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P. VERGILI MARONIS GEORGICON LIB. II.
Scilicet et rerum facta est pulcherrima Roma,
Sed nos inmensum spatiis confecimus aequor,
534.] Scilicet:' comp. note on 1. 282. Here, as in that passage, scilicet' is inserted rhetorically, to give importance to the words connected with it. Some place the stop after 'crevit,' taking' scilicet' with what follows. But comp. the position of scilicet' in the passage just referred to. 'Rerum pulcherrima :' looking to such expressions as 'nemorum maxima,' above, v. 15, Hor. 1 S. 9. 4, dulcissime rerum,' and Ovid, M. 8. 49, 'pulcherrime rerum,' it may be doubted whether the genitive here is a real partitive, and whether the agreement in gender of 'pulcherrima' with ' rerum is not merely accidental.
For other instances of the supposed impiety of slaying the ox, the fellow-labourer of man, see Cerda's note.
538.] 'Aureus,' the king of the golden age. Comp. Theocr. 12. 15, pa TÓT' ήσαν Χρύσειοι πάλαι ἄνδρες.
539.] Etiam ' connects necdum ' with ante,' as the former etiam' connects 'ante' with what precedes. Audierant:' comp. the latter part of note on v. 463. 541, 542.] But I must end this long stage of my work.'
541.] Spatiis:' the plural spatia,' as used by Virgil, seems to denote sometimes the circles of a race-course, and sometimes the passage of the racers round them. Comp. A. 5. 584., 7. 380. We may therefore either take spatiis' in the former sense, and connect with inmensum,' as Heyne does, or take it in the latter, and connect it with 'confecimus.' Heyne refers for a similar metaphor to Tryphiodorus 664, ἐγὼ δ ̓ ἅπερ ἵππον ἐλάσσω Τέρματος ἀμφιέλισσαν ἐπιψαύουσαν ἀοιδήν. In Lucr. 6. 92 foll. the metaphor is from a foot race.
542.] Fumantia :' "equos... Fumantis sudore quatit," A. 12. 338. Rom. and some others have 'spumantia,' which seems less appropriate, though we may conceive of the necks of the horses as wet with
their own flying foam ; or, if the image is that of a race, with the foam of those immediately behind them (3. 111). Quinctilian quotes the words (8. 6), but his MSS. differ as here. Charisius however supports 'fumantia.'
P. VERGILI MARONIS
THE care of the various animals that are bred by the farmer forms the subject of the Third Book. These are divided into two main classes, which are distinguished in Latin as 'armenta' and 'pecudes,' the former including horned cattle and horses, the latter the smaller cattle, sheep and goats, while a word is thrown in (vv. 404-413) about dogs. The former occupies the larger portion of the book, vv. 49-283: the poet however allows himself to digress in the last paragraph of the division, vv. 242 foll., speaking of the effect of sexual passion on the whole animal creation. Even in the earlier portion the subject is not very regularly treated. Virgil commences by saying (vv. 49 foll.) that a breeder of oxen or horses ought to attend particularly to the choice of the dams. A description of a cow follows; but nothing is said of a mare. At last (vv. 72 foll.) he changes the subject to horses, but it is that he may talk, not of the dams, but of the sires. Thus instead of describing the cow and the mare, the bull and the stallion, he consults variety by describing the female of one class, the male of the other. In what follows he treats of both classes indifferently; but true to his preference of poetical ornament to practical accuracy, he does not so much generalize as confuse, using language which is sometimes applicable to oxen, sometimes to horses. At last (vv. 146 foll.) he is led to speak more particularly of the former with respect to their early training; that over, he bestows a similar paragraph on the latter. But this proportion is soon violated. Speaking of the effect of the sexual passion, he lavishes all his powers of minute description on the bull, in the well-known picture of the fight between two bulls for the same heifer (vv. 219 foll.). Horses and mares are indeed mentioned, but not with the same prominence, the former being introduced cursorily in the digression on the sexual fury of the whole animal creation, the latter forming the conclusion of that digression. In the second part of his subject Virgil is perhaps more systematic; but he digresses more. The mention of pasturing the flocks in summer and winter leads to the two celebrated descriptions (vv. 339 foll.) of a Libyan shepherd's summer and a Scythian shepherd's winter, in the latter of which special pastoral details are soon lost in a picture of the general features of the scene. And the narrative of the pestilence in Southern Italy, with which, in imitation of Lucretius, he has chosen to conclude the book, is essentially digressive, following, as it does, the fortunes of other animals besides those which are the subjects of the farmer's care, and in general being so conducted that the reader peruses it as an independent story, and does not feel the patent want of a regular peroration closing this part of the treatise.
The exordium of the book has a biographical interest, as containing the most definite sketch of the project, which Virgil doubtless stood pledged to execute, of a poem in honour of the exploits of Octavianus-a plan, not of the Aeneid, but of that for which the Aeneid was accepted as a compensation. It is in the course of it that, as was mentioned in p. 141, the only passage occurs which seems as if it must have been written at a later date than that assigned to the completion of the poem as a whole. See on vv. 31, 32, 33.
TE quoque, magna Pales, et te memorande canemus
1-48.] 'My song shall now embrace the themes of cattle and pasturage. The old heroic legends have been worn threadbare by other poets: mine must be a different path to fame. One day I hope to raise a deathless monument to Caesar-a trophy of his victories over the East and West, and of mine over the bards of Greece. Meanwhile Maecenas bids me to the woods again. Away to the chase.'
1.] For Pales and Apollo Nomius, see E. 5. 35.
7.] Virgil may have been thinking of Pind. Ol. 1, which dwells equally on the ivory shoulder of Pelops and his victory in the chariot race.
8.] 'Acer equis,' 'a keen charioteer,' as 'acerrimus armis' (A. 9. 176) is 'a gallant warrior.' 'Temptanda via est,' 'I must explore a path,' taking 'via' in its strict sense. Comp. Hor. 3 Od. 2. 22, "Virtus
negata temptat iter via," probably an imitation of Virgil, as the following words (see next note) seem to show.
9.] Comp. Ennius' epitaph on himself (Epigr. 1. 4), "volito vivu' per ora virum." Victor,' of intellectual triumph, perhaps from Lucr. 1. 75. The word prepares us for the image developed in the following lines. Virum volitare per ora' appears to have been taken by Palladius, one of the later Latin poets (marked No. 10 in Dict. B.), as being in the mouths of men "Vivus in aeternum docta per ora volo," Epitaph on Cicero. It is however more probably hover before the faces of men.' Comp. Sall. Jug. 31, "Incedunt per ora vestra magnifici," and Hor. 2 S. 1. 64, "Nitidus qua quisque per ora Cederet." Keightley appositely refers to the belief that poets were changed into swans. See Hor. 2 Od. 20. "Volitare' is connected with 'me tollere humo.' Comp. Hor. 3 Od. 2. 23, "udam Spernit humum fugiente penna."
10-39.] The nature of the allegory contained in these lines has been much disputed. It seems clearly however to be drawn from a Roman triumph. The poet
Aonio rediens deducam vertice Musas;
who has just spoken of himself as a conqueror (victor') represents himself as returning from a campaign in Greece, and bringing the Muses captive from Helicon; in other words, if the old subjects of song are forestalled, he will be the first to do for Rome what Hesiod and others have done for Greece. Then he will build a votive temple by his native river to his patron god, and celebrate before it games and shows, like Roman conquerors after their triumph. The temple is to be adorned with the sculptured history of Augustus, as other temples were with the legends of their god. Having secured his own fame as the rural poet of his country, he will be able to pass to the grateful celebration of his patron's triumphs. For a different interpretation see Hurd on Horace, Vol. ii. pp. 43 foll.
10.] Primus,' &c. : imitated from Lucr. 1. 117, where Ennius is spoken of. In patriam,' not Mantua, as Serv., Heyne, and others think, but Italy. Virgil has before claimed to be the earliest rural poet of Italy, 2. 175, 176.
11.] Aonio vertice:' Helicon, as in Lucr. 1. c., but perhaps with a reference to Hesiod (Keightley). Rediens,' as from a campaign. Deducam,' lead in triumph. Comp. Hor. 1 Od. 37. 31, "Privata deduci superbo Non humilis mulier triumpho." It has been plausibly suggested that this passage is not purely metaphorical, but refers to a literal journey into Greece which we know Virgil ultimately to have taken.
12.] The epithet Idumaeas' is worse than otiose. It would be otiose if applied only to 'palmas:' but it is worse than otiose, as drawing a contrast between 'palmas' and 'Mantua.' For Idumaeas palmas' comp. Hor. 2 Ep. 2. 184, "Herodis palmetis pinguibus," and Lucan 3. 216, Stat. Silv. 5. 2. 138. Palmas' in an inscription ap. Marin. Frat. Arv. quoted by the German editor of Forcell. (palma') it is said "Imp. Caes. ex Sicilia Eid. Nov.
Triumphavit Palmam Dedit," which is explained to mean 'in gremio Iovis collocavit.' From this it appears either that the name 'palma' was given to the branch of bay which was carried by the victor in a triumph, or that the palm itself was sometimes substituted for the bay, agreeably to the custom in the Grecian games, also adopted at Rome (Livy 10. 47) where the conqueror carried a palm branch. Comp. Pausan. 8. 48.
13.] Templum ponam:' the custom of vowing temples to the gods in battle and dedicating them after victory is too well known to need illustration: see, however, Livy 1. 11, 12., 2. 20.
Ipse, caput tonsae foliis ornatus olivae,
fortunae, pingimus atque Psallimus et luc-
draw it up with them. The Britanni sued for peace to Augustus A.U.c. 727, when he was in Gaul preparing to invade them.
21.] Tonsae olivae' probably, as Heyne thinks, means the stripped leaves of olive 26.] He recurs to the temple, which is woven into a wreath. The reference seems to be ornamented with the exploits of its to be not to the Olympic crown, but to the god. See note on v. 10. Foribus:' temsacrificial wreath of olive. Comp. A. 5. 774., ples, with their folding doors, thus adorned 7. 750, and especially 6. 809, "Quis procul with appropriate figures in gold and ivory ille autem ramis insignis olivae Sacra ferens?" are mentioned by Cicero, Verr. 2 Act. 4. 56, 23.] 'Iuvat' may refer either to the and Prop. 3. 23. 11. Long on the passage poet himself or to the fancied spectators of from Cic. remarks that some of the great these shows. 'Feram' immediately pre- works of art, both of ancient and modern ceding rather makes for the former. If times, are doors and gates. The combination the latter be preferred, comp. A. 2. 27. of ivory and gold was common in ancient staBut Virgil may well have intended to in- tuary, the ivory being employed to represent clude both. The time is come: what joy the flesh. See Dict. A. Statuaria Ars.' to lead the solemn procession to the temple, and see the bullocks slaughtered!'
24.] There shall be stage plays as well as sacrifices and games. Servius says that Virgil refers to two different kinds of scenae,' called 'versilis' and 'ductilis,' the one turning on a pivot and so exhibiting different faces (versis frontibus'), the other parting (discedat') to disclose a new scene within. Schlegel, Dram. Lit. Lect. 4, reconciles the two by supposing that the side scenes were 'versiles' and the centre scene was 'ductilis.' In the Greek scene there were two rotatory prisms (TepiaкTo) near the side entrances of the 'scena,' which served for shifting the scene. Dict. A. 'Theatrum.' 25.] The ancient curtain rose instead of falling. This line is illustrated by Ovid, M. 3. 111-113, who compares the rising of the warriors from the ground where Cadmus had sown the serpent's teeth to the rise of the figures embroidered on the stage curtain: "Sic, ubi tolluntur festis aulaea theatris, Surgere signa solent, primumque ostendere vultum,
Cetera paullatim placidoque educta tenore Tota patent, imoque pedes in margine ponunt."
27.] The Gangaridae were an Indian tribe near the Ganges; and the reference probably is, as in 2. 173, to the defeat of the Eastern troops of Antony. 'Quirini' may be referred to Augustus, to whom it was proposed to give the title of Romulus or Quirinus; but, looking to the contrast with Gangaridum,' it is more probably the representative of the Roman nation.
28.] Undantem bello,' swelling or surging with war, that is, with warlike feeling: the meaning is explained by 'magnum fluentem.' In the same way the defeated river is said "ire mollior undis," A. 8. 727, and "minores volvere vertices," Hor. 2 Od. 9. 22. This seems more natural than to understand it of the fleets floating on the Nile, as it was not there that the struggle took place. The opposite picture of the vanquished Nile is engraved on the shield of Aeneas, A. 8. 711. Magnum' is not an adverbial neuter, but agrees with 'fluentem:' comp. Toλùç pέwv, and Bentley's note on Hor. 1 S. 7. 28.
29.] Navali surgentis aere columnas,' otherwise called 'columnae rostratae,' and found on the coins of Augustus.
30.] Niphates,' according to the geographers, is a mountain in Armenia; though 'Tollant,' rise with it, and so appear to Juv. 6. 409, Lucan 3. 245, and Sil. 13.