Aeneid: book VI lines 440-474
Not far from here, spread out in all directions, are
the Mourning Plains – that’s what they’re called.
Here the worn out ones, whom unyielding love
has used without mercy, are hidden among
out-of-the-way paths, among sheltering myrtle woods;
even now in death, their grief won’t let them go.
In this place, he sees Phaedra and Procris,
sad Eriphyle, too, who signals the wounds
her cruel son gave her, and Evadne, and Pasiphae –
here Laodamia goes softly with Caeneus
once a young man, now a woman, returned by fate
to her old shape. Among these, among the many trees
drifted Dido, her wound still fresh.
As soon as the Trojan hero stood close,
and recognised her, a shade amid shadows –
even as you see, or think you see, the moon
rising early in the month, through dim clouds –
he let fall tears and spoke to her, sweet with love:
‘Unhappy Dido, was it true then,
when they told me that you had died,
had even sought out death with a sword?
Was I, oh I, the cause of your ruin?
I swear by the stars, by the gods above and if
there is any faith down deep beneath the earth,
I departed from your shores, oh queen, unwillingly.
But the gods’ orders, which now force me
to pass through shadows, through thorny places
and profound night, their imperial orders drove me on –
I could not believe that my leaving
would bring you such pain. But please remain –
don’t leave my sight. Who are you fleeing?
Fate will never allow me to speak to you again.’
So Aeneas tried to sooth her, as she burned
and fixed her raging eyes on him,
as his own tears spilled.
But she turned away, staring intently at the ground,
her face no more moved by his speech
than if she were set in flint, or Marpesian stone.
At length she gathered herself up and ran
from her enemy into the shadow-heavy wood,
where Sychaeus, her husband from before sorrow,
would answer her anguish and redeem her love.