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Frigida Saturni sese quo stella receptet ;
signs of the Zodiac with Wagn., as the next
336.] Saturn and Mercury are chosen as the two extremes, and the husbandman is told to observe their course in the sky. Saturn in Capricorn, according to Serv., was supposed to cause heavy rains, especially in Italy. Frigida' from its distance from the sun. Recepto' is used nearly in the sense of recipio:' otherwise we might say that the frequentative here has a sort of intensifying force, denoting the distance of the retirement, as in Pers. 6. 8, "multa litus se valle receptat," it may be intended to mark the depth of the bay.
337.] 'Ignis' with 'Cyllenius.' 'Caelo' the reading of Med., is preferred by several of the later editors. That 'caeli orbis' (A. 8. 97) might be used for the orbit of a planet no less than for that of the sun, appears from 2. 477, "caeli vias ;" Lucr. 5. 648, "Qui minus illa queant per magnos aetheris orbis Aestibus inter se diversis sidera ferri?" 'Caelo' on the other hand is slightly supported by Catull. 62 (60). 20, "Hespere, qui caelo fertur crudelior ignis?" "Ignis' here is probably emphatic, contrasted with 'frigida Saturni stella.' The Greeks called Mercury ὁ στίλβων.
338.] Ceres is distinguished from the other gods to show that she in particular is to be worshipped. 'Magnae,' an ordinary epithet of the gods, applied not only to Jupiter but to Apollo, Hercules, Juno, Pales, &c. 'Annua sacra are the Ambarvalia, mentioned before, E. 5. 70 (note), and described at length Tibull. 2. 1. (See Dict. A. Arvales fratres.')
339.] Refer' seems to express recurrence; see on v. 249, and comp. A. 5. 605, "tumulo referunt sollennia ludis:" but it might denote the payment of a due. 'Operatus,'' sacrificing,' like 'facio,' pw, &c. "Tunc operata Deo pubes discumbet in herba," Tibull. 2. 5. 95. For the pre
sent force of the part. see on v. 293.
340.] The language is not to be pressed, as the Ambarvalia did not take place till the end of April. 'Casum' contains that sense of cadere' which is more generally expressed by 'occidere.'
341.] τῆμος πιόταταί τ' αἶγες καὶ οἶνος apioToç, Hes. Works 585, speaking of sum
Pingues agni' is the order of the best MSS., restored by Heins. for agni pingues.' 'Tum' for 'tunc' is restored by Wagn. from Med. 'Pingues' doubtless refers to fatness either for sacrifice or for eating, as the mention of wine immediately afterwards shows. 'Mollissima:' so "molli mero," Hor. 1 Od. 7. 19; "molle Calenum," Juv. 1. 69. 'Mellow,' the Greek μαλακός as opposed to σκληρός (“ durum Bacchi saporem," 4. 102).
342.] The second clause explains the first. Hesiod 1. c. wishes for a seat under the shadow of a rock. See p. 125.
344.] Libations of honey, milk, and wine are to be made to Ceres. Macr. Sat. 3. 11, explaining this passage, says that the mixture was called 'mulsum.' He also comp. 4. 102, and explains 'miti' here of the wine as corrected by the honey; but this is obviously needless after 'mollissima ' preceding. Cato 134 directs that wine be offered to Ceres before harvest, along with the entrails of the sacrifice, but says nothing of any other liquid. Milk, wine, and honey formed part of the Grecian offerings to the dead (Æsch. Pers. 611 foll.); and we know that the Greek Demeter was connected with the lower world. (Müller's Dissertations on the Eumenides, §§ 80 foll.) Daphnis at the Ambarvalia is to have milk and oil (the latter part of the funeral libations, and occasionally offered to Demeter, Müller, § 89), and also wine (E. 5. 67 foll.). Theocr. 5. 53 foll. makes milk and oil offered to the nymphs, milk and honey to Pan: and Macr. 1. c. says that on December 21 'mulsum' was offered to the Panes. Serv. mentions an interpretation which coupled 'Baccho' with 'cui;' but 'miti' is strongly against
Terque novas circum felix eat hostia fruges,
Atque haec ut certis possemus discere signis,
this, though Bacchus and Ceres are invoked
345.] "Tunc vitula innumeros lustrabat caesa iuvencos: Nunc agna exigui est hostia parva soli. Agna cadet vobis, quam circum rustica pubes Clamet: Io messis et bona vina date," Tibull. 1. 1. 21 foll., from which it appears that the victim varied according to the circumstances of the worshipper. Cato 134 speaks of a sow. In the
Suovetaurilia' the sacrifices were carried three times round the assembled multitude, and so in the lustration of the fleet (Dict. A. 'lustratio'). Felix' is doubtless ' auspicious,' not, as Serv. thinks, 'fruitful,' there being no instance quoted where it is applied in that sense to an animal.
346.] Chorus et socii:' 'chorus sociorum.'
347.] So Hor. 1 Od. 30. 3, "vocantis Ture te multo Glycerae decoram Transfer in aedem," though the goddess is invited there to a chapel, not to a house. Neque ante :' it is a question whether this is merely an additional warning to the husbandman to celebrate the Ambarvalia, as an indispensable preliminary to the harvest, or an injunction to perform a second set of rites in summer time (Cato 134). The language is rather in favour of the latter, as otherwise, taken strictly, it would seem to imply that the Ambarvalia might be celebrated any time before the harvest: still it would have the awkwardness of an apparent afterthought, the mention of the second festival being almost entirely overshadowed by the first. Comp. however Tibull. 2. 1. 21, where harvest rejoicings are briefly alluded to in the middle of the description of the Ambarvalia. The observances here specified, dancing and singing, are too common to be fixed to either festival in particular.
Comp. E. 5. 73, 74, Tibull. 2. 1. 51 foll.,
349.] Quercu,' in memory of man's first food. Serv. 350.] Det motus :' "haud indecoros motus more Tusco dabant," Livy 7. 2, speaking of the origin of dramatic entertainments. Inconpositos:" "inconposito pede," Hor. 1 S. 10. 1, of rough verses.
351-392.] 'Besides, Jupiter has given the husbandman prognostics of the weather. Thus wind is foretold by noises on the sea, in the mountains, and in the woods, by the habits of birds, by shooting stars, and by down on the water. Rain is preceded by thunder and lightning, by the descent of cranes, cattle snuffing the air, swallows flying low, frogs croaking, ants carrying out their eggs, the rainbow drinking, rooks flying in company, sea-birds dipping in the water, ravens croaking by the water, and lamps sputtering.'
351.] Possemus,' Med. (first reading) Rom. restored by Wagn. Possimus' (Pal.) was the old reading. Moneret' supports possemus.' 'Haec' is 'aestus, pluvias, agentis frigora ventos.' For discere ' Canon. and a variant in Med. have 'noscere,' Rom. ' dicere.'
352.] In 'agentis frigora ventos,' 'frigora' is the important word; contrasted with 'aestus' and 'pluvias.' Ov. M. 1.56 has "facientis frigora ventos," an obvious imitation.
353.] There is a slight similarity in these lines to Aratus, Diosemeia 10-13. 'Menstrua :' in her monthly course. 354.] What should betoken the fall of the wind.' 'Signum,' oñua. Quid saepe videntes :' saepe videntes' is explained by vv. 365 foll. to mean not observation of the same thing on different occasions, which seems to be its force in v. 451, but observation of a thing frequently repeated on the same occasion, and thus proved not
Continuo, ventis surgentibus, aut freta ponti
Cum medio celeres revolant ex aequore mergirmer an
to be accidental. Natural observation is grounded by Virg. on divine warning.
356.] The important words are ventis surgentibus.' These are prognostics of wind. Almost all of them are closely copied from Arat. Dios. 177-200, while many of them in turn are reproduced by Lucan 5. 551-567, an ingenious passage, which is worth comparing.
357.] Connect 'agitata tumescere.' 358.] Aridus fragor:' kappaλéov, avov, and Enpóv are used for sounds. The two first occur in the Iliad of metal pierced by a spear (13. 409, 441). It will then mean 'harsh,' opposed to 'liquidus,' as avog, &c. are to vypóg: so diepov péλos. The two contrasted notions seem to be those of fluency and abruptness. "Aridus unde auris terget sonus,' Lucr. 6. 119, of certain varieties of thunder. Resonantia longe: μακρὸν ἐπ ̓ αἰγιαλοί βοόωντες ̓Ακταί τ ̓ εἰνάλιοι, ὁπότ ̓ εἴδιοι ἠχήεσσαι Tiyvovraι, Arat. 1. c. Virgil has passed over εὔδιοι.
359.] Misceri' is explained by 'resonantia, which acts instead of an abl., like 'murmure' A. 1. 124, 'tumultu' A. 2. 486. For the sound of the woods as a sign of wind, comp. A. 10. 97 foll.
360.] A curvis' was read by Heins., and is recalled by Wagn.; but the prep. is omitted by the best MSS. Probably 'sibi temperat' should be taken as one word
to be cormorants, but their flying from the sea before a storm leads Keightley to identify them with sea-gulls, though he admits that this does not suit Ovid's description (M. 11.794) of the 'mergus,' as long-necked.
Fulicae,' Keightley thinks, are cormorants, not coots, as Pliny 11. 37 speaks of them as crested. On the other hand Cic. de Div. 1. 8, translating Aratus, gives 'fulix' for pwdiós, the heron. The confusion is further increased by the want of correspondence between Virgil and Aratus. What Virgil says of the 'mergus' is said by Aratus of the heron: what Virgil says of the 'fulicae' is said by Aratus of the aïbviar, which appear from Pliny 10. 32 to have been the Greek equivalent to 'mergi.'
362.] Marinae' is opp. to 'in sicco.' Lucan (5. 553) agrees with Aratus, "Aut siccum quod mergus amat."
364.] Keightley says that Virgil is more accurate here than Aratus, who makes the heron fly from the sea. Aratus however had been preceded by Theophrastus (De Sign. Vent. p. 420), ¿pwdiòç áñò ladáσons πετόμενος καὶ βοῶν πνεύματος σημεῖον ¿ori.
shoot. parcit,' and curvis carinis' as the dat. There seems to be no conclusive instance of 'temperare' followed by the abl. without a preposition. 'Male:''scarcely.' 'The storm is close at hand.'
361.] There is some difficulty in identifying two out of the three birds here mentioned. 6 Mergi' are commonly supposed
367.] Flammarum : τοὶ δ ̓ ὄπιθεν ῥυμοὶ Volevкaivwvraι, Aratus 1. c. But the words are from Lucr. 2. 206 foll., "Nocturnasque faces caeli sublime volantis Nonne vides longos flammarum ducere tractus ? . . . Non cadere in terram stellas et sidera cernis?" as Macr. Sat. 6. 1 points out.
Aut summa nantis in aqua colludere plumas.
372.] Plenis fossis :' comp. "implentur fossae," v. 326.
373.] Humida,' with the rain. Inprudentibus' 'ex improviso,' unwarned. Obfuit,' comes upon them, in a bad sense. 374.] The perfects seem to be used on account of 'numquam obfuit.' 'Rain has never been known to take men by surprise: there have always been these and those prognostics.' 'Vallibus imis' with 'fugere;' comp. Tacit. Hist. 3. 85, "Si diem latebra vitavisset," though 'latebra' in this passage may be the abl. instrum., while vallibus imis' must be the abl. loci. For the fact of cranes descending before rain see Aristot. Hist. A. 9. 10.
375.] 'Aeriae,' a translation, and if Buttmann is right, a mistranslation of néptal yepavo. Virgil's epithet applies to the usual mode of the cranes' flight, and is contrasted with 'vallibus imis.' 'Bucula' the whole passage from this place to v. 387 is closely imitated and partly borrowed from the Navales Libri' (if Wernsdorf's conjecture is right) of Varro Atacinus (quoted by Servius), who has himself translated Aratus,
"Tum liceat pelagi volucris tardaeque paludis Cernere inexplete studio certare lavandi, Et velut insolitum pennis infundere rorem ; Aut arguta lacus circumvolitavit hirundo, Et bos suspiciens caelum (mirabile visu) Naribus aerium patulis decerpsit odorem, Nec tenuis formica cavis non evehit ova." 377.]"The swallow is always observed to fly low before rain, because the flies and other insects on which she feeds keep at that time near the surface of the ground and the water." Keightley. Arguta,' not a perpetual epithet, but denoting that she twitters as she flies.
378.] Vetus querela' has no reference to legend or fable, as Serv. supposes. Keightley quotes the Schol. on Hor. Epod. 2. 26, who says that the ancients used' querela' of the note of all animals but man. Some MSS. have aut' for 'et;' but the 'et' couples the two sounds.
379.] 'Saepius' denotes repetition (v. 354), which agrees with 'terens.' Whether it is to be extended to 'bibit' and 'increpuit' is not clear. Tectis penetralibus,' like " adytis penetralibus," A. 2. 297, and "caeli penetralia templa," Lucr. 1. 1105, if the reading is certain. Keightley remarks that on the contrary the ant is observed to carry in her eggs on the approach of rain.
380.] It has been supposed from coins oxis, Aratus 224, that 'terens angustum iter' means 'boring a narrow passage.' But 'tectis penetralibus' is the translation of Koiλng oxñs, and angustum iter' is to be explained like "calle angusto," A. 4. 405, 'terens (terere viam') being illustrated by 'saepius.' Arcus:' Aratus has didupn Iog. Plaut. Curc. 1. 2. 41, "Ecce autem bibit arcus! pluet, Credo, hercle hodie." The rainbow was supposed to draw up mois
Arcus; et e pastu decedens agmine magno
Nunc caput obiectare fretis, nunc currere in undas,
ture from the sea, rivers, &c., with its horns, and to discharge it in rain. Hence Tibull. 1. 4. 44 and Stat. Theb. 9. 405 talk of "imbrifer arcus." Sen. N. Q. 1. 6, who refers to Virgil, says that a rainbow in the south brings heavy rain, in the west slight showers and dew, in the east fair weather. Virgil of course can only mean that the appearance of the rainbow is a sign of rain, drawing up the water being assumed to be its constant function.
382.] Densis alis' looks like a mistranslation of Tiražáμɛvoi πтépa πUкvà in Aratus 237. It here means however with crowded wings.'
383.] Aratus 210 foll. The best MSS. have 'variae:' but it is difficult to see why the construction should be changed before 'nunc caput.' The acc. too is supported by the passage from Varro. 'Variae volucres' is common in Lucr., where some suppose it to = ' pictae' (see on G. 3. 243). Here at any rate it has its more ordinary meaning. Circum,' adverbial.
384.] Rimantur Asia prata:''search,' 'try in every chink;' rimaturque epulis," A. 6. 599. 'Asia prata:' Hom. I. 2. 461, 'Ασίῳ ἐν λειμῶνι Καστρίου ἀμφὶ ῥέεθρα. Caystri' with stagnis.' The whole clause' quae-Caystri' is a literary amplification of Aratus' epithet λιμναῖαι.
385.] 'Rores' implies that they make it into spray.
387.] Incassum,' 'wantonly;' nearly the same notion as Aratus' änλησтоv, Varro's 'inexpleto studio.'
388.] Inproba:' comp. "inprobus anser," v. 119. If it means 'ceaselessly' here it should be taken with 'vocat.' But may render it 'villanous,' or, as we should
say, 'good-for-nothing,' because the raven invites the rain. Ladewig gives the spirit of it in the words' die Hexe,' the witch, which may be illustrated by Hor. 2 S. 5. 84, "anus inproba." 'Pluviam vocat' is from Lucr. 5. 1084 foll., "cornicum ut saecla vetusta, Corvorumque greges, ubi aquam dicuntur et imbris Poscere, et interdum ventos aurasque vocare."
389.] Spatiatur' expresses the pace of the stately raven.' The alliteration, as in the previous verse, gives the effect of monotony. Some MSS. insert a line after or before this verse, "At (or aut') caput obiectat querulum venientibus undis," which is doubtless manufactured from v. 384, though it would agree with Aratus.
390.] The stress is rather on 'nocturna.' Not even those who are shut up in doors at night are without prognostic. "Nisi herile mavis Carpere pensum," Hor. 3 Od. 27. 63, 64.
391, 392.] From Aratus 302 and 307. Aratus makes the spattering a prognostic of bad weather generally, and the fungi a prognostic of snow. Testa,' the earthen lamp.
393-423.] When the rain is over, you can tell whether the weather is going to be fine, by such marks as these: the moon and stars are bright, the sky free from fleecy clouds, kingfishers leave off sunning themselves, and pigs tossing straw, mists float low, owls hoot at sunset, larger birds chase smaller, rooks caw joyously in their nests, as if they felt the pleasure, not, however, from real foresight, but from sympathy with the atmosphere.'
393.] Soles,' fine days. Ovid. Trist. 5. 8. 31, "Si numeres anno soles et nubila toto, Invenies nitidum saepius isse diem.”