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Defectus solis varios, lunaeque labores;
478.] Copied from Lucr. 5. 751, "Solis item quoque defectus lunaeque latebras Pluribus e causis fieri tibi posse putandum est," in which 'pluribus e causis' explains 'varios.' That there is no difference between 'defectus' and 'labores' appears from the parallel passage A. 1. 740, where we have "errantem lunam solisque labores." Comp. Prop. 3. 26. 52, "fraternis Luna laboret equis." Heyne, who quotes the lines of Lucr., observes, after giving the first verse, "Vel hoc uno versu Vergiliani carminis quanta suavitas sit intelliges."
479.] Unde tremor terris:' explained by Lucr. 6. 577 foll. 'Qua vi maria alta tumescant,' &c.: the commentators take this of the tides; but the expressions seem to denote something more violent and irregular, such as the sudden rise of the sea in connexion with an earthquake, an instance of which occurs Thucyd. 3. 89, Kai Tɛρi τούτους τοὺς χρόνους τῶν σεισμῶν κατ εχόντων, τῆς Εὐβοίας ἐν Οροβίαις ἡ θάλασσα ἐπελθοῦσα [ἐπανελθοῦσα Arnold and Göller] άò Ths TÓTε Ovons yns Kai κυματωθεῖσα ἐπῆλθε τῆς πόλεως μέρος τι, καὶ τὸ μὲν κατέκλυσε, τὸ δ ̓ ὑπενόστησε, kai láλaoσa võv ¿orì πpótepov ovoa yn. 'Qua vi,' 'through what force of nature.'
482.] It might be doubted whether 'tardis noctibus' meant slow in coming or slow in going-in other words, whether the epithet was equivalent to 'aestivis' or to hibernis.' But it seems to be decided in favour of the latter by Lucr. 5. 699, Propterea noctes hiberno tempore longae Cessant."
483.] Comp. Lucr. 3. 29, "quod sic natura tua vi Tam manifesta patens ex omni parte retecta est."
484.] Comp. the verse of Empedocles in Stobaeus, Ecl. Phys. p. 1026, alua γὰρ ἀνθρώποις περικάρδιον ἐστι νόημα. See also Plato, Phaedo, p. 96 в, Cic. Tusc.
1.9, 19. Lucr. 3. 43. A Scholiast on Hor.
486.] 'O, ubi campi,' &c., 'O where are they?' or 'How can I get to them?' 'Would that I were there!' Comp. Hor. 2 S. 7. 116, "Unde mihi lapidem ?" "Campi' is the "Larissae campus opimae," Hor. 1 Od. 7. 11.
487.] Spercheos' is the spelling of Med. (ο being altered a m. sec. into u), 'Sperchius' of Rom. and Pal. I have given Spercheus' on the analogy of 'Peneus,' ‘Alpheus, though it is not easy to say when Virgil is likely to have used us, when 'os.' See Wagn. Q. V. 4. 'Bacchata,' probably from Lucr. 5. 824, “Omne quod in magnis bacchatur montibu' passim." Here however there is a special reference to the temple of Bacchus at the foot of the mountain, to which only women were admitted. Comp. A. 3. 125, " Bacchatamque iugis Naxon." In these two passages it has been proposed to take bacchatus' actively, the mountain or island itself being said to revel (comp. 3. 150, "furit mugitibus aether," and ovλoμavεiv and similar words in Greek); but the use of a deponent participle passively is common enough, and Baкxεveñvaι appears to be similarly used.
488.] 'Taygeta,' plural of the Greek
Sistat, et ingenti ramorum protegat umbra!
Subiecit pedibus strepitumque Acherontis avari!
TavyεTov. The common Latin form is
490-540.] If the sage is blest, so is the countryman: untempted by ambition, and removed from its crimes, its vanities, and its penalties, he moves in the round of yearly labour and yearly plenty, with new fruits constantly pouring in, and ever and anon a day of rustic merrymaking, following the example of the grand old times of Italian history and legend.'
490-492.] In these three lines Virgil clearly refers specially to Lucretius. The words rerum caussae' accurately describe his philosophy, though the expression itself is not his. They are copied by Ov. M. 15. 68, who couples them with 'primordia mundi.'
491.] 'Metus,' &c.: comp. Lucr. 3. 37, "Et metus ille foras praeceps Acherontis agendus, Funditus humanam qui vitam turbat ab imo." Fatum,' death, regarded as the fiat of nature. 'Inexorabile' may refer specially to the argument at the end of Lucretius' third book.
492.] 'Subiecit pedibus:' comp. Lucr. 1. 79, "Quare religio pedibus subiecta vicissim Obteritur." 'Strepitumque Acherontis avari:' slightly differing from the image in Lucr. 3. 14-30, where the philosopher looking down sees Acheron vanish.
493.] Fortunatus et ille:' the calm, which was the great boon of philosophy, is given also, after its kind, to the lover of the country. 'Felix' and 'fortunatus'
seem practically synonymous. 'Deos qui novit agrestis:' throughout the Eclogues,
particularly in E. 5., 6., 10., the country gods are represented as mixing with the human dwellers in the country.
495.] Populi fasces:' from Lucr. 3. 996. This passage again is somewhat similar to Lucr. 3. 59-86, who is speaking of the civil wars of his own time.
496.] 'Fratres' is generally taken to refer to one of the domestic contests for Eastern thrones, such as that in the family of the Arsacidae between Phraates and Tiridates for the throne of Parthia, glanced at in Hor. 1 Od. 26. 3 foll., which somewhat resembles this passage. Lucr. however, 1. c., has expressions, e. g. vv. 72, 73, 83— 86, which speak distinctly of the disruption of families in the civil war. We may render Civil feuds that make brothers swerve from brother's duty.' 'Non-non -et,' connecting three equally distinct subjects, occurs Prop. 2. 1. 21.
497.] 'Descendens:' alluding to their position on the mountains. "Daci montibus inhaerent," Florus 4. 12. 18. wars with the Daci, who used to pass into the empire over the Danube when it was frozen, lasted from U.c. 724-744. Philarg. asserts, on the authority of Aufidius Modestus, that the Dacians used to pledge themselves in a draught of the Ister not to return from their expeditions unless victorious, which is confirmed by Claudian, De Bel. Get., vv. 81,2. If a special reference be needed, we may more naturally suppose Virgil to speak of the frozen Danube as conspiring with the barbarians. Comp. Claudian, Cons. Honor. 3. 98, "Et coniurati veniunt ad classica venti." This however would probably be post-Virgilian, and the imitation in Statius, Theb. 1. 20, "Et coniurato descendens vertice Dacus," looks as if he, at least, understood 'coniurato Istro' merely as a poetical variety forconiuratus Dacus.'
498.] Res Romanae,' the affairs of the empire, of which the vicissitudes of sub
Aut doluit miserans inopem, aut invidit habenti.
ject kingdoms ('perituraque regna') were a most important part. Not the great Roman state, and the death-throes of subject kingdoms.'
499.] In the country, where all have enough, distinctions of poverty and wealth, and the emotions of pity and envy which they cause, are alike unknown.' The serenity produced by a rural no less than by a philosophical life is still the uppermost thought. Comp. Tibull. 1. 1. 77, " ego composito securus acervo Despiciam dites despiciamque famem." Serv., seeing apparently that this explanation does not clear the earlier part of the verse from the charge of selfish indifference, suggests that the countryman does not pity poverty because he is philosopher enough to understand that it is not an evil but a blessing. Germanus thinks Virgil means to represent the countryman as free from the two emotions which prevent the sense of justice, which he proves from Aristotle to know no distinction of persons. The feeling again is unlike the general tone of the Georgics. See on v. 460.
500.] Imitated from Lucr. 5. 937, 938. 501.] The iron rigour of the law,' though not necessarily a bad quality, may be regarded as one, and therefore the countryman is felicitated on having nothing to do with it.
502.] 'Tabularia,' archives. There were 'tabularia' in various temples, especially in that of Saturn, Dict. Ant. 'Tabularium.' Heyne thinks there is a special reference to the public contracts.
503.] Freta caeca,' like 'ruunt in ferrum,' which follows, seems to denote headlong daring. Comp. Soph. Tereus, fr. 533, τὸ δ' ἐς αὔριον ἀεὶ τυφλὸν ἕρπει, 'the morrow is always unknown.'
mina' (comp. Hor. Epod. 2. 7, "Forumque vitat et superba civium Potentiorum limina," and Pers. 1. 108, "ne maiorum tibi forte Limina frigescant") seems show that the poet speaks of the road to wealth and honour through the favour of the great. 'Regum,'' the great,' as in Hor. 1 Ep. 7. 37., 17. 43. The other interpretation, sack the palaces of kings,' would create a prosaic tautology with what follows.
505.]Exscidiis,' abl.: comp. 'bello,' armis,' 'saxis petere.' 'Urbem miserosque Penatis,'' one brings ruin to a city, and wretchedness to its homes.' There is no ground for taking this of Rome, with Heyne and others.
506.] Gemma bibat:' Serv., whom some of the commentators follow, says "poculo gemmeo, non gemmato." But there seems no reason thus to restrict the sense of the word. 'Bibit e gemma' occurs Prop. 4. 5. 4, 'gemma ministratur' Sen. Provid. 3. Virgil, as Macrob. Sat. 7. 1 says, has imitated a line of Varius, "incubet ut Tyriis atque ex solido bibat auro." Fordormiat ' Med. a m. pr. has 'indormiat,' which Heins. adopted.
507.] Defosso auro:' Hor. 1 S. 1. 42, 'Quid juvat inmensum te argenti pondus et auri Furtim defossa timidum deponere terra?" Such a mode of hoarding would be natural in a time of proscriptions and confiscations. Comp. also A. 6. 610, qui divitiis soli incubuere repertis."
508.] Hic,' the aspirant to eloquence, who is struck dumb with admiration of the successful speaker, and the applause which greets him. 'Hunc,' the aspirant ('hiantem') to political greatness, who is caught and carried away ('corripuit') by the applause in the theatre ( per cuneos ') which rewarded popular statesmen. For the practice comp. Hor. 1 Od. 20. 3., 2. 17. 26.
509.] Pal. has 'geminatur,' which was
Corripuit; gaudent perfusi sanguine fratrum,
the old reading. The only strictly parallel use of 'enim' seems to be A. 8. 84, where it is equally difficult to understand its force. Of course it can be used as a particle of asseveration, as in 'sed enim,' 'enimvero,' &c., but in such passages it is still a connective particle, which cannot be the case here. See Hand, Tursell. Enim.' Perhaps we may render 'The plaudits of commons and nobles as they roll, aye, again and again along the benches.'
510.] Fratrum:' another imitation of Lucr. 3. 70. Comp. note on v. 496. If proscriptions are alluded to, Virgil would refer to the second triumvirate, as Lucretius to Sulla and Marius.
511.] 'Exsilio,' the place of exile. Comp. A. 3. 4, "Diversa exsilia et desertas quaerere terras."
512] Hor. 2 Od. 16. 18, "quid terras alio calentes Sole mutamus?" is probably an imitation of this, though Horace is speaking of voluntary exile.
513.] Dimovit,' 'while war, &c., is going on elsewhere, he has tilled his lands and expects the harvest.' The same line has occurred, with the change of one word, 1. 494. Med. actually gives 'molitus
514.] The use of 'labor,' like Tóvoç for realized labour, is common; but no instance has been quoted of 'labor' for the fruits of labour as specially distinguished from labour itself, as would be the case here if we took the sense to be that the husbandman's annual reward comes from ploughing. seems better to understand the words as meaning that the husbandman finds his annual employment as well as his livelihood in tillage. Parvosque penatis :' this is the reading of Med., approved by Heinsius and Heyne, and adopted by Ladewig, and appears in itself better than the common reading 'nepotes,' which can hardly be ren
dered otherwise than as 'descendants,' a sense not applicable here. Heyne comp. 4. 155, "Et patriam solae et certos novere penatis." It must be admitted however that the external authority for the reading is weak, as in the preceding line we have seen that the transcriber of Med. could write carelessly, and that the absence of a subsequent correction is no proof of the truth of its readings, while 'penatis' may have been introduced from v. 505, especially if the transcriber happened to recollect A. 8. 543, to which Wagn. refers. The words are frequently confused in MSS. It is not clear whether 'patriam' means his hamlet, or his country in the larger sense. language would rather point to the latter, the sense to the former. If the latter is meant, the antithesis may be, as Wagn. thinks, between peaceful patriotism and the unscrupulous ambition just mentioned. Varro R. R. 2. 1 complains that the disuse of agriculture was making Rome dependent on foreign nations for corn. Not unlike is Juv. 14. 70, 71, "patriae sit idoneus, utilis agris," except that there the reference is more general. Donatus ap. Servium renders 'patriam,' 'villam.' 'Thence comes sustenance for his country and his own little homestead alike, and for his herds of oxen and the bullocks that have served him so well.'
515.] Meritos:' so 3. 525, of the dying bullock, "Quid labor aut benefacta iuvant ? quid vomere terras Invertisse gravis?"
516.] Nec requies,' probably 'anno' rather than agricolae.' The expression is from Lucr. 6. 1177.
519.] The narrative style is continued with increased liveliness. 'Sicyonia baca,' the olive for which Sicyon was famous. Comp. Ov. Ibis 319, ex Pont. 4. 15. 10, Stat. Theb. 4. 50.
Et varios ponit fetus autumnus, et alte
how fat the swine come off from their meal of acorns.''Glande' is the important word, as it is of the different fruits of different seasons that Virgil is speaking the rest is ornamental, though quite in keeping with the picture of rural felicity and abundance.
521.] Ponit fetus:' comp. Phaedrus 2. 4. 3, "Sus nemoricultrix fetum ad imam (arborem) posuerat," a sense in which 'deponere' is also used. Or, for a change, autumn is dropping its various produce at his feet.' The willingness of nature is dwelt on, as in 'dant arbuta silvae.' See on v. 460. 522.] Comp. note on v. 377.
523.] 'Interea' divides the description of fruitfulness without from that of happiness within. Pendent circum oscula nati' is from Lucr. 3. 895, "nec dulces occurrent oscula nati Praeripere." In both these passages, as in A. 1. 256., 12. 434, osculum' is used in its primary sense as the diminutive of 'os,' from which the secondary meaning is easily inferred.
524.] 'Domus'='familia,' in this case the wife. 'Servat,'' keeps,' in the sense of observing. His virtuous household keeps the traditions of purity.'
525.] Lactea ubera demittunt' ='ubera lacte demissa gerunt.' Perhaps 524-526 may have been suggested by Lucr. 1. 257— 261. Fat kids, on grass luxuriant as they, are engaging together, horn against horn.'
527.] Agitare' here, as in 4. 154, A. 10. 237, is equivalent to agere.' The word is used absolutely by prose writers in the sense of 'degere.' Forcell. sub v. 'Dies festos:' keeping the old holy days would be a mark at once of the leisure and simplicity of country life. Most of the festivals in the old calendar were rural.
528.] Ignis ubi in medio :' this must be a turf-built altar, not the focus' in the house, on account of 'fusus per herbam :' so that Tibull. 2. 1. 21 and Hor. Epod. 2. 65 are not strictly parallel. The description is quite general. For 'in medio' Med. a m. pr. has ingenio,' whence Burmann conjectured 'genio.' 'Cratera coronant' seems to be a mistranslation or alteration of Homer's konτnρaç ÉπεσTÉVAVто TÓTOLO, which means 'filled the bowls high with wine,' whereas Virgil means 'wreath the bowl with flowers,' as appears from A. 3. 525, “ magnum cratera corona Induit inplevitque mero.'
529.] 'Pecoris magistris :' comp. "oviumque magistros," E. 2. 33.
530.] Iaculi certamina ponit in ulmo:' a condensed expression for 'makes a match of darting at a mark set up in or scored on an elm.' Comp. A. 5. 66, "Prima citae Teucris ponam certamina classis," where it would be unnatural to make certamina' =
praemia.' 'Certamen ponere,' like ȧy@va