صور الصفحة
PDF
النشر الإلكتروني

THE ÆNEID.

THE

HE Æneid was written by Publius Vergilius Maro,

commonly known as Vergil, who was born at Andes, near Mantua, Oct. 15, 70 B. C., and died at Brundusium, Sept. 22, 19 B. C.

He was educated at Cremona, Milan, Naples, and Rome. When the lands near Cremona and Mantua were assigned by Octavianus to his soldiers after the battle of Ph pi, Vergil lost his estates; but they were afterwards restored to him through Asinius Pollio.

He became a favorite of Augustus, and spent part of his time in Rome, near his patron, Mæcenas, the emperor's minister.

Vergil's first work was the Bucolics, in imitation of Theocritus. His second work, the Georgics, treats of husbandry. The Æneid relates the adventures of Æneas, the legendary ancestor of the Romans.

The Æneid is in twelve books, of which the first six describe the wanderings of Æneas, and the last six his wars in Italy. Its metre is the dactyllic hexameter.

Vergil worked for eleven years on the poem, and considered it incomplete at his death.

The Æneid tells the story of the flight of Æneas from burning Troy to Italy, and makes him an ancestor of the Romans. With the story of his wanderings are interwoven praises of the Cæsars and the glory of Rome.

It is claimed that because Vergil was essentially a poet of rural life, he was especially fitted to be the national poet, since the Roman life was founded on the agricultural country life. He also chose a theme which particularly appealed to the patriotism of the Romans. For this reason, the poem

[ocr errors]

was immediately received into popular favor, and was made a text-book of the Roman youths.

It is often said of Vergil by way of reproach, that his work was an imitation of Homer, and the first six books of the Æneid are compared to the Odyssey, the last six to the Iliad. But while Vergil may be accused of imitation of subject matter, his style is his own, and is entirely different from that of Homer. There is a tender grace in the Roman writer which the Greek does not possess. Vergil also lacks that purely pagan enjoyment of life ; in its place there is a tender melancholy that suggests the passing of the golden age.

This difference of treatment, this added grace and charm, which are always mentioned as peculiarly Vergil's own, united with his poetical feeling, and skill in versification, are sufficient to absolve him from the repro mere imitator.

The Æneid was greatly admired and imitated during the Middle Ages, and still retains its high place in literature.

of a

:

BIBLIOGRAPHY AND CRITICISM, THE ÆNEID. R. W. Brown's History of Roman Classical Literature, n. d., pp. 257-265; John Alfred Church's Story of the Æneid, 1886; Domenico Comparetti's Virgil in the Middle Ages, Tr. by Benecke, 1895; C. T. Cruttwell's Virgil (see his History of Roman Literature, n. d. pp. 252-375); John Davis's Observations on the poems of Homer and Virgil, out of the French, 1672 ; James Henry's Æneidea: or Critical, Exegetical, and Æsthetical Remarks on the Æneis, 1873; James Henry's Notes of Twelve Years' Voyage of Discovery in the first six Books of the Æneid, 1853; J. W. Mackail's Virgil (see his Latin Literature, 1895, pp. 91–106); H. Nettleship's The Æneid (see his Vergil, 1880, pp. 45-74); H. T. Peck and R. Arrowsmith's Roman Life in Latin Prose and Verse, 1894, pp. 68–70; Leonhard Schmitz’s History of Latin Literature, 1877, pp. 106-108; W. Y. Sellar's Roman Poets of the Augustan Age, Vergil, Ed. 2., 1883 ; W. S. Teuffel's Æneis (see his History of Roman Literature, 1891, pp. 434-439); J. S. Tunison's Master Virgil

, the author of the Æneid, as he seemed in the Middle Ages, 1888; Robert Y. Tyrrell's Virgil (see his Latin Poetry, 1895, pp. 126161); A Forgotten Virtue, Macmillan, 1895, xii. 51-56, an article on the Æneid, "the epic of piety;" Scene of the last six books of the Æneid, Blackwood, 1832, xxxii. 76– 87; A. A. Knight's The Year in the Æneid, Education, 1886, vi. 612-616; William C. Cawton's The Underworld in Homer, Virgil, and Dante, Atlantic, 1884, liv. 99-110.

STANDARD ENGLISH TRANSLATIONS, THE ÆNEID. The Æneid, Tr. by J. Conington, 1887; The Æneid, Tr. by C. P. Cranch, 1872 ; The Æneid, Tr. by John Dryden (1697), 1884 ; The Æneid, Tr. by William Morris, 1882; The Æneid, Tr. by W. S. Thornhill, 1886; The Æneid, Tr. by J. A. Wilstach, 1894; The Æneid, Tr. by J. W. Mackail, 1890.

THE STORY OF THE ÆNEID.

For many years the heroic Æneas, who escaped from falling Troy to seek the shores of Italy, there to found the lofty walls of Rome, was tossed upon the sea by the wrath of cruel Juno.

The fates foretold that these future Romans would overthrow a city dearer to her than Samos, — Carthage, founded by the Tyrians, opposite Italy, and far from the Tiberine mouths. For this rich city Juno desired boundless rule, hence her hatred of the Trojans. Moreover, she had not forgotten the judgment of Paris, her slighted charms, and the supplanting of Hebe by Ganymede.

After having tossed the unhappy hero and his men over many seas, Juno, observing their approach to Italy, hastened to Æolia, where King Æolus ruled over the struggling winds and tempests, chained in vast caves.

Bribed by Juno, Æolus sent forth a tempest that scattered the ships of Æneas, and would have destroyed them had it not been for the interposition of Neptune.

Suspecting his sister's treachery, Neptune angrily dismissed the winds, and hastened to the relief of the Trojans. Cymothoë and Triton pushed the ships from the rocks, he himself assisting with his trident. Then, driving over the rough waves in his chariot, he soothed the frenzy of the sea.

The wearied Æneans speedily sought a harbor on the Libyan shore, a long and deep recess bordered by a dense grove. In the cliffs was a cave, with sweet waters and seats carved from the living rock, - the abode of the nymphs. Gathering here the seven ships that survived the fury of the storm, Æneas landed, and feasted with his comrades.

The next morning Æneas, accompanied by his friend Achates, sallied forth from the camp at dawn, to learn, if possible, something of the land on which they had been thrown. They had gone but a little way in the depths of

- But

the forest when they met Æneas's mother, Venus, in the guise of a Spartan maid, her bow hung from her shoulders, her hair flowing to the wind.

“ Hast thou seen my sister?” she inquired, “hunting the boar, wrapped in a spotted lynx hide, her quiver at her back?”

Nay, we have seen no one,” replied Æneas. what shall I call thee, maiden? A goddess, a nymph? Be kind, I pray thee, and tell us among what people we have fallen, that before thy altars we may sacrifice many a victim."

"I am unworthy of such honors," Venus answered. “This land is Libya, but the town is Tyrian, founded by Dido, who fled hither from her brother Pygmalion, who had secretly murdered her husband, Sichæus, for his gold. To Dido, sleeping, appeared the wraith of Sichæus, pallid, his breast pierced with the impious wound, and revealed to her her brother's crime, showed where a hoard of gold was concealed, and advised her to leave the country.

“Gathering together a company of those who wished to flee from the tyrant, Dido seized the ships, loaded them with the gold, and fled to Libya, where she is now erecting the walls and towers of New Carthage. I would advise thee to hasten forward and seek our queen. If augury fail me not, I read from yonder flight of swans the return of thy missing ships and comrades.”

As she turned to go, her neck shone with a rosy refulgence, ambrosial fragrance breathed from her, her robe flowed down about her feet and revealed the goddess. As she vanished, her son stretched longing hands after her. “Ah, mother, why dost thou thus trifle with me? Why may not I clasp thy loved hands and exchange true words with thee?"

Wrapped in a cloud by Venus, Æneas and Achates mounted a hill that overlooked the city, and looked down wondering on the broad roofs and the paved streets of Carthage. The busy Tyrians worked like the bees in early summer : some moving the immense masses of stone, some

« السابقةمتابعة »