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poem with some adequate idea of the manner in which the different parts fit into each other, and of the relation which each of them bears to the whole.
When the poem opens, Carthage is a thriving and powerful city "dives opum studiisque asperrima belli" (Æn. i. 14): and well it may, for it is under the special protection of Juno, the queen of gods and That protection, however, is all too little. One now wanders on the deep whose destiny it is to pave the way for the foundation of a city which, in tract of time, will lay Carthage even with the ground. For seven years has he wandered to and fro his home once was Troy: his name is Æneas. To Italy his course is now bent. This scheme Juno resolves to mar. So wind and storm do their worst ; and he who should have landed on the shores of Latium, finds himself shipwrecked on the coast of Libya, and a welcome guest at the court of Dido. (Book i.) To unite with Carthage the fortunes and the fame of a city which, in a struggle against Carthage, were destined to reach their zenith, such was Juno's design. But what has befallen Æneas during his seven years' wanderings? This Æneas narrates (Books ii. iii.): to this Dido listens, and as she listens, loves. But now a greater than Juno, Jupiter himself, issues his fiat, and bids Æneas-"heu regni rerumque oblite tuarum" (iv. 267)—to quit at once the Carthaginian court, and hie him to Italy and lay the foundation of a glory which would encircle the heads of generations yet unborn. So away sails Eneas, and leaves Dido to brood over the insult of
a love despised. For vengeance she now thirsts, but thirsts in vain: so she dies; "moriemur inultæ sed moriamur ait" (iv. 659), and dying, mutters curses on the yet unborn city of Rome. The death of Dido was revenged on the field of Cannæ. (Book iv.) We would call attention, in passing, to the consummate art with which Virgil interweaves these allusions to the world-famous struggle between Rome and Carthage. It confirms us in the view already taken on the nationality of the Æneid. It does not fall in with our purpose to follow the fortunes of Æneas by land and sea from Carthage to Sicily, where he lingers to pay the last rites to the remains of his sire Anchises, and to found a city where he might leave the old and infirm, before proceeding to Italy with the chief of all his strength. (Book v.) Nor only by land and sea should we have to accompany him: for he visits the mansions of Hades, where the poet (availing himself of the Platonic theory of the previous state of existence allotted to human beings) presents us with a glorious picture of the future destinies of Rome and of the worthies of the Roman Commonwealth. (Book vi.) In reading this book, we feel as if we were watching the course of a lordly torrrent, and as if all other sights and sounds were forgotten in its ceaseless roar. Critics have found fault with this episode as out of place: if this be true, we can only call it a splendid blunder. The last six books of the Eneid are taken up with the struggle which Æneas has to undergo before he can effect a firm footing in Italy. It would require a most elaborate disquisition
-out of place in these pages-to enter adequately into the sources, the facts, and the forms of the various legends connected with the primitive history of Rome and of Italy, which Virgil has here pressed into his service. On this point we content ourselves with referring to the opinion of no incompetent judge, who says that they contain "a learning, of which an historian can scarcely avail himself enough;" and that "the historian who studies the Eneid thoroughly, will ever find new things to admire." (Niebuhr's Lectures, Ed. Schmitz, iii. 136.) This praise, it may be said, detracts from the poetical worth of the Æneid. This we are not prepared to deny: indeed, the best advice we can give to the student, in the perusal of the six concluding books, is to make use of them as a storehouse, from which he may hereafter draw invaluable materials and elucidations when he comes to the pages of Livy, and lingers, with Niebuhr, round the cradle of Rome.
No genuine bust or portrait of Virgil has come down to our times. We are left to infer his personal appearance from the descriptions direct and implied in Donatus and Horace respectively. From these it would appear that he suffered much from ill health, and that he betrayed these sufferings not only in the sickly cast of his face, but in the slovenly uncouthness of his dress. His disposition seems to have been peculiarly amiable. Virgil's house was like neutral ground, on which all the poets of the day
-the genus irritabile vatum-forgot their petty jealousies. Nor was he less admired by his country
men as a poet than beloved as a man: he soon became the cherished national bard of the Romans:
Cedite Romani scriptores, cedite Graii:
eloquently exclaims Propertius in well-known words, after he had heard recited a part of the Æneid. Nor were Virgil's poems only read by the learned: like the works of Homer, they were interpreted in the schools, and even translated into Greek. The popularity they enjoyed in the middle ages is something marvellous: but Niebuhr accounts for it by saying, "that people did not, or could not, compare him with Homer, and that they fixed their attention upon the many particular beauties of the Æneid." (Niebuhr's Lectures, Ed. Schmitz, iii. p. 137.) Faults, no doubt, may be found with the Æneid-faults great and manifold: the composition of the poem as a whole, the character of the hero-these and many other points are open to grave animadversions: still we cannot help looking upon Virgil's works as one of the most precious heirlooms of antiquity; and we feel grateful that the forethought of Augustus spared what Virgil's modesty (for modesty it was, not affectation) would fain have consigned to the flames. We are grateful, we say, not merely on the general ground that "a thing of beauty is a joy for ever," but more especially because in no other extant remains of classical antiquity could we find a picture of the Roman mind, life, and manners, so well calculated to kindle the imagination and win the sympathies of youth, because no other poem