Billeder på siden
PDF
ePub

Quaesitaeque nocent artes; cessere magistri,
Phillyrides Chiron Amythaoniusque Melampus.
Saevit et in lucem Stygiis emissa tenebris
Pallida Tisiphone Morbos agit ante Metumque,
Inque dies avidum surgens caput altius effert.
Balatu pecorum et crebris mugitibus amnes
Arentesque sonant ripae collesque supini.
Iamque catervatim dat stragem atque aggerat ipsis
In stabulis turpi dilapsa cadavera tabo,
Donec humo tegere ac foveis abscondere discunt.
Nam neque erat coriis usus, nec viscera quisquam
Aut undis abolere potest, aut vincere flamma;

restored by Heins. from Med. for' nec iam,' which Rom. and others give.

·

549.] Quaesitae,' invoked or applied to, if artes' be taken in the sense of healing powers; invented, if it merely mean expedients of cure. 'Cessere magistri' occurs again A. 12. 717, where the herdsmen retire from a combat between two bulls, as here the healers leave the field to the disease. 'Magistri' here seem to be, not as Voss thinks, the magistri pecudum,' but 'magistri artis medendi' (comp. Cic. de Inv. 1. 25,"artium liberalium magistri" Pers. Prol. 10, "Magister artis ingenique largitor," and "arte magistra" of Iapis the physician A. 12. 427), the specification being supplied from the previous clause.

550.] The choice of the mythic heroes of medicine to convey the notion that the utmost medical skill was baffled by the disease is eminently characteristic of Virgil's literary spirit, and contrasts significantly with the way in which Lucretius enforces the same thought, in one of his finest lines, "mussabat tacito Medicina timore " (6. 1179), the healing art, generally so clear and articulate, now muttering in voiceless terror. The patronymic of Chiron comes from his mother, Philyra (see on v. 93), from whom he is also called Philyreius (Ov. M. 2. 676), that of Melampus from his father.

[ocr errors][merged small]

550

555

560

"Quae

tion of Relligio Lucr. 1. 64, 5,
caput a caeli regionibus ostendebat, Horri-
bili super aspectu mortalibus instans,"
though nothing is said there about growth.

555.] Arentes' points to the intense heat, v. 479. Rom. gives 'horrentes.'

556.] Dat,' Tisiphone. The language is again imitated from Lucr. (6. 1144), "Inde catervatim morbo mortique dabantur." Later in the description, v. 1263, there is another line which Virgil may have had in view, "Confertos ita acervatim mors accumulabat." "Ipsis' seems to imply that the sheds, being the places of rest for the untainted and those under treatment, were the last spots where the dead should have been allowed to lie in heaps.

557.] Dilapsa :'' diffluentia,' Taubm. See vv. 484, 485.

[ocr errors]

558.] Discant,' the reading of some MSS., is to be rejected, because, as Wagn. observes, it would signify that the object of Tisiphone in piling up the dead was to teach men to bury them.

[ocr errors]

559.] Viscera,' according to Serv. on A. 6. 253, signifies the whole carcass under the skin, so that it is the natural correlative of 'coria.'

560.] The context, as Wagn. urges, seems to show that Serv. is right in supposing Virgil to speak of the impossibility of cleansing or cooking the flesh for men's use, as against Heyne and Voss, who suppose him to mean that the carcases were too numerous to be destroyed by fire or water. The latter view is favoured by the words 'viscera undis abolere' (comp. A. 4. 497, "abolere viri monumenta," where destruction by fire is spoken of, and Tac. A. 16. 6," corpus igni abolitum"); but we may reconcile them to Serv.'s interpretation by supposing a confusion between such phrases

[ocr errors]

Ne tondere quidem morbo inluvieque peresa
Vellera nec telas possunt attingere putris ;
Verum etiam, invisos si quis temptarat amictus,
Ardentes papulae atque inmundus olentia sudor
Membra sequebatur, nec longo deinde moranti
Tempore contactos artus sacer ignis edebat.

as viscera purgare (or coquere') undis'
and vitium undis abolere,' aided perhaps
by an association with 'oleo,' as if 'ab-
olere' could mean to get rid of the smell.
The reference then will be, as hinted
above, either to cleansing or to boiling.
'Vincere flamma,' in the sense of cooking,
is supported by Forb. from Sammonicus,
v. 319, "cochleas undis calefactas et prope
victas," and by Tac. H. 4. 53, "metallorum
primitiae nullis fornacibus victae."

6

561.] Ne... quidem' is the reading of Med. and one or two other good MSS., and is restored by Wagn. for nec... quidem.' See on 1. 146. Inluvie:' comp. v. 443. The discharge from the sores is what is

here meant.

562.] Wagn. seems right in supposing that in telas attingere' Virgil puts the case of the wool having been woven, and says that it would be useless, as the webs would break at the touch. There is in fact a rhetorical climax-The wool was too rotten to be shorn, or, if shorn, to be woven, or if woven, to be put on, or if put on, to be worn without contracting disease.' Attingere' appears as if it might refer either to the weaver, or to the person who takes up the texture for use. 'Adiungere,' the reading of one MS., would yield a good sense (Voss comp. Ov. M. 6. 55, "Tela iugo vincta est"), were it

[ocr errors]

better supported.

565

563.] Etiam' might go with ' temptarat,' 'if any one had gone so far as to make the experiment;' but it seems better to take it with 'papulae atque sudor sequebatur,' as if 'non modo,' or something equivalent, had been expressed in the preceding part of the sentence. 'Not only was the wool too rotten for weaving or wearing, but it even produced inflammation.'

[ocr errors]

565.] Sequebatur' seems to express the trickling of the sweat all over the limbs, following as it were their course, as Heyne explains it, with a further reference to these symptoms as the consequence of putting on the garment-a mixture of 'sudor sequebatur' and 'sudor per membra ibat.' 'Moranti' of the patient, who, as we should say, had not to wait long before he was seized.

566.] Contactos' is explained by the substantive contagium.' C Sacer ignis,' a disease akin to the erysipelas, but, according to Celsus (5.28), not identical with it. Lucr. (6. 1167) compares the ulcers in the plague to the effect of the 'sacer ignis,' and in v. 660 speaks of the disease itself, "Existit sacer ignis, et urit corpore serpens Quamcumque arripuit partem, repitque per artus," where the last clause will illustrate 'membra sequebatur.'

P. VERGILI MARONIS

GEORGICON

LIBER QUARTUS.

THE possible relation of this part of Virgil's work to the Meλioσovoyiká of Aratus, and the position which it may be said to occupy with reference to the presiding conception of the Georgics as the poetical glorification of labour, have each of them been touched upon in the general Introduction. As a didactic treatise, the Fourth Book is perhaps more regular than the rest; that is, if we consider it to include not only the " experience" of the bee-keeper, but, according to Dryden's somewhat bold rendering of "experientia," the "birth and genius" of the bee. There are however two memorable digresgions, the one apologizing for the absence of a disquisition on gardening as a constituent part of the Georgics and containing a notice of a visit once paid by the poet to an old gardener at Tarentum (vv. 116—148), the other tracing the Eastern method of breeding bees out of the carcases of cattle to a supposed legendary origin in the Grecian story of Aristaeus (vv. 315-558). On the first I have offered some remarks in a note on the lines concluding it on the second something remains to be said.

Tradition tells us that the story of Aristaeus did not originally form part of this book, which, as first written, had a very different conclusion. The Pseudo-Donatus says in his Memoir, after speaking of C. Cornelius Gallus, the hero of the Tenth Eclogue, "Usque adeo hunc Gallum Vergilius amarat, ut quartus Georgicorum, a medio usque ad finem, ejus laudem contineret: quem postea, iubente Augusto, in Aristaei fabulam commutavit." Servius on Ecl. 10. 1, and again on Georg. 4. 1, mentions or refers to this story. Heyne discredits it, seeing nothing in the subject of the book which could have suggested so elaborate a commemoration of Gallus: but if we accept Keightley's ingenious suggestion that the mention of Egypt as the country where the art of restoring bees was in vogue (vv. 287, foll.) may have led to an eulogy on the friend who had followed up the victory of Actium, assisted Octavianus in securing Cleopatra, and was in consequence made the first prefect of the new province, we shall see that the element of internal probability is not wanting, at the same time that we shall be able, as Keightley remarks, to account for a certain appearance of topographical overloading in the lines where Egypt is designated. So again the circumstances of Gallus' fall, which was owing to the alleged extravagant assumption of his Egyptian administration, may show us that, without wishing to war with the dead, Caesar may have naturally desired the suppression of so elaborate an encomium on a career which ended so disastrously. Keightley apparently thinks that the passage extended only to a few lines, which were easily removed, though not without leaving a rent: I see no difficulty in taking the tale on its intrinsic likelihood as it stands, and supposing that the episode of Gallus may have been as considerable in its range and pretension as the episode of Aristaeus. We have seen in the Sixth Eclogue how Virgil could introduce his friend among the personages of the old mythology, and he may

doubtless have made some contrivance here by which his bees should hum the praises of Gallus through half the book, yet not weary the reader. However, if we do not know what we have lost through Augustus' interposition, we know that we have gained a splendid specimen of Virgil's narrative power, an anticipation of that greater work to which Rome and Greece alike were bidden to give way.

PROTINUS aerii mellis caelestia dona

Exsequar. Hanc etiam, Maecenas, aspice partem.
Admiranda tibi levium spectacula rerum
Magnanimosque duces totiusque ordine gentis
Mores et studia et populos et proelia dicam.

1-7.] 'I now come to the making of honey, still hoping for Mæcenas' patronage. It opens a new world, the life of a commonwealth in miniature; a humble subject, but one which may bring glory to the poet, if Apollo inspire him.'

[ocr errors]

1.] This exordium is even briefer than that of Book 2. One reason why it is not protracted further may be, that there was no deity to be invoked as the special patron of this part of the subject, like Bacchus or Pales. Again, the episode of Aristaeus furnishes a halting place of such length, that Virgil may well have felt that his readers ought to be delayed as little as possible on the border of his new province. 'Protinus' expresses that in speaking of bees he is following the course of his subject. Aerii mellis caelestia dona,' referring to the supposed origin of honey from dew (E. 4. 30 note), μéλ dè Tò TÍπTOV EK Tоu aέpoç, καὶ μάλιστα τῶν ἄστρων ἀνατολαῖς, καὶ ÖTAV KATAOKηyn ipis, Aristot. H. A.5. 22. Pliny 11. 12, accepting this hypothesis, speculates further whether it is the sweat of the heaven, or the saliva of the stars, or the humour got rid of by the atmosphere. "Quibusdam placet non faciendi mellis apibus scientiam esse, sed colligendi. Hinc mel aerium Virgilio, quod ex rore aeris factum Protinus-dona." Sen. Ep. 85. 'Caelestia' is to be understood partly in the sense of aerii,' partly as an acknowledgment that the gift is from the gods.

2.] Exsequi' is frequently used of going through a subject, as in Livy 27. 27, "si quae variant auctores omnia exsequi velim ;" Tac. A. 3. 65, " exsequi sententias haud institui, nisi insignes," quoted by Forcell. Otherwise it might be understood as in A. 4. 396, 421., 6. 236, of the performance of the task set by Maecenas (comp. 3. 41). 'Aspice' in the sense of regarding with favour. 'Aspice et haec," Pers. 1. 125.

66

3.] 'Admiranda' might be taken with 'tibi,' and referred to all the accusatives which follow, Virgil promising to tell of them for Maecenas' admiration; but it

5

seems better to understand 'admiranda' merely as an epithet of spectacula,' as a contrast is apparently intended between admiranda spectacula' and 'levium rerum,' and to make the two following lines epexegetical of the one before us. A marvellous exhibition of things slight in themselves— high-souled leaders, and the life of a whole nation, its character, its genius, its races, its battles, shall all be unfolded to you.' 'Spectacula' seems to be suggested by aspice.' 'Levium rerum' is to be understood quite generally.

4.] The force of 'magnanimos' is expressed by a whole line lower down, v. 83, "Ingentis animos angusto in pectore versant. 'Ex ordine,' which is of course unmetrical, is found in the majority of MSS., but the preposition is omitted by Med. and Rom. It was probably, as Wagn. says, introduced by some one who remembered 3. 341, “ totumque ex ordine mensem, or knew that 'ex ordine' was a common phrase. 'Ordine' is constructed with dicam,' but its position after 'totius' is significant, implying that the whole is to be regularly divided into its parts.

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

5.] Mores,' though a very significant word in the mouth of a Roman, involving in fact that which, as they felt, made their nation what it was, is difficult to render by a single English equivalent. It includes the particular as well as the general, Oŋ as well as oc; and though distinguished from leges,' written ordinances imposed from without, it is equally applicable to actual institutions and floating usages or feelings. 'National character,' 'the spirit of the age,' 'civilization,' 'social traditions,' words occupying different places in our modern vocabulary, all seem to suit it by turns. Of these the second, which might serve as a translation of the word in several passages of the satirists (e. g. Pers. 2. 62, Juv. 14 323), is perhaps the only one which would not express the meaning here; but on the whole the first seems preferable. Studia' are tastes, as in 3. 498, where we have seen it applied

6

In tenui labor; at tenuis non gloria, si quem
Numina laeva sinunt auditque vocatus Apollo.
Principio sedes apibus statioque petenda,
Quo neque sit ventis aditus,—nam pabula venti
Ferre domum prohibent—neque ‘oves haedique petulci 10
Floribus insultent, aut errans bucula campo
Decutiat rorem, et surgentis atterat herbas.
Absint et picti squalentia terga lacerti

to the horse, differing from 'mores' as the
genial and impulsive element differs from
the more regular and systematic. In 'po-
pulos' we are reminded of the various
constituents of a nation, its historical races
or its clans. Comp. A. 10. 202, where differ-
ent' populi' range under one 'gens.' In
applying it to the bees Virgil may have
referred to the different races, which, as he
says, vv. 92 foll., may exist in the same
hive, or he may have used the word as it is
used by Col. 9. 13, where duo populi'
appear to mean 'duo examina,' of the in-
habitants of different hives. In the former
view'proelia' will have been suggested by
'populos:' see vv. 67 foll.
6.] 'In tenui,' of the thing on which the
labour is spent, as laborare in re' is used.
Tac. A. 4. 32 (comp. by Wund.) says "nobis
in arto et inglorius labor," contrasting his
subject with that of the historians of ante-
imperial Rome, where however the image is
taken from exercising in a confined space.
'Tenuis non gloria:' he does not advert,
as in 3. 289 foll., to the slightness of the
subject as constituting the triumph of the
man who could adorn it, but simply says
that the glory of a true poet whom the gods
inspire to sing is not to be measured by the
littleness of his theme.

7.] Laeva' is interpreted by Gell. 5. 12 to mean adverse:' Serv. on the contrary explains it to mean 'propitious.' The commentators are divided, Jahn, Keightley, and Ladewig, among the more recent, taking the former view, Heyne the latter. Pliny 2. 54 and Varro ap. Fest. 'sinistrae' are cited to show that in Roman augury the left was thought the favourable, the right the unfavourable quarter, the received opinion among the Greeks being precisely the reverse, a contrariety accounted for by the statement that the augurs of the one nation looked to the north, those of the other to the south. Looking to Virgil's usage, we find the only places where 'laevus' occurs in a good sense are A. 2. 693., 9. 631, both of which mention thunder on the left as a propitious omen, ap

parently following Ennius, Ann. 517, while it is applied in a bad sense E. 1. 16, A. 2. 54, to human folly, and in A. 10. 275 to the baleful light of the dog-star; to which must be added that when he uses 'sinister' metaphorically it is always for evil, as 'dexter' is always for good. Thus the balance seems decidedly to incline towards Gellius' view, which is also favoured by the word 'sinunt,' implying that a gracious permission is not a matter of course. Thus explained, the words will contain a slight touch of modesty, perhaps of pessimism, as if Virgil feared that he had to struggle with an unpropitious destiny, much as he expresses himself 2. 483, 484. Possibly the word may have a shade of meaning like that which it has in E. 1. 16, as if it denoted the gods that blunt the intellect. 'Sino' with an acc. is not uncommon in Virgil, v. 47, A. 4. 540., 6. 96., 9. 620., 10. 598., 12. 316, like ¿ãv in Greek, so that it need not be regarded as elliptical. " 'Aderitque vocatus Apollo," A. 3. 395. For 'audit vocatus' Wund. comp. Hor. 2 Od. 18. 40, 3 Od. 22. 3.

8-17.] First about a situation for a hive. It should be out of the way of the wind, of cattle, which spoil flowers and grass, of lizards, bee-eaters, swallows, and other birds, which not only injure the garden but devour the insects.'

9.] This and the next three lines are quoted and adopted by Col. 9. 4.

10.] Petulci:' an epithet of lambs in Lucr. 2. 368. Macrob. (Sat. 6. 5) notes the imitation. Pliny (11. 18) gives another reason why sheep do harm to bees, because the insects get entangled in the wool.

11.] We may either understand 'ubi' from 'quo,' or regard 'floribus insultent' as implying motion, as we should say 'where they do not come trampling on the flowers.'

[ocr errors]

Campo' with 'errans,' which conveys a notion of space, rather than with 'decutiat.'

[ocr errors]

13.] Squalentia,' 2. 348. Here it seems = 'squamosa,' with which it is perhaps connected. Col. (9.7) speaks of the lizard, " qui velut custos vestibulo prodeuntibus apibus affert exitium," recom

« ForrigeFortsæt »