« PreviousContinue »
570. Portus. Virgil here copies from Homer. The harbour, if ever it did exist, is now completely changed by the lava.-571. Horrificis ruinis. “ With frightful crashings. By ruinæ, are here meant the crashing sounds proceeding from the bowels of the mountain, and indicative of the rending asunder of the rocks, &c., within.
572. Prorumpit. “It sends bursting forth.” Used here as an active verb.-573. Candente facillá.“ White-hot ashes.”—574. Globos. “ Balls.”
575. Interdum scopulos, &c. “Sometimes, with loud explosion, it casts up rocks,” &c.—576. Eructans. Literally, “belching.” The good taste of this term has been doubted by some critics. The fault, hower, if any, lies with Pindar, whom Virgil here copies, and whose špeúyovrai suggested eructans.—Liquefacta saza. Lava.—577. Glomerat. A strong term. Gathers into a heap or pile; piles up.
578. Fama.“ A tradition.”—579. Urgueri, &c. “ Is pressed down upon by this mass.” Enceladus was one of the Giants who fought against heaven.-578. Semiustum. To be pronounced as a word of three syllables (sēm’ūstum).-580. Ruptis flammam, &c. “ Breathes forth flame from its burst furnaces.” The camini are the caverns and receptacles of fire in the bowels of the mountain.-582. Cælum subtexere fumo. “Weaves a pall of smoke over the heavens."
585. Nam neque erant, &c. “ For neither were there any fires of the stars, nor was the heaven bright with sidereal light.” Wunderlich makes æthra denote “æris serenitas," and siderea equivalent to fulgida. He bases this explanation on the disjunctive force of neque. But the particles neque, neque are not always placed disjunctively. (Compare Georgics, iv. 198.) In the present instance, nec lucidus athra, &c., is merely an enlargement of what precedes, and refers to the whole starry firmament taken collectively, astrorum ignes denoting individual stars.
586. Nubila. Supply erant.-587. Et lunam in nimbo, &c. “ And dead of night held the moon (shrouded) in a cloud." Literally, “ unseasonable night,” “night unfit for action,” &c.
588. Primo surgebat Eoo.“ Was rising with the first (appearance of the morning star.” Eous, the morning star, formed from the Greek' tõos, another form of which is nõoc.-590. Macie confecta supremá. “Worn out to the last degree of emaciation.”—591. Ignoti nova forma diri, i. e. a stranger, who startled us by the shocking appearance which his person presented.—Miserandaque cultu. “ And in deplorable attire." Literally, “and calculated to excite compassion by his attire.
593. Respicimus. i. e. we look at him again and again.—Dira illuries. “ Dreadful was the filth (upon his person); his beard, too, was hanging down ; his clothing was fastened together with thorns." -594. Pegumen. The reading of Heyne, instead of the common tegmen. Observe the literal force of the term : “ what covered his body.”—Cetera. Stronger than alia. Compare the Greek rà d'alla. -595. Ut quondam, &c. We have preferred the reading of Burmann (ut), to the common lection (et), as far more spirited.
599. Testor. “I conjure you.” Put for obtestor.–600. Hoc coeli spirabile lumen. “ This vital light of heaven," i. e. this light of heaven by which we live and breathe.
602. Scio me Danais, &c. “ I know that I am one from the Grecian fleet,” i. e. a Greek. Scio, here, is commonly regarded as having the final syllable short; it is better, however, in scanning, to pronounce it as a monosyllable.—603. Iliacos Penates. “ The Trojan penates," i.e. the Trojan habitations.—604. Si sceleris tanta est, &c. “If so great is the wrong done (unto you) by my offence," i. e. if my offence be so heinous.-605. Spargite me in fluctus, &c. “Tear me in pieces, and scatter me over the waves." Equivalent to discerptum dispergite.606. Manibus hominum. i. e. by human beings, as opposed to the inhuman Cyclopes. The last syllable of manibus is lengthened here by the arsis or cæsura.
607. Genua. Supply nostra, not Anchisce, as Nöhden maintains.Genibusque volutans hærebat. “And rolling (on the ground), kept clinging to our knees.”—608. Quo sanguine cretus. “Of what race descended.”_611. The term juceni is here employed instead of the more feebly-sounding ei.-Præsenti pignore. “ By the prompt pledge.” Alluding to the giving of his right hand.”
613. Patria. “As my native country.”—614. Genitore Adamasto paupere. “Since my father Adamastus was poor.” Equivalent to cum genitorem pauperem haberem.-615. Mansissetque utinam fortuna! “And would that this fortune had remained unto me !" i. e. would that I had remained at home enduring privations, and been contented with the lot of poverty.
616. Trepidi.“ Trembling with alarm.” A well-selected term, alluding to the hurried Alight of his companions.-617. Cyclopis. Polyphemus.—618. Domus sanie dapibusque, &c. “ It is an abode of gore and bloody banquets, gloomy within, vast of size.” We have followed the common punctuation, and have construed the ablative in close connexion with domus, being what grammarians call the ablative of condition or manner. Compare i. 639, vestes ostro superbo. Burmann removes the comma after cruentis, making the ablatives depend on opaca, “gloomy with gore,” &c. ; while Wittianus reads cruenta, “ the abode is bloody with gore,” &c. Neither emendation, however, is needed.
619. Ípse arduus. “The Cyclops himself is gigantic in size.”— 621. Nec visu facilis, &c. “Neither easy to be looked upon (without horror), nor to be addressed in speech by any one,” i. e. whom no one can look upon or address without horror.
622. Miserorum. “Of the wretched beings (whom he has in his possession).”—623. Vidi egomet. “I myself beheld.” Alluding to the story of Polyphemus and Ulysses.—Duo de numero, &c. “ What time, bending backward in the middle of the cave, he dashed two bodies of our number, seized in his huge hand, against the rocky floor, and the bespattered threshold swam with their blood.” We have given resupinus here the meaning assigned to it by Heyne and Wunderlich. It depicts the position of one who bends back his body in order to hurl something with greater force. The common translation is, “lying along on his back.”
629. Oblitusde sui est Ithacus, &c. "Nor was the chieftain of Ithaca forgetful of himself at so alarming a crisis," i. e. of the craft and cunning that marked his character. These qualities, in the heroic age, were as highly prized, and conferred as much distinction, as prowess in arms. Hence no covert reproach is here intended. -630. Expletus.“ Gorged."-631. Ceroicem inflexam posuit, i. e. he bent back his neck and reclined it on the ground.-632. Ac frusta cruento, &c. “And bits of flesh intermingled with gory wine.” Holdsworth thinks this quite unfit for “ears polite,” forgetting alto
gether how well the imagery harmonizes with the manner of thinking and speaking that characterized the heroic age. 634. Sortitique rices. “ And having arranged our several parts by
having ascertained by lot the part that each was to perform. -635. Et telo lumen, &c. “ And we bore out with a sharp weapon his huge eye.” Homer makes Ulysses and his party employ on this occasion a sharpened stake. Virgil possibly means the same thing here.—636. Solum. The Cyclopes had only a single eye, and that in the centre of the forehead.-Latebat. A graphic term. The eye lay partly concealed beneath the stern, overhanging brow, the shaggy eyebrow, and the heavy, lowering eyelid.
637. Argolici clypei, &c. “Like an Argolic shield, or the orb of Phæbus.” The Argolie shield, as has already been remarked, was of a circular form. Consult note ii. 389.-638. Umbras.“ The manes.”
639. Sed fugite, &c. Observe how well this line is adapted by its frequent elisions and dactylic rhythm, to express rapidity of movement.---640. Rumpite. “ Tear.”--641. Nam qualis quantusque, &c. “ For such and as great as Polyphemus in his hollow cave pens up his fleecy flocks, &c., a hundred other direful Cyclopes commonly dwell,” &c. The full expression would be as follows: “Qualis quantusque Polyphemus est, qui claudit, &c., tales et tanti sunt centum alii Cyclopes qui vulgo habitant,” &c.
645. Tertia jam lunæ, &c. “The horns of the moon are now for the third time filling themselves with light.” Literally, “ the third horns of the moon are now filling, &c., i. e. this is now the third month.--646. Cum traho. “Since I have been dragging out."
649. Victum infelicem, &c. “An un wholesome sustenance, berries and the stony cornels.” The epithet lapidosa refers to the large size of the pip as compared with that of the pulp.-652. Huic me addixi. “ To this I devoted myself," i. e. resolved to give myself up. Addixi is a strong term, and indicates the state of desperation to which Achemenides was reduced. It is properly applied to those who sell themselves to others for life or death, as, for example, gladiators.654. Potius. “Rather," i. e. rather than the Cyclopes.
656. Vasta se mole morentem. “ Stalking along with his enormous bulk."-658. Monstrum horrendum, &c. Observe the peculiar art with which the line is constructed. It labours beneath numerous elisions, as if striving to express adequately the horrid appearance of the monster.-659. Trunca manu pinus regit, &c. “A pine-tree in his hand, lopped of its branches, guides and renders firm his footsteps.” Observe the ingenious mode adopted by the poet of giving us an idea of the gigantic size of the monster. From the enormous staff he wields in his hand, we are left to imagine the strength and dimensions of his body.-Manu the reading of the best editions and manuscripts. The common text has manum, “ governs his hand.”
661. Solamenque mali. In the greater number of the most authentic MSS. this hemistich is left unsupplied. In some, however, the verse is completed with de collo fistula pendet, “a pipe hangs from his neck,” which the best editors regard as a mere interpolation. It is evidently an attempt on the part of some copyist to make a full hexameter. Heyne regards the words ea sola voluptas, solamenque mali as also interpolated ; but it is very improbable that any one
would, in attempting to complete one line, produce another requiring itself to be completed.
662. Et ad æquora venit. “And had come to the open sea.” This suits well the idea of his immense bulk. Inde refers to the seawater. “ With this.”
666. Nos procul inde, &c. “We, trembling with alarm, began to hasten our flight far from thence, the suppliant, so deserving it, having been taken on board,” i. e. deserving to be so received by us. His information now proved correct : he was discovered not to be, like Sinon, an impostor.-668. Verrimus et proni, &c. “And bending forward, we sweep the surface of ocean with contending oars." Heyne prefers vertimus, “we turn up." But verrere mare is used by Ennius, and passed from him through the whole range of Latin poetry.
669. Ad sonitum cocis. “Towards the sound of the leader's) voice,” i. e. the voice of the leader or commander of the rowers, as he gave the signal to the rowers, that they might keep time in rowing. In the ancient ships the motion of the oars was regulated by an officer, who gave the signal for this purpose both with his voice and with a pole or hammer. The Greeks termed him kedevotńs, and the exhortation, or noise, kélevoua. The Romans called the same officer hortator, or pausarius, and sometimes portisculus, which was the name given also to the pole or hammer. That such is the reference in cocis, there can be no doubt, to one who attentively consider the passage. The Trojans at first, indeed, when the danger is imminent, cut their cables in silence, but when the motion of the oars has once fairly commenced, the voice of the hortator becomes allimportant to enable them to keep proper time and escape with greater certainty; and, besides, the dashing of the oars would soon have discovered them to the Cyclops, even if the hortator had been still. So Wagner. Heyne, however, and the other commentators, make rocis refer to the noise either of the oars, or of the water impelled by them. If they are right, ad sonitum vocis will signify,“ towards the sound of the noise.” This would be the same as ad sonitum soni, which is certainly not a Virgilian idea.
670. Dextrâ affectare “ of reaching us with his right hand.” The prose form would be dextrâ affectandi, with the genitive of the gerund.-671. Nec potis Ionios, &c. “ Nor is he :able in pursuing to equal the Ionian waves.” Æquare is generally supposed to refer here to the size of the Cyclops. He could not equal by his size the depth of the sea, or, in other words, he was not tall enough to wade further. If such be the meaning, fluctus loses all its force. It is better, therefore, to make æquare allude to rapidity of movement. The Ionian billows bear the Trojan fleet away with more rapidity than the monster can employ in pursuit.-Ionios fluctus. The Ionian sea lay between Greece and Italy.
673. Penitus. “To its very centre," i. e. its inmost recesses.- 674. Immugiit. “Re-echoed the roar.”
676. Excitum. “Summoned forth (by the cry).” In the sense of calling or summoning, the compounds of cio are employed, having the penult long, as formed in the fourth conjugation. Thus, excītus in the present instance, concītus, “called together;" accītus, “ called to," &c." But in the sense of arousing, or stirring up, the compounds of cieo, having the short penult, are used ; as, excitus, “ aroused;" concītus, accītus, &c.-676. Portus. Compare line 570.
677. Astantes. “Standing side by side.”—Nequidquam. Because unable to do any harm to the fugitives.-678. Fratres. Merely im. plying members of the same race.-Coelo. For ad coelum.-679. Concilium. “A gathering.” Not consilium. (Consult Gronov. ad Lio. ix. 15.) The term indicates here a mere assemblage.—680. Coniferoe. “ Cone-bearing.” The fruit of cypresses and pines is called cones, because growing in the shape of a cone.—681. Constiterunt. “Stand together.” Observe the systole making the penult short.- Siloa alta Jovis, &c. “Forming some tall forest,” &c. The oak being sacred to Jupiter, shows the reference in silda alta to be to the aëriæ quercus; while the lucus Dianæ is one composed of cypresses. By Diana is here meant the Diana of the lower world (Diana infera) or Hecate.
682. Præcipites metus acer, &c. “ Keen terror drives us in head. long haste to loosen the sheets for any quarter, and to spread our sails to (any) winds (that are) favourable (for escape).”—684. Contra, jussa monent Heleni, &c. «'On the other hand, the commands of Helenus warn (us) that (our ships) hold not on their course between Scylla and Charybdis, each (of them), with little difference, the path of death. It is resolved, (therefore,) to sail back.” Heyne, Wagner, and several other editors regard lines 684, 685, 686 as spurious. They have been defended, however, by Weichert, Moebius, and Jahn. The meaning of the passage appears to be this : The Trojans, in their eagerness to escape, spread their sails to any wind that might favour their escape. The wind blowing at the time, however, came from the south, and they had, therefore, to choose between passing through the Sicilian Straits or sailing backward in their course. The commands of Helenus forbade the former, on account of the dangers arising from Scylla and Charybdis, and they had, therefore, just made up their minds to sail back, that is, towards the north, when a northern wind sprang up and enabled them to move southward.
685. Leti. Governed by viam.-686. Before teneant supply naves. Ni and old form for ne.
687. Pelori. The promontory of Pelorus was the northernmost one, and lay in a northern direction from where the fleet of Æneas now was. -688. Missus. As if some deity had purposely sent it to their aid. — Vivo prætervehor, &c. “I am carried by the mouth of Pantagia, formed of the living rock.” Pantagia was a small river on the eastern coast of Sicily, to the south of Leontini, now Fiume di Porcari. Its mouth is between high rocks. The epithet vico saxo, as applied to the spot, indicates the workmanship of nature, and may also be rendered “ of the natural rock.”—689. Jacentem. “Lying low on the waters.” Thapsus was a peninsula running out into the sea. According to Servius, it was “plana, pæne fluctibus par.”
690. Talia monstrabat, &c. “ Such places did Achemenides point out, as he sailed back (with us) along the shores (before) wandered over (by him).” — Retrorsus. 'Ulysses sailed along the eastern shore of Sicily, from south to north, as he came from the island of the Lotophagi on the coast of Africa. These two lines are evidently spurious, and appear to owe their paternity to some grammarian, who thought the reader might otherwise inquire how Æneas came by his knowledge of these places. The use of retrorsus is not epic; and in the succeeding line, the words infelicis Ulixi are out of cha.