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Quae gravis est, ipso tacitam se pondere prodit,
Quaeque levis. Promptum est oculis praediscere nigram,
His animadversis, terram multo ante memento
i. e. when it is first brought under tillage,
254.] Tacitam' is for tacite,' perhaps meant to be opposed to 'indicium faciet.' "Without farther experiment.'
255.] It may be questioned whether 'oculis is to be constructed as dat. with 'promptum' or as abl. with 'praediscere.' With the former interpretation comp. Ov. M. 13. 10, "Sed nec mihi dicere promptum, Nec facere est isti." 'Praediscere,' either 'to learn before you cultivate the field,' or 'to learn at once,' before experiment or investigation, opp. to exquirere.'
256.] Cui' is taken by Heyne as = 'cuicumque,' and by Wagner and Forbiger as='cuique.' Both are unnecessary. It is a double question. See Key's Latin Grammar, 1136. So also Ladewig takes it.
'Sceleratum:' Pliny 24. 13, "Adversantur serpentium sceleratissimis haemorrhoidi et presteri flos aut mora." The word is however probably half playful, and as such may be compared with Hor. Sat. ii. 3. 70, "Effugiet tamen hic sceleratus vincula Proteus;" Plaut. Pseud. 3. 2. 28, "Senapis scelera . . . oculi ut exstillent facit."
257.] Comp. above 113, "Aquilonem et frigora taxi." Pliny 17. 5, "Terram amaram sive macram si quis probare velit, demonstrant eam atrae degeneresque herbae, frigidam autem retorride nata." Professor Ramsay (Dict. A. 'agricultura') says that the ancients were in the habit of forming
an estimate of untried ground not only from the qualities which could be detected by sight and touch, but also from the character of the trees, shrubs, and herbage growing upon it spontaneously, a test of more practical value than any of the others enumerated in the Second Georgic (177— 258).
258.] Pliny 16. 34, after Theophrastus, divides ivy into candida,' 'nigra,' and helix.' The 'hedera alba' is an emblem of beauty, E. 7. 38. 'Pandunt vestigia,' 'reveal the traces of the cold.' Wakefield's interpretation,' extend their roots,' though ingenious, is far from probable.
259-272.]Having ascertained the soil you want, let it be well trenched and thoroughly exposed to sun and air before you plant your vine. The object is to make the soil crumbling. A careful gardener will make his nursery-ground like his vineyard, and transplant his trees into precisely the same position which they have occupied hitherto.'
259.] His animadversis''agri qualitate deprehensa,' Serv.
260.] Lucr. 6. 962, "terram sol excoquit et facit are." Scrobibus:' see above, v.235. 'Concidere :' Justin 2. 1, "Concisam fossis Ægyptum." 'Magnos montis' is a strong, perhaps an exaggerated expression, as if the husbandman was to dig up ('concidere') whole mountains. The lesson to be enforced is that of hard and thorough work. See v. 37 note. There is the same feeling in 'excoquere,' indicated not merely by the preposition, but by the attribution of the process not to the sun but to the husbandman. With this word, and with the next line, comp. 1. 65, 66, a passage which is animated by the same enthusiasm.
Quam laetum infodias vitis genus.
263.] 'Id curant,' 'bring this about.' 'Id' = 'ut putri solo sint.' The connexion is 'The great object is to have a crumbling soil; that is the work of wind, and frost, and hard spade labour.' He recurs to the precepts he had just given vv. 259-261, and shows the reason for them. The passage then is parallel to v. 204, "Et cui putre solum, namque hoc imitamur arando," which Philarg. compares. With the mention of the wind comp. 1. 44, "Zephyro putris se gleba resolvit," though here perhaps Virgil is thinking chiefly of sharper winds.
264.] i. e. the process of stirring the ground called 'pastinatio.' 'Robustus,' as in E. 4. 41, paints vigorous exertion. 'Labefacta,' 'loosened.' Seneca, N. Q. 4. 5, "Nix tenera et labefacta;" Lucr. 1. 492, "Tum labefactatus rigor auri solvitur aestu." It would be also possible to interpret labefacta movens' 'movens et labefaciens:' see below, v. 267.
265.] Si quos haud ulla viros vigilantia fugit' is a poetical variety for 'si quos prae vigilantia nihil fugit.'
266.] Ante' seems best explained by 'ante' above, vv. 259, 261. Wishing to impress on the husbandman the necessity of thorough work, he has mentioned various indispensable preliminaries to the planting of the vine: he now adds one which, he says, a perfect workman will adopt, that of providing the same kind of ground for the nursery and for the vineyard. Locum similem' then will be in apposition alternately, as it were, with each of the two clauses that follow, ubi... seges' and 'quo... feratur,' 'a like spot for the nursery, and a like spot for the vineyard,' the two being reciprocally compared, just as in the expression 'alius . . . alius,' which we translate one thing... another,' there is, so to speak, a reciprocal contrast. Or we might explain the construction somewhat differently, by saying that the poet used similem' with a view to only one of the two spots, the vineyard, which was to be like the nursery, or the nursery, which was to be like the future vineyard, and that then in explaining the comparison he expressed himself as if the
two things compared were co-ordinate in his conception-as if he had said, 'Ante exquirunt duos locos, alterum alteri similem, scilicet, ubi &c., et quo' &c. This change of view is the same which we have had occasion to remark in 1. 421 (note), and it is well illustrated by Aesch. Prom. 555, rò diaμpidiov de por pédos προσέπτα τόδ ̓ ἐκεῖνό θ ̓, ὅτε κτλ. 'Similis
'atque,' 'et,' are found elsewhere, like alius ac,' 'idem ac,' sometimes with 'si' following. The objection to resolving 'et' here into a dative, 'loco quo,' &c., would be found in 'feratur,' which would then have to mean,' whither it is intended to be transplanted,' not, as the tense shows it must mean, 'whither it may be transplanted.' In other words both 'ubi paretur' and 'quo feratur' depend equally on exquirunt;' each alike is to be the object of the husbandman's search.
267.] Keightley now supposes 'similem' to mean 'a soil like that in which the parent vine stands,' explaining vv. 269 foll. similarly of transplantation into, not from, the nursery; but this seems far less likely. The seminarium' for vines is described by Col. Arb. 1. The commentators, supposing Virgil to be speaking of the nursery for vines in connexion with the vineyard (which in the note on the preceding line I have assumed to be the case), seem universally to understand 'arboribus' of the vines. The question has been treated on v. 89, and it need only be added here that such a use of words is peculiarly unlikely in the present context, as in vv. 289, 290 'vitis' and 'arbos' are expressly distinguished. We might evade the difficulty by supposing the reference here to be not to vines at all, but simply to their supporters, which had a 'seminarium' of their own, from which they were transplanted into the 'arbustum,' as appears from Pliny 17, 10, 11, Col. 5. 6, who expressly apply precepts like these of Virgil to their case. We should then conclude that Virgil being anxious, as elsewhere, to com. bine brevity with variety, had passed from the vines to their supporters, leaving the treatment of the former to be inferred, as it were, a fortiori. Such an explanation
Mutatam ignorent subito ne semina matrem.
would be certainly confirmed by Col. 1. c., whose language is founded on Virgil's: "Ne aliter arbores constituamus quam quemadmodum in seminario steterint: plurimum enim refert ut eam partem caeli spectent cui ab tenero consueverunt." But such a transition would create an almost inexcusable ambiguity, though we must not estimate the impression received by those who were familiar with the distinction between 'vitis' and 'arbos' by the impression produced on those who have overlooked it. I would suggest then that the sense of ubi prima paretur arboribus seges' is, where at first ('prima' 'primum,' opposed to 'mox') the vine-crop may be got ready for its supporters,' in other words, may be prepared for afterwards standing in the 'arbustum,' a description of a nursery for vines, in which the poet may have been thinking of a maiden being trained for a husband. This would further avoid the necessity of changing the sense of 'seges' in the two clauses, and referring it in the first to the soil of the nursery, in the second to its contents. 'Digesta feratur' = 'digeratur et feratur,' or rather 'feratur et digeratur.' Comp. v. 318,"Concretam radicem adfigere terrae."
268.] That the sudden change may not make the plants feel strangely to their mother.' 'Subito' goes with mutatam.' 'Semina' here are the young vines; see below, v.354, "Seminibus positis." The application of the word to young trees is common in the agricultural writers, and is embodied in the word 'seminarium.' 'Matrem' is the earth. Comp. A. 11. 71, "Non iam mater alit tellus viresque ministrat." Pliny 17. 10 ingeniously distinguishes the 'seminarium' and the vineyard as 'nutrix' and 'mater.'
270.] Pliny 17. 11 says that as Cato has made no mention of this practice, it is probably valueless; and adds that some intentionally changed the position of vines and figs when they were transplanted. If we take the construction to be restituant modum quo quae steterit,' &c., we shall not have to suppose a change of construction at
'quae terga obverterit,' which is necessary if we follow the commentators in understanding' arbores' as the object of 'restituant.' The manner of the repetition also seems to indicate that the several clauses are objects of the verb. The words of Col. quoted on v. 267 might be pleaded for the ordinary view, but he follows Virgil so closely that his use of language cannot be considered independent. Qua parte calores austrinos tulerit,' 'the part on which it bore the brunt of the southern heat.'
271.] Axi,' the north pole. Comp. 3. 351, "Quaque redit medium Rhodope porrecta sub axem." 'Quae terga,' that side which, as a back, it turned to the cold wind of the north.
272.] Adeo in teneris consuescere multum est,'' so powerful are habits formed in tender age.' The connexion requires this rather than so powerful is habit in the case of things of tender age,' as the poet is speaking of habits formed in the nursery, and in their effects extending to the 'arbustum.' 'In teneris' then will have the force of 'in teneris annis,' though we need not suppose an ellipse. The line is quoted by Quinct. 1. 3 with a teneris,' which would mean habits which have lasted from infancy.'
273-287.] 'Plant your vines closely on the plain: on slopes more' widely, yet still in regular lines and at equal distances, so as to present the appearance of a Roman legion, and that not merely for appearance sake, but to give each plant as much growing room as its neighbours.'
273.] Some vines were better suited for the hill, some for the plain. See Col. 3. 1, § 5.
274.] Prius:' this is another preliminary, which of course ought in strictness to have preceded that mentioned in the last paragraph, 'terram multo ante memento,' &c. Campi' is the same as 'plano,' and the emphatic word. If you measure out, or set apart for a vineyard, fields in a rich plain.' 'Pinguis,' opp. to the light soil of the hills. With the language comp. the oracle in Hdt. 1. 66, kai kaλòv πediov σχοίνῳ διαμετρήσασθαι.
Densa sere; in denso non segnior ubere Bacchus ;
275.] It would be harsh to take 'densa' as strictly adverbial. It is rather an adjective agreeing with an indefinite substantive. 'Non segnior ubere,' 'not less prolific.' Comp. 'segnes terrae,' v. 37; 'segnis carduus,' 1. 151, and for 'segnis' with abl. A. 7. 383 (note). In denso ' ='in loco denso consito:' comp. ' in sicco.' 'In denso ubere' could scarcely mean anything but a close or stiff soil, and such is really the sense of 'densus' in Ov. M. 2. 576, "densumque relinquo Littus, et in molli nequiquam lassor arena," expressing the crowding of the parts of the soil, not, as Wund., followed by Forb., explains it, the crowding of things upon it. 'Über' is specially used of the fruitfulness of the vine; Col. 4. 27, "ut ubere suo gravatam vitem levet ;" Claud. B. G. 504, "palmitis uber Etrusci." 'Not less prolific' than when planted wide, because in the rich plain there is abundance of nutriment.
276.] 'Collis supinos,' 'gently sloping,' so as to present a broad surface, which seems to be the general notion of the word as applied not only to hills, but to plains and to the sea. See Bentley's note on Hor. Epod.
1. 29. 277.] Indulge ordinibus,' 'give your rows room,'' set them wide.' 'Nec setius,' 'as much as if they were set close.' The order of the passage is probably 'nec setius (quam si densa seras) omnis secto limite via arboribus positis in unguem quadret.' 'Yet still (as much as when you plant close) let each avenue with drawn line as you set your trees exactly tally,' Yet still so set your trees that the line of each avenue that you draw may exactly tally with the rest.' Secto via limite' then will via secta.' Comp. 1. 238, "Via secta per ambas," where Virgil calls the ecliptic via,' while Ov. M. 2. 130, speaking more precisely, calls it 'limes.' Nothing more than regularity is prescribed in these two lines so understood; the simile of the legion, which follows, shows that the 'quincuncialis ordo' is intended. If with Martyn and Donaldson (Dict. A. ed. 1, 'Agrimensores') we press the distinction between 'via' and 'limes,' making the latter mean the tranverse path, which is to cut the former at right angles,
the construction must be 'omnis via, secto limite (i. e. cum limes sectus fuerit), quadret (cum eo limite)'- -a use of the abl. abs. in the place of some other construction, with which we may comp. Juv. 1. 70, "viro miscet sitiente rubetam." But there would be some awkwardness in this abl. abs. following' arboribus positis,' and the language would still not be quite precise, as a quincunx would not be represented by a number of parallel lines with cross lines at right angles. 'Via' and limes' are used in the same context again A. 2. 697, apparently without any intended contrast. guem' goes with quadret,' as in Col. 11. 2, § 13, "abies atque populus singulis operis ad unguem quadrantur." So far as the precept of regularity is concerned, it would be the same thing whether 'arboribus' meant the vines or their supporters. But the young vines could scarcely be compared to the cohorts of a legion, and the general considerations urged on v. 89 seem decisive.
Before Virgil's time, however, the practice had changed, the legion being divided into ten cohorts, which could not be arranged in a quincuncial form, though when disposed in three lines they bear a superficial resemblance to it. This vague similarity may be what Virgil intends, or he may be adopting a comparison made while the old disposition of the army prevailed. 'Cohortes' too would point to the later arrangement.
280.] Agmen' is the column in order of march, which deploys into 'acies,' or line of battle.
Directaeque acies, ac late fluctuat omnis
282.] 'Renidenti:' this verb means properly to smile,' and is thence to glitter,' like yeλav: Hom. II. 20. 362, yέλaoos de nãoа περi xoŵν Xаλкоυ VπÒ σTEρOTS. Coupled with fluctuat,' it may be intended to remind us of the Aeschylean άvýpiμov γέλασμα. 'Aere renidenti tellus' is from the "aere renidescit tellus " of Lucr. 2. 326, and the whole passage appears to be a study after the splendid picture drawn in that and the surrounding lines rather than a natural and appropriate illustration of the vineyard. Necdum,' &c.: while the regularity of their order is still undisturbed. 'The grim mêlée of the fight has not yet begun.'
283.] Dubius' means generally in suspense.' It is not necessary to limit it either to the uncertainty which side will begin, or to the uncertainty of the issue. Mars is not yet called into action, and therefore he is said to hover between the two armies. Mediis in armis' v μeraixμiw, the space between the two armies. Possibly the image before Virgil's mind was that of two Roman armies facing each other in civil war.
284.] On the whole it seems best to make this the apodosis of the simile, though Virgil seems occasionally to introduce a simile without one regularly expressed; and in the present passage matters nothing, so far as the sense is concerned, whether we take one from the preceding or following lines. Vi. arum' may be taken either with 'omnia' or with 'paribus numeris.' The order of the words points to the latter. Paribus numeris viarum' is somewhat difficult to explain, though the difficulty has not been noticed by the commentators. It probably = 'pares et numerosae viae,' and means 'equal and regular avenues.' If the order is that of the quincunx' all the avenues cannot be equal, but the corresponding ones may. Varro 1. 7, "Si sata sunt in quin
cuncem propter ordines atque intervalla modica." Comp. "numeroso horto," Col. 10 6. "Quid enim illo quincunce speciosius, qui, in quamcunque partem spectaveris, rectus est? Sed protinus in id quoque prodest, ut terrae sucum aequaliter trahant,' Quinct. 8. 3, § 9. Pliny 17. 11, "In disponendis arboribus arbustisque ac vineis quincuncialis ordinum ratio vulgata et necessaria, non perflatu modo utilis, verum et aspectu grata, quoquo modo intueare in ordinem se porrigente versu."
288-297.] The trench for the vine may be shallow; that for its supporter must be deeper.'
288.] Fastigium' is used of the slope of a trench, Caesar, B. G. 7. 73, " Ante hos obliquis ordinibus in quincuncem dispositis scrobes trium in altitudinem pedum fodiebantur, paullatim angustiore ad infimum fastigio." Comp. Id. ib. 4. 17, where' fastigate' is used of a slope as opposed to a perpendicular. Virgil evidently intends us to think of depth, which would of course depend on the length and inclination of the slope. In Varro 1. 14, "fossa ita idonea si fastigium habet ut [aqua?] exeat e fundo," it appears to mean the fall of a drain: Id. ib. 20, "agricolae hoc spectandum quo fastigio sit fundus,", it seems to be for the level of the ground. It would be easy to classify these meanings and connect them with those which contain the parallel notion of height; but we seem not to have the starting-point of a plausible etymology. 289.] Sulcus' is clearly distinguished from 'scrobs' in the agricultural writers ;