Hundreds of additional titles available for
online reading when you join Gateway to the Classics
 WHILE Æneas was looking at these pictures, Queen Dido
herself came, with a great crowd of youths following
her. She was the most beautiful of women. Not Diana
herself could be more fair to look at when she dances
with the nymphs, by head and shoulders taller than them
all. When Dido came to the gate of the temple, she sat
down upon a throne to do such things as are the work of
a queen, to do justice between man and man, and to give
to each his portion of work.
In a short time there was heard a loud shouting and the
noise of a crowd of men, and Æneas perceived that a
great company was coming to the temple, and when they
came nearer, he saw that they were his friends from
whom he had been parted by the storm. Right glad was he
to see them, for he had feared very much that they had
 been lost. But they were all there, all, that is,
except Orontes the Lycian and his crew. Æneas much
wished to come forth and take them by the hand, and
greet them, but he thought it better to stay where he
was till he should hear their story, and see how the
queen would behave to them.
Then the chief man among them, having had leave given
him to speak, said: "O queen, we beseech you to receive
us kindly, not to hurt our ships, and to let us dwell
in peace till we can go away. Jupiter has had pity on
you and allowed you to build a city; do you have pity
on us. We are not come to this land to lay it waste, or
to carry its spoils to our ships. There are men who do
such things, but we are not of their kind. No; we have
ourselves suffered too much. Our own city has been
destroyed, and we are on our way to build another in
the land of Italy. But as we were sailing across the
sea a great storm sprang up, and scattered our ships,
and those whom you now see before you are all that are
left. There is no nation so savage but that it is kind
to shipwrecked men. Or if
 there are some who are so
wicked as to harm them, them the gods do not forget to
punish. We had a king, Æneas by name; never was any one
who better did his duty to God and man, or who was a
greater warrior. If he be yet alive, then we fear
nothing. You will be glad to help such a man as he is.
But if he is dead, then we have other friends, as King
Acestes of Sicily. Give us leave therefore to lay up
our ships in a safe place, to fit them with new timber
from the woods, and to make new oars instead of
those that have been broken by the storm. If our king
and his companions are yet alive, then we will find
them, and will travel with them to the land of Italy.
But if he is dead and his son Ascanius also, then we go
back to Sicily where there is a dwelling ready for us."
Dido said: "Be of good cheer, men of Troy. If we seemed
to be unfriendly, it was because, being here in a
strange land, we have to keep watch over our coasts.
But now that we know who you are, we bid you welcome.
Who, indeed, has not heard of Troy, and its valiant
sons? Think not
 that we here in Carthage are so dull or
so far away from the world that we do not know these
things. Be sure, therefore, that whatever you are
minded to do, whether to go to Italy, or to return to
Sicily, we will give you all the help that you want. Or
if you will settle here and dwell with us, be it so, I
will make no difference between man of Troy and man of
Tyre. Would that your king were here also! I will send
men to seek him through all the land of Africa."
Achates said to Æneas: "Do you hear this? Our comrades
are all safe; only they whom we saw drowned before our
eyes are absent. Let us go forth."
While he was speaking, the cloud that was round them
rolled away, and showed the two men to all the
company. As for Æneas, his mother made him more
beautiful to look at than he had ever been in all his
life before. He stood before the queen and said: "O
queen, I am the man whom you are seeking, Æneas of
Troy, escaped from the waters of the sea. May the gods
reward you for your kindness, because you have felt
pity for all the great troubles of Troy, and
you are willing to give us, poor strangers as we are, a
share in your city. So long as the rivers run to the
sea, and the shadows fall among the hills, so long will
your name be famous. I truly, whether I come to the
land of Italy or not, shall never forget it." And he
shook the hands of his friends, telling them how glad
he was to be with them again.
After a while Dido spoke: "What ill fortune has brought
you into such troubles? How is it that you have been
driven to these savage coasts? I remember well how in
the old days one Teucer came to Sidon. He had been
banished from his own country, and he sought help from
Belus, my grandfather. Much did he tell us about Troy
and its chiefs. He praised them much, and said that he
was of the same race in the beginning. Come, therefore,
to my palace, and I will give you all that you want. I
too have suffered much, and have wandered far. I have
known many sorrows myself, and I have learnt to help
them that are in trouble."
Thus the queen and all her company and Æneas and the
Trojans went to the palace.
 There a great feast was
prepared; twenty oxen and a hundred swine and a
hundred sheep were made ready. And the seats for the
guests were covered with purple, and the great cups of
gold and silver were brought forth from the places
where they were kept, and the tables were adorned with
all kinds of jewels and precious things.
While these things were being done Æneas sent Achates
to the ships to fetch the boy Ascanius, and to bring
with him some gifts for the queen. There was a mantle,
stiff with gold embroidery, which had belonged to the
fair Helen. She had had it from Leda her mother. Also
there was a sceptre which the eldest of the daughters
of King Priam had been wont to carry, and a necklace
of pearls, and a crown which had one circle of gold and
another circle of precious stones.
Then they sat down to the feast; and when they had
eaten enough, Dido called for a great cup from which
her grandfather Belus and all the kings before him had
been wont to drink, and bade them fill it to the brim.
Then she said: "O Jupiter, who art the god of hosts and
guests, make this day a day of joy
 for the men of Troy
and the men of Tyre, and grant that their children may
remember it for ever." When she had said this, she
touched it with her lips, and handed it to Prince
Bitias. He drank from it a mighty draught, and all the
princes of Tyre and the Trojan chiefs did the same.
After this a minstrel sang a great song about the
making of men and beasts and of the stars and of the
order of day and night and of the year. Also the queen
asked many questions about Priam and Troy. At last she
turned to Æneas and said: "Tell us now about the taking
of Troy, and about the places which you have seen in
your wanderings." Æneas answered: "It is a sad story,
O queen, and the time is late. Nevertheless, if you
will have it so, I will tell the story." So he told his
story to the company.
After this Æneas and the Trojans stopped for many days
in Carthage. Queen Dido loved him, and she made him her
guest, and he lived in such ease and pleasure that he
almost forgot all about the land of Italy, and the city
which he was to build there.
But this did not please Jupiter. He said,
 therefore, to
Mercury his messenger: "Go now and speak to Æneas these
words: 'Thus speaks the king of gods and men. Is this
what your mother wished when she saved you twice from
the spear of the Greeks? Are you the man who is to
build a city in Italy; a city which shall rule the
world? If you forget these things, think of your son.
Why do you take from him the kingdom that is to be his?
What are you doing here? Why are you not looking to
Italy? Depart at once.' "
So Mercury put his sandals on his feet, the sandals
which have wings wherewith to fly, and he took his wand
in his hand, and flew down from heaven. First he came
to Mount Atlas, which is in the land of Africa. And
from the top of Atlas he shot down, as a hawk shoots
down after a bird, and came to Æneas where he stood in
the middle of the city of Carthage. He had a cloak of
purple, embroidered with gold, round his shoulders,
and a great sword in his hand. Mercury gave him the
message of Jupiter, and when he had finished it, he
For a time Æneas stood, not knowing what
 to do. He
knew, indeed, that he was called to Italy, that he
might do the will of the gods. And yet he feared to
tell the thing to the queen. At last he called his
chiefs together and said: "Make ready the ships, and
collect the people; but do this as secretly as you may,
and say nothing."
When Dido heard it—for such things are not easily
hidden—she was wild with anger and love. First she came
and spoke to Æneas, telling him what she had done for
him and his people, and reproaching him for his
ingratitude. Also she tried to keep him by telling him
of the dangers of the voyage. "Stay awhile," she said,
"till the stormy winds are over, and you can sail
across the seas with safety." And when she could not
persuade him, then she sent her sister Anna, if
perhaps, he would listen to her.
But Æneas stood firm. Jupiter had bidden him go, and go
he must. So, when the ships had been made ready for the
voyage, he set sail, secretly and by night. And when
Dido looked out from the window of her palace in the
morning, lo! the ships of the Trojans were gone. Then
she made up her mind that
 she would die. She had
prepared a great pile of wood. On this she laid the
sword of Æneas, which he had left behind him, and his
cloak and other things which had belonged to him, and
sundry possessions of her own. To this pile she set
fire, and then she mounted to the top, and took the
sword of Æneas in her hands, and stabbed herself with
it. So she died, and the fire laid hold of the wood and
made a great burning, which could be seen far off.