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Et mutata suos requierunt flumina cursus,
Tu mihi seu magni superas iam saxa Timavi,
unreality. Virg. was doubtless thinking of the effect of the legendary song of Orpheus, and named any savage beast as a proof of the power of music.
4.] Cursus' might very well be constructed with 'mutata,' as the course of a river by being checked would in effect be changed, though the words, as Wagn. remarks, would rather point to a magician's spell, making the river roll back, like Medea's, Val. Fl. 6. 443, "Mutat agros fluviumque vias." The traditional explanation of requierunt,' as active, is however strongly supported by Prop. 3. 15. 25, "Iuppiter Alcmenae geminos requieverat Arctos," and a line of Calvus' Io, quoted by Serv., "Sol quoque perpetuos meminit requiescere cursus" (not to mention Ciris, v. 232), and also by the part. 'requietus,' which seems to show that quiesco,' like 'suesco and its compounds, had originally an active sense. The later editors of Propertius understand the construction to be that of an intransitive verb with a sort of cognate acc.; but such a Grecism is not in the style of Virgil.
6-13.] 'This poem is for Pollio, to greet his triumphal return. Would that I could hope ever to celebrate him worthily! As it is, I can only offer him a few verses written at his bidding.'
6.] Tu mihi' is rightly taken by Wagn. and Forb. with 'superas,' so as to prevent the need of supposing a parenthesis from 'seu magni' to 'desinet' (v. 11) with Heyne, or an aposiopesis with the earlier editors. Pollio is returning from his expedition against the Parthini to triumph at Rome. Virg., at the moment of writing, wonders whether the fortunate ship has yet reached Italy or not, the ethical dative expressing that the poet's feeling goes along with his patron. 'Superas, as legis shows, is to be understood of passing by sea, as in the parallel passage A. 1. 244 (where see the note),
"fontem superare Timavi." Magni' expresses the breadth of the stream, and saxa' the character of the region about, as described in the note referred to.
7.] En erit umquam,' 1. 68. Comp. 6. 6 foll., where the general effect is the same, an apology for not celebrating his patron, though Virg. does not hide his unwillingness there, as he seems to be doing here, under a mask of eager regret.
8.] Tua dicere facta,' 4. 54.
10.] Pollio's tragedies have been glanced at, 3. 84, and are more particularly mentioned by Hor. 2 Od. 1. 9., 1 S. 10. 42. Digna,' like 'dicere Cinna digna,' 9. 35. Heyne remarks that it is a questionable compliment from Virg. to talk of making Pollio's verses known by means of his own, though we may suppose the tragedies had not yet been given to the public.
11.] Imitated from Theocr. 17. 1, who in his turn has imitated Il. 9. 97. With the language comp. 3. 60. The nom. to 'desinet' must be 'principium,' though Virg. writes as if he had said, 'a te coepit Musa,' or words to that effect. The promise, which is the same as Horace's to Maecenas, 1 Ep. 1. 1, is rather premature, as it is only in the Eclogues that any allusion to Pollio occurs. The editors, however, remark that Nestor makes the same promise with regard to Agamemnon in his speech, Il. 9. 97, and does not keep it much better.
12.] 'Coepta' need not imply that he had taken up the poem and laid it down again, as Spohn thinks, though that of course may be its meaning. 'Hanc sine,' accept this praise of your tragedies (hederam' as in 7. 25 note) along with the military honours which are to be paid to you at your triumph.
13.] Serpere' expresses the character of the ivy, like Persius' "quorum imagines lambunt Hederae sequaces," Prol. v. 5.
Frigida vix caelo noctis decesserat umbra,
D. Nascere, praeque diem veniens age, Lucifer, almum,
Dum queror, et divos, quamquam nil testibus illis
14-16.] 'It was just daybreak when Damon began.'
14.] Damon and Alphesiboeus had driven their flocks afield before daybreak, as Virg. himself prescribes, G. 3. 322 foll., for the summer months. Nothing is said of any challenge to sing the contest may have been agreed on before; or Virg. may have chosen to pass over the preliminaries altogether, as he has done partially in Ecl. 7; or Damon's song may have been answered by Alphesiboeus without any previous conDamon need not be supposed to be singing of his own despair, but merely to be performing in character, as Alphesiboeus evidently is; he takes advantage, however, of the early morning, as if he had been bewailing his lost love all night.
15.] Repeated G. 3. 326, with the change of cum' into 'et.'
16.] 'Tereti olivae,' not the trunk of an olive, which would suit neither incumbens” nor the epithet 'teres;' but his staff of smoothed olive, which he carried like Lycidas in Theocr. 7. 18, poikav d'exev dypieλαίω Δεξιτερᾷ κορύναν, or Apollo, Ον. Μ. 2. 680, "pastoria pellis Texit, onusque fuit dextrae silvestris oliva" (where, however, Heins. and Merkel give 'baculum silvestre sinistrae ').
17-21.] 'Da. Come, gentle day, I am mourning the broken faith of my love, and appealing to the gods as a dying man.'
17.] He sees the day-star rising, and bids it perform its office. "Surgebat Lucifer... Ducebatque diem," A. 2. 802.
18.] Indigno amore,' as in 10. 10, unworthy, because unreturned. Nisa is called 'coniux' because it was as his wife that Damon loved her. In translating freely we might talk of a husband's love.' So "ereptae magno inflammatus amore Coniugis," A. 3. 330, of Orestes' baffled love
for Hermione. Comp. also A. 2. 344, and see above on v. 1.
19.] Testibus illis:' their testimony has stood me in no stead hitherto, as Nisa has broken the vows made before them.
21.] Maenalios,' Arcadian, note on 7. 3, an equivalent to Theocritus' Bovкodikās ȧoidãç. 'Tibia,' the flute, was used by shepherds as well as the reed or the Panpipe, as appears from Theocr. 20. 29 (comp. Lucr. 5. 1385): but here it need merely be a variety for 'fistula,' v. 33. 'Mecum,' because the music accompanies the song. Forb. comp. Hor. 1 Od. 32. 1, “Lusimus tecum... Barbite." Theocr. introduces a refrain into his first and second Idyls, but generally with more obvious regularity of recurrence, and occasionally where there is no pause in the sense, so that they seem to represent something in the music. The present line is from Id. 1. 66, &c. aрxεTε βουκολικᾶς, Μοῖσαι φίλαι, ἄρχετ ̓ ἀοιδᾶς, where it does not end but begin the stanzas.
22-25.]' 'Arcadia is the country for pastoral song: Pan and the shepherds sing there.'
22.] He dwells on the thought suggested by the refrain. 'Argutum' and 'loquentis' are worded as if to express the natural music of the whispering trees (see 7. 1), though the reference is really to the echo of the songs. Compare a similar double meaning in 5. 62 (note). "Pinifer Maenalus," 10. 15.
23.] 'Amores,' of love-songs, 10. 53.
24.] Comp. 2. 32. Pan here appears as a promoter of civilization, by applying natural things to the use of man-the language, as Heyne remarks, resembling G. 1. 124, "Nec torpere gravi passus sua regna veterno." The reeds were not left to murmur chance music (comp. Lucr. 5. 1382 foll.), but were taken and disciplined for regular use.
Mopso Nisa datur: quid non speremus amantes ?
26-31.] 'Nisa marries Mopsus-an illomened and unnatural union-yes, he has the honours of a bridegroom.'
26.] 'Dare,' of giving in marriage, A. 1. 345. 'Quid-amantes?' what may we not expect as lovers?' i. e. what may we not expect to happen in love?
27.] Iungentur,' of marriage (A. 1. 73), as in similar proverbial expressions, Aristoph. Peace 1076, πрív кεν Xúкog oiv vμevaioi, Hor. A. P. 13, "Serpentes avibus geminentur, tigribus agni." This suits the context better than the interpretation of later editors, of yoking horses and griffins in a car, as in 3. 91. So the next verse is intended to express intimate daily association. For the griffins, lions with eagles' heads and wings, see Hdt. 3. 116. 'lam' seems to be distinguished from 'aevo sequenti,' the latter marking a later step in
the monstrous revolution.
28.] 'Timidi dammae,' G. 3. 539. Virgil's use of the masc. is noted by Quinct. 9. 3. 6. The epithet marks their ordinary nature, in spite of which they are to herd with their enemies. 'Pocula' is frequently used to signify not only a cup but its contents, G. 1.8, so that it may easily be used here, where the notion of a cup is merely metaphorical. The editors comp. G. 3. 529, "Pocula sunt fontes liquidi," where the metaphor almost passes into a simile-"fontes liquidi sunt pro poculis."
29.] The bridegroom is bidden to prepare for the wedding by getting the torches ready himself. 'Incide faces' is a natural rustic image, as such things were part of a countryman's work, G, 1. 292, where see note, and 'novas' is equally natural, as the occasion would doubtless seem to require new torches. ‘Tibi ducitur,' 'is being brought home to you.'
30.] Nuces nuts were flung by the bridegroom among the boys carrying the torches, as the bride approached. Catull.
59 (61). 128 foll. Dict. Ant. 'Nuptiae.' The ceremonies are now supposed to have begun, the signal being the rising of the evening star: see Catull. 60 (62) throughout. 'Deserit Oetam,' 6. 86, note. Catull. 60 (62). 7 says, "Nimirum Oetaeos ostendit Noctifer ignes." Serv. hints at a legend connecting Oeta with the worship of Hesperus, who loved a youth named Hymenaeus-possibly as the story of Diana and Endymion is connected with Latmos. If Virg. referred to this or anything like it, we need not suppose him to be here following a Greek original, though he is likely enough to have been guilty of the incongruity of making a Greek shepherd allude to the details of a Roman marriage. Keightley remarks on the ignorance shown in supposing that there can be a morning and evening star at the same time of the year (comp. v. 17), observing that the same error is committed by Catull. 60 (62). 34, Hor. 2 Od. 9. 10, and other Latin poets, so as to show that in general they were but careless observers of nature.
32-36.] 'A suitable match for one who scorns my rusticity, and perjures herself fearlessly.'
32.] This marriage has come upon Nisa as a punishment for her scorn and perfidy. Damon evidently means that Mopsus is confessedly inferior to himself—a satyr to Hy. perion.
33.] The maiden scorning the rusticity and unsightliness of her lover is from various passages in Theocr. Idyls 3, 11, 20.
34.] Hirsutumque supercilium.' λaoía opoúc, Theocr. 11. 31. Promissa' was restored by Heins. from the best MSS. for the old reading 'prolixa.' 'Immissaque barba," A. 3. 593. Virg. may have intended it as an imitation of apoyέvelos, Theocr. 3. 9 (comp: Id. 20. 8), which is interpreted to mean 'having a prominent chin."
35.] οὐκ ἔφα τις θεοὺς βροτῶν ἀξιοῦσ
Incipe Maenalios mecum, mea tibia, versus.
Oai péλev, Aesch. Ag. 369. 'Mortalia' for 'res mortalium,' A. 1. 461. Lucr. 6. 29 has rebus mortalibus' in the same
37-42.] 'My first sight of you was when I was a child and you came to gather our apples. That moment was my fate.'
37.] From Theocr. 11. 25 foll., where the Cyclops tells Galatea he has loved her ever since she came to gather hyacinths. 'Saepibus in nostris,' 'within our 'enclosure (1.54), 'in our orchard.'' Roscida,' with the morning dew on them.
38.] The boy, knowing every nook of the orchard, comes to show the way to his mother's guest. The reference of matre is fixed by the passage in Theocr. ua ovv ματρί.
39.] Authorities were at one time divided on the question whether alter ab undecimo' meant the twelfth or the thirteenth, the former view being supported by Vives, Camerarius, Nannius, Sigonius, the elder Scaliger, and Castalio; the latter by Servius, Eugraphius, Manutius, and the younger Scaliger. See Taubmann's note. Modern editors have found little difficulty in deciding it to be the twelfth, considering 'alter' to be convertible with secundus,' but following the inclusive mode of counting. Comp. "alter ab illo," 5. 49; "heros ab Achille secundus," Hor. 2 S. 3. 193. The Romans counted both inclusively and exclusively. Acceperat' is restored by Wagn. from the Med. and other MSS. for ceperat.' 6 Accipere' is the correlative of ' inire' or 'ingredi,' the year receiving those who enter on it.
40.] Fragilis' implies that he was just able to reach them and snap them off. 'Ab terra' is restored by Wagn. from Med. for a terra.' His general doctrine is that 'ab' is used by Virg. before consonants only when it has the force of άπó, and then only before certain words, of which 'terra'
is allowed to be one on the strength of this line and G. 1. 457.
41.] Theocr. 2. 82, χώς ἴδον, ὡς ἐμάνην, ὥς μευ περὶ θυμὸς ἰάφθη (comp. 3. 42. Hom. II. 14. 294), where the second g should probably be ws-'when I saw, I at once became mad,' or, 'as surely as I saw, I became mad '—so that Virgil's 'ut' would be a mistranslation. The meaning here apparently is when I saw, how was I undone!' 'Error,'' madness.' Comp. Hor. 2 Ep. 1. 118, where it is coupled with 'insania,' A. P. 454. The line is found in the Ciris, v. 430.
43-46.] 'Now I know what love isnothing human, but the savage growth of the wilds.'
43.] From Theocr. 3. 15. Comp. A. 4. 365 note. 'Scio' and 'nescio' are the only instances in which Virgil shortens the final 'o' in a verb (comp. A. 9. 296), which is to be accounted for by their constant colloquial use, and possibly also by scio' having come to be pronounced as a monosyllable. 'Cotibus,' the older form of cautibus,' like 'plostrum' of 'plaustrum,' &c.
44.] 'Aut Tmaros' is the reading of the best MSS. 'Ismarus' however was read by Valerius Probus, and we have already seen it coupled with Rhodope,' 6. 30. There is a similar variety A. 5. 620. The line is formed on the Greek model, but it need not be a translation. From Hom. II. 16. 34 it would appear that the intention was to represent a savage man as actually sprung from a rock: but extremi Garamantes' here seems to show that Virgil was thinking less of the rocks than of their inhabitants.
45.] Nostri,' human, like the transferred sense of humanus,' savages not being included in humanity. Edunt' seems rightly explained by Wagn. as equivalent to 'parentes sunt,' as if giving birth
Incipe Maenalios mecum, mea tibia, versus.
48.] Mater' is obviously to be explained from matrem' of Medea, not, as Burmann thought, of Venus, though the close connection of 'mater' and 'puer,' when the terms are not intended to be correlative, is certainly awkward. The shepherd is naturally led to blame Medea-she must have had a hard heart to have let love impel her to a crime like this; then recurring to his old complaint against love, he proceeds to balance the criminality in each case, but cannot adjust the proportions. There is nothing particularly inappropriate in this, though Catrou thinks it mere playing on words, and Heyne would omit vv. 49, 50.
49.] 'Is the cruelty of the mother, or the wickedness of the boy greater?' Voss supposes the question to be whether the mother or the wicked boy be the more cruel, the answer being, 'the wicked boy: though the mother is cruel still:' but this is far less natural, and overlooks the obvious distinction between the cruelty of Medea and the wanton malice of the god who drove her to crime, which may be compared in point of criminality, but cannot be identified. So "Inprobe amor, quid non mortalia pectora cogis?" A. 4. 412. "Vanum mendacemque inproba (Fortuna) finget,' A. 2. 80.
52-56.] 'Let the order of nature be reversed henceforth, barren things becoming fruitful, and base things honourable.'
52.] He had before prophesied unequal
Vivite, silvae :
and unnatural unions, vv. 27, 28: he now prays that as he is to die despairing and a meaner man to triumph, a similar change may take effect on all nature. It is noticeable that the changes he desires are those which are mentioned elsewhere as the results of the golden age (3. 89., 4. 30, &c., 5. 60), the same events being capable of being regarded either as a bestowal of favour on the less favoured parts of nature, or as a transference of the just rights of the strong and beautiful to the weak and contemptible. Thus the prayer of v. 55 may be paralleled with Horace's address to the Muse (4 Od. 3. 19), “O mutis quoque piscibus Donatura cycni, si libeat, sonum," and the change of Tityrus into Orpheus with the shepherd-poet's boast (4. 55 foll.), that he will equal Orpheus and Linus if allowed to sing in the golden age. In Theocr. 1. 132 foll., from which the passage is copied, the instances seem merely to be chosen as involving a reversal of the order of nature, not as symbolizing the dishonour done to Daphnis. Ultro,' not only forbear to molest them, but actually fly from them in his turn. 'Aurea mala,' 3. 71.
54.] The tamarisk, as in 4. 2., 6. 10, seems to be chosen as one of the meaner plants, which is supposed to be raised to the privileges of the alder or poplar, the rivertrees (6. 63) which were believed to distil amber (Ov. M. 2. 364).
55.] Certent-ululae,' a proverbial expression, which appears in various forms, Theocr. 1. 136., 5. 136, 137. Lucr. 3. 6: see also on 9. 36.