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[173] This description of Fame has furnished a commonplace for critics, especially those of the last century, some of whom have thought its introduction under any circumstances needlessly ambitious, while others, though admiring it generally, think it is carried on too long. A reader of the present day will, I think, wonder rather at the poet's reticence than at his exuberance. The mighty power of Fame or Rumour is a conception which will bear dwelling on; the thought is appropriate here, as one of the main causes which lead to Dido's death is the sense of the disgrace to which she has brought herself before the world: and Virgil's treatment of it is quite in the taste of classical poetry. Such mythological personifications are common enough in Ovid, and it is hard to see why Virg. should be altogether debarred the use of them, though doubtless they are to be more sparingly employed in a poem like the Aeneid than in a poem like the Metamorphoses. The hint, as usual, is from Homer, who personifies Ὄσσα Il. 2. 93, Od. 24. 412, which last line Virg. has almost copied in the present v. 173; the elaboration of detail too partly comes from the Homeric, Ἔρις, Il. 4. 442, 443. Probably too he thought of the Hesiodic Φήμη (Works 760 foll.). Ovid has an ingenious passage on the dwelling of Fame, the receptacle of all the reports in the world (M. 12. 39 foll.), which, though not copied from this of Virg., forms a good pendant to it. Valerius Flaccus (2. 116 foll.) and Statius (Theb. 2. 426 foll.) tread in the steps of Virg., but for a much shorter distance.

[174] With Forb., Jahn, and Ribbeck, I have restored ‘qua,’ the reading of Med., Rom., and Gud., for ‘quo,’ that of fragm. Veron., which, though admissible, seems less natural and straightforward. Pal. has ‘quo’ altered into ‘qua:’ Serv. mentions both. Whether Forb. and Jahn are to be further followed in removing the stop after ‘ullum’ is more doubtful. On the whole it seems better to regard v. 175 as a separate sentence. ‘Fame is the swiftest of all mischievous things: the longer its motion continues, the more rapid it becomes.’

[175] From Lucr. 6.340, “Denique quod longo venit impete sumere debet Mobilitatem etiam atque etiam, quae crescit eundo, Et validas auget viris.

[176] ἥτ᾽ ὀλίγη μὲν πρῶτα κορύσσεται, αὐτὰρ ἔπειτα Οὐρανῷ ἐστήριξε κάρη καὶ ἐπὶ χθονὶ βαίνει Il. 4. 442. ‘Parva metu primo’ is well explained by Gossrau, “primum timide serpit et caute contrahit corporis speciem.” ‘Prim’ is probably adverbial.

[178] Henry comp. Apoll. R. 2. 39,Γαίης εἶναι ἔϊκτο πέλωρ τέκος, οἷα πάροιθεν χωομένη Διὶ τίκτεν”. The Giants, according to one story, were produced by the Earth in her anger that the Titans had been thrust down to Tartarus. Virg. however, like others of the later writers, seems to confuse Titans and Giants, Enceladus being a Giant, Coeus a Titan, though he may merely mean that Fame, like the Titans and the Giants, was the offspring of Earth. ‘Ira’ with gen. of the cause of quarrel occurs 2. 413., 9. 736: it is here extended to the person against whom anger is felt, like ὀργή and χόλος in Greek.

[180] It matters little whether ‘alis’ be constructed with ‘celerem’ or ‘pernicibus alis’ made an abl. of quality, i. q. “pernicem alis.”

[181] Comp. 3. 658.

[182] “Ornate pro, tot ora ei sunt et aures: tota est oculata, aurita, et vocalis.” Heyne. ‘Subter’ seems to show that an eye is supposed to be under every feather. Compare the transformation of the myriadeyed Argus into a peacock.

[183] Virg. indulges his love of variety by supplying a new verb for ‘linguae’ and ‘ora,’ and changing the construction in the case of ‘auris.

[184] Caeli medio terraeque i. q. ‘inter caelum et terram.’ Forb. comp. Ov. M. 5. 644, “Et medium caeli terraeque per aera vecta est.” Wagn. is right in returning to the old punctuation, which separates ‘stridens’ from ‘per umbram.

[185] With ‘declinat lumina somno’ Thiel comp. Prop. 2. 1. 11, “poscentis somnum declinat ocellos.” Catull. 62 (64). 91 had already used ‘declinare lumina’ of dropping or turning away the eyes.

[186] Virg. is thinking of a bird which at one time flies about, at another sits perched on a tower. “Custos,’ speculatrix, nequid eam praetereat,” Serv., who further remarks that ‘summi culmine tecti’ points to the function of Fame in private, “turribus altis” in public matters.

[188] Tenax with ‘ficti pravique,’ not, as Serv. seems to think, an epithet of ‘nuntia.’ Comp. Pers. 5. 58, “Parca tenax veri.

[190] So Stat. Theb. 3. 430, of Fame, “facta infecta loqui,” imitating this passage. It is difficult however to see wherein Fame, in the present instance, transgresses the bounds of truth. Dido had accepted Aeneas as her husband, and what is said of their intentions for the winter agrees very well with the actual state of things as it appears to Jupiter (comp. v. 221 &c.). ‘Regnorum inmemores’ may perhaps be a little inconsistent with the interest Aeneas takes in the works of the city, vv. 260 foll.; but Aeneas was neglecting his own kingdom, and we have already seen (vv. 86 foll.) how indifferent Dido had become to hers. The winter was not yet over, perhaps had hardly yet begun: but there was every prospect that Aeneas would have spent the whole of it at Carthage if Jupiter had not interfered.

[191] The common reading is ‘Troiano a sanguine cretum:’ but as Med., Pal., and many other MSS. omit the preposition, and Virg. elsewhere invariably uses ‘cretus’ with a simple abl., I have preferred, with Ribbeck, ‘Troiano sanguine,’ though ‘a sanguine’ is found in Rom.

[192] Emm. comp. Ov. M. 8. 325, “O felix, si quem dignabitur, inquit, Ista virum!

[193] We have already had ‘fovere’ with an acc. of the place in which a long sojourn is made (G. 3. 420 note): the acc. is here extended to the time or period of sojourn. ‘Quam longa’ 8. 86.

[194] Regnorum of Carthage and Italy, as Serv. rightly explains it. See on v. 190.

[195] ‘With these tales she fills every mouth.’ Comp. Hor. 1 Ep. 3. 9, “Romana brevi venturus in ora.

[197] Aggerat iras 11. 242.

[198-218] ‘Iarbas, himself the son of Jupiter Ammon, whom he had made the tutelary god of his kingdom, represents to his divine parent the disdain with which the Carthaginian queen had treated him, and asks if this is the reward for his filial piety.’

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