previous next

The idyll is a simple singing-match between Daphnis and Menalcas, divided into two portions: (a) 33-60 in alternate quatrains of elegiac verse; (b) 63-80 in hexameter verse. Daphnis and Menalcas are the legendary characters of that name (cf. Id. vi). Both were the subject of a poem by Hermesianax (see Introd. p. 11), and of one by Sositheus in which Menalcas was represented as vanquished in song by Daphnis. It is impossible to hold that Daphnis and Menalcas are merely names applied to contemporary shepherds, in face of i. 91, of the total absence of character drawing, and especially of ὡς φαντί in v. 2. Various critics have regarded as spurious either portions of the idyll, or the whole, but only on internal evidence of very weak character. So far as the idyll contains verbal peculiarities they are confined to the elegiac part, and the change of metre brings with it change of forms (so αἰ ἄν, 43, 47, instead of αἴ κε: ὤν, 52, for ἐών, on which M. Legrand lays stress, op. cit. pp. 16, 17). The inconsistencies found by Hermann between the first and second songs are utterly trivial, and to an unprejudiced reader unapparent. Wilamowitz argues that 'each idyll is a separate picture (εἶδος); each therefore had a separate title; recurrence of title is therefore as good as forbidden; therefore viii and ix (bearing same title as vi) are not genuine.' Could dogmatism and pedantry go further? See further Buecheler in N. Jahrbücher f. Cl. Philol. 1860.

Compare the setting of Id. vi.

[2] ὡς φαντί this shows that the idyll deals with the legendary Daphnis; see Preface.

[3] πυρροτρίχω here of the hair of the head, not of the face, as Daphnis and Menalcas are represented as mere lads.

ἤστην Ahrens, Dial. Dor. p. 326.

[4] ἄμφω συρίσδεν

'Ambo florentes aetatibus, Arcades ambo,
Et cantare pares et respondere parati.'

[6] μοι cf. i. 136, note; not an ethic dative.

[7] I have followed Boissonade's punctuation, which connects ὅσσον θέλω with νικασεῖν. 'I say I will vanquish you as much as I like in song'; cf. Arist. Equit. 713 ἐγὼ δ᾽ ἐκείνου καταγελῶ γ᾽ ὅσον θέλω.

[10] εἴ τι πάθοις, 'not if you hurt yourself in the singing.' A pretty use of this well known euphemism is given by Isaeus. i. § 4 εἴ τι πάθοι Κλεώνυμος ἄπαις. The rhythm of the line is not an exception to the rule of the trochaic caesura in fourth foot (see xviii. 15) since εἴ τι πάθοις almost form a single word.

[11] ἐσιδεῖν vid. Index, Verbs compound; Soph. Elect. 584.

καταθεῖναι = depono, 'to stake.'

[13] τίνα. ἆθλος, masc. in the sense of ἆθλον, neut. = prize, is known only from the grammarians, Bekker, Aneed. xxi. 14 ἆθλος ἀρσενικῶς τὸ ἔργον καὶ τὸ ἀγώνισμα καὶ τὸ ἔπαθλον: διαφέρει τε τοῦτο τοῦ οὐδετέρου ὅτι τὸ μὲν οὐδέτερον δηλοῖ κυρίως τὸ ἔπαθλον, τοῦτο δὲ τὸν ἀγῶνα. For the optat. εἵη cf. Theognis 84: “ τόσσους δ᾽ οὐ δήεις διζήμενος, οὐδ᾽ ἐπὶ πάντας
ἀνθρώπους, οὓς ναὺς μὴ μία πάντας ἄγοι.

” Arist. Thesm. 871 (parody) τίς ἔχει κράτος ὅστις δέξαιτο: Plato, Euthyd. 292 e τίς ποτ᾽ ἐστὶν ἐπιστήμη ἐκείνη ἡμᾶς εὐδαίμονας ποιήσειε (ποιήσει Stallbaum). We should expect ἄν in the relative clause in all these, since the sense required is final or consecutive ('of such a kind as to satisfy us'), cf. Demosth. xx. 161 νομοθετεῖν οἷς μηδεὶς ἂν νεμεσήσαι, and there is no preceding optative whereto the following is assimilated (see vii. 125). It is hardly possible to regard the optative as one 'of pure generality,' like Soph. Antig. 666 ὃν πόλις στήσειε τοῦδε χρὴ κλύειν, since this is only a variant from ὃν ἂν στήσῃ, a form not applicable in the above cases. It is noticeable however that these three optatives occur in a relative sentence dependent on an interrogative or quasi-interrogative. The construction would therefore seem to be parallel to the thorny ἔσθ᾽ οὖν ὅπως ῎Αλκηστις ἐς γῆρας μόλοι (Eur. Alc. 52) etc. See Sonnenschein, Syntax, p. 343 and p. 293, note.

In θησευμεσθα the middle has reciprocal force, 'stake for each other.'

[14] θές lengthened in arsis in fourth foot, cf. xxv. 203; Iliad vii. 164 θοῦριν ἐπιειμένοι ἀλκήν. The second metrical anomaly--the hiatus before ἀμνόν--cannot be justified. ἀμνόν has not the ϝ, nor was it supposed to have it by Theocritus; see v. 24, 144, 148. Hiatus in the fifth thesis is not legitimate even in Homer; see Monro, Hom. Gram. § 382. ἀμνόν has probably displaced the true word both here and in v. 15. ἔπισσαν Fritzsche: ? ῥῆνα, a word used by Ap. Rhod. and later poets, vid. Liddell and Scott. The hiatus ῥῆνα ἐπεί in 15 would be unobjectionable.

[15] χαλεπὸς πατήρ cf. xv. 100. μογερὸν ᾿Οφιοῦχον, Aratus 579 (so p k, χαλεπός θ᾽ Vulg.; vid. Ameis).

[16] ποθέσπερα adverbial; cf. v. 44; ii. 100; ταρφέ᾽ ἀμειβομένω, Odyss. viii. 379; καλὰ μὲν ἤεξεν, Callim. i. 55. But ἐπινύκτια μῆλα νομεύων, A. Pal. vi. 262 (Leonidas) is adjective.

[17] νικῶν, 'the victor'; cf. i. 109.

τὸ πλέον, 'what is the advantage the victor will have?' (not 'the prize'), cf. Thucyd. i. 42. 4 τὸ γὰρ μὴ ἀδικεῖν τοὺς ὁμοίους ἐχυρωτέρα δύναμις τῷ αὐτίκα φανερῷ ἐπαρθέντας διὰ κινδύνων τὸ πλέον ἔχειν: A. Pal. xii. 245 τῶν ἄλλων ζῴων τοῦτ᾽ ἔχομεν τὸ πλέον.

[18] ἐννεάφωνον with nine reeds; seven was the more usual number. Tibullus, ii. 5. 31 describes its shape: “ 'Fistual cui semper decrescit arundinis ordo
     Nam calamus cera iungitur usque minor.'

” Reeds of diminishing length were fastened together with wax; cf. i. 129.

καλάν the epithet is used by Theocritus with remarkable frequency. 'Every commendation on every subject is comprised in that one word,' as Henry Filney says of the much abused 'nice'; cf. xv. 62; xviii. 26; vi. 14; ix. 25; ii. 73; i. 52; iv. 18; iv. 32; xv. 99, 73; i. 149; ii. 80, etc. Does Theocritus do this in imitation of popular speech?

[20] κατθείην, 'I would willingly stake'; see xvi. 67, note.

[24] διέτμαξέν με scil. τὸν δακτυλον, the verb taking two accusatives of the person and the part affected; Iliad xxi. 181 τὸν δὲ σκότος ὅσσε κάλυψεν: Aesch. Eumenid. 88 μὴ φόβος σὲ νικάτω φρένας, etc.

[26] πῶςἢν καλέσωμες; 'how will it be if we call?' cf. Odyss. xviii. 223: “ πῶς νῦν εἴ τι ξεῖνος ἐν ἡμετέροισι δόμοισιν
ἥμενος ὧδε πάθοι;

” The usual reading τῆνόν πως would be explicable by an ellipse τῆνος αἰπόλος ἢν καλέσωμες: but while ἐάν πως is good Greek is πωςἐάν̣

[27] φάλαρος, 'with white face'; see Buttmann, Lexil. p. 528.

[28] ἐπακοῦσαι vid. vii. 95; v. l. ἐπακούσας: Cobet ὑπακούσας.

[30] ἰυκτά formed on analogy of εὐρύοπα Ζεύς, ἱππότα Νέστωρ, etc.; ἠχέτα τέττιξ, Hesiod, Scut. 393; ἠχέτα βόμβος, A. Pal. v. 295.

ὦνλαχών cf. ll. 5, 18, 61; xxv. 1; xxii. 114, 180, 87. etc.; Introd. p. 44. This use of rhyme on second and fourth arsis is fairly common in hexameter verse both in Greek and Latin; Odyss. x. 145; viii. 230; v. 296; vi. 240; Verg. Ecl. viii. 32'o digno coniuncta viro.'” See Fritzsche, Latin edition on viii. 5. For this introductory line cf. vi. 5; ix. 14.

[34] πήποχ᾽ = πήποκα = πώποτε, Dial. § 4.

[35] βόσκοιτ᾽ = βόσκοιτε, not -ο: cf. l. 39 πιαίνετε.

ἐκ ψυχᾶς sc. ὑμετέρας, the dells and rivers being regarded as living persons; cf. xxix. 4; Nicet. Eugen. σοῦ μὴ φιλεῖν θέλοντος ἐκ ψυχῆς μέσης: Theophrast. Ch. 21 οὐκ ἀπὸ ψυχῆς με φιλεῖς.

[36] μηδὲν ἔλασσον 'no less grace' ('non minus pabuli,' Hiller prosaic); cf. xi. 42.

[40] ἄφθονα πάντα Arist. Eccl. 690 πᾶσι γὰρ ἄφθονα πάντα παρέξομεν: cf. xv. 111, note.

νέμοι cf. τὰ ὄρη νέμειν, Xen. Cyrop. iii. 2. 20 (= to graze the hills with cattle). Kynaston's translation--'all his sheep ungrudgingly'--is nonsense.

[41] -48. In the MSS. ll. 41-43 and 45-47 are transposed each into the other's place. This is hardly tolerable. ἔνθ᾽ ὄις ἔνθ᾽ αἶγες suits Menalcas the shepherd, not Daphnis the neatherd. In line 51 Milo is the subject of Menalcas' verse; therefore l. 43 also referring to him must be given to Menalcas. [The order in the text was proposed by an anonymous critic in a review of Jacobs' edition, Allgem. Litterat. Zeitung. Oct. 27, 1808, and is now generally adopted.]

[41] ὄις collective singular.

[43] ποσίν see vii. 153, note.

Μίλων Daphnis and Menalcas are represented in this idyll as mere children (ll. 3, 64). The following verses therefore are not to be understood as expressions of the singer's own feelings and experience; see Hiller's note. This understood, the supposed inconsistencies of the idyll disappear.

[45] For the rhythm cf. xx. 6.

[46] τὰ νέα its younglings.

πλήθουσιν can hardly be considered the right reading. k and other good MSS. have πηδῶσι, 'throb,' which yields no sense. πλήθουσιν is feeble after πληροῦσιν in 42, and the conjunction of singular and plural verb with neuter subject is awkward. πληθύει (Meineke) is not much better.

[48] αὐότεραι all is parched and drooping in the loved one's absence. αὖος, cf. Arist. Lysist. 385 αὖός εἰμ᾽ ἤδη τρέμων: Soph. Elect. 819 ἄφιλος αὐανῶ βίον: cf. Verg. Ecl. vii. 55.

[49] ἄνερ, 'lord of the flock'; τὸν τριετῆ κριὸν τὸν μέγαν ὃς ἡγεῖται πρὸς τὴν νομήν, Lucian, i. 210; Verg. Ecl. vii. 7'vir gregis ipse caper.'

Strictly = ὅθεν, cf. iii. 26 ὧπερ: iii. 10 (Ahrens, Dial. Dor. p. 374); but no sense can then be made, and we must take it = οὗ (cf. i. 105), allowing a false form for the Doric . 'Go, lord of the flock, where the wood is deepest--and come ye to the water, kids;--for there is he; go stump-horn and say:--,' i. e. the goat is sent with a message to Milo.

[53] Most editors give this verse to Menalcas, marking a lacuna of four lines in which Daphnis should have replied in lines closely resembling 49-52, just as hitherto the quatrains have answered one another phrase for phrase. But that a verbal correspondence was not always required is shown by Verg. Ecl. vii. 41-44 compared with 37-40. The correspondence of sense is sufficiently obvious, and it is hard to conceive the singer of this perfect verse returned defeated (l. 82).

[53] χρύσεια. Κροίσεια is read (by conjecture) by Ahrens and subsequent editors, except Paley. But the mixture of historical names with legendary in a poem of which the scene is legendary is not in place. χρύσεια is abundantly supported by Pind. Nem. viii. 37, which Paley quotes, χρυσὸν εὔχονται πεδίον δ᾽ ἕτεροι ἀπέραντον: and Odyss. iv. 129 χρυσοῖο τάλαντα. With the whole compare Tyrtaeus, xii. 3-8: “ οὐδ᾽ εἰ Κυκλώπων μὲν ἔχοι μέγεθός τε βίην τε
     νικῴη δὲ θεῶν Θρηίκιον Βορέην,
οὐδ᾽ εἰ Τιθωνοῖο φυὴν χαριέστερος εἴη
     πλουτοίη δὲ Μίδεω καὶ Κισύρεω μάλιον,
οὐδ᾽ εἰ Τανταλίδεω Πέλοπος βασιλεύτερος εἴη
     γλῶσσαν δ᾽ ᾿Αδρήστου μειλιχόγηρυν ἔχοι.

[56] Σικελὰν ἐς ἅλα most easily construed with ᾁσομαι. To join it to ἐσορῶν involves an awkward change of construction. Note the exquisite sound of these lines produced by the recurrence of the open a; cf. xi. 43. With the picture cf. Horace, Epist. i. 11. 10: “      'illic vivere vellem
Oblitusque meorum obliviscendus et illis
Neptunum procul e terra spectare furentem.'

” And Marlowe's: “ 'ωε ωιλλ σιτ υπον τηε ροξκς,
ανδ σεε τηε σηεπηερδς φεεδ τηειρ φλοξκς.'

[57] -60. This stanza obviously belongs to Daphnis (cf. 59 παρθενικᾶς and 47), but this gives Daphnis a stanza too much. Either then four lines of Menalcas' are lost after 56, or we must divide the quatrain between the two singers, giving the first couplet to Menalcas, the second to Daphnis, who then finishes his rival's stanza for him. This latter is not very probable, though not impossible; Vergil paraphrases the verse, Ecl. iii. 80.

[58] ἀγροτέροις substantival, 'to wild things.'

[59] 59, 60 Cf. Callim. Epig. 52: “ τὸν τὸ καλὸν μελανεῦντα Θεόκριτον, εἰ μὲν ἔμ᾽ ἔχθει,
     τετράκι μισοίης, εἰ δὲ φιλεῖ, φιλέοις.
ναίχι πρὸς εὐχαίτεω Γανυμήδεος, οὐράνιε Ζεῦ:
     καὶ σύ ποτ᾽ ἠράσθης: οὐκέτι μακρὰ λέγω.

” It is hardly possible in this epigram to refuse to see a reference to Theocritus the poet. Besides the coincidence of phrase in the last line we have the use of τὸ καλόν (see iii. 3, note), and the Doric form μελανεῦντα, and the not common name Θεόκριτος. The theory has been advanced, that the epigram is to be interpreted as referring to Callimachus' and Theocritus' friendship and community of view in regard to literary questions (vid. Introd. pp. 26, 27). The plausibility of this is in no way weakened by the fact that the epigram is an expansion of the line καλὸς Θεόκριτος: οὐ μόνος ἀνθρώπων ἐρᾷς, Bacchyl. fr. 25.

[61] δι᾽ ἀμοιβαίων = alternis; cf. διὰ βραχέων, Isocr. 122 b, etc.

[64] μικκός = μικρός.

[65] Λάμπουρε λαμπρὰν οὐρὰν ἔχων παρὰ τὸ λάμπουρις ἴσως εἶναι ἐπειδὴλάμπουρις γὰρ ἀλώπηξ, Schol.

κύον the syllable is lengthened in arsis; cf. i. 115.

[67] ταὶ δ᾽ ὄιες cf. i. 151, note.

κορέσασθαι, 'to sate yourselves.'

[68] οὔτι καμεῖσθ᾽, 'ye will not be weary--or famished--when it grows again';

'Et quantum longis carpent armenta diebus
Exigua tantum gelidus ros nocte reponet.'

[70] ἀποθῶμαι, 'that I may set me some aside in cheese baskets'; cf. Odyss. ix. 246.

[72] γάρ cf. v. 82, 90.

σύνοφρυς Anacreont. 15: “ τὸ μεσόφρυον δὲ μή μοι
διάκοπτε μήτε μίσγε,
ἐχέτω δ᾽, ὅπως ἐκείνη,
τὸ λεληθότως σύνοφρυν,
βλεφάρων ἴτυν κελαινήν.

” Note that the songs of the two rivals here correspond in nothing, save length. Daphnis' is the more fanciful.

[73] παρελᾶντα cf. v. 89, note.

καλὸν καλόν cf. vi. 8 τάλαν τάλαν: A. Pal. xii. 130 εἶπα καὶ αὖ πάλιν εἶπα καλὸς καλός.

[74] οὐ μὰν οὐδέ…, 'and yet I answered her not a word to tease her.' τὤμπικρον (see crit. note) is accusative in apposition to the sentence (τὸ ἔμπικρον).

ἐκρίθην ἄπο a post-classical use for ἀπεκρινάμην.

[76] τὸ πνεῦμα the breeze. [Hiller says 'scilicet τᾶς πόρτιος.']

[79] 79, 80 Cf. xviii. 29;

'Vitis ut arboribus decori est, ut vitibus uvae,
Ut gregibus tauri, segetes ut pinguibus arvis.'

The form of couplet is somewhat common; cf. A. Pal. ix. 65: “ γῇ μὲν ἔαρ κόσμος πολυδένδρεον: αἰθέρι δ᾽ ἄστρα
     ῾Ελλάδι δ᾽ ἥδε χθών: οἵδε δὲ τῇ πόλεϊ.

” Auctor, Epigramm. Homer. 13: “ ἀνδρὸς μὲν στέφανος παῖδες, πύργοι δὲ πολῆος,
ἵπποι δ᾽ ἐν πεδίῳ κόσμος, νῆες δὲ θαλάσσης.

[82] ἁδύ τι cf. i. 1, note.

[84] τὰς σύριγγας each had staked a pipe (ll. 18, 21); the victor therefore takes both.

[85] ἅμα with αἰπολέοντα cf. Xen. Anab. iii. 3. 10οἱ βάρβαροι καὶ φεύγοντες ἅμα ἐτίτ ρωσκον.

λῇς is subjunctive.

[86] 'I will give you that stump-horned goat for thy wage.'

τὰν μιτύλαν, τὰ δίδακτρα are in apposition. Both nouns have the article since the sentence represents an 'identical proposition,' τὰ δίδακτρα ἔσται μιτύλη: Plato, Gorg. 489 e τοὺς βελτίους πότερον τοὺς φρονιμωτέρους λεγεις ἄλλους τινάς;

[87] ἀμολγέα (the milk-pail). For scansion cf. Διοκλέα^, xii. 29; φονέα^, Eurip. Hec. 882; ὑπὲρ κεφαλᾶς, 'brim full.'

[89] ἅλοιτο. For the simile cf. Odyss. x. 410: “ ὡς δ᾽ ὅτ᾽ ἂν ἄγραυλοι πόριες περὶ βοῦς ἀγελαίας,
ἐλθούσας ἐς κόπρον, ἐπὴν βοτάνης κορέσωνται,
πᾶσαι ἅμα σκαίρουσιν ἐναντίαι
ὣς ἐμὲ κεῖνοι, ἐπεὶ ἴδον ὀφθαλμοῖσι,
δακρυόεντες ἔχυντο.

” The optative is used without ἄν as in ii. 34; Ap. Rhod. i. 767 καὶ δηρόν περ ἐπ᾽ ἐλπίδι θηήσαιο.

[91] γαμεθεῖσα a new form for γαμηθεῖσα. So εὕρεμα for εὕρημα (Hedylus), σύνθεμα for σύνθημα (Id.), ἄνθεμα for ἄνθημα, φθονέσῃς (A. Pal. v. 303). The simile is strange and not fully justified by such expressions of the hardships of married women's lot as Euripides in Stobaeus, lxviii. 19: “ ὠθούμεθ᾽ ἔξω καὶ διεμπολώμεθα
θεῶν πατρῴων τῶν τε φυσάντων ἄπο
αἱ μὲν ξένους πρὸς ἄνδρας αἱ δὲ βαρβάρους

” (quoted by Hiller); or Tibullus, iii. 4. 31: “ 'Ut iuveni primum virgo deducta marito
     Inficitur teneras ore rubente genas';

” since here we required an expression of disappointment. There is no emendation at all satisfactory. Dahl's νύμφα γαμβρῶ ἀκάχοιτο gives a good sense, but has no palaeographical probability. I suggest νύμφαν γαμεθείς, so would one grieve relinquishing his bride (τις omitted, cf. xvii. 40, note).

[92] Cf. Verg. Ecl. vii. 70.

[93] Ναΐδα γᾶμεν. It is useless to attempt to reconcile this with the Daphnis legend, cf. Id. i and vii. The story appears in many forms; we have here to deal with another version.

ἄκρηβος cf. πρώθηβος, Odyss. i. 431.


hide References (7 total)
  • Commentary references from this page (7):
    • Xenophon, Anabasis, 3.3.10
    • Xenophon, Cyropaedia, 3.2.20
    • Vergil, Eclogues, 3
    • Vergil, Eclogues, 5
    • Vergil, Eclogues, 7
    • Vergil, Eclogues, 8
    • Vergil, Georgics, 2.201
hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: