dispexit: descried; as distinguishing in the darkness, or amid the multitude of other stars.
 ut cedant: etc., in v. 2 the reference is to the apparent daily motion of the stars, due to the revolution of the earth on its axis; in v. 4, to their yearly motion with reference to the apparent position of the sun, due to the revolution of the earth about the sun.
 protendens: standing in the attitude of prayer, with arms outstretched and lifted, and palms turned upward.
 Assyrios: for Syrios; cf. Catul. 68.144; Verg. G. 2.465; Hor. Carm. 2.11.16, etc. The war was to avenge the murder of Berenice, sister of Ptolemy Euergetes and widow of Antiochus Theos, by her step-son Seleucus Callinicus, who had in 246 B.C. succeeded his father on the throne of Syria.
 ita me divi iverint: cf. Catul. 61.196; Catul. 97.1; and with the hyperbaton, Catul. 44.9. With the syncopation of the consonant v in the verb cf. Enn. Ann. 339 Vahl. (ap. Cic. De Sen. init.) adivero.
 invisente: apparently unique in the sense of active participation in an affair.
 at: introducing a possible protest of Berenice against the charge of inconsistency.
 fratris: Berenice was the first cousin of Ptolemy (III.) Euergetes, both being grandchildren on the father's side of Ptolemy I. But frater may be used here, like the Gr. ἀδελφός, of this relationship (cf. Catul. 3.4n.); or, more likely, it represents the way in which Ptolemy and Berenice were usually spoken of; for the custom in the Egyptian royal house of marriage between brother and sister is well known; cf. the decree of Canopus 1.7 βασιλεὺς Πτολεμαῖος … καὶ βασίλισσα Βερενίκη ἡ ἀδελφὴ αὐτοῦ καὶ γυνή θεοὶ εὐεργέται.
 quam: etc. beginning the triumphant rejoinder to the protest in vv. 21 and 22; sisters show no such extremity of grief over separation from brothers.
 27 f.. Hyginus (Hyg. Astr. 2.24), evidently referring to this passage, says that Berenice (whom he calls the daughter of Ptolemy Philadelphus) once saved her father's life by mounting a horse and rallying his wavering troops. But this would not have won her husband. The reference is doubtless to the story told by Justin (Just. 26.3) that Berenice's mother was opposed to her betrothal to Ptolemy, and desired to marry her rather to Demetrius, brother of Antigonus, king of Macedonia. Demetrius, however, formed a criminal connection with the mother, and was assassinated by a band of conspirators, at whose head stood Berenice, who thereby was enabled to fulfil her former engagement.
 tum: directing the thought once more to the later period and greater fear.
 taurino sanguine: the sacrifices of cattle may have been in acknowledgment ot past favors, while the new vow was made for the future; or they may have been part of the vow to be paid in the future; cf. in either case the votorum nuncupatio of the Roman consuls at their entry upon office, and Hannibal's offering (Liv. 21.21.9).
 pristina: of the past.
 novo: of the present; the lock has but lately reached its present seat, and is explaining to its mistress the cause of its mysterious disappearance.
 adiuro: etc., cf. Callim. Frag. 35b “σήν τε καρὴν ὤμοσα σόν τε βίον” ; oaths are sworn by that which is dearest, especially, then, by the life or head of the person himself or of his nearest friend. So with especial fitness the lock swears by the head from which it was severed; cf. Verg. A. 4.492 “testor te, germana, tuumque dulce caput” ; Verg. A. 9.300 “per caput hoc iuro per quod pater ante solebat” ; Ov. Trist. 5.4.45 “per caput ipse suum solitus iurare tuumque” ; Plin. Ep. 2.20.6 (of the perjury of Regulus by the head of his son). In direct imitation of Callimachus (l. c.) Catullus uses the accusative with adiuro in this sense, a construction which appears next in the Augustan age; cf. Verg. A. 12.816 “adiuro Stygii caput implacabile fontis” .
 45 f.. The cutting by Xerxes of a ship-canal through the isthmus of Athos is described in Hdt. 7.24.
 Chalybon: etc. cf. Callim. Frag. 35e “Χαλύβων ὡς ἀπόλοιτο γένος, γειόθεν ἀντέλλοντα κακὸν φυτὸν οἵ μιν ἔφηναν” ; Hor. S. 2.1.42 “o pater et rex Iuppiter, ut pereat positum robigine telum” . The Chalybes here referred to are undoubtedly not those of Spain, but the tribe of iron-workers in Pontus; cf. Xen. Anab. 5.5.1 ἀφικνοῦνται εἰς Χάλυβας. οὗτοι ὀλίγοι τε ἦσαν καὶ ὁ βιός ἦν τοῖς πλείστοις αὐτῶν ἀπὸ σιδηρείας.
 fingere: the verb, usually applied to easily worked substances (such as wax and clay), is strongly contrasted with duritiem; the Chalybes worked against nature in learning to dig iron from the concealing earth, and to mould its hardness so wonderfully into form.
 With this verse begins a passage of peculiar and probably unsurmountable difficulty.
 abiunctae (sc. a me), bereaved; modifying comae. The lock had been severed but a short time from its sister-locks on the head of Berenice, and their sorrow was still fresh (lugebant), when it was snatched from the temple and carried to heaven.
 unigena: born of the same parents, the brother (cf. Catul. 64.300); i.e. Emathion (cf. Apollod. 3.12.4 “Τιθωνὸν μὲν οὖν Ἠὼς ἁρπάσασα δι᾽ ἔρωτα εἰς Αἰθιοπίαν κομίζει, κἀκεῖ συνελθοῦσα γεϝϝᾷ παῖδας Ἠμαθίωνα καὶ Μέμνονα” , who was apparently identified mythically with the ostrich (cf. v. 54) as was Memnon himself with a certain species of black hawk (cf. Ov. Met. 13.600ff.).
 Arsinoes: Arsinoe was the sister-wife of Ptolemy Philadelphus, and was worshiped under the attributes of Aphrodite in a temple erected to her honor on the promontory of Zephyrion, between Alexandria and Canopus, whence she was called Zephyritis.No satisfactcry emendation of elocridicos has yet been proposed.
 aetherias umbras: it was in the night that the lock disappeared. With aetherias in the sense of aerias cf. Lucr. 4.182 “clamor in aetheriis dispersus nubibus austri” ; Ov. Fast. 1.682 “aetheria spargite semen aqua.”
 avolat: though the ostrich does not fly, yet his exceedingly swift running when aided by his wings was enough like flight to satisfy the poet.
 famulum: as the ostrich is called the famulus of Arsinoe, so the hind is the famula of Diana in Silius Italicus ( Sil. 13.124 “numen erat iam cerva loci, famulamque Dianae credebant” ), and the lion the famulus of Cybele in Manilius ( Manil. 4.760 “Idaeae matris famulus” ).
 Graia: as the daughter of Ptolemy I., Arsinoe was of Greek descent.
 See Crit. App.
 corona: the wedding-wreath of Ariadne, given by Dionysus upon her marriage with him, was placed among the stars; cf. Ov. Met. 8.177ff. “utque perenni sidere clara foret, sumptam de fronte [Ariadnae] coronam immisit caelo” ; German. Phaen. 71 “clara Ariadnaeo sacrata e crine corona” .
 exuviae: since the lock had yielded only to force cf. v. 39 ff.
 virginis: according to the older account she was Astraea, the daughter of the Titan Astraeus, who fought against the gods. She, however, descended to earth and dwelt among men, and was the last of the immortals to leave earth when the brazen age came on; cf. Hyg. Astr. 2.25; Ov. Met. 1.149 “virgo caede madentes, ultima caelestum, terras Astraea reliquit.” According to another tradition Virgo was Erigone, who hanged herself through grief at the murder of her father, Icarius, by shepherds to whom he had for the first time in their lives given wine to drink, and who supposed themselves poisoned by him; cf. Apollod. 3.14.7; Hyg. F. 130; Hyg. Astr. 2.4.
 Leonis: according to Hyg. Astr. 2.24 the Nemean lion slain by Heracles.
 Callisto: dative; she was the daughter of the Arcadian Lycaon, and an attendant of the huntress Artemis; but being ravished by Zeus and banished from the presence of her mistress, she was changed by Hera into a bear, and later, on being slain by her own son Arcas, was placed among the stars as the constellation Ursa Major or Helice; cf. Ov. Met. 2.401ff.; Ov. Fast. 2.153ff.
 vix sero: etc. this was a traditional characteristic of Bootes from the time of Homer (cf. Hom. Od. 5.272 “ὀψὲ δύοντα Βοώτην” ) and is explained by Sir Geo. C. Lewis (Astron. of the Anc., p. 59 ap. Ellis) as derived from the fact that Bootes rises in a horizontal, but sets in a vertical, attitude.
 lux: etc. i.e. at the approach of dawn I set beneath the western wave.
 The sense is, ‘I shared, to be sure, the simple life of my mistress before her marriage; but since that time have lived a life of indulgent luxury for which my present position is not a gratifying exchange. I miss my costly ointments; therefore do you, who, like her, are chaste and happy brides, offer me that gift upon your marriage.’
 unguinis: etc., i. e. do not suppose me happy beyond limit now, and so subject me to the same privations that I suffered before you became queen (v. 77).
 non: not infrequent in poetry and post-Augustan prose instead of ne in prohibitions, in spite of Quintilian's censure; Quint. 1.5.50 qui tamen dicat pro illo ne feceris, non feceris, in idem incidat vitium [soloecismum], quia alterum negandi est, alterum vetandi.
 proximus: etc. the sense is, ‘All I care for is to return to my former station; then the stars might do whatever they liked for all of me.’