The Tragedy of Dido Queene of Carthage, by Christopher Marlowe

Actus 2.

Enter Æneas, Achates, and Ascanius.

Æn. Where am I now? these should be Carthage walles.

Acha. Why stands my sweete Æneas thus amazde?

Æn. O my Achates, Theban Niobe,
Who for her sonnes death wept out life and breath,
And drie with griefe was turnd into a stone,
Had not such passions in her head as I.
Me thinkes that towne there should be Troy, yon Idas hill,
There Zanthus streame, because here’s Priamus,
And when I know it is not, then I dye.

Ach. And in this humor is Achates to,
I cannot choose but fall vpon my knees,
And kisse his hand: O where is Hecuba,
Here she was wont to sit, but sauing ayre
Is nothing here, and what is this but stone?

Æn. O yet this stone doth make Æneas weepe,
And would my prayers (as Pigmalions did)
Could giue it life, that vnder his conduct
We might saile backe to Troy and be reuengde
On these hard harted Grecians; which reioyce
That nothing now is left of Priamus:
O Priamus is left and this is he,
Come, come abourd, pursue the hatefull Greekes.

Acha. What means Æneas?

Æn. Achates though mine eyes say this is stone,
Yet thinkes my minde that this is Priamus:
And when my grieued heart sighes and sayes no,
Then would it leape out to giue Priam life:
O were I not at all so thou mightst be.
Achates, see King Priam wags his hand,
He is aliue, Troy is not ouercome.

Ach. Thy mind Æneas that would haue it so
Deludes thy eye sight, Priamus is dead.

Æn. Ah Troy is sackt, and Priamus is dead,
And why should poore Æneas be aliue?

Asca. Sweete father leaue to weepe, this is not he:
For were it Priam he would smile on me.

Acha. Æneas see here come the Citizens,
Leaue to lament lest they laugh at our feares.

Enter Cloanthus, Sergestus, Illioneus.

Æn. Lords of this towne, or whatsoeuer stile
Belongs vnto your name, vouchsafe of ruth
To tell vs who inhabits this faire towne,
What kind of people, and who gouernes them:
For we are strangers driuen on this shore,
And scarcely know within what Clime we are.

Illio. I heare Æneas voyce, but see him not,
For none of these can be our Generall.

Acha. Like Illioneus speakes this Noble man,
But Illioneus goes not in such robes.

Serg. You are Achates, or I deciu’d.

Acha. Æneas see Sergestus or his ghost.

Illio. He meanes Æneas, let vs kisse his feete.

Cloan. It is our Captaine, see Ascanius.

Serg. Liue long Æneas and Ascanius.

Æn. Achates, speake, for I am ouerioyed.

Acha. O Illioneus, art thou yet aliue?

Illio. Blest be the time I see Achates face.

Cloan. Why turnes Æneas from his trustie friends?

Æn. Sergestus, Illioneus and the rest,
Your sight amazde me, O what destinies
Haue brought my sweete companions in such plight?
O tell me, for I long to be resolu’d.

Illio. Louely Æneas, these are Carthage walles,
And here Queene Dido weares th’imperiall Crowne,
Who for Troyes sake hath entertaind vs all,
And clad vs in these wealthie robes we weare.
Oft hath she askt vs vnder whom we seru’d,
And when we told her she would weepe for griefe,
Thinking the sea had swallowed vp thy ships,
And now she sees thee how will she reioyce?

Serg. See where her seruitors passe through the hall
Bearing a banket, Dido is not farre.

Illio. Looke where she comes: Æneas viewd her well.

Æn. Well may I view her, but she sees not me.

Enter Dido and her traine.

Dido. What stranger art thou that doest eye me thus?

Æn. Sometime I was a Troian mightie Queene:
But Troy is not, what shall I say I am?

Illio. Renowmed Dido, tis our Generall: warlike Æneas.

Dido. Warlike Æneas, and in these base robes?
Goe fetch the garment which Sicheus ware:
Braue Prince, welcome to Carthage and to me,
Both happie that Æneas is our guest:
Sit in this chaire and banquet with a Queene,
Æneas is Æneas, were he clad
In weedes as bad as euer Irus ware.

Æn. This is no seate for one thats comfortles,
May it please your grace to let Æneas waite:
For though my birth be great, my fortunes meane,
Too meane to be companion to a Queene.

Dido. Thy fortune may be greater then thy birth,
Sit downe Æneas, sit in Didos place,
And if this be thy sonne as I suppose,
Here let him sit, be merrie louely child.

Æn. This place beseemes me not, O pardon me.

Dido. Ile haue it so, Æneas be content.

Asca. Madame, you shall be my mother.

Dido. And so I will sweete child: be merrie man,
Heres to thy better fortune and good starres.

Æn. In all humilitie I thanke your grace.

Dido. Remember who thou art, speake like thy selfe,
Humilitie belongs to common groomes.

Æn. And who so miserable as Æneas is?

Dido. Lyes it in Didos hands to make thee blest,
Then be assured thou art not miserable.

Æn. O Priamus, O Troy, oh Hecuba!

Dido. May I entreate thee to discourse at large,
And truely to how Troy was ouercome:
For many tales goe of that Cities fall,
And scarcely doe agree vpon one poynt:
Some say Antenor did betray the towne,
Others report twas Sinons periurie:
But all in this that Troy is ouercome,
And Priam dead, yet how we heare no newes.

Æn. A wofull tale bids Dido to vnfould,
Whose memorie like pale deaths stony mace,
Beates forth my senses from this troubled soule,
And makes Æneas sinke at Didos feete.

Dido. What faints Æneas to remember Troy?
In whose defence he fought so valiantly:
Looke vp and speake.

Æn. Then speake Æneas with Achilles tongue,
And Dido and you Carthaginian Peeres
Heare me, but yet with Mirmidons harsh eares,
Daily inur’d to broyles and Massacres,
Lest you be mou’d too much with my sad tale.
The Grecian souldiers tired with ten yeares warre;
Began to crye, let vs vnto our ships,
Troy is inuincible, why stay we here?
With whose outcryes Atrides being apal’d,
Summoned the Captaines to his princely tent,
Who looking on the scarres we Troians gaue,
Seeing the number of their men decreast,
And the remainder weake and out of heart,
Gaue vp their voyces to dislodge the Campe,
And so in troopes all marcht to Tenedos:
Where when they came, Vlysses on the sand
Assayd with honey words to turne them backe:
And as he spoke to further his entent,
The windes did driue huge billowes to the shoare,
And heauen was darkned with tempestuous clowdes:
Then he alleag’d the Gods would haue them stay,
And prophecied Troy should be ouercome:
And therewithall he calde false Sinon forth,
A man compact of craft and periurie,
Whose ticing tongue was made of Hermes pipe,
To force an hundred watchfull eyes to sleepe:
And him Epeus hauing made the horse,
With sacrificing wreathes vpon his head,
Vlysses sent to our vnhappie towne:
Who groueling in the mire of Zanthus bankes,
His hands bound at his back, and both his eyes
Turnd vp to heauen as one resolu’d to dye,
Our Phrigian shepherd haled within the gates,
And brought vnto the Court of Priamus:
To whom he vsed action so pitifull,
Lookes so remorcefull, vowes so forcible,
As therewithall the old man ouercome,
Kist him, imbrast him, and vnloosde his bands,
And then, O Dido pardon me.

Dido. Nay leaue not here, resolue me of the rest.

Æn. O th’inchaunting words of that base slaue,
Made him to thinke Epeus pine-tree Horse
A sacrifize t’appease Mineruas wrath:
The rather for that one Laocoon
Breaking a speare vpon his hollow breast,
Was with two winged Serpents stung to death.
Whereat agast, we were commanded straight
With reuerence to draw it into Troy.
In which vnhappie worke was I employd,
These hands did helpe to hale it to the gates,
Through which it could not enter twas so huge.
O had it neuer entred, Troy had stood.
But Priamus impatient of delay,
Inforst a wide breach in that rampierd wall,
Which thousand battering Rams could neuer pierce,
And so came in this fatall instrument:
At whose accursed feete as ouerioyed,
We banquetted till ouercome with wine,
Some surfetted, and others soundly slept.
Which Sinon viewing, causde the Greekish spyes
To hast to Tenedos and tell the Campe:
Then he vnlockt the Horse, and suddenly
From out his entrailes, Neoptolemus
Setting his speare vpon the ground, leapt forth,
And after him a thousand Grecians more,
In whose sterne faces shin’d the quenchles fire,
That after burnt the pride of Asia.
By this the Campe was come vnto the walles,
And through the breach did march into the streetes,
Where meeting with the rest, kill kill they cryed.
Frighted with this confused noyse, I rose,
And looking from a turret, might behold
Yong infants swimming in their parents bloud,
Headles carkasses piled vp in heapes,
Virgins halfe dead dragged by their golden haire,
And with maine force flung on a ring of pikes,
Old men with swords thrust through their aged sides,
Kneeling for mercie to a Greekish lad,
Who with steele Pol-axes dasht out their braines.
Then buckled I mine armour, drew my sword,
And thinking to goe downe, came Hectors ghost
With ashie visage, blewish, sulphure eyes,
His armes torne from his shoulders, and his breast
Furrowd with wounds, and that which made me weepe,
Thongs at his heeles, by which Achilles horse
Drew him in triumph through the Greekish Campe,
Burst from the earth, crying, Æneas flye,
Troy is a fire, the Grecians haue the towne,

Dido. O Hector who weepes not to heare thy name?

Æn. Yet flung I forth, and desperate of my life,
Ran in the thickest throngs, and with this sword
Sent many of their sauadge ghosts to hell.
At last came Pirrhus fell and full of ire.
His harnesse dropping bloud, and on his speare
The mangled head of Priams yongest sonne,
And after him his band of Mirmidons,
With balles of wilde fire in their murdering pawes,
Which made the funerall flame that burnt faire Troy:
All which hemd me about, crying, this is he.

Dido. Ah, how could poore Æneas scape their hands?

Æn. My mother Venus iealous of my health,
Conuaid me from their crooked nets and bands:
So I escapt the furious Pirrhus wrath:
Who then ran to the pallace of the King,
And at Ioues Altar finding Priamus,
About whose withered necke hung Hecuba,
Foulding his hand in hers, and ioyntly both
Beating their breasts and falling on the ground,
He with his faulchions poynt raisde vp at once,
And with Megeras eyes stared in their face,
Threatning a thousand deaths at euery glaunce.
To whom the aged King thus trembling spoke:
Achilles sonne, remember what I was,
Father of fiftie sonnes, but they are slaine,
Lord of my fortune, but my fortunes turnd,
King of this Citie, but my Troy is fired,
And now am neither father, Lord, nor King:
Yet who so wretched but desires to liue?
O let me liue, great Neoptolemus,
Not mou’d at all, but smiling at his teares,
This butcher whil’st his hands were yet held vp,
Treading vpon his breast, strooke off his hands.

Dido. O end Æneas, I can heare no more.

Æn. At which the franticke Queene leapt on his face,
And in his eyelids hanging by the nayles,
A little while prolong’d her husbands life:
At last the souldiers puld her by the heeles,
And swong her howling in the emptie ayre,
Which sent an eccho to the wounded King:
Whereat he lifted vp his bedred lims,
And would haue grappeld with Achilles sonne,
Forgetting both his want of strength and hands,
Which he disdaining whiskt his sword about,
And with the wound thereof the King fell downe:
Then from the nauell to the throat at once,
He ript old Priam: at whose latter gaspe
Ioues marble statue gan to bend the brow,
As lothing Pirrhus for this wicked act:
Yet he vndaunted tooke his fathers flagge,
And dipt it in the old Kings chill cold bloud,
And then in triumph ran into the streetes,
Through which he could not passe for slaughtred men:
So leaning on his sword he stood stone still,
Viewing the fire wherewith rich Ilion burnt.
By this I got my father on my backe,
This yong boy in mine armes, and by the hand
Led faire Creusa my beloued wife,
When thou Achates with thy sword mad’st way,
And we were round inuiron’d with the Greekes:
O there I lost my wife: and had not we
Fought manfully, I had not told this tale:
Yet manhood would not serue, of force we fled,
And as we went vnto our ships, thou knowest
We sawe Cassandra sprauling in the streetes,
Whom Aiax rauisht in Dianas Fawne,
Her cheekes swolne with sighes, her haire all rent,
Whom I tooke vp to beare vnto our ships;
But suddenly the Grecians followed vs,
And I alas, was forst to let her lye.
Then got we to our ships, and being abourd,
Polixena cryed out, Æneas stay,
The Greekes pursue me, stay and take me in.
Moued with her voyce, I lept into the sea,
Thinking to beare her on my backe abourd:
For all our ships were launcht into the deepe,
And as I swomme, she standing on the shoare,
Was by the cruell Mirmidons surprizd,
And after by that Pirrhus sacrifizde.

Dido. I dye with melting ruth, Æneas leaue.

Anna. O what became of aged Hecuba?

Iar. How got Æneas to the fleete againe?

Dido. But how scapt Helen, she that causde this warre?

Æn. Achates speake, sorrow hath tired me quite.

Acha. What happened to the Queene we cannot shewe,
We heare they led her captiue into Greece,
As for Æneas he swomme quickly backe,
And Helena betraied Diiphobus
Her Louer, after Alexander dyed,
And so was reconcil’d to Menelaus.

Dido. O had that ticing strumpet nere been borne:
Troian, thy ruthfull tale hath made me sad:
Come let vs thinke vpon some pleasing sport,
To rid me from these melancholly thoughts.

Exeunt omnes.

Enter Venus at another doore, and takes Ascanius by the sleeve.

Venus. Faire child stay thou with Didos waiting maide,
Ile giue thee Sugar-almonds, sweete Conserues,
A siluer girdle, and a golden purse,
And this yong Prince shall be thy playfellow.

Asca. Are you Queene Didos sonne?

Cupid. I, and my mother gaue me this fine bow.

Asca. Shall I haue such a quiuer and a bow?

Venus. Such bow, such quiuer, and such golden shafts,
Will Dido giue to sweete Ascanius:
For Didos sake I take thee in my armes,
And sticke these spangled feathers in thy hat,
Eate Comfites in mine armes, and I will sing.
Now is he fast asleepe, and in this groue
Amongst greene brakes Ile lay Ascanius,
And strewe him with sweete smelling Violets,
Blushing Roses, purple Hyacinthe:
These milke white Doues shall be his Centronels:
Who if that any seeke to doe him hurt,
Will quickly flye to Citheidas fist.
Now Cupid turne thee to Ascanius shape,
And goe to Dido who in stead of him
Will set thee on her lap and play with thee:
Then touch her white breast with this arrow head,
That she may dote vpon Æneas loue:
And by that meanes repaire his broken ships,
Victuall his Souldiers, giue him wealthie gifts,
And he at last depart to Italy,
Or els in Carthage make his kingly throne.

Cupid. I will faire mother, and so play my part,
As euery touch shall wound Queene Didos heart.

Venus. Sleepe my sweete nephew in these cooling shades,
Free from the murmure of these running streames,
The crye of beasts, the ratling of the windes,
Or whisking of these leaues, all shall be still,
And nothing interrupt thy quiet sleepe,
Till I returne and take thee hence againe. Exit.

Last updated Sunday, March 27, 2016 at 11:58