Dulces exuviae

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General information

Source of text is Virgil's Aeneid (Book IV, lines 651-660).

The text is a verbatim excerpt from the Aeneid, the epic poem by Virgil. Queen Dido, driven from her native city by her evil brother, the murderer of her husband, has founded the city of Carthage. The Trojan Aeneas, himself a refugee after the fall of his city, is shipwrecked off Carthage as he strives to fulfill his destiny, which is to found a city which will ultimately lead to the founding of Rome. Dido welcomes Aeneas hospitably. They then fall in love, and she considers herself to be married to him. When Aenaes, believing he is forced by the will of the gods, reluctantly abandons Dido, she prepares to commit suicide. She sees the bed she has shared with Aeneas, and some of his garments. She falls on the bed, kisses it, and then stabs herself there. The following are among Dido's last words. --Paul Pascal, Professor Emeritus of Classics, University of Washington

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Text and translations

Latin.png Latin text

Dulces exuviae, dum fata deusque sinebat,
accipite hanc animam meque his exsolvite curis,
Vixi et quem dederat cursum fortuna peregi,
et nunc magna mei sub terras ibit imago.
Urbem praeclaram statui, mea moenia vidi,
ulta virum poenas inimico a fratre recepi,
felix, heu nimium felix, si litora tantum
numquam Dardaniae tetigissent nostra carinae.

Dixit, et os impressa toro, Moriemur inultae,
sed moriamur, ait; sic, sic iuvat ire sub umbras.

English.png English translation

Relics, precious while fate and the gods allowed: take my soul, and release me from sorrow. I have lived, and have run my race as fortune let me. Now my full spirit will voyage to the underworld. I founded a great city, saw its ramparts built, avenged my husband and devised punishments for my hostile brother—happy, ah, too happy if the Trojan ships had never touched our shore.

Translation by Nicholas Jones
French.png French translation

Vêtements chers à mon cœur, tant que les destins et les dieux le permirent,
recevez mon âme et délivrez-moi de mes tourments,
j'ai fini de vivre et la course que le destin m'a accordée, je l'ai accomplie.
Maintenant, c'est une grande ombre qui va aller sous la terre.
J'ai bâti une ville magnifique, j'ai vu mes remparts,
j'ai vengé mon mari et puni mon frère meurtrier.
Heureuse, hélas trop heureuse si seulement
les vaisseaux dardaniens n'avaient jamais touché nos côtes.

English.png English translation

Objects dear to me, while divine fate allowed it:
receive this life and release me from these troubles.
I have lived; and the course that fortune had allotted to me I have fulfilled;
and now the great ghost of myself will go beneath the earth.
I have erected a noble city; I have seen my own fortification walls.
When I had avenged my husband, I exacted the penalty from my brother, our enemy.
Happy--alas, too happy--if only
the Trojan ships had never touched our shores!
Translation by Paul Pascal

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