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[184] Two of Ribbeck's cursives have ‘Mnestheo,’ the reading before Heins. The Greek form is more probable, as in E. 4. 57.

[185] Capit ante locum seems to mean gets the choice of water, or gets the desired water first, viz. the water near the goal. ‘Scopulo propinquat,’ not as in v. 159, comes near the goal as he advances, but gets the near side to the goal. Comp. vv. 202, 203.

[186] Many copies consulted by Pierius give “Nec tamen ille prior tota.

[187] Partim (Pal., Rom., Gud.) was restored by Heins. as the older form of the acc. Wagn. however has replaced ‘partem’ (Med.), remarking that in the golden age ‘partim’ has come to be used only as a sort of undeclined noun, in constructions like ‘partim eorum,’ ‘partim ex iis,’ and so could not stand here either as an accusative proper or as an adverb proper. Ribbeck however gives ‘partim.’ ‘Premit,’ if taken literally, must refer not to contact behind but to contact alongside.

[188] Mnestheus talks to his men as Antilochus Il. 23. 403 foll. talks to his horses. ‘Per ipsos:’ he mixes with them and addresses them personally.

[189] Insurgite remis 3. 207.

[190] Forb. seems right in adopting Serv.'s second interpretation of ‘Hectorei,’ “quondam Hectoris.” Mnestheus tells his men that they once fought by the side of Hector, and afterwards, when Troy fell, were chosen by himself as his own comrades. To understand ‘Hectorei’ as = ‘Troiani’ with Heyne (comp. 1. 273, “gente sub Hectorea”) would, as Forb. remarks, be rather feeble, and would make ‘socii’ somewhat tautologous with ‘comites.’ Mnestheus speaks as if he had raised a company to sail with Aeneas. The time referred to is either that mentioned 2. 799, or that mentioned 3. 8. ‘Sorte suprema’ Hor. 2 Ep. 171. So “Troiae supremum laborem” 2. 11, “Phrygiae casus venisse supremos” Claud. Eutrop. 2. 289, “supremae clarorum virorum necessitates” Tac. H. 1. 3.

[192] Gaetulis Syrtibus above v. 51. For the omission of the verb subst. see on 1. 237.

[193] I. e. when they were sailing from Crete, 3. 190 foll. The headland of Malea was proverbially dangerous. Strabo 8. p. 250 has preserved a saying Μαλέας δὲ κάμψας ἐπιλάθου τῶν οἴκαδε. ‘Sequacibus,’ because when the ship was once entangled in them she would find it hard to escape; following the ship, as Serv., not, as Heyne, following each other.

[194] Non iam 4. 431. There seems a mixture of pride and modesty in Mnestheus' mentioning his own name, ‘being the man I am.’ The disclaimer is from Il. 23. 404 foll., where Antilochus says he does not contend with Diomed, who has just been helped miraculously. ‘Prima,τὰ πρωτεῖα, v. 338.

[195] ‘Quamquam o’ is the contraction of a wish, “quamquam o si possem vincere,” or something of the sort. Comp. 11. 415, “Quamquam o si solitae quicquam virtutis adesset!” The rest of the line is not intended, as Gossrau and Forb. think, for a consolation, as if Mnestheus meant that Cloanthus, who was certain to beat him, would do so by the favour of Neptune. Antilochus might express himself so, but no special mark of divine favour had been vouchsafed to Cloanthus, who being second already, had just become first by the misfortune of his rival. The meaning plainly is that in a contest like this it is no disgrace not to be first, but it is to be last; the former contingency cannot be certainly gained, but the latter may be certainly averted; Mnestheus accordingly leaves the one in the hands of Neptune, and urges his crew to see to the other.

[196] It is very doubtful whether ‘hoc’ is to be taken together with ‘nefas’ or separately, ‘hoc vincite’ meaning ‘gain this point.’ The latter is rendered highly probable by an apparent imitation in Sil. 4. 429, “primum hoc vincat, servasse parentem:” in the very same context however, v. 412, we find “hoc arcete nefas,” while “hoc prohibete nefas” occurs Ov. M. 10. 322. Stat. Theb. 6. 181. ‘Vincere nefas’ might stand, in the sense of overcoming a disgrace (comp. v. 155 above); but ‘hoc vincite,’ as explained above, seems more idiomatic, and brings out better the allusion to the victory that Mnestheus has disclaimed v. 194. ‘Let this triumph be yours, not to have been last.’ Nor does it seem that Wagn. is right in saying that ‘nefas’ could not stand without a pronoun. Why should it not stand here as well as in 2. 585? Here as there, we may render it ‘a disgrace not to be named,’ indefinitely. ‘Nefas’ is merely a strong term used by Mnestheus in his excitement, with no reference, such as Gossrau supposes, to the dishonour done to the deified Anchises by failing in a contest instituted in his honour, a crime which one of the four competitors was certain to commit.

[198] Procumbunt stronger than ‘incumbunt:’ they throw themselves forward. ‘Ictibus’ of the oars, like “verberat” 10. 208. ‘Aerea’ = “aerata.” Serv. supposes the word to mean no more than strong, observing that it was the prow, not the stern, that was armed with brass. If this remark is just, ‘puppis’ had better be taken as a mere poetical equivalent to ‘navis.’ Jal however (Virg. Naut. p. 403), who will not allow this use of ‘puppis,’ wishes ‘aerea’ to mean reverberating like brass. It is singular that both Med. and Pal. originally had ‘aurea.

[199] “‘Solumnavis est mare: quod subtrahi videtur cum navis celeriter percurrit,” Gossrau. The panting and the sweat are from the description of Ajax Il. 16. 109 foll. ‘Anhelitus artus quatit’ below v. 432. Comp. also 9. 812 foll.

[200] Fluit rivis 8. 445. ‘Undique’ is Homer's πάντοθεν ἐκ μελέων.

[201-243] ‘Sergestus, steering too near the rock, is caught and disabled. Mnestheus shoots past him, passes Gyas easily, and strains every nerve to overtake Cloanthus, who however comes in first, having made vows to the sea-gods and obtained their aid.’

[201] Viris, the crew of the Pristis. ‘Ipse casus’ seems to mean as Wagn. thinks, chance and nothing but chance, mere chance. ‘Honorem,’ of getting before the Centaur, and so not being last, v. 196 above.

[202] Furens animi: see on 2. 120. Here some of Pierius' MSS. give ‘animis’ (comp. 8. 228), Gud. a m. pr. and Pal. ‘animo.’ ‘Prora’ Med., which was the reading of Pomp. Sabinus, and was regarded favourably by Heyne. Wagn. objects that the change of nom. would make it necessary to connect ‘furens animi’ with ‘haesit,’ contrary to the sense. But ‘prora’ might be defended as the abl. It is more probable however that the final letter was omitted in consequence of the elision, as Wagn. contends.

[203] Interior, between Mnestheus and the rock: see on v. 185, and comp. v. 170. ‘Iniquo,’ apparently because he was hemmed in between the rock and his rival's ship close following him. They seem to have sailed out to sea (v. 124), so that there cannot have been a naturally narrow passage between the rock and the shore, as in the parallel case of Antilochus and Menelaus Il. 23. 416 foll. In other respects Sergestus' misfortune resembles that of Eumelus, Il. 23. 391 foll.: see below on v. 270.

[204] Procurrentibus, jutting out, probably under water, as Gossrau suggests, comp. v. 164. ‘Procurrere’ is frequently used of land projecting into the water: see Forc.

[205] ‘Murex’ seems to have been used technically of a jagged piece of rock resembling a shell fish. “Murices petrae in litore, similes muricibus vivis, acutissimae et navibus periculosissimae,” Isid. Orig. 16. 111, quoted by Forb. Pliny 19. 1 (cited by Forc.) says that Cato suggested that the forum should be paved with ‘murices,’ to make it less comfortable for litigants. Pal. and Gud. have ‘acuto murice.

[206] Obnixi, dashed against the rock. So of ‘butting,’ G. 3. 222, 223. ‘Crepuere,’ being broken, v. 209. ‘Pependit,’ being entangled in the rock: comp. 10. 303, “inflicta vadis dorso dum pendet iniquo.

[207] Wagn. thinks ‘morantur’ weak, and supposes it either to have some unknown technical force or to be corrupt. It has been suggested to me that the notion may be that of backing water. But surely the simple meaning of the word is significant enough in a passage where we have just had the notion of the highest competitive speed impressed upon us. Instead of straining every nerve to push on, Sergestus' crew is now brought to a standstill, and we know that Mnestheus must be improving the opportunity. ‘Clamore:’ they cry aimlessly, or perhaps for help, v. 221.

[208] Heins. restored ‘trudes,’ which is found in Pal., Rom., and Gud. The old reading ‘sudes’ however is supported by Med. ‘Trudes’ is doubtless the better word, as explained by Isid. Orig. 18. 7, “Trudes amites sunt cum lunato ferro, ab eo quod trudunt et detrudunt,” since it does not appear that ‘sudes’ were ever shod with iron. Comp. 1. 144, 145, “acuto Detrudunt navis scopulo.” For the difference of quantity between the noun and the verb Pierius comp. “duces” and “ducere,” “dicax” and “dicere” &c.

[210] Comp. v. 231 below, “Hos successus alit.

[211] Agmen seems rightly explained by Forc. of the motion of oars, in the same way as the word is applied to a serpent, v. 90 above, to a river 2. 782. Possibly however ‘agmen’ may = “ordo,” as in Stat. Theb. 5. 509, where “terna agmina adunci Dentis” seems to mean three rows of teeth. ‘Ventis vocatis’ 3. 253. Here, as there, it seems simply to mean ‘with the winds at his call,’ as to suppose that Mnestheus formally invoked the winds would scarcely be consistent with Cloanthus gaining his victory by invoking the seagods. Comp. also 4. 223 note.

[212] Prona seems rightly explained by Henry, sloping down towards the shore, ‘aperto’ unobstructed, as there was no longer any rock near which they had to keep. Both descriptions, as he expresses it, apply to “the very part over which the vessels had passed on their way outward, considered now in relation to their return.” But it has been suggested to me that ‘prona’ may mean shelving away from the rock.

[213] Virg. may have had his eye, as the commentators suppose, upon Il. 21. 493 foll., where Artemis flying from Hera is compared to a dove taking refuge from a hawk in a hollow rock, as the words κοίλην πέτρην, χηραμόν resemble ‘latebroso in pumice,’ though here the dove flies not into the rock but from it, leaving her young behind her. ‘Commovere’ of startling or rousing an animal 7. 494.

[214] This line explains how the dove comes to be in the cave. ‘Dulces nidi:’ see on G. 4. 17. “Latebroso in pumice” 12. 587. We need not press the termination in ‘latebrosus,’ which probably means no more here than adapted for shelter.

[215] Fertur in arva volans is said generally of the direction she takes, applying to the whole of her flight, the circumstances of which are developed in the clauses that follow, ‘plausumingentem’ denoting her first fluttering and tumultuous escape, ‘moxalas’ the after stage, when she recovers herself and flies swiftly and smoothly. “Fertur in arva furens” 2. 498. “Timuitque exterrita pennis” below v. 505.

[216] Tecto is apparently to be joined with ‘exterrita,’ like “exterrita somno” Enn. Ann. 1. fr. 34. The ‘tectum’ is the same as the ‘spelunca.’ ‘Quieto:’ the sky is undisturbed, and the alarming cause which had driven the bird from the cave does not follow her when she is on the wing: every thing suggests calm, and she falls in with the temper of the heaven.

[217] A line well known for its imitative rhythm. ‘Radit iter liquidum’ is possibly a translation of “λευρὸν οἶμον αἰθέρος ψαίρει πτέροιςAesch. Prom. 394, ‘radit’ being used here not of grazing or skirting a boundary, but of skimming a smooth surface, as in Ov. M. 10. 654,Posse putes illos sicco freta radere passu,” of the race between Hippomenes and Atalanta. This part of the simile is taken from some pleasing lines in Apoll. R. 2. 934 foll., where the bird described is a hawk: “ταρσὸν ἐφεὶς πνοιῇ φέρεται ταχύς, οὐδὲ τινάσσει
ῥιπήν, εὐκήλοισιν ἐνευδιόων πτερύγεσσιν.

[218] Henry is right again in explaining ‘ultima aequora’ of the latter part of the course, that which remained after the goal had been passed. Comp. “ipso in fine” v. 225, and also “ultima signant” v. 317. Virg. is here speaking generally of Mnestheus' course (just as he spoke generally of the dove's flight in the words “fertur in arva volans”), contemplating him as he darts rapidly along. Afterwards he steps back, as it were, to regard the various stages through which the hero advances towards success. Sergestus can hardly be said to be in the ‘ultima aequora,’ being apparently entangled with the rock which formed the goal before he turns: Mnestheus is not in them while he passes him, but reaches them the moment after, when he leaves his rival behind him, ‘deserit.’ ‘Ipsa’ is explained by ‘impetus ipse’ in the next line. The force which Mnestheus has employed in the critical moment of turning the goal carries him swiftly on, as it were without further exertion, just as the dove when fairly launched into the sky appears not to be moving her wings. Gossrau comp. Cic. De Or. 1. 33, “Concitato navigio, cum remiges inhibuerunt, retinet tamen ipsa navis motum et cursum suum, intermisso impetu et pulsu remorum.

[219] “Pelagoque volans da vela patentiG. 2. 41.

[220] Med. omits ‘in’ before ‘scopulo,’ which may be right. ‘Alto’ is explained by Henry of the height of the rock from the bottom of the sea, as from v. 124 foll. it can hardly have risen very high above the surface. This however seems to be torturing a word too far. It is more probable that Virg. took ‘alto’ as an ordinary epithet of ‘scopulo’ without considering its special propriety here. In any case the rock was ‘altus’ compared with the water below it. In his view of ‘brevibus vadis’ as hidden, not apparent shoals, Henry is doubtless right against Jacob, whom Wagn. quotes.

[221] “‘Frustra:quis enim ei relicta victoria subveniret?” Serv.

[222] “‘Fractis discentem currere remis:iocose et argute. Et habet speciem proverbii, in eos qui tenui praesidio nituntur” Taubm. ‘Currere’ as below v. 235., 3. 191 &c.

[223] Ipsam: the great vessel itself, ‘ingenti mole.’ Comp. v. 118.

[224] “Spoliata armis, excussa magistro” 6. 353. Virg. perhaps thought of Il. 23. 386, οἱ δέ οἱ ἐβλάφθησαν, ἄνευ κέντροιο θέοντες, of Diomed's horses after he had lost his whip.

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