previous next

(Incert. III, Ahrens).

On the authorship of this idyll see Introd. § 3, pp. 54, 55. The scheme of the poem is as follows:--After the prefatory lines to Diophantus the writer passes to narrative. Two fishermen lie asleep in their cabin by the sea, with the poor implements of their craft about them. Waking before the night is half done one tells his fellow how he had dreamed that he had caught a wondrous golden fish, and sworn that he would desert his calling and live on land on the gold he had won. The oath he swore in his sleep troubles him. Is it binding? His companion bids him pay no thought to his dream, or likely enough he will starve while he neglects more solid fish.

[2] αὐτά, 'alone.' For sentiment cf. Arist. Plutus 533: “      Πενία.
     ἐγὼ γὰρ
τὸν χειροτέχνην ὥσπερ δέσποιν᾽ ἐπαναγκάζουσα κάθημαι
διὰ τὴν χρείαν καὶ τὴν πενίαν ζητεῖν ὁπόθεν βίον ἕξει.

[4] ἐπιμύσσησι. The ι_ is lengthened as in Epic; cf. xxii. 19; διε_μοιρᾶτο, Odyss. xiv. 434; μονο?λυκος, Aratus, 1124, etc.

[5] ἐφιστάμεναι, 'haunting,' properly 'standing over the bed'; so Aesch. Agam. 14 φόβος γὰρ ἀνθ᾽ ὕπνου παραστατεῖ. Cf. Odyss. xix. 515: “ αὐτὰρ ἐπὴν νὺξ ἔλθῃ, ἕλῃσί τε κοῖτος ἅπαντας,
κεῖμαι ἐνὶ λέκτρῳ, πυκιναὶ δέ μοι ἀμφ᾽ ἁδινὸν κῆρ
ὀξεῖαι μελεδῶνες ὀδυρομένην ἐρέθουσιν.

[6] ὅμως, 'although poverty and care snatch away sleep.' ὁμῶς Steph. and most editors unnecessarily.

ἰχθύος the singular is to be taken collectively; cf. xiv. 17, note, and Introd. p. 55.

[7] βρύον, 'seaweed.'

πλεκταῖς, 'woven of reeds and wattles'; cf. καλύβῃ σχοινίτιδι, A. Pal. vii. 295 (Leonidas).

στρωσάμενοι, 'making them a bed' (middle).

[8] κεκλιμένοι τοίχῳ, 'leaning against the wall of grass.' For the dative cf. Odyss. xvii. 339: “ ἷζε δ᾽ ἐπὶ μελίνου οὐδοῦ ἔντοσθε θυράων,
κλινάμενος σταθμῷ κυπαρισσίνῳ.

” Hermann's πρός for τῷ is not wanted.

[9] ἀθλήματα, 'implements'; a new meaning for the word.

[10] φυκιόεντα δέλητα, 'baits of seaweeds.' On φυκιόεντα see Introd. p. 55. δέλητα: a contracted plural from δέλεαρ. Seaweed is mentioned as a bait by Oppian, Pisc. iii. 414: “ σάλπαι δ᾽ ἰκμαλέοις μὲν ἀεὶ φύκεσσι μάλιστα
τέρπονται, κείνῃ δὲ καὶ ἀγρώσσονται ἐδωδῇ

Ib. 421: “ τῆμος ἐπεντύει κύρτου δόλον: ἐν δέ οἱ εἴσω
φύκεσιν εἰλομένους λᾶας βάλεν, ἀμφὶ δὲ ποίας
εἰναλίας στομίοισιν ἐδήσατο τῇσι γάνυνται
σάλπαι τ᾽ ἠδ᾽ ὅσσοι βοτανηφάγοι ἰχθύες ἄλλοι.

[11] ὁρμιαί, 'lines of horsehair,' Oppian, Hal. iii. 75: “      δονάκεσσιν ἀναψάμενοι δολιχοῖσιν
ὁρμιὴν ἵππειον ἐΰπλοκον.

κύρτοι, 'lobster pots,' Oppian, iii. 341: “ κύρτον δὲ πλέξαιο περίδρομον ὅττι μάλιστα
τεύχων : σπάρτοισιν ᾿Ιβηρίσιν ἠὲ λύγοισι
ῥάβδους ἀμφιβαλών: λευρὴ δέ οἱ εἴσοδος ἔστω
γαστήρ τ᾽ εὐρυχανής.

” With the whole list cf. the Epigram of Leonidas, A. Pal. vi. 4.

ἐκ σχοίνων, 'made of cord'; cf. xv. 123.

[12] γέρωνλέμβος, 'an old boat.' For γέρων cf. Soph. O. C. 1259 γέρων γέροντι συγκατῴκηκεν πίνος: Eurip. H. F. 26 γέρων λόγος.

[14] πᾶς πόρος, 'all their revenue'; cf. Ovid, Met. iii. 588 'Ars illi sua census erat'; Plaut. Rudens 294'Hisce hami atque haec harundines sunt nobis quaestu et cultu.'

[15] 15, 16 The MSS. reading of these two lines is: “ οὐδεὶς δ᾽ οὐ κύθρανχύθραν 11) εἶχ᾽, οὐ λίνα: ῾κίνα 11 μ σεξ. μαν.᾿
     πάντα περισσά. (φ μυστ ηαϝε ηαδ λκινα
πάντ᾽ ἐδόκει τήνοις ἄγρα πενία σφᾶς ἑτέρη.

” In 15 the Juntine has οὐ χύτραν οὐ κύνα ('none had dish or dog,' nonsense); in 16 it has σφιν ἑταίρη (conj.). The confusion of ἑτέρη and ἑταίρη occurs elsewhere (e.g. Theocr. xxii. 120; Xen. Anab. iv. 3. 30). Briggs emended 15 to οὐδὸς δ᾽ οὐχὶ θύραν εἶχ᾽ οὐ κύνα: Buecheler to οὐ κλεῖδ᾽ οὐχὶ θύραν εἶχ᾽ οὐ κύνα, and connected it with the preceding so that πλοῦτος should be subject; but line 14 is obviously complete in itself and κύνα is doubtful; οὐ κλεῖδ᾽ is too far from MSS. In 16 γὰρ πενία σφας ἐτήρει is an emendation of Ameis and Ahrens. Better ἔτειρε (Wordsworth), γάρ (Reiske); cf. A. Pal. ix. 654. The reading which I have adopted in 15 seems palaeographically more probable than the above mentioned, and comes easily from the uncial ΟΥΙΞΥΘΡΑΝ transpose the Θ. ΟΥΘΙΞΥΡΑΝ this from ΟΥΞΙΞΥΡΑΝ. Tr. 'Neither had blanket nor linen; all, all seemed extravagance to them; for poverty pressed hard upon them.' For σισύρα cf. Arist. Clouds 10: for λίνα, Odyss. xiii. 73 ᾿Οδυσσῆϊ στόρεσαν ῥῆγός τε λίνον τε. οὐδείς should of course be οὐδέτερος, but the Alexandrian writers are notoriously careless in their use of pronouns; vid. Theocr. vi. 46, note.

[17] οὐδεὶς δ᾽ ἐν μέσσῳ, 'there was no neighbour at hand.' An unusual sense of ἐν μέσσῳ, but cf. Theocr. xv. 27; Callim. Epig. 31: “      τὰ γὰρ φεύγοντα διώκειν
οἶδε: τὰ δ᾽ ἐν μέσσῳ κείμενα παρπέταται.

” Herond. vi. 81 ἦλθεν γὰρ Βιτᾶτος ἐν μέσῳ δούλη.

[18] θλιβομέναν πενίᾳ, 'oppressed by poverty.'

τρυφερόν lit. 'delicately'; here of the sea lapping lazily on the beach.

[19] κοὔπω τὸν μέσατον cf. vii. 10.

[20] τοὺς δ᾽ ἁλιεῖς parataxis instead of a time clause. The conjunction is generally καί not δέ.

φίλος πόνος Homeric; an utterly un-Theocritean use.

[21] ὕπνον ἀπωσάμενοι cf. A. Pal. vii. 726 (quoted Introd. p. 55). So with other abstract nouns γῆρας ἀπωσαμένη, hom. h. Demet. 276; δέος, Quint. Smyrn. ix. 96; φθόνον ἀμφοτέραισιν χερσὶν ἀπωσάμενοι, Bacchyl. v. 189.

φρεσὶν ἤρεθον αὐδάν a curiously far-fetched phrase; 'provoked speech by their thought.' For φρεσί Meineke compares Iliad xvii. 260 τίς κεν ᾗσι φρεσὶν οὔνοματ᾽ εἴποι; cf. also Odyss. xv. 445 ἔχετ᾽ ἐν φρεσὶ μῦθον: Pseudo-Phocyl. 20 λόγον ἐν φρεσὶν ἴσχειν.

[25] μὴ λαθόμην; κ.τ.λ. 'have I forgotten what was the thing?' He refers to his dream, which for the moment is blurred in his memory.

χρόνον δ᾽ αἱ νύκτες impatiently; 'the watches of the night are slow.' νύκτες in plural as Arist. Clouds 1 Ζεῦ βασιλεῦ τὸ χρῆμα τῶν νυκτῶν ὅσον. (τί τὸ χρῆμα χρόνου ταὶ νύκτες here Martini and Wilamowitz-Moellendorf, but we require an exclamation not a question.)

[26] ᾿Ασφαλίων the name occurs Odyss. iv. 216.

[27] παρέβα τὸν ἑὸν δρόμον. The season has not wilfully gone out of its course, Lucian, i. 229 (Deor. Dial. 10), Helios loq. ἀλλὰ μὴ παραβαίνειν τι ἔδοξα ἐν τῷ δρόμῳ καὶ ἔξω ἐλάσαι τῶν ὅρων, κᾆτά μοι ἄχθεται Ζεὺς καὶ τὴν νύκτα τριπλασίαν τῆς ἡμέρας ποιῆσαι διέγνωκεν;

[32] ὃς γὰρ ἂν εἰκάξῃ, 'for whosoever guesses in his mind, he is the best interpreter of dreams who has his mind for teacher'; 'qui ingenio non arte divinat, is optimus est coniector' (Paley); Eurip. fr. 63 μάντις δ᾽ ἄριστος ὅστις εἰκάζει καλῶς.

[34] ἄλλως καὶ σχολά, 'besides we have time to spare.' Bion, iii. (Hermann) 8 imitates the line λαλέειν γὰρ ἐπέτραπεν σχολὰ ἄμμιν.

[35] μηδὲ καθεύδων μηδέ because the clause is conditional; 'if he lies by the sea and does not sleep.'

[36] ἀλλ᾽ ὄνος, κ.τ.λ. 'but like an ass in a thorn bush, or the lamp in the town-hall: for they say that these are ever sleepless.' We have here two proverbial expressions, whether current or invented. Ahrens' conjecture is also possibly ἀδὼν̣ ἀδόνεςἐν δρυμῶ (ἀδὼν = ἀηδών), referring to the proverb οὐδ᾽ ὅσσον ἀηδόνες ὑπνώσσουσι: cf. Longus, iv. 40 ἀγρυπνοῦντες ὅσον οὐδὲ γλαῦκες, and Chaucer's 'smale foules ... that slepen alle night with open eye.' ὡς is omitted as in Theocr. xiii. 24; xiv. 51, etc.

[37] 37, 38 The restoration of the lines is almost hopeless, but λέγει μανύεν seems certain and should not be altered. All proposed emendations are violent and unconvincing, e. g. Haupt. ὄψιν τὰν ἴδες εἴγε θέλεις μανύεν: Ahrens θέλε δή ποτεπᾳ τοι ἔοικε λέγειν, μανύεν: Kaibel τὰν ἴδες: ἐσθλὰ δ᾽ ἐγὼ μανύσω. Best perhaps Ahlwardt τὰν τύ σεῳ γ᾽ ἔλεγες μανύεν. The MSS. ἔσσεο δέ is obviously a corruption by dittography. I trust in my conjecture to have got somewhat nearer to the letters of the MSS. than has been done in previous attempts. Tr. 'Tell me some day (ποτέ) your vision of the night, since what one knows he promises to reveal to his companion.'

τις is used to refer to the speaker; cf. Soph. Antig. 745.

λέγει, 'promises'; vid. note on ii. 154.

μανύεν Doric infin. for μανύειν.

[39] δειλινόν, 'in the evening'; cf. xiii. 69, note.

[40] ἐν ὥρᾳ, 'early,' Arist. Eccl. 395 τοσοῦτον χρῆμ᾽ ὄχλου οὕτως ἐν ὥρᾳ ξυνελέγη.

[43] πλάνον, 'deceptive'; cf. Ovid, Met. iii. 586: “ 'παυπερ ετ ιπσε φυιτ; λινοθυε σολεβατ ετ ηαμις
δεξιπερε ετ ξαλαμο σαλιεντες δυξερε πισξες.'

[44] τῶν τραφερῶν ὠρέξατο, 'reached after the food.' τραφερός is used in Homer always of dry land (τραφερή) as opposed to sea (ὑγρή), and this use is retained by the Alexandrian writers. The word is however used by Aratus as meaning 'fattening' τρέφω), ἐκ νομοῦ ἐρχόμενα τραφεροῦ ἐπὶ ὄψιον αὖλιν. Here then as substantive 'the fattening thing,' i. e. 'food.' Others interpret 'one of the fat ones,' as if it were used in the place of εὐτρεφής, but this leaves ὠρέξατο awkwardly without an object.

[45] ἄρκτον μαντεύεται, 'scents his bear and I my fish.' μαντεύεται is of course used in a greatly strained sense.

ἰχθύα for ἰχθύν, a novel form. So ὀϊζύα, Quint. Smyrn. ii. 88; ἰξύα, Id. xi. 201; ὀφρύα, Oppian, Cyn. iv. 405. None of these accusatives occur in the Classical period.

[47] τὸν κάλαμον δέ, κ.τ.λ. I have kept the MSS. reading, only deleting comma at εἶχον, so that τὼ χέρε is subject; 'my hands held the rod which bent with the strain, pulled (τεινόμενον) and was like to break (περικλώμενον), a wide reaching struggle.'

ἀγῶνα is accus. in apposition to sentence.

[48] εὐρύν because the fish had to be played for a long time; vid. following lines (εὗρον, Junt.: so Hermann with colon at περικλώμενον).

[49] σιδάροις, 'a solitary use of the plural'; cf. our use of 'irons.'

ἰχθύν with υ^ is abnormal, but recurs in Oppian, Hal. iv. 44; κλιτυ^ν, Nicander Alex. 34, and a few others.

[50] 'Asphalion first hooked his fish which ran gamely and nearly doubled up the rod; then the fish sulked and the angler half despaired of landing him. To stir the sullen fish he "reminded him of his wound," probably as we do now by keeping a tight line and tapping the butt of the rod. Then he slackened, giving the fish the line in case of a sudden rush; but as there was no such rush he took in line ... and so landed him' (A. Lang).

[58] A hopeless line. Musurus conjectured καὶ τὸν μὲν πιστῆρσι κατᾶγον ἐπ᾽ ἠπείροιο. Worthless. Most modern critics proceed on the assumption that ἠπήρατον conceals ἠπειρώταν, and evolve such readings as σπεύσας ἀκάλ᾽ ἄγαγον ἠπείρωταν (Graefe); τότε πιστεύσας ἀκάλ᾽ ἄγαγον ἀπηρώταν (Renier); πίστευσα καλῶς ἔχεν ἠπειρώταν (Ziegler); but ἠπειρώτας ἰχθύς is an impossible expression. Others are πίστευσα καλάγρετον εὐπέρνατον (Ribbeck, Rhein. Mus. 45 'feliciter captum bene vendibilem'). Most ingenious is the suggestion of the Rev. B. H. Streeter, τὸν ἔχων πίστευσα καλῶς ἄγεν ἠπειρώτας, 'having him I trusted to live happily on land.' (I am indebted to A. C. Clark, Esq., of Queen's College, Oxford, for this.) I believe however that τὸν ἠπήρατον hides τὸν ἐπήρατον and have emended accordingly. Tr. 'Him I made bold to call the fish I had prayed for.' [I find that Brunck suggested this end to the line, reading however τῷ μὲν πίσυνος χαλάσας τὸν ἐπήρατον ἰχθὺν ὤμοσα μηκέτι.]

[59] ὤμοσα δ᾽ οὐκέτι, 'I swore I would never again set foot on the sea, but stay on land, and be an emperor with my gold.'

οὐκέτι for μηκέτι is irregular; cf. Herond. vi. 93 δ᾽ ὤμοσ᾽ οὐκ ἂν εἰπεῖν μοι: Babrius, l. 6 δ᾽ οὐ προδώσειν ὤμνυε.

πόδα θεῖναι cf. A. Pal. v. 39: “      ἢν γὰρ ἀπέλθω
καὶ θῶ ἅπαξ ἔξω τὸν πόδα τῆς πόλεως.

” For the aorist θεῖναι see Goodwin, M. and T.; Eurip. H. F. 746 οὔποτ᾽ ἤλπισεν παθεῖν.

[60] τῷ χρυσῷ βασιλεύσειν cf. Plaut. Rudens 931, Gripus after his big find exclaims: “'Navibus magnis mercaturam faciam: apud reges rex perhibebor.
... sed hic rex cum aceto pransurust et sale sine bono pulmento.'

[61] ἔρειδε τὰν γνώμαν probably 'bring your judgement to bear on it,' or more simply = προσέχετὸν νοῦν as νόον προσέρεισα Λεάνδρῳ, A. Pal. v. 231; ὄψιν ἀπερείδειν, Lucian, i. 259.

[64] ἴσα δ᾽ ἦν. The vision was like to the 'thing that is not.'

[65] 65, 66 ἐλπὶς τῶν ὕπνων in apposition to ὄψις, 'a mere hope of sleep.'

εἰ γάρ πᾳ…, 'For if perchance you will hunt thus in vain in sleep again, ... you might die of hunger and of your golden dreams.'

μή θάνῃς the construction is the independent use of μή, with subjunctive to express a polite affirmation. The stock example is Plato, Gorgias 462 c μὴ ἀγροικότερον τὸ ἀληθὲς εἰπεῖν: cf. Meno 94 e. It is common in Homer, Odyss. v. 356; Iliad xviii. 8; ib. viii. 95 μή τις τοι φεύγοντι μεταφρένῳ ἐν δόρυ πήξῃ. The difficulty with the usual order of the lines is that however we emend εἰ γάρ με, κ.τ.λ., ἐλπὶς τῶν ὕπνων remains unsatisfactory as an apodosis. (J. A. Hartung's emendation is ingenious but too violent, εἰ γὰρ ὕπαρ κνώσσων ἔτι μωρεῖς ταῦτα μάταιος ἐλπὶς τῶν ὕπνων, but ὕπαρ is not likely and μωρεῖς is a vox nihili.) With the order adopted in the text ἐλπίς, in apposition to ὄψις, may be paralleled by Oppian, Pisc. i. 36 ἐλπὶς δ᾽ οὐ σταθερὴ σαίνει φρένας ἠύτ᾽ ὄνειρος: and κενεαῖς ἐλπίσιν ὄνειροπολεῖν in Adamantius, Dial. Cont. Marcionitas, 842 B.

ἐτώσιαματεύσεις cf. Pind. P. iii. 40 μεταμώνια θηρεύων ἀκράντοις ἐλπίσι.


hide References (3 total)
  • Commentary references from this page (3):
    • Xenophon, Anabasis, 4.3.30
    • Plautus, Rudens, 2.1
    • Plautus, Rudens, 4.2
hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: