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the only poet who has attained the grace and finish of a literary period; he is the only primeval poet so complete in himself that it might be questioned whether it would have been an advantage to him to have lived later. There may conceivably be one or two touches in Ennius which appear to show a more modern feeling than Homer's, a keen sense of colour", an appreciation of philosophy and literature as such; for an age, even when relatively less advanced than some former age, is yet in a certain sense the heir of all that have gone before it, and the age of Ennius in particular possessed the rudiments of criticism and aspired after culture; but, regarded in the gross, Homer is mature and articulate, while Ennius is still crude and infantine, and it was not to be expected that the large utterance of the divine foretime of Greece should come mended to Virgil's ear when repeated by the stammering lips of his Italian ancestors. Virgil may have believed, as Ennius did, that the soul which dwelt in his own breast had once animated Homer; but he probably would not have recognized Ennius as the intermediate channel of its transmission.
It is needless to say any thing of the rest of the early Roman epic writers, who are indeed mere names to us; to speculate on the extent to which Virgil's impressions of Apollonius' poem may have been modified by the version of Varro Atacinus, of which five unimportant fragments remain, or to inquire whether the Aeneid is likely to have benefited by the example of Hostius' work, De Bello Histrico, in any other respect than in the multiplication of the “ten tongues” of the second Iliad into a hundred'. As little necessity is there to speak of the possible effect of Roman tragedy on the Aeneid, as, though there are evident proofs that Virgil did not disdain to imitate individual passages,
. e.g. 'Russescunt frundes,' Ann. 7. fr. 20 (Vahlen's edition). 5 “Nec quisquam sophiam sapientia quae perhibetur
In somnis vidit prius quam sam discere coepit.”—Ann. 7. fr. 2. Compare also fr. 1, the celebrated lines about Naevius.
6 Seneca (Controv. 16, p. 238) says that Montanus Julius praised Virgil for having improved (in his description of night, A. 8. 27, foll.) on two lines of Varro :
“Desierant latrare canes, urbesque silebant :
Omnia noctis erant, placida conposta quiete." Virgil, however, is not nearer to Varro than he is to Varro's original, Apoll. 3. 749, foll.
1 «Ηomeri est ουδ' εί μοι δέκα μεν γλώσσαι, δέκα δε στόματ’ είεν. Ηunc secutus Hostius poeta in libro secundo Belli Histrici ait: Non si mihi linguae Centum atque ora sient totidem vocesque liquatae. Hinc Vergilius ait: Non mihi si linguae centum sint oraque centum.” Macrob. Sat. 2. 3. It is worth noting that Pope, professing to translate Homer, has turned the ten tongues into a thousand. He had, however, some provocation, as Ogilby had made them a hundred.
8 See on A. 2. 237, 281, 499, &c.
his real obligations are not to Ennius, Pacuvius, or Attius, but to the great Athenian masters whom they copied as Ennius copied Homer.
The result of our inquiry then is this. Virgil imitated Homer, but imitated him as a rival, not as a disciple; his object was not to give a faithful interpretation of his great master, but to draw forth his own genius and satisfy the age in which he lived; and accordingly he modified the Homeric story at his pleasure, according to the thousand considerations that might occur to a poetical artist, a patriot, and a connoisseur of antiquarian learning. Of later influences, the only one which seems to have taken a really powerful hold of him is Greek tragedy, which was in fact the only instance of a genius and culture commensurate with his own, operating in a sphere analogous to his. The epics of Alexandria and of early Rome may furnish occasional illustrations to the commentator on the Aeneid; but his more continuous studies will be better devoted to the poetry of Homer and to the tragic drama of Greece.
P. VERGILI MARONIS
Α Ε Ν Ε Ι D 0 S
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.
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 ma chinery 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 accompanied 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 that it is, to say the least, remarkable that the Trojan kingdom in Italy, his voyages the exordium should be so constructed as and his wars.'
to be at once interwoven with the context, 1.] This line is preceded in some MSS. and yet capable of removal without detriby the following verses,
ment to the construction, just at the point “ Ille ego, qui quondam gracili modulatus which forms a much better commence
ment. The words 'arma virumque' are Carmen et egressus silvis vicina coegi
quoted by Martial, 8. 56., 19. 14., 185. 2, Ut quamvis avido parerent arva colono, and Auson. Epig. 137. 1, evidently as a Gratum opus agricolis: at nunc hor- real commencement of the Aeneid; while rentia Martis."
Ovid, Trist. 2. 533, and Persius, 1.96, quote
'arma virumque,' or 'arma virum,' as imThey are not found in Med., Rom., Gud., portant and independent words, which they or the Verona fragments (Pal. and the cease to be the moment .arma’ is viewed fragments of Vat. and St. Gall seem to in connexion with the words supposed to fail here), and the only MS. in Ribbeck's precede it. Virgil himself, 9. 777, has (of list which contains them (the Berne MS. the poet Clytius) “Semper equos atque No. 172) has them written in the margin arma virum pugnasque canebat.” Comp. by a later hand. They appear to have also Ov. 1 Amor. 15. 25, Prop. 3. 26. 63, existed in the time of Servius and of the which point the same way. Henry's view Pseudo-Donatus, who say that Nisus the that "arma Martis' is happily contrasted grammarian had heard a story of their with “arma agricolae' (comp. G. 1. 160) having been expunged by Tucca and seems to be favoured by the structure of Varius; on which Heyne remarks, "Si res the sentence, and may very possibly have ita se habet, acutior sane Varius Vergilio been present to the mind of the gramfuit." The external evidence of such a marian; but it clearly was not present to story it is impossible to estimate, but its the minds of those who quoted "arma' by existence suspiciously indicates that the itself as war. Tastes may differ as to the lines were felt to require apology. Those rival commencements, on which see Henry who speak of them as an introduction to in loco, and on 2. 247 : but it may be sugthe poem, forget that if genuine they are gested that Virgil would scarcely in his an integral part of the first sentence; and first sentence have divided the attention of