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[124] 4. 219 note.

[125] “Sate gente deum” 8. 36. See on v. 322 below. Serv. rather ingeniously remarks, “Unde Aeneas desiit, inde haec sumpsit exordia.

[126] Anchisiade Med. (first reading), Pal., Rom., ‘Anchisiada’ Med. (second reading). For the reasons for preferring the former, see on 3. 475. ‘Averno’ Med., Pal. a m. p., ‘Averni’ Pal. a m. s., Rom., Gud. Serv. mentions both. The dat. (see on E. 2. 30) is more likely to have been altered into the gen. than vice versa, as the construction of a local case with a verbal noun might create a difficulty. It is paralleled however by a passage given in Forc. ‘Descensus’ from Hirt. B. G. 8. 40, “Erat oppidanis difficilis et praeruptus eo descensus.” Some MSS., including a correction in Med., have ‘est’ after ‘Averno’ or ‘Averni.’ The sentiment apparently is the common one that the path to death is easily trodden, and in fact must be trodden by all, but can rarely if ever be retraced. Aesch. expresses it in his way, Pers. 689, where the shade of Darius says οἱ κατὰ χθονὸς θεοὶ Λαβεῖν ἀμείνους εἰσὶν μεθιέναι. Cerds quotes a Greek epigram, εἰς Ἀΐδην πάντεσσι καταίβασις. Virg. makes use of the thought for his purpose here, though it does not seem very suitable. The difficulty is for a living man to make the journey; this, as we find afterwards, can only be surmounted by obtaining a passport of a particular kind (vv. 136 foll., 391 foll.): but when it has once been surmounted, the return does not appear to be less easy than any other part of the journey; at least we do not find that Aeneas had any obstacle to overcome (v. 898). Seneca, as his manner is, enforces the same truth in the same way, apropos of Hercules' descent, Herc. F. 675 foll.

[127] The expression may remind us, whether it was intended to do so or not, of the Greek notion of Hades as a landlord who entertained all comers, as shown by such epithets as πολύξενος Aesch. Supp. 157 &c. Heyne compares a passage from Varro quoted by Macr. Sat. 1. 16, from which it appears that on days when funeral offerings were made it was said that “mundus patet,” which Varro explains “deorum tristium atque inferum quasi ianua patet.” The infernal gods were conceived of as dark: thus Ov. M. 4. 438 (quoted by Forb.) has “nigri Ditis,” Hor. 2 Od. 13. 21 “furvae Proserpinae.

[128] Revocare gradum like “revocat pedem” 9. 125. With the whole line comp. G. 4. 485, “Iamque pedem referens casus evaserat omnis, Redditaque Eurydice superas veniebat ad auras.” ‘Evadere ad’ 2. 458.

[129] Aequus here implies kindness rather than justice, the feeling spoken of being expressly one of partiality. Serv., who is mystical in his interpretation of the whole of this passage, says that three classes of men are here pointed out as exceptions to the general rule that none can return from the shades, those who are born under a propitious star, those who are prudent, and those who are religious, the last being indicated by ‘Dis geniti.

[130] Evexit ad aethera virtus seems to denote actual or potential beatification, not mere renown, in spite of the distinction between ‘ad’ and ‘in’ laid down by Wagn. Q. V. 10. So “sublimemque feres ad sidera caeli Magnanimum Aenean” 1. 259, which Wagn. admits to refer to deification. With the general thought comp. Hor. 3 Od. 3. 9 foll., ib. 2. 21 foll., though perhaps the last, to which Forb. refers, belongs rather to Wagn.'s view of the passage. A Roman poet however, it should be recollected, would not discriminate the literal and metaphorical senses as sharply as we do.

[131] “Dis geniti” v. 394 below. In the spirit of the heroic time Virg. restricts the privilege to demigods, as even where it is earned by virtue, only demigods are supposed to be capable of virtue so exalted. ‘Tenent’ &c.: Virg.'s meaning is that between the place where they are now standing and the shades a pathless forest and the river Cocytus intervene. Possibly, as Peerlkamp thinks, he may have intended to make the forest easier of entrance than of exit: but in the subsequent description the forest is not made an obstacle at all: Aeneas goes through it under the guidance of the Sibyl without a hint of difficulty, and the only real bar is the passage of the river, which the possession of the bough enables him to overcome. But Virg. was thinking of Hom.'s lines about the difficulty of approaching his Hades, Od. 11. 157: “μέσσῳ γὰρ μεγάλοι ποταμοὶ καὶ δεινὰ ῥέεθρα,
Ὠκεανὸς μὲν πρῶτα, τὸν οὔπως ἔστι περῆσαι,
πεζὸν ἐόντ᾽, ἢν μή τις ἔχῃ εὐεργέα νῆα.

[132] The form ‘Cocytos’ is restored by Wagn. from Med.; with Ribbeck however I prefer the Latin form from Rom., Pal., &c. See on G. 2. 487. ‘Sinu’ expresses the winding of the stream that surrounds the shades. ‘Circumvenit,’ the reading of all Ribbeck's MSS., was restored by Heins. for ‘circumfluit.’ It is used similarly in Tac. A. 2. 6, “Rhenus uno alveo continuus aut modicas insulas circumveniens.

[133] Comp. 2. 10, 349, and for the construction ‘cupido innare,’ note on G. 1. 213. Wagn. and Ribb. omit ‘est’ after ‘cupido,’ from Pal. and a correction in Med.

[134] From Circe's exclamation Od. 12. 21, σχέτλιοι, οἳ ζώοντες ὑπήλθετε δῶμ᾽ Ἀΐδαο, Δισθανέες, ὅτε τ᾽ ἄλλοι ἅπαξ θνήσκουσ᾽ ἄνθρωποι. ‘Innare’ of sailing on, v. 369 below. ‘Lacus:’ see on v. 323.

[135] Insano seems to express that the toil is excessive and objectless, the same feeling which is indicated by Circe's σχέτλιοι. “Quid tantum insano iuvat indulgere dolori?” 2. 776. Possibly here we may be meant to understand ‘tantum’ from v. 133; but there is no necessity, as the feeling it would convey is expressed by ‘insano.

[136] Whether this notion of propitiating Proserpine by a golden bough is Virg.'s own invention we cannot tell. Heyne acutely argues from v. 409 below that it probably was a feature in some other legend. The commentators have collected many things which might have suggested the invention to Virgil—the use of a bough in supplication, and also in lustration, the golden rod of Hermes, the gilded branch in the mysteries of Isis; while the appearance of the golden bough in the wood may conceivably have been suggested, as Heyne thinks, by the golden fleece hanging from the beech in the sacred grove of Hecate, Apoll. R. 4. 123 foll. Ov. M. 14. 113 follows Virg.

[137] The bough is altogether golden, stem as well as leaves.

[138] Proserpina is ‘Iuno inferna,’ as Pluto is Ζεὺς χθόνιος, “Iuppiter Stygius,” 4. 638. The same, or a similar title is given to her by Ovid, Statius, and Silius. ‘Dictus’ is here used almost in the sense of “dicatus” or “addictus,” naming or pronouncing being a way of setting a thing apart and appropriating it. So Serv. here and on 1. 73 (which see), and Bentley on Hor. 2 S. 2. 134. ‘Omnis,’ as if the whole forest conspired to hide it. Comp. Aeneas' prayer below v. 186 foll.

[139] The sense is virtually the same as if Virg. had said “claudunt convalles umbris,” the glades being looked upon as the instruments by which the trees close up the golden bough.

[140] Sed, still, in spite of the difficulty of finding the bough, it is the only passport. ‘Opertum’ is used substantively more than once in Cic.: see Forc.

[141] Wagn. restores ‘qui’ from Med. and one or two other MSS. for ‘quis,’ which is read by Pal., Rom., Gud., &c. Either would stand, as Wagn.'s objections to the indefinite ‘quis’ seem untenable: but ‘qui’ is the more likely to have been altered. The construction is ‘non ante datur quam ei qui decerpserit,’ a natural confusion between the hour and the man, ‘nulli nisi qui decerpserit’ and ‘non ante quam aliquis decerpserit.’ ‘Auricomus’ is perhaps a coinage of Virg.'s own, on the analogy of χρυσόκομος. Val. Fl. and Sil. have followed him: see Forc. ‘Fetus’ of the bough as the produce of the tree, v. 207 below. In G. 1. 189 it signifies fruit opposed to leaves.

[142] Pulchra need be no more than an ornamental epithet: but its position seems to show that the beauty of the gift is considered to be appropriate to the beauty of the goddess. ‘Suum munus’ like “Phoebo sua semper apud me MuneraE. 3. 62, though there is not the notion here of restoring to the goddess her own. ‘Ferre instituit’ like “mandat fieri sibi talia DaphnisE. 5. 41.

[143] Primo has the force of ‘primo quoque,’ the first in each case, and ‘alter’ of course is its correlative.

[144] Wagn. and Forb. think ‘aureus’ feeble; but surely it has considerable force here, the meaning being that a golden bough is never wanting—no sooner is one plucked than another as golden comes in its place. ‘Simili’ is virtually = ‘eodem’ but it need hardly be pointed out as a special use of the word, as the truth seems to be that the two thoughts are generally convertible. It is doubtful whether Med. has ‘similis’ or ‘simili:’ Foggini's volume gives ‘simili,’ Heyne and Ribbeck's collation ‘similis.’ ‘Frondescit metallo’ like “auri frondentis” v. 208.

[145] Ergo, its importance being such, v. 140. ‘Alte vestiga oculis’ is explained by v. 136. Serv. says, “‘rite carpe,id est, cum observatione; nonrite repertum,’” and later editors follow him. I am by no means sure however that Virg. did not intend to join ‘rite repertum,’ successfully, or, as we might say, duly found. At any rate, there does not appear to be any notion such as Forb. supposes, that the bough is to be plucked by the hand, not separated by the knife. What follows merely means that if the seeker is favoured, no force will be necessary; if not, no force will be sufficient. ‘Manu’ then will be, as it often is in Virg., semipleonastic, though it has not, as elsewhere, a notion of force or personal agency, but forms a kind of contrast with ‘oculis.

[146] Ipse strengthened by ‘volens,’ as in G. 2. 500. ‘Sequetur’ may be illustrated by 12. 423, “Iamque secuta manum, aullo cogente, sagitta Excidit.

[147] Fata vocant in a good sense: in 10. 472 in a bad one. ‘Aliter’ has sometimes the force of ‘alioquin:’ see Forc. With ‘non viribus ullis’ comp. 12. 782.

[148] Vincere of overcoming resistance, there being a contest between the man and the branch. ‘Convellere’ 3. 24, 31.

[149] Praeterea, as a further thing to be done before approaching the shades, who would be offended by the neglect of the rites due to the dead. The notion of being unburied is contained in ‘iacet,’ the body being left to lie where it fell, instead of being taken up and burnt. So 2. 557 (note), 5. 871., 9. 486., 11. 102, in which passages however other words are added to bring out the notion more clearly. ‘Tibi’ to show how the obstacle affected Aeneas.

[150] Incestat funere like “patrios foedasti funere voltus” 2. 539, comp. by Forb. The whole fleet partakes in the pollution, so that it would be hopeless for the commander to approach the shades till the pollution has been removed. Comp. the language in Soph. Ant. 1016 foll. about the unburied body of Polynices and the extent of pollution caused by it.

[151] Consulta are apparently the decrees of the gods or of destiny, so that “consulta petere” = “poscere fata.” ‘Pendere’ of delay, as in Flor. 1. 13, “Sex mensibus barbari circa montem unum pependerunt.

[152] Some difficulty has been made about ‘sedibus suis;’ the choice however lies between taking it of the grave, as the natural resting-place of the dead, and the shades, as the natural abode of the spirit. The former might be supported by v. 328, the latter by v. 371. The difficulty is further increased by the apparent inconsistency of Virg.'s language or belief (see on 3. 68., 4. 34), the spirit and the body being elsewhere confused. ‘Refer’ however is in favour of supposing the grave to be meant, in spite of the tautology with the rest of the line, as the agency of Aeneas in transferring the spirit to its home would be only indirect. In any case ‘refer’ is explained by ‘suis,’ meaning to pay a due (comp. 2. 543 note). ‘Conde sepulchro’ 3. 68.

[153] The sacrifice had no reference to Misenus (comp. below vv. 236, 243 foll.), but was intended to propitiate the shades towards their living visitor. ‘Nigras pecudes’ is more fully explained by vv. 243 foll. ‘Prima’ seems rightly taken by Heyne as previous or preliminary. So nearly 1. 24, “Prima quod ad Troiam pro caris gesserat Argis.

[154] Med. a m. p. and Rom. have ‘Stygiis,’ a corruption which seems to have led to a false correction ‘Stygios’ (Pal. a m. s. &c.), and hence to the omission of ‘et,’ which is supported by one of Ribbeck's cursives. Wagn. rightly restored ‘Stygis et,’ which is apparently the original reading of Pal. ‘Lucos Stygis:’ it matters little whether the woods are supposed to overshadow the Styx, which may naturally be regarded as giving its name to the whole infernal territory. ‘Regna invia vivis’ tells plainly what the Sibyl hitherto had only asserted indirectly. See on v. 126.

[155] Presso ore like “premere vocem” 9. 324.

[156-178] ‘On reaching the shore they find the body of Misenus, who had been drowned by a jealous sea-god. They lament, and set about the funeral.’

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