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Et, quantum longis carpent armenta diebus,
201, 202.] 'Nay, all that your herds can devour on a summer's day will be replaced by the cold fresh dew of one short night.' This of course is an exaggeration. But Varro 1. 7 quotes a statement that in the plains of Rosea in the ager Reatinus a pole left lying on the ground one day was overgrown by the next. 'Longis diebus' and exigua nocte' are of course opposed. For 'reponet' the Med. and one other MS. have 'reponit.' Plaut. Pers. 1. 1. 37, "Ut mihi des nummos. . . . Quos continuo tibi reponam hoc triduo."
203-225.] For corn-crops a dark, rich, crumbling soil is the best, or ground lately cleared of trees. Gravelly soils yield but scantily-tufa and marl are infested by snakes. But a grassy soil which imbibes and exudes moisture readily will be good for every thing, whether vines, olives, pasture, or corn.'
203.] Nigra,' called 'pulla' by Cato 151 and Col. 2. 10, § 18, &c. "This is the colour of the land in Campania, and indicates the presence of decayed animal and vegetable matter (Keightley). Presso,' &c., which shows itself fat when the ploughshare is driven into it.' "Depresso aratro," 1. 44. Fere' goes with 'optuma frumentis.'
204.] Putris' is clearly 'crumbling.' Of 'pinguis' Virgil says below, v. 250, that it sticks to the fingers like pitch. It is hard therefore to see how the same soil can be both 'pinguis' and 'putris.' Yet Col. 2. 284, after referring to this passage, distinctly speaks of the best land as at once 'pinguis' and 'putris,' and of the next best as 'pinguiter densus,' at the same time adopting, in a later part of the chapter, Virgil's definition of pinguis' just referred to. The reference however may be merely to the greasy look of the ground when turned up, before it has been dried by the sun.
Namque hoc imitamur arando :' Col. (5. 4. 2) quotes this line as meaning that the natural character of the soil actually saves the manual labour of artificially loosening the earth ('pastinatio').
206.] Tardis,' from the load they are drawing. 'Tardis iuvencis' might perhaps be taken as an abl. of the agent, construing 'decedere' as a neuter passive. But it is better to take it as a modal ablative, or ablative of circumstance.
207.] The meaning is that ground lately cleared is another kind of soil which is good for corn. 'Aut' then refers grammatically either to the sentence 'nigra fere,' &c., or to 'non ullo ex aequore,' &c., the sense being the same either way. In the one case we supply 'optuma frumentis,' in the otherquam ex illo aequore, unde,' &c. Pliny (17. 4) denies the universal truth of this and most of the following signs. Iratus,' at the wood cumbering the ground. There is a slight reference to 'ignava' in the next line. 'Devexit,'' carted away.'
208.] Unde' governs 'devexit' only, 'evertit' and 'eruit' being in material, but not in formal connexion with the previous clause. Comp. A. 4. 263, "dives quae munera Dido Fecerat et tenui telas discreverat auro."
209.] "Frondiferasque domos avium," Lucr. I. 18.
210.] Petiere:' the tense does not denote rapidity, like 'fugere ferae,' 1. 330, and 'exiit' above, v. 81, but is determined by that of the preceding verbs.
211.] Pliny (17. 5) uses the words 'illa post vomerem nitescens,' and quotes Hom. Il. 18. 547 for an actual shining appearance of the earth after the plough, though he mistakes that passage, the point of which is the supernatural appearance of blackness in gold, not the natural appearance of brightness in the earth. But it is safer to refer
Nam ieiuna quidem clivosi glarea ruris
'enituit' to the trim appearance of the newly reclaimed land, or perhaps of the rising crops, a sense supported by Attius in Cic. Tusc. 2. 5, "Probae etsi in segetem sunt deteriorem datae Fruges, tamen ipsae suapte natura enitent," and by 1. 153 above, "nitentia culta." 'Enituit,' like the preceding perfects, is aoristic. 'At' is ò dè, as 'illae' is ai év. The birds fly and the field on which they lived so long brightens under cultivation.
212.] He gives the reason why he recommends ground such as he has been mentioning-because soil of a contrary character is far less productive. 'Namquidem,' 'for as for gravel.' 'Quidem' is nearly yɛ.
213.] Casias:' see E. 2. 49. 'Rorem,' 'rosemary,' as in Pliny 24. 11. He mentions the bees as being part of a husbandman's care, anticipating, as it were, Book 4. 214.] Tofus: this is the orthography of the Med. and other MSS. Others write 'tophus.' It is a sort of volcanic sandstone, 'tufa.' Pliny 17. 4 and Col. 3. 11 say that soil where 'tufa' is found is not necessarily to be condemned. Chelydri,' a venomous snake of amphibious nature, mentioned in Lucan 9. 711, where they are described as 'tracti via fumante chelydri.' The name water-tortoise (xéλvç dwp) referred to the hardness of the skin.
215.] 'Creta' is generally rendered 'chalk; but Col. in a passage referred to on v. 180 identifies it with "argilla, qua utuntur figuli." For the notion that it was eaten by certain creatures Keightley refers to Front. in Geop. 7. 12. The old commentators put a stop after 'creta,' connecting' tofus' and 'creta,' like 'glarea,' with 'ministrat,' and understanding 'negant' men deny,' or as Serv. gives it more specifically, "negant: Nicander et Solinus, qui de his rebus scripserunt." Virgil means
218.] Ex se ipsa remittit' may refer to exhalations, like the preceding verse, or to exudations.
219.] The best MSS., including Med. and Rom., place 'semper' before the adjective. Viridis' is the reading of only one MS. But where one word ended and the next began with 's,' a transcriber might naturally join the words, and write one's instead of two, as is frequently the case in Med., so that 'viridise' may have stood for either' viridis se' or 'viridi se.' 'Viridis ' then will be taken closely with vestit,' as if it had been 'viridem.' Wagn. compares A. 1. 314, "mater sese tulit obvia," and other passages.
220.] The scabies' is the effect of the robigo' on the surface of the iron; " scabra robigine," 1. 495. Salsa,' because the same saltness which would rust iron would be unfavourable to produce: see vv. 237 foll. It is opposed to 'dulci uligine laeta,' v. 184. Pliny, 17. 4, says, "ferro omnis [terra] robiginem obducit."
221.] The emphatic words are laetis vitibus.' In prose it would be 'illa feret laetas vites quae ulmis intexantur.'
222.] Oleae:' this is the reading of Med. and of the old editions. Heins. from the Rom. and the majority of MSS., supported by Nonius Marcellus and Arusianus Messius, restored oleo.' If this is the true reading it should be construed as the
Et facilem pecori et patientem vomeris unci.
Nunc, quo quamque modo possis cognoscere, dicam.
In solido puteum demitti, omnemque repones
abl., on the analogy of 'fertilis' and 'fecundus.'
223.] Facilem pecori:' 'facilis' seems here to be a metaphor from personal character, and nearly equivalent to 'commodus,' which is joined with 'patiens' in Hor. A. P. 257. 'Well-natured to cattle.' See on 4. 272,"facilis quaerentibus herba."
224.] Vesevus is properly an adjec
tive. Where used as a substantive it is 'Vesevus mons.'
225.] Gellius (7. 20) has a story that Virgil first wrote Nola iugo,' and changed it because the people of Nola would not allow him to bring water to his land. We can scarcely argue in support of 'Nola' from the topographical character of the passage, because that is satisfied by 'Vesevo.' 'Non aequus,' because it overflowed Acerrae. 'Clanius' is of course put for the country through which it runs, like 'Hydaspes,' 4. 212. 'Vacuis' does not seem to mean 'unpeopled by inundations,' as Serv. takes it, but simply thinly peopled,' like "vacuis Cumis," Juv. 3. 2; "vacuis Ulubris," Id. 10. 102.
226-258.] 'To tell close soil from loose, sink a pit, throw the earth in again, stamp it down, and see whether it exceeds or falls short. To tell bitter soil, put some in a basket, mix it with fresh water, and taste what trickles through. To tell rich soil, handle it and see whether it crumbles or sticks to the fingers. Moist soil shows itself by the luxuriance of its herbage. Heavy and light soils tell their own tale. Black and other colours speak to the eyes. Cold soils are hard to detect, except by the presence of firs, yews, and ivy.” In the preceding account of the soils Virgil has to a certain extent anticipated the question how
to ascertain them, e. g. vv. 180, 185, 212 foll., while in the present paragraph he has still something to add about the aptitudes of each (vv. 228, 229. 239, 240, &c.); but the awkwardness of this want of arrangement can hardly be said to be felt in poetry.
226.] For quo quamque' Rom. and others of Pierius' MSS. read' quocumque,' which Jahn adopts, understanding an acc. from the context.
227.] Requiras' is the common reading, 'Requires' was restored by Wagn. from the first reading of Med., three other MSS., and the Dresden Servius, and agrees well with 'capies.' 'Si' is obviously out of its place, so that with the common reading it would cause some ambiguity, as it might be taken with 'sit' in the sense of whether.' Supra morem' is not to be pressed, as if it meant excessively.' The meaning evidently is whether the earth in question is looser or stiffer than the average. Serv. says of these lines, "Illi autem versus incomparabiles sunt: tantam habent sine aliqua perissologia repetitionem."
229.] 'Magis' seems to belong to 'densa.' This answers best to rarissima quaeque.' 230.] Ante locum capies oculis' is explained by 'in solido,' which gives the reason for the choice.
231.] In solido,' where the experiment may be fairly tried, which it could not be if the ground was hollow.
232.] Pedibus summas aequabis arenas = 'recalcare,' Col. 2. 2.
234.] Uber' is a laudatory synonym for solum.'
235.] Scrobibus:' 'scrobes' is here used as a synonym for 'puteus ;' rather loosely, for scrobes' as a general rule were excavations longer than they were broad,
Spissus ager; glaebas cunctantis crassaque terga
Huc ager ille malus dulcesque a fontibus undae
such as a trench for vines, or a grave. Col.
236, 237.] The epithets 'cunctantis,' crassa,' ' validis,' should be brought out in translation, being such as would be expressed in Greek by the position of the adjective either before the article or after the substantive. 'Prepare yourself for resistance in the clods, and stiffness in the ridges, and let the oxen with which you break up the ground be strong.' Proscinde,' 1. 97. 238.] Pliny 17.4 gives a more favourable view of this kind of soil: "Salsae terrae multo melius creduntur, tutiora a vitiis innascentium animalium." 'Perhibetur' seems to denote that amara' is a common epithet of soils. Diophanes in Geopon. 5. 7, recommending a similar test of soil to Virgil's, speaks of τὴν γεῦσιν πικρὰν ἢ ἀλμυράν.
239.] On the whole I have preferred (with Jahn and Keightley) Wakefield's punctuation to that commonly adopted, which makes the parenthesis begin after ' infelix.' The metrical harshness introduced by the former is not unpleasing as a variety, and is compensated by the improve
ment in the sense, 'ea' being thus made
240.] Genus' is best illustrated by the adj. 'generosus.' In such a soil the vine degenerates.' So we apply the words 'race,' 'racy,' to wine. 'Nomina,''name' for 'character.' Both this and' genus' are metaphors from nobility. Cato 25, "Sicque facito studeat bene percoctum siccumque legere, ne vinum nomen perdat.” 'The grape is not kept true to its race, nor the apple to its name.'
241.] Specimen,'' a sample,'' instance,' or, as here, a proof,' in which sense it occurs Lucr. 4. 209, "Hoc etiam in primis specimen verum esse videtur, Quam celeri motu rerum simulacra ferantur." The 'qualos' appear to be the same thing as 'cola.' They were made spisso vimine' that they might strain the wine from the grapes. 242.] Comp. 1. 175 note.
243.] Ager:' the whole 'ager' is virtually the subject of the experiment. Malus:' he assumes the bitterness, which he calls malignity (comp. ' sceleratum frigus,' v. 256), of the soil both in making the experiment and in its result, where a prose writer would of course have expressed himself hypothetically. Dulces' is important. Huc ad plenum calcentur' = 'huc ad plenum ingerantur et calcentur.'
244.] Calcare' seems to be used tech
Scilicet, et grandes ibunt per vimina guttae;
nically of other kinds of pressure than
strainer is full. Eluctabitur,' 'ooze out.' 245.] Scilicet' denotes the consequence of the process, You will see.'
246.] Virgil is expressing himself poetically, not with logical precision, so he marks the progress of the narrative by 'at,' distinguishing the water from the taste of the water, and, as it were, following the fortunes of both, though of course the meaning is only as the water oozes out, the taste will show you,' &c. Comp. vv. 211, 212. 'Manifestus' seems plainly to go with faciet,' not with the following clause, whichever reading be adopted: 'The taste will clearly betray the truth.' 'Indicium facere' is a phrase for playing the telltale.' “Id anus mihi indicium fecit," Ter. Adelph. 4. 4. 7.
247.] 6 Amaro ' is the reading of the oldest MSS., including the Med. a m. pr. Heyne, with the Med. a m. sec. and some other MSS., read ' amaror,' which, it appears from Gell. 1. 21, Julius Hyginus, an old commentator on Virgil, professed to have found in a MS. belonging to the poet's family. Gellius says that 'amaro ' in his time was almost universally read, though Hyginus' discovery was approved by several critical authorities. 'Amaror' is supported. by Lucr. 4. 224, the only place where the word occurs. The introduction of another nominative similar in meaning to 'sapor would be unnecessary, and therefore ungraceful, while 'sensu,' which is not, as Gell. objects, necessarily synonymous with 'sapor,' would be improved by an epithet. For " sensu amaro comp. Lucr. 2. 398, "Huc accedit, uti mellis lactisque liquores Iucundo sensu linguae tractentur in ore;
At contra tetra absinthi natura, ferique Centauri foedo pertorquent ora sapore." This also illustrates 'ora torquentur,' and the whole passage seems to have been in Virgil's mind. From it we may see that Ladewig is wrong in connecting temptantum sensu' (reading of course 'amaror'). mouths of the triers into a frown by the 'Tristia' is proleptic. Will warp the sense of bitterness.'
and means to be brief. The remaining 248.] Denique' belongs to hoc pacto,' instances are despatched concisely.
249.] 'Fatiscit,' cracks, breaks in pieces, 1. 180. Wakefield conjectured tractata,' which the poet seems purposely to have rejected in favour of a more poetical word.
There is the same liveliness in the Lucretian
expression 'iacere indu manus.' 'Manibus tractata' occurs Lucr. 4. 230, singularly enough, within a few lines of 'amaror,' mentioned in the note just above; so that it is conceivable that the whole passage may have happened to be in Virgil's mind at the time of writing, especially if it be supposed that amaror was the word he used. Similar instances, where, as here, there is no connexion in the original between the two things supposed to be imitated, are not unfrequently to be found, though the coincidence is generally too shadowy to be pro
250.] Ad digitos' is explained by the notion of 'adhaeret' contained in 'lentescit.'
'Habendo:' see on E. 8.71, and
251.] Maiores,', 'higher than usual.' 'Ipsa, in itself,' 'altogether,' as distinguished from the particular luxuriance of the grass.
253.] Primis aristis,' 'in its first crop ;'