Page images

the protectors of cities and countries, others the guardians of particular spots, &c.Famulum. The apotheosis of Anchises is now supposed to be complete : he has an attendant assigned him, as some other divinities have. So Servius, who adds,“ Singula enim numina habent inferiores potestates ministras, ut Venus Adonim, Diana Virbium.”

-96. Quinas. Poetic for quinque, without any distributive force. Septena, line 85.-99. Manesque, &c. “ And his manes released from Acheron," i. e. released to be present at the funeral rites.

100. Quce cuique est copia." “ With what means each possesses." The full form of expression is, copiá quce copia est cuique. “With that abundance which abundance is to each.”—101. Juvencos. These had been supplied by Acestes, see lines 61, 62.-103. Et viscera torrent. “And roast the flesh.” Compare i. 211.

105. Phaëthontis equi. “ The horses of the Sun.” The sun is here called Phaëthon in imitation of the Homeric expression, néllos pałowy, “ the resplendent sun.” Hence Phaëthon properly means “the resplendent one." Virgil here blends together a poetic myth and a physical appearance. For Aurora is not fabled by the poets to be conveyed in the same chariot with Phoebus, and yet, since the sun is near his rising, and diffuses the very splendour which is designated by the term Aurora, the latter is said to come with, or to be borne in the same chariot as, the sun.

Jam vehebant. “ Were now ushering in.”—106. Finitimos excierat. “ Had called forth (from their homes) the neighbouring inhabitants.”

109. Circoque in medio. “And in the middle of the ring.” The surrounding crowd of spectators is meant.--110. Sacri tripodes. Either such as had been, or were intended to be, used in sacrifices. When tripods are said to have been given as a present, or as prizes, vases or large bowls supported on three feet are to be understood. All the most ancient representations of the sacred tripod exhibit it of the same general shape, together with three rings at the top to serve as handles. The oracular tripod at Delphi had a flat round plate called oluos, on which the Pythia seated herself to give responses, and on which at other times lay a wreath of bay.

111. Et palmæ pretium victoribus. A branch of palm was the ordinary prize of every conqueror at the games, being given in addition to the appropriate crown. According to the common explanation, the palm is the emblem of victory, because it is not crushed or borne down by any weight, but still maintains its growth, and rises superior to oppression.-Östro perfusce. “Richly dyed with purple.”—112. Argenti aurique talenta. “ Two talents, the one of silver, the other of gold." The allusion is to weight, not to coined money, Virgil following in this the customs of an earlier age.-113. Et tuba commissos, &c. “ And the trumpet, from the middle of a rising ground, gives the signal that the games are begun.” Virgil, in speaking of the trumpet here, indulges in an anachronism. It was not known in Homeric times. (Consult note on ii. 313.)

114. Prima pares, &c. The order of construction is as follows : “ Quatuor carinæ, pares, delecta ex omni classe, ineunt prima certamina gravibus remis." Pares. “Equally matched in point of speed.” lleyne says, equal both in size and goodness; but in this he is evidently wrong, for, as appears from line 118, seqq., the sizes of the vessels differed materially. The smaller vessels required fewer rowers, the larger ones a greater number (the Chimæra, for example,

had three tiers of oars); and in order, therefore, to make them pares," a due proportion of rowers was to be assigned to each.Gravibus equivalent to validis.

116. Remige.“ With a vigorous band of rowers.” The singular for the plural.-Pristin. The ships are named from the images or carved work decorating their prows, or, as we would say, from their figure-heads.—Thus the effigy of a Pristis, or sea-monster, gives name to the vessel of Mnestheus. Compare note on x. 106.-117. Mox Italus Mnestheus, &c. “In after days, the Italian Mnestheus, from which name (descends) the house of Memmius," i. e. of the Memmii. Virgil, in order to pay court to the noble families of the day, traces their origin to a Trojan source ; but the etymologies by which this is sought to be established are absurd and far-fetched enough. Thus, for example, Mnestheus is made to come from uvnobeús, “one who remembers," and therefore the Memmii are derived from this Trojan leader, because their family name contains the same root as memor, “mindful !”

118. Ingentem Chimceram. The figure-head of this vessel was an effigy of the fabulous monster Chimæra, whence the name of the ship.-Ingenti mole. “ Of stupendous size.” This refers to the height of the vessel out of the water, whereas ingentem, at the commencement of the line, has reference generally to the bulk and dimensions of the ship. There is nothing objectionable, therefore, in the repetition of the term.—119. Urbis opus. “A floating city.” More literally, “a city-work.” Servius : “ Ita magna, ut urbem putares.

Triplizi versu. “ With a triple tier.” This applies to the rows of oars, reckoning horizontally from stem to stern.- 120. T'erno ordine. “ In triple order.” This applies to the oars taken vertically ; not, indeed, one immediately above the other, but rising obliquely. We have here another anachronism on the part of the poet. Triremes, or vessels with three banks of oars, were not known in the heroic times, but were invented by the Corinthians long after, as we are informed by Thucydides (i. 13). The Geganian family claimed descent from Gyas, the only one of the four commanders to whom Virgil does not assign Roman descendants.

122. Centauro magnâ. Centaurus here, as being the name of a ship, is in the feminine gender, nacis being feminine. Grammarians term this synesis ; but there is no necessity whatever of our understanding navi as some editors do.

124. Contra. “Facing.”—126. Hiberni. The reference here is to stormy weather generally, not merely to the winter season.--Olim. “ At times.” Equivalent to interdum.-Cori. “ The north-western blasts." Written also cauri. Servius : “ Caurum pro corum, sicut saurex pro sorex, caulis pro colis(ad Georg. iii. 278). The wind Caurus corresponds to the 'Apyéorns of the Greeks.

127. Tranquillo silet. “In calm weather it is still,” i. e. it resounds with no dashing of the billows. Supply tempore, or pelago, after tranquillo. The former, however, is preferable.-Immotâque attollitur undâ, &c. “And a broad, plain-like surface is raised above the motionless water, and (forms) a most pleasing resting-place for the basking cormorants.”—128. Mergis. Literally,“ divers.” The bird here meant is a species of seafowl, that gets its name from diving for its prey.

129. Viridem frondenti, &c. “A verdant goal of leafy holm-oak." Winter had now arrived, but this is a bough of evergreen oak, in Italy still named Ilce.—Pater. To be taken with Æneas.-131. Et longos ubi, &c. “And where to take a long circuit.” They bad to return by passing around it.

132. Tum loca sorte legunt. “ Then they choose their places by lot.” They were to be all in a line, but the best place would be that which would bring the vessel in her course nearest to the island, and thus enable her to lose the least ground in doubling around the goal. The other places would rank in proportion.-133. Ductores. The commanders, not the pilots.-134. Populeâ fronde. Servius says they wore crowns of poplar, because the games were funeral ones, and because Hercules brought the poplar with him from the lower world. Not so. They wore crowns of poplar to propitiate Hercules, the god of strength, to whom the poplar was sacred.

136. Considunt. “They sit down side by side."--Intentaque brachia remis. “And their arms are stretched to the oars.”—137. Intenti. “ Intently.” Some object to intenta being followed so soon after by intenti. The poet, however, purposely sacrifices elegance to propriety of expression. His object is to show that the rowers were equally intent in body and in mind.- Exsultantia corda, &c. “ Palpitating fear causes their throbbing hearts to heave, and along with it is the eager desire of praise."--Haurit beautifully describes their heavy breathing, exhausting, as it were, the air from the lungs.

139. Clara. “The clear-toned.” Observe the rapid movement of the dactylic rhythm in this, and more particularly in the succeeding line, admirably adapting the sound to the sense.-Finibus, &c. “ Shot forth from their (allotted) places," i. e. the “loca” mentioned in line 132.–141. Adductis cersa lacertis. “Upturned by their contracted arms." Literally, “by their arms being brought back," i. e. towards the breast, after a vigorous pull at the oar.–142. Pariter. “In equal time.”

144. Non tam præcipites, &c. “ Not with such headlong speed do the chariots, in the contest of the two-horsed cars, hasten over the plain, and, pouring forth, rush from the starting-place, nor do the charioteers so shake the waving reins over the started yoke-bearing coursers, and, bending forward, hang upon the lash.”

145. Corripuere . . . Concussere. Aorists, implying what is accustomed to be done, and therefore rendered as a present.—146. Undantia. A beautiful term, used in place of effusa.--147. Jugis. For equis jugalibus. The yokes for the horses yoked.

148. Studiisque facentum. “And the eager acclamations of those who favoured (the respective leaders).” 149. Consonat. “Rings again.” Stronger than resonat. The shores were high and sloping downward, and were covered with woods. Hence the expressions nemus and inclusa in the text.- 150. Pulsati colles, &c. “ The hills, struck by the loud noise, re-echo."

151. Effugit. “Shoots forth.”—Primusque elabitur, &c. '“ And glides away first over the waters.”—153. Pinus. Put for naris. The naval timber for the vessel itself.

154. Aquo discrimine. “At an equal distance," i. e. from the leading ships.- 155. Locum tendunt, &c. “Strive (each) to gain the foremost place,” i. e. to pass hier immediate competitor.--156. Habet. “ Has it," i. e. the foremost place.”—157. Junctisque frontibus. “And with their prows in a line."-158. Et longe sulcant, &c. “ And furrow the briny waters far in the distance with the keel.” We have given longe, the reading of one MS., in place of longa, which appears in all

the editions. The expression longa carina appears objectionable, on account of the unnecessary epithet longa. On the other hand, longe is graphic and spirited, and points to the long wake which the rapidlyimpelled vessel makes in the waters.

159. Metamque tenebant, “And were reaching the goal.”—160. Gurgite. Descriptive of the sea upturned and foaming beneath the oars.-162. Quo tantum mihi, &c. *“ Whither art thou going, pray, so far to the right ?" Mihi is what grammarians call the datious ethicus, and is almost, if not entirely, ornamental.- Dexter. The goal, as they passed around it, would be on the left. The object, therefore, would be to keep as close to it as possible, and thus save distance. The pilot Mencetes, therefore, lost ground by keeping too far to the right.

Huc dirige gressum. “Direct your course hither.” There is considerable doubt about the true reading here. Gressum is a very unusual word instead of cursum, when speaking of a ship ; and, besides, Asinius Pollio, the contemporary of Virgil, blamed Sallust, as Aulus Gellius informs us, for using transgressus in a similar way.163. Litus ama, &c. “ Keep close to the shore, and let the oar-blade graze the rocks on the left.” By litus is here meant the rock.Stringat sine, i. e. sine ut stringat.-Palmula. Properly the broad part at the extremity of the oar, having some resemblance to the palm of a man's hand when opened, widening and becoming flat like it.-164. Altum. “ The main, i. e, the sea to the right. Let others make a wider circuit to the right.

165. Pelagi ad undus. Tbe obstinate pilot persists in making a wide circuit around the goal, and thus loses ground by his excessive caution.–166. Diversus. « Turned away (from the true course)." Some place a colon after iterum, and supply clamabat, or an equivalent verb.—168. Instantem tergo, &c. “Pressing on his rear, and holding his course nearer in.” Literally, “ holding the places nearer (to the shore),” i. e. loca propiora litori. This gave him, of course, a decided advantage.

170. Radit iter læpum interior. “Runs grazing along the left-hand path, further in," i. e., on the inside, between the ship of Gyaş and the rocky shore, and grazing the latter with his oars.--171. Et metis tenet, &c. “And the goal being left behind, now holds the safe (and open) sea.” Cloanthus doubles the rocky isle where the meta was placed, and now holds possession of the open sea on his return to tho starting-place.

172. Tum vero exarsit, &c. “ Then, indeed, did fierce indignation blaze up in the inmost soul of the warrior.” Literally, in his bones unto the youth.” His whole frame shook with indignation. Dolor properly implies here a mingled emotion of grief and anger. 173. Segnem. Slow from excess of caution.-174. Decorisque sui. “ Of both his own dignity," i. e. as commander. Sociúmque salutis. Their safety would be endangered by the loss of the pilot.

176. Ipse gubernaclo rector subit, &c. “He himself succeeds, as pilot, to the helm; he himself as director of the vessel's course.” The terms rector and magister are nearly synonymous, but are purposely thus employed, in order to express, along with the double ipse, the impetuous movements of the excited Gyas.

178. At gravis, &c. “Heavy in his movements from being now advanced in years, and having his wet attire floating around him.” Madida fluens in ceste is equivalent, in fact, to cui madida cestis fluebat.

181. Et labentem. “Both when falling.”—182. Et rident. “And now again.” Heyne objects to the use of rident immediately after risere. Weichert and Ruhkopf, however, successfully defend it. The Trojans had previously laughed at Mencetes when falling, and now again laugh at him when vomiting up the salt water.

184. Mnesthei. The Greek dative. Munoleus, genit. Mvnodéws, dative Mvrolki, contracted Mvnobei.-Gyan superare morantem. “Of passing by the lagging Gyas." In prose, the genitive of the gerund (superandi) would be employed.—185. Capit ante locum. « First seizes the space," i. e. gets nearer the rock, and of course has less space to run in doubling it.—186. Totâ præeunte carina. “By the whole length of his ship." Literally, “ by the whole ship going before.”—187. Parte prior, &c. “He was foremost by a part only (of his vessel); the rival Pristis presses on part with her beak." Heyne reads partim, but this appears objectionable. Partim was undoubtedly the old form of partem ; but it soon passed into an adverbial signification (Aul. Gell. x. 13). In the golden age of Latin literature it appears to have been generally used for pars, and employed with plurals, thus : “ partim illorum (or ex illis) ejusmodi sunt.Partem, therefore, is to be preferred here without hesitation.

190. Hectorei socii. Equivalent, simply, to Trojani.- Trojce sorte suprema. “ Amid the last fortune of Troy,” i. e. on the downfall of Troy.-192. Quibus usi. Supply estis.- 193. Malereque sequacibus undis. “ And amid the pursuing billows of Malea," i. e. of the Malean promontory, the southeasternmost extremity of Laconia. The sea is here more than usually rough and swelling, and wave follows or pushes on wave in quick succession; hence the epithet sequacibus in the text. Compare the Greek tallipólog.

194. Non jam prima, &c. “I, Mnestheus, seek not now for the first place.”-195. Quamquam 0! &c. “ Although, oh that !-but let those conquer,” &c. He checks himself in the half-expressed wish (an instance of what grammarians term aposiopesis), and is content with an humbler measure of success.

196. Pudeat. “Let us feel ashamed." Literally, “let it shame us. Supply nos.-Hoc vincite, &c. Literally, “get the better of this,” i. e. do not let us come in last. Wagner, and others, join hoc to nefas, thus, vincite et prohibite hoc nefas, “get the better of and avert this foul disgrace.” The order which we have adopted, however, appears more forcible and natural.

197. Oui. Old form for illi.Certamine summo procumbunt.“ With utmost striving bend forward to the oars).” Supply remis.—198. Ærea puppis. “The brazen-beaked ship.” Ærea for ærata, the reference being to the plates of brass (or more strictly of bronze) covering the rostrum and prow.—199. Subtrahiturque solum. “ And the sea is withdrawn from beneath them.” The galley moves so rapidly that the sea seems to withdraw from beneath her.—Solum. This term is applied to whatever is placed beneath, or that supports, another substance; as the air to birds, the sea to a ship, &c.—200. Rivis. “ In streams."

203. Interior. “Further in,” i. e. nearer the left-hand shore than Mnestheus, in consequence of having fetched a shorter compass. Spatioque subit iniquo. “And enters upon too confined a space." He did not leave room enough between the shore and the vessel of Mnestheus, within which to fetch a compass with his own ship and so pass the goal, but ran his vessel upon a part of the rock projecting further than the rest and lying directly in his track.

« PreviousContinue »