« السابقةمتابعة »
founding the citadel, others laying off the sites for the law courts and sacred Senate House. "O happy ye whose walls now rise !” exclaimed Æneas, as he and Achates mingled with the crowd, still cloud-wrapped, and entered the vast temple built to Juno. Here Æneas's fear fell from him; for as he waited for the queen's coming, he saw pictured on the walls the fall of his own dear city, and wept as he gazed upon the white tents of Rhesus, and Hector's disfigured body.
As he wept, the beautiful Dido entered, joyously intent on her great work, and, seating herself on her throne, proceeded to give laws to the Tyrians, and assign their work to them.
Suddenly, to the amazement of Æneas and Achates, in burst their lost comrades, Antheus, Sergestus, Gyas, Cloanthus, and other Trojans, demanding of Dido a reason for their rough reception. To whom the queen replied :
“Let fear desert your hearts ; I, too, have suffered, and know how to aid the unfortunate. And whither hath not the fame of Troy penetrated? I will aid you in leaving this coast, or give you a home with me, treating you as I treat my Tyrians. Would only that Æneas's self stood with you !”
Then burst Æneas forth from his cloud-wrapping, made more beautiful by Venus, the purple bloom of youth on his face, joy in his eyes. “ Here am I, Trojan Æneas, to render thanks to thee, divine Dido."
Dido, charmed with the hero, prepared a banquet for him in her splendid hall, curtained with rich drapery, and adorned with costly plate, whereon were pictured the proud deeds of her ancestors. Hither came the Trojans with gifts for Dido, - a rich robe stiff with gold embroidery, a veil embroidered with the yellow acanthus, ornaments of Helen, the sceptre of Ilione, a pearl and gold necklace, and a double crown of gems and gold.
Beside Achates tripped Cupid, for Venus, suspecting the craft of the Tyrians, had hidden Ascanius on Mount Ida, and sent her own son in his guise, to complete Æneas's conquest of Dido.
After the feast was over, the great beakers were brought in
and crowned with garlands. Dido called for the beaker used by Belus and all his descendants, and pouring a libation, drank to the happiness of the Trojan wanderers, and passed the cup around the board. Iopas, the long-haired minstrel, sang, and the night passed by in various discourse. Dido, forgetting Sichæus, hung on the words of Æneas, questioning him of Priam and Hector, and at last demanding the story of his wanderings.
“Thou orderest me, O queen, to renew my grief, the destruction of Troy by the Greeks, which deeds I have seen, and a part of which I have been.
Despairing of conquering Troy, the Greeks attempted to take it by stratagem. By the art of Pallas, they framed a heaven-high horse, within which were concealed picked men for our destruction. Leaving this behind them, they sailed, ostensibly for home, in reality for Tenedos.
“When we supposed them gone we joyfully went forth to examine the deserted camp and the giant horse. As we wondered at it, and Laocoon, priest of Neptune, urged us to destroy it, a crowd of shepherds approached with a youth whom they had found hiding in the sedges. His name was Sinon. He was a Greek, but he was hated by Ulysses, and had fled to save his life. The Greeks had sailed home, he assured us, leaving the horse as a votive offering to Pallas. They had hoped that its great bulk would prevent the Trojans from taking it inside their walls, for once within the city, Troy could never be taken.
“We Trojans were credulous, and Sinon's tale was plausible. To increase our belief in it, while Laocoön was sacrificing a bull to Neptune, we saw coming over the sea from Tenedos two huge serpents, their crimson crests towering high, their breasts erect among the waves, their long folds sweeping over the foaming sea. As we fled affrighted, they seized the two sons of Laocoön, twining their coils around the wretched boys; and when their father hastened to their aid, caught him in their huge coils, staining his fillets with black blood. “Laocoön suffered for his crime,' we said, when, the priest slain, the serpents crept to Pallas's altar, and curled themselves around the feet of the goddess. Then joyfully we made a breach in the walls, put rollers under the horse, and, with music and dancing, dragged it within the walls.
“That night as we lay sleeping after revelry and feasting, Sinon crept down, opened the horse, and freed the men, who were soon joined by the other Greeks, returned from Tenedos.
“In a dream Hector's shade appeared to me, and, weeping, bade me fly. “Troy falls. Do thou go forth and save her household deities !! As I woke, sounds of battle penetrated to my palace halls, removed somewhat from the city, and embowered in trees; and I rushed forth, forgetful of Hector's warning. I saw the streets swimming in Trojan blood, Trojan women and children led captive, Cassandra dragged from her shrine. Enraged, I gathered a band and slew many Greeks. But when I saw the impious Pyrrhus enter the palace and slay Priam at the altar, I recognized the uselessness of my struggle, and turned to my home.
“ Taking my old father Anchises on my back, and leading Iulus by the hand, I set forth, followed by my wife Creusa. But when I looked behind me at the city gates, my wife was gone.
Mad with despair, I rushed back to the citadel, crying, 'Creusa ! Creusa !' Our homestead was in flames, the streets filled with Greeks; but as I roamed through the town, I met her pallid shape. 'O husband, rage not against heaven's decrees! Happy days will come for thee on the banks of the Tiber. Farewell, and love with me our boy!'
“Without the gates I was joined by other fugitives; and after the departure of the Greeks we built ships from the timbers of Mount Ida, and loading these with our household gods and a few spoils from the city, we departed to seek new homes.
“In Thrace, our first stopping-place, I learned that Polydore, Priam's son, who had been entrusted to the care of the Thracian king, had been slain by him for his gold, when the fortunes of Troy fell. We hastened to leave this accursed land, and sought Delos, only to be instructed by
Apollo that we must seek the home from which our forefathers had come. Anchises, who remembered the legends of our race, thought this must be Crete; so to Crete we sailed, and there laid the foundations of a city, only to be driven thence by a plague and a threatened famine.
“In a dream my household gods instructed me that Dardanus, the founder of our race, had come from Hesperia, and thither we must bend our course. Tempests drove us about the sea for three suns, until, on the fourth, we landed at the isle of the Harpies, - loathsome monsters, half woman, half bird, who foul everything they touch. When we had slain the cattle and prepared to banquet, they drove us from the tables; and when attacked by us, uttered dire threats of future famine.
“At Epirus we heard that Andromache had wed Prince Helenus, who had succeeded to the rule of Pyrrhus, two Trojans thus being united. As I landed here, anxious to prove the truth of the rumor, I met Andromache herself in a grove near the town, sacrificing at an empty tomb dedicated to Hector. Pyrrhus had made her his slave after the fall of Troy, but after he wedded Hermione, he had given her to Helenus, himself a slave. When Pyrrhus died, part of his realm fell to Helenus, and here the two had set up a little Troy.
“ Helenus received us kindly, instructed us as to our route, and gave us rich gifts; and Andromache, remembering her dead Astyanax, wept over Iulus as she parted with him.
“ As we passed Sicily we took up a Greek, Achemenides, a companion of Ulysses, who had been left behind, and had since been hiding in deadly terror from the Cyclops. We ourselves caught sight of the monster Polyphemus, feeling his way to the shore to bathe his wounded eye.
" Instructed by Helenus, we avoided Scylla and Charybdis, and reached Sicily, where my father died. We were just leaving the island when the storm arose that brought us hither. The rest thou knowest."
The guests departed from the banquet hall; but the unhappy Dido, consumed with love, imparted her secret to her sister Anna.
“Why shouldst thou weep, sister dear? Why regret that thou hast at last forgotten Sichæus? Contend not against love, but strive to unite Trojan and Tyrian. Winter comes on, and thou canst detain him while the sea rages and the winds are fierce and the rains icy.”
Her ambitious plans for her city forgotten, Dido wandered through the streets, mad with love and unable to conceal her passion. She led Æneas among the walls and towers, made feasts for him, and begged again and again to hear the story of his wandering. At other times she fondled Ascanius, leaving her youths undrilled, and the city works abandoned.
Perceiving that Æneas, well content, seemed to forget that his goal was Hesperia, Mercury was dispatched by Jupiter to warn him to depart from Carthage.
“Why stoppest thou here?" questioned the herald of the gods. “If thou carest not for thyself, think of Ascanius, thine heir. His must be the Italian realms, the Roman world.”
The horror-stricken Æneas stood senseless with fear. He longed to escape, but how leave the unhappy Dido? Quickly calling his comrades, he commanded them to fit out the fleet in silence, hoping to find a time when he could break the news to Dido gently.
But who can deceive a lover? Rumor bore the report to Dido, who, mad with grief, reproached Æneas. “Perfidious one ! didst thou think to escape from me? Does not our love restrain thee, and the thought that I shall surely die when thou art gone? I have sacrificed all to thee; now
: leave me not lonely in my empty palace.”
Æneas remained untouched. He would ever retain the kindest memories of his stay in Carthage. He had never held out the hope of wedlock to her. A higher power called him, and, bidden by Jove, he must depart, for Ascanius's sake, to Italy.
The fainting Dido was carried to her palace, whence she could watch the hurried preparations for the departure. As