. 'Hunc ego Diti
sacrum iussa fero teque isto corpore solvo':
sic ait et dextra crinem secat, omnis et una
dilapsus calor atque in ventos vita recessit.


And so Iris, dewy with her yellow wings, flew down through the sky
dragging a thousand different colors with the sun opposite
and stood above her head. "I bear this sacred thing
to Dis , having been ordered, I free you from this wretched body":
This she speaks and cuts the hair with her right hand, and all the warmth
is drained away at once and her life recedes into the winds.