« PreviousContinue »
Such is the title given in the Editor's folio MS. to this excellent old ballad, which, in the common printed copies, is inscribed, ENEAS, WANDERING Prince of Troy. It is here given from that MS. collated with two different printed copies, both in black-letter, in the Pepys collection.
The reader will smile to observe with what natural and affecting simplicity, our ancient ballad-maker has engrafted a Gothic conclusion on the classic story of Virgil, from whom, however, it is probable he had it not. Nor can it be denied, but he has dealt out his poetical justice with a more impartial hand than that celebrated poet.
Wuen Troy towne had, for ten yeeres “ past,
Withstood the Greekes in manfull wise,
That to resist none could suffice:
Æneas, wandering prince of Troy,
When he for land long time had sought, At length arriving with great joy,
To mighty Carthage walls was brought ; Where Dido queene, with sumptuous feast, Did entertaine that wandering guest.
Ver. 1. 21, war. MS, and PP.
And, as in hall at meate they sate,
The queene, desirous newes to heare,
Declare to me thou Trojan deare:
And then anon this comelye knight,
With words demure, as he cold well,
Soe true a tale began to tell,
And then a thousand sighes he fet,
And every sigh brought teares amaine ;
As though he had seene those warts againe :
And then the darksome night drew on,
And twinkling starres the skye bespred
every one was layd in bedd : Where they full sweetly tooke their rest Save only Dido's boyling brest.
This silly woman never slept,
But in her chamber, all alone,
As one unhappye, alwayes wept,
And to the walls shee made her mone;
And thus in grieffe she spent the night,
Till twinkling starres the skye were fled,
Through misty cloudes appeared red;
And then the queene with bloody knife
Did arme her hart as hard as stone,
In woefull wise she made her mone;
O wretched Dido queene! quoth shee,
I see thy end approacheth neare;
Whom thou didst love and hold so deare :
Though reason says, thou shouldst forbeare,
And stay thy hand from bloudy stroke; Yet fancy bids thee not to fear,
Which fetter'd thee in Cupids yoke.
Come death, quoth shee, resolve my smart!
When death had pierced the tender hart
Of Dido, Carthaginian queene;
Which shee sustain'd in mournfull teene;
Her funerall most costly made,
And all things finisht mournfullye;
Where itt consumed speedilye :
Then was Æneas in an ile
In Grecya, where he stayd long space,
Writt to him to his vile disgrace ;
False-harted wretch, quoth shee, thou art;
And traiterouslye thou hast betraid
Which unto thee much welcome made ;
Yett Yett on her death-bed when shee lay,
Shee prayd for thy prosperitye,
Might breed thy great felicitye:
When he these lines, full fraught with gall,
Perused had, and wayed them right,
And straight appeared in his sight
Æneas, quoth this ghastly ghost,
My whole delight when I did live, Thee of all men I loved most;
My fancy and my will did give; For entertainment I thee gave, Unthankefully thou didst me grave.
Therfore prepare thy flitting soule
To wander with me in the aire:
Because of me thou tookst no care:
O stay a while, thou lovely sprite,
Be not soe hasty to convay