Ovide Moralisée, 14.302-606
(trans. Míceál F. Vaughan)


Now it is right that I tell you  
About noble Aeneas and his people  
Who went sailing through the sea  
Directly toward the port of Lombardy.  
They were no more than a league and a half  
Away from that port, when a wind rose up  
And a tempest, which caused them great disturbance,  
And carried them off directly to Libya.  
Dido, the lady of Carthage, 310
Received them well and rejoiced at their arrival.  
She loved Aeneas in her heart.  
She thought to have him as her husband.  
Her body, her land, and her possessions,  
And whatever she had, she abandoned to him  
Aeneas could have had a rich crown  
And held a great land  
Without exerting himself, without undertaking a war,  
If he had been willing to remain in Carthage.  
He would have held the kingdom through marriage, 320
But that was not in his plans.  
For when he had taken a long rest there  
And stayed long enough to repair   
His ship and to refreshed his people  
From the great labors they had undergone,  
Then they departed from there without the knowledge  
Of the queen and of her people.  
Those gentlemen fled away, sailing by sea.  
He leaves what he has and goes to seek  
What he does not have, in a foreign land. 330
He leaves rest and delights  
To put himself in mortal peril  
Both on land and on sea.  
Dido, who could have loved him greatly,  
When she knew of his departure  
And how her friends had deserted her,  
She complains a lot, goes quite mad with grief.  
There was never such a story told   
About a more sorrowful woman.  
With sad and sorrowing heart 340
The queen sighed and lamented.  
She complained about her false lover:  
"Alas, false and wicked traitor,  
I see clearly that you are going away without any plan to come back,  
Damned perjurer, with your lying pledge of fidelity,  
You had pledged me your word  
That you never would betray me  
Nor leave me for another;  
Now you leave me to seek another.  
My body and my love and my land 350
I had put in your hands;  
Where would you ever find such a gift,   
So valuable and so acceptable?  
People often, and truly, say:  
The woman who takes a man from a strange country (LGW 1075-77)  
As her friend and her lover  
Has a heart too impetuous.  
From my acquaintance with your I have  
Lost my body, my soul, and my honor:  
Now am I left with dishonor! 360
How vile also was my shame  
When once I took in marriage  
Such a strange and vagabond man,  
A penniless and miserable lost soul,  
But never did I leave him because I was ashamed:  
A lover knows only how to increase honor!  
I made you king of a great kingdom;  
Now you have deceived and betrayed me  
And wish to deceive another.  
To tell the truth, I am not letting you go 370
So that you might easily find  
A woman of such great wealth.  
If you find her I do not believe  
That she will be so loyal a lover to you!  
Alas! I love him without control!  
On account of loving him I feel in my heart a burning  
Which burns more fiercely that flaming sulfur.   
Too many crimes has the false man committed against me  
And led me far astray to betray me  
But I cannot hate him for anything, 380
Nor do I know how to put my love for him out of my mind,  
Nor can I think of anything but him,  
But I lament his treachery  
And the more I grieve, the more I love him,  
And the more I burn with love for him.  
Though I see that he scorns me  
My love for him inflicts great suffering on me,  
Sighing and moaning and lying awake  
Without taking any rest and without repose.  
My pains do not lessen, night or day. 390
My heart is in too great distress.  
Because of him I must shiver when I'm not cold  
And then perspire when I don't feel warm.  
Alas, sad one, it makes no difference to him!  
He doesn't care about me or my love!  
He has a very different disposition!  
No one will make me believe  
That he was ever a son of Venus:  
He has not a single one of her family traits!  
He has a heart harder than a wooden plank. 400
He is more likely the son of a wild beast!  
He has a heart too hard and changeable  
And more tempestuous than the sea!  
Why am I able to love him so much  
When he doesn't love me and doesn't appreciate me?  
He hates me so much that he has contempt  
For his own life, out of spite for me.  
I have, true, great fear and anxiety!  
Because of the storm and the winds  
Which battle against him so often, 410
He has experienced this sea  
And found it horrible and wild  
And it has inflicted many injuries on him,  
But now, were he resting quietly and securely, at peace,  
And were the winds stilled,  
He ought to have been frightened  
And fearful lest it bring him to sorrow  
For betraying his word!  
Evils would have come deservedly to him for this,  
And perils and ruin come upon him, 420
And rightly should he have been drowned in the sea.  
May God never wish to grant  
That he should ever come to harm  
Because of my accusations! I berate myself  
More for his sake than he does, himself.  
Had the deceiver completely dishonored me,  
I would not wish evil come to him,  
But I pray God that he will return   
To remain with me always, forever,  
And if he were unwilling, he would have to 430
Stay at least eight days or more,  
Until he would have had his ship  
Outfitted, until the winds had died down,  
And the storm had passed.  
When the storm has stopped,  
If he wants, he will go off again,  
But the delay would please me!  
My desire would never leave me,  
But I see clearly, this is all for nothing.  
He prefers to go fooling about 440
On the sea than to settle down with me.  
Alas, damn the day  
When Fortune led him here,  
When my foolish heart pulled on me so much  
That I granted him my love.  
So many noble men have begged me,  
Men rich in lands and possessions,  
Who would never be able to win my love,  
And they were very angry because of this  
When for this man, whom I had never seen, 450
I refused them all, as though I were gone mad.  
Now this disloyal man has betrayed me,  
But I am not the first woman he has so betrayed:  
Also betrayed, I am certain of it,   
Was his wife, the mother of Julus,  
Who died because of him.  
I myself will also die for him:  
If he does not return, I will kill myself  
With his sword, which he gave me as a gift.  
I ought properly to gain such a reward 460
For the service which I did him!  
From kindness comes a broken neck!  
If Sir Aeneas, with his flighty heart,  
Does not wish to take me  
In marriage, and does not value me much,  
Let him take me as a chambermaid.   
It would make no difference to me what I might be,  
Lady or servant, as long as I might have him.  
And if he does not want to return,  
My life will be ended soon, 470
But I will not die alone:  
He left me burdened and pregnant  
With a child that he engendered."  
Then she had a huge funeral pyre lighted.  
Dido had a very beautiful sister:  
The girl's name was Anna  
And she had great sorrow in her heart  
For her sister's distress.  
If she had been able, she would have,  
Most willingly, comforted her and made her happy, 480
But there was no use for comfort there:  
Anna did not know how to guard her closely enough  
So that she would not kill herself  
With Aeneas's sword and put herself into the fire.  
Dido threw herself onto the pyre:  
Deceived she was, and deluded,  
So she deceived and deluded   
Her people, when she threw herself into the fire.  
Soon her body was burned up and in ashes.  
Such is for her the reward of her love. 490
Anna her sister suffered great sorrow because of her.  
About the great sorrow she displayed  
I do not wish to tell you a long story. (LGW, 1344-45)  
Because of her love, she wanted to do away with herself,  
But the ladies would not let her  
Nor the lords, who calmed her.  
All the people of Carthage endured great sorrow.  
They cry over the loss and the pain.  
They lament the noble queen  
Who came from such a good lineage, 500
Wise, strong, brave, and valiant--  
If only her love had not driven her mad!  
The lady caused many to fear  
And she was very wise and well brought up  
And she had achieved a lot  
Before love surprised her.  
Over the whole world, if she had been allowed   
And if Love had not betrayed her,  
She would have achieved sovereignty.  
Indeed Carthage, her noble city, would have 510
Become lord and master of the world,  
If this could have occurred,  
Which never did in all antiquity:  
She had nearly achieved this unheard-of thing.  
She was not born in this country,  
She was from Tyre, where she was queen,  
But her brother, inheriting a wicked spirit,  
Had wrongly deposed her  
And killed his lord Sichaeus. 520
She fled from that country because of that.  
When she had later conquered land  
Which was not afterwards passed on by her,  
She died in great unhappiness  
Because of a foolish, unrestrained love  
Which had come upon her suddenly and engulfed her.  
Since Holy Church and her people  
Have traveled a lot by boat through the sea,  
That is, through the rolling waves  
Of many temptations, 530
And since she has survived the two perils,  
Which often bring death and destruction,  
That is, the torments and desires.  
The great troubles and the outrages  
That foolish Jews and foolish pagans  
Do to her, who inflict   
On many Christians painful martyrdom,  
Many of whom allow themselves to be afflicted  
In order to maintain Christianity,  
When Holy Church ought to have come 540
To the harbor of true understanding,  
Of faith and of true belief,  
And when she was not far from the harbor  
Of life and joyous departure,  
A ferocious wind rose up  
And caused Holy Church great trouble:  
This is the wind of discord and doubt,  
Which drives and attacks Holy Church  
In a land dry and sandy,  
Dusty and desert-like, 550
This is, in a nation full of lies  
And of deceit and unrefined grace,  
Without any moisture of the doctrine  
Of saving discipline.  
There heresy restrains them and takes delight from doing that,  
Heresy, which sets itself  
To lead Holy Church astray,   
So that it cannot ever get back  
To the harbor it was going to,  
And so Christianity and the faith 560
Of Holy Church are ruined and broken in pieces  
At once, so that it could not ever rise again  
Unless God had put it back together again  
With his saints, who provide the fine carpentry,  
Write so well and discourse so effectively,  
So that by means of appropriate measurements,   
Writings and discourses,  
The ship was again repaired  
In a refreshed Christianity. 570
Heresy has been, for many, their lady   
And a queen who was high and much valued,  
And she had great wealth,  
And ruled from on high  
Over many places, and wished to act in such a way  
That all peoples could be won over  
And subjected to her misbelief,  
Her error and her opinions,  
And the whole world deceived,  
But God, whom she thought to control, 580
Took flight from her foolish company,  
Left her fat and pregnant  
With the intentions she had taken up  
And conceived through foolish error,  
But her foolish ideas deceived her,  
For she received poor recompense from them,  
Since she killed herself spiritually  
With the sword of divine judgment,  
And the body was not set free by that,  
For the great majority of buggers 590
And heretics were burned in the fire,  
And Holy Church returned   
To the beliefs from which it had gone astray,  
And came again back to the right path,  
This is, the right understanding   
Of faith and of true belief.  
Dead is the lady of Carthage  
Because of her foolishness and her abandon  
In love, with which she burned in flames  
For Aeneas, who scorned her 600
And fled from her furtively,  
Like a thief, in secret.  
To a great adventure he went sailing  
On the high seas, he and his people,  
And they kept on their way long enough  
That they came back to the home of Eryx.