Page images
PDF
EPUB

Tela inter media atque adversos detinet hostes.
Tu procul à patriâ (nec sit mihi credere) tantùm
Alpinas, ah dura, nives, et frigora Rheni
Me sinè sola vides. Ah te ne frigora lædant !
Ah tibi ne teneras glacies secet aspera plantas !
Ibo, et Chalcidico quæ sunt mihi condita versu
Carmina pastoris Siculi modulabor avenâ.
Certum est in sylvis, inter spelæa ferarum,
Malle pati, tenerisque meos incidere amores
Arboribus : crescent illæ, crescetis amores.
Intereà mixtis lustrabó Mænala Nymphis,
Aut acres venabor apros : non me ulla vetabunt
Frigora Parthenios canibus circumdare saltus.

45 46. Tu, ah dura femi

na! procul à patria (ulinam sit mihi nec credere id) vides tantùm Alpinas nives, et frigora

Rheni, sola sinè me. 50 50. Et modulabor

avenâ Siculi pasioris Theocriti, carmina, qua

54. Illæ arbores cres cent: vos, O mi amores 55

[ocr errors]

NOTES.

cises.

verse.

pleasant place, if you had consented, we 57. Alpinas: an adj. from Alpes, a very might have both lived happy and secure. high range of mountains separating Italy But now, on account of your cruelty, we from France, Switzerland, and Germany, are both unhappy and miserable. Through and covered with almost perpetual snow. despair, I expose myself to the dangers and Rheni: the river Rhine. It rises in the hazards of war; and in the mean time your mountains of Switzerland, and runs a northlove of a soldier hurries you to distant erly course, forming the boundary between countries, over the enows of the Alps, &c. France and Germany, and falls into the Gallus here supposes Cytheris to accompany German sea near the Hague. Its length is her lover, and to undergo the fatigues and near six hundred miles. Dura: in the sense hardships incident to a military life. Me. of crudelis. Sola : Lycoris was alone, as This passage would be much easier, if we respected Gallus. could read te in the room of me.

The sense

49. Plantas : in the sense of pedes. Asnaturally leads to such reading; but we pera : sharp. The whole of this address to have no authority for making the substitu- his mistress is extremely tender and pathetion. Martis. Mars was esteemed the god tic. of war.

He was the son of Jupiter and 50. Quæ condita sunt, &c. Which were Juno, as some say ; others say, of Juno composed by me in elegiac verse. Chalcialone. His education was intrusted to Pri- dico : an adj. from Chalcis, a city of Eubea, apus, who taught him all the manly exer (hodie, Negropont,) the birth-place of Eu

In the Trojan war, he took a very phorion, an elegiac poet; some of whose active part, and was always at hand to as verses, it is said, Gallus turned into Latin sist the favorites of Venus. His amours

To this, Ruæus thinks, the poet rewith that goddess have been much celebra- fers. However this may be, it cannot be ted by the poets. Vulcan, her husband, made from the words without straining being informed of their intrigue, made a net them. They simply imply that Gallus of such exquisite workmanship, that it could wrote some verses or poems in the same not be perceived. In this net he caught the kind of verse, of measure, in which Euphotwo lovers, and exposed them to the ridicule rion wrote. of the gods. He kept them in this situation 51. Modulabor : in the sense of canam. for a considerable time, till Neptune pre 52. Certum est, &c. It is certain, I am vailed upon him to set them at liberty. resolved, that I had rather suffer in the The worship of Mars was not very general woods any dangers and hardships than folamong the Greeks, but among the Romans low after Lycoris. These, or words of the he received the most unbounded honors. like import, seem to be necessary to make His most famous temple was built by Au- the sense complete. Spelæa : dens, or gustus, after the battle of Phillippi, and de- haunts of wild beasts; from the Greek. dicated to Mars Ultor. His priests were 53. Incii'ere : to cat, or inscribe. called Salii, and were first instituted by 55. Mænala : neu. plu. a mountain in Numa. Their chief office was to keep the Arcadia. In the sing. Mænalus. Lustrabo : sacred ancyle, or shield, which was supposed in the sense of circumibo. Mixtis nymphis. to have fallen from heaven.

Mars was The meaning is, that he was in company sometimes called Gradivus, Mavors, and with the nymphs; or that they, in confused Quirinus ; by meton. put for war in general and irregular order, pursued their course. -a battle-a fight, &c.

56. Acres : fierce-dangerous. Vetabunt. 45. Adversos : in the sense of infestos. in the sense of prohibebunt. 46 Tantùm. onlr_nothing beside. 57. Parthenios. Parthenius was a moun

Jam mihi per rupes videor lucosque sonantes

Ire: libet Parthö torquere Cydonia cornu 60. Tanquam hæc om- Spicula : tanquam hæc sint nostri medicina furoris, 60 nia sint

Aut Deus ille malis hominum mitescere discat. 61. Aut tanquam ille Deus Cupido

Jam neque Hamadryades rursùm, nec carmina nobis 64. Illum Deum Cupi- Ipsa placent: ipsæ rursùm concedite sylvæ. dinem; nec equidem, si Non illum nostri possunt mutare labores ;

Nec si frigoribus mediis Hebrumque bibamus, 65

Sithoniasque nives hyemis subeamus aquosæ : 67. Nec equidem, si Nec si, cùm moriens altâ liber aręt in ulmo, versemus oves Æthiop- Æthiopum versemus oves sub sidere Cancri um, sub sidere cancri, Omnia vincit amor; et nos cedamus amori. cùm

70 70. O Dive Pierides,

Hæc sat erit, Divæ, vestrum cecinisse poëtam, sat erit vestrum poetam

Dum sedet, et gracili fiscellam texit hibisco, cecinisse hæc carmina

Pierides : vos hæc facietis maxima Gallo:
72. Facietis hæc fieri Gallo, cujus amor tantùm mihi crescit in horas,

Quantùm vere novo viridis se subjicit alnus.
Surgamus: solet esse gravis cantantibus umbra : 75

NOTES.

tain in Arcadia, where virgins used to hunt; 68. Versemus: feed, or tend upon; in the from a Greek word signifying a virgin. It sense of pasceremus. Æthiopum : gen. plu. is here used as an adj. Circumdare: in the of Æthiops, an inhabitant of Æthiopia, an -sense of cingere.

extensive country in Africa, lying principal58. Sonantes: echoing-resounding.

ly within the torrid zone. Here it is put for 59. Cydonia : an adj. from Cydon, a city hot climate. Cancri. Cancer is one of the

the inhabitants of any country lying in a of Crete, the arrows of which were held in

twelve signs of the Zodiac.

The sun great estimation. Partho cornu: a Parthian bow. The Parthians were a people famed

enters it about the twenty-first day of June, for their skill in handling the bow, which causing our longest day. they made of horn. Henco cornu: a bow. 69. Amor vincit, &c. The poet here hath Libet : in the sense of juvat.

finely represented the various resolutions 60. Medicina furoris : a remedy for our

and passions of a lover. Gallus having love. Tanquam : as if,

tried various expedients to divert his affec

tions, and finding nothing sufficiently enti61. Malis: in the sense of miseriis.

cing to him, to accomplish that end, finally 62. Hamadryades: nymphs of the woods abandons the vain pursuit with this reflecand trees. Their fate was supposed to be tion: Love conquers all thingslet us yield connected with that of particular trees, to love. with which they lived and died. It is de

71. Texit: formed-made. Hibisco: in rived from the Greek. See Ecl. ii. 46.

the sense of vimine. 63. Rursum concedite: again, ye woods,

72. Maxima: farewell. Concedite, is here elegantly put

most acceptable-most for valete. I wish you may grow and flourish,

precious. though I languish and die.

73. In horas hourly-every hour. 65. Hebrum. The Hebrus is the largest 74. Subjicit se: shoots itself up-springs river of Thrace, rising out of mount Rho- up. dope, near its junction with mount Hæmus,

75. Umbra solet, &c. The shade of the and taking a southerly course, falls into the evening is wont to be injurious to singers. Ægean sea : hodie, Marisa. The ancient Umbra here must mean the shade or dusk of Thrace forms a province of the Turkish the evening, which, on account of the falling empire, by the name Romania. Frigori- dew, is reckoned an unhealthy part of the bus: in the sense of hyeme.

day. That the word is to be taken in this 66. Sithonias: an adj. from Sithonia, a sense, appears from the circumstance menpart of Thrace, bordering upon the Euxine tioned in the following line. Hesperus venit:

Subeamus: endure-undergo. the evening star is approaching. Canlanti67. Moriens liber: the withering bark, or bus; some read cunctantibus: to those do sind.

laying, or loitering.

sea.

Juniperi gravis umbra: nocent et frugibus umbræ.
Ite domum saturæ, venit Hesperus, ite capellæ.

77. Vos, O mec saturæ capellæ, ito, ite domum.

NOTES.

76. Umbra juniperi : the shade of the we may be sure Virgil did in the present juniper tree is injurious : not so in fact; instance. It might have been the current it is both pleasant and healthy. It is opinion that the juniper tree changed its odoriferous in itself, and is often burned, qualities as the evening came on; or, we to absorb the noxious part of the atmos may understand it thus: so noxious is the phere, and to prevent infection. Poets often evening air, that even the juniper tree will take liberties that are not allowable in prose not secure from its effects. writers. They may follow the common re 77. Saturæ : full-fed-sufficiently fed; ceived opinions of things, however incor- implying that time enough had been spent rect, without justly incurring censure. This in pastoral writing.

QUESTIONS.

What is the subject of this pastoral? Where was Pindus?
Who was Gallus ?

Where were the mountains Menalus and Where is the scene of the pastoral laid? Lyceus ?

What took place after his arrival in Ar What is said of them? cadia ?

Who was Mars? What is the character of this pastoral ? What is said of him? Whom does Virgil imitate ?

By whom was the most celebrated templo Who was Lycoris ?

of Mars built? Who was Arethusa ?

What were his priests called? Was there any fountain of that name? What was their chief office ? Where was it situated ?

What were the names of Mars? For what was Syracuse famous ?

For what is the word Mars put for by Why did the poet invoke the nymph Are- meton. ? thusa ?

Where is the river Hebrus ? What is said of the river Alpheus?

Where does it rise and empty its waters? Where was the mountain Parnassus ? Where is Æthiopia situated ?

[ocr errors][ocr errors]
[ocr errors][merged small]

THE civil wars, that had distracted the Roman empire, had nearly desolated Italy. The land lay neglected, and the inhabitants were reduced to great distress for want of the necessaries of life. In this state of things, they cast the blame upon Augustus, and murmured against his administration. To remedy the existing evils, and to avert heavier calamities, it became necessary to revive agriculture; which for many years had been almost wholly neglected, the people being taken from their lands to supply the armies. It occurred to Mæcenas that a treatise upon that subject would be highly useful to the inhabitants of Italy; he therefore engaged Virgil, who had just finished his Eclogues, to undertake the work. It had the desired effect. For, after the publication of the Georgics, Italy began to assume a new and flourishing appearance, and the people found themselves in plenty, and in the enjoyment of peace and content.

Virgil spent about seven years in this part of his works. His correct taste, his chaste style, and above all, his extensive knowledge, duly qualified him for a work of this kind. The Georgics, like the Eclogues, were every where well received.

The rules for the improvement of husbandry, and the advice given to the farmer

upon the several subjects connected with it, were not only suited to the climate of Italy, but have been esteemed valuable in every country where “due honor has been paid to the plough,” down to the present time.

The word Georgica is from the Greek. Its original word properly signifies the cultivation or tillage of the earth. In the Georgics, Virgil imitated Hesiod, who wrote a treatise upon this subject, entitled, Opera et Dies, but he far excelled him in every respect. He began this part of his works in the year

of Rome 717, being then about thirty-two years of age, and dedicated it to Mæcenas, his friend and patron, at whose request he wrote it.

The Georgics are divided into four books. The first treats of the various soils, and the proper method of managing each. The second treats of the various ways of propagating fruit trees, and particularly the vine. The third treats of the several kinds of grass, and the proper method of raising horses, cattle, sheep, and goats. The fourth treats of the proper management of bees.

With the main subject, the poet hath interwoven several very interesting fables and episodes, which contribute to our pleasure, and relieve the mind under the dryness of precept.

QUESTIONS.

What was the state of Italy, when Virgil Were they well received by his countrymen ? began his Georgics?

Was Virgil well qualified to write upon At whose request did he write them? the subject of agriculture? To whom did he dedicate them?

Whom did he imitate? What is the meaning of the word Geor What is the comparative merit of each gica, or Georgics ?

work? From what language is the word derived? Do the Georgics contain valuable rules

What effect had the Georgics upon the and directions to the agriculturist in all state of Italy?

countries? How long was Virgil in writing them? Into how many books are they divided? In what year of Rome did he begin thom? What is the subject of each book ? &c

« PreviousContinue »