The youth engage, make strong the fort,
Or shape the basin to a port:
The works all slack and aimless lie,
Grim bastions, looming from on high,
And monster cranes that mate the sky.

Whom when imperial Juno saw
With passion so possessed
Too tyrannous for shame to awe,
She Venus’ ear addressed:
‘A glorious triumph you enjoy:
Vast spoil must be to share
’Twixt Venus and her conquering boy:
Two gods have cunning to destroy
A single earthly fair.
Nor has it ’scaped me that you dread
This town that lifts so proud a head:
Let Carthage open as she will
Her homes, your heart mistrusts her still.
But must suspicion never cease?
Or why so fierce a fight?
What if we make a lasting peace,
And marriage treaties plight?
See, you have gained your heart’s desire
Lost Dido’s blood is turned to fire.
Then rule we race and race as one,
With equal plenitude of power:
Your Phrygian yoke she e’en shall don,
And bring her Tyrians as her dower.’

Then Venus—for the drift she saw
Of her too gracious host,
Who fain would Latium’s empire draw
To Libya’s favoured coast—
Thus answered: ‘Who would say you no,
And choose you not for friend but foe,
Could he but feel, your pleasure done,
The wished-for consequence were won?
But ah! I stand in doubt of fate:
Would Jupiter desire
To merge in one promiscuous state
The sons of Troy and Tyre,
Let nations thus their lives unite,
And common federation plight?
His consort you: you best may move
His heart with urgency of love.
Advance: I follow where you lead.’
Heaven’s empress made return:
‘That task be mine: now, how to speed
Our nearer purpose, grant your heed,
And briefly you shall learn.
Æneas and the unhappy queen
Are bound to hunt in woodland green,
Soon as to-morrow’s sun displays
His orb, and lights the world with rays.
Then, when the hunter-train beset
The forest walks with dog and net,
A furious tempest I will send,
And all the heaven with thunder rend.
The rest shall scatter far and wide,
Well pleased in thickest night to hide,
While Dido and the Trojan king
Chance to the self-same cave shall bring:
And there myself, your will once known,
Will make her his, and his alone.
Thus shall they wed.’ Love’s queen assents:
Smiles at the fraud, but not prevents.

The morn meantime from ocean rose:
Forth from the gates with daybreak goes
The silvan regiment:
Thin nets are there, and spears of steel,
And there Massylian riders wheel,
And dogs of keenest scent.
Before the chamber of her state
Long time the Punic nobles wait
The appearing of the queen:
With gold and purple housings fit
Stands her proud steed, and champs the bit
His foaming jaws between.
At length with long attendant train
She comes: her scarf of Tyrian grain,
With broidered border decked:
Of gold her quiver: knots of gold
Confine her hair: her vesture’s fold
By golden clasps is checked.
The Trojans and Iulus gay
In glad procession take their way.
Æneas, comeliest of the throng,
Joins their proud ranks, and steps along.
As when from Lycia’s wintry airs
To Delos’ isle Apollo fares;
There Agathyrsian, Dryop, Crete,
In dances round his altar meet:
He on the heights of Cynthus moves,
And binds his hair’s loose flow
With cincture of the leaf he loves:
Behind him sounds his bow:
So firm Æneas’ graceful tread,
So bright the glories round his head.

Now to the mountain-slopes they come,
And tangled woods, the silvan’s home:
See! startled from the craggy brow,
Wild goats run hurrying down below:
There, yet more timid, bands of deer
Scour the wide plains in full career,
And turn their backs on wood and height,
While dust-clouds gather o’er their flight.
But young Ascanius on his steed
With boyish ardour glows,
And now in ecstasy of speed
He passes these, now those:
For him too peaceful and too tame
The pleasure of the hunted game:
He longs to see the foaming boar,
Or hear the tawny lion’s roar.

Meantime, loud thunder-peals resound,
And hail and rain the sky confound:
And Tyrian chiefs and sons of Troy,
And Venus’ care, the princely boy,
Seek each his shelter, winged with dread,
While torrents from the hills run red.
Driven haply to the same retreat,
The Dardan chief and Dido meet.
Then Earth, the venerable dame,
And Juno give the sign:
Heaven lightens with attesting flame,
And bids its torches shine,
And from the summit of the peak
The nymphs shrill out the nuptial shriek

That day she first began to die:
That day first taught her to defy
The public tongue, the public eye.
No secret love is Dido’s aim:
She calls it marriage now; such name
She chooses to conceal her shame.

Now through the towns of Libya’s sons
Her progress Fame begins,
Fame than who never plague that runs
Its way more swiftly wins:
Her very motion lends her power:
She flies and waxes every hour.
At first

  By PanEris using Melati.

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