Thy hand, Belinda . . . When I am laid in earth
from Dido and Aeneas, Z 626
Henry Purcell (1659-1695)
Joyce DiDonato with Il Pomo d’Oro
Maxim Emelyanychev, harpsichord & direction
The opera is based on the Roman legend of the Trojan warrior Aeneas, whose ship is blown off course and lands in Carthage on the shore of North Africa. Aeneas falls in love with their queen, Dido, but dutifully departs for Italy leaving her. Distraught at his betrayal, she orders a pyre to be built and set ablaze so that Aeneas will see from his ship that she has killed herself. She sings the lament before stabbing herself as Aeneas sails on.
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.
from the recording In War & Peace: Harmony through Music available from Erato:
Various artists’ depictions of Dido:
[0:05] Guercino (1591–1666)
[0:22] Joseph Stallaert (1825–1903)
[0:36] Sébastien Bourdon (1616-1671)
[1:18] 18th century follower of Guercino
[1:40] Constantijn Netscher (1668-1723)
[1:56] Giovanni Battista Tiepolo (1696-1770)
[2:17] Workshop of Peter Paul Rubens
[2:46] Pompeo Batoni (1708–1787)
[2:55] Mattia Preti (1613-1699)
[3:07] Rutilio Manetti (1571-1639)
[3:17] Johann Heinrich Tischbein (1722-1789)
[3:30] Nathaniel Dance-Holland (1735-1811)
[3:38] Alessandro Tiarini (1577-1668)
[3:52] Andrea Sacchi (1599–1661)
[4:08] Thomas Robson (1798–1871)
[4:20] Henry Fuseli (1741–1825)
[4:36] Joseph Stallaert (1825–1903)