The ‘silvae’ seems to be distinct from the mountains (see on v. 647); but it is not easy to say. Med., Gud. a m. p., and others have ‘e montibus.’
 Some MSS. have ‘conplet,’ but Virg. doubtless changed the number for variety's sake, though Wagn. thinks the plural may possibly have been introduced to agree with ‘litora.’
 Cum must be the conjunction, not, as Heyne, who generally writes ‘quum,’ appears to have considered it, the preposition. ‘Vertice celso’ then will be not the tall tops of the trees, but the high mountain on which they stand—a more striking picture. This gives more force to ‘cum’—‘as when trees are planted together on a mountain-top.’
 Serv., whose notions of metre sometimes seem peculiar, says, “‘Constiterunt:’ metri causa pro ‘consistunt.’” The perf. seems to be aoristic, there being no definite time in comparisons. As Serv. remarks, the oaks are the ‘silva alta Iovis,’ the cypresses, ‘lucus Dianae,’ she being regarded as an infernal goddess, while the cypress was sacred to Pluto. ‘Constiterant’ fragm. Vat. corrected and others.
[684-686] This and the two following lines are condemned by Heyne and removed from the text by Wagn.; they are however found in all the MSS. Those who retain them are agreed about their general sense, viz. that in the extremity of their fear the Trojans remembered Helenus' warning about Scylla and Charybdis, and feeling that to be a greater danger even than the Cyclops, resolved to put back again, when the north wind sprung up and carried them into safety; but the processes which have been devised for getting that sense from the words are sufficiently various. On the whole the punctuation which gives the best sense seems to be that suggested by Vulpius on Tibull. 4. 1. 70 (after a hint of Serv.) and followed by Heyne and Henry, though there is still room for some difference of opinion on details of interpretation. Taking ‘ni’ in the sense of “ne” and regarding ‘utramque viam’ as in opposition to ‘cursus,’ or, better perhaps, as a kind of cognate accusative expressing the effect of ‘teneant cursus’ (see on G. 3. 41), I would translate ‘On the other hand, the injunctions of Helenus warn us not to hold on our way between Scylla and Charybdis—either passage a hair's breadth remove from death: so we resolve on sailing back again.’ The construction ‘leti discrimine parvo’ is fixed by the parallel 9. 143, where the words recur (as also in Ov. M. 7. 426), and by the similar expression “tenui discrimine leti” 10. 511, so that it will be a descriptive ablative. ‘Utramque viam’ may refer to the two passages, the one nearer to Scylla, the other to Charybdis, both of which were taken by Ulysses—or it may be only a poetical way of describing the one passage as dangerous on both sides. The use of ‘ni’ for ‘ne’ is supported by Donatus and Serv., and has vouchers in inscriptions and fragments of lost writings (see Forc.), while it is perhaps to be retained in such passages as Plaut. Men. 1. 2. 1. For the position of ‘inter’ comp. G. 2. 345. ‘Tenere cursum’ occurs again 4. 46: “tenere fugam” we have had above v. 283. ‘Lintea’ does not occur elsewhere in Virg.; but as it is a perfectly good Augustan word, that can be no reason for objecting to the genuineness of the lines, supposing it to be otherwise unimpeached. ‘Dare lintea retro,’ as in Hor. 1 Od. 34. 3, “retrorsum vela dare.” On the whole we may pronounce that the harshness of the lines, though not to be extenuated, is not great enough to justify us in questioning their authorship, in the face of all external authority—backed as it is by Priscian, who quotes them twice, 15. 2, and 18. 79. The chief difficulty perhaps is in ‘teneant,’ for which we should have expected ‘teneamus,’ as ‘praecipites’ v. 682 points to ‘nos’ rather than to ‘socios.’ The meaning may conceivably be that Aeneas' companions were more alarmed than himself, and took the matter into their own hands, as Ulysses (Od. 12. 224) fears his comrades may do. Heins. conj. ‘teneam.’ Ribbeck reads ‘Scylla atque Charybdis’ from fragm. Vat., and transposes vv. 685, 686, reserving explanation for his (unpublished) Prolegomena. The history of such passages as the supposed exordium of Book 1 and the episode of Helen in Book 2 shows that the early grammarians were jealous of interpolations in Virg.'s text, one recension being in fact a check upon another, so that intrinsic considerations require to be strong indeed in order to shake the credit of lines which no early critic is known to have suspected. With ‘leti discrimine parvo’ comp. Apoll. R. 4. 831 “ἀλλ᾽ ἔχε νῆα Κεῖσ᾽, ὅθι περ τυτθή γε παραίβασις ἔσσετ᾽ ὀλέθρου”, where the subject is, as here, the passage between Scylla and Charybdis. Considering the relation of Virg. to Apollonius we may perhaps adduce the fact of the imitation as a further proof of genuineness.
 Comp. v. 411. The wind is said to blow from the headland, as elsewhere from the mountains. Heyne refers to Markland's Epist. Crit. p. 46. The reading before Heins. was ‘a sede.’
[690, 691] These lines also are rejected by Wagn. on internal grounds, this time with the slight external support of the Codex Wittianus, which places them in the margin. There is however nothing unVirgilian in their language. ‘Talia’ does not stand simply for “haec,” but has its usual sense, ‘these and others like these:’ ‘relegens’ and ‘retrorsus’ are undoubtedly ἅπαξ λεγόμενα in Virg., but they occur in other Augustan writers, and there is nothing in the last of them, as Forb. thinks, foreign to the Epic style: nor is it strange that Aeneas should call Ulysses ‘infelix,’ speaking of him in connexion with the partner of his wanderings, and for the moment sympathizing with him as a fellow-sufferer with himself. It may be true that the places mentioned here find no place in Hom.'s account of Ulysses' voyage: but Virg. evidently intends to accommodate Ulysses' journey, as he has done Aeneas', to his own views of geography, as we have just seen in the case of his territory of the Cyclops, which, though not the same as Hom.'s, is still represented as that which Ulysses visited. The intimation that Achemenides informed Aeneas of the names of the places, or (as the words may well mean) acted as his guide, was not necessary indeed, but cannot be called out of place. The construction of the words is not quite clear, as ‘litora’ may be connected either with ‘errata,’ or with ‘talia,’ or again with both: but the last seems the most probable view. ‘Errata litora’ then may be compared with “erratas terras” Ov. F. 4. 573, though the meaning here is not so much ‘wandered over’ as ‘passed by in his wanderings.’ For ‘retrorsus’ some MSS. give ‘retrorsum.’ It is noticeable that these verses also have the support of Priscian (11. 5. 21).
[692-715] ‘We pass by Plemyrium, Helorus, Pachynum, Camarina, Gela, Acragas, Selinus, Lilybaeum, and Drepanum. At the last of these places I lose my father Anchises—a most heavy and unlooked-for blow. Sailing thence, I was driven on your coast by the storm.’