DIDO, QUEEN OF CARTHAGE – Monologue (Dido – 2)

A monologue from the play by Christopher Marlowe

NOTE: This monologue is reprinted from Dido Queen of Carthage. Christopher Marlowe. London: Hurst Robinson, 1825.


Are these the sails that, in despite of me,
Pack’d with the winds to bear Æneas hence?
I’ll hang ye in the chamber where I lie;
Drive, if you can, my house to Italy:
I’ll set the casement open, that the winds
May enter in, and once again conspire
Against the life of me, poor Carthage queen:
But, though ye go, he stays in Carthage still;
And let rich Carthage fleet upon the sees,
So I may have Æneas in mine arms.
Is this the wood that grew in Carthage plains,
And would be toiling in the watery billows,
To rob their mistress of her Trojan guest?
O cursed tree, hadst thou but wit or sense,
To measure how I prize Æneas’ love,
Thou wouldst have leapt from out the sailors’ hands,
And told me that Æneas meant to go!
And yet I blame thee not; thou art but wood.
The water, which our poets term a nymph,
Why did it suffer thee to touch her breast,
And shrunk not back, knowing my love was there?
The water is an element, no nymph.
Why should I blame Æneas for his flight?
O Dido, blame him not, but break his oars!
These were the instruments that launched him forth.
There’s not so much as this base tackling too,
But dares to heap up sorrow to my heart:
Was it not you that hoisted up these sails?
Why burst you not, and they fell in the seas?
For this will Dido tie ye full of knots.
And shear ye all asunder with her hands:
Now serve to chastise shipboys for their faults;
Ye shall no more offend the Carthage queen.
Now, let him hang my favours on his masts,
And see if those will serve instead of sails;
For tackling, let him take the chains of gold
Which I bestow’d upon his followers;
Instead of oars, let him us his hands,
And swim to Italy. I’ll keep these sure.–
Come, bear them in.

Read the play here

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