صور الصفحة
PDF
النشر الإلكتروني

“concursus hominum in forum”—“collegam deforo abducerent.” If we must call this carelessness, it will a little weaken our argument drawn from his use of the word populus. Still, the entire stress of testimony and of reasoning is on the side here advocated; nor ought we perhaps to be very certain that in early times the centuries necessarily met in the Campus Martius, for laws as well as for elections."

If it be correct, that the tribune was originally an officer of the classes, it is improbable that he can primitively have been called Tribunus; and this becomes impossible, if there was no assembly of the tribes until after the law of Wolero. But what may have been his earlier title 2 We may conjecture that it was Patronus Plebis; which is shadowed out in the words of the dictator Valerius, (Liv. II. 31,) where the historian is prophesying of the tribunes: “Optabitis, me Dius Fidius, propediem, ut mei similes Romana plebes Patronos habeat.” That no notice is on record that the tribune was not so named from the beginning, may be thought adverse to the theory here maintained; yet it must be remembered that, without Varro and Festus, no one could have guessed from Livy's obscure phrase, (II. 18, moderatorem ac magistrum consulibus appositum,) that the dictator was originally called Magister Populi; which we now see is probably alluded to.

F. W. NEWMAN.

* In Cicero's first letter to Atticus, the Campus : which, however, may

(of the common edit.) it appears that perhaps be accounted for. the tribunician elections were held in

220

XVIII.

COMMENTARIES ON, AND ILLUSTRATIONS OF, THE ENEIS OF VIRGIL-(Continued.)

By JAMES HENRY, M.D., .
Fellow of the College of Physicians, Dublin.

PART III.-COMPREHENDING THE FIRST 250 LINES OF BOOK II.

W. 3. Infandum regina jubes renovare dolorem, &c.—Dante's charming lines, L

“Nessun maggior dolore,
Che ricordarsi del tempo felice
Nella miseria, e cio sa 'l tuo dottore.
Mas' a conoscer la prima radice
Del nostro amor tu hai cotanto affetto,
Faro come colui che piange e dice.”

Inferno, v. 121

are a translation of, and, if I may venture so to say, an improvement on, the introductory verses of the Second Book of the Eneis. The poet, who imagines himself visiting the infernal regions in the company, and under the guidance, of the shade of Virgil, meets Francesca di Rimini, and inquires of her in terms parallel to Dido's inquiry of Eneas, (1.753,)—

“Ma dimmi; al tempo de' dolci sospiri,
A chee come concedette amore,
Che conosceste i dubbiosi desiri ?”

To which she replies in the above-quoted lines, “Nessun maggior dolore, . . . . . . . E cio sa 'l tuo dottore;” 'l tuo dottore, viz. Virgil, who was standing by at the very moment in the capacity of Dante's guide and instructor, and who knew well how great a pain it is to remember in affliction times of past prosperity, having himself so pathetically expressed that sentiment in his famous commencement of the Second Book of the Eneis, “Infandum regina jubes,” &c. Francesca then proceeds, almost in the identical terms of Eneas's reply to Dido,

“Mas'a conoscer la prima radice
Del nostro amor tu hai cotanto affetto,
(Sed si tantus amor casus cognoscere nostros, &c.)
Faro come colui che piange e dice.”

I will do as Eneas did, and weeping tell you the whole story:
(Quis talia fando
Temperet a lacrymis . . . . . . .
Incipiam.)

It seems unaccountable that the plain reference to Virgil's shade in the words “e cio sa ‘l tuo dottore,” (see no less than two applications of the term dottore to Virgil in the 21st Canto of the Purgatory; and compare the exactly corresponding reference to Cato in the exactly corresponding words, “Come sa chi per lei vita rifiuta,”—Il Purgat. I. 72), and to the Virgilian “Infandum regina jubes,” &c., in “Nessun maggior dolore,” should not have been perceived by Dante's commentators; two of the best of whom (Venturi and Biagioli) understand “’l tuo dottore” to mean Boëtius, and “Nessun maggior dolore,” &c., to be a versification of a sentiment which they have found in that philosopher's treatise, De Consolatione Philosophia ; whilst a third, (Lombardi,) although correctly referring “’l suo dottore” to Virgil's shade, spoils the whole passage by assigning as the reason of Francesca's special appeal to Virgil's shade, to confirm the truth of the sentiment, “Nessun maggior dolore,” &c., that Virgil's shade being, as well as herself, an inhabitant of the infernal regions, had had like experience with herself of the truth of that sentiment; “Trovandosi anch' egli (viz. Virgilio) nella miseria dell’ infernale carcere.” Beautiful indeed must those lines be, which, even thus distorted and shorn of half their fine sense and excellence, have yet always been, and still are, quoted as the most beautiful of all the lines of that most beautiful of all the stories in the wonderful work of Virgil's greatest imitator and admirer.

W. 3.” Infandum . . . . dolorem.—The translators (with the exception of Dryden and Sir J. Denham, who never even so much as attempt the true meaning of any of Virgil's words), agree in rendering infandus, ineffable, that cannot be told: “untellyble” (Douglas); “cannot be told” (Surrey); “past utterance severe” (Beresford); “unausprechlichen” (Voss). So also Forbiger, in his note on the passage; “Qui tantus est ut verbis erprimi non possit.” A very slight observation, however, of Virgil's use of the word in other places, as for instance, En. I. 251; II. 132; Iv. 85 and 613, is sufficient to show that its meaning is not ineffable or that cannot be told, but primarily (and according to the proper force of the participle in dus), that should not, must not be told, and therefore, secondarily, horrible. So Richardson, in his excellent dictionary, “Infandous [Lat. Infandus], That ought not to be spoken; too dreadful to be spoken.” And such is Howell's use of the word (quoted by Richardson). “This infandous custom of swearing, I observe, reigns in England lately, more than any where else.” The wide difference between infandous and ineffable will be manifest on the substitution of ineffable for infandous in this sentence. The Spanish and Italian translators have not fallen into this error. - “La horrible historia y el dolor infando.” Velasco. “Dogliosa istoria, E d'amara e d'orribil rimembranza." Caro.

V. 5. Quaque ipse miserrima widi, &c.—Quaeque is epexegetic and limitative; the meaning of Eneas being, not that he will describe the taking of Troy, and the miseries he had himself witnessed, but that he will describe so much of the taking of Troy, and its miseries, as he had himself witnessed.

The view thus suggested by the grammatical structure of the introductory sentence, is confirmed by the narrative itself; for Eneas, having briefly mentioned the building of the wooden horse, and the concealment of the Grecian navy at Tenedos, immediately proceeds to say, that he was one of those who issued out of the gates rejoicing, as soon as the news of the departure of the Greeks was bruited abroad ; that he saw the horse, and was present at the argument respecting what should be done with it; that he saw Laocoon fling his spear against it, and heard it sound hollow; that his attention was drawn off by the sudden appearance of Sinon, of the whole of whose story he was an ear-witness; that he was one of those who agreed to spare Sinon's life; that he saw the two serpents come across the sea, and destroy Laocoon and his two sons; that he assisted to break down the wall in order to admit the horse into the city; that Hector appeared to him in a dream, and informed him that the city was on fire and could not be saved,—advised him to fly, and committed the Penates to his charge; that on awaking he saw, from the roof of the house, the city in flames; that, flying to arms, he met Pantheus, the priest of Apollo, escaping from the citadel, with his gods’ images and the other sacred objects of his religion; that Pantheus informed him that armed men were pouring out of the horse, that Sinon was a traitor and had fired the city, and that the whole Grecian army was entering at the gates; that he united himself with a few friends whom he happened to meet, and falling in with Androgeos, and a party of Greeks, they slew them every one, and clothed themselves with their spoils; that, thus disguised, they for a while carried terror and death every where, but at length, in attempting to rescue Cassandra from a party who were dragging her from the temple, were discovered to be Trojans, and attacked by the Greeks, while the Trojans, taking them for Greeks, overwhelmed them with missiles from the top of the temple; that, the greater number of his party having thus perished, he, with the small remainder, was attracted by the tumult to Priam's palace, from the roof of which he beheld the door forced, the building set on fire, the women and the aged king driven for shelter to an altar in an interior court, and the king himself slain at the altar in the blood of his son; that, his companions having leaped in despair to the ground, or given themselves up to the flames, he was left alone; that, descending and happening to see Helen where she was hiding, he was about to sacrifice her to the Manes of his country, when his arm was stayed by Venus, who commanded him to seek out his aged parent and his wife and child, and with them fly instantly from Troy; and who, at the same time taking off the veil which clouded his mortal vision, showed him the gods actively and personally engaged in the destruction of the city; that, having returned to his father's house, he saw the encouraging omens of an apex of fire on the head of Iulus, and a star shooting in the direction of Ida; that he escaped out of the city bearing his father on his shoulders, and leading Iulus by the hand; that Creusa, following behind, was lost on the road; that, returning to seek her, he found his father's house filled with Greeks, and on fire; that, extending his search every where, he returned to the citadel, and saw Phenix and Ulysses guarding captives and booty in the temple of Juno; that, as he called aloud upon Creusa through the streets and houses, her

« السابقةمتابعة »