« PreviousContinue »
league offensive and defensive.—16. Dum fortuna fuit. “While fortune was ours."
17. Moenia prima loco. “I found my first city.” The Roman writers generally call this place Ænos, which is the name of a city on the coast of Thrace, at the mouth of the Hebrus. But, according to Homer (II. iv. 520), Ænos existed before the Trojan war. As Æneas calls the inhabitants of his new city Æneado, the poet must have had in view some such name for the place as Ænea (Aivela). Of course the settlement in question is purely fabulous.
Fatis ingressus iniquis. “Having entered on the work with adverse fates.”—18. Æneadasque meo nomen, &c. “And I form from my own name the name Æneadæ (for its inhabitants).”
19. Dioneve matri. “ To my Dionean mother,” i. e. Venus. She was, according to Homer, (İl. v. 370), the daughter of Dione and Jove. The more common legend made her to have sprung from the foam of the sea.-Dirisque. Equivalent to et ceteris deis. So the well-known Greek form of expression, Zeð kai Deoi.-20. Auspicibus. “ The favourers."
22. Quo cornea summo, &c. “On the top of which were cornel twigs, and a myrtle all bristled with thick-clustering, spear-like shoots.” The long, tapering branches of the tree are properly termed hastilia, “spears," or "spear-shaped ; but the word has a peculiar propriety here, as it alludes to the spears and darts with which Polydorus had been transfixed, and which had grown up into those trees,
24. Viridem sildan. “ The verdant wood," i. e, the shoots of the myrtle.-25. Ramis tegerem, &c. In sacrifices, the altar was usually shaded with garlands and boughs. On the present occasion, as the sacrifice was intended for Venus, the myrtle, a tree sacred to that goddess, would be peculiarly appropriate.
27. Nam quæ prima, &c. “For drops of black blood ooze forth from that same tree, which is first pulled up from the ground, its roots being torn." The literal translation, following at the same time the natural order of the text, is as follows: "For as to that tree, which is first pulled up, &c. from this ooze forth drops of black blood.”—This prodigy of the bleeding myrtle, and the bleeding corse of Polydorus, has been censured as too marvellous for the epic muse.
We may observe, however, in defence of it, that it was written for a people who did not refuse their belief in prodigies, and in whose histories they were frequently recorded. In the “ Jerusalem Delivered” we find a bleeding and speaking tree (x. 41); and in Spenser's “ Faery Queen" a still closer imitation of Virgil's prodigy. (B. i. c. 2, s. 30, 31.)
30. Gelidusque coit, &c. “And my chilled blood curdles through fear."-31. Lentum vimen. “ The pliant shoot."
34. Venerabar, &c. “ I entreated in prayer the woodland nymphs.” By the Nymphe agrestes are here meant the Hamadryads, who came into being with a tree, and died with it. Æneas, therefore, feared lest this might be the blood of cne of their number. So Servius.
35. Gradicumque patrem. Mars is invoked as presiding deity of the land of Thrace, for by the aroa Getica the country of Thrace is meant. The Getæ were a Thracian race, allied, perhaps, to the Goths of a later age.-Gradivum. Mars was called Gradivus ; but the etymology of the appellation is altogether uncertain. The latter part of the name resembles the Sanscrit deca, “god."-36. Rite
. secundarent, &c. “That they would in mercy bless what had been seen by me, and turn the omen to a good account.”-Rite. When applied to men, this adverb means “ in due form,” or “ order,” &c.; but when spoken of the gods, it refers to the kindness and mercy which they are wont to show to the human race when duly propitiated. - Omenque levarent. Literally," and would lighten the omen,” i. e. remove from it the threatening load of evil that seemed to be connected with it.—Commentators consider the use of risus for visa, and the employment of the phrase omen lecare, as novelties on the part of Virgil (nove dicta).
38. Genibusque, &c. “And struggle on my knees against the opposing soil.”-41. Jam parce sepulto. “Oh, spare me, now that I lie buried here,” i. e. let it suffice that I suffered so much while alive; let me now, at least, enjoy repose in my grave, as far as I can find it there.—42. Parce scelerare. “Forbear polluting."-Non me tibi Troja, &c. Polydorus was son of Priam and brother to Creüsa, the wife of Æneas. 'He might well, therefore, say that he was no stranger (i. e, not unknown) to the latter.— 43. Haud cruror hic de stipite manat. To complete the idea, we may add, sed de meo corpore.
44. Litus ararum. The shore is called “ covetous," in allusion to the cupidity of its king. -45. Confixum. “Me pierced through by them.”—46. Et jaculis increrit acutis. “And hath grown up over me with its sharp javelins," i. e. and the javelins of which it was originally composed have now grown up over me. The weapons thrown at hiin, and which had pierced his body and become fixed in the ground, had taken root, become shrubs, and covered his corpse, and the hillock had been gradually formed by the drifting sand. Heyne, with far less propriety makes jaculis the dative, and equivalent to in arbores unde jacula petuntur. It will now be perceived why the poet covered the hillock with cornel-twigs and myrtle-shoots, both of these being used by the ancients for making handles to spears and javelins. Compare Georgics ii. 447 : “ At myrtus validis hastilibus, et bona bello cornus.”—The myrtle, moreover, loves the sea shore: “ Litora myrtetis lætissima." (Georg. ii. 212.)
47. Ancipiti formidine, i. e. by perplexity and fear.–49. Huno Polydorum. Homer gives a quite different account of the death of Polydorus. He makes him to have been slain in battle by Achilles. (11. xx. 407, seqq.) Euripides, on the other hand, who follows in part the same legend with Virgil, makes him to have been slain with the steel by the Thracian monarch, and his corpse to have been flung into the sea. (Hecuba i. seqq.)—50. Furtim mandárat, &c. “Had secretly confided, &c. to the Thracian king, to be brought up by him.” More literally, “ for a bringing up," so as to preserve for the gerund its active force.-51. Threïcio regi. Euripides, who has founded a tragedy (the Hecuba) on the story of Polydorus, calls the Thracian monarch Polymestor. He was the son-in-law of Priam, having married his daughter Ilione.
53. Ille. “ The other."-54. Res Agamemnonias, &c. “The fortunes of Agamemnon, and (his) victorious arms."-55. Fas omne abrumpit. “Violates every tie that men hold sacred.” By the murder of Polydorus, Polymestor violated not merely the laws of justice, but the ties of affinity, of hospitality, and of honour.56. Quid non mortalia, &c. “ Accursed craving after gold, what dost thou not force mortal bosoms to perpetrate?”
60. Idem animus. “There is one and the same mind.”-61. Polo
lutum kospitium. “This scene of hospitality foully violated."--Et dare classibus austros. “And to give the southern breezes to our fleet." Not an hypallage, as the grammarians call it, but a highly poetical form of expression ; equivalent, in fact, to saying, “and to invite the southern breezes with outspread canvass."
62. Ergo instauramus, &c. “We therefore celebrate funeral rites for Polydorus." The expression instauramus funus is the customary one in such cases, being what is termed religiosum vocabulum. It must be observed, also, that this expression and aggeritur tumulo tellus do not denote different things, but the former mark the whole, and the latter merely one of the component parts of the ceremony. Hence we have, with Wagner, placed a colon after funus. The whole passage is worthy of notice, as containing a full account of the ceremonies customary in the interment of the dead, after the ashes had been obtained from the funereal pile.
Et ingens aggeritur, &c. “ And (first) a vast mound of earth is heaped up for a tomb.” The higher the mound, the greater the honour paid to the dead.-63. Stant manibus arce. “Two altars stand erected to his manes.” Two altars, says Voss, were often erected, not only to deities, but in the funeral ceremonies also of distinguished mortals.-64. Moesto, “Mournful to the view.”—Atraque cupresso. “And with funereal cypress.” The cypress is called atra, “ gloomy,” not from any dark colour possessed by its wood, but from the gloomy associations connected with it as a funereal tree.65. De more. “According to custom," i. e. with dishevelled locks. The Trojan females stand around the tomb, their hair dishevelled, beating their breasts and uttering cries of woe.
66. Inferimus trepido, &c. “ (After this) we bring cups frothing with warm milk.” The milk and blood were brought to the altars, and then poured out in libation to the gods below, and to the manes or shades of the dead. Sometimes wine was added. These and similar offerings to the dead were called inferiæ.-Tepido. Freshly milked.—Cymbia. Cups in the shape of boats.—67. Sanguinis sacri. The blood of the victim.-68. Condimus. It was a prevalent opinion among both the Greeks and Romans that the soul could not rest without burial. Hence their extreme anxiety about funeral rites.Et magnâ supremum, &c. The last thing done at an interment was to bid farewell to the deceased, by calling upon him thrice, and thrice uttering the word Vale!
69. Ubi prima fides pelago, i. e. as soon as we could trust the deep. Literally, w when the first confidence was unto the deep.”—Placata. “Hushed to repose.”—70. Crepitans. “ By its chiding accents," i. e. by its rustlings, that seem to chide our delay.—71. Deducunt. On completing a voyage, the ancients generally drew their vessels up on shore, and brought them down again when about entering on one.
73. Sacra mari colitur, &c. “An island, most pleasing (unto these divinities), is inhabited in the midst of the sea, sacred to the mother of the Nereïds and to Ægæan Neptune.” The island here meant is Delos; the mother of the Nereïds is Doris, wife of Nereus ; and Delos is said to have been sacred to Doris and Neptune long before it became the natal isle of Apollo and Diana.-Mari medio. We have made this in accordance with the Homeric manner of expression equivalent merely to in alto. Some translate it“ in the middle of the
sea," and make it allude to the supposed position of Delos in the centre of the Cyclades.
75. Quam pius Arcitenens, &c. “ Which the bow-bearing god, with grateful piety,” &c. Apollo is meant, and the epithet pius implies a feeling of gratitude on his part towards Delos, as having afforded shelter to his mother Latona, and having been his own natal island. -76. Errantem. The more received legend makes Delos to have become stationary for the purpose of receiving Latona. Here, however, Apollo fixes it firmly.- Gyaro celsâ Myconoque, &c. “ Bound firmly by means of lofty Gyarus and Myconus,” i. e. bound firmly to these. Gyarus and Myconus were two islands in the group of the Cyclades, between which Delos lay. Wagner reads Errantem Mycono e celsa Gyaroque revinxit ; but the epithet celsá is an awkward one to apply to Myconus, which is represented by travellers as all low ground.-77. Contemnere centos. Because, before this, it was driven about as the sport of winds and waves.
79. Egressi ceneramur, &c. , “ Having landed, we pay reverent homage to the city of Apollo.” The town of Delos is meant, of the same name with the island.-80. Rex idem hominum, &c. “ As well king of men as priest of Phoebus," i. e. uniting in himself, according to early custom, the offices of king and priest.–81. Sacrâ lauro. “ The sacred bay.” The laurus, or bay-tree, was sacred to Apollo. It must not be confounded with our modern laurel.—82. Veterem Anchisen, &c. Servius says that Auchises had come to Delos before the Trojan war, to inquire of Anius whether he should accompany Priam to Salamis. Hence he is now recognised by Anius as an old acquaintance and friend.
85. Du propriam, &c. “ O Thymbrean Apollo, (I exclaimed, grant unto us a home that we can call our own ; grant unto us, wearied, walls and offspring, and a city destined to remain," i. e. a permanent city, and a race to perpetuate our name. Apollo was called “ Thymbrean," from Thymbra, a town of Troas, where he had a grove and temple. It was in this temple that Achilles is said to have been mortally wounded by Paris.-Observe the peculiar force of da in this passage : “ Give unto us,” &c., i. e, show us by oracles how these things may all be obtained; for Apollo had not the power to bestow them, but merely to unfold the secrets of the future as regarded their attainment.
86. Serca altera Trojæ Pergama. “Preserve this other Pergamus of Troy," i. e. which we, as we hope, are destined to erect in another land. The Pergamus was the citadel of Troy, and, of course, the strongest part of the city, or, rather, the city itself, kat' Eoxhv. Hence it means, “ Preserve the new city of Troy in all its strength.”
-87. Reliquias Danaúm, &c. See note on line 30, book i.-88. Quem sequimur?“ Whom do we follow ?" i. e. whom dost thou point out to us as our guide ? what one of gods or mortals? Observe the use of the indicative with the interrogative pronoun, the action of the verb denoting something certain, the only thing uncertain being the person whom they are to follow.-89. Da, pater, augurium, &c. « Oh, father, grant us an oracle, and glide into our minds," i. e. and instruct us as regards the future.
91. Liminaque. Observe the force of the arsis or cæsura in lengthening the short syllable que.-Laurusque dei. The sacred bay in front of the temple.-92. Mons. Mount Cynthus, from which Apollo derived the surname of Cynthius. It raises its barren summit
to a considerable height above the plain.- Et mugire adytis, &c. “ And the sacred tripod to send forth a low moaning sound, the recesses of the temple being unfolded to the view.” Cortina, in its primary sense, means a large circular vessel for containing liquids, à kind of caldron. It was afterwards applied to the table or hollow slab, supported by a tripod, on which the priestess at Delphi sat to deliver her responses. Hence it sometimes means, as here, the whole tripod ; at other times the oracle itself, as in Æn. vi. 347. The tripod was placed over the sacred spiracle or vent, and the low moaning sound is produced by a subterranean wind or gas struggling to escape.
93. Submissi petimus terram. “In lowly reverence we fall to earth.” -94. A stirpe parentum. “From the stock of your ancestors." The allusion is to the land which produced the main stock of the Trojan race.--95. Ubere læto. “In her fertile bosom."-96. Antiquam exquirite matrem. The oracle means Italy, but its meaning is clothed in so much studied ambiguity as easily to mislead. -97. Domus Ænece. “ The line of Æneas.” Referring to the Romans as descended from the Trojans.
99. Hæc Phoebus. Supply dixit. -100. Quce sint ea moenia. “What may be this city (to which the god alludes.)”-102. Veterum roldens monumenta virorum. “ Revolving in mind the legends of the men of old.”103. Et spes discite restras. “And learn your hopes," i. e. and learn, from what I am about to say, what you have to hope for. The remarks of Anchises, that follow, again give rise to the question, how Æneas, unto whom Creüsa had foretold that Hesperia was to be his new home, should have happened to forget this at the present moment. See Wagner and Heyne.
104. Joris magni insula. Jupiter was fabled to have been brought up in Crete, in the cave of Mount Dicte. His mother Rhea carried him thither to save him from his father Saturn, who sought to devour hiin.-105. Mons Idæus ubi. “Where is an Idæan Mount.” Crete had its Mount Ida as well as Troas.-Cunabula. “The cradle,” i. e. the parent home.-106. Centuin urbes habitant, &c. “ (Its people) inhabit a hundred cities, most fertile realms." Crete is called in the Iliad (ii. 649) Ékaróunolis, from its hundred cities.
107. Maximus pater. “Our eldest father," i. e. the founder of our race, our great progenitor. With maximus supply natu.-108. Rhoeteas ad oras. The shores of Trvas are called “Rhætean," from the promontory of Rhæteum.—109. Arces Pergamece. “ The tower. crowned heights of Pergamus."
111. Hinc mater cultrix Cybelæ. “ Hence came the mother-goddess, the inhabitant of Cybela." The allusion is to Cybele, the mother of the gods, who is here called the inhabitant of Cybela, because fabled to have dwelt on a mountain of that name in Phrygia major, and from which she derived her name (Kubeln, Æol. Kúßea, Lat. Cybela).-Corybantiaque æra. “ And the brazen cymbals of the Corybantes.” The Corybantes were the priests of Cybele, who celebrated her rites with loud cries and howlings, the clashing of cymbals, &c. -112. Idcumque nemus. The poet means that ihe name of Ida originally belonged to a grove and mountain in Crete, where the rites of Cybele were wont to be celebrated. This name, and these rites were carried from Crete, to Troas, in which latter country a new Idæan grove and mountain, marked by the same rites, accordingly arose,