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P. VERGILI MARONIS AENEID. LIB. I.
Quid tantum Oceano properent se tinguere soles
745.] For this and the next line see horses of Diomedes of Thrace, Lucr. 5. 29. G. 2. 481, 482 and note.
It is possible that there may be some con747.] For the absolute use of inge- fusion between the names; it is possible mino' comp. G. 1. 333, “ingeminant too that Virg. may have remembered the austri et densissimus imber.” Some infe- prowess of Diomede's horses in the chariotrior MSS. give ‘plausum,” with the Schol. race, without recollecting that they were on Lucan. 1. 133. The natives are natu. once Aeneas' own. Generally too he may rally made to set the fashion, the strangers have remembered that Diomede was in a to follow it, as Serv, remarks.
chariot when he encountered Aeneas. That 748.] “ Traherent per talia tempus ” 6. he refers to this encounter and also to that 537 note. See also on G. 3. 379, where I of Achilles with Aeneas is almost certain have explained ‘noctem ducere,''trahere,' from 10, 581, where Liger says to Aeneas, of speeding along. But it is very difficult “Non Diomedis equos, non currum cernis to say, as the more usual sense of “tra- Achilli.”- Quantus,' how terrible in here' when applied to time is to protract war. Comp. “ quantus In clypeum as(see the Lexicons), and the reference here surgat” 11. 283, said by Diomede himself may be to the length to which the con- of Aeneas. The notion of bulk is promi. versation continued into the night. Per- nent, but not, as Henry thinks, the only haps Virg. intended to blend the two notions, in spite of their apparent incon- 753.] •Immo,' nay rather, instead of sistency, meaning no more than that the answering more questions in detail, tell us conversation lasted the whole night long. the whole story from the first.
749.] She drank in love with the words 754.] Tuorum' and 'tuos' are disof Aeneas. • Longum probably refers to tinguished, as in the one case Dido is the notion of length contained in trahe thinking of those who perished at Troy, bat.' Longum amorem” 3. 487 note. in the other of Aeneas who escaped. In
“Alludit ad convivium. Sic answering the question 2. 10 Aeneas Anacreon, épwta nivwv;" but this can classes himself with his friends, hardly be meant.
nostros.” 750.] “Multa super Lauso rogitat” 10. 755.] Portat errantem' should be 839.
taken closely together. “ Septuma post 751.] Quibus armis.' See note on v. Troiae exscidium iam vertitur aestas, Cum 489. Quibus ibat in armis” 9. 269. freta, cum terras omnis .. ferimur" 5.
752.] 'Quales Diomedis equi.' No espe- 626. The form of Dido's words shows cial praise is given to the horses of Dio that she knew the time of the fall of Troy mede in the Iliad, though high praise is not from Aeneas, but from Teucer (v. 623), given to those which he takes from Aeneas or from common fame. The general mean(11.5. 263 foll.), and with which he wins the ing is, 'You have the experiences of seven chariot-race (II. 23. 377 foll.), as also to years to tell : it will be better that we those which he takes from Rhesus (1. 10. should hear them continuously, the story 567). Serv. thinks that these are meant being as long as it is.' to be the descendants of the flesh-eating
P. VERGILI MARONIS
Α Ε Ν Ε Ι D 0 S
The voice of criticism has unanimously fixed on this book, along with the Fourth and Sixth, as affording the best evidence of the true greatness of Virgil. Whether or no we believe the story told in Donatus' biography, that the poet himself chose these three books to read to Augustus as a specimen of his work, it indicates at any rate the judgment passed by antiquity; and modern opinion has not been slow to ratify the verdict.
The conception of the present book is eminently fortunate. Homer had made Ulysses tell the story of his wanderings to Alcinous, and so had supplied the canvas on which the younger artist might work: but the tale of Troy taken forms no part of the narrative of the Odyssey : it is briefly sung by a bard, whose strains move the tears of Ulysses, as the Trojan portraits at Carthage have moved those of Aeneas; but that is all. It was open to Virgil to make his hero tell the whole story of the destruction of Troy without trespassing on Homer's ground; and he seized the opportunity. The subject could not fail to be most impressive, and it is introduced with perfect propriety. Dido, it is true, knew the main incidents of the siege ; but that was all the more reason why she should wish to hear them from the chief living witness on the side of Troy. Virgil too has shown his wisdom not only in what he has said, but in what he has left unsaid. Dido's curiosity would naturally extend over the whole ten years; but the poet knew that a detail of the siege, natural as it might be, would weary his readers. He tells us that the queen asked of Priam and Hector, of Diomede and Achilles ; but he does not require us to listen to Aeneas till he can concentrate our attention on the last agony of Troy,' the one night in which the city was taken and sacked.
The taking of Troy was, as might be expected, a favourite subject with poets before Virgil. It formed part of the epic cycle ; it was treated by the masters of the Greek drama. Of these works the only one that has come down to us is the Troades of Euri. pides; and even that has its scene laid after the catastrophe, which it deals with only by way of retrospect. We know enough of the others to be assured that the main incidents in Virgil's narrative—the story of the Trojan horse, the introduction of Sinon, the tragic death of Laocoon--are taken from his predecessors. It would have been unnatural if it had not been so. Custom bound Virgil to follow the legend in its main bearings as he had received it, though it left him quite free, as I have contended in the general Introduction to the Aeneid, to vary minor details, and give his own colour to the whole. How far Virgil is original in the minutiae of his treatment, we cannot tell. Macrobius indeed makes one of his interlocutors (Sat. 5. 2) speak of it as a fact known to every schoolboy, that the story of this book is taken almost word for word from one Pisander, who wrote a mythological history of the world in verse; but
though the charge is circumstantially made, it is discredited by the silence of other authorities, whose ignorance contrasts strangely with this schoolboy knowledge; and Heyne, in his first Excursus to this book, has made it more than probable that the plagiarism of the poet is really the blunder of the critic, who is supposed to have confounded two Pisanders, one who lived before Virgil, but did not write the mythologicohistorical poem, and another who did write the poem, but lived after Virgil. The little that we know from Servius and others about the treatment of the stories of Laocoon and Sinon by earlier writers points rather to difference from Virgil's version than to identity with it: and though we must not build so much on this, as it is the wont of such witnesses to dwell rather on points of dissimilarity than on points of agreement, we may take it as showing that Virgil did really exercise his privilege of varying the smaller circumstances of the narrative, especially as his successors, Quinctus Smyrnaeus and Tryphiodorus, who are supposed to have been diligent copyists of the early writers, differ from him considerably in their manner of treatment. At any rate, whatever may have been Virgil's obligations to his predecessors for the incidents of his narrative, we cannot doubt that the golden thread which runs through the whole, the feeling of Aeneas himself, is substantially his own. The steps by which the hero comes to realize his position as an inhabitant of a captured city, a partizan of a cause against which the gods have finally declared, - steps indicated with such subtlety that it is only of late that they have been fully recognized (see on vv. 322, 402), -are not likely to have been transmitted by legend, while they bear in themselves the strongest marks of the poet's peculiar art.
Perhaps there is no better way of estimating the greatness of Virgil in this book than by glancing at the manner in which the subject has been treated by the three later poets, Smyrnaeus, Tryphiodorus, and Tzetzes. With his example before them, not to mention the other writers whom they probably followed, they have yet contrived to divest a most stirring and pathetic story of a large part of its interest. Smyrnaeus bestows two of his fourteen books, the twelfth and the thirteenth, on the capture of Troy. He goes over much the same ground as Virgil ; but his narrative is flat and lifeless : the incidents do not flow out of each other, and sometimes, instead of incident, we are put off with the tedious generality of a mere historical abridgment. Calchas advises the Greeks to try stratagem rather than force: Ulysses on the moment strikes out the notion of the wooden horse with all its details: Neoptolemus and Philoctetes, like Milton's Moloch, are for open war, and attempt to lead their people to battle at once, but are checked by a thunderbolt from Zeus, which quite overawes them-an incident briefly despatched, and apparently introduced for no object whatever. Soon after we hear that the gods are at war with each other, as in the twentieth Iliad, hurling as missiles the hills of Ida; but we are expressly told that while all nature is convulsed, the human combatants are unconscious of what is going on, and even this invisible warfare is soon terminated by another thunderbolt from Zeus, so that, as before, we are at a loss to understand the relevancy of the incident. When the horse is made, Sinon is left with it, having expressed to the Greeks his willingness to undergo burning alive, or any torture that the Trojans may inflict. Accordingly, he stands silent while the enemy surrounds him, trying him first with mild words of inquiry, afterwards with the harsher methods of mutilation and burning : and then, having given this undoubted proof of his courage, he voluntarily tells his story. Laocoon, who disbelieves him, is struck blind on the spot, the state of his eyes being described with a sickening minuteness of detail; yet even in this condition he continues urging his countrymen to burn the horse, and so the serpents are sent to destroy his children by his side. Cassandra then takes his place in denunciation, but is gibed at by the Trojans : she tries herself to burn or break open the horse, but torch and weapons are wrested from her. A paragraph is spent in enforcing the statement that the Greeks suffered during the sack as well as the Trojans,
and the modes of their deaths are enumerated with statistical particularity. Some, we are told, were hit by goblets, others by tables, others by torches and spits with meat adhering to them, others by hatchets : some have their fingers cut off in trying to ward off blows: some are bruised with stones, and some pierced with lances, which the Trojans were able to wield in spite of the wine they had drunk. We are told of Aeneas' escape, which it appears was owing partly, as in Virgil, to the protection of his mother, who warded off the weapons of the enemy, but partly also to a speech of Calchas to the Greeks, ordering them to spare him on account of his signal piety in taking his father and son with him rather than his treasure. But perhaps the greatest piece of flatness is found in Pyrrhus' speech to old Priam, who has been praying for death at his hands :
ώ γέρον, έμμεμαώτα και έσσύμενόν περ ανώγεις"
Tryphiodorus is a writer of a somewhat lower stamp, perhaps equal in power to Smyrnaeus, but inferior in taste and judgment. He concentrates himself chiefly on the wooden horse and the events immediately connected with it, fifty lines being given to a minute description of all its parts, from which it appears that it was a costly as well as elaborate performance,-its eyes being made of beryl and amethyst, and its teeth of silver. Ulysses, as in Smyrnaeus, lays down the programme of operations : the heroes rise one after another, as at the challenge of Hector in the seventh book of the Iliad, and volunteer in the service; and when they are lodged in the horse, Pallas provides them with ambrosia ; immediately after which they are aptly compared to beasts running down a rock to escape a winter torrent, and waiting in their den, famished with hunger. Sinon is left, mangled, like Ulysses in Helen's story in the fourth Odyssey, with stripes from his own hand, and tells a similar story to that in Virgil, except that he represents himself as having been scourged by his comrades because he refused to fly with them. The dragging of the horse into the city is detailed at tedious length,the agency of the gods, which duly appears later in the poem, being tastelessly anticipated, and Here being made to open the gates wider than usual, while Poseidon knocks down part of the stonework of the entrance. Cassandra protests, as in Smyrnaeus, and is severely upbraided by her father, who sends her to her chamber. Helen's story in Homer is again put under requisition, and the adulteress is made to address the Greeks within the horse in the tones of their respective wives; but the incident is an isolated one, and no attempt is made to harmonize it with the rest of the story. For the rest of the book the narrative proceeds more rapidly, the different events of the sack being despatched each in a few lines, without any attempt at pictorial narrative. The poet cannot, he says, tell all that happened on that night; that is a business for the Muses : he feels himself to be a chariot-driver nearing the goal. Tzetzes need hardly detain us a moment, as his narrative of the sack of Troy is utterly contemptible, with no pretension to poetry, and very little to style or metre. He is fortunately brief, and in fact presents a condensed resumé of the story as told by his various predecessors, Virgil included, the absence of detail enabling him in general to avoid the points in which they differ. There is however quite enough to distinguish him from them, or from any other writer professing to be a poet. When the heroes get into the horse, he takes the opportunity of telling us the personal characteristics of the leading Greeks, in lines like these:
Κάλχας μικρός έην, λεπτός, λευκός, δασυχαίτης,
This he may have borrowed from Dares Phrygius, whose work, as we now have it, abounds in notices of the sort. But he is probably original when he says that he cannot tell what was the precise occasion on which Ulysses fell temporarily into the hands of the Trojans, his attention to the incident having been distracted by the cruel treatment he received from “the crafty wife of Isaac," or when he censures Tryphiodorus for talking of the horse as crowned with flowers when it was the depth of winter, and professes that he, Tzetzes, had been taught by Orpheus never to tell a falsehood. But it is an insult to Virgil even to mention such absurdities in connexion with the Second Book of the Aeneid.
A curious critique of Virgil's narrative from a military point of view by Napoleon I. may be found in an abridged form in the Classical Museum, vol. i. pp. 205 foll. It is needless to say that the story does not stand a test which it was never meant to stand : much of the Emperor's censure however falls really, not on Virgil, but on the legend which, as we have seen, he necessarily followed.
CONTICUERE omnes, intentique ora tenebant.
Infandum, Regina, iubes renovare dolorem,
1, 2.] · Aeneas begins thus.
fui' with quis talia fando,' v. 6, the sen1.] Ora tenere' is not, as in G. 4. tence thus created being a sort of expan483, equivalent to “linguam continere,” sion of v. 3, fando' answering to infanbut means to hold the countenance in dum : but this, though rhetorically effecattention,' as in 7. 250 (where observe tive, would be hardly in Virg.'s manner, the epithet defixa,' and comp. 6. 156), while it would detract from the pro8. 520. Intenti' then must be taken priety of the clause "quaeque ... fui,' if adverbially as part of the predicate, like indeed it would not lead us rather to ex• defixi' in the passage last referred to. pect 'viderim ... fuerim.' I am glad to Silent attention is however the general see that Wagn. (Lectt. Vergg. p. 415) denotion : and it is probable that Virg. did fends the old pointing on similar grounds. not carefully distinguish the two senses of Lamentabile' is used proleptically. How ora. See 1. 256,“ oscula libavit." the power of Troy and its empire met with
3–13.] The story is a painful one, but piteous overthrow from the Danaans. I will tell it.'
5.] Quaeque-et quorum,' &c., also 3.] Imitated from Od. 7. 241, åpyan éov, epexegetical of "dolorem,' which is first βασίλεια, διηνεκέως αγορεύσαι κήδε' : the explained generally, then limited, as Henry conception of the speech itself however is remarks, to the scenes which Aeneas witof course taken from Ulysses' later narra- nessed and those in which he took an tive, books 9-12. Observe the order : active part-his personal narrative. • Too cruel to be told, great queen, is the 6.] Pars magna. Comp. 10. 426, sorrow you bid me revive.' • Infandum,' “ Lausus, Pars ingens belli," G. 2. 40. note on A. 1. 525. The word here seems Fando,' in the course of speaking, v. 81. to bear its transferred as well as its original Wagn. aptly refers to Livy 8. 17., 21. 34, sense.
for instances of this use of the gerund in 4.] Ut' follows renovare dolorem,' prose, illustrating it also by an imitation which is practically equivalent to‘narrare,' of this passage in Sil. 2. 651, "quis tristia as it is in telling about sorrow once felt fata piorum Imperet evolvens lacrimis ?” that the renewal of the pain consists. which shows that it is equivalent to the Häckermann, followed by Ladewig, Haupt, present participle. and Ribbeck, ingeniously puts a period 7.] • Myrmidonum Dolopumve,' not conafter dolorem,' so as to connect ut... structed with miles.' The Myrmidons