صور الصفحة
النشر الإلكتروني

medes, it was of small consequence how “infandous” the information or informer was ; or, indeed, whether there were any information or informer at all; and (c) contradicts the statement (v. 90,) that it was through the machinations of Ulysses, that Palamedes' condemnation was accomplished. Rejecting, for all these reasons, the received interpretation, I render falsā sub proditione, during, or at the time of a false or feigned treason; i. e. when there was an alarm (whether of accidental or concerted origin it matters not,) of treason in the Grecian camp. The words being so interpreted, the meaning of the passage is, not that the Pelasgi brought a false charge of treason against Palamedes, and condemned him, although innocent; but that the Pelasgi condemned Palamedes on an infandous information, which, being brought against him at a time when there was an alarm of treason in the camp, was on that account the more readily credited. In support of this interpretation, I beg to observe, 1st, That it restores to proditio its simple, grammatical signification. 2dly, That the use of sub in the sense of during, or at the time of, is familiar to every scholar; thus sub nocte ; sub somno ; sub profectione ; sub adventu, &c. Livy (XXVI. 16,) has even joined sub to the close cognate of proditio, deditio, only putting deditio in the accusative, because he wishes to express, not the precise time, but about the time of the deditio. 3dly, That this interpretation being adopted, insons is no longer a tautology of falsá ; the latter expressing only the falsehood of the general rumour of treason, not of the particular charge brought against Palamedes. 4thly, That this interpretation represents the Pelasgi, not, unnaturally, in the triple character of conspirators, accusers, and judges, but naturally, in the single character of judges, prevailed upon partly by the prevalent alarm of treason, and partly by the offence they had taken against Palamedes, quia bella vetabat, to give credit to an infandous information against him. 5thly, That a greater degree of verisimilitude is thus conferred on the words nunc cassum lumine lugent, because it is more probable that the Pelasgi would lament Palamedes, (as soon as experience had taught them the groundlessness of their dislike to him on account of his opposition to the war,) if they had themselves been deluded into convicting him, on an infandum indicium, than that they would, under any circumstances, lament him, if their hatred to him had been so great as to induce them to convict him on a charge, which they not only knew to be false, but of which they were themselves the concoctors. And,

6thly, That Ovid draws an express and strong distinction between the party who accused, and the party who condemned, Palamedes,

“An falso Palameden crimine turpe
Accusasse mihi (viz. Ulyssi,) vobis,” (viz. Pelasgis,) damnasse
decorum est?”—Metam. XIII. 308.

V. 83. Quem falsā, &c.—The word used here (quem, not illum) sufficiently shows that Sinon has not yet begun to give any new information to the Trojans, but is employed, as far as the word neci, in recalling to their recollection facts, with which he knew they were perfectly well acquainted, (“incipit a veris.” Servius.) The words nunc cassum lumine lugent (see next note,) are thrown in parenthetically between the exordium in which he thus reminds them of known facts, and the new information which he begins to convey at v. 86, Illi me comitem, &c. Hence a plain reason why Sinon does not specify the precise charge made against Palamedes, his object being not to give a history of that individual, but merely to recall to the mind of the Trojans what they already knew respecting him. V. 85. Nunc cassum lumine lugent.— They now (viz. convinced by experience that it was unwise to have undertaken the war, see v. 108,) lament the loss of the prudent counsellor who “bella vetabat.” But this is not the sole force of these words; they serve also to excite the Trojan sympathy, 1st and directly, for Palamedes, (not only innocent, but lamented even by his executioners;) and, 2dly and indirectly, for his friend and companion, Sinon, afflictus (see v. 92, and comment.) by his fall; like him, persecuted to the death by the same Ulysses; and (by implication,) like him innocent. V. 87. In arma.-“In arma: h. e. ad bellum.”—Heyne. I think the meaning is rather to the profession of arms ; to seek a military fortune. V. 87. Primis . . . ab annis.-See Comment. En. II. 138. W. 92. Afflictus. Afflictus ; not sorrowful, for that meaning


is contained in luctu, in the same line; but dashed to the ground; beaten down from his prosperity ; viz. by the death of his friend and patron. It is used in this, its primitive sense, on the only other occasion on which Virgil has used the word, En. I. 452; also by Milton, Par. Lost, I, 186, afflicted powers; and II. 166, afflicting thunder. V. 96. Et verbis odia aspera movi.-Et is epexegetic, and verbis the words in which promisit se ultorem ; as if Virgil had written et movi odia aspera verbis, quibus me promisi ultorem ; or me promittens ultorem. V. 99. Et quaerere conscius arma.-Wagner's interpretation of these words, viz. that they are a poetical equivalent for “quarrere conscios,” seems to me to be particularly unfortunate, 1st, Because Virgil was too good a painter of character to represent the cautious, cunning Ulysses, as going about in search of a number of persons, to whom to communicate his designs against Sinon. 2dly, Because the immediately preceding words, “Criminibus terrere novis,” and “spargere voces,” describe Ulysses as proceeding against Sinon by methods, which not only did not require the privity of a number of persons, but were likely to be successful in proportion as their secret object was kept confined to Ulysses' own bosom. 3dly, Because the extraordinary violence which this interpretation puts upon the words, is not so much as attempted to be supported even by a single authority. I therefore understand et quaerere arma to be epexegetic of the preceding sentence; and the arms (of offence and defence,) which Ulysses sought (quaerebat) against Sinon, to be the crimina nova, and the voces ambiguas. This explanation accords both with Virgil's usual manner, (see Comment. En. I. 496; II. 18 and 51;) and with the ordinary meaning of the terms quarere arma. See En. XI. 229. Conscius, therefore, is not conspiring with others, but simply, as En. II. 267, conscious ; viz. of his own Secret design, wheommunicated as yet even to Calchas. V. 105.—Tum vero ardemus scitari et quaerere causas.That this is the common hyperbaton; ardemus scitari et quaerere causas, for ardentes scitamur et quarimus causas, is proved by the necessity which exists for some expression, not merely that they desired to question him, but that they actually did question him. The received interpretation leaves the sense incomplete. Ardemus. The force of the verb ardere is infinitely more intense than that of its English derivatives; which, having first lost their literal, have at last, as a consequence, almost wholly lost even their metaphorical sense. The Latin word, on the contrary, where it is not literal, is fully metaphorical. “Tantum est flumen verborum, tam integrae sententiae, ut mihi non solum tu incendere judicem, sed ipse ardere videaris.”—Cicer. De Orat. lib. III. c. 45. “Tantã iracundiá incitatus est ut arderet.” Argum. ad Terent. Adelph. V. 107. Prosequitur pavitans, &c.—See Comment. En. II. 76. V. 110. Saepe illos aspera ponti Interclusit hiems, et terruit Auster euntes.—Interclusit operates only on illos ; terruit both on illos and euntes. Interclusit illlos, shut them in, rendered it impossible for them even to attempt to go ; terruit euntes, terrified (deterred) them when actually beginning to go. See Comment. En. II. 552. V. 121. Cui fata parent.—The meaning is not cui illi parent fata, because no suspicion of foul play had yet arisen; but (as rightly interpreted by Heyne,) “cui fata parent id, wt, ejus animă, litetur.” W. 126. Tectus.-That tectus is here used, not in its derived sense of Secret, but in its literal and primitive sense of covered, i.e. shut up, or closed up, viz. in his dwelling, is sufficiently proved by Statius's imitation, (Theb. III. 570,) “Ille nec aspectum vulgi, nec fida tyranni Colloquia, aut coetus procerum perferre, sed atrá Sede tegi, et superum clausus negat acta fateri.” Compare also Stat. Ibid. 621. V. 138. Nec dulces gnatos eacoptatumque parentem.—The commentators have always found an insuperable difficulty in this passage. “How,” say they, “is it possible to reconcile what Sinon here says, of having children at home, with what he formerly told us, (v. 87,) of his having been sent to the war by his father, when a mere boy?” In order to get rid of the difficulty, Heyne (who is followed by Wagner, Wunderlich, Forbiger, and Thiel,) understands primis ab annis (v. 87,) to mean ab initio belli; but this interpretation is inadmissible, 1st, Because no authority whatever has been adduced in its support; while, on the contrary, there is the authority not only of Ovid, (tu comes antiquus, tu primis junctus ab annis, Ex Ponto, II. 5, 43,) and Valer. Flaccus, I. 22, (Haemoniam primis Pelias frenabat ab annis,) but of Virgil himself against it, (primis et te miretur ab annis. En. VIII. 517.) 2dly, Because it deprives Sinon's story of its chief pathos; a pathos so necessary to the attainment of his primary object, that of exciting such pity in the breasts of the Trojans as would induce them to spare his life, and, therefore, so necessary to the success of his plot. 3dly, Because it takes away from Sinon his best excuse to the Trojans for having taken up arms against them, viz., that he had done so in pursuance of a child's duty of obedience to his parent. 4thly, Because Sinon's informing the Trojans that he had been at the war from the beginning, could serve no other purpose than that of exasperating them the more against him. How then is the difficulty to be got rid of ? I answer, simply by referring gnatos, not to Sinon, but to parentem, and by translating the passage, not my children and my parent, but the children and the parent, meaning Simon's brothers and sisters, and his and their parent. All difficulty is thus removed, and Virgil's consistency vindicated. There is a precisely similar use of gnatum, En. Iv. 605, where gnatumque patremque does not mean my son and my father, but the son and the father, h. e. the son and his father. So also, Bn. VI. 116, gnatigue patrisque; the son and the father, the son being the speaker himself. Also, En. VIII. 808, rex . . . . . Eneam . . . . . gnatumque tenebat—The King kept Eneas and the son, meaning, not his own son, but Eneas's son. See also, JEn. II. 663. Numerous other instances also might be adduced, in which gnatus is thus referred, not to the speaker, but to its correlative parens, or pater, or mater, expressed. I am aware that it has, on a similar occasion, been suggested by Forbiger, (note to v. 178,) “Virgilium hanc fictam Sinonis narrationem consulto ita composuisse, ut homo iste sibi ipse contradiceret, aut ambigua et obscura proferret;” but this is a suggestion from which I must wholly dissent, because it is evident that, in proportion as Virgil made the story obscure, or inconsistent with itself, it was the less likely to obtain credence with the Trojans; to which if it be replied, that Virgil, as Poeta, had it in his power to represent the Trojans as crediting whatever

« السابقةمتابعة »