What are the lyrics to the aria ‘Dido’s Lament’?

Dido’s Lament is an aria from Purcell's opera Dido and Aeneas, in which a heartbroken Dido describes the sight a ship containing her lover sailing away over the horizon

What are the lyrics to the aria 'Dido's Lament'?

When was ‘Dido’s Lament’ composed and who wrote the lyrics?

Dido’s Lament is an aria from Henry Purcell‘s opera Dido and Aeneas, which he composed in around 1688. Although Purcell wrote the music, it was poet Nahum Tate who was responsible for the lyrics, as he was the opera’s librettist.

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The opera’s tragic storyline is based on Book IV of Virgil’s Aeneid, and tells the story of how Dido, Queen of Carthage, falls in love with the Trojan hero Aeneas after he arrives in Carthage from Troy. The opera takes a turn when Dido’s despair takes over after having been abandoned by Aeneas.

Dido sings the aria just before she takes her own life. A funeral pyre is lit, so Aeneas will be able to see its flickering flames when he sails away.

The aria is often performed at Remembrance Sunday ceremonies.

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What are the lyrics to the aria ‘Dido’s Lament’?

Thy hand, Belinda, darkness shades me,
On thy bosom let me rest,
More I would, but Death invades me;
Death is now a welcome guest.
When I am laid, am laid in earth,
May my wrongs create
No trouble, no trouble in thy breast;
Remember me, remember me, but ah! forget my fate.
Remember me, but ah! forget my fate.