« ForrigeFortsæt »
Lumina, labentem caelo quae ducitis annum ;
time,' 'I will begin now.' So Varro, R. R. 2. 1, proceeds to his subject with the words 'incipiam hinc.' Not unlike is hinc refert,' E. 6. 41, 'next he sings.' Voss's interpretation of hinc' as 'horum partem,' 'ex his,' like τv áμółɛv, Hom. Od. 1. 10, as if to show the modesty of the poet, is far less simple and obvious. Incipiam' is rather 'I will undertake' than I will begin,' as is rightly remarked by Henry on A. 2. 13. Keightley comp. Lucr. 1. 55, "Disserere incipiam." The whole exordium may be translated, 'What makes a corn-field smile, what star suits best for turning up the soil and marrying the vine to the elm, what care oxen need, what is the method of breeding cattle, and what weight of man's experience preserves the frugal commonwealth of bees -such is the song I now essay."
5-42.] I invoke the sun and moon, the powers that give corn and wine, the woodgods and nymphs, the gods of horses, herds, and flocks, the patrons of the olive, the plough, and the forest-trees-in short, every rural power, and especially Caesar, our future deity, who has yet his province to choose. May he, in pity to the husbandmen, begin his reign at once, and accept their homage and mine.'
6.] It is a question whether the sun and moon are meant to be identified with or distinguished from Bacchus and Ceres. The asyndeton looks rather in favour of the former view, which has the authority of Macrobius (Sat. 1. 18). It is no argument against it that Varro, in invoking the gods at the beginning of his treatise De Re Rustica, discriminates the two pairs of deities from each other, as his enumeration in other respects is sufficiently unlike Virgil's: nor will the objection that Virgil is not likely to have introduced a mystical doctrine into a poem on a practical subject weigh much with those who appreciate the character of the poet. A more serious difficulty is started by Keightley, who observes that though the sun may have been identified with Bacchus, as Macr. shows from other instances, it is not established that the moon and Ceres were ever considered the same. But if the first part of the identification is made out, the coincidence with Virgil's language seems too striking to be
accidental, and thus the remaining hypothesis becomes probable, even in default of direct evidence in its favour. Besides Proserpine, as Keightley admits, was occasionally classed in this manner with Bacchus, and was in fact worshipped under the name of Libera (Cic. Verr. 2. 4. 48): and we know that the functions of Ceres and those of her daughter were not always separated. On 'Lumina' there is a curious note of Serv.: "Numina fuit, sed emendavit ipse, quia postea ait, Et vos agrestum praesentia numina Fauni." Wakefield adopts numina,' while Wagn. supposes Serv.'s remark to refer to v. 7, where 'numine' is the second reading of Med. for 'munere.' 'Caelo,' 'along the sky.' The general sense of the line is parallel to Lucr. 5. 1436 foll., cited by Heyne, vigiles mundi magnum [et] versatile templum Sol et luna suo lustrantes luminė circum Perdocuere homines annorum tempora verti, Et certa ratione geri rem atque ordine certo."
7.] 'Liber' and 'Ceres' were worshipped together at Rome. Keightley, Myth. p. 460. 'Si' used as frequently in adjurations. The worshipper affects to make the existence of the attributes of the gods dependent on the granting of his prayer.
8.] 'Chaoniam,' a literary epithet: see on E. 1.55. So' Dodona' of the oak, v. 149.
9.] Pocula,' perhaps of the draught rather than of the cup, as in E. 8. 28, though it might well bear its usual sense. 'Acheloia' agrees with 'Chaoniam,' as if the poet had meant to represent Epirus and Aetolia as the cradle of the human race. Achelous was said to be the oldest of all rivers, whence the name was frequently put for water in general (Eur. And. 166, Bacch. 625: see Macr. Sat. 5. 18). Hyginus (fab. 274) and Serv. have stories connecting the discovery of wine with the neighbourhood of the Achelous. Hermann has a dissertation "De Musis fluvialibus Epicharmi et Eumeli" (reprinted in vol. 2 of his Opuscula), where he rejects this explanation, and contends that river-water got the name Achelous from the muse Achelois, the patron of rivers.
10.] Fauni,' E. 6. 27.
Ferte simul Faunique pedem Dryadesque puellae : Munera vestra cano. Tuque o, cui prima frementem Fudit equum magno tellus percussa tridenti, Neptune; et cultor nemorum, cui pinguia Ceae Ter centum nivei tondent dumeta iuvenci ; Ipse, nemus linquens patrium saltusque Lycaei, Pan, ovium custos, tua si tibi Maenala curae, Adsis, o Tegeaee, favens, oleaeque Minerva Inventrix, uncique puer monstrator aratri, 11.] 'Ferre pedem,' of ordinary motion, A. 2. 756, Catull. 14. 21, of dancing, Hor. 2 Od. 12. 17, which may be its sense here, as the Fauns in Ecl. 6 are made to dance. The repetition of Fauni' serves as a kind of correction of the previous verse, where they alone were mentioned. Keightley remarks on the union of the Italian Fauns with the Greek Dryads.
12.] Munera,' E. 3. 63. Tuque' and 'cultor nemorum' are coupled with the preceding lines, being constructed grammatically with 'ferte pedem.' 'Prima' is virtually equivalent to primum,' the point being that this was the first horse produced. 'Frementem,' of a war-horse, A. 7. 638., 11. 599., 12. 82.
13.] Neptune produced the first horse, Scyphius, in Thessaly, by a stroke of his trident.
"Primus ab aequorea percussis cuspide saxis Thessalicus sonipes, bellis fatalibus omen, Exsiluit," Lucan 6. 393. Heyne and some of the earlier commentators suppose the reference to be to the contest between Neptune and Minerva for the honour of naming Athens, when the former produced a horse, the latter an olive but it may be doubted whether this version of the legend was current in Virgil's time, as the Greek writers represent Neptune to have produced not a horse, but a spring of salt water (Hdt. 8. 55). In Ov. M. 6. 75, where the story is told, the MSS. vary between 'fretum' and 'ferum.' Serv., who explains the present passage by this legend, tells us that in his time the greater part of the ancient copies actually read aquam' for equum,' though he himself prefers the latter. Water, as he remarks, is no part of the subject of the Georgics, and the epithet 'frementem' would not suit aquam' so well. 'Fudit,' of easy production, as in Lucr. 5. 917, "Tempore quo primum tellus animalia fudit" (quoted by Cerda), which perhaps Virgil had in his mind.
Ceos, which he delivered from drought, and
16.] Come thou too in thy power from thy forest home and the Lycean lawns, Pan, tender of sheep, by the love thou bearest thy Maenalus, and stand graciously at my side, god of Tegea.' 'Ipse,' as the great rural god. The line is apparently modelled on Theocr. 1. 123 foll., the resemblance to which would be closer if we were to read 'seu' for 'si' with Schrader; but 'si' is sufficiently defended by v. 7. Lycaei,' E. 10. 15.
17.] Ovium custos,' the shepherd Kar' oxýv. Maenalus,' E. 8. 21., 10. 55 (where the pl. is used).
18.] "Calami, Pan Tegeaee, tui," Prop. 4. 3. 30. For the story of Minerva and the olive see on v. 13.
19.] Triptolemus is naturally mentioned after Minerva, as the legend connected both with Attica. Other stories represented.
Et teneram ab radice ferens, Silvane, cupressum,
Osiris as the inventor of the plough (Tibull.
20.] Silvanus (E. 10. 24) is represented in sculpture with a cypress in his hand, and hence called devdpopópoc. See Heyne. His connexion with the cypress is accounted for by the legend of his attachment to Cyparissus, an Italianized version of one of the mythes of Apollo. In Catull. 62 (64). 289 Peneus appears at the bridal of Peleus and Thetis bearing trees plucked up by the roots, and among them the cypress. 'Ab radice' with 'ferens,' a sort of condensed expression, as Catullus, 1. c., has "tulit radicitus."
21.] Serv. says that the pontiffs, after invoking the gods whose aid was specially required in the particular case, concluded with a general invocation. The names of some of the rural deities of Italy may be found in Varro, R. R. 1. 1; others are given by Serv. from Fabius Pictor. Ursinus quotes Prop. 4. 13. 41, "Dique deaeque omnes, quibus est tutela per agros," evidently an imitation. 'Studium tueri,' 2.
195. For a discussion on this class of expressions, see on v. 213. In the case of 'studium' perhaps it is more natural to regard the infinitive as a nominative, and make it the subject of the proposition. But in 3. 179, 180'studium' certainly seems to be the subject, praelabi' being connected with it, like ad bella,' probably in a gerundial construction, as if it had been 'studium bellandi, aut praelabendi.'
22.] Non ullo' was restored by Heins. from Med., and others for nonnullo.' Pier. mentions another reading 'nullo de.' The abl. is descriptive of fruges.' The distinction is a general one between nature and cultivation, not, as in 2. 10-13, be
tween spontaneous production and production by seed.
24.] This invocation of Caesar is probably, as Keightley observes, the first specimen of the kind. It was followed by Lucan and Statius, the former invoking Nero, the latter Domitian. Adeo:' see on E. 4. 11. 'Mox' has been thought to contain a bad compliment; but the poet's present object is to say that his patron will be deified, not to wish that his death may be delayed. Comp. v. 503.
25.] Concilia' seems to mean merely company or society, as in Cic. Tusc. 1. 30, "seclusum a concilio deorum." 'Of whom we know not in what house of gods thou art in good time to sit.' Some understand 'urbis' (genitive) of Rome, and connect' invisere' with 'curam;' but it is more natural to confine invisere' to 'urbis,' and make 'curam' the object of 'velis,' as indeed is 'invisere,' rightly regarded. So in Hor. 1 Od. 1. 4 collegisse' is virtually a nominative, and as such is joined with ‘meta.' 'Invisere' seems to have the force of πOTTEVE, which is peculiarly used, e. g. by Aeschylus, of divine regard and supervision.
27.] Auctorem' has here its full etymological force, augere' and its cognates being repeatedly used of vegetable growth. "Ad fruges augendas atque animantis," Lucr. 5. 80. Tempestatumque potentem' occurs again A. 1. 80., 3. 528, where it seems to mean storms rather than, as here, weather generally; but the repetition may teach us that the different meanings are not likely to have been discriminated in Virgil's mind so sharply as in ours. 'The giver of its increase, and lord of its changeful seasons.' 28.] Cingens materna tempora myrto,' nearly repeated A. 5. 72. For the connexion of the myrtle with Venus, see E. 7. 62; for that of the Julian family with Venus, E. 9. 47. The myrtle coronation seems to be meant as an acknowledgment of royalty.
An deus inmensi venias maris ac tua nautae
29.] Or whether thy coming shall be as the god of the unmeasured sea, the sole power to claim the seaman's homage, with furthest Thule for thy handmaid, and Tethys buying thee for her daughter with the dower of all her waves.' 'Deus,' 'the god,' not 'a god,' as is shown by 'sola, ultima Thule' (expressing the extent of the dominion) and 'omnibus undis.' 'Inmensi maris,' Lucr. 2. 590, the artiρwv TÓVτоç of Homer. Venias,'' come to be,' 'become.' "Nemo repente venit turpissimus," Juv. 2. 83; "dignus venias hederis,” Id. 7. 29.
30.] Thule,' the extreme northern point of legendary travel, disputed about by the ancient geographers (Strabo 4, p. 201), and variously identified by the moderns with Zetland, Iceland, and Jutland. 31.] Caesar is to marry one of the Oceanides, and to receive as dowry the whole kingdom of the sea. The expression is like Eur. Med. 234, xonμáτwv VTEрßоly Πόσιν πρίασθαι.
32.] Caesar is invited to take his place among the signs of the Zodiac, which were dentified with living beings. Tardis is generally explained of the summer months, after Manil. 2. 102, "cum sol adversa per astra Aestivum tardis attollit mensibus annum;" but it need be no more than a disparaging epithet, intended to exalt the power of Caesar, who is to speed the year, as Cowley (Davideis, Book 1) says, "The old drudging Sun, from his longbeaten way, Shall at thy voice start, and misguide the day."
33.] Erigonen,' Dict. Biog. under 'Icarius.' Chelas,' xnλác, the claws of the scorpion (Arat. 81, μɛyáλaç paíso xnλás), which in the early representations of the zodiac occupied the place of a separate sign. So Ov. M. 2. 195, "Est
35.]. Reliquit,' the reading of Med. and others, is more forcible than 'relinquit,' expressing further the scorpion's alacrity. Iusta plus parte:' having formerly taken more than his share, now he is content with less.
36.] 'Sperant' Med. (first reading), Rom., rightly adopted by Wagn. for 'sperent,' which would create rather a tautology with the next line. With 'sperant' the sense is, 'The honour is too great for Tartarus to hope; and you cannot be so desirous of empire on any terms as to wish to be king there.'
37.] Tam dira cupido,' A. 6. 373., 9. 185, which show that 'dira' merely means 'intense.' The line was not improbably the original of Milton's, "To reign is worth ambition, though in hell."
38, 39.] Though the Greeks paint glowing pictures of Elysium, and Proserpine shows a preference for the world below over the world above.'
40.] Vouchsafe me a smooth course, and smile on my bold endeavours, and in pity, like mine, for the countryman as he
Ignarosque viae mecum miseratus agrestis
Vere novo, gelidus canis cum montibus humor
wanders blind and unguided, assume the
42.] Ingredere,' used as in A. 8, 513, where Evander invites Aeneas to take upon him the command of the Tyrrhenians. So "Adgredere o magnos, aderit iam tempus, honores," E. 4. 48. Caesar there is called upon to enter on his divinity. The other interpretation, explaining the word with reference to 'viae," begin to tread the path,' seems on the whole less likely on account of the words that follow, votis iam nunc adsuesce vocari.'
43-49.] 'Begin to plough as soon as winter is over. A fourfold ploughing will be repaid by an abundant harvest.'
43.] Columella (2. 2, § 2) tells the farmer not to wait for some fixed day, as the beginning of spring, but to commence operations before the winter is well over, say after the ides of January. 'Gelidus. resolvit' give the reason why this is the earliest moment when ploughing can begin. 44.] 'Liquitur montibus,' like "liquuntur rupibus amnes," 2. 185. 'Zephyro' is the agent by whose help the liberation takes place. Emm. well comp. 2. 330, "Zephy
rique tepentibus auris Laxant arva sinus ;" Hor. 1 Od. 4. 1, "Solvitur acris hiems grata vice veris, et Favoni ;" Stat. Theb. 4. 1, "Tertius horrentem Zephyris laxaverat annum Phoebus."
45.] The adjuncts depresso,'ingemere,'' attritus,' splendescere,' imply that the ploughing is to be thorough. So "fortes invertant tauri," v. 65. The language of the first clause is borrowed from Lucr. 5. 209, "vis humana . . . valido consueta bidenti Ingemere, et terram pressis proscindere aratris." "Taurus' here and elsewhere for 'bos' or 'iuvencus.' The ancients never ploughed with bulls, any more than the moderns.
46.] Serv. quotes from Cato's discourse to his son, "Vir bonus est, M. fili, colendi peritus, cuius ferramenta splendent." The notion here may be of rubbing off the rust of winter.
47, 48.] The common practice was to plough three times, in spring, summer, and autumn; but where the soil was strong there was another ploughing in the autumn of the previous year. So Pliny explains the passage (18. 20), “quarto seri sulco Virgilius existimatur voluisse, cum dixit, optimam esse segetem, quae bis solem, bis frigora sensisset." Heyne comp. Theocr, 25. 25, τριπόλοις σπόρον ἐν νειοῖσιν Εσθ ̓ ὅτε βάλλοντες καὶ τετραπόλοισιν ὁμοίως. Sensit' refers to the effect of the ploughing, after which the land would be more alive to feel the hot and cold seasons. See p. 138. 'Seges' is of course the land. 49.]
Illius,' segetis. Ruperunt horrea :' see, the barns are burst at once,' the perf. expressing instantaneous action, as in 2. 81. Horrea vincat," 2. 518. But it would be equally possible, though less forcible, to render the perfect, have been known to burst.'
50-63.] First however understand the nature of the soil and climate. Different soils are adapted to different products, as