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Trahebat. “ Brought.” A very graphic term. It represents the child unable to keep pace with its mother, and therefore gently drawn along by her.
458. Evado ad summi, &c. “I mount to the summit of the highest part of the roof.” Æneas enters the palace by means of the gate which he has just been describing, and ascends to the roof. Here the Trojans, in their despair, are casting fruitless weapons at the enemy. Æneas induces them to desist from this, and with united strength they loosen from its base, and hurl a large turret on the foe.
460. Turrim in præcipiti stantem, &c. The accusative turrim depends, in construction, on concellimus impulimusque. In translating, however, it will be neater, and, at the same time, more convenient, to commence with the accusative case : “A turret, standing, with precipitous front, and raised from the topmost palace-roof unto the very stars, &c.; having assailed it all around with iron instruments, where the highest stories afforded feeble joinings, we tore with united strength from its lofty seats and pushed upon the foe.”
In præcipiti. The turret stood on the roof of the palace, and its front was in a line with that of the building. It stood, therefore, like a steep precipice, frowning upon the enemy.-Sub astri. A figurative expression, to denote its great height. -463. Ferro, i.e. securibus.- Quá summa labantes, &c. They did not cut away the tower where it rose from the palace-roof, but where the upper stories rendered the joining of the timbers comparatively feeble. The tower was not of stone, it was entirely of wood.-464. Concellimus impulimusque. We have here the aorist, and in the next line the present (trahit). In such constructions, the present generally indicates the consequences of a previous act.—465. Ea. “ It," i. e. the tower (turris).- Lapsa. “Having slipped from its resting-place)."— Ruinam. À term well employed here, to denote the fall of various fragments in rapid succession.
470. Exsultat. “ Exults.” Equivalent to pugnat exsultans. Pyrrhus, elsewhere called Neoptolemus (line 263), was the son of Achilles.Telis et luce coruscus ahena. “Gleaming on the view with his (brandished) weapons and the brazen light of his armour," i.e. the flashing of his brazen arms. Tela, offensive weapons, Arma, defensive ones. Coruscus, when united with the former, will refer to the rapid brandishing of sword or spear; when joined with the latter, to the brazen corslet, helmet, shield, &c., emitting gleams of light.
471. Qualis ubi in lucem, &c. We have adopted the punctuation of Wagner, who removes the comma after qualis, and places one after terga. He also very properly connects in lucem with condolcit, and regards ad solem as a pardonable redundance, the more especially as the whole force of the comparison lies in Pyrrhus's being likened as he gleams in arms, to the snake that has come forth into the light of day with a new and brilliant skin.
Mala gramina pastus. “ Having fed on noxious herbs.”_472. Tumidum. “Swollen," i. e. swollen with poison.--473. Nunc, positis noous exuviis, &c. “Now, renewed (to the view), his (former) skin being laid aside, and sleek with youth, with breast erect rolls his slippery back into the light, raising himself towards the sun, and brandishes in his mouth his three-forked tongue.”—475. Micat, &c. More literally," and makes a rapid, quivering motion."
476. Et equorum agitator, &c. “ And the charioteer of Achilles. the armour-bearing Automedon," i. e. and Automedon, formerly the
charioteer of Achilles, now the armour-bearer of Pyrrhus.—477. Scyria pubes. “The youth of Scyros.” Scyros was one of the Cyclades, where Pyrrhus was born of Deïdamia, one of the daughters of Lycomedes, its king, and from which island he came with his followers to the Trojan war.–478. Succedunt tecto. “Advance to the building,” i. e. attack the entrance of the palace.
479. Ipse, i. e. Pyrrhus.-Dura limina. “ The strong thresholds,” . e. the strong oaken doorway.-480. Perrumpit. “Strives to break through.” So again, vellit, “ endeavours to tear away.” Observe in both these verbs the force of the present, as describing an action going on at the time, and not yet brought to a close.-481. Jamque excisa trabe, &c. “And now, the thick plank being cut through, he has pierced the solid timber (of the door), and has made a huge gap therein, with wide-yawning mouth.” Observe the beautiful change from the unfinished action indicated by the present, to the complete one denoted by the perfect.
483. Apparet. The present is again employed, to bring the action more fully before the eyes. —Patescunt. “Open on the view.”—484. Priami penetralia. “ The inmost recesses of the palace of Priam.”485. Armatosque vident, &c. Nöhden makes vident agree with penetralia understood, and takes the “armed men,” of course, for Pyrrhus and his followers. But the more natural interpretation is to refer vident to the Greeks, and armatos to the Trojans already mentioned in lines 449, 450.
487. Gemitu miseroque tumultu miscetur. “Is thrown into confusion with groaning and wretched tumult.” The prose form would be, “ gemitus in domo miscetur, miserque tumultus.”—Penitus. “ Far within."-488. Ululant. The verb ululo properly means to send forth a wild cry or howl. It is then applied generally to sounds of lamentation and wo, more particularly such as proceed from females. (Compare the Greek ólolusw.) Observe here the poetic usage by which ululant takes the meaving of resonant.
489. Errant. This is said to heighten the effect, the females being otherwise, according to ancient usage, secluded in their apartments.
-490. Oscula figunt. There is something very touching in these few words. They imprint kisses on the door-posts in token of a last farewell, as being about to be torn away for ever from a beloved home.
491. Vi patria. “With all his father's might.”—Claustra. “Any barriers.” Referring particularly to the palace-gates, or, as Heyne terms them, the fores roborece.-492. Sufferre. “To withstand him." -Ariete crebro. “ With oft-repeated blows of the battering-ram.” In scanning, ariete must be pronounced ar-yete, as if of three syllables. The allusion here is to the ram in its simplest state, as it was borne and impelled by human hands without other assistance. The battering-ram was a large beam, made of the trunk of a tree, and having a mass of bronze or iron fastened to one end, and resembling a ram's head. This shape, as well as its name, was given to the engine in question, on account of the resemblance of its mode of action to that of a ram butting with its forehead. In an improved form, the ram was surrounded with iron bands, to which rings were attached, for the purpose of suspending it by ropes or chains to a beam fixed transversely over it.
493. Emoti. “Wrenched.”--Procumbunt. “Fall to the ground.” Literally, “ fall forward."
494. Rumpunt aditus. “They burst an entrance.” 496. Non sic. “Not with such impetuosity." "To be construed with fertur.-Aggeribus. “Its embankments."-497. Oppositasque ericit, &c. “And hath overcome with its eddying flood the opposing mounds," i. e. the mounds built to regulate its course.—498. Furens cumulo. “Raging with its heap of waters."
501. Centumque nurus. “ And her hundred daughters-in-law." The number here given is mere poetic amplification. Priam and Hecuba had fifty sons and fifty daughters, so that centum is equivalent here to but half its own number.-501. Per aras. “At the altars.” 502. Sacraderat. “ Had consecrated,” i. e. had kindled in honour of the gods.” Every reader of taste will condemn the poet for making his hero a quiet spectator of the murder of his aged king. It is this same hero who is afterwards on the point of slaying a defenceless female, when his mother interferes and prevents him!
503. Quinquaginta illi thalami, &c. “ Those fifty bedchambers, the fond hope of a numerous posterity.” More literally, “ so great a hope of posterity.” Illi has here a peculiar force, and is equivalent, in some degree, to “tam magnifice exstructi.” According to Homer (Il. vi. 243), there were in the palace of Priam fifty bedchambers for his sons, and twelve for his daughters. Virgil, indulging in an equal license, gives but fifty in all.—504. Barbarico auro, &c. “Proud to the view with barbaric gold.”- Barbarico. Oriental or Phrygian, i. e. Trojan. An imitation of the Greek mode of speaking, which made every thing not Greek to be barbarian : tās uri “Elinv, BápBapoç.-Spoliisque. Spoils taken from the enemy were fixed up on the door-posts, or in the most conspicuous part of the dwelling.–505. Tenent Danai, quâ, &c., i. e. whatever the fire spares the Greeks seize on as their own.
507. Convulsaque limina tectorum. “And his palace-gates torn down."-510. Et inutile ferrum cingitur. “And is girded with his useless sword,” i. e. girds himself.-511. Fertur moriturus. “ Hurries, resolved to die."
512. Ædibus in mediis, &c. “In the centre of the mansion, and beneath the open vault of heaven.” The palace of Priam, according to Virgil's conception, was, as we have already remarked, of a square form, with an open court in the centre.-513. Ara. The Greek poets all make Priam to have fallen at the altar of Hercæan, or Domestic, Jove (Zeus "EPKELOS) ; but then they place this altar in the aúln, or front court, into which a person came after passing through the čokos, or main enclosure. Virgil, on the other hand, transfers this altar to the open court in the centre of the building, in doing which he would seem to have had partly in view the Roman peristylium, which was an open space in the centre of a mansion, planted with trees. The Roman poet also mentions other altars (altaria) in connexion with the main one, and which appear to be altars to the penates, for the statues of the latter are mentioned by him.
Veterrima laurus. The aged bay carries back the mind to the good old times, when all was tranquillity and peace.-515. Nequidquam. Because not destined to be protected by the sanctity of the place.- Altaria. The altars of the penates, which were distinct from the ingens ara of Hercæan, or Domestic, Jove.-516. Præcipites atrá ceu, &c. “ Crowded together like doves driven headlong to earth by some gloomy tempest.”—517. Divúm. Hercæan Jove and the penates.
519. Mens tam dira. “So dire a resolve,” i. e. a resolve fraught with consequences so direful to thee and to us all. A resolve, namely, calculated to excite only the wrath of the foe, and make them strangers to mercy.-521. Non tali auxilio, &c. “ The crisis needs not such aid, nor such defenders as thou art.” Observe the force of istis, in referring to the person addressed.—522. Non, si ipse meus, &c. “Even if my Hector were now present, he would not be able to defend.” Supply with non the words defendere posset.
523. Huc tandem concede. “Yield to me, I entreat, and come hither.” Observe the double meaning implied in concede.—524. Simul.“ Along with us.” Supply nobiscum.-Recepit ad sese, &c. “She drew the aged monarch unto her, and placed him on a sacred seat,” i. e. on one of the steps of the altar.
526. Pyrrhi de cæde. “ From the slaughtering hand of Pyrrhus." -528. Porticibus longis. “ Through the long galleries.”— Vacua atria lustrat, &c. “ Traverses the deserted halls.”—Vacua. A well-selected and touching expression, as referring to the complete dispersion of the Trojans.-529. Infesto vulnere. “With weapon ready (again) to strike.” Literally, “with hostile wound.”—530. Premit. « Is in the act of transfixing him with his spear.” Literally,“ presses on him.”
531. Ante oculos eoasit, &c. “He came before the eyes and the presence of his parents.”—532. Concidit. Polites fell exhausted by the previous wound which he had received.-533. Quamquam in mediã, &c., i. e. although instant death impends over him.
537. Persolvant grates dignas. • Make thee a fit requital.”—538. Coram cernere. “To see with my own eyes.” More literally, “ openly to behold.” The expression fecisti me cernere is an imitation of the Greek idiom for fecisti ut ego cernerem.---539. Et patrios foedâsti, &c. 6 And hast defiled with his death a father's sight.” A dead body was always believed by the ancients to have a polluting effect on those who were near it, or touched it. The poet, by a beautiful image, makes the contamination extend to the very look which the parent directs towards the corpse of his son.
540. At non ille, &c. “ But that Achilles, from whom thou dost lyingly assert that thou art sprung, was not such in the case of Priam, though a foe.” Priam, after the death of Hector, betook himself to the Grecian camp, in order to redeem his son from the hands of Achilles. The latter received him well, and granted his request.-542. Erubuit. Literally, “he blushed at," i. e. he shrunk from the idea of violating them.
544. Senior. “ The aged monarch."-Sine ictu. “Without inflicting a wound.”—545. Rauco quod protinus ære, &c. “Which was straightway checked by the hoarse-sounding brass.” The spear of the aged monarch, thrown by so feeble a hand, struck the boss of his opponent's shield, but was checked in its passage by the brazen plate of the latter, and hung sticking in it without having penetrated to any depth. Heyne, with Ruæus and the greater number of commentators, considers the spear of Priam as hanging, when repelled by the brass, in the leathern covering of his adversary's shield. The brightness of the arms of Pyrrhus, however, before noticed by the poet, when he describes that hero as telis et luce coruscus ahena, seems to imply that his shield, which constituted so large and so conspicuous a part of his arms, was not covered ; and then the words rauco and protenus (the former of which intimates the ringing sound of the stricken brass, and the latter the quick result of the ineffectual spear) both make against this notion of a covered shield, and of the weapon's hanging in the hide which was over the brass. Valpy sug. gests that the boss may have been formed of folds of cloth, or any other soft substance, laid on the metal with which the shield itself was plated ! Such a boss would be a very singular addition to a shield, and of very little valûe in dashing aside a foe in battle.
547. Pyrrhus. Supply respondit.—548. Ili mea tristia facta, &c. A sarcasm. Tell him how much his son has fallen short of those same high qualities which thou hast just now so highly commended in the case of the father.
552. Implicuitque comam lærâ. “And twined his left hand in his hair.”—553. Extulit. “ Raised on high.” Equivalent to sustulit. Erroneously rendered by some, “he drew from its sheath.”
554. Hic exitus illum, &c. “This termination of existence took him off in accordance with the decree of destiny."-556. Tot populis. “Unto so many nations.” The common form would be populorum.-557. Jacet ingens litore truncus, &c. According to the legend here followed by Virgil, and which Pacuvius also is said to have adopted in one of his tragedies, the body of Priam was dragged to the shore, and there left unburied, and a headless trunk.-558. Sine nomine corpus. The headless trunk could not be recognised, and, consequently, named.
559. At me tum primum, &c. The poet now returns from the episode of the fall of Troy to the main object of his poem, the departure of Æneas from his native land.—560. Subiit. “ Occurred to my thoughts.” Supply in mentem.-561. Æquæ vum. “Of equal age with himself.”-562. Creüsa. Creüsa was the wife of Æneas, and daughter of Priam and Hecuba.—563. Casus. “The peril.”
564. Quce copia. “What numbers.” Copia in the singular for the plural copiæ.-565. Deseruere. “Had left (the place)." Æneas, it will be remembered, was still on the palace-roof, from which he had witnessed the scene of Priam's death.-Et corpora saltu, &c. “ And had (either) flung their bodies, by a leap, to earth, or had yielded them exhausted to the flames."
567. Jumque adeo super unus eram. “And thus now I alone remained,” i. e. I was now alone left. This line, and all that follow to the 588th inclusive, are enclosed by many editors in brackets, on the ground that the verses in question are not found in the oldest and best MSS. of Virgil, and contain also a sentiment unworthy of a hero. “That they are Virgil's has not been,” observes Symmons, “and, from their intrinsic character, cannot be questioned ; and it is also certain that they are made essentially necessary by what immediately succeeds in the speech of Venus. The tradition preserved by Servius is, that they were omitted by Tucca and Varius, on their revision of the Æneid, as inconsistent with the account given of Helen by Deïphobus, in the sixth book, and as unworthy of the hero, who is represented in them as about to war upon à defenceless woman. Neither of these objections, however, is a very strong one. For why might not Helen, in the beginning of this fatal night, betray Deïphobus ; and subsequently, on not finding her treachery correspond with her hope of reconciliation with Menelaus, fly to the sanctuary of Vesta's temple? With respect to the second objection, it may be remarked, that the poet who could make his hero a passive