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The Aeneid of Virgil, Book 1, Part 22
But Venus anxious for her son's fate
Invokes wily Cupid [1] of the mate
To assume sweet Ascanius’ form
Her fear of Juno’s queen [2] sworn
To Winged Love she whispered
As he donned winged slippers
My son my strength whose might alone
Keeps Thunder on his awful throne [3]
My Father Almighty’s wife
Threatens Aeneas’ life
I suspect the city where Juno reigns
Dido for Aeneas affection feigns
You must pervert her womanly art
Fire with love her proud Tyrian heart
As Ascanius ink you venom pure
To afflict a love blind and sure
Venus to Ascanius flies
Seals with sleep his young eyes
Lulled in her lap amidst love
Born to a sacred grove above
With myrtle crowns his head
Softly lays him on a flowery bed [4]
Cupid his form and face [5]
Following Achates with a shorter pace
And brought the gifts to the queen
Seated among the lordly guests
High on a golden bed at rest
Breads are heaped on high
Slaves water and towels supply [6]
Fifty slave maids in dainty file bore
Fuming censers the gods adore
A hundred youths and virgins
Wine bowls and plates their burden
The Tyrian chiefs admitted to the feast
Recline on the painted couches
On the Trojan gifts with wonder gaze
And regard Ascanius with more amaze
His rosy cheeks his radiant eyes
His every feature the god’s disguise
Far above the rest, the royal dame
Doomed to love's disastrous flame
With wild eyes loving the youth
Unsuspecting a divine ruse
The lying god on Aeneas’ arm
Soon sought the queen
The evil so close to her breast
Her heart could not have guessed
The dead to the living as love resigned
And all that is Aeneas enchants her mind
End 22
The importance of the feminine, as extolled by Virgil, personal poet of the father of Rome, Augustus Caesar, in what amounts to the approved ancestral legendry of a nation who defined virtue as explicitly masculine may not be lightly regarded. Something echoes here in the heart of this tale that brings Dido to the for as the temporal woman at the mercy of the eternally feminine aspect of divinity vested in the ideal of Venus, as love personified as both a comfort and a hurt.  
-1. Winged Love, in the form of Cupid, held a role similar and subservient to Nike or Winged Victory in the service of Pallas Athene.
-2. Dido’s patron was Juno, mother god, who also cursed Troy. This reader takes this dichotomous metaphysic bitch feud as reflective of the cultural tension implicit in the nomad Aryan astral regard for the feminine uncomfortably conjoined with the sacral agrarian supplication to Mother Earth.
-3. Cupid is explicitly the power of feminine approval and affection to stay the hand of war-wielding man.
-4. Suggests the paradise experienced in dream as a reward for earthly service employed by certain cults through modern times to insure devotion from the envoy of political murder.
-5. Cupidity
-6. Ancient life does not conduct, does not proceed or precede without slaves.
prev:  ‘Her Unhallowed Marriage Bed’     ‹  destiny's exile  ›     next:  ‘Of Your Wanderings’

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