« ForrigeFortsæt »
Et viridem Aegyptum nigra fecundat arena
291.] Viridem' and 'nigra' are doubtless intended to be antithetical; but though the opposition is perhaps not much to be admired, especially as viridem' appears to be a sort of predicate, taken closely with 'fecundat,' and expressing the effect of the fecundation, that is no reason for suspecting the line. See E. 6. 54 for a similar instance. 'Arena,' of the soil of a river, 3. 350. 'Niger,' of sea-sand, A. 9. 714.
293.] 'Indis,' apparently the Ethiopians, unless we are to extend Virgil's geographical untrustworthiness further. Coloratis,' as we talk of men of colour, as Keightley remarks, the word itself meaning no more than coloured. Ov. Am. 1. 14. 6, referred by Forb, applies the epithet the Seres.
rently says that a spot is to be chosen naturally adapted for the object, narrow and confined—an injunction which Florentinus does not seem to have thought necessary, and which appears superfluous if not suicidal, as if the chamber was of the proper size it could not signify whether it was built in an open space or in a hole, while a place naturally adapted for the object would hardly need walls, and would hardly leave room for the admission of air or light through windows. Thus he can scarcely mean more than that a chamber is to be built of sufficient smallness for the purpose, though his words would certainly suggest the other interpretation. If we might read toerigitur' the difficulty would be removed : but eligitur' suits better the ordinary use of 'locus.' Another question arises about 'ipsos contractus ad usus,' which it seems open to us to interpret either as if ad usus' ='in usus' (which is actually found in some MSS., including the first reading of Med.), the sense being narrowed (or narrow) for that very object,' or as if ad' expressed the standard to which the reduction was to be made, 'narrowed down,' as we might say, 'to the bare occasion.' Ad usus ' is found no where else in Virgil: 'in usum or'usus' has already occurred 3. 313, and will meet us again A. 4. 647, 66 non hos quaesitum munus in usus.'
294.] Iacit' seems to be a synonyme for 'ponit,' derived probably from the phrase 'iacere fundamentum,' Serv. • Certam salutem' then will be a condensed expression for 'spem certae salutis.'
295-314.] 'The remedy is to kill a two year old bullock in a narrow chamber by beating, bruise the body, and leave it there with twigs of casia and thyme, when bees will gradually breed within it, till at last you get a large swarm.'
295.] There is perhaps something awkward in this didactic description of the process, as introduced here, after the legend accounting for it has been promised, and before it has been given, especially as the close of that legend is afterwards made to contain the same precept in two different forms. Here again we have a presumption that what we are reading is an alteration of the original draught. The precept itself is given in detail by Florentinus in Geop. 15. 2, who professes to follow Democritus and Varro, referring to some passage which is no longer to be found in the works of the latter. On this first head he says that the chamber, olkoç, should be ten cubits high and broad, and four square, with one door and four windows, one on each side. Virgil evidently intends to give a similar direction; but the language in which he expresses himself is not easily explicable. He appa
296.] For imbrices,' semi-cylindrical tiles used to cover the lines of junction between the rows of flat tiles on the roof (tegulae'), see Dict. A. s. v. 'tegula.' Angusti imbrice tecti' here seems merely a poetical amplification for angusto tecto.'
298.] Obliqua luce,' so as not to admit too much air or light, which would interfere with the subsequent process. Some MSS. or editions seem to give 'adversa luce,' badly.
299.] Iam' may refer either to 'bima' or 'curvans,' or both. The bullock's second year is to be past, and his horns already grown. Comp. E. 3. 87, "Iam cornu petat, et pedibus qui spargat arenam." rentinus (1. c.) says that the bullock is to be thirty months' old, and very fat.
Quaeritur; huic geminae nares et spiritus oris
300.] Spiritus oris,' another amplification for 'os.'
301.] 'Multa reluctanti may be, as Germ. thinks, a translation of the Homeric Tóλ' dekαLóμevog (Il. 6. 458, Od. 13. 277). 'Obsuitur,' the reading of Med. and of Gud. a m. pr., was restored by Heins. Wagn. recalls obstruitur,' as agreeing better with the precept of Florentinus, who orders that every aperture in the bullock's body be closed up with pitched cloths. This is not conclusive, as Virgil may have chosen to vary this point of detail; but it does not seem worth while to depart from the reading of the majority of copies, which besides, as Wakefield remarks, is perhaps better suited to the violent measure recommended. 'Obsuo' is much the rarer word, only two instances being cited by Forcell., both of them in the form obsutus.' Florentinus says that this closing up is to take place after the beast has been killed; Virgil evidently means that he is to be first stifled and then beaten to death- -a less likely direction. Plagis perempto' is probably not to be pressed, as if the action were finished before that mentioned in the next line began. The meaning seems to be plagis perimitur et solvuntur,' ' plagis' really referring to both verbs.
302.] Solvuntur' signifies that the body is to be crushed and mashed up, Florentinus' injunction being that the bones are to be broken up as well as the flesh, ouou ταῖς σαρξὶ τὰ ὀστέα συναλοῦντες. This line illustrates the definition of viscera ' given by Serv. on A. 6. 253, "quidquid inter ossa et cutem est.' 'Integram,' entire, unbroken, as Florentinus particularly insists that no blood is to be drawn, a prohibition which Virgil seems to have forgotten when in v. 542 he makes Proteus tell Aristaeus to cut the throats of the bullocks and heifers chosen for the purpose. 'Per' will then denote the medium through which the blows are to pass.
303.] Florentinus goes on to say that the bullock is to be laid on a heap of thyme, and the door and windows closed
up with mud, so as to exclude light and air. After three weeks the chamber is to be opened, and light and air admitted, care only being taken to keep out wind. the carcase appears to have got air enough, the place is to be fastened up again as before, and left for ten days longer. Clausum' is twice used by Columella of a closed place.
304.] Recentis,' explained by Servius 'statim carptas,' was restored by Heins., apparently from all the MSS., for 'virentis,' which had superseded it in most of the early editions.
305.] It is not clear whether the 'undae' meant are of rivers or of the sea, and consequently whether inpellentibus undas' is intended to be emphatic, driving the waters hitherto congealed,' or merely to be the filling up of a picture in which 'Zephyri' are the prominent object. The former may remind us of Psalm 147. 18, "He bloweth with his wind, and the waters flow." The latter is illustrated by A. 3. 69, "ubi prima fides pelago, placataque venti Dant maria," comp. by Emm.
306.]Rubeant:' the subj. seems to be used, not, as Forb. thinks, in a sort of potential sense, "ante quam prata pro
naturae ratione . . . novis coloribus rubere possunt," but to show that care is taken to perform the operation as early as possible, purposely as it were anticipating the full setting in of spring. With 'rubeant' comp. 2. 319, vere rubenti."
307.] The swallow is chosen as the proverbial harbinger of spring.
308.] According to Florentinus, when the chamber opened on the eleventh day, clusters of bees will be found, while of the bullock nothing will remain but horns, bones, and hair. He adds that the queenbees are said to be generated from the brain and spinal marrow, those from the brain being the finer, the common bees from the flesh of the carcase. He also describes the process of formation, saying that at first the bees will be seen to be small and white, imperfect and scarcely
Aestuat, et visenda modis animalia miris,
Prima leves ineunt si quando proelia Parthi.
Quis deus hanc, Musae, quis nobis extudit artem? 315
animate, motionless, yet in a state of
309.] Visendus'='spectandus,' as we should say, 'worth seeing.' Epulum omni apparatu ornatuque visendo," Cic. Vatin. 13. 'Modis miris' (1. 477) qualifies' animalia,' as if it had been mira.'
sagitta," A. 12. 856. Germ. comp. the Homeric ἀπὸ νευρῇφιν ὀϊστός.
314.] The Parthians are naturally chosen, as in A. 12, l. c., as the most formidable bowmen that the Romans knew. The reference here is to the shower of arrows with which they begin the battle. "Leves nunc ad armaturam" (Philarg.); perhaps also, as Keightley thinks, because they fought on horseback, and so could execute rapid movements.
315-330.] Who first showed men the remedy? Aristaeus, having lost his bees, addressed his goddess mother Cyrene in despair, complaining that he was not allowed to enjoy even the mortal honours of rural success, and bidding her ruin him at once, if she were minded that he should not thrive.'
315.] There is no opposition, as might 310.] Trunca pedum,' like "orba pe- appear at first sight, between this line and dum," Lucr. 5. 840, comp. by Cerda. the next, as though the one suggested a The more regular, though scarcely more divine, the other a human origin for the usual, construction would be trunca pe- device. In other words, hominum' is dibus,' which occurs in Ov. M. 15. 376, pro- not opposed to 'deus,' but parallel to 'nobably with reference to this passage. Sil. bis.' Virgil here, as at the opening of G. 1, (10. 311), imitating Virgil, has "truncus speaks in the spirit of the old mythology, capitis." 'Et,' not only with legs, but which believed that each step of agriculwith wings. tural progress was due to the teaching of some individual god, while in the second line, as in 1. 133 foll., he dwells more on the labour of human experience in following the impulse given. 'Extudit,' for which some MSS. and old editions give
311.] Miscentur,'' swarm.' For 'magis magis,' with which Heyne comp. Catull. 61 (63). 274, "Post vento crescente magis magis increbescunt," some MSS. give 'magis ac magis,' several of them restoring the verse by the omission of 'que,' though Pierius vindicates both 'que' and 'ac,' observing that the feet in a hexameter are not necessarily confined to dactyls and spondees. Μᾶλλον μᾶλλον is a phrase in Greek.
313.] For aut ut' a few MSS. give 'vel ut.' "Hoc suavius," says Pierius, "illud vero primum numerosius." It is not easy to see why the poet should have given so slow a movement to a verse expressing the flight of an arrow; but he would naturally avoid 'vel ut,' as likely to be mistaken for 'velut.' 'Pulsante: of the violent rebound of the string propelling the arrow. "Nervo per nubem impulsa
extulit,' is, as Heyne remarks, not strictly appropriate to a god, being used 1. 133 for the birth-throes of man's invention; but it is possible that Virgil may have intended to identify the god with those he benefited, especially as several of the agricultural divinities had been men in their day.
316.] Nova experientia :' "nullo docente, ars per usum reperta," Serv. Virgil, as we have seen, probably did not mean any opposition between this and the former line, so that we must not suppose him to have had any such notion in his mind as 'nullo docente;' but it is never
Pastor Aristaeus fugiens Peneia Tempe,
Amissis, ut fama, apibus morboque fameque,
Tristis ad extremi sacrum caput adstitit amnis,
Multa querens, atque hac adfatus voce parentem : 320
Ima tenes, quid me praeclara stirpe deorum
Si modo, quem perhibes, pater est Thymbraeus Apollo--
theless true that experientia,' strictly
317.] Whence Virgil derived the following story is unknown. Heyne thinks from the elaboration that it must have been closely imitated from some Alexandrian writer, possibly from a poem which was extant under the name of Eumelus, Bovyovía, as we learn from the Chronicon of Eusebius, No. 1250. A brief version of the tale is given by Ov. F. 1. 363 foll. "Fugiens,' simpl.relinquens,"" Forb. Aristaeus is supposed at the time of the narrative to be still living in Thessaly.
319.] The commentators have been divided about the meaning of 'caput,' some taking it of the source, some of the mouth of the river; but opinions seem now in favour of the former view, which is that of Serv., the other having apparently been originated by Lambinus. It may indeed be doubted, with Keightley, whether 'caput' is ever found in the singular of the mouth, though 'capita' occurs in this sense Caes. B. G. 4. 10, Livy 33. 41. 'Extremi' too, which Burm. understands of the surface of the water, as opposed to the depth where Cyrene resided, applies more naturally to the origin of the stream. Comp. also v. 368, where 'caput' is used expressly for the source, and see note on v. 366. 'Sacrum,' which might otherwise be referred, with Burm., to the temples built at the mouth of Peneus, is as it were a perpetual epithet of the
sources of rivers, which were supposed to
321.] It is perhaps better, with Wagn., to point after 'mater,' as is done in Med., than after Cyrene.' 'Cyrine' is the spelling of Gud. and another good MS., a variety probably owing to the pronunciation, as Heyne thinks, and one which may illustrate the use of Kvpnvios St. Luke ii. 2 as the Latin form of Quirinus' or ' Quirinius,' unless the right reading there be Kúpivog, as Lachmann gives it. The first syllable of Cyrene,' as Heyne remarks, is long in Apoll. R., as here, short in Pind. and Callim. This speech is evidently modelled on Achilles' complaint to Thetis, 11. 1. 349 foll.
323.] Virgil imitates Od. 9. 529, εi ἐτεόν γε σός εἰμι, πατὴρ δ ̓ ἐμὸς εὔχεαι divat, as Heyne remarks, and is himself imitated by Ov. M. 1. 760, “At tu, si modo sum caelesti stirpe creatus, Ede notam tanti generis, meque assere caelo," comp. by Taubm. 'Si modo' expresses qualification, as in Cic. 2 De Or. 38, "in hac arte, si modo est haec ars, nullum est praeceptum." "Thymbraeus' (from Thymbra, a district in the Troad), A. 3. 85.
324.] 'Invisum fatis,' like "invisus caelestibus," A. 1. 387; "invisus divis," A. 2. 647, 'fatis' being perhaps chosen here to
Pulsus amor? quid me caelum sperare iubebas ?
At mater sonitum thalamo sub fluminis alti
mark that it is a demigod that is speaking.
325.] 'Caelum sperare:' so Aeneas, as the son of a goddess, looks forward to deification, A. 1. 250., 12. 795, cited by Forb. Burm. comp. Sen. H. F. 438,"quo patre genitus caelitum speret domum," spoken by Lycus of Hercules.
326.] 'This crown of my mortality,' i. e. this thing which gave a dignity to my mortal existence, the praise of rural success, which falls within a mortal's sphere, and is his natural solace under the limitations of humanity. Virgil can hardly mean, as Keightley thinks, the art of keeping bees in particular, which could scarcely be said to be the result of many experiments in cattle-keeping and tillage.
328.] Omnia temptanti extuderat' is illustrated by 1. 133, "Ut varias usus meditando extunderet artis." The experiments are of course in husbandry, of one sort of another. "Te matre, relinquo: ac si diceret: Sub ea perdo usum laboris, sub qua augere debueram." Sery.
329.] Ipsa manu,' with thine own hand, as probably in A. 2. 645. Felicis silvas,' plantations of fruit-trees.
330.] Fer... ignem,' like "ferte flammas," A. 4. 594. With interfice messis' Ursinus comp. a quotation from Cicero's Oeconomics in Nonius 6. 9, “ Nullo modo facilius arbitror posse neque herbas arescere et interfici."
of weariness and disgust.
333-347.] His cry reached his mother as she sat in her cavern under the river with nymphs round her listening to a song.'
333.] The following passage is imitated from Il. 18. 35 foll., where Thetis hears the cries of Achilles, though the Nereids there enumerated are not sitting with her, but are summoned by her shrieks. 'Sonitum sensit,' heard the sound. It would seem from v. 353 foll. that she did not distinguish the words. 'Thalamo' is explained by v. 374 to be the chamber in which Cyrene was sitting, which is supposed to be what we by the same metaphor call the bed of the river, extending doubtless in Virgil's conception a considerable way below the source, if not through the whole length of the stream. Cerda comp. Soph. O. T. 195, where the sea is called θάλαμος ̓Αμφιτρίτας. then will mean under the roof of the chamber. The picture, as Heyne observes, is drawn from the manners of the heroic age, when royal ladies sat in their chambers spinning with attendants about them.
334.] The finest of earthly wool (3. 307) is chosen, with Virgil's characteristic love of local epithets, as fit material for the work of these goddesses.
335.] Carpentes pensa puellae," 1. 390. "Aeternumque manus carpebant rite laborem," Catull. 61 (63). 310. The word does not seem to denote any thing more definite than the rapid passing of the wool through the fingers. 'Hyalus,' vaλog, like its adjective hyalinus,' is a very rare word, only found in two or three passages of later authors. A green colour, like that of glass, would be naturally appropriate to the sea nymphs. So certain garments were called 'thalassina,' Lucr. 4. 1127. 'Saturo' would be a more proper epithet of the thing dyed than of the dye, just as Sen,
331.] Sata,' as Martyn observes, coming after 'messis,' probably refers to young plants. 'Molire: see on 1. 329. For validam' the first reading of Med. gives 'duram.'
332.] Taedia ceperunt,' like" dementia cepit," ," E. 2. 69, as we might talk of a fit