Billeder på siden

Sponte sua, dum ferre moror, cinis ipse. Bonum sit!
Nescio quid certe est, et Hylax in limine latrat.
Credimus? an, qui amant, ipsi sibi somnia fingunt ?
Parcite, ab urbe venit, iam, carmina, parcite, Daphnis.

good. Serv. and Plutarch (Life of Cicero, c. 20) relate that this omen happened to Cicero's wife as she was sacrificing to Vesta in the year of Catiline's conspiracy, and that it was interpreted as a sign of honour and glory.

106.] Voss distinguishes 'sponte sua' from 'ipse,' making the latter mean the mere dying cinders; but the pleonasm would agree better with Virgil's general use of 'ipse,' and would here, as elsewhere, be highly forcible in itself. 'Bonum sit or 'bene sit' was the usual form of ejaculation. Cic. Div. 1. 45 (quoted by Emm.) gives a fuller one, "Maiores nostri omnibus rebus agendis quod bonum, faustum, felix, fortunatumque esset praefabantur."

107.] Nescio quid certe est' is copied from Catullus, as it is copied by Persius, a fact which settles that the present punctua


tion is the right one, as against Döring's

Nescio quid... certe est!' 'Hylax' is a natural name for a dog, like 'Hylactor,' Ov. M. 3. 224.

108.] Cerda comp. Publ. Syr. "Amans quae suspicatur vigilans somniat.” 'Somnia fingere' occurs in Lucr. 1. 104.

109.] Daphnis is seen, and the charms are bidden to cease; a conclusion unlike that in Theocr., where the enchantress is unsuccessful. 'Iam, carmina, parcite' is restored by Voss from the Med. and Oblong. Vat. MSS. for 'iam parcite, carmina.' Wagn. defends the old reading by referring to v. 61; but the position of tibia' there is evidently meant to answer to its position in v. 21, &c., so that we may argue that 'carmina' should stand here where it has stood in v. 68, &c.

[blocks in formation]

THE historical occasion of this Eclogue has been already adverted to in the Introduction to Ecl. 1. After obtaining a promise of protection, Virgil, so says the traditional account, returned to his property, when he found his entrance resisted and his life menaced by an intruding soldier, whose name is variously given as Arrius, Claudius, or Milienus Toro. He sought safety in flight, and made a second appeal to the higher authorities, which this time was crowned with more permanent success. Ruaeus conjectures that the present Eclogue was in fact a poetical petition presented to Varus or Octavianus. Certainly it is skilfully contrived to interest the reader in the poet's favour. Moeris, one of the servants, is going to the town, Mantua doubtless, with part of the farm produce, which he is to give to the usurping proprietor, when he is stopped by a neighbour, Lycidas, relates his and his master's troubles, and receives a warm expression of sympathy at the loss which had so nearly fallen on the whole district by the death of their illustrious compatriot, some of the poet's verses being quoted by way of showing how great that loss would have been, while Virgil's successful return is hinted at as an event which will produce further poems. There is a compliment to Varus (v. 27), and another to Caesar (v. 46).

The framework is more or less borrowed from the eaλuoia of Theocritus (Idyl 7), the most personal of that poet's works, the first part of which is taken up by an account of a country walk, in the course of which Lycidas, a goatherd, and a famous singer, comes up with Simichidas, the representative of Theocritus, and consents to sing with

him as they journey along. Some passages in the Eclogue are modelled on passages from other Idyls which are referred to in the notes.

As there are no hills or beeches in the Mantuan territory, which, if any, must be referred to vv. 7 foll., the scenery would seem to be imaginary or confused—a conclusion confirmed by v. 57. (See however note at the end of the Eclogues.)

The allegorizing interpretation spoken of in the Introduction to Ecl. 1 has been applied here, though only in the case of Amaryllis (v. 22), who has been supposed to represent Rome. Moeris too, like Tityrus, has been thought to be the poet's father.

The correspondence between the specimens quoted from Menalcas' poetry, Lycidas and Moeris first repeating three, then five lines each, is doubtless intentional. See the last paragraph of the Introduction.

The date of the poem is later than that of Eclogue 5 (see v. 19), and consequently than those of Eclogues 2 and 3. Its relation to Eclogue 1 we can hardly determine in the present state of our knowledge, though Serv. pronounces that Eclogue to be the earlier of the two.

L. Quo te, Moeri, pedes? an, quo via ducit, in urbem?
M. O Lycida, vivi pervenimus, advena nostri,
Quod numquam veriti sumus, ut possessor agelli
Diceret: Haec mea sunt; veteres migrate coloni.
Nunc victi, tristes, quoniam Fors omnia versat,
Hos illi-quod nec vertat bene-mittimus haedos.

[ocr errors]

1.] 'L. Whither away, Moeris? to the city? So the Lycidas of Theocr. (see Introd.) asks iμixida, nã dǹ Tù μeoaμέριον πόδας ἕλκεις; 'Quo te pedes:' the ellipse, which is natural in questions of the kind (comp. 3. 25, 'cantando tu illum,' Madvig, § 479, d), is apparently to be supplied from ducit.' Voss comp. Plin. Ep. 7. 5, "Ad diaetam tuam ipsi me, ut verissime dicitur, pedes ducunt,' from which he infers that the phrase had come to be used for involuntary motion. So in Theocr. 13. 50., 14. 52, ₫ πódεç ayov is said of persons hastening they know or care not whither, like Horace's "I pedes quo te rapiunt et aurae" (3 Od. 11.49), "ire pedes quocunque ferunt" (Epod. 16. 21). In Homer however (e.g. Il. 18. 148, rv μὲν ἄρ ̓ Οὔλυμπόνδε πόδες φέρον) it is merely a primitive expression for walking or running; and it might be doubted whether it is more here, were it not for the passage from Theocr. 7. 21. Virgil's more usual expression is 'ferre (efferre, referre) pedem.' Quo via ducit:' "qua te ducit via, dirige gressum," A. 1. 401. 'Urbem' seemingly Mantua, 1. 21, 35.

2-6.] M. We have lived to be turned out of our farm by an intruder. It is to him I am carrying this present.'


2.] Vivi pervenimus,'' we have lived to see,' or 'we have reached the point alive;' 'vivi' expressing both that they might

[ocr errors]


have expected to die before such an outrage, as Wagn. explains it, and also that death would have been a boon. Advena,' used contemptuously, as A. 4. 591., 12. 261. The order of the words seems to express the confusion of Moeris, who brings them out in gasps.

3.] Wagn. reads 'quo' for 'quod,' from three MSS., denying 'pervenimus ut' to be Latin; it is however sufficiently defended by Forb., who contends that 'eo' is implied in the form of the sentence, a remark which really applies to all cases where 'ut' has the force of so that,' though no antecedent like 'sic,' 'adeo,' or 'talis' is expressed. On the other hand 'quo,' besides its deficiency in external authority, would introduce a confusion into the order of the sentence greater than could well be excused by Moeris' perturbation of mind.

4.] Haec mea sunt:' see on 1. 47. It was the natural language in laying a claim.

5.] Sors' is found in some MSS., and approved by Burm., who would read also

tristis,' with Probus, Inst. Gramm.; but 'sors,' as Wagn. remarks, is rather the event than the ordaining power. The emphatic word would seem to be 'fors,' not

versat'- -'since things are regulated by chance, which makes void the rights of property.'

6.] Vertat bene' is the order of the Med. and three other MSS., preferred by

L. Certe equidem audieram, qua se subducere colles
Incipiunt, mollique iugum demittere clivo,

Usque ad aquam et veteris, iam fracta cacumina, fagos
Omnia carminibus vestrum servasse Menalcan.
M. Audieras, et fama fuit; sed carmina tantum
Nostra valent, Lycida, tela inter Martia, quantum
Chaonias dicunt aquila veniente columbas.
Quod nisi me quacumque novas incidere lites
Ante sinistra cava monuisset ab ilice cornix,
Nec tuus hic Moeris, nec viveret ipse Menalcas.

Wagn. on rhythmical grounds to the common bene vertat.' The latter order seems more usual in prose, but the former occurs more than once in Terence. Mittimus' is used seemingly because Moeris, though carrying the kids himself, speaks for his master, who is the sender of the present.

[ocr errors]

7-10.] L. I thought your master's poetry had saved all his property.'

7.] Certe equidem' are not infrequently found together. Hand, Tursell. 2, p. 28. 'Qua-fagos' is connected with 'omnia,' expressing the extent of the property. Though the scenery is imaginary (see Introd.), the specification here seems to show a jealousy on behalf of the strict rights of Menalcas, which, as Voss points out, doubtless represents Virgil's own feeling. Subducere,' to draw themselves up from the plain-the slope being regarded from below, as in 'iugum demittere' it is regarded from above.

8.] 'Molli clivo,' G. 3. 293. Caes. B. C. 2. 10, speaks of 'fastigium molle,' as he elsewhere uses 'bene,' like our expression a gentle slope.'

9.] The old reading was 'veteris iam fracta cacumina fagi,' which is slightly supported by Pers. 5. 59, "Fregerit articulos, veteris ramalia fagi." With the present reading, which was restored by Heins. from the Med. and Gud. MSS., comp. 2. 3 note, 3. 12. Voss contends with some plausibility that the beeches were the boundary of the property, citing Hor. 2 Ep. 2. 170, but as he believes the scenery to be real, it is possible that he may be pressing the words more than they will bear.

10.] See Introd. "Vestrum,' because Moeris had spoken in the plural, as for the whole household.

11-16.] 'M. So people believed: but soldiers do not respect poetry: in fact, we

were nearly killed.'




11.] Audieras' is affirmative, not interrogative, as Wagn. thinks. Moeris asserts what Lycidas had told him, merely to show that he believes it. Yes, so you did, and so the story went.'

[ocr errors]

12.] Nostra,' speaking for Menalcas in particular. Serv. quotes Cic. Pro Milone 4, "silent leges inter arma."

[ocr errors]

13.] Chaonias,' referring to the doves of Dodona-an epithet of the class mentioned on 1. 55. The language, as Heyne observes, was apparently suggested by Lucr. 3. 752, "accipiter fugiens veniente columba." With the thought comp. Soph. Aj. 169.

14.] 'Me.' "We may suppose that it was Moeris who first observed the prophetic bird, and that he then informed Menalcas of what it portended." Keightley. "Incidere ludum," Hor. 1 Ep. 14. 36. A similar expression occurs in one of Serv.'s notices, where it is said that Claudius threatened "se omnem litem amputaturum, interfecto Vergilio."

15.] The appearance of a raven on the left hand seems simply to have constituted the augury a credible one. Cic. Div. 1. 39. 85, “ Quid (habet) augur, cur a dextra corvus, a sinistra cornix faciat ratum?" Plaut. Asin. 2. 1. 12, " Picus, cornix est a laeva: corvus, parra a dextera." What determined the character of the augury to be favourable or the reverse does not appear. Voss., following Serv., thinks that the unlucky sign here was the hollowness of the oak. Martyn however observes with some justice that the present omen may be regarded as lucky or unlucky, according as we choose to look at Menalcas' escape or the loss of his property. All that we can say is that it was a warning, as in Hor. 3 Od. 27. 15, "Teque nec laevus vetet ire picus Nec vaga cornix."

16.] Hic,' the speaker himself, like

L. Heu, cadit in quemquam tantum scelus? heu, tua nobis
Paene simul tecum solatia rapta, Menalca?

Quis caneret Nymphas ? quis humum florentibus herbis
Spargeret, aut viridi fontis induceret umbra ?
Vel quae sublegi tacitus tibi carmina nuper,
Cum te ad delicias ferres, Amaryllida, nostras ?
"Tityre, dum redeo-brevis est via-pasce capellas,
Et potum pastas age, Tityre, et inter agendum
Occursare capro, cornu ferit ille, caveto."

M. Immo haec, quae Varo necdum perfecta canebat:

ὅδε. "Tibi erunt parata verba, huic homini verbera," Ter. Heaut. 2. 3. 115.

Comp. A. 1. 98. So hic' and 'ipse' are contrasted 3. 3. Serv. says in one place that Virg. had to throw himself into the Mincius in order to escape, an event to which he supposes him to refer in 3. 95; in another, that he took refuge in the shop of a charcoal-maker, who let him out another way.

17-25.] L. Was Menalcas SO near death? Who could write verses like his, such as those of his where he commends his sheep to Tityrus?'

[ocr errors]

17.] Cadit: "non cadit... in hunc hominem ista suspicio," Cic. Pro Sull. 27. In such expressions cadere' seems to be used in the sense of 'is the lot' or 'part of,' so that 'suspicio cadit in aliquem' is little more than equivalent to 'cadit aliquis in suspicionem,' just as rvyxávεiv is used indifferently of the thing happening and the person to whom it happens.

18.] 'Solatia' is referred by Voss specifically to the song on Daphnis, which is alluded to in the next verse; but the application is doubtless more general.

19.] The allusion is seemingly to 5. 20, 40, on which latter see the note. The song is that of Mopsus, not that of Menalcas; but Menalcas is apparently regarded as the poet who rehearses his friend's song as well as his own, just as he there declares himself the poet of Ecl. 3 (5. 86, note)-in other words, he is Virgil. For the representation of the poet as actually doing what he only sings of, comp. 6. 46. 62.

21.]Or who would sing the songs I lately stole from you?' 'Caneret,' or some such word, is supplied in thought from the two preceding lines. 'Tibi' is evidently not Moeris, but Menalcas, who is going to visit Amaryllis, like the wμaorns in Theocr. Id. 3, and like him, ib. vv. 3 foll., asks Tityrus to take care of his goats till



[blocks in formation]


23.] Dum redeo' is not 'till I come back,' but while I am on my way back'in other words the use of the present shows that it is the continuance of the time, not its completion, that is thought of. strictness we should have expected 'dum absum;' but the speaker in asking to be waited for naturally talks of himself not as absent, but as coming back. In Theocr. there is nothing answering to 'dum redeo or brevis est via,' though the former is implied in the context.

24.] Inter agendum.' Serv. cites 'inter loquendum' from Afranius, and inter ponendum' from Ennius.

26-29.] 'M. Yes, or the verses he wrote to Varus, about sparing Mantua.'

26.] Moeris quotes another triplet of Menalcas, apparently with a preference, adding that the poem is not yet finished, so as to show the loss which lovers of song would have suffered in the poet's death. There is some skill in the intimation of the preference, which implies not only a compliment to Varus, but a recommendation of Virgil's own interests. For Varus, see Ecl. 6, Introd. 'Necdum' is not simply for nondum,' as Voss thinks, 'nec' having the force of and that not,' or 'not either,' and thus laying a stress on the unfinished state of the poem.

[ocr errors]

"Vare, tuum nomen, superet modo Mantua nobis,
Mantua, vae, miserae nimium vicina Cremonae,
Cantantes sublime ferent ad sidera cycni."
L. Sic tua Cyrneas fugiant examina taxos,
Sic cytiso pastae distendant ubera vaccae:
Incipe, si quid habes. Et me fecere poetam
Pierides; sunt et mihi carmina; me quoque dicunt
Vatem pastores; sed non ego credulus illis.

27.] 'Superet' 'supersit:' see on G. 2. 235. Serv. says Virg. interceded for the Mantuan district as well as for his own lands, and obtained the restitution of a part of it.

28.] Nimium vicina,' though they were forty miles apart, because Mantua suffered for its proximity to its disaffected neighbour. Serv. says that Octavius Musa, who had been appointed to fix the boundaries, finding the territory of Cremona insufficient for the wants of the soldiers, assigned to them fifteen miles' length of that of Mantua, in revenge for an offence formerly given him by the inhabitants. In another passage Alfenus Varus is said to have treated the Mantuans unjustly, exceeding his instructions in the extent of territory which he took from them, and leaving them only the swampy ground, a proceeding with which he was taxed in a speech by a certain Cornelius.

29.] The same promise is made to Varus which we have had 6. 10, though the image is varied. Mantua was celebrated for its swans, G. 2. 199, and the music of swans was a commonplace with the ancients, so that the song of the swans aptly represents Virgil's gratitude, at the same time making it contingent on the vation of his lands.


there may be said to add to the feeling of the passage. There seems no authority for representing Corsica (called Cyrnus by the Greeks, see Dict. Geogr.) as famous for yews, which is assumed by several of the commentators; but as the honey of Corsica, though known historically as one of its articles of produce, was, like that of Sardinia (7. 41), proverbially bitter (Ov. Am. 1. 12. 20, where it is called 'mel infame'), and as the baleful yew' (G. 2. 257) was prejudicial to bees (G. 4. 47), Virgil seems, as Martyn observes, to have thought himself at liberty to connect the two, as Ov. 1. c. affects to suppose that the Corsican honey must be collected from hemlock-flowers. It is however just possible that 'taxos' may be an error for 'buxos,' as Diodorus (5. 14) expressly attributes the bitterness of the honey to the number of box-trees on the island.

31.]Cytiso,' 1. 79, G. 3. 394 foll., where it is given to goats, as here to cows, to increase their milk. Distendant,' Heins. from the best MSS. for 'distentent.'

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

32.] Si quid habes,' 3. 52, note. The remainder of Lycidas' speech is from Theocr. 7. 37 foll. It can hardly be doubted that Virgil means to distinguish between preser-poeta' and ' vates,' Lycidas asserting him

30-36] 'L. As you hope for a farmer's blessings, let me hear more of such verses. I am something of a poet myself, though the shepherds overrate me.'


30.] Sic' in adjurations, as in 10. 5. May your bees (1. 55., 7. 13) continue to give good honey.' The use is virtually the same as that of 'sic' or 'ita' in protestations, when it is frequently, though not always, followed by 'ut.' "Sic has deus aequoris artis Adiuvet, ut nemo iamdudum litore in isto... Constitit," Ov. M. 8. 867. Thus the Greek ourwç and our 'so.' In a passage like the present we should say 'As you hope for this or that.' It is true that in Hor. 1 Od. 3. 1 foll. such an adjuration, as Macleane there objects, involves a violation of logic but the very inconsequence

self to be the former, while he does not claim the honours of the latter. What the precise distinction is, cannot easily be determined from the usage of the words either in Virgil (who scarcely uses 'poeta' except in the Eclogues) or in other writers; but we may perhaps infer from the other sense of vates' that it would naturally denote a bard in his inspired character, and its transference to other acts, "medicinae vates," Pliny 11. 37. 89; " 'legum vates," Val. Max. 8. 12. 1 (quoted by Martyn), as we, though from a different point of view, should say 'an adept,' shows that it suggested the notion of eminence. In Theocr. 1. c. the shepherd says that he is the shrill mouth of the Muses, and that all call him the best singer.

« ForrigeFortsæt »