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Quote of the day: One Musonius Rufus, a man of equestrian
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The Aeneid by Virgil
translated by Theodore C. Williams
Book I Chapter 36: Venus sents Cupid to Dido
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But Cytherea in her heart revolved
new wiles, new schemes: how Cupid should transform
his countenance, and, coming in the guise
of sweet Ascanius, still more inflame
the amorous Queen with gifts, and deeply fuse
through all her yielding frame his fatal fire.
Sooth, Venus feared the many guile
which Tyrians use; fierce Juno's hate she feared,
and falling night renewed her sleepless care.
Therefore to Love, the light-winged god, she said:
Sweet son, of whom my sovereignty and power
alone are given! O son, whose smile may scorn
the shafts of Jove whereby the Titans fell,
to thee I fly, and humbly here implore
thy help divine. Behold, from land to land
Aeneas, thine own brother, voyages on
storm-driven, by Juno's causeless enmity.
Thou knowest it well, and oft hast sighed to see
my sighs and tears. Dido the Tyrian now
detains him with soft speeches; and I fear
such courtesy from Juno means us ill;
she is not one who, when the hour is ripe,
bids action pause. I therefore now intend
the Tyrian Queen to snare, and siege her breast
with our invading fire, before some god
shall change her mood. But let her bosom burn
with love of my Aeneas not less than mine.
This thou canst bring to pass. I pray thee hear
the plan I counsel. At his father's call
Ascanius, heir of kings, makes haste to climb
to yon Sidonian citadel; my grace
protects him, and he bears gifts which were saved
from hazard of the sea and burning Troy.
Him lapped in slumber on Cythera's hill,
or in Idalia's deep and hallowing shade,
myself will hide, lest haply he should learn
our stratagem, and burst in, foiling all.
Wear thou his shape for one brief night thyself,
and let thy boyhood feign another boy's
familiar countenance; when Dido there,
beside the royal feast and flowing wine,
all smiles and joy, shall clasp thee to her breast
while she caresses thee, and her sweet lips
touch close with thine, then let thy secret fire
breathe o'er her heart, to poison and betray.
The love-god to his mother's dear behest
gave prompt assent. He put his pinions by
and tripped it like Iulus, light of heart.
But Venus o'er Ascanius' body poured
a perfect sleep, and, to her heavenly enfolding him, far, far away upbore
to fair Idalia's grove, where fragrant buds
of softly-petalled marjoram embower
in pleasurable shade.

Events: The Gods interfere in the Aeneid, Aeneas in Carthago

At Cytherea novas artes, nova pectore versat
Consilia, ut faciem mutatus et ora Cupido
pro dulci Ascanio veniat, donisque furentem
incendat reginam, atque ossibus implicet ignem;
quippe domum timet ambiguam Tyriosque bilinguis;
urit atrox Iuno, et sub noctem cura recursat.
Ergo his aligerum dictis adfatur Amorem:
'Nate, meae vires, mea magna potentia solus,
nate, patris summi qui tela Typhoia temnis,
ad te confugio et supplex tua numina posco.
Frater ut Aeneas pelago tuus omnia circum
litora iactetur odiis Iunonis iniquae,
nota tibi, et nostro doluisti saepe dolore.
Hunc Phoenissa tenet Dido blandisque moratur
vocibus; et vereor, quo se Iunonia vertant
hospitia; haud tanto cessabit cardine rerum.
Quocirca capere ante dolis et cingere flamma
reginam meditor, ne quo se numine mutet,
sed magno Aeneae mecum teneatur amore.
Qua facere id possis, nostram nunc accipe mentem.
Regius accitu cari genitoris ad urbem
Sidoniam puer ire parat, mea maxima cura,
dona ferens, pelago et flammis restantia Troiae:
hunc ego sopitum somno super alta Cythera
aut super Idalium sacrata sede recondam,
ne qua scire dolos mediusve occurrere possit.
Tu faciem illius noctem non amplius unam
falle dolo, et notos pueri puer indue voltus,
ut, cum te gremio accipiet laetissima Dido
regalis inter mensas laticemque Lyaeum,
cum dabit amplexus atque oscula dulcia figet,
occultum inspires ignem fallasque veneno.'
Paret Amor dictis carae genetricis, et alas
exuit, et gressu gaudens incedit Iuli.
At Venus Ascanio placidam per membra quietem
inrigat, et fotum gremio dea tollit in altos
Idaliae lucos, ubi mollis amaracus illum
floribus et dulci adspirans complectitur umbra.