Billeder på siden

30. viridi compellere hibisco] 'to drive together with a green switch of hibiscum': what the hibiscum was we do not know, but 10. 71 we see that it could be used for making baskets and therefore as a switch. Collecting the straggling goats would be a common occupation.

Most editors render to drive (in a body) to the green hibiscum.' They compare Hor. Od. 1. 24. 18 quem...nigro compulerit gregi which is absolutely different, as there is surely a difference between driving a sheep to join the flock (nigro compellere gregi) and driving a flock down to the hibiscum (viridi compellere hibisco). Had editors given the quotation from Hor. in full quem VIRGA semel AUREA | nigro compulerit Mercurius gregi they might perhaps have seen that it rather suggested that viridi hibisco was parallel to virga aurea. Virgil frequently uses the dat. of a noun adverbially where in with the acc. would be more usual (see G. 4. 562 n.), but no expression at all parallel to this is quoted.

31. canendo] Here clearly 'playing,' as the context shows. 32. Pan...] Pan was said (cf. 8. 24) to have invented the oûpiys, fistula, 'Pan-pipe' which is here described: it resembled the instrument not unfrequently used by Punch-and-Judy men, and consisted of a number of reeds of uneven length (cf. 36 disparibus septem cicutis) joined together with wax (cera coniungere), along the top of which the player runs his lips as he plays (cf. Lucr. 4. 588 unco saepe labro calamos percurrit hiantes) and sometimes makes them sore by doing so (cf. 34 calamo trivisse labellum).

coniungere, after instituit which is='taught'; the acc. before coniungere is understood, 'taught (men) to join together.'

33. Pan curat...] A prose-writer would say 'Pan taught... for he loves' but poetry simply says 'Pan taught... Pan loves.' The assonance of Pana... Pan ... Pan oves ovium deserves notice.


36. cicutis] 'hemlock stalks,' used instead of reeds (calami). 37. dono dedit] A stately phrase to describe a formal gift. 38. te nunc...] 'it has you now a second master'; the giving of the pipe is a symbolic act indicating that he who receives it is the successor of its former owner, and is on his death to be ranked as the greatest living master, cf. 6. 49. ista, lit. that of yours,' shows that Damoetas has already placed the pipe in Corydon's hands.

39. dixit...] Cf. 1. 30 n. stultus, 'foolish' in deeming himself worthy to succeed Damoetas.


40. nec tuta...] 'and found by me in no safe valley' he adds this to enhance the value of the gift.

41. sparsis...] These white spots are said to disappear at six months old. For albo as subst.='with white' see G. 1. 127 n.

42. bina die...] lit. 'twice a day they drain the udder of a sheep.' A ewe was given them as a foster-mother and fed them twice a day. The distributive force of bina is thrown upon die which clearly means 'each day,' 'every day.' The plural ubera is used because Virgil is thinking not of the actual udder but of its contents.

43. iam pridem ... orat] lit. 'is already for some time begging'; we say 'has been long begging.' orat abducere: the usual construction after oro is the subj.: here an inf. is used after the idea of desire contained in it; cf. A. 6. 313 orantes transmittere cursum.

44. et faciet] lit. and she shall do (what she prays to do)': we say 'and she shall do so.' tibi: emphatic, in your eyes,' cf. 19 n. Virgil is copying Theocr. 3. 33

τάν με καὶ ἁ Μέρμνωνος Εριθακὶς ἁ μελανόχρως
αἰτεῖ· καὶ δωσῶ οἱ, ἐπεὶ τύ μοι ἐνδιαθρύπτῃ.

46-55. Come! See the Nymphs and Naiads offer you posies of fairest flowers, and I will gather you choicest fruits.

46. Nymphae] The Nymphs and Naiads represent the deities of the country, and are described as tempting Alexis to come among them.

47. pallentes violas] Certainly not 'pale violets,' which would hardly blend with poppies. The flower described is the Greek Neukótov, which is generally rendered 'wall-flower,' and from Hor. Od. 3. 10. 14 tinctus viola pallor amantium it is clear that the hue of the flower is 'sallow' or 'yellowish,' and so 'yellow wall-flowers' may do. The 'paleness' of an Italian complexion, it should be remembered, is yellow' rather than white,' hence the colour of gold is described in Latin as paleness,' and pallere is used of a yellow rather than a white hue. Cf. G. 1. 446 n.; Hor. Epod. 10. 16 pallor luteus; Ov. Met. 11. 110 saxum quoque palluit auro.


49. tum...] This seems clearly a second bouquet. first is of two contrasted colours, pale wall-flowers and bright poppies, mixed with some scented plants: the second is described in inverse order as inwoven with scented herbs, and presenting a beautiful contrast of colour with yellow marigolds and the dark hyacinth.

[ocr errors]

For mollia cf. 5. 38, where Wagner explains molli viola as quae coloris teneritate sensum molliter afficit, and so, perhaps, here soft,' 'velvety.' mollis is a very vague adjective: 'tender,' 'soft,' 'yielding,' 'pliant,' and is applied to flowers, foliage, shrubs, grass, sleep, wine, poetry, or a horse's legs (G. 3. 76) with such indifference that its exact force when used of an unknown flower must remain uncertain. In 6. 53 molli hyacintho it describes the actual 'softness' of the hyacinth for lying down on.

Translate then inweaving them (i.e. the flowers mentioned in the next line) with casia and other herbs she sets off (pingit) the velvety hyacinth with the yellow marigold.

50. For the peculiar balance of the line cf. G. 1. 468 n.

51. cana...mala] i.e. quinces, strictly called mala Cydonia. The word malum, like unlov in Greek, was applied to many similar fruits, e.g. malum Persicum 'the peach,' malum felix 'the citron,' malum praecox 'the apricot.'

53. prùnă; honōs] A short vowel without any accent on it is left unelided only here and A. 1. 405 patuit dea. ille ubi matrem. The pause in both cases makes the difficulty much less, and possibly here h in honos is regarded as semi-consonantal.

[ocr errors]

honos erit...] this fruit too shall be honoured,' i.e. by being included among those selected for presentation to you. pomum is used of almost any fruit.

54. lauri] 'bays,' cf. G. 2. 18 n. proxima: 'neighbouring' used proleptically (cf. G. 1. 399 n.) = 'to be their neighbour,' as the next line shows.

55-72. Ah! Corydon, you are foolish to hope to win Alexis from Iollas by gifts. Alas! what trouble I have brought on myself. And yet, Alexis, why shun me? Though Pallas loves towns, yet other deities have lived in the woods. All creatures have something that they long for, and I long for you. cool evening comes but my passion burns. O Corydon, what madness it is! Why not set about something useful and forget Alexis?


56. rusticus]'a clown,' i. e. stupid, in that you indulge such vain hopes.

57. nec...concedat Iollas] 'nor, should you seek to rival him with gifts, would Iollas yield'; i.e. he would outbid you. Iollas is clearly the dominus of line 2.

58. quid volui mihi] 'what have I wished for myself?'; 'what have I brought on myself?'

floribus...] 'I have let loose the South wind upon my flowers, the wild boars against my clear fountains,' i.e. I have brought ruin and destruction on myself. The South or Sirocco wind, which blows from Africa, is especially destructive in Italy.

61. Dardaniusque Paris] Quoted as the type of grace and beauty. He was brought up as a shepherd aniong the forests of Mount Ida.

Pallas...nobis: notice the emphatic position of these contrasted words: 'let Pallas inhabit the citadels she herself reared, to me let... .' Pallas was commonly spoken of by such titles as πολιάς anl πολιούχος, especially at Athens her favourite city.

63. torva...] Cf. Theocr. 10. 30

ὁ αἲξ τὸν κύτισον, ὁ λύκος τὰν αἶγα διώκει,

ὁ γέρανος τἄροτρον· ἐγὼ δ ̓ ἐπὶ τὶν μεμάνημαι.

65. Ŏ Ålexi] For a long vowel thus left unelided and shortened before a following vowel, cf. 8. 109 an quì ămant; 3. 79 văle vălě inquit; 6. 44 Hyla, Hylă omne. In none of these cases is the ictus on the shortened syllable.

66. aratra iugo referunt suspensa] 'draw home by the yoke the hanging ploughs.' It was customary when returning home to turn the plough over (cf. Hor. Epod. 2. 63 videre fessos vomerem inversum boves | collo trahentes languido), so as to prevent the share catching in the ground; the main body of the plough would thus seem to be hanging' in the air.

Many editors say that iugo referunt is tautological and would therefore join iugo suspensa hanging from the yoke,' but they are obliged to explain this tilted on the yoke' (i.e. the pole is turned from under to over the yoke and the plough thus thrown on its back), which is a very different thing. Ov. Fast. 5. 497 versa iugo referuntur aratra seems to prove that iugo referunt do go together.

68. quis enim...] 'for what limit can there be to love?'

69. a Corydon...] Theocr. 11. 72 â Kúkλwy, Kúkλwy, nâ τὰς φρένας ἐκπεπότασαι;

70. semiputata... frondosa] Both adjectives are emphatic; the vine is only half-pruned' and the supporting elm is left with all its leaves on, so that the sun cannot reach the grapes.

71. quin tu...paras?] Why do you not rather make ready to plait with osiers and pliant reeds something at any rate of all that daily need requires': quorum eorum quorum.

quin tu...potius...paras: a question introduced by quin

potius is really a strong remonstrance or exhortation; hence the force of the remarkable tu which all editors neglect. When you take a person to task you generally addr ss him personally with considerable emphasis, and so Corydon in taking himself to task addresses himself with emphasis'Why don't you, yes you, stupid,...?'

72. detexere] might mean 'unweave,' but here clearly means weave until they are completed.'

73. invenies...] Cf. Theocr. 11. 76 evpnoeîs Taλáтeiav lows καὶ καλλίον ̓ ἄλλαν.


Two unfriendly shepherds, Menalcas and Damon, meet and, after indulging in some vigorous banter, suggest a trial of their poetic skill and, after determining what each shall wager, they invite Palaemon, who is passing, to act as judge; he accepts the office and at line 60 the contest begins. Such poetry as verses 60-107 was called Amoebaeic (áμoßaía dodá Theocr. 8. 31) from duoßh 'interchange,' and Virgil calls it 'alternate song' (alterna line 59). The rule was that the second singer should answer the first in an equal number of verses, on the same or a similar subject, and also if possible show superior force or power of expression, or, as we say, 'cap' what the first had said. The 9th Ode of the Third Book of Horace's Odes is a perfect specimen of this kind of verse. The present Eclogue is largely copied from the 4th and 5th Idylls of Theocritus, but this form of poetry was probably extremely popular in Italy, where improvised songs largely consisting of rude repartees were always a characteristic of village festivities.

1-15. M. Is this the flock of Meliboeus? D. No; Aegon left it in my charge. M. Unhappy sheep! while the master is away courting, a hireling milks you to death. D. Don't abuse I know something of you. M. I suppose you saw ME hacking Micon's vines. D. At any rate you broke the bow of Daphnis from jealousy.


1. Damoeta] Greek voc. cf. Aeneā, Aivelā; 7. 67 Lycidā. culum: a word common in the early comedians but obsolete in Virgil's day in formal Latin. Virgil intends by its use to give a natural and colloquial air to the line, but the word was evidently considered curious at an early period, as in Donatus' life of Virgil the following parody is quoted:

« ForrigeFortsæt »