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the north. Oaxen The Oaxes or Axus falls from Mt. Ida in Crete to the north coast, a town still called Axus stands on it. Whether it was rapidus Vergil probably did not know or care, just as he calls the Hebrus, which is a sluggish stream, volucer, Aen. 1, 317. [I have here adopted the common reading and explanation. But it ought to be noted that Dr. Kennedy would read rapidum cretæ chalk rolling,' and explain Oaxes to be the Oxus in Central Asia.]
21. And the Britons severed from it [the East] by the whole world.' The more usual explanation is this: The orbis terrarum is surrounded by the stream of the ocean, and Britain being in this ocean is regarded as outside the world.__Tennyson alludes to this meaning of the line in his address to Vergil :— 'I, from out the northern islands sunder'd once from all the human race
I, salute thee, Mantovano.'
But Dr. Kennedy translates 'utterly separated by the whole world' from the Oaxes, and is strongly supported by the quotations he brings forward, to which we may add Ov. Pont. 2, 2, 23.
The accusatives Afros, Scythiam, Oaxen, Britannos, are of 'the place whither one goes.' L.P. § 101. In prose they would usually have a preposition as not being names of single towns. For the form Oaxen, see N.E. A. 4.
22-24. 'Ah! shall I ever long hence see with joyful surprise my ancestral lands again, and the straw thatch laid upon the turf roof of my poor cottage,-ever see hereafter the poor crops 1 once was lord of?'
longo post tempore] 'a long while hence.' In this construction post is an adverb: and longo tempore is the ablative answering the question, 'how long before or after'? L. P. § 120.
23. tuguri] 'rustic house' [Tug-urium is from the root σTEу seen in σréyw 'cover,' with the loss of initial s, as in teg-o, tec-tum, teg-imen, teg-ula]. congestum caespite culmen The roof is first covered with sods and then thatched with straw. Cp. Horace (Od. 2, 15, 17), Nec fortuitum spernere caespitem leges sinebant.
24. This line is very difficult. Some translate post aliquot aristas after some harvests,' i.e. years. Others, with whom I
agree, take post as an adverb repeating the idea of longo post tempore. For mea regna [in apposition to aliquot aristas, fines, culmen,] cp. 15, 10, of the defeated bull going into exile, et stabula adspectans regnis excessit avitis. As in the case of tuguri he means by aliquot to indicate the humble nature of the property left, some few ears of corn.'
25. impius] He calls the soldier impius as having been engaged in civil war, which was an unnatural combat (impia proelia, Hor., Od. 2, 1, 30). miles the veteran to whom the land will be or is assigned. novalia novale (sc. solum) is properly land left fallow or ploughed for the first time. here used for any cultivated ground.
26. barbarus] 'some foreign soldier,' for Gauls and men of other nations served in the Roman armies.
26. quo] 'to what a state civil war has brought our citizens.'
27. his] for such as these!' hic often expresses indignation or contempt. Cp. haec sunt officiis digna sepulchra meis? 'Such a burial as this.' Ov. Ep. 11, 124.
29. insere] 'graft.' ordine, i.e. in the quincunx or alternate rows, like this :
Itego your ways.' felix quondam pecus, flock,' in apposition to capellae.
once a happy
31. dumosa pendere procul de rupe] 'seeming in the distance, to hang suspended from the bosky rock.' The appearance of goats on a mountain ridge, seeming to be hanging from it, must be familiar to all who have seen mountain scenery. Thus Ovid describes the appearance of a person on a cliff to one at sea as haerentem scopulo, [Ep. 10, 186.]
32. me pascente] 'with me for shepherd.'
33. cytisum]. The cytisus is said to be the large sort of clover called snail-clover. ['lucerne' L. L.].
[The coming of another golden age, in which war should be no more, and all nature should be full of plenty and happiness, has long been a common theme with poets. But it seems that the coming of a Man destined to bring this blissful state of things into actual existence, had been rumoured somewhat more persistently than usual in the latter part of the last century B.C. In the East the Jews had interpreted it of the promised Messiah; in the West it was by some regarded as fulfilled in the person of Augustus. Whether Vergil knew of this from some remote report of the Messianic prophecies, or whether, as some think, some passages in the Sibylline books actually did contain such a prophecy, we cannot be sure. At any rate these words written in B.C. 40, the year of the peace of Brundusium between Octavian and Antony, are meant in some way to convey a sense of joyful anticipation of the good to be expected from that event. The promised child is about to be born. Whose child does Vergil mean? Some say Pollio's own. Others think that no particular child is alluded to, and that it is a mere vague poetical figure. We may note that Octavian had recently married Scribonia, and was expecting a child, which however proved to be not a son but a daughter, Julia.
This is the political view of the lines. The astronomical view is also to be noted. According to the Sibylline books the world had passed through a great cycle [annus magnus], and a new one was about to begin when the sun and moon and planets would occupy exactly the same relative positions as they did at the creation. Vergil affects to regard this first cycle as ended with the ending of the civil war. The new cycle, commencing as the old did with a 'golden age,' is about to begin.]
1. Cymaei carminis] 'spoken of in the prophecy of the Cymaean Sibyl.' Vergil uses the Greek form (Kuuaios) Cymaeus, instead of the ordinary Latin adjective Cumanus. The Sibyl of Cumae was only one of many similar Sibyls who lived in other places. The Cuman Sibyl however was the most famous, and it is she that is said to have offered her books to Tarquinius.
2. magnus ordo saeclorum]'a great procession of ages, i.e. the annus magnus, see introduction. In this annus magnus,
as in the Solar year, there would be four seasons corresponding to the four ages of men, the golden, silver, bronze, iron ages.
ab integro] 'afresh,' 'from the very beginning.'
3-4. All the characteristics of the golden age are to reappear. Astraea (Virgo) the goddess of Justice is to return; the reign of Saturn is to begin again; a new race of men with none of the sins of the present mortals is to be put upon the earth.
Saturnia regna] In the golden age Saturn was still king of heaven, and Jupiter had not yet replaced him. Saturnus (identified with the Greek Cronos) is the ancient Italian god, whose name connected with satus (sero) indicates a god of agriculture. Cp. 11, 38.
Astraea] 'Justice,' left the world in the iron age, G. 2, 473, extrema per illos Justitia excedens terris vestigia fecit.
5. quo] 'at whose birth,' sc. quo nascente; or 'by whom,' 3 ' under whose auspices.'
7. Lucina] the goddess of child-birth, Eixelovîa. Both Juno and Diana were invoked under this title. Casta is not used because the latter is here meant, it rather refers to the birth of a child in pure wedlock.
tuus jam regnat Apollo] 'It is your brother Apollo that is now in the ascendant.' The last of the ages in the old annus magnus was that of the Sun.
8. te adeo] Adeo emphasises the word after which it comes; and it is your Consulship, yours I say, O Pollio' etc.
9. decus hoc aevi] 'this ornament or glory of his age,' i.e. the child to be born. Thus Dr. Kennedy explains, and I agree with him rather than with Conington, who translates this glorious age.'
10. Pollio] C. Asinius Pollio [or Polio] b. B.C. 75, was of Caesar's party, and was given by him the province of Spain. After Caesar's death he took the side of Octavian as against Antony; and in his consulship B.C. 40 negotiated the reconciliation between them called the peace of Brundusium. We know from Horace (C. 2, 1) that he wrote or intended to write a history of the civil war, and that he also had written tragedies; that he had a reputation as a speaker in the Senate, as a patronus
or pleader in the courts, and that he was granted a triumph for his conduct of a campaign in Dalmatia, in which he took a town called Salona.
Insigne maestis praesidium reis
magni menses] i.e. the months (or ages) of the annus magnus.
11. inrita solvent] 'by being rendered abortive they will release.'
12-14. These lines appear to be too strong as addressed to Pollio's son, and to have a direct reference to the deification of the Caesars. If that be so, patriis virtutibus will mean with the virtues of his father Augustus.'
illis] 'by them,' the dat. of the agent.
14. I think this line is decisive of the fact that Vergil at any rate meant his verses to be applicable to the family of Caesar.
15-20. The earth is to produce all its treasures spontaneously, another sign of the golden age. munuscula the diminutive is used as appropriate to the gifts to a child. Cp. Hor. Epist. 1, 7, 17, non invisa feres pueris munuscula parvis. errantes] 'straggling,' 'growing unchecked.'
15. colocasia] Egyptian beans,' a large plant of the lily species.
acanthus] 'bear's foot.' Vergil elsewhere calls it flexus (G. 4, 123) mollis (Ecl. 3, 45), which epithets refer to its pliant twisting sprays, cf. vypòs &каvoоя, Theoсr. 1, 55; ridenti appears to refer to the brightness of its leaves.
'Through many a woven acanthus wreath divine.'-Tennyson.
18. ipsae] of their own accord,' i.e. without being driven by the goatherd.
20. Your cradle will spontaneously envelop you in caressing flowers,' i.e. there will be no need to gather flowers to adorn your bed. blandos so he calls catuli favourite dogs' blandi, G. 3, 496.