Immagini della pagina

27. Compare the following extract, v. 13—16.

35, 38. This picture corresponds closely with the account of the Infernal Regions, to be found in Homer, who represents the realms of Hades as a gloomy and desolate region, where the spirits of the departed, although not suffering actual pain, are strangers to enjoyment. See this subject more fully discussed in notes on Tibull. I. iii. 56, p. 155. 36. (Stygiae navita puppis aquae.) "The ferryman of the bark of the Stygian wave." Although puppis is the reading of every good MS., yet the double genitive puppis aquæ is so offensive that almost all editors have introduced some emendation. Of these, the two best are navita tristis, due to Burmann; and navita turpis, found in some interpolated MSS., and adopted by Heyne and others. Compare Virg. Æ. VI. 315.

Navita sed tristis nunc hos, nunc accipit illos.

and Prop. III. xviii. 24.

Scandenda est torvi publica cymba senis,

also Juv. S. III. 265.

Iam sedet in ripa, tetrumque novicius horret
Porthmea, nec sperat cœnosi gurgitis alnum
Infelix, nec habet quem porrigat ore trientem.

to which we may add, the "horribili squalore Charon," of Virg. Æ. VI. 299, and the "avidæ trux navita cymba" of Stat. S. II. i. 186.

37. (Percussisque genis.) Percussis is generally considered corrupt, although found in every good MS. Huscke, however, would explain it percussis timore, i. e., “cheeks wan through fear," but we can find no other example of such an ellipse. If the word is retained, I would rather translate it "cheeks driven in,” i. e., hollow, sunken. Qut of a cloud of conjectural emendations, that of Heinsius has found most favour with the learned, exesisque genis, i. e., hollowed out, consumed by the flames of the pyre, and thus corresponding with ustoque capillo. In whatever way we arrange the text, it will be seen that the Poet here expresses the popular belief, that the shades of the dead bear the same appearance in the infernal regions as their bodies did at the moment of death, or even when half consumed by the funeral flames. Virg. Æ. VI. 495.


Atque hic Priamiden laniatum corpore toto
Deiphobum vidit, lacerum crudeliter ora, &c.

And Prop. IV., vii. 7, in the beautiful lines where he depicts the vision of dead Cynthia, seen in a dream.

Eosdem habuit secum, quibus est elata, capillos;
Eosdem oculos: lateri vestis adusta fuit
Et solitam digito beryllon adederat ignis;
Summaque Lethaeus triverat ora liquor, &c.

42. (Calidam aquam.) For washing the feet-the greatest of luxuries to a traveller or labourer in a hot climate.

48. (Testa paterna.) "The amphora stored up by his sire." Compare Ov. A. A. II. 695.

Qui properant, nova musta bibant, mihi fundat avitum
Consulibus priscis, condita testa merum.

51. (Eluco.) The consecrated grove, where he had been paying homage to the gods and feasting with his wife and children. pare Hor. C. I. iv. 11.


Nunc et in umbrosis Fauno decet immolare lucis

and Virg. Æ. XI. 739.

Hic amor, hoc studium; dum sacra secundus haruspex
Nuntiet, ac lucos vocet hostia pinguis in altos.

That the solemnities of a festal day were frequently combined with free indulgence in wine, is manifest, not only from the lines before but also from Hor. Ep. ad Pisones, 223.


Illecebris erat et grata novitate morandus
Spectator, functusque sacris, et potus et exlex,

and Tibull. II. i. 29.

non festa luce madere Est rubor, errantes et male ferre pedes.



THE subject of this Elegy is the ambarvalia or sacrum ambarvale, a festival celebrated in spring time, by the rustic population of Latium, for the purification of themselves, their flocks, and fields. As the name imports, the victims were led round the limits of each farm or district, and the holy influence of the sacrifice was supposed to extend to everything included within this circle. Such is the solemnity described by Virgil, when he enjoins the husbandman to pay due honour to the gods. G. I. 338.

In primis venerare deos, atque annua magnæ
Sacra refer Cereri lætis operatus in herbis,
Extremæ sub casum hyemis, iam vere sereno.
Tunc pingues agni et tunc mollissima vina;
Tunc somni dulces, densæque in montibus umbræ.
Cuncta tibi Cererem pubes agrestis adoret,
Cui tu lacte favos et miti dilue Baccho,
Terque novas circum felix eat hostia fruges
Omnis quam chorus et socii comitentur ovantes,
Et Cererem clamore vocent in tecta; neque ante
Falcem maturis quisquam supponat aristis,
Quam Cereri, torta redimitus tempora quercu
Det motus incompositos et carmina dicat.

Cato (R. R. CXLI.) gives, at length, the form of prayer most fitting for such occasions.

Besides the Ambarvalia, celebrated by private individuals or small communities, there was a public festival, whose name and object were the same, in which the sacred rites were performed by a college of priests, denominated the Fratres Arvales. These, according to tradition, were first instituted by Romulus, and, originally, it was their duty to march in solemn procession round the boundaries of the state, accompanied by the victims-a boar, a ram, and a bull-constituting the sacrifice called Suovetaurilia, singing hymns as they paced along. When, in later times, from the extension of territory, this became

impossible, the sacrifices were still offered at certain spots which marked the original limits of the Roman domain.1

4. (Ceres.) It is a very remarkable circumstance, that among a people like the Romans, devoted to tillage and rural pursuits, the worship of Ceres, the goddess of corn and agriculture, should have been derived from a foreign source. This fact is stated, in the most distinct terms, by Cicero, pro Balb. XXIV. "Sacra Cereris, judices, summa maiores nostri religione confici cæremoniaque voluerunt: quæ quum essent assumta de Græcia, et per Græcas semper curata sunt sacerdotes, et Græca omnia nominata. Sed quum illam, quæ Græcum illud sacrum monstraret et faceret, ex Græcia deligerent, tamen, sacra pro civibus civem facere voluerunt, ut Deos immortales scientia peregrina et externa, mente domestica et civili precaretur. Has sacerdotes video fere aut Neapolitanas aut Velienses fuisse, fœderatarum sine dubio civitatum; mitto vetera: proxima dico; ante civitatem Veliensibus datam, de senatus sententia C. Valerium Flaccum, prætorem urbanum, nominatim ad populum de Calliphania Veliense, ut ea civis Romana esset, tulisse. Num igitur aut fundos factos esse Velienses, aut sacerdotem illam civem Romanam factam non esse, aut fœdus et a senatu, et a populo Romano violatum arbitrabimur." The Grecian goddess, whose attributes corresponded with those of Ceres, and with whom she is always identified, was Demeter ; but the origin and etymology of the word Ceres is absolutely unknown. A temple was erected, beside the Circus Maximus, to Ceres and her two children, Liber and Libera, (afterwards identified with Bacchus and Proserpina) B. C. 494, by the dictator Aulus Postumius, in accordance with the injunctions of the Sibylline books which had been consulted on account of a threatened famine.3 This shrine, which had fallen into decay, was restored by the emperor Tiberius. The festival of Ceres (Cerealia) commenced with Circensian games,5 on the twelfth of April,6 and lasted for several days.


5, 6. Compare the description in Ov. Fast. I. 657, of the Sementiva, a rural festival, celebrated at the end of seed time, particularly the lines


Villice da requiem terræ, semente peracta,
Da requiem terram qui coluere viris,

State coronati plenum ad præsepe, iuvenci,
Cum tepido vestrum vere redibit opus.

1 See Strabo, XIV. §. 34. (p. 645,) and the extract from Ovid, p. 88 of this col. lection, on the god Terminus, with the notes. 2 See Cic. N. D. 11. 24. Cicero distinguishes Liber, the son of Ceres, from Liber the Grecian Bacchus, son of Semele. Dionys. A. R. VI. 17. 4 Tacit. Ann. II. 49. 5 Ov. Fast. IV. 391. Tacit. Ann. XV. 53. 6 Brotier, in his note on Tacit. Ann. XV. 53, endeavours, unsuccessfully, to prove that the games commenced on the 19th of April.

9. (Operata.) The proper signification of operari, as its etymology points out, is to labour-to be earnestly engaged in any work; and it is construed with the dative of the object, or with in followed by the ablative-thus Hor. Ep. I. ii. 29.

In cute curanda plus aequo operata iuventus,

and Virg. Æ. III. 136.

Connubiis arvisque novis operata iuventus.

Very frequently, however, the meaning of the word is restricted to the performance of a sacred work—to engage in an act of worship, as in the present passage, and in Virg. G. I. 339.

Sacra refer Cereri lætis operatus in herbis,

and Hor. C. III. xiv. 5,

Unico gaudens mulier marito Prodeat justis operata divis,

Sometimes absolutely, as Prop. II. xxxiii. 2.

Cynthia est noctes jam operata decem,

i. e., has been engaged in the worship of Isis for ten nights.

12. (Manibus puris.) h. e. et sumite aquam ut manus puræ sint s. manibus purgandis. Est igitur manibus dat. et puris per prolepsin dictum. D. who quotes Ov. Fast. V. 435.

Terque manus puras fontana proluit unda.

19. (Eludat messem,) i. e., mock the hopes entertained by the husbandman of an abundant harvest. Compare Virg. G. I. 225,

sed illos Expectata seges vanis elusit aristis.

(Fallacibus herbis.) The herba are the green blades of corn. Compare the expression Ov. Her. xvii. 263, which looks like a proverb,

Sed nimium properas et adhuc tua messis in herba est.

[ocr errors][ocr errors]
« IndietroContinua »