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"Florentes aere" is therefore not" splendentes, fulgentes aere," as Servius and some German commentators explain it, and as he describes Pallas and his men in viii. 593,"fulgentes aere" but in the very different sense of blooming, charming with "aes." [I would add that while words like "fulgentes" or "splendentes" give the effect produced without a hint of what produces it, "florentes" suggests life and beauty, young life and fresh beauty, as the organic cause.] Thus, he says, it is specially applicable to women, and in the Aeneid it is used only of Camilla and her troops, here and in xi. 433, though in Georg. iv. 563 he uses it of himself in his youth:
"illo Vergilium me tempore dulcis alebat
Parthenope studiis florentem ignobilis oti,"
thus suggesting that their "florere," when coupled with bronze, their bloom, their finery, was not the ordinary bloom or finery of their sex, but the manly martial bloom or finery of "aes"; [to which I would add that the bronze armour seems to call for a new word to express it when worn by beautiful and youthful women.]1 But if the reader of these pages can come by Henry's "Aeneidea," let him ponder well pp. 616ƒƒ., and judge for himself whether he has not here found another example of "all the charm of all the Muses often flowering in a lonely word.”
1 That the immediate companions, if not the troops as a whole, of Camilla, were women, is proved by xi. 655 ff.:“ At circum lectae comites, etc." I think it is also suggested by the fact that the crowd which gazes on her as she rides away to the war (vii. 812) is largely composed of women (" matres"),
The "turba matrum" gazes upon Camilla as she sets out:
"attonitis inhians animis ut regius ostro
velet honos levis humeros, ut fibula crinem
and with these lines the pageant comes to a fitting
and beautiful end.1
I said at the beginning that I should return to Milton and his ending, which is simple and quiet enough, and leaves us almost cold among the myths of Titan and his enormous brood." But the chill
and with a most happy touch Virgil makes them mark her dress as well as her weapons-her purple mantle, and the fibula that fastens her hair.
1 It is hard to believe that any editor should have suggested that the episode about the infancy of Camilla in xi. 532 ff. was originally intended to follow these lines; but Conington, in his note on xi. 537, tells us that Peerlkamp thought so, supposing that the original editors, Tucca and Varius, placed it where it is now. No doubt its position in the eleventh book is at first sight surprising, and as Heinze remarks (Virgil's "Epische Technik," p. 409 ff.), it is an exception to the poet's habit of steady and uninterrupted narration. I believe myself that it was inserted there, perhaps after the completion of the book, to relieve the monotony of the battle scenes, to take the reader's mind back to the woodland and its wild inhabitants. But by no artistic mind could it ever have been destined to follow this first beautiful glimpse of the warrior maiden. (Peerlkamp it was of whom Orelli said that "Horatium ex Horatio ipso expulit." See Sir John Sandys in "Companion to Latin Studies," sec. 1289.)
is only momentary; in another moment we are saluted by a peal of such magnificent sound as seems to lift us right out of ourselves and beyond the reach of even Homer and Virgil. I cannot resist the temptation to transcribe these lines:
"All these and more came flocking; but with looks
Downcast and damp, yet such wherein appeared
Who forthwith from the glittering staff unfurled
A shout that tore Hell's concave, and beyond
To highth of noblest temper heroes old
With solemn touches troubled thoughts, and chase
And from this point, on to the end of the book, nearly two hundred and fifty lines, the great diapason never once ceases to resound.
See lines 699 ff.:
ceu quondam nivei liquida inter nubila cycni
nec quisquam aeratas acies ex agmine tanto
urgeri volucrum raucarum ad litora nubem."
It is an interesting task to go through all Virgil's unfinished lines (hemistichia) without prepossessions derived from the conclusions of the learned, in order to discover for oneself what the poet meant by them. We may, I imagine, take it as certain that in most of the fifty-five examples he had a distinct object, and that not more than one or two can be supposed to be indications of unfinished work.1 But in order to form a fair judgment it is necessary in each case to read the context, twenty or thirty lines at least, and to meditate on it with ear and mind.
In the text I said that it was unlike Virgil to resume a subject, a fortiori a simile, after one of these broken lines. But to make sure of my conclusion I
1 Only one (iii. 340), according to Suetonius, "Life of Virgil," p. 41.