Page images
PDF
EPUB

Jampridem Stimicon laudavit carmina nobis.

55

bue Suimicon also commended Men. Candidus infuetum miratur limen Olympi, bolje verses to mé a great while

MEN. The shining Dapbnis admires tbe entrance of beaven,

NOTES.

meaner

was murdered. Ruaeus thinks, that Menalcas now celebrates his apothethe Poet uses this word by choice, ofis in an equal number. becaufe Caesar was received among This apotheosis of Daphnis is rethe celestial Deities, to whom lated in fo sublime a manner, that perpetual juvenile vigour 'is ascribed. it is hardly possible to imagine, that Perhaps Virgil might make use of the Poet could intenda this expression, to disguise in some person than Julius Caefar, who was measure his intent of celebrating the deified about the time that Virgil late Dictator, before it was quite was engaged in writing his Ecfafe to declare himself openly on logues. Dio Cassius inforins us, that fide. If that was the case, that in the beginning of the year this Eclogue was probably written 712, when Lepidus and Plancus in the year of Rome ži2, before were Consuls, the Triumvirs erectthe battle of Philippi.

ed a chapel to Caefar in the Forum, 55. Stimicon.] « Servius affirms, in the very place where his body was " that under the name of Stimicon, burnt. They carried about one of " the Poet meant Maecaenas.

Í his ftatues in the Circenfian games, “ readily agree with Servius ; for together with another of Venus. * Alexander had a relation to Mae- 'They decreed fupplications to him caenas ;

he was his save. As on the news of any victory. They " for Virgil, Maecaenas was his ordained, that his birth-day should

patron, and the protector of his be celebrated by all men, with joy verses, CATROU.

and crowns of bay; and that those, The learned Father is always who neglected this, should be subreadyto catch at any little circum- ject to the curses of Jupiter and starice, that seems to favour his Caesar: if they were senators, or fystem. Sérvius does not affert this; the sons of fenators, they were to but only says, that some take Sti- pay a large fine. It happened, that 'micon to be Maecaenas, and others Caesar was born on the day that was say that Stimicon was the father of sacred to the Ludi Apollinares : Theocritùs. Besides, these words therefore they ordered his birth-day of Servius are of doubtful autho to be celebrated the day before that rity, being wanting in some copies. festival; because it was forbidden Probably Štimicon is only a fictitious by the Sibylline Oracles, to make name of a shepherd, as well as Mc- that day facred to any other god nalcas and Mopfus.

than Apollo. They ordered also, 56. Candidus infuetum, &c.] that none of Caesar's relations should Mopsus having lamented the death have his statues carried at their fuof Daphnis in five and twenty verses, -nerals, because he was really a god :

P 2

his

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

and fees the clouds and stars beo Sub pedibusque videt nubes et fidera Daphnis. neath ti: feet.

NOTES. his chapel also was made a sanctu " merly owed all it's heavenly worary, where no person, who had fled “ship. Virgil teaches Alexander

, thither from punishment, could be “ not to degenerate from the noseized upon ; a privilege which had "bility and rights of the firft Poets, not been granted to any deity, since "" He had formerly promised Varus the time of Romulus. Now, as to exalt him to heaven, if he this was the only deification that *66 would save his lands; happened about the time that these Eclogues were written; it seems 6. Cantantes sublime ferent ad fyderalis most probable, that it was the sub

cygni. *ject of that 'now under confideration. Catrou hardly knows how He performs in favour to his to reconcile the passage before us to s brother, what he had promised to his system, and feems a little in 66 a friend.” These arguments do clinable to make fonie concessions not seem to prove the point, in fa to his antagonists. “ Here, says vour of which they are produced -os he, Virgil soars so high, that it by the learned Critick. There are 66° is hard to perceive, that he is no disagreements between the opi« speaking of his own brother. 'nion that Julius Caesar was in " He places him in heaven, and puts 'tended, and the other parts of this - the stars and clouds under his feet. Eclogue : on the contrary,

what “ This has made people imagine, was obscure, or doubtful in the song " that Julius Caefar is here in- of Mopsus, seems now to be made « tended. Rome, say they, had plain and clear by the verses of Me

placed him among her gods, and nalcas. Mopfus gave room to ful166 here the Poet describes his apo- pect, that Caesar was intended; u

<<'theofis." I must confess, that I but Menalcas puts it paft all doubt, 16 myself was so dazzled with the by celebrating his apotheofis ; fince ** fplendor of this paffage; that I Julius Caesar was the only person

, " should have joined in the com 'to whom divine honours had at that ***mon opinion, if my regard for time been decreed by the Romans. **** tradition, and the disagreements We need not enter into the contro* « between this opinion, that Juli versy, whether the Poets were the ** Caefar was here intended, and inventors of the heathen religion: 2***the reft of the Eclogue, had not but surely we may affirm, that Vir14 Forced me to lean another way. gil would not have presumed to hi 36€ It is no wonder therefore, that have exalted his own brother to the 3.60 the Poet should place his brother rank of a god; an honour, which con Olympus. It is a right of he did not pretend to bestow on any * poëfy to make gods. It is to of his patrons, except Auguftus him

poétic fictions that antiquity for- felf, who at that time was niafter

[ocr errors]

of

Ergo alacris sylvas, et caetera rura voluptas,

Therefore joy and pleasure pollefs the woods, and all obe country,

NOTES.

[ocr errors]

of the Roman empire, and adopted grees exactly with the condition of son and heir of their new deity Ju- Julius Caesar at that time. lius Caesar. To conclude, I do not Some read lumen instead of limen. see how the Poet, performed his This paffage is imitated by Pope, promise of exalting his patron Va- in his fourth Pastoral ; rus to the skies, by making a god of his own brother. Besides, there " But see! where Daphne wond'ring never was any such promise made to mounts on high, Varus. He only promises to exalt

" Above the clouds, above the starry his name to the skies, if he will but « sky! preserve Mantua. The entire par “ Eternal beauties grace the shinfage alluded to is in the ninth Ec “ ing scene, logue, and runs thus;

« Fields ever fresh, and groves for

evergreen! ;Vare, tuum nomen, superet modo 66 There while you rest in amaran" Mantua nobis

" thine bow'rs, Mantua, vae miserae nimium vi " Or from those meads select un“ cina Cremonae

fading flow'rs, Cantantes sublime ferent ad fidera « Behold us kindly who your name “ cycni.”

“ implore,

" Daphne, our goddess, and our Thy name, O Varus (if the kinder " grief no more !"

pow'rs Preserve our plains, and shield the Olympi.] Olympus is a moun. Mantuan tow'rs,

tain of Theffaly, on the borders of bnoxious by Cremona’s neighb’ring Macedonia.

It is of so great a

height, that the Poets have feigned The wings of swans, and stronger the top of it to reach to heaven, pinion' d rhyme,

Hence it is frequently used for heahall raise aloft, and soaring bear ven itself; as it evidently is in this above

place; because, in the next verse, Kimmortal gift of gratitude to Jove. Daphnis is said to see under his feet

DRYDEN. not only the clouds but also the very

stars. Tere is not the least hint of any 58. Alacris.] Some read alacres, leification of Varus ; but only a making it agree with sylvas. promise of endeavouring to make

This chearfulness of the country is name immortal.

seems to be opposed to that passage Infuetum limen.] This expression of Mopsus; Non ylli pastos, &c. agnifies, that Daphnis is newly ad Philips has thus imitated the palmitted among the gods, which a- fage before us;

P 3

crime)

6 Fot

" frown,

[ocr errors]

peace fall

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

66 tinorum, quae etiam fi orator

66 bono lumine. Hanc cum ha230 P. VIRGIL HIMARONIS Pan, and the shepherds, and the Panaque, pastoresque tenet, Dryadesque puellas. i be wolf lie in wait for the Nec lupus insidias pecori, nec retia cervis 60 freep, nor do the nets spread any Ulla dolum meditantur : amat bonus otia Daphnis

. Vrare for the flags : ibe good Dapbnis is a lover of peace.

NOT E S. " For this the golden ssies no longer 61. Amat bonus oția Daphnis.]

Catrou uses this passage for an ar“ The planets shine indulgent on gument to prove, that Daphnis is our isle,

not Julius Caefar.

" It is difficult

, “ And rural pleasures round about says he, to make this love of us smile,

upon a warrior and a “ Hills, dales, and woods with conqueror. This is not praifing

shrilling pipes resound; :: “ Caefar by a circumstance that " The boys and virgins dance with “ distinguishes him.” It must be “ garlands crown'd,

acknowledged, that Julius Caesar " And hail Albino bleft."

is most admired for his skill and suc

cefs in war : he is known to have 59. Panaque, pastoresque, &c.] been the greatest general of his own, This is opposed to ver. 35. where and perhaps of any other age. But Mopfus mentions, that Pales and this was not the only excellence for Apollo deserted the fields, when which that great man was admired Daphnis died.

by his contemporaries; for he was Pana.] See the note on ver. 31.' known to shine no less in

than of the second Eclogue.

His own writings are a standDryadas.] The Dryads are the ing monument of his capacity as a nymphs, who preside over the Historian. Cicero, in his book de woods.

Claris Oratoribus, mentions him as 60. Nec lupus infidias pecori.] In one of the best Orators, and comthe 'Hexxníoxos of Theocritus, there mends his Commentaries as a patis a like prophecy of Tirefias, with tern of good writing: « Caesar regard to Hercules : that when he “ autem rationem adhibens, shall be taken up into heaven, the

« suetudinem vitiofam et corrupwolf shall see the kid without at

“tam, pura et incorrupta confuetempting to hurt it;

tudine emendat. Itaque cum ad

“ hanc elegantiam verborum LaTοίος ανηρ όδε μέλλει εξ ουρανόν αση φέρούλα

non fis, et lis ingenuus civis Ro'Αμβαίνειν τεος υιός

manus, tamen necessaria est, ad"Εσθαι δη τούτ' αμαρ σπανίκα νεβρόν εν

jungit illa oratoria ornamenta di

56 cendi : tum videtur tanquam ευνα

“ bulas bene pictas collocare in Kaşxapćew cives Imi idwv aúxeos, qux 971CE.

“ beat praecipuam laudem in com

peace

war.

[ocr errors]

con

[ocr errors]

ta

[ocr errors]

N

[ocr errors]

munibus,

Even ibe uncultivated moun Ipsi laetitia voces ad fidera jactant

tains lift up the found to tear en Intonsi montes : ipsae jam carmina rupes,

wirbjoy : the very rocks return ...

the fongs :

NOTES.

[ocr errors]

“ munibus, non video cui debeat egit tuus ille invictus exercitus, “ cedere splendidam quandam mi- 6 nisi ut fuum jus tucretur, et dig

nimeque veteratoriam rationem 66 nitatem tuam ? Cognita “ dicendi tenet, voce, motu, for vero clementia tua, quis non eam " ma etiam magnifica, et generofa « victoriam probet, in qua occiderit “ quodammodo, Tum Brutus.

nemo,

nisi armatus? “ Orationes quidem ejus mihi ve “ Sed parum eft me hoc mạmi-. “ hementer probantur, complures“ niffe : fpero etiam te, qui oblivisci

autem legi. Atque etiam com “nihil foles, nisi injurias, &c.”

mentarios quofdam fcripfit rerum And, in one of his letters to Cae" fuarum ; valde quidam, inquam, cina, he extols his gravity, justice, “ probandos. Nudi enim funt, and wisdom ; " In quo admirari “ recti, et venasti, omni ornatu “ foleo gravitatem, et justitiam, et “ orationis, tanquam veste de sapientiam Caefaris.” It would tracta.

Sed dum voluit alios be endless, to quote authorities to " habere parata, unde fumerent, the fame purpose. These few,

qui vellent scribere historiam, in which have been taken from the "eptis gratum fortaffe fecit, qui writings of one, who was of a con“ volunt illa calamiftris inurere : trary party, are sufficient to fhew, “ fanos quidem homines a fcribendo' that Caesar excelled in peace as well “ deterruit. Nihil enim eft in

We are to consider, that " historia, pura et illustri brevitate he is spoken of in this Eclogue, un“ dulcius.”. The same great Ora- der the feigned character of a Theptor; in his defence of Q. Ligarius, herd. It would have been absurd, though he himself had joined with to have commended him as a great Pompey, acknowledges however, warrior: and therefore the Poet that Caesar fought in his own de- mentions only the milder part of his fence, that his army contended only character. Surely we ought not to for their own rights and their ge- wonder, that Virgil fhould choose to neral's dignity; that, when he had celebrate this eloquent orator, this gained a compleat victory, he lhew- judicious historian, this merciful coned such clemency, that none of his queror, this forgetter of injuries, this enemies were put to death, but grave, just and wise man, as a lover those who fell in battle ; and that of peace ; Amat bonus otia Daphnis. he had a memory for every thing 62. Laetitia.] Heinsius, accordbụt injuries : “ Quando hoc quif- ing to Burman, found laetitiae in

quam ex te Caesar audivit, aut tua one manuscript.

quid aliud arma voluerint, nisi a 63. Intonfi montes.] Servius ins te contumeliam propulfare ! Quid terprets this sylvosi, incaedui ; and

P4

La

as war.

« PreviousContinue »