Page images
PDF
EPUB

P. VERGILI MARONIS

AENEIDOS

LIBER PRIMUS.

THE subject of the Aeneid, as propounded in the opening lines, is the settlement of Aeneas in Italy, after years of wandering, and a short but sharp final struggle. It is however only of the events preceding the settlement that the poet really treats,—of the wanderings and the war. In that, as in other things, he follows Homer, who does not show us Ulysses "an idle king, matched with an aged wife, meting laws to a savage race," but leaves him fresh from the slaughter of the suitors, from the first embrace of his wife and father, and from the conquest of his disaffected subjects. Accordingly, the poem divides itself into two parts, the wanderings being embraced by the first, the Italian war by the second. But the two parts naturally involve different modes of treatment, comprehending as they do periods of time widely differing in length, the one seven years, the other apparently a few days. Here again the example of Homer is followed. The long period of wanderings is taken at a point not far from its conclusion; enough is told in detail to serve as a specimen of the whole, and the rest is related more summarily by the help of an obvious expedient, the hero being made to narrate his past adventures to the person whose relation to him is all the time forming one adventure more. This peculiarity of the Homeric story is noticed by Horace in a well-known passage of his Art of Poetry (vv. 146 foll.), and recommended to the adoption of Epic writers generally; but he does not clearly indicate the reason of it, which doubtless is the wish to avoid that fatal dryness which seems to be inseparable from all narratives where the events of many years are told continuously in a short compass. [See vol. I. p. xxxv. foll. (fourth edition).-H. N.]

The First Book of the Aeneid may be said to perform well the objects which it was no doubt intended to accomplish,-those of interesting us in the hero and introducing the story. After a brief statement of the subject, we have a view of the supernatural machinery by which it is to be worked out; and this, though imitated from Homer, where the solitary rancour of Poseidon against Ulysses answers to the solitary rancour of Juno against Aeneas, is skilfully contrived so as to throw a light on the subsequent history of the Roman descendants of Aeneas, by the mention, even at that early time, of their great enemy, Carthage. It is probable, as I have said in the general Introduction to the Aeneid, that the merit of this thought may be due to Naevius, who seems to have been the first to commit the felicitous anachronism of bringing Aeneas and Dido together; but it must be allowed to be in strict accordance with the spirit of Virgil's poem, which is throughout that of historical anticipation. Like Ulysses, Aeneas is shipwrecked in the voyage which was to have been his last, the main difference being that the Grecian hero is solitary, having long since lost all his companions, while the Trojan is still accom

VOL. II.

B

panied by those who followed his fortunes from Troy. The machinery by which the storm is allayed is perhaps managed more adroitly by Virgil than by Homer, as there seems to be more propriety in representing the inferior god of the winds as counteracted by the superior god of the sea, than in making a sea nymph rescue one whom the god of the sea is seeking to destroy. But if Virgil has obtained an advantage over Homer, it is with the help of Homer's weapons, as the interview between Juno and Aeolus obviously owes its existence to the interview between Here and the God of Sleep. The dialogue of Venus and Jupiter appears to be another appropriation from Naevius; but, as in the former case, Virgil seems to have established his right to what he has borrowed by the perfect fitness with which a prophecy of the destiny of Rome is introduced at the commencement of a poem intended to be a monument of Roman greatness. The remaining incidents of the First Book need not detain us much longer. As a general rule, they are borrowed from Homer; but we may admire the skill with which Virgil has introduced varieties of detail, as where Ulysses, listening to songs about Troy, reappears in Aeneas looking at sculptures or paintings of Trojan subjects, and the art with which a new impression is produced by a combination of old materials, in making the friendly power that receives Aeneas unite the blandishments of Calypso with the hospitality of Alcinous, and so engrafting a tale of passion on a narrative of ordinary adventure. The suggestion of the employment of Cupid by Venus was evidently taken from the loan of Aphrodite's cestus in Homer and the assistance rendered by the God of Love in Apollonius; but the treatment of the thought is original and happy; and the few lines which describe the removal of Ascanius to Idalia might themselves suggest a subject for poetry to some Keats or Shelley, in whose mind the seed casually dropped by Virgil should expand and germinate.

ARMA virumque cano, Troiae qui primus ab oris

1-7.] 'I sing the hero who founded the Trojan kingdom in Italy, his voyages

and his wars.'

[blocks in formation]

They are not found in Med., Rom., Gud., or the Verona fragments (Pal. and the fragments of Vat. and St. Gall seem to fail here), and the only MS. in Ribbeck's list which contains them (the Berne MS. No. 172) has them written in the margin by a later hand. They appear to have existed in the time of Suetonius, who says (Vita Vergilii 42) that Nisus the grammarian had heard a story of their having been expunged by Tucca and Varius; on which Heyne remarks, "Si res ita se habet, acutior sane Varius Vergilio fuit." [Suetonius, it should be remembered, is a poor authority on matters of criticism; he has no difficulty, for instance, in accepting the Culex as genuine. Ti. Donatus knows nothing of these four

lines.-H. N.] Those who speak of them
as an introduction to the poem, forget
that if genuine they are an integral part
of the first sentence; and that it is, to
say the least, remarkable that the exor-
dium should be so constructed as to be
at once interwoven with the context, and
yet capable of removal without detri-
ment to the construction, just at the
point which forms a much better com-
mencement. The words 'arma virumque'
are quoted by Martial, 8. 56., 19. 14.,
185. 2, and Auson. Epig. 137. 1, evidently
as a real commencement of the Aeneid;
while Ovid, Trist. 2. 533, and Persius,
1. 96, quote 'arma virumque,' or 'arma
virum,' as important and independent
words, which they cease to be the
moment arma' is viewed in connexion
with the words supposed to precede it.
[The words arma virumque-litora,'
are quoted in an inscription (Corpus
Inser. Lat., vol. 2, No. 4967, 31) assigned
by Hübner to the first century A.D.
Arma virumque cano' has also been
found scribbled on the walls of Pompeii.
-H. N.] Virg. himself, 9. 777, has (of
the poet Clytius) "Semper equos atque
arma virum pugnasque canebat." Comp.
also Ov. 1 Amor. 15. 25, Prop. 3. 26. 63,

[ocr errors]

Italiam, fato profugus, Lavinaque venit

,

which point the same way. Macrob. Sat. 5.2 quotes Troiae qui primus ab oris' as part of the first verse of the Aeneid. On the other hand Priscian 940 P cites Ille ego qui quondam gracili modulatus avena as Virg.'s. Henry's view that 'arma Martis' is happily contrasted with 'arma agricolae' (comp. G. 1. 160) seems to be favoured by the structure of the sentence, and may very possibly have been present to the mind of the author of these lines; but it clearly was not present to the minds of those who quoted arma' by itself as war. Tastes may differ as to the rival commencements, on which see Henry in loco, and on 2. 247; but it may be suggested that Virg. would scarcely in his first sentence have divided the attention of the reader between himself and his hero by saying, in effect, that the poet who wrote the Eclogues and the Georgics, sings the hero who founded Rome. [It should be added that supposing the Aeneid to have begun with 'arma virumque cano,' the first seven lines of the poem will be found to correspond strikingly in rhythm with the first seven lines of the Iliad. Did Ennius begin his poem with "arma"? Horace 1 Epist. 19. 7, "Ennius ipse pater nunquam nisi potus ad arma Prosiluit dicenda."-H. N.] Wagn. and Forb., however, as well as Henry, consider the lines as genuine; and they have been imitated by Spenser in the opening of the Faery Queene, and Milton in the opening of Paradise Regained.

Arma virumque:' this is an imitation of the opening of the Odyssey, avdpa μo ἔννεπε κ.τ.λ. It may also be taken from the first line of the Cyclic poem of the Epigoni, preserved by the Schol. on Aristoph. Peace 1270, Nov ave' óпλoтépwv av Spŵr àрxwμeta, Mouлa. It is followed by all the other Roman writers of epic poetry, Lucan, Flaccus, Statius, and, above all, Silius, the most faithful copier of Virg., with a unanimity which strongly supports the view taken in the preceding note. The words are not a lendiadys, but give first the character of the subject and then the subject itself. 'Arma' may have been intended to suggest, though it does not express, a contrast between this and Virg.'s previous poems. -In commencing with 'cano' he has followed his own example in the Georgics, rather than that of Homer, who at once invokes the Muse; and the Latin

Epic writers have followed Virg. The earlier commentators have found a difficulty in reconciling 'primus' with Antenor's previous migration (below, vv. 242 foll.), and suggest that Aeneas had first reached Italy proper, though Antenor had previously reached Venetia. [Ti. Donatus says "primus fato, quia alii ex eventu ad Italiam fuerant delati, Aeneas vero compulsus."-H. N.] On the other hand, Heyne and Wagn. make 'primus' equivalent to olim,' thus weakening a word which from its position and its occurrence in the first line of the poem must be emphatic. The more obvious sense is that Aeneas is so called without reference to Antenor, as the founder of the great Trojan empire in Italy.

2.] Fato,' a mixture of modal and instrum. abl., as in 4. 696., 6. 449, 466, &c. Here it seems to go with 'profugus,' though it might go with ' venit:' comp. 10. 67. Perhaps the force may be "profugus quidem, sed fato profugus, a glorious and heaven-sent fugitive. So Livy 1. 1., comp. by Weidner, "Aenean ab simili clade domo profugum sed ad maiora rerum initia ducentibus fatis." For the poetic accus. 'Italiam-Lavina litora,' without the preposition, see Madv. § 232, obs. 4. The MSS. are divided between Lavinaque,' Laviniaque,' and perhaps 'Lavinia.' The last, however, though adopted by Burm. and Heyne, and approved by Heins., seems to rest solely on the authority of Med., which has Lavinia' (corrected into 'Lavina '), with a mark of erasure after the word.

6

Laviniaque' is found in the Verona fragm., and is supported by quotations in Terentianus Maurus and Diomedes, and in single MSS. of Priscian, Censorinus, and Sergius in artem Donati. Lavinaque' is found in the inscription quoted on v. 1, in Rom., Gud., and probably most other MSS., and is supported by quotations in Macrobius, Gellius, Marius Victorinus, Pompeius, the Schol. on Lucan, most MSS. of Priscian, and one of Censorinus. Servius mentions both readings, saying, "Lavina legendum est, non Lavinia." 'Lavinia' is supported by 4. 236: but the synizesis, though not unexampled (comp. 5. 269., 6. 33, and see on G. 4. 243), is perhaps awkward, especially in the second line of the poem, and the imitation in Prop. 3. 26. 64, "Iactaque Lavinis moenia litoribus," is in favour of the form 'Lavina.'

Litora, multum ille et terris iactatus et alto
Vi superum, saevae memorem Iunonis ob iram,
Multa quoque et bello passus, dum conderet urbem,
Inferretque deos Latio, genus unde Latinum
Albanique patres atque altae moenia Romae.

Musa, mihi causas memora, quo numine laeso,

Juv. 12. 71 has "novercali sedes praelata Lavino," though there as in Prop. the quadrisyllabic form might be introduced and explained by synizesis. On the whole, I have preferred Lavinaque,' believing the form to be possible in itself (comp. "Campanus," "Lucanus," "Appulus," &c.), and more probable in this instance; the modern editors however are generally for Laviniaque.' Lachmann on Lucr. 2. 719 speaks doubtfully. The epithet which belonged to the place after the foundation of the city by Aeneas is given to it here, as in 4. 236, by a natural anticipation at the time of his landing.

66

...

3.] The imitation of the exordium of the Odyssey continues, multum ille iactatus. . . multa quoque passus,' being modelled on πολλὰ πλάγχθη · Toλλà de bye... náleville,' as so often in Virg., standing for the Homeric dye. 'Multum,' &c., used to be pointed as a separate sentence; it is however evidently constructed with 'venit,' so that 'ille' is virtually pleonastic. Comp. 5. 457., 6. 593., 9. 479. Here it appears rhetorically to be equal to 'quidem.' Iactatus' is naturally transferred from wanderings by sea to wanderings by land. In such passages as vv. 332, 668, we see the point of transition. So 5. 627, cum freta, cum terras omnis emensae ferimur." 4.]'Vi superum' expresses the general agency, like fato profugus,' though Juno was his only personal enemy. [Ti. Donatus, like Gossrau in our time, seems to have taken 'vi superum' as = βίᾳ θεῶν, in spite of heaven. "Vis enim non est," he says, "nisi cum fit aliquid contra legem, hoc est, contra fatum."-H. N.] But there is no authority for such an interpretation. ['Saevae:" "non saevam potentem dixit, ut alii volunt, sed revera saevam, quae persequeretur innocentem." Ti. Donatus.-H. Ñ.] For 'memorem iram' comp. Livy 9. 29, "Traditur censorem etiam Appium memori Deum ira post aliquot annos luminibus captum." So Aesch. Ag. 155, μváμwv μμvis. Ob iram,' below, v. 251, 'to sate the wrath.' 5.] Passus,' constructed like ‘iactatus.'

5

Quoque' and 'et' of course form a pleonasın, though the former appears to be connected with multa,' and the latter with 'bello.' Dum conderet' like "dum fugeret," G. 4. 457, where see note. Here we might render in the struggle to build his city.' So Hom. Od. 1.4 foll., woλλà τáðεv . . . ȧpvýμEVOS K.T.λ. The clause belongs to multa bello passus,' rather than to 'iactatus.'

6.] "Victosque Penatis inferre," 8. 11. 'Unde' may be taken either as 66 qua ex re," or as "a quo," as in v. 568., 6. 766, &c. The latter seems more probable. 'Genus Latinum,' Albani patres,'' altae moenia Romae,' denote the three ascending stages of the empire which sprang from Aeneas, Lavinium, Alba, and Rome. Comp. 12. 823 foll., which is a good commentary on the present passage. 'Albani patres' probably means not our Alban ancestors,' but the senate, or rather the noble houses of Alba, of which the Julii were one.

6

6

8-11.] Why was it, Muse, that Juno so persecuted so pious a hero?'

"

"

8.] Causae' is not unfrequently used where we should be content with the sing., e. g. v. 414., 2. 105., 3. 32., 6. 710, the last of which will illustrate the epexegetical clause quo-inpulerit.' 'Memora' is appropriate, as the Muses were connected with memory: comp. 7. 615, and see note on E. 7. 19.-There are various ways of taking 'quo numine laeso.' Some think there is a change of construction, and that "inpulsus fuerit," or something like it, should have followed; so that Virgil should have imitated Homer, Il. 1. 8, Tís ↑ ap opwe beŵv ěpidi Evvéŋke μáxeobai; But this, as Heyne remarks, though not unexampled, would be a singular piece of loose writing so early in the poem, and would moreover involve the inconsistency of first saying that it was Juno, saevae memorem Iunonis ob iram,' and then asking the Muse what god it was. Others make numine' nearly equivalent to voluntate,' citing 2. 123, "quae sint ea numina divom;" but even supposing that 'numen' in this sense might be taken dis

Quidve dolens, regina deum tot volvere casus Insignem pietate virum, tot adire labores Inpulerit. Tantaene animis caelestibus irae ?

Urbs antiqua fuit, Tyrii tenuére coloni, Karthago, Italiam contra Tiberinaque longé Ostia, dives opum studiísque asperrima bellí; Quam Iunó fertur terrís magis omnibus unam

tributively, which the passage above quoted does not prove, laeso' would scarcely be appropriate to 'numine' in this sense, while the words frequently occur in conjunction in the sense of outraged majesty. Comp. 2. 183, Hor. Epod. 15. 3, and Macleane's note. Heyne accepts Serv.'s proposal of separating 'quo' from 'numine,' and taking it in the sense of "qua re," "qua causa," which would be extremely harsh. It remains then, with Wagn., to regard the expression as equivalent to "quam ob laesionem numinis sui;" referring it to the cases already noticed on E. 1. 53, where the pronoun or pronominal adjective stands for its corresponding adverb. Thus the negative answer to quo numine laeso' would be "nullum numen Iunonis laesit." Or we may say that numen laesum' alone would stand for "laesio numinis" (see Madv. § 426), and that in such a construction the question could hardly be asked otherwise than by making the interrogative pronoun agree with the noun. [Henry's interpretation now is, "what arbitrium of hers being offended, ie. her arbitrium or free will and pleasure being offended in what respect.”—H. N.] No charge of impiety strictly could be brought against Aeneas, but there might be' dolores,' such as are mentioned vv. 23-28, which impelled Juno to persecute even one renowned for piety.

6

"

9.] Volvere :' see on G. 2. 295, "Multa virum volvens durando saecula vincit." The misfortunes are regarded as a destined circle which Aeneas goes through. [So 6. 748 “ubi mille rotam volvere per annos." Henry now supposes the metaphor to be from a rolling stone or wheel.-H. N.]

10.] Insignem pietate' (6. 403) characterizes the hero, as ToλúтроTоν does Ulysses in the commencement of the Odyssey. The contrast, however, between piety and sufferings is made in the case of Ulysses himself, Od. 1. 60 foll., 66 foll. Pietas' includes the performance

10

[ocr errors]

66

15

of all duties to gods, parents, kinsmen, friends, and country. "Adire periculum" is not uncommon in Cicero; see Forc.

11.] It is difficult to say whether animis caelestibus' is a dat. with an ellipsis of the verb substantive or the ablative. [Impulerit Verona fragm., impulerat Rom.-H. N.]

12—33.] Juno was patroness of Carthage, which, she had heard, was destined one day to be crushed by a nation of Trojan descent. Hence she persecuted the Trojans, who were already her enemies, and kept them away from Italy.'

12.] Urbs antiqua,' said with reference to Virg.'s own age. For the parenthetical construction Tyrii tenuere coloni,' comp. v. 530 below, "Est locus, Hesperiam Grai cognomine dicunt." Tyrii coloni,' settlers from Tyre,' as "Dardaniis colonis," 7. 422, are settlers from Troy.

6

13.] [Carthago' Rom. Verona fragm., -H. N.] Longe,' as contrasted with the adjacent islands. The sense is clear ("Against the Tiber's mouth, but far away," Dryden), though it is not easy to determine the exact grammatical position of 'longe.' The choice seems to lie between connecting it with contra' and making it an adverbial adjunct of ‘ostia,' i. q. 'longe distantia.' The latter is a Grecism (Wund. comp. ToÛ Texaμŵvos Tλóbev oĭкov, Soph. Aj. 204), but may perhaps be supported by the use of

6

super" 3. 489, note. It appears that some in the time of Serv. actually took 'longe' with 'dives.'

14.] 'Dives opum,' 2. 22. 'Opum' includes all sources of power. 'Asperrima' is the epithet of war (9. 667., 11. 635., 12. 124) applied to the warlike nation. 'Given to the stern pursuits of war.' "Ad bella studium," G. 3. 179.

15.] Germ. comp. Od. 8. 284, oi yaιáwv πολὺ φιλτάτη ἐστὶν ἁπασέων. 'Unam magis omnibus coluisse' = "unam omnium maxime coluisse." The Astarte of the Phoenicians is identified, in the loose way common among the ancients, with

« PreviousContinue »