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Arcus; et e pastu decedens agmine magno
Corvorum increpuit densis exercitus alis.
Jam variae pelagi volucres, et quae Asia circum
Dulcibus in stagnis rimantur prata Caÿstri,
Certatim largos humeris infundere rores,


Nunc caput objectare fretis, nunc currere in undas,
Et studio incassum videas gestire lavandi.

Tum cornix plena pluviam vocat improba voce,
Et sola in sicca secum spatiatur arena.
Ne nocturna quidem carpentes pensa puellae


mentions the double rainbow as a sign of rain.-382. Corvorum. The rook is meant here, as it is gregarious, while the crow and the raven are solitary. The qualities of the rook, as described at verse 410, &c., are essentially different from those of the crow or the raven. — 383. Jam, &c. Another class of presages is here mentioned, consisting of those afforded by both sea and fresh-water fowls. Asia prata, a fenny tract of country in Lydia, called the Asia Palus, formed by the Caÿster, near its mouth. The initial à of Asia here is long; whereas in Asia, as applied to the continent, it is short-ASIA. Circum here, as regí often in Greek, is used to express extension through space.384. Rimantur-vocat-spatiatur; for the sake of variety, the poet uses these presents in the remainder of the description, to denote the same habit or custom.. 388. Cornix improba, the impudent crow' improba refers especially to the pertinacious croaking of the bird. Plena voce, with deep hoarse voice' she calls the rain to come. For plena, Servius reads raucā, which is a mere gloss: Virgil would express the thick, choking cry of the crow. The ancients thought that this bird not only predicted, but called for the rain, in expectation of the food which the storm brought to it.-389. Observe the rather unusual sibilant alliteration of this verse-sola-siccā—secum -spatiatur. Sola expresses the solitary, ungregarious habits of the bird, while spatiatur admirably marks the stately, leisurely pace. Cf. A. 4, 62.-390. Nocturna carpentes pensa, while plying their nightly tasks.' Here the circumstance of time is converted into an adjective, and made to agree with the things to which the time relates. So morning, in Goldsmith's couplet:


'Well had the boding tremblers learnt to trace

The day's disasters in his morning face.'

In like manner has Gray converted the circumstances of both time and space in these verses;

'Nor e'en thy virtues, tyrant, shall avail

To save thy secret soul from nightly fears.'

Carpere pensum properly means, 'to card a certain portion of wool that has been weighed out to one;' but often, as in this passage, it is used in a general sense to express the operation of spinning and weaving.

Nescivere hiemem, testa quum ardente viderent
Scintillare oleum et putres concrescere fungos.

Nec minus ex imbri soles et aperta serena
Prospicere et certis poteris cognoscere signis :
Nam neque tum stellis acies obtusa videtur,
Nec fratris radiis obnoxia surgere Luna,
Tenuia nec lanae per coelum vellera ferri ;
Non tepidum ad solem pennas in litore pandunt
Dilectae Thetidi alcyones, non ore solutos


Immundi meminere sues jactare maniplos.


At nebulae magis ima petunt campoque recumbunt;

Solis et occasum servans de culmine summo

Nequidquam seros exercet noctua cantus.

Apparet liquido sublimis in aëre Nisus,

Et pro purpureo poenas dat Scylla capillo ;
Quacumque illa levem fugiens secat aethera pennis,
Ecce inimicus, atrox, magno stridore per auras
Insequitur Nisus; qua se fert Nisus ad auras,
Illa levem fugiens raptim secat aethera pennis.
Tum liquidas corvi presso ter gutture voces
Aut quater ingeminant, et saepe cubilibus altis,
Nescio qua praeter solitum dulcedine laeti,
Inter se in foliis strepitant; juvat imbribus actis
Progeniem parvam dulcesque revisere nidos:



391. Hiemem, the (approaching) storm.' Testa ardente, in the burning lamp. The ordinary lamps of the ancients, of which so many are to be seen in collections, are made of terra cotta, or baked clay. 392. Scintillare, sputter.' Et putres concrescere fungos, and foul fungous excrescences grow about the wick.' Both the sputtering and the fungi are effects of dampness in the air.


393. He now gives the signs of approaching fine weather, first negatively, and then affirmatively. By way of variety, he notices the absence of the signs whose presence Aratus makes indicative of foul weather. Ex imbri, after rain.' Soles et aperta serena, sunny days and serene skies.'-395. Acies obtusa videtur, does their light appear dim.' The brightness of the stars is the first sign of fair weather.396. Fratris radiis obnoxia, indebted (for her light) to the rays of her brother (the sun).'-397. Tenuia, pronounced ten-ur-ă. Tenuia lanae vellera, thin fleeces of wool-like clouds.'- 399. Alcyones, the halcyones,' or 'kingfishers,' do not sit drying their wings on the rocks. Consult the Classical Dictionary under Ceya and Alcyone.-401. Ima, 'the low grounds.'-404. Apparet-Nisus; the seventh sign of fair weather is the sea-eagle pursuing the ciris. Read of Nisus and Scylla, for the explanation of this passage.-413. Imbribus actis, the showers being over:' actis = exactis.

Haud equidem credo, quia sit divinitus illis
Ingenium, aut rerum fato prudentia major :
Verum, ubi tempestas et coeli mobilis humor
Mutavere vias, et Jupiter uvidus Austris



Densat, erant quae rara modo, et, quae densa, relaxat,
Vertuntur species animorum, et pectora motus
Nunc alios, alios, dum nubila ventus agebat,
Concipiunt: hinc ille avium concentus in agris,
Et laetae pecudes, et ovantes gutture corvi.

Si vero solem ad rapidum lunasque sequentes
Ordine respicies, nunquam te crastina fallet
Hora, neque insidiis noctis capiere serenae.
Luna, revertentes quum primum colligit ignes,
Si nigrum obscuro comprenderit aëra cornu,


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415. Haud equidem credo, &c., not, I do indeed believe, because they have from on high any portion of intellect.' Virgil thus displays his Epicurean tenets in rejecting the doctrine of the Pythagoreans, that all animals possess a portion of the anima mundi, and consequently are animated by an intellectual principle.-416. Aut rerum futo prudentia major, or a knowledge of things, granted by fate, superior to what is allowed to mortals (Heyne).-417. Verum, ubi, &c., but, when,' &c.; that is, when the storm and rain have departed.418. Jupiter uvidus Austris, the air saturated with moisture by the southerly winds.' Jupiter, lord of the air, is here put for the air itself. Some editions have humidus for uvidus. Humidus is properly opposed to siccus or aridus; uvidus is a much stronger epithet: humens largiter.-420. Vertuntur species animorum, the images of their bosoms are entirely altered;' that is, their feelings become just the reverse of what they had previously been; as fair weather succeeds foul, so do pleasurable emotions take the place of unpleasant.421. With the second alios understand concipiebant, and render: 'they received different ones from these while the wind was driving onward the clouds.'-422. Ille concentus, 'that choral harmony; that is, when serene weather succeeds storm and gloom.-423. Ovantes, exulting.' Cf. verse 410.



424. Si vero solem, &c. Having shewn how the changes of weather are prognosticated by animals, the poet now proceeds to enumerate the changes indicated by the sun and moon. Lunas sequentes ordine, the moons regularly following' (the sun in the ecliptic). Others, with Heyne, render: the phases of the moon which succeed one another regularly.'-425. Crastina hora; that is, the morrow,' next day; hora by synecdoche dies.-426. Insidiis noctis, by the deceptive appearance of the night.' The metaphor is thus explained: when an ambush is laid, all care is taken to remove objects likely to excite suspicion, in order that the enemy may fall into it and be taken. So the early part of the night is often serene, but the after part is overcast and rainy.-427. Luna. Virgil, following Aratus, here alludes to the third day of the moon's age, when she first collects her returning fires (light); that is, when she first becomes visible.-428. Si nigrum,

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Maximus agricolis pelagoque parabitur imber;
At si virgineum suffuderit ore ruborem,
Ventus erit; vento semper rubet aurea Phoebe.
Sin ortu quarto-namque is certissimus auctor-
Pura neque obtusis per
coelum cornibus ibit,

Totus et ille dies, et qui nascentur ab illo

Exactum ad mensem, pluvia ventisque carebunt,
Votaque servati solvent in litore nautae

Glauco et Panopeae et Inoo Melicertae.




Sol quoque, et exoriens et quum se condet in undas,
Signa dabit; solem certissima signa sequuntur,
Et quae mane refert, et quae surgentibus astris.
Ille ubi nascentem maculis variaverit ortum,
Conditus in nubem, medioque refugerit orbe,
Suspecti tibi sint imbres; namque urguet ab alto
Arboribusque satisque Notus pecorique sinister.
Aut ubi sub lucem densa inter nubila sese
Diversi rumpent radii, aut ubi pallida surget
Tithoni croceum linquens Aurora cubile,
Heu! male tum mites defendet pampinus uvas:
Tam multa in tectis crepitans salit horrida grando.
Hoc etiam, emenso quum jam decedit Olympo,
Profuerit meminisse magis: nam saepe videmus



&c., if she gather a dark mist upon her dim horns.'-430. Virgineum ruborem, a virgin blush'-alluding to the virginity of Diana. Ore = in ore, over her visage (or disc).'-432. Certissimus auctor, 'the surest indication,' or source of presage.-433. Neque obtusis cornibus, and with unblunted horns.' Storms of wind are sure to follow if the moon appears on the fourth night with blunt horns (Varro and Aratus).— 437. Glauco-Melicertae. Gellius (13, 26) and Macrobius (5, 17) inform us that this verse is from the Greek of Parthenius

Γλαύκω καὶ Νήρει καὶ Ἰνὼῳ Μελικέρτη.

The metre of the original is followed with its hiatus and diphthong short before the vowel

Glauco |ēt Păno\pēãe ět | Înō¦ō Měli|cērtae.

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438. Sol, &c. The sun, both when rising and setting, gives signs of the weather.-440. Quae refert, which on his return he brings.' With the second quae supply the simple fert.-443. Urguet ab alto, 'is pressing on from the deep.' The advance of the storm is compared to the rapid march of a mighty host.-444. Arboribus, &c. Observe the rapid succession of dactyls, as expressive of the rushing onset of the blast.-450. Hoc, sc. what he is now going to tell. Decedit, sc. sol.451. Profuerit magis, it will avail more.' The meaning may be as in Aratus: that the evening signs are more to be relied on than the

Ipsius in vultu varios errare colores:
Caeruleus pluviam denunciat, igneus Euros;
Sin maculae incipient rutilo immiscerier igni,
Omnia tum pariter vento nimbisque videbis
Fervere. Non illa quisquam me nocte per altum
Ire, neque ab terra moneat convellere funem.
At si, quum referetque diem condetque relatum,
Lucidus orbis erit, frustra terrebere nimbis,
Et claro silvas cernes Aquilone moveri.

Denique, quid Vesper serus vehat, unde serenas
Ventus agat nubes, quid cogitet humidus Auster,
Sol tibi signa dabit. Solem quis dicere falsum
Audeat? Ille etiam caecos instare tumultus



Saepe monet, fraudemque et operta tumescere bella. 465
Ille etiam exstincto miseratus Caesare Romam,

Quum caput obscura nitidum ferrugine texit,
Impiaque aeternam timuerunt saecula noctem.

Tempore quamquam illo tellus quoque et aequora ponti,
Obscoenaeque canes importunaeque volucres

Signa dabant. Quoties Cyclopum effervere in agros
Vidimus undantem ruptis fornacibus Aetnam,


morning ones; or it may mean: it will be more availing to attend to the following signs, as the evils which they portend can be guarded against, than to observe those portending hail, against which there is no defence. Nam-colores is a parenthesis, though it contains the substantive which the following adjectives qualify.-452. Ipsius in vultu errare, straying on his disc.'-453. Caeruleus, livid denotes rain.'455. Pariter fervere, that is to be distributed in an equal degree. Fervere, with the penult short, is from the old stem fervo.-457. Moneat =suadeat, 'let no one advise me.'-458-460. A bright disc, morning and evening, betokens fair weather, accompanied with the cloud-scattering north wind.

466. The poet, having just observed that the sun portends wars and tumults, takes the opportunity of mentioning the paleness of the sun that succeeded the death of Julius Caesar; whence he digresses into the notice of other prodigies which were said to have occurred about the same time (Plut. Vit. Caes. 69; Plin. H. N. 2, 30; and Dio Cassius, 45, 17). What Plutarch calls paleness, Virgil terms ferrugo. Some modern writers suppose these appearances in the sun were caused by spots on his disc of unusual magnitude; but it is more likely that there was an actual eclipse of the sun in November of the year of Caesar's death (Berlin Astron. Tafeln. ii. p. 122).-468. Saecula, age; that is, men.' This accords with the use of the word by Lucretius, 3, 754; 5, 340.470. Obscoenae, ill-omened.' 471. According to Homer, the Cyclops dwelt on the western coast of Sicily.

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