Page images
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

O may I, but enjoy the best part O mihi tam longae maneat pars ultima vitae, of so long a life,

NOTE 8. on a right understanding of nutan “ Congemuit; traxitque jugis avulla tem. The verb nuto is used by Vir 66 ruinam.gil, only in two other places. In the ninth Aeneid, it is used in a Besides, this nodding of the tree is comparison of the waying of the mentioned, as the fimilitude of the plume of a helmet to that of the ruin of a great city. I believe it head of a spreading oak;

would be difficult to produce even a « Ipfii intus, dextra ac laeva, pró fignify the nodding, or bending of

fingle instance of nuto being used to 6 turribus astant, Armati ferro, et criftis capita alta any thing, from a worse state to a corufci.

better : we may therefore venture

to conclude, that in the passage be. 6 Quales aëriae liquentia flumina " circum;

fore us, it fignifies, that the world 66 Sive Padi ripis, Athesin seu prop= fall, or at least

, that it is bending

, is nodding or tottering towards - it's ter amoenum, “ Confurgunt geminae quercus,


Thaking, and in danger of ruin,

La Cerda is mistaken, when he « tonsaque caelo “ Attollunt capita, et fublimi ver imagines, that the Poet uses this " tice nutant."

expression at that point of time, when his heroe is upon the verge

of manhood. It would indeed then This passage leaves the matter wholly undecided; for the oaks are

have been impertinent to have said not faid to nod, either to destruction,

the world was at that time in dan or to a better state. It is plainly get of ruin. But it is evident, that meant only of their nodding to and

Virgil now speaks in his own perfro, as they are moved by the son, at the time of writing the Ec wind.

But in the second Aeneid, logue: for otherwise he would not it is evidently used to express the La Cerda understands him to speak

have said venturo saeclo ; whereas nodding, or tottering of a tree, to it's destruction ;

of the new age as confiderably ad

vanced. The sense therefore is “ Ac veluti fummis antiquam in this; he calls upon the child to ber montibus ornum

hold the depraved condition of mans “ Cum ferro accisam, crebrisque kind, the Roman state almost toro «bipennibus instant

in pieces, by a long series of civil “ Eruere agricolae certatim; illa wars, and just ready to sink by it's “ usque minatur,

own weight; yet even now, when “ Et tremefacta comam concuffo at the very brink of destruction, 66 vertice nutat :

comforted by the prospect of future "Vulneribus donec paulatim evicta, happiness, under his influence. This “ fupremum

they had, good reason to hope for,



Spiritus, et quantum fat erit tua dicere facta! and spirit fufficient to declare

tby allions! Even Thracian Non me carminibus vincet nec Thracius Orpheus, 55 Orpbeus fall not furpass me in Nec Linus : "huic mater quamvis, atque huic pater poetry, nor Linus ; tbough, one adfit :

Joould be favoured by bis morber, and the other by bis fatber:


[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

feeing his mother, yet with child of to be seen, expreffing, that he was a him, was at this time the blessed Theban, and the fon of the Muse inftrument of a peace between the Urania. Ιδου γουν παρα μεν Αθηtwo great Triumvirs, when they ναίοις γέγονε Μουσαίος, σαρα δε Θη were at the very point of tearing the βαίοις Λίνος. ....Τον δε Λίνον σαϊworld afunder by their discord. ,

52. Laetentur.] It is laetantur dx sivao 'Epuot xi yovons 'Oupaviđes in the Roman manufcript, accord- ποιήσαι δε κοσμογονίας, ηλίου και σεing to Pierius, Heinfius, according asins w opelov, xai Guwe rý xaprūv to Burrman, found laetentiar in all γενέσεις. Τούτη αρχή των ποιημα his manuscričts.

53. Tam longae.] In the Lomis * bard and Medicean manuscripts, "Hv woré Toi xpóvos autos en una cosa it is tam longe. But tam longae

σαν έπεφύκει. . vitae is the true reading, which

Τόν δε Λίνον τελευτήσαι έν - is acknowledged alfo by Servius.” Έυβοία τοξευθέντα υπό 'Απόλλωνος", PIERIUS. 55. Thracius Orpheus.] He was

και αυτό επίγεγράφθαι, , he son of Oeagtus, a king, or river f Thrace, by the Mufe Calliope. *828€ Ahvor @nbasov irigato gaño be the 'notes on vér. 454. of the

θανόντα, jurth Georgick, and ver, 46. of Μόυσης Ουρανίης υιον ευσλεφώνου. ie third Eclogue.

56. Linus.] He was the fon of It is plain however, that Virgil pollo, by the Muse Terpfichore, takes him to be the fon of Apollo ; ad the master of Thamyras, Her- as does Martial also, in an epigram iles, and Orpheus, whom he in on the death of Severus the son of ructed in musick and poetry. Dio- Silius, where he observes, that the enes Laërtius fays, he was a The- gods themselves could not avert the an, and the fon of Mercury by death of their fons: Apollo had lost de Mule Urania. The same au

The fame au- Linus, Calliope Orpheus, Jupiter for tells us, that he wrote con- Sarpedon, and the emperor Domierning the generation of the world, tian his son Domitian ; he courses of the sun and moon, nd the generations of animals and " Festinata sui gemeret cum fata uits, in heroick verse : that he

6 Severi -as killed with an arrow by Apollo, “ Silius, Ausonio non semel ore Euboea, where his epitaph was

potens :

66 Cum

[ocr errors]

Orpbeus by Calliopea, and Li. Orphei Calliopea, Lino formofus Apollo.
nus by beautiful Apollo, Nay, Pan etiam, Arcadia mecum si judice certet,
and Arcadia should be judge, Pan etiam Arcadia dicat fe judice victum.
even Pan bimself
, though Ar. Incipe, parve puer, rifu cognoscere matrem ;

60 cadia were judge, should own bimself to be overcomne. Begin, O little boy, io know thy mother by her smile :

NOTES. “ Cum grege Pierio moestus Phoe- their parents did not smile at their " boque querebar,

birth, were accounted unfortunate. “ Ipfe meum flevi, dixit Apollo, Rifu cognofcere matrem.] It is a 66 Linum. dispute among the Commentators

, • Respexitque fuam, quae ftabat whether the Poet here means, that proxima fratri,

the child should know his mother, " Calliopen, et ait; tu quoque by her smiling on him, or that he 66 vulnus habes.

should acknowledge his mother, “ Afpice Tarpeium, Pallatinum- by smiling on her. Servius seems que Tonantem :

to be of the former opinion; “ As ** Ausa nefas Lachesis laesit u “ persons grown up, says he, take trumque Jovem

o notice of one another by speak" Numina cum videas duris ob « ing, so infants shew their parents

, 6 noxia fatis,

“ that they know them, by smiling “ Invidia possis exonerare deos." on them. Therefore the sense is

“ this; Begin to smile on your :57. Calliopea] She was one of “ parents, and relieve them from , the nine Muses, and esteemed to " their follicitude by that good preside over Heroic poetry.

omen, that they may smile again Apollo.] The god of verse. These “ upon you. ” And yet a little ancient poets are fabled to be the after, Servius assigns the cause of children of Apollo and the Muses, Vulcan's being thrown out of hear because they excelled in Poctry and ven, to be his mother's not smiling Musick.

on him, because of his deformity. La 58. Pan.] This deity was chiefly Cerda contends for the smiling, adored in Arcadia, where he was the child, and quotes feveral insaid to have been begotten. See the stances of the smiles of infants benote on ver. 31. of the second Ec- ing spoken of with pleasure; par

, logue.

ticularly one from Catullus, in the Etiam.] Pierius found deus, in- Epithalamium of Julia and Manlius ; stead of etiam, in the Oblong manufcript ; where, in the next line

“Torquatus, volo, parvulus

« Matris e gremio fuo, it is Pan 'etian. 60. Incipe parve puer, &c.] Vir

Porrigens teneras manus, gil concludes this noble Ecloguer - Semihiante labello.”

66 Dulce rideat ad patrem, with calling upon the child to diftinguish his mother by her smiles; This passage of Catullus is indeed Because those children, on whom very pretty and natural: but it does


Matri longa decem tulerunt fastidia menses. thy moeber bas born the long

fickness of ten moribs.

NOTES: not come up to the purpose, for manum, futurae praefagio sciwhich it is quoted. It cannot posfi- "entiae.” Herodotus mentions bly allude to a new born infant; also a smile of Cypfelus, the son of for he speaks not only of it's smil. Etion, which saved his life. The ing on the father, but of it's putting murtherers took him from his mobut the hand to him, an action, of ther, as soon as born; but the which no child is capable, till it is child happening to smile on the man, feveral months old. The same may into whose hands. his mother debe said of the other authorities, livered him, so softened his mind, which La Cerda produces, to sup- that he spared the child's life. But port his opinion. Catrou ascribes this early smile of Cypfelus is not the smile to the child, as do also all mentioned as any omen of his fupur English Translators

. But the ture felicity, but as the accidental earned Ruaeus thinks it better to means of his preservation. To this inderstand this passage of the smil- however, we may oppose the history ng of the mother, in which he fol- of Moses, whose infant tears had ows Erythraeus, and Bembus. This the same effect, in prevailing on luft certainly be the most natural the daughter of Pharaoh to preterpretation, seeing, it is a most serve him. Solomon also, who ex

traordinary thing for a child to celled all other monarchs, in power, hile as soon as born. Pliny says, wealth, and wisdom, tells us, that is not usual before the fortieth he cried as soon as born, which he ly; Hominem tantum nudum, mentions as a thing common to all et in 'nuda humo, natali die ab men ;

- When I was born, I jicit ad vagitus ftatim et plora " drew in the common air, and tum, nullumque tot animalium “ fell upon the earth which is of aliud ad lacrymas, et has pro “ like nature, and the first voice tinus vitae principio. At hercule so which I uttered, was crying, as risus, praecox ille et celerrimus, .66 all others do.Indeed it does ante quadragesimum diem nulli not appear, that the Ancients had datur." The fame author men- any opinion, that the fmiling of a ins Zoroaster, as the only person, new born infant was an omen of at ever laughed on the day of his future greatness; nor could such an rth ; but he does not mention it as accident be easily drawn into exami omen; either good or bad: for ple; since we do not find s future wisdom was predicted by recorded, than Zoroaster and Cyple palpitation of his brain; “ Ri

« Ri- selus. But it is very natural and fiffe eodem die quo genitus effet, usual, for the mother to smile on únum hominem accepimus Zoé the child ; her delivery seeming to roastrem. Eidem cerebrum ita her a fufficient recompence for her palpitaffe, ut impofitam repelleret former sickness and pain, as we find

[ocr errors]

any more

Begin, o little boy ; for ke, on Incipe, parve puer : cui non risere parentes,
whom bis parents bave not


[ocr errors][ocr errors]

it expressed in St John's Gospel; born at the end of ten months. It “ A woman when she is in travail is well known, that the usual time “ hath forrow, because her hour is of a woman's geftation is nine ca

come: but as soon as she is de- lendar months, or forty weeks. ss livered of the child, she remem Now if it could be made appear, “ breth no more the anguilh, for that the Ancients ever made use of

joy that a man is born into the a month of four wecks, ten such « world.” Besides it is plain, from months would be the just time of the following lines of this Eclogue, gestation, and we should not need that the good omen was supposed to to seek for any farther solution of be the smiles of the parents on the the question before us. The perichild. Therefore it seems to be a odical lunar month indeed, which perverting of the meaning of the is the time of the moon's motion Poét, to make him say, Smile on from one point of the zodiack to the thy mother, that she may smile on thee. same again, is twenty-seven days To conclude, I think we may very and almost eight hours, whence a well, with Erythraeus, Bembus, lunar month is frequently reckoned and Ruaeus, understand the smiles to contain four weeks or twentyto be those of the mother.

eight days. But the ancient Roman Cognoscere.] Those, who un month was that which is called the derftand this passage of the smiling tunar fynodical month, or the time of the child, strain the verb cog between new moon and new moon, noscere to fignify, that the child which is about twenty-nine days should acknowledge or own his mo and a half. Thus as the periodical ther, by similing on her: but I do lunar month is reckoned in round not find any instance of it's having numbers to be twenty-eight days. been used in that sense.

so is the synodical in like manner 61. Matri lonca decem, &c.] accounted to be thirty. Thus Pliny Servius says, the Poet uses the ex speaks of the revolution of the moon pression of decem menfes, because being performed in twenty-seven males are born in the tenth month, days, and the third part of a day; and females in the ninth, which is but he makes the compleat lunar a very trifing observation, and not month to consist of thirty days, founded on truth. Many of the twelve of which months make a Commentators take the ten months year; for the old year was 360 here spoken of, to be intended to days: « Proxima ergo cardini

, Thew, that the mother of this child " ideoque minimo ambitu, vicenis went a month with him longer than “ diebus septenisque et tertia diei the usual time, and give instances parte peragit spatia eadem, quae of fome extraordinary perfons being “ Saturni fidus altiffimum triginta



« PreviousContinue »