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[297] Prima means not that she heard it before any one else, but that she heard it at the very moment when it was beginning to take effect. ‘Excipere’ is specially used of catching wind of a secret. “Sermonem eorum e servis unus excepit” Livy 2. 4.

[298] The common interpretation seems right, ‘fearing every safety,’ much more every danger; a natural exaggeration of the unquiet suspiciousness of love. Henry's explanation ‘fearing because all was safe,’ ‘thinking things too secure to last,’ is less natural. Comp. Ov. M. 7. 47, “Quid tuta times?” quoted by Forb., who himself now takes Henry's view. Wagn. seems right in understanding ‘furenti’ proleptically, as expressing the effect of the news on Dido. ‘Eadem,’ the same which told of Dido's shame, v. 173. To make it acc. pl. would be less good. ‘Impia’ on account of her reckless delight in bringing bad news, true or false, v. 190.

[301] The simile is more natural, as queens frequently took part in Bacchanalian orgies. So Helen 6. 517, Amata 7. 385 foll. ‘Commotis sacris,’ because the statue and sacred insignia of the god were brought out of the temple and moved violently. Hence Hor. 1 Od. 18. 11, “Non ego te, candide Bassareu, Invitum quatiam.” The noise excites the Bacchant (Thyias), who is caught by the frenzy.

[302] Thyias was restored by Heyne and Brunck from Pierius' Medicean and other good MSS. (apparently fragm. Vat. and Pal.) for ‘Thyas,’ the Greek being Θυιάς. ‘Trieterica,τριετηρικά, is the triennial Theban festival of Bacchus, not to be confounded with the Attic Dionysia. ‘Orgia’ is doubtless the nom. to ‘stimulant,’ the Bacchant being the object of the verb, though “stimulare orgia” would be a sufficiently natural expression. ‘Audito Baccho’ seems to mean, when the cry Io Bacche is heard, not, as Thiel thinks, when the voice of the god is heard. This latter view however would be poetically preferable, if any confirmation of it could be adduced.

[303] See G. 3. 43, where however the ‘clamor’ is different. Cithaeron is of course the scene of the orgie, which takes place at night.

[304] Ultro 2. 145 note.

[305] Virg. has imitated Medea's speech, Apoll. R. 4. 355 foll., which is however less impassioned than Dido's. The construction seems to be “sperasti posse dissimulare tantum nefas, sperastique tacitus decedere?” To repeat ‘posse’ before ‘decedere’ would create an awkwardness with ‘tacitus,’ which grammatically of course agrees with ‘sperasti,’ though it is really equivalent to “te tacitum decedere.” With this latter clause, thus explained, comp. v. 337 below, “neque ego hanc abscondere furto Speravi, ne finge, fugam.” But it is conceivable that ‘tantum posse nefas’ may be the object of ‘dissimulare,’ though hardly probable. ‘Etiam’ strengthens ‘dissimulare’—not only to commit the crime, but to commit it secretly.

[307] Dextera, with which Aeneas had plighted his troth to Dido, as in v. 314. Virg. has not mentioned the circumstance previously; but Henry appositely refers for its counterpart to Apoll. R. 4. 99, where Jason, having promised to marry Medea, χεῖρα παρασχεδὸν ἤραρε χειρὶ Δεξιτερήν. So Medea in Euripides' play, v. 21, βοᾷ μὲν ὅρκους, ἀνακαλεῖ δὲ δεξιᾶς Πίστιν μεγίστην.

[308] Comp. G. 3. 263.

[309] She upbraids Aeneas with the wanton wilfulness of departing at a time when he will risk himself and his crews. Comp. above v. 52 and Ov. Her. 7. 40. foll., 169 foll.Hiberno sidere’ is a poetical equivalent for “hiberna tempestate” or “hieme.” ‘Classem moliri’ 3. 6. Here we are meant generally to think of preparation accompanied with effort. Fragm. Vat. and Pal. have ‘moliri,’ ‘s’ having dropped out owing to ‘sidere.

[311] The argument is, even if your old home were ready for you, instead of a country which is more strange to you than Carthage, surely you would not defy wind and wave by sailing at once. Serv. well says, “‘Arva aliena,blande, quasi haec iam tua sunt: ‘domosque ignotas:ac si diceret, Carthago iam tibi nota est.”

[312] Pal. a m. p. has ‘sed Troia,’ which Ribbeck adopts.

[313] Undosum is of course emphatic. Mr. Landor's remark (Imaginary Conversations) that Virg. had better have repeated “hibernum” shows that he scarcely appreciates the poet's love of variety. On the other hand Virg. has not scrupled to repeat ‘peteretur’ immediately after ‘peteres,’ as the word is an unimportant one. It matters little whether ‘classibus’ is the agent or the modal abl. With the sentiment comp. Ov. l. c. vv. 143 foll.

[314] Mene fugis? seems to mean not ‘have you the heart to leave me?’ but ‘is it that you are flying from me?’ ‘is the object of your unseasonable departure not to reach Italy but to rid yourself of me?’ The interposition of a word between ‘per’ and its object in an adjuration is not unusual even in prose (see Forc.), and is doubtless taken from the Greek πρὸς σὲ θεῶν &c., while it is well suited to agitating circumstances.

[315] Dido has given up all for Aeneas, so that she can merely appeal to his pity and to his sense of right.

[316] The ‘connubia,’ as Wagn. remarks, was the furtive union, the ‘hymenaei’ the formal rite to which she flattered herself it was a prelude; whence ‘incepti.

[317] ‘Or if you ever found any pleasure in me.’ Wagn. well comp. Tecmessa's appeal to Ajax, Soph. Aj. 520,ἀνδρί τοι χρεὼν Μνήμην προσεῖναι, τερπνὸν εἴ τί που πάθοι”, and Juturna's words 12. 882, “aut quicquam mihi dulce meorum Te sine, frater, erit?

[318] Dido has regarded Aeneas as her husband, the pillar of her home, and says that it will fall in ruin if he leaves it: she will be driven to despair and her enemies will come upon her. Comp. the δόμος ἡμιτελής which Protesilaus leaves by his death, Il. 2. 701, and Amata to Turnus 12. 59, “in te omnis domus inclinata recumbit,” a passage which is worth referring to on other grounds, as the adjuration there is similarly constructed.

[319] ‘If it is not too late for prayer.’ ‘Exue mentem’ as Dido is said 1. 304 “accipere mentem benignam.” Forb. comp. G. 2. 51, “Exuerint silvestrem animum.

[320] Comp. vv. 36, 37 above. Either we must suppose Dido to have known of the indignation of Iarbas on hearing of her preference of Aeneas, or we must understand her to mean no more than that she has alienated her neighbours by refusing them the love which she has since bestowed on Aeneas. The last would be a sufficiently natural way of speaking in the bitterness of her despair, especially as she would feel that the indignation of her former suitors would be doubled as soon as she was known to have given herself to another. Perhaps the same explanation may apply to ‘infensi Tyrii,’ which according to this would refer either to suitors at Tyre (v. 35) or to Pygmalion, either of whom might be expected to resent the new alliance. But Gossrau's interpretation, referring ‘Tyrii’ to the Carthaginians, who are indignant at their queen for surrendering herself and them to a stranger, is on the whole more plausible. See on v. 466. For ‘Nomadum’ some MSS. have ‘Numidum.’

[322] Sola is explained by Wagn. and Forb., ‘which alone would have been enough to make me immortal, had there been nothing else:’ by Henry, ‘which was my sole title to immortality.’ The latter is better suited to Dido's feeling. She has lost the one thing of which she could boast, the fame of unblemished fidelity to her dead husband's memory, and now she is all undone. In vv. 653 foll. she takes a prouder and more complacent view of her past life; but that is done under the influence of a totally different feeling. With the expression Germ. comp. Od. 19. 108, γάρ σευ κλέος οὐρανὸν εὐρὺν ἱκάνει, said by the disguised Ulysses to Penelope.

[323] ‘Into whose hands am I to fall when you are gone?’ Comp. 2. 677.

[324] The name ‘guest’ is all that remains of the old name ‘husband.’ Serv. says that Virg. threw intense pathos into this passage when reading it to Augustus and a select party.

[325] Serv. gives a choice of two interpretations of ‘quid moror?’ ‘why do I remain in Africa?’ and ‘why do I delay to die?’ The latter is clearly right, the thought being supplied, as Wund. remarks, from ‘moribundam’ v. 323. The danger from Pygmalion we have had already, vv. 43, 44. ‘Dum destruat,’ to give him time to demolish. See on G. 4. 457.

[326] Iarbas, as we have seen (v. 198), was not strictly a Gaetulian; but Virg.'s notions of poetical liberty lead him here as elsewhere to put one tribe for another, by a kind of synecdoche. See general Introduction, pp. 9 foll. The epithet here has a force of its own in the mouth of one of a foreign nation, as we might say ‘Iarbas the Moor.’

[327] Dido's meaning is ‘I shall have nothing to console me when you are gone, not even a child who might remind me of his father.’ Anna had already spoken to her of the pleasures of being a mother, v. 33. As Heyne remarks, we must not judge such an expression of feeling by our modern standard. Other princesses of mythical antiquity had children by heroes that forsook them, and Dido is only carrying out her determination to regard her union with Aeneas as a lawful marriage. To suppose with Gossrau that the passage could have been interpolated before the time of Juvenal, who, as is well known, alludes to it Sat. 5. 138, is extravagant. Comp. also Ov. Her. 7. 133 foll., where the thought is the same, though differently touched. ‘Suscipere,’ a synonyme of ‘tollere,’ is usually said of the father, who takes the new-born child and brings it up. See Forc., who quotes among other passages Plaut. Epid. 4. 1. 34,Filiam quam ex te suscepi.

[328] Fugam seems to be reproachful, like ‘fugis’ v. 314. ‘Parvulus Aeneas’ is probably from Catullus' “parvulus Torquatus” (59. 209), as Cerda remarks.

[329] Tantum, the old reading, apparently found in inferior MSS., is preferred by Henry to ‘tamen,’ as more consistent with the reproachful tone of Dido's speech. But throughout the speech tenderness is mixed with indignation; and that there is tenderness in this its last sentence is evident not only from the tenor of the wish itself, but from the form of expression ‘si quis mihi parvulus aula Luderet Aeneas,’ which is all that affection can make it. ‘Tamen’ has a consolatory force—‘whose features, in spite of all, might remind me of you.’ See on E. 10. 31. Pierius explained it as qualifying the clause, as if Dido wished for a child only on the condition that he should resemble his father. With ‘ore referret’ Forb. comp. 12. 348, “Nomine avum referens, animo manibusque parentem.

[330] Dido speaks of her forlorn state as one of captivity, probably because the thought of Iarbas is still in her mind. For ‘ac deserta’ the reading before Heins. was ‘aut deserta.

[331-361] ‘Aeneas restrains himself in obedience to Jupiter, and answers that, so far from forgetting what Dido has done for him, he shall ever think of her with pleasure—that he never meant to stay with her—that his first wish would have been to restore Troy, but that in obedience to the gods he is obliged to seek a kingdom in a foreign land, which is no more than what she has herself done—and that he has been warned in dreams and visions to do so without delay.’

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