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On the interpretation of this poem, see Introd. pp. 22, 23. I have there set forth the view which alone seems to explain the poem, that it is merely a specimen poem written in order to afford an opportunity for the personal references of ll. 22-fin. Hence the slight nature of the two introductory songs. The whole idyll has been rejected as spurious by Weise, and the majority of editors reject all except 7-27. The theory which I have defended accounts for all but the introductory six lines; they are to all appearance spurious and added by an editor who wished to introduce in some fashion the person who speaks in l. 22. The hand of the unskilful interpolator is betrayed by the otiose repetitions: 1. βουκολιάζεο - 5. βουκολιάσθευ; by the clause τὺ δ᾽ ᾠδᾶς ἄρχεο repeated in l. 2 (not a Theocritean touch but found, e.g. Callim. v. 13-15; Epig. 63; Epit. Adon. 51, 54, 58); by the sense of ὑφέντες in 3; by the extraordinary number of variants in the MSS.; by the rhythm of line 1. βουκολιάζεο and the heavy τὺ δ᾽ ᾠδᾶς; and by the monotony of rhythm throughout; each of the first five lines has the weak caesura followed by a comma or colon: none has 'bucolic caesura.' The poem began, therefore, without introduction. There is no internal evidence of any weight against the rest of the poem (vid. notes on 21, 28, 29). See further Legrand, Étude sur Théocrite, p. 9 (following Brücker he rejects the whole); Buecheler, Jahrbücher für Class. Philol. 1860.

1, 2 Vergil, Ecl. iii. 58'Incipe Damoeta: tu deinde sequere Menalca.'” The resemblance cannot be accidental, and Ahrens' opinion that the writer of these lines imitated Vergil has nothing to commend it. Therefore these lines, though spurious, were regarded as part of the poem in Vergil's time.

[3] ὑφέντες ταῖς βουσί cf. iv. 4; Odyss. ix. 245 ὑπὸ δ᾽ ἔμβρυον ἦκεν ἑκάστῃ.

ὑπό. Instead of repeating the verb ὑφέντες only the preposition is repeated, cf. Odyss. viii. 70; but in ὑφέντες στείραισι ταύρως the verb has not the same sense as at the beginning of the line, and must = clanculum mittentes (Fritzsche) unless we impute a curious ignorance to the author of the line.

[4] φύλλοισι, 'in the leaves strewn on the ground.' Odyss. vii. 287: “ ἔνθα μὲν ἐν φύλλοισι φίλον τετιημένος ἦτορ
εὗδον παννύχιος.

” Longus, ii. 31. 3 τὰ κρέα ἔθηκαν ἐν τῷ λείμωνι ἐν τοῖς φύλλοις.

[6] ἐκ τόθεν cf. Ap. Rhod. ii. 533 ἐκ δὲ τόθεν. I have taken this in preference to ἔκ ποθεν (Ahrens after Briggs) or ἔκποθεν (Briggs) as giving a better antithesis to ἄλλωθεν ('from that side').

[7] The names are the same as in viii, Daphnis also in vi, but here are applied to actual shepherds of Theocritus' own day, though not perhaps without an intention of marking the poem as somewhat conventional.

[8] κἠγών cf. i. 65 Θύρσις ὅδ᾽ ὡξ Αἴτνας, καὶ Θύρσιδος ἁδέα φωνά.

[9] Daphnis sketches the comfort of his retreat in summer: Menalcas answers with a picture of winter cosiness.

παρ᾽ ὕδωρ cf. viii. 78.

νένασται, 'piled high.' Arist. Eccl. 840 κλῖναί τε σισυρῶν καὶ δαπίδων νενασμέναι.

[10] ἐκ δαμαλᾶν δέρματα, 'skins from my goats.' For the adverbial equivalent ἐκ δαμαλᾶν added to a noun (here instead of genitive alone), cf. Aesch. Eumenid. 183 μέλαν᾽ ἀπ᾽ ἀνθρώπων ἀφρόν: Batrachom. 37 τόμος ἐκ πτέρνης. Cf. note on ix. 34.

'ἁπάσαςvidetur corruptum. ἀπ᾽ ἄκρας quod in p legitur est sine dubio glossema ad ἀπὸ σκοπιᾶς adscripta et a librario in textum illata.'” --Ziegler. ἀπώσας, Meineke (so Buecheler and Hiller), but this is a weak word to attach to λίψ and ἐτίναξε.

[13] 'I care for summer's heat as much as two lovers care to heed their parents' words.'

μύθων is used somewhat contemptuously. Contrast Aesch. P. V. 40: “      ἀνηκουστεῖν δὲ τῶν Πατρὸς λόγων
οἷόν τε πῶς; οὐ τοῦτο δειμαίνεις πλέον;

[15] Αἴτνα μᾶτερ ἐμά. This fixes the scene of the poem as Sicilian. Pindar, P. viii. 140 Αἴγινα φίλα μᾶτερ: Isth. i. 1 μᾶτερ ἐμὰ χρύσασπι Θήβα.

[19] πυρὶ δρυίνῳ, 'a fire of oak logs.' Cf. Verg. Aen. xi. 786'pineus ardor'”: Mosch. Europ. 36 ῥοδέη φυή: Tryphiod. 214 πευκήεντος πυρός: Theocr. Ep. v. 4 κηροδέτῳ πνεύματι: Leonidas, vi. (A. Pal. vii. 273) αἰπήεσσα καταιγίς (from off the cliffs). More strangely, Antipater, Ep. 28 δρυίνῳ σπενδόμενος μέλιτι (from the oak).

ζεῖ better than the 'correction' ζέει in spite of the neglect of 'bucolic caesura.' The spondee--held on--gives the hissing sound of the boiling pot.

[20] χειμαίνοντος impersonal, 'when it is wintry.' Xen. Hellen. i. 1. 16ὕοντος”: Arist. Eccl. 401 καὶ ταῦτα περὶ σωτηρίας προκειμένου. For the picture of a cosy fireside in winter, cf. Eurip. Cyclops 329: “ ὅταν δὲ βορρᾶς χιόνα Θρῄκιος χέῃ,
δοραῖσι θηρῶν σῶμα περιβαλὼν ἐμὸν
καὶ πῦρ ἀναίθων,--χιόνος οὐδέν μοι μέλει.

” Longfellow, Hiawatha: 'Four great logs had he for fire-wood,
One for each moon of the winter,
And for food the fishes served him.
By his blazing fire he sat there,
Warm and merry, eating, laughing,
Singing, O Kabibonokka (the north wind),
You are but my fellow-mortal.'

[20] 20, 21 'And I respect not winter more than old Toothless cares for nuts with cream cheese by him'; a quaint simile. For the ἄμυλος, see Philoxenus, Δεῖπνον (Bergk, Anth. Lyr.), iii. 5.

οὐδ᾽ ὅσον, 'not a whit.' A common expression in the Alexandrian writers. Ap. Rhod. i. 290 οὐδ᾽ ὅσον οὐδ᾽ ἐν ὀνείρῳ ὠϊσάμην, 'I never thought, no not in dreams': id. ii. 190 ἄλλοτε φορβῆς οὐδ᾽ ὅσον ἄλλοτε τυτθόν: Callim. ii. 37 οὔποτε Φοίβου θηλείῃσ᾽ οὐδ᾽ ὅσσον ἐπὶ χνόος ἦλθε παρειαῖς, etc. It is probably in origin elliptical; 'Not so much as a snap of the fingers.' Arist. Wasps 213 τί οὐκ ἀπεκοιμήθημεν ὅσον ὅσον στίλην;

νωδός. The omission of the comparative (before ) is strange here, though an idea of preference is slightly implied in ὤραν ἔχω. But cf. Pseudo-Phocyl. 82 καλὸν ξεινίζειν ταχέως λιταῖσι τραπέζαις πλείσταις θοίναισι βραδυνούσαις παρὰ καιρόν. So οὐδέν is used for οὐδὲν ἄλλο: Aeschines, i. 51 οὐκ ἂν ὤκνησα αὐτὸν οὐδὲν αἰτιᾶσθαι ὅπερ: Plutarch, T. Gracch. vi. οὐδὲν τὸν λιβανωτόν.

[26] ᾿Ικαρίαισι this--the reading of the best MSS.--may now be kept. We have seen that Theocritus was in Cos for some years, and visited among other places Miletus, where his friend Nicias lived. Why should we not allow him a fishing excursion further afield as far as Icaros, where he found this splendid shell, so large that it provided a bite for each of the party of five? The shell he kept as a curio, and now gave it away on his return to his Sicilian home. Bergk's ῾Υκκαρίαισι (῾Υκαρίαισι, Meineke, et alii) would place the fishing expedition at Hyccara in Sicily (Thucyd. vi. 62).

[28] 'Muses of the country side farewell, and make known to the world the songs which once I sang to those my shepherd friends' (vid. Introd. l. c.). νομεῦσι are Theocritus' pseudoshepherd friends in Cos, to whom he sends some of his work.

μάλα χαίρετε cf. i. 144; xv. 149.

φαίνετε δ᾽ ᾠδάς Odyss. viii. 499 δ᾽ ὁρμηθεὶς θεοῦ ἤρχετο, φαῖνε δ᾽ ἀοιδήν: Plato, Phaedr. 259 b γενομένων δὲ Μουσῶν καὶ φανείσης ᾠδῆς. The Muses must give their sanction, and 'imprimatur' to the poet's work. No exception need be taken to the form ᾠδή for ἀοιδή here since it appears not in the bucolic song itself but in an envoie of the poet's own.

[29] παρών when in Cos.

[30] The general connexion as explained, Introd. p. 23, is 'Give to the world my song lest I be accused of dishonesty.' ὀλοφυγγών is explained by Hesych. as φλυκτὶς ('a blister') ἐπὶ τῆς γλώσσης, and Schol. k says ὅταν αὕτη γένηται ἐπὶ τῇ γλώττῃ εἰώθασιν αἱ γυιαίκες λέγειν ὡς ἀποτεθεῖσάν σοι μερίδα οὐκ ἀπέδωκας, 'that you have not paid back honestly what was given into your keeping.' Theocritus is the servant of the Muses (ὑπακουὸς Πιερίδων, Ap. Rhod. iv. 1379), and has accepted as a charge upon him the inspiration which they give. Therefore he prays them to be with him and give their authority to the songs he publishes, vouching for the fair payment of the debt. φύσῃς then cannot be right, and we must take the conj. φύσω (Briggs and Graefe). μηκέτι, however, is right (μήπω, Ziegler). The debt has long been unsatisfied, but shall be so no longer.

[34] 'Neither sleep, nor the sudden burst of spring sweeter.' ἐξαπίνας is used in place of adjective, cf. xxiv. 111 ᾿Αργόθεν ἄνδρες: Aratus 1094 ἠπειρόθεν ἀνηρ: Iliad vi. 450 ἄλγος ὀπίσσω: Demosth. 835 ἄρδην ὄλεθρος: Arist. Clouds 1120 ἄγαν ἐπομβρία. When so used the noun cannot have the article, unless the adverb is placed in the attributive position, i. e. ἐπομβρία ἄγαν is not Greek.

[35] It is better to take τόσσον as demonstrative, and regard the sentence as irregular in construction, cf. xii. 3-8, than to take it as relative (as), vid. note on xxii. 199. The sentence gains considerably in energy.

[36] Cf.

     'Quem tu Melpomene semel
Nascentem placido lumine videris';

but the resemblance of the rest is slight. The thought is rather like that of Propertius, iii. 16. 11: “ 'Nec tamen est quisquam sacros qui laedat amantes;
     Scironis media sic licet ire via.
Quisquis amator erit Scythicis licet ambulet oris;
     Nemo adeo, ut noceat, barbarus esse volet.'

” The lover and the favoured of the Muses bear alike a sacred inviolable life.


hide References (3 total)
  • Commentary references from this page (3):
    • Xenophon, Hellenica, 1.1.16
    • Vergil, Aeneid, 11.786
    • Vergil, Eclogues, 3
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