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IN the darkest year that Europe has known since the tenth century, being too old and deaf to be of any active service to the country, I have found myself invigorated by fresh reading of Homer, Virgil, Milton, Wordsworth, and some other poets who, like these, are very old friends. A chance visit from a scholar who loves his Virgil, and happened to drop an opportune word or two about the "Gathering of the Clans," sent me once more to the seventh Aeneid, which always brings to mind the quiet, conversational, but most valuable lectures of my college tutor, Henry Nettleship, of which I still have the notes. I need hardly say that a fresh reading revealed new beauties, new secrets; and especially the
catalogue," as it is sometimes injuriously called, claimed from me a long and enjoyable study, of which the fruits, such as they are, are contained in the following pages. I hope they may be worth the attention of scholars, who will find, I think, that I have not wasted space by setting down anything that can be found just as well in the best-known commentaries. I have used the Oxford text edited by Sir A. Hirtzel in 1904.
I have to thank my old friend Mr. James Rhoades for his kind permission to use his excellent verse translation of this part of the seventh book.
I have begun at line 601, where the supernatural action ends, and man's "scelerata insania belli" begins to rage. It was a bad war: a war against the human agent of the heaven-god and the idea of justice which he represented. Such a war was that of Milton's fallen angels: such in yet another sense is that into which the great German people has plunged Europe, rejoicing in its strength. Insano iuvat indulgere labori.
November 1, 1915.
W. W. F.
AENEID VII. 601-817
(From the Oxford Text, 1904)
Mos erat Hesperio in Latio, quem protinus urbes Albanae coluere sacrum, nunc maxima rerum
Roma colit, cum prima movent in proelia Martem, sive Getis inferre manu lacrimabile bellum Hyrcanisve Arabisve parant, seu tendere ad Indos Auroramque sequi Parthosque reposcere signa: sunt geminae Belli portae (sic nomine dicunt) religione sacrae et saevi formidine Martis; centum aerei claudunt vectes aeternaque ferri 610 robora, nec custos absistit limine Ianus : has, ubi certa sedet patribus sententia pugnae, ipse Quirinali trabea cinctuque Gabino
insignis reserat stridentia limina consul,
ipse vocat pugnas; sequitur tum cetera pubes, aereaque adsensu conspirant cornua rauco. hoc et tum Aeneadis indicere bella Latinus. more iubebatur tristisque recludere portas. abstinuit tactu pater aversusque refugit
foeda ministeria, et caecis se condidit umbris.