Page images
PDF
EPUB

P. VERGILI MARONIS

-A E N E IDOS

LIBER NONUS.

The subject of this Book is the attack made by Turnus and the Latian army on the Trojan camp while Aeneas is away. Various incidents are interwoven with it with more or less of ingenuity. At the opening of the attack a portent occurs, the transformation of the Trojan ships into sea-nymphs, just at the moment when they are threatened with conflagration. This, as Sir G. C. Lewis remarks, is evidently an echo of the story in the Fifth Book, the burning of the ships by the Trojan women. Virgil was doubtless glad to put the legend to a double use, whether the form which it takes on this second occasion was invented by him or borrowed from tradition. In any case he was likely to regard the metamorphosis as part of the supernatural machinery which is an epic poet's property. Even in Servius' time however the incident provoked question as being without precedent: and modern criticism will be more disposed to account for it than to justify it. No defence is needed for the next incident, which is indeed one of the crowning instances of Virgil's power of appealing to human sensibility. The hint of the episode of Nisus and Euryalus is from Homer's Doloneia : but the effect produced is due entirely to the art of the younger poet. In the Homeric story we sympathize neither with Dolon nor with his captors : the former fails where he did not deserve to succeed : the success of the latter is too complete and too bloody to call forth much enthusiasm. Nisus and Euryalus succeed like Ulysses and Diomede, and fail like Dolon : and our feelings are stirred alike by their success and their failure. The remaining events are less memorable, but serve to diversify the narrative. The killing of Numanus by Ascanius is Virgil's own, and is well contrived to keep up our interest in the beleaguered army. In the account of the daring of Pandarus and Bitias and the havoc made in the Trojan camp by Turnus Virgil has borrowed something from Homer, and is said to have borrowed something also from Ennius. The rashness of the Trojan champions excites little sympathy: but the single-handed bravery of Turnus justifies the place he is made to occupy in the poem, as the prominent figure in the absence of Aeneas.

Heyne is so convinced of the propriety of the conduct of this part of the poem that he thinks no objection can be made to the attack on the camp in Aeneas' absence without the utmost injustice. Yet, if we consider for a moment, we shall perhaps see that such an objection would not be as unwarrantable as he supposes. If Aeneas had undertaken the journey to Evander of his own motion, we might not have wondered tbat the step should have entailed a certain amount of disaster ; but when we know that it was prompted by a deity, we naturally expect a less equivocal result.

No doubt the balance of advantage was still on Aeneas' side : but in the case of an action suggested by supernatural advice we are scarcely prepared to find that a balance has to be struck. As it is, the consequences are sufficiently unfortunate to form the subject of debate among the gods in the following Book : Venus complains, Juno retorts that Aeneas brought the evil on himself, and Jupiter cautiously declines to pronounce whether fate or human error is in fault. No doubt the employment of supernatural machinery involves a poet in considerable difficulty. If it is used at all, it would seem natural that it should be used in all the important crises of the story. Nor is there anything abstractedly repellent in the notion that an action prompted by a god should result in something short of absolute success, especially when we con. sider that each party has an array of gods ranged on its side. We can even conceive that Nisus may have beev prompted, as Virgil himself intimates, to the enterprise which ended so gloriously and so fatally. Such however is not the way in which the ancient poets generally make use of supernatural agency. The gods are employed to procure good for their favourites and avert evil from them : where they can do neither, they are commonly passive. The resolution which Hector takes, to encounter Achilles and meet his death, is a heroic one : but it is prompted not by his protector Apollo but by his enemy Pallas. Virgil has entangled himself in a complication which the greater simplicity of Homer's conceptions enables him to avoid ; and the readers of the Ninth Book only anticipate the dissatisfaction which the poet himself is compelled to express in the Tenth.

ATQUE ea diversa penitus dum parte geruntur,
Irim de caelo misit Saturnia Iuno
Audacem ad Turnum. Luco tum forte parentis
Pilumni Turnus sacrata valle sedebat.
Ad
quem

sic roseo Thaumantias ore locuta est :
Turne, quod optanti divom promittere nemo
Anderet, volvenda dies, en, attulit ultro.
Aeneas, urbe et sociis et classe relicta,
Sceptra Palatini sedemque petit Euandri.

5

1—24.] 'Iris tells Turnus of Aeneas' Pilumnus being Turnus'great-grandfather, absence, and moves him to attack the 10. 619. Trojan camp.'

4.] •Sacrata, for which one MS. gives 1.) Comp. 7. 540, which generally re 'secreta,' is explained by luco.'

Sedesembles this line. In commencing the bat:' Turnus is represented as at ease book with a particle which refers back to when Iris comes to rouse him. the preceding narrative Virg. imitates 5.] · Roseo ore’ of a goddess 2. 593. Hom., e. g. II. 9. 1. Val. F. begins his "Thaumantias :' Thaumas, son of Ocean 4th book with.

*atque.' • Penitus’ with and Earth, was father of Iris and the *diversa,' as with “divisos” E. 1. 67. The Harpies, Hes. Theog. 265 foll. mention of utter separation is in point, 6.] Cerda comp. 5. 17, Non si mihi as it is the entire removal of Aeneas from Iuppiter auctor Spondeat, hoc sperem the scene which makes his camp in danger. Italiam contingere caelo,” for a similar The transactions referred to are all those hyperbole. at Pallanteum.

7.] *Volvenda dies : see on 1. 269. 2.] Repeated from 5. 606, where as here 8.] Urbe,' the camp-settlement, as in dum' with the present is followed by a past. See Mady. § 336. obs. 2.

9.] •Sceptra,' the sign of authority, for 3.] Turnus is called “audax” v. 126 be. the place over which authority is exercised. low, 7. 409., 10. 276. Parentis' is used • Palatini’ is, as Serv. observes, a proloosely as in 3. 180, like “avus” 10. 76, lepsis; but it is also intended to remind

v. 48.

Nec satis : extremas Corythi penetravit ad urbes, 10
Lydorumque manum collectos armat agrestis.
Quid dubitas ? nunc tempus equos, nunc poscere currus.
Rumpe moras omnis et turbata arripe castra.
Dixit, et in caelum paribus se sustulit alis,
Ingentemque fuga secuit sub nubibus arcum.
Adgnovit iuvenis, duplicisque ad sidera palmas
Sustulit, et tali fugientem est voce secutus :
Iri, decus caeli, quis te mihi nubibus actam
Detulit in terras ? unde haec tam clara repente
Tempestas ? medium video discedere caelum,

15

20

us of Pallanteum, as if · Palatium' were a and this would seem the best if, as Jahn, cognate form of Pallanteum. It is doubtful Peerlkamp, and Forb. think, the copula is whether "petit' is present, the last syll. needed. The argument for the copula is being lengthened by caesura, or perf. con- that · Lydorum manum’ naturally refers tracted. The latter is the view of Lachm. to the town population ( urbes' v. 10), on Lucr. 3. 1042, where several passages who are distinguished from the agrestes. are collected from Ov. and Lucan, in But this is to import a needless exactness which the syll. is similarly lengthened : in of expression into Virg., who need not one of them however, Lucan 5. 522, it have intended a sharp antithesis between would perhaps be more natural to regard the town and country people, but may

petit' as a present. The nearest parallel have brought in 'agrestis' as an afterto the lengthening of a short syllable in this thought, perhaps to enforce the notion that part of the verse is " gravidus auctumno” Aeneas is seeking aid from all quarters. G. 2. 5, as in 7. 398 the initial letter of 12.] *Tempus poscere:' see on G. 1. “hymenaeos” may probably account for 213. the quantity of the last syil. of " canit.” 13.) Serv. gives a choice of interpreta• Petivit' was early introduced as a tions, “aut arripe et turba, aut turbata metrical alteration by ignorant tran- invade, per absentiam Aeneae inordinata." scribers, being found in two or three of Forb. rightly prefers the former, the conRibbeck's cursives and in Rom. from a fusion being attributed to the surprise, correction.

comparing 12. 556, “subita turbaret clade 10.] *Nec (id) satis (est),' a noticeable Latinos." Arripere' of rapid occupation ellipse, as there is nothing in the structure 11.531. There was an unmetrical reading of the sentence to suggest the pronoun, in the early editions, 'turbataque arripe. which has to be inferred from the context. 14, 15.] 5. 657, 658. We might resolve it into 'nec satis (fecit 16.] 1. 93. hoc faciendo),' but the difficulty would be 17.7 1. 406. Et' Med., Rom., restored the same. The meaning is that Aeneas by Heins. Wagn. prefers 'ac,' which has not only get the alliance of Erander seems to be found in the rest of Ribbeck's and the Arcadians, but of the Etruscans; MSS. and this is expressed rhetorically, as if 18.] From Il. 18. 182, 'Ipı Ded, tis gydp Aeneas went far to seek for the Etruscan de Deāv duod dyyelov haev; Turnus' ques. alliance instead of having it offered him. tion is less clearly expressed, and does not, • Corythi’ 3. 170., 7. 209. “ Penetravit like Achilles', meet with an answer. With ad urbes” 7. 207, where, as here, there is decus caeli’ Forb. comp. Hor. Carm. Saec. the notion of difficulty and distance. 2. “Nubibus actam’ 10. 38, driven along

11.] •Lydorum' 8. 479. The reading or from the sky: comp. 10. 73, “ demisbefore Heins., “collectosque,' is found, ac- save nubibus Iris." cording to Ribbeck, in Parrhas., a MS. 19.] Detulit,' as if Iris were conveyed known for its interpolations. Rom., Med., by the physical instrumentality of another. and Pal. omit the copula, the latter, with “Liquidissima caeli tempestas” Lucr. 4. some other copies, reading manus.' One 168. The meaning apparently is, Why is of Ribbeck's cursives has 'manum et,' a there this sudden brightness in the sky ? reading of which there are traces in Gud.; 20.] The image is apparently from II.

Palantisque polo stellas. Sequor omina tanta,
Quisquis in arma vocas. Et sic effatus ad undam
Processit, summoque hausit de gurgite lymphas,
Multa deos orans, oneravitque aethera votis.

Iamque omnis campis exercitus ibat apertis,
Dives equum, dives pictai vestis et auri;

23

8. 568, oùpavódev 8° áp úteppéyn doTETOS but it is similarly used 6. 53., 10. 495 : aionp, návra é cloetai đotpa, where comp. also v. 52 below. however the conditions are different, as it 23.] Turnus takes up water in his hands is a night scene. Serv. refers to the books to cleanse them before offering his prayer. of the Augurs for the expression “caelum Comp. 8. 70, where however more inay discessisse," as if the rent in the sky was be meant. It was a Roman custom to a recognized portent, and Cic. De Div. 1. make vows before a battle and to wash the 43 has “ Caelum discessisse visum est, hands before making them, Turneb. V. L. atque in eo animadversi globi," a parallel 25. 30. Serv. says that if a person after which may also illustrate 'palantis stellas.' seeing an omen came to running water, he But for this, it might be suggested that took up some in his bands and made vows, Virg.'s notion is that a flash of light, such that the stream might not break the omen. as that which seems to have accompanied The notion is curiously like the belief that the appearance of Iris, is really a parting running water dissolved a magical spell, of the clouds and a glimpse of the heaven which the readers of the Lay of the Last beyond (comp. 8. 392 note), as if the stars Minstrel will remember: it is not however and the abode of the gods were concealed likely that Virg., with all his love of antiby a veil of cloud. For the expression quarian allusion, can have referred to it, as comp. also G. 3. 24, “scaena ut versis Turnus is not met by the river, but goes to discedat frontibus.” Two of Ribbeck's it deliberately. cursives have discindere,' to which, or to 24.] ‘Oneravitque aethera votis' was another reading 'descendere,' a correction thought superfluous by Heyne, but is dein Gud. points. In Rom. the second syll. fended by Weichert as a piece of epic reof discedere' is written over an erasure. dundance. If anything can be said against

21.] “Bene “palantis,' quasi in alienum it, it is that it seems too artificial for a tempus errore venientis,” Sery. The passage of ordinary description, though it speaker in fact transfers his own sense of would suit an impassioned passage like 11. irregularity to that which he sees. Lucr. 50. Some inferior copies omit 'que,' a 2. 1031 has « Quaeque in se cohibet reading which the early critics tried to (caelum) palantia sidera passim,” where render metrical either by lengthening the there seems a twofold reference, partly to last syllable of oneravit’ or by scanning the planets, partly to the supposed effect aethera' as a quadrisyllable by diaeresis. of the sky in keeping in those who would 25—76.] • The Rutulians advance to otherwise expatiate too widely. For 'se the attack : the Trojans refuse to come quor' Med. and some others have ‘sequar:' out : Turnus prepares to burn their fleet.' but ‘sequor' is confirmed by the parallel 25.] The second reading of Med. is “Sequimur te, sancte deorum, Quisquis • Iamque adeo,' obviously from a recolleces” 4. 576.

tion of 8. 585. 22.] •Quisquis in arma vocas :' for the 26.] · Dives’ denotes abundance, not doubt expressed see on 4. 577. It must splendour.

Dives pecoris'

E. 2. 20. be owned however that the present pas. Pictai:' see on 3. 354. The uncial MSS. sage would rather suggest that Turnus' are not clear about the word, Med. oridoubt refers not to the identity of Iris but ginally and Ron. having picta,' while in to the god whose bidding she does (comp. Pal. the final 'i' is in an erasure; but it is v. 18): and so Serv. "vel Iuno vel lup- attested by Probus, Diomedes, and other piter.” Possibly in 4. l. c. the doubt may grammarians. Cerda is perhaps right in be the same, referring not to Mercury but taking pictai vestis et auri' as èv o à to the god who sent him, it being assumed dvoiv, comp. Juv. 6. 482, “ Aut latum that he would not have come of his own pictae vestis considerat aurum :" but motion : but there the context favours the * auri' might refer equally well to golden explanation given in the note. “Et'has ornaments. been questioned by Heyne and Ribbeck,

30

35

40

Messapus primas acies, postrema coercent
Tyrrhidae iuvenes; medio dux agmine Turnus
[Vertitur arma tenens, et toto vertice supra est].
Ceu septem surgens sedatis amnibus altus
Per tacitum Ganges, aut pingui flumine Nilus
Cum refluit campis et iam se condidit alveo.
Hic subitam nigro glomerari pulvere nubem
Prospiciunt Teucri, ac tenebras insurgere campis.
Primus ab adversa conclamat mole Caicus:
Quis globus, o cives, caligine volvitur atra?
Ferte citi ferrum, date tela, ascendite muros.
Hostis adest, heia! Ingenti clamore per omnis
Condunt se Teucri portas, et moenia conplent.

Namque ita discedens praeceperat optumus armis 27.] Messapus' 7. 691. •Coercent,' gui' like “fimo pingui " G. 1. 80,“ sero rally and keep in line, like “ agmina pingui” ib. 3. 406, rich and fertilizing. cogunt Castigantque moras” 4. 406. Virg. probably did not separate the two • Postrema’i. q. “postremas acies." notions, and we need not do so.

28.] “Tyrrhidae iuvenes” 7. 484. 32.] Refluit campis,' flows back from

29.1 This line is wanting in all Rib. the fields, like “referebat pectore voces" beck's MSS., and was doubtless introduced 5. 409. from 7. 781. It is only for the sake of 33.] Nubem' eaused partly by the convenience that I bracket rather than dust and partly by the body ruising it. exclude it.

Pal. and originally Gud. have magno. 30.7 The comparison, as Jahn and 35.] “ Adversa,' castris opposita an Wagn. remark, belongs to vv. 25, 26, the venienti agmini?” Serv. Clearly the intermediate lines being quasi-parentheti- latter. Caicus' 1. 183. cal. The steady silent march of the army 3 6.] Globus' is explained by 'glomeis compared to the rising of the Ganges, rari' v. 33. It matters little whether or the subsidence of the Nile. 'Surgens' caligine' be taken as an attrib. abl. with can hardly refer to anything but the globus' or an abl. of circumstance with rising of the river, which is supposed to "volvitur.' It is really a variety of be slow and gradual. Whethier Virg. “globus caliginis." had any authority for this notion of the 37.] · Ascendite' Pal., Med., Gud., 'et periodical overflow of the Ganges, we do scandite' Rom. and virtually fragm. Vat. not know. He may have confused it with Gud. as a variant has 'et ascandite,' and the Nile, as is further made probable by Med. has 'scandite' (without 'et') in the number seven, which belongs to the marg. This last was the reading of many Nile (see 6. 800), though Serv. refers for of the old editions, and was retained by the seven branches of the Ganges to a Heyne, who thought the others metrical passage of Mela, which is either misunder corrections. But the lengthening of a stood or non-existent. To take 'surgens' short syllable before 'sc' is unknown to with recent commentators of the rise or Virg. Ribbeck, following Heins., thinks source of the river would not agree well et scandite' may point to ecscandite' or with amnibus,' and would have no point 'escendite.' Tbis is possible: but it seems as a comparison. The alliteration, as well on every ground safest to retain ascenas the spondaic movement of the line, dite. The line closely resembles 4. 594. gives a notion of slowness and quiet. 39.] Condere’implies motion, so that it

31.7.Per tacitum' constructed with is naturally constructed with per portas.' surgens,' i.q." tacite," as in Sil. 10.353., 40.] With optumus armis' Ġossrau 12. 554., 17. 215, cited by Forb., who also comp. “ melior armis ” 10, 735. The epi. quotes Lucan 10. 251, “ trahitur Gangesthet justifies the command given by Ae. que Padusque Per tacitum mundi," a nens, clearing the Trojans, as Serv. re. further extension of the expression. •Pinmarks, from any imputation of cowardice.

« PreviousContinue »