previous next

[183] Primus not with ‘opera inter talia,’ which would be more modern than classical. ‘Primus’ is like ‘praecipue’ above v. 176. “Media inter talia” 4. 663.

[184] He takes up an axe like the rest. ‘Accingitur’ here is metaphorical, like ‘armis:’ but the word is sometimes used loosely: see on v. 570 below.

[185] Comp. above v. 157, “volutat secum.” “Multaque dura suo tristi cum corde putabant” 8. 522. See on G. 2. 147. ‘Haec’ seems to mean the things which he eventually utters: but in that case ‘sic’ follows rather awkwardly. Heins. restored ‘cum’ for ‘tum,’ the old reading, which is found in only one MS. in the parallel passage in Book 8.

[186] The reading is exceedingly doubtful, Med., Pal., Gud., &c. giving ‘forte,’ Rom. ‘voce,’ the Lombard of Pierius, and others ‘ore.’ ‘Forte,’ though preferred by Wagn., can scarcely be right, as it is not likely that Virg. meant to represent Aeneas' exclamation as fortuitous. An unexpected exclamation could hardly be intended to prepare us for any unexpected event, as the point lies in the unuttered prayer rather than in its expression. The word may easily have come from v. 190. Serv., who gives ‘forte,’ regards it merely as a prop to the verse. ‘Voce’ on the other hand would have real force, praying aloud being contrasted with thinking silently. It does not appear, as Wagn. contends, that in 9. 403., 11. 784, where the words recur, any thing more than simple utterance is intended. Henry prefers ‘ore’ to ‘voce,’ but without saying why. What follows, as Cerda remarks, is rather a wish than a prayer: εἰ γάρ however is used in Hom. in addresses to deities.

[187] Arbore on the tree, as in G. 3. 353. The sense is, Would that the first part of the Sibyl's words may prove as true as the second has done.

[189] Omnia vere locuta est, the Homeric πάντα θεὰ νημερτέα εἶπεν. ‘Heu nimium’ like Aesch. Ag. 1241, ἄγαν γ᾽ ἀληθόμαντιν οἰκτείρας ἐρεῖς.

[190] Forte denotes the coincidence.

[191] Sub ora like “sub oculos:” see Forc. ‘sub.’ Serv. says that in augury certain distances were fixed, within which the omen was held to pertain to the person seeing it.

[193] Adgnovit is found in Med. (according to Foggini: Heins. reports ‘agnoscat’) and one or two others.

[194] Virtually = “este duces viae, si qua est.” ‘Cursum,’ your flight, not our course (which would be possible, ‘per auras’ being taken i. q. ‘volando’). ‘Cursus’ for ‘volatus’ seems to occur nowhere in Virg., unless E. 6. 80 (where see note) be an exception: it is found however elsewhere, as in Ov. Amor. 2. 6. 11,Omnes quae liquido libratis in aere cursus,” quoted by Forb., who refers to a note of Heins. there.

[195] In lucos, ubi = ‘in eam partem lucorum ubi.’ ‘Pinguem’ seems to refer to the richness of the soil which could produce a tree so gifted. Forc. gives various instances of ‘dives’ more or less resembling the present, among others Lucan 9. 658 of the cloud which yielded Danae's golden shower. Trapp questioned the applicability of ‘opacat,’ for which he would have preferred ‘inaurat:’ but the poet's words are not to be so closely pressed, and we may say that ‘opacat’ is qualified by the juxtaposition of ‘dives.’ Scaliger, Poet. 4. 16, referred to by Taubm., commends the word as “rarum et dignitatis plenum.

[196] Deficere of forsaking a cause: see Forc. ‘Rebus’ is of course the dat. ‘Forsake not our cause at this crisis.’

[197] The old editions had ‘alma parens,’ which Pierius says is found in Rom. and some others. Ribbeck however mentions no other reading than ‘diva.’ ‘Vestigia pressit:’ see above on v. 159. ‘Pressit’ might = ‘inpressit,’ as in 11. 787, where however ‘per ignem’ and ‘multa pruna’ define the sense: but every thing here is in favour of the sense of ‘repressit,’ as Forb. admits. “Attoniti pressere gradum,” is quoted by Forc. from Val. Fl. 2. 454. So “comprime gressum” below v. 389, “pedem repressit” 2. 378. ‘Premere vestigia’ is also found, as Forb. remarks, of treading in the steps of another (see Forc.); but this is not likely to be meant here.

[198] Quae signa ferant = “quid significent,” as “ea signa dedit” 2. 171 = “id significavit.” ‘Signum’ is used of omens: see on 4. 167.

[199] The meaning seems to be that they keep flying on and alighting to feed alternately—in other words that in their feeding they fly on from spot to spot.

[200] Possent is rightly explained by Forb. as indicating the object of the doves in flying onward, as against Wagn., who thinks it implies repeated action—‘as far as at each given time,’ &c. ‘Acies’ is used strictly of the pupil of the eye as the organ of vision. “Acies ipsa, qua cernimus, quae pupula vocatur” Cic. N. D. 2. 57. ‘Servare’ of observing or keeping in view, as in v. 338 below, &c. ‘Sequentum’ may mean following with the eye, as Forb. takes it: but it would seem from the context that though Aeneas stopped at first, he afterwards went on as they went on, so that the word may have its more ordinary sense. We hear nothing later of Aeneas' movements till v. 210, where the expression shows that he did not remain standing for the whole previous time.

[201] ‘Graveolentis’ is explained by vv. 240 foll. below. For the word comp. G. 4. 270.

[202] Tollunt se celeres may possibly refer, as Serv. explains it, to their desire to escape the stench, so fatal to birds; but the meaning is sufficiently clear without.

[203] Sedibus optatis seems to mean ‘having chosen their place to settle’ (comp. 1. 425., 3. 109, 132), as Heyne explains it. The birds are said to mark the spot before finally alighting there. Wagn.'s objection that ‘optare’ is used of choosing the site of a permanent abode tells for little in a passage where the term is evidently used metaphorically, being applied to the birds simply in virtue of their being about to settle, no matter for how long. At the same time it is quite possible to take it ‘wished for’ with Wagn., as though Aeneas wished for no definite spot, he wished for the spot where the golden branch grew, wherever that might be. ‘Gemina’ is the reading of Med. and most MSS., and also of Priscian, p. 1001; I agree with Henry however that it cannot be made to yield a natural sense, though the word sometimes = ‘biformis,’ and is applied in this sense in poetry to Triton and Chiron: see Forc. ‘Geminae,’ the reading of Rom. and the Longobardic MS., as quoted by Pierius, and a few others, was adopted by Burm. and Heyne, and gives, as Henry remarks, a vivid and natural picture. We do not care to know whether they flew precisely together; but that they settled at the same moment in the same spot is a pleasing circumstance. A Greek writer in speaking of it might change from the plural to the dual. ‘Super:’ they alight at the top of the tree.

[204] Aura auri is explained ‘splendor auri’ by Serv., who may be right in applying the same doctrine to Hor. 2 Od. 8. 24, but goes too far in making ‘aura’ in this sense the root of ‘aurum.’ The account of this use of the word is apparently to be sought in the connexion between the notions of light and air (see on G. 2. 340, and comp. v. 747 below, “aurai simplicis ignem”), and also between those of light and motion, as in αἰόλος, &c., the gleaming light being naturally identified with the flickering breeze. The jingle is of course intended: see on 2. 494 &c. “‘Discolor,nam per arborem viridem fulsit color aureus,” Donatus. ‘Refulsit’ 1. 402 note. Rom. and another give ‘auro.

[205] Viscum G. 1. 139 of the birdlime collected from the mistletoe, here of the plant itself. ‘Brumali frigore:’ the mistletoe flourishes in the winter, and the time is naturally chosen for the sake of contrast between its leaves and the bareness of the tree on which it grows, though the circumstance really makes it less like that with which it is compared, as there the golden bough was seen among green ones.

[206] Quod non sua seminat arbos might refer to the growth of the plant from a tree which is not really its parent, ‘non sua’ being joined as in G. 2. 82: but it more probably alludes to the opinion of the ancients that it was really an animal product, the excrement of birds (Pliny 16. 44., 24. 4), not, as later research has proved it to be, a parasitic plant, the seeds of which are deposited by birds on other trees. ‘Sua’ then refers to natural production, as “sopor suusG. 4. 190 seems to mean natural or kindly sleep. ‘Seminat’ seems to be used vaguely in the sense of producing. Comp. the use of ‘semina’ for plants in G. 2. 268, 356 &c. The word is prosaic rather than poetical: see Forc.

[207] Croceo fetu: Pliny 24. 4 says of the mistletoe “Optumum est . . . extra fulvum, intus porraceum.” The colour is of course a prominent feature in the comparison. ‘Truncos’ the trunks, as in G. 3. 233: see Forc. Some MSS. mentioned by Pierius have ‘ramos.

[208] Auri frondentis: comp. v. 144 above. ‘Opaca’ v. 136. The dark shade of course gives the contrast.

[209] Ilice: the particular kind of tree has not hitherto been specified by Virg., a proof that he attaches no importance to the specification. ‘Leni vento’ 3. 70. ‘Crepitabat’ is not strictly speaking a point in the comparison. Virg. only means ‘the leaf looked thus as it rustled tinkling in the wind.’ ‘Bractea’ is thin foil, thinner than ‘lamina,’ a metallic plate. It is classed with cobweb for its thinness by Lucr. 4.727. The leaf is called ‘bractea’ here, as the ‘bractea’ is called ‘folium’ in Latin, in Greek πέταλον, and in English foil or leaf. Lachm. on Lucr. l. c. prefers the spelling ‘brattea,’ which is found here in Med. and Rom. and supported by Pal. ‘brattia.’ As usual, I have followed Wagn. Some MSS. (including Gud. originally) have ‘crepitabant,’ which Heins. adopted, strangely regarding ‘bractea’ as a noun of multitude, whereas the fact would seem to be, as Heyne remarks, that ‘bractea’ was mistaken for a neuter plural.

[210] “‘Corripit:ne prolixior esset narratio, non dixit quomodo ad ipsam arborem Aeneas venerit,” Donatus. The old reading before Heins. was “extemplo Aeneas.” Rom. has ‘exemplo.

[211] Cunctantem is not to be pressed, as we know from vv. 147 foll. that it cannot really have offered any resistance, so that it must be taken as a correlative to ‘avidus,’ Aeneas' eagerness being too great even for the willingness of the branch. Even thus however the choice of the word seems a little unfortunate. Heyne comp. “lento vimine” above v. 137. For the application of the word to things inanimate comp. G. 2. 236, “glaebas cunctantis.” ‘Tecta Sibyllae’ seems to be the temple.

[212-235] ‘Meantime the Trojans were conducting Misenus' funeral through all its details. Aeneas raises a tomb over his remains.’

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.

An XML version of this text is available for download, with the additional restriction that you offer Perseus any modifications you make. Perseus provides credit for all accepted changes, storing new additions in a versioning system.

hide Places (automatically extracted)

View a map of the most frequently mentioned places in this document.

Download Pleiades ancient places geospacial dataset for this text.

hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: