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Æneïs, BOOK IV.
And " must I die," she said,
On any terms, 'tis better than to live."..-P. 351. This is certainly the sense of Virgil, on which I have paraphrased, to make it plain. His words are these :
Moriemur inultæ ?
Servius makes an interrogation at the word sic; thus, sic ! Sic juvat ire sub umbras ; which Mr Cowley justly censures: but his own judgment may perhaps be questioned; for he would retrench the latter part of the verse, and leave it a hemistick,---Sed moriamur, ait. That Virgil never intended to have left any hemistick, I have proved already in the preface. That this verse was filled up by him with these words, sic, sic juvat ire sub umbras, is very probable, if we consider the weight of them; for this procedure of Dido does not only contain that dira erecratio, quæ nullo expiatur carmine, * (as Horace observes in his “ Canidia,”) but, besides that,
Virgil, who is full of allusions to history, under another name describes the Decii devoting themselves to death this way, though in a better cause, in order to the destruction of the enemy. The reader, who will take the pains to consult Livy in his accurate description of those Decii thus devoting themselves, will find a great resemblance betwixt these two passages. And it is judiciously observed upon that verse,
Nulla fides populis nec fædera sunto, that Virgil uses, in the word sunto, a verbum juris, a form of speaking on solemn and religious occasions. Livy does the like. Note also, that Dido puts herself into the habitus Gabinus, wbich was the girding herself round with one sleeve of her vest; which is also according to the Roman pontifical, in this dreadful ceremony, as Livy has observed; which is a farther confirmation of this conjecture. So that, upon the whole matter, Dido only doubts whether she should die before she had taken her revenge, which she rather wished; but, considering that this devoting herself was the most certain and infallible way of compassing her vengeance, she thus exclaims :
-Sic, sic juvat ire sub umbras !
Those boding omens liis base flight pursue ! which translation I take to be according to the sense of Virgil. I should have added a note on that former verse,
Irfelir Dido! nunc te fata impia tanguntwhich, in the edition of Heinsius, is thus printed, nunc te facta impia tangunt? The word facta, instead of fata, is reasonably altered; for Virgil says afterwards, she died not by fate, nor by any deserved death, nec fato, meritá nec morte, peribat, &c. When I translated that passage, I doubted of the sense, and therefore omitted that hemistick, nunc te fata impia tangunt. But Heinsius is miste ken only in making an interrogation-point instead of a period. The words facta impia, I suppose, are genuine; for she had perjured herself in her second marriage, having firmly resolved, as she told her sister in the beginning of this Æneid, never to love again, after the death of her first husband; and had confirmed this resolution by a curse on herself, if she should alter it:
Sed mihi vel tellus, optem, prius ima dehisca!, &c.
Æneas, setting sail from Afric, is driven by a storm on the coast of
Sicily, where he is hospitably received by his friend Acestes, king of part of the island, and born of Trojan parentage. He applies himself to celebrate the memory of his father with divine honours, and accordingly institutes funeral games, and appoints prizes for those who should conquer in them. While the ceremonies were performing, Juno sends Iris to persuade the Trojan women to burn the ships, who, upon her instigation, set fire to them; which burned four, and would have consumed the rest, had not Jupiter, by a miraculous shower, extinguished it. Upon this, Æneas, by the advice of one of his generals, and a vision of his father, builds a city for the women, old men, and others, who were either unfit for war, or weary of the voyage, and sails for Italy. Venus procures of Neptune a safe voyage for him and all his men, excepting only his pilot Palinurus, who was unfortunately lost. *
MEANTIME the Trojan cuts his watery way,
A great part of this book is borrowed from Apollonius Rhodius; and the reader may observe the great judgment and distinc
The cause unknown; yet his presaging mind
tion of our author, in what he borrows from the ancients, by comparing them. I conceive the reason why he omits the horse-racc in the funeral games, was, because he shows Ascanius afterwards on horseback, with his troops of boys, and would not wear that subject thread-bare, which Statius, in the next age, described 60 happily. Virgil seems, to me, to have excelled Homer in those sports, and to have laboured them the more in honour of Octavius, his patron, who instituted the like games for perpetuating the memory of his uncle Julius: piety, as Virgil calls it, or dutifulness to parents, being a most popular virtue among the Romans.
Not far from hence, if I observed aright
Meantime Acestes, from a lofty stand,
Now, when the following morn had chased away
Offspring of heaven, divine Dardanian race !