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Primaque, libato, summo tenus attigit ore;
Arcturum pluviasque Hyadas geminosque Triones; though they appear to be glanced at 8. Tac. A. 16. 4, “Plebs persona bat certis 283.
modis plausuque conposito.” “Quem' is 737.] 'Libato,' not “honore libato," but the reading of Med., Rom., Pal., and the impersonal participle used absolutely. Other MSS. adopted by the later editors. See Madvig, $ 429. With summo tenus Heyne and formerly Wagn. read quae,' attigit ore comp. Eur. Iph. A. 950, which has the authority of Serv., " quae ayerai oud' eis dipav xeip'. “Labrorum legendum est, non quem,” and some MSS. tenus” Lucr. 1. 940.
Were the change worth making, the MSS. 738.] Bitias is a Carthaginian name. would scarcely stand in the way, as 'e'is Comp. Sil. 2. 409. Serv. refers to Livy often written for ‘ae,' and QVEMAXVMVS for the fact that a Bitias commanded the might be interpreted either way (see on Carthaginian fleet. The cup seems to be G. 2. 219). Atlas in Hom. Od. 1. 52 knows passed to the Carthaginians, because it the depths of the sea, and supports the was chiefly from them that the pledge of pillars of earth and heaven, the epithet hospitality was required. Increpitans,' given to him being ồobopwr. He seems bidding him be quick (* inpiger'). "Aes. also to have been a sort of mythical repretatem increpitans seram Zephyrosque mo sentative or progenitor of physical philorantis” G. 4. 138. • Hausit' and 'se pro- sophers, among whom he is recorded by luit' are opposed to summo tenus attigit Diogenes Laertius. Being identified with ore.' There is playful humour in the con. the African mountain, he is naturally trast, which is too lightly touched to be chosen by Virg. here as the instructor of undignified, as some have thougbt, even a Carthaginian bard. For the conception if Virg. could not appeal to the example of lopas see note on G. 2. 477, and comp. of Hom. in speaking of the Phaeacian the song of Orpheus Apoll. R. 1. 496 foll., court.
and that of Virg.'s own Silenus, which is 739.] Pleno se proluit auro.' “Swilled imitated from it, E. 6. 31 foll. himself with the full gold.” Trapp. See 742.] • Errantem lunam,' the revoluApoll. R. 1. 470. The commentators tions of the moon. G. 1. 337, "Quos ignis comp. Hor. 1 S. 5. 16, “multa prolutus caeli Cyllenius erret in orbis.” For solis vappa.”
labores' see on G. 2. 478. Henry's at740.] The bard is introduced at the feast tempt to make labores' here mean simply in imitation of Hom., Od. 1. 325 foll. and revolutions is refuted by that passage and 8. 499 foll. Mr. Gladstone must have by Prop. 3. 26. 52, there quoted, and not forgotten this passage, and also 9. 774 foll., supported by Sil. 14. 348, “atque una when he notices (Homeric Studies, vol. 3, pelagi lunaeque labores,” which is merely p. 532) as a significant fact that Virg. a zeugma. Labores,' as he says, are toils;
has nowhere placed on his canvas the but an eclipse may be one of the moon's figure of the bard among the abodes of toils, as a storm of the sea's. men.”—Crinitus. Long hair was part 743.] Unde hominum genus,' &r. of the costume of bards, in imitation of This is among the first subjects of the Apollo. See Cerda's note. Serv. on v. songs of Orpheus and Silenus. •Imber' 738 says “ lopas unus de procis Didonis, the element of water. Comp Lucr. 1. 714, ut Punica testatur historia.” If this is “Et qui quattuor ex rebus posse omnia not an error for Iarbas,' we must sup. rentur, Ex igui terra atque anima pro. pose that Virg. here as elsewhere has crescere et imbri.” chosen to take a hint from chroniclers to 744.] • Pluvias' is a translation of Hywliom it did not suit him to incur a larger adas.' Comp. note on v. 293. Some infe. debt.
rior MSS. give“ Pleiadas” or “ Pliadas” 741.] 'Personat,' fills the hall. Comp. for “pluvias.' Triones:' see on G. 3. 381:
Quid tantum Oceano properent se tinguere soles 745
Omnibus errantem terris et fluctibus aestas.
fusion between the names; it is possible 745.] For this and the next line see too that Virg. may have remembered the G. 2. 481, 482 and note.
prowess of Diomede's horses in the chariot747.] •Ingeminant plausu' like “in- race without recollecting that they were geminant hastis," 9. 811. Some inferior once Aeneas' own. Generally too he may MSS. give 'plausum,' with the Schol. on have remembered that Diomede was in a Lucan 1. 133. The natives are naturally chariot when he encountered Aeneas. That made to set the fashion, the strangers to he refers to this encounter and also to that follow it, as Serv. remarks.
of Achilles with Aeneas is almost certain 748.] “Traherent per talia tempus " 6. from 10. 581, where Liger says to Aeneas, 537 note. See also on G. 3. 379, where I “Non Diomedis equos, non currum cernis have explained "noctem ducere,” “tra. Achilli.” —Quantus,' how terrible in here," of speeding along. But it is very Comp. “quantus In clipeum addifficult to say, as the more usual sense of surgat ” 11. 283, said by Diomede himself “ trahere” when applied to time is to pro- of Aeneas. The notion of bulk is promitract (see the Lexicons), and the reference nent, but not, as Henry thinks, the only here may be to the length to which the one. conversation continued into the night. 753.] •Immo,' nay rather, instead of Perhaps Virg. intended to blend the two answering more questions in detail, tell us notions, in spite of their apparent incon- the whole story from the first. sistency, meaning no more than that the 754.] • Tuorum' and 'tuos' are dis. conversation lasted the whole night long. tinguished, as in the one case Dido is
749.] She drank in love with the words thinking of those who perished at Troy, of Aeneas. Longum’ probably refers to in the other of Aeneas who escaped. In the notion of length contained in trahe. answering the question 2. 10 Aeneas bati' Longum amorem” 3. 487 note. classes himself with his friends,
“ Alludit ad convivium. Sic nostros.” Anacreon, épwta tivwy:" but this can 755.] Portat errantem’ should be hardly be meant.
taken closely together. “Septuma post 750.] “Multa super Lauso rogitat” 10. Troiae excidium iam vertitur aestas, Cum 839.
freta, cum terras omnis . . ferimur” 5. 751.] .Quibus armis.' See note on v. 626. The form of Dido's words shows 489.
“Quibus ibat in arinis" 9. 269. that she knew the time of the fall of Troy 752.] 'Quales Diomedis equi.' No espe- not from Aeneas, but from Teucer (v. 623), cial praise is given to the horses of Dio. or from common fame. The general mean. mede in the Iliad, though high praise is ing is, 'You have the experieuces of seven given to those which he takes from Aeneas years to tell : it will be better that we (11. 5. 263 foll.), and with which he wins should hear them continuously, the story the chariot-race (II. 23. 377 foll.), as also being as long as it is.' to those which he takes from Rhesus (II.
P. VERGILI MARONIS
Α Ε Ν Ε Ι D 0 S
The voice of criticism bas unanimously fixed on this book, along with the Fourth and Sixth, as affording the best evidence of the true greatness of Virgil. Whether or no we believe the story told in Donatus' biography, that the poet himself chose these three books to read to Augustus as a specimen of his work, it indicates at any rate the judgment passed by antiquity; and modern opinion has not been slow to ratify the verdict.
The conception of the present book is eminently fortunate. Homer had made Ulysses tell the story of his wanderings to Alcinous, and so had supplied the canvas on which the younger artist might work : but the tale of Troy taken forms no part of the narrative of the Odyssey: it is briefly sung by a bard, whose strains move the tears of Ulysses, as the Trojan portraits at Carthage have moved those of Aeneas; but that is all. It was open to Virgil to make his hero tell the whole story of the destruction of Troy without trespassing on Homer's ground; and he seized the opportunity. The subject could not fail to be most impressive, and it is introduced with perfect propriety. Dido, it is true, knew the main incidents of the siege ; but that was all the more reason why she should wish to hear them from the chief living witness on the side of Troy. Virgil too has shown his wisdom not only in what he has said, but in what he has left unsaid. Dido's curiosity would naturally extend over the whole ten years; but the poet knew that a detail of the siege, natural as it might be, would weary his readers. He tells us that the queen asked of Priam and Hector, of Diomedo and Achilles ; but he does not require us to listen to Aeneas till he can concentrate our attention on the last agony of Troy,' the one night in whi the city was taken and sacked.
The taking of Troy was, as might be expected, a favourite subject with poets before Virgil. It formed part of the epic cycle; it was treated by the masters of the Greek drama. Of these works the only one that has come down to us is the Troades of Euripides; and even that has its scene laid after the catastrophe, which it deals with only by way of retrospect. We know enough of the others to be assured that the main incidents in Virgil's narrative-the story of the Trojan horse, the introduction of Sinon, the tragic death of Laocoon--are taken from his predecessors. It would have been unnatural if it had not been so. Custom bound Virgil to follow the legend in its main bearings as he had received it, though it left him quite free, as I have contended in the general Introduction to the Aeneid, to vary minor details, and give his owu colour to the whole. How far Virgil is original in the minutiæ of his treatment, we cannot tell. Macrobius indeed makes one of his interlocutors (Sat. 5. 2) speak of it as a fact known to every schoolboy, that the story of this book is taken almost word for word from one Pisander, who wrote a mythological history of the world in verse; but though the charge is circumstantially made, it is discredited by the silence of other
authorities, whose ignorance contrasts strangely with this schoolboy knowledge; and Heyne, in his first Excursus to this book, has made it more than probable tbat the plagiarism of the poet is really the blunder of the critic, who is supposed to have con. founded two Pisanders, one who lived before Virgil, but did not write the mythologico. historical poem, and another who did write the poem, but lived after Virgil 1. The little that we know from Servius and others about the treatment of the stories of Laocoon and Sinon by earlier writers points rather to difference from Virgil's version than to identity with it: and though we must not build so much on this, as it is the wont of such witnesses to dwell rather on points of dissimilarity than on points of agreement, we may take it as showing that Virgil did really exercise his privilege of varying the smaller circumstances of the narrative, especially as his successors, Quinctus Smyrnaeus and Tryphiodorus, who are supposed to have been diligent copyists of the early writers, differ from bim considerably in their manner of treatment. At any rate, whatever may have been Virgil's obligations to his predecessors for the incidents of his narrative, we cannot doubt that the golden thread which runs through the whole, the feeling of Aeneas himself, is substantially his own. The steps by which the hero comes to realize his position as an inhabitant of a captured city, a partisan of a cause against which the gods have finally declared, --steps indicated with such subtlety that it is only of late that they have been fully recognized (see on vv. 322, 402),- are not likely to have been transmitted by legend, while they bear in themselves the strongest marks of the poet's peculiar art.
Perhaps there is no better way of estimating the greatness of Virgil in this book than by glancing at the manner in which the subject has been treated by the three later poets, Smyrnaeus, Tryphiodorus, and Tzetzes. With his example before them, not to mention the other writers whom they probably followed, they have yet contrived to divest a most stirring and pathetic story of a large part of its interest. Smyrnaeus bestows two of his fourteen books, the twelfth and the thirteenth, on the capture of Troy. He goes over much the same ground as Virgil; but his narrative is flat and lifeless : the incidents do not flow out of each other, and sometimes, instead of incident, we are put off with the tedious generality of a mere historical abridgment. Calchas advises the Greeks to try stratagem rather than force: Ulysses on the moment strikes out the notion of the wooden horse with all its details : Neoptolemus and Philoctetes, like Milton's Moloch, are for open war, and attempt to lead their people to battle at once, but are checked by a thunderbolt from Zeus, which quite overawes them; an incident briefly despatched, and apparently introduced for no object whatever. Soon after we hear that the gods are at war with each other, as in the twentieth Iliad, hurling as missiles the hills of Ida; but we are expressly told that while all nature is convulsed, the human combatants are unconscious of what is going on, and even this invisible warfare is soon terminated by another thunderbolt from Zeus, so that, as before, we are at a loss to understand the relevancy of the incident. When the horse is made, Sinon is left with it, having expressed to the Greeks his willingness to undergo burning alive, or any torture that the Trojans may inflict. Accordingly, be stands silent while the enemy surrounds him, trying him first with mild words of inquiry, afterwards with the barsher methods of mutilation and burning: and then, having given this undoubted proof of his courage, he voluntarily tells his story. Laocoon, who disbelieves him, is struck blind on the spot, the state of his eyes being described with a sickening minuteness of detail ; yet even in this condition he continues urging his countrymen to burn the horse, and so the serpents are sent to destroy his children by his side. Cassandra then takes his
1 Welcker, Epischer Cyclus, p. 91, thinks that there may have been a spurious poem on the subject forged in the Alexandrian age, and attributed to the earlier Pisander ; -rather a hypothetical mode of saving Macrobius' credit.
place in denunciation, but is gibed at by the Trojans: she tries herself to burn or break open the horse, but torch and weapons are wrested from her. A paragraph is spent in enforcing the statement that the Greeks suffered during the sack as well as the Trojans, and the modes of their deaths are enumerated with statistical particularity. Some, we are told, were hit by goblets, others by tables, others by torches and spits with meat adhering to them, others by hatchets : some have their fingers cut off in trying to ward off blows : some are bruised with stones, and some pierced with lances, which the Trojans were able to wield in spite of the wine they had drunk. We are told of Aeneas' escape, which it appears was owing partly, as in Virgil, to the protection of his mother, who warded off the weapons of the enemy, but partly also to a speech of Calchas to the Greeks, ordering them to spare him on account of his signal piety in taking his father and son with him rather than his treasure. But perhaps the greatest piece of flatness is found in Pyrrhus' speech to old Priam, who has been praying for death at his hands :
και γέρον, έμμεμαώτα και έσσύμενον περ ανώγεις"
Tryphiodorus is a writer of a somewhat lower stamp, perhaps equal in power to Smyr. naeus, but inferior in taste and judgment. He concentrates himself chiefly on the wooden horse and the events immediately connected with it, fifty lines being given to a minute description of all its parts, from which it appears that it was a costly as well as elaborate performance,-its eyes being made of beryl and amethyst, and its teeth of silver. Ulysses, as in Smyrnaeus, lays down the programme of operations : the heroes rise one after another, as at the challenge of Hector in the seventh book of the Iliad, and volunteer in the service; and when they are lodged in the horse, Pallas provides them with ambrosia; immediately after which they are aptly compared to beasts running down a rock to escape a winter torrent, and waiting in their den, famished with hunger. Sinon is left, mangled, like Ulysses in Helen's story in the fourth Odyssey, with stripes from his own hand, and tells a similar story to that in Virgil, except that he represents himself as having been scourged by his comrades because he refused to fly with them. The dragging of the horse into the city is detailed at tedious length, the agency of the gods, which duly appears later in the poem, being tastelessly anticipated, and Here being made to open the gates wider than usual, whilc Poseidon knocks down part of the stonework of the entrance. Cassandra protests, as in Smyrnaeus, and is severely upbraided by her father, who sends her to her chamber. Helen's story in Homer is again put under requisition, and the adulteress is made to address the Greeks within the horse in the tones of their respective wives ; but the incident is an isolated one, and no attempt is made to harmonize it with the rest of the story. For the rest of the book the narrative proceeds more rapidly, the different events of the sack being despatched each in a few lines, without any attempt at pictorial narrative. The poet cannot, he says, tell all that happened on that night; that is a business for the Muses : he feels himself to be a chariot-driver nearing the goal. Tzetzes need hardly detain us a moment, as his narrative of the sack of Troy is utterly contemptible, with no pretension to poetry, and very little to style or metre. He is fortunately brief, and in fact presents a condensed résumé of the story as told by his various predecessors, Virgil included, the absence of detail enabling bim in general to avoid the points in which they differ. There is however quite enough to distinguish him from them, or from any other writer professing to be a poet. When the heroes get into the horse, he takes the opportunity of telling us the personal characteristics of the leading Greeks, in lines like these :