Page images
PDF

200. Posuit. “Had reared.” The aorist, to be rendered in our idiom by a pluperfect.–Vigilem ignem. “The ever-wakeful fire.” This was in imitation of the custom that prevailed in the temple of Ammon in the Oasis, where, according to Plutarch, a consecrated lamp was continually burning (lúxvoç ãoßeorog.Plut. Orac. Defect. sub init.).—201. Excubias dicûm æternas. “ The eternal watches of the gods," i. e. in honour of the gods. Alluding to the sacred fire or light kept alive by a wakeful priesthood.-Pecudum cruore, &c. “ By the blood of victims," &c. Construe solum as the accusative, depending, like ignem, on sacraterat. So also limina.

203. Amens animi. “ Distracted in mind.” Compare line 197.Accensus. See note on line 54.-204. Media inter numina dioúm. “ Amid the very statues of the gods.” Equivalent to medios inter dicos.

205. Multa. “ Earnestly.” Consult note on i. 93.-206. Cui nunc Maurusia, &c. “Unto whom the Maurusian nation, that feast on ernbroidered couches, now pour forth in libation the honouring liquor of the god of the wine-prees."-Maurusia gens. Another name for the Mauri, or ancient Moorish race.—207. Epulata. The aorist participle, denoting what is habitual or customary. Hence its meaning here as a present.-Lenæum honorem. Bacchus was called Lenceus ('0 Anvalos), or “the god of the winė-press," from anyós, “a winepress," this machine being sacred to him. As regards the force of honorem, consult note on i. 736.

208. Hæc. Referring to the conduct of Æneas and Dido, and his own slighted love.-209. Cæcique in nubibus ignes, &c. " And do thy lightnings, moving blindly amid the clouds, serve only to terrify our minds (with idle apprehensions), and mingle together unmeaning sounds ?”—210. Miscent. Some make this govern animos, or eos, understood, and regard murmura as its nominative; a construction which Wunderlich very properly pronounces “intolerable.”

211. Urbem exiguam, &c. “Hath built a paltry city, for a stipulated price," i. e. hath paid a price for permission to erect it. Consult note on i. 368.-212. Litus arandum. “A tract of shore to be cultivated." The immediate territory of Carthage lay along the coast.—213. Loci leges. “ Jurisdiction over the district,” i. e. over the portion of coast thus granted to her.-Nostra connubia. “Our offer of marriage."

215. Et nunc ille Paris, &c. " And now this Paris, with his effeminate train.” The name Paris is here employed as synonymous with all that is unmanly and womanish. And again, as the first Paris robbed Menelaus of the partner of his bosom, so this second Paris has deprived larbas of her whom he had hoped to have made his own.-Semiviro. This epithet contains a covert allusion to the Galli, or priests of the Phrygian goddess Cybele.

216. Mæoniâ mentum mitra, &c. “Bound beneath his chin with a Lydian cap, and as to his hair, moist (with perfumes), enjoys the prize that has been wrested from me." By the “ Lydian” is here meant in reality the Phrygian cap, which was accustomed to be fastened under the chin with lappets. It is not, as some think, a female head-dress worn by a man, but a part of the male Phrygian attire. Iarbas regards it as a piece of gross effeminacy to wear such a cap, from its resemblance to a female covering for the head.

218. Nos munera templis, &c. “We, forsooth, (meanwhile), are bearing gifts to thy temples, and are cherishing an idle fame," i. e.

and are, to no purpose, proudly relying on our supposed descent from thee.

219. Arasque tenentem, i. e, holding one of the horns, or corners of the altar, as was usual with suppliants.-222. Alloquitur. Last syllable lengthened by the arsis or cæsura.—223. Vade age, &c. “ Come, go, my son ; summon the zephyrs," i. e. to waft thee on thy way.225. Exspectat. “Lingers." --Orbes. Alluding to Lavinium, and remotely to Rome.-226. Celeres auras. Alluding to the swiftness of the breezes that would bear Mercury on his way.

227. Talem. “ As such a one.”—228. Ideoque bis vindicat. “And, therefore, twice rescues him.” Observe the use of the present where we would expect a past tense. This is done either to bring the action more before the eyes, or else because the circumstances alluded to are still fresh and vivid in the mind of the speaker. Venus had twice saved her son from impending death : once in the combat with Diomede, when he was struck to the ground by the blow of a vast stone, and would certainly have been slain had not Venus enveloped him in a cloud and borne him away (Iliad, v. 315); and a second time, when, under her protection, he escaped unharmed from the flames of Troy, and from the very midst of the Greeks.

229. Sed fore, qui, &c. “But that he would be one who should rule over Italy, pregnant with the empire of the world, and fierce in war.”-Imperiis. Observe the force of the plural.—23). Proderet. Should show by his prowess that he was a true descendant of Teucer, and at the same time reflect credit on his progenitors.

233. Nec super ipse suâ, &c.“ And he himself attempts no arduous deed in behalf of his own renown.”—233. Labores moliri equivalent, generally, to labores suscipere.--234. Ascanione pater, &c., i.e. does he intend, from a feeling of envy, to deprive Ascanius also of the high privilege of founding the Roman name?

235. Quid struit ? " What does he propose ?”—Spe. One of the short component vowels is elided, and then the remaining one is lengthened by the arsis ; so that, apparently, no elision takes place. (Consult Anthon's Latin Prosody, p. 110.)-Inimicâ in gente. Said in anticipation, and with prophetic allusion to the wars between Rome and Carthage.—237. Hvec summa, &c. “ This is the sum (of what we enjoin); in this be thou a messenger from us.” Nostri, genitive plural. The expression nostri nuntius is equivalent, as Wagner remarks, to qui nuntius a nobis mittitur.” Virgil is fond of thus joining a substantive with the genitive of the personal pronoun; as, solatia nostri (Æn. viii. 514); potentia nostri (x. 72).

239. Talaria aurea. “ The golden sandals.” These, as is mentioned immediately after, were winged.

241. Rapido pariter, &c. i. e. as rapid as the blast.242. Virgum. “ His wand." This was the caduceus. It is sometimes represented with wings, sometimes not. · Animas ille evocat Orco. Mercury, with his caduceus, summons the souls of the departed from Orcus, or the lower world, as in the case of Protesilaus, for example, who obtained permission from Pluto and Proserpina to visit for a short period the regions of light.—243. Mittit. “He escorts.” Compare the Greek Tus Yuxas TÉLTTEI.--244. Dat somnos adimitque. In imitation of Homer (Odyss. xxiv. 3, seq.)

τη τ' ανδρών όμματα θέλγει
ών εθέλει, τους δ' αύτε και υπνώοντας εγείρει.

Et lumina morte resignat. “And unseals the eyes from death," i. e. breaks from off the eyes the seal that death is setting there ; or, in other words, restores to life those who are on the point of death. The common translation, “ closes the eyes in death,” has nothing to authorize it. The ordinary meaning of resignare is “ to open” (literally, “ to unseal”), and we have merely to choose between two different modes of adapting this meaning to the da under consideration. One mode is that of Forcellini and Heyne, “relaxes the eyes in death," i. e, causes the eye to lose its lustre, and grow dim and powerless as death is coming on. The other is that of Wagner, which we have adopted as the preferable one. It assigns a fifth office to Mercury, that of recalling to life those who are on the point of perishing, and reminds us of the “revocatum a morte Dareta,(Æn. v. 476,) where Dares is represented, not as having already died, but as having been saved from death when in imminent danger of perishing. The ablative morte, “from death,” will be found supported by the following passages, among many others that might be cited : “Urbe reportat(Georg. i. 275); “acie revocaderis" (Georg. iv. 88); “pelago et flammis restantia(Æn. i. 679);

Acheronte remissos " (Ån. v. 99); “refluit campis(Æn. ix. 32); galeâ clypeoque resultant(Æn. x. 330), &c. Symmons follows Wagner :" And vindicates from death the rigid eye.” So also Voss: “ Und vom Tod' auch die Augen entsiegelt,” “ And from death too the eyes he unsealeth.”

245. Illa fretus, &c. “Trusting to this, he drives onward the winds, and breasts the troubled clouds.” Mercury, passing through the sea of clouds, is compared to a swimmer breasting the waves.247. Duri. “Rugged.” —Coelum qui vertice fulcit. “Who supports the heavens with his head.” “Our poet,” observes Valpy, “represents Atlas in another passage as one otherios humero qui sustinet orbes' (Æn. viii. 137); and Ovid, as ætherium qui fert cervicibus axem' (Met. vi. 175). In the attitude which ancient statuaries gave him, he appears to sustain the globe at once by his head, neck, and shoulders."

248. Cui piniferum caput. “Whose pine-crowned head.” ACcording to modern and more accurate accounts, the summits of Atlas, in the eastern part of Morocco, under the latitude of 32°, are covered with perpetual snow. “ Piniferuin caput," therefore, is a mere poetical image. The sides of Atlas, on the other hand, which Virgil covers with a mantle of snow, abound with forests, except that which faces the Atlantic. Here the aspect of the mountain is bleak and cold.

251. Præcipitant. Supply se. -Senis. Alluding to the fable of Atlas having been changed into a mountain from the human shape.

252. Cyllenius.“ Mercury was called “Cyllenius," from Mount Cyllene in Arcadia, on which he was born.-Paribus nitens alis. “Poising himself on even pinions.” So Trapp.-254. Avi similis. This bird is named by Homer lápos, probably a species of seagull.

256. Haud aliter, &c. This line, and the two verses that follow, are regarded as spurious by some of the best critics. The arguments against their authenticity are as follows: 1. The 257th verse is omitted by one MS., the 258th by several. In some MSS., again, the 258th is placed before the 257th. 2. The words “terras inter columque” do not apply to a low flight, as Mercury's now was, but to a high one ; and, besides, Mercury's flight was between the sky and sea, not between sky and land. If the latter were the case, the comparison with a seabird would by no means hold good. 3. The 258th line is objectionable on many accounts. In the first place, if ceniens be taken in its ordinary sense, the assertion is of course erroneous, since Mercury came as a messenger from Jupiter, not from Atlas. On the other hand, if veniens stands for “ descending," or “coming last from," it is certainly a very forced meaning for it to have. Besides, why thrust in any mention of, or allusion to the pedigree of Mercury? Nothing could be more out of place here. 4. The comparison is too unimportant a one to be carried on through so many lines ; and, besides, Virgil only introduces the haud aliter or haud secus clause when the subject is a striking and marked one. 5. Lines 256 and 257 end with a very offensive rhyme, which is anything else but Virgilian. These objections are amply sufficient to prove that they are spurious.

Volabat. Bentley suggests legebat, so as to govern litus in the succeeding line. A happy emendation certainly, though sanctioned by no MS.—257. Litus arenosum ac Libyæ, &c. “And skim along the sandy shore of Libya, and cleave the winds.” As secabat properly applies to ventos, we must either suppose a zeugma to take place, or understand some verb like legebat to govern litus. Both expedients are awkward.-258. Materno ab ado. Atlas was the father of Maia, the mother of Mercury, and, of course, the maternal grandsire of the latter.

259. Magalia. The cabins or huts of the African shepherds, already referred to in a previous book. These had been in part supplanted by the buildings of Carthage (“ magalia quondam, i. 421), while they formed in part the suburbs of the city. It was in the suburbs, then, that Mercury alighted, for here it would be most likely that he would find Æneas unaccompanied by the Queen.—260. Arces. “ Towers," i. e. along the ramparts, as well as other lofty defences. — Ac tecta novantem. “ And raising new dwellings," i. e. where magalia had previously stood.

261. Atque illi stellatus, &c. “ And (what was even still worse), he had a sword studded with yellow jasper, while a cloak, hanging down from his shoulders, blazed with Tyrian purple.” Heyne regards atque as a very troublesome intruder. This, however, is wrong. The presence of atque is all-important here, and a very emphatic meaning is connected with it. It denotes the wonder and indignation of the god at beholding Æneas, not only busily employed in rearing a city, destined hereafter to prove so hostile to his own posterity, but even wearing openly on his person the gifts of the guilty partner of his love. So Wagner. (Quæst. Virg. xxxv. 22.)

Stellatus. The hilt and sheath were ornamented with jasper, which flashed in the sunlight, the studs resembling so many stars.Iaspide fulvā. Jasper is commonly of a green colour. Servius, however, says that a yellow species was also found, for which he cites the authority of Pliny ; but no such statement is made by the latter writer. It is very probable that some yellow kind of gem is meant, to which the name of jasper was loosely applied. “ Jameson," observes Dr. Moore, “ may say with truth, that we are ignorant of the particular stone denominated jasper by the ancients, for certainly there is no one stone to which the description of jasper could be applied ; but in this case, as in others, it is evident that several diffe

rent minerals were comprehended under a single name.” (Moore's Anc. Mineralogy, p. 164.)

262. Læna. This is the same word with the Greek xhaiva, and is radically connected with láxvn, lana, or " wool.” It signifies, properly, a woollen cloak, the cloth of which was twice the ordinary thickness, shaggy upon both sides, and worn over the pallium, or toga, for the sake of warmth. Here, however, without losing its general force, it means one of a more ornamental nature than ordinary.—264. Et tenui telas, &c. “And had worked the warp with a thread of gold.” By telas are here meant the stamina, or warp. The læna, being a winter garment, suited the season. Its purple colour, and the golden threads interwoven with the warp, befitted the rank of the wearer.

265. Continuo incadit. “ He straightway accosts him.”—Nunc. Emphatic: “now," when you have an enterprise of so much moment to accomplish.—266. Uxorius. “A slave to a woman.” Equivalent to nimium uxori (i. e. femince) deditus, thou art now doing what a woman prescribes, not what a man who has such high destinies to accomplish should mark out for himself.

268. Demittit. “ Sends down,” i. e. has just sent down. Observe the use of the present to indicate how rapidly Jove's messenger has sped his way.-269. Qui numine torquet. “Who causes to revolve by his divine will." Torquet appears to refer here to the motion of the earth around its axis ; for, to borrow the words of Cicero (Acad. Quæst. iv. 39, 123), Virgil would seem to have been aware, “ T'erram circum axem se summâ celeritate convertere et torquere.” Some render numine torquet, “moves at will,” which appear's directly opposite to the meaning of the poet.

270. Jubet. Observe again the peculiar force of the present.—271. Teris otia. “ Art thou wasting thy time." In otia lurks the idea of time spent in total inaction, as far as the high destinies of the hero are concerned.

275. Debentur. “ Are due (by the fates).”—276. Tali ore. “In such language.” Equivalent to talibus verbis.277. Mortales visus. “ Mortal vision.” It applies merely to the person whom he was addressing, and by whom alone he was seen.-Medio sermone. A bruptly; without waiting for any reply.-278. Et procul in tenuem, &c. A beautiful image. The god appeared to retire gradually from before him, and to melt away in the distance into air.

280. Arrectæ. “Was raised on end.” Supply sunt.—283. Ambire. The literal meaning of this verb, in the present passage, is best expressed by our vulgar English phrase,“ to get around,” i.e. to sooth.

–284. Quce prima exordia sumat, i.e. among the various modes of opening a conversation with the queen on the subject of his departure, what one shall he in preference adopt?

285. Atque animum, &c. “And now he transfers his rapid thoughts to this (mode of proceeding), now to that.” Verses 285 and 286 appear again in book viii. 20, 21, and are omitted here by Brunck. Wagner, however, defends them very successfully.

287. Hæc alternanti, &c. “To him, fluctuating in mind.”_288. Serestum. The common text has Cloanthum, for which we have given Serestum, with Wagner, on the authority of the best MSS. Brunck is altogether wrong in supposing that Sergestum and Serestum are merely variations of one and the same name.—289. Classern aptent taciti, &c. “(Directing them) secretly to equip the fleet, and assemble

« PreviousContinue »