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[648] Sanctus, which seems to have the notion of stainless honour, of the noble dead, as in 5. 80, “Salve sancte parens iterum,” and 11. 158, “tuque, o sanctissima coniunx.” In his use of the word in this connexion, Virg. may have had in his mind that of the Greek ἁγνός in such expressions as ἁγνὴ Περσεφόνεια, Od. 11. 386, and χθόνιοι δαίμονες ἁγνοί, Aesch. Pers. 626. All the better MSS., with the copies of Macrob. Sat. 3. 3. 6, give “Sancta ad vos anima, atque istius inscia culpae,” involving the necessity of lengthening the last syllable, either of ‘anima’ before a vowel, or of ‘istius’ in thesis: either of which is a metrical licence unparalleled in Virg. or in any other Latin poet. Two cursives, the second Menagianus and the third Gotha MS., give ‘nescia:’ an easy correction adopted by Ribbeck, which is certainly preferable to Lachmann's tasteless emendation (Lucr. p. 76), “Sancta ad vos anima atque anima istius inscia culpae.” Mr. Munro would read “Sancta ad vos anima, a! atque istius inscia culpae,” comparing for the interjection Horace's “A te meae si partem animae rapit” &c. (2 Od. 17. 5), and for its elision Tibullus 3. 4. 82, “A ego ne possim tanta videre mala,” and Hor. Epod. 5. 71, “A, a solutus ambulat” &c. “The position of a in the verse would,” he says, “resemble its position in Prop. 1. 11. 5, ‘Nostri cura subit memores, a, ducere noctes’: comp. Sen. Med. 1009 (1017), where the best MS., the Florentine, has ‘Si posset una caede satiari, a, manus,’ and Ov. 3 Am. 7. 55, where Lucian Müller in his text of 1861 reads ‘Sed puto non blanda, a, non optima perdidit in me Oscula,’ for ‘non blanda non optima’ of MSS.” In favour of the MS. reading it may be urged that Virg. is not averse to a hiatus between a polysyllable and a clause beginning with atque or et: comp. “Munera sunt lauri et suave rubens hyacinthus:” “Et sucus pecori et lac subducitur agnis:” “Atque Ephyre atque Opis” (Med. “Ephyra”): “Atque Getae atque Hebrus” (E. 3. 63, 3, G. 4. 343, 463). Wagn. Q. V. 11. 3, in treating of hiatus defends the MS. reading on the ground that the identity of the final vowel of ‘anima’ with the initial vowel of ‘atque’ may have necessitated a pause on the former. Whether this be the true explanation or no, it would be hazardous to alter the text in face of such MS. authority. It is possible that Virg., who was freer in allowing himself metrical licences than either Lucretius or Catullus, may have wished to imitate such hiatus as φίλε_ ἑκυρέ, δεινός τε, δ᾽ ἀνδρὶ ἰκέλη in Hom. It is shown in the Excursus to this book that he renewed some of the apparent irregularities of Hom. and Enn., not because he understood their etymological justification, where there was one, but for the sake of giving his verse occasionally an antiquarian flavour. The fragments of Enn. offer no instance of such a hiatus as the present, though they furnish one of the lengthening of the final a of the nom. first declension: “et densis aquilā pennis obnixa volabat” (A. 148). ‘Istius culpae,’ the fault which you hate, cowardice.

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    • Vergil, Eclogues, 3
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