Go back to Vergil Aeneid: Part I

VERGIL: THE AENEID VOOK IV


AN ESTHETIC COMMENTARY




l AT REGINA GRAVI IAMDVDVM SAVCIA CVRA

VVLNVS ALIT VENIS ET CAECO CARPITVR IGNI

Starting a book with a word as short as 'at' is arresting, the adversative meaning of the word 'but, on the other hand' changes the scene abruptly, which is precisely what Vergil wanted here.. In cinema this would be a fast snap shot to another, entirely different scene, with no time for the audience to visually readjust.. Everything shifts about, from yawn to sleepless attention, from soft to hard sounds, from long to short words, from Aeneas with company to Dido all alone. - - - 'Regina' is a stately and queenly word with two long vowels and a host of royal associations, Dido is will soon be talking and acting like a woman, but unfortunately she is still a "queen". Having two roles, she chooses the wrong one for her own survival, as the story unfolds. - - -'Iamdudum" means specifically "for a long time now ", the question is just how long a time span is involved. To her the interval between just last night at the party and the present is "Oh, so long", but it is just one, sleepless night. With this one word 'at', a rather prosy and even awkward word, Vergil grasps Dido's state of mind. It is anxiety that makes short time long! - - -'Saucia" is a prophetic word: Wounds have occurred and will occur again, the wounded deer will soon be flitting through the poem, hit by an unwitting hunter, Dido will go on a hunt with Aeneas and herself be invaded in the cave. "Wound" in the next line and "veins" pick up the motif, which is quickly changed into the licking flames (carpere) of a fire which sees not what it burns. The wound and the licking flames are so terrible that we forget for the moment that they both belong to that lovely little boy, Cupido, who hangs invisible over the scene, laughing. This is not a casual mythological reference in Ovid's style, it is ghastly and frightening.

The verb 'alit' means " nourishing, fostering, helping to develop and raising up (plants or children)", a strange verb to use in the case of a penetrating wound. Even stranger is the idea of someone "keeping " a wound alive in his veins. Dido "takes the wound, accepts it, feeds it, keeps it alive by nourishing it with her blood supply", This is the meaning, but of course Vergil didn't think it out in logical terms, he just saw flashing: a WOUND - - she keeps it safe in her - - VEINS. This is good wording for a neurotic phenomenon, the "treasuring" in one's innermost heart of what hurts the most. Poetic thoughts can be the same as clinical statements, but the wording is more elusive. Remember that Vergil had some medical training, and that analysis of the vascular system was taking place at the hands of Greek researchers just in these years.- - - 'Cura" is always a difficult word to translate into English, "anxiety" often seems better than that too friendly term "care", while "worry" is entirely too nervous and sounds wrong.

Vergil uses alliteration frequently, in these few lines we have already had 'caeco carpitur' as well as 'volnus... venis', here are 'viri virtus' and in the next line ' voltus/ verbaque'. No special meaning need be sought in these alliterative pairs, their function is to bind together certain words musically either because they are natural pairs and belong together (as 'viri virtus, from the same root), or because they are un-natural pairs (like 'volnus.. .venis) and create a sense of discord. - - - In line 3 the key word is 'recursat', the thoughts of Aeneas's lineage and personal manliness that keep "rushing" back into Dido's mind. Each of these characteristics of Aeneas has the same adjective, 'multa - multus ', which grammatically "rush back" in the sentence structure, creating a pulse or wave which marks Dido's emotional state. Again, we see the interweaving of form and meaning, inseparably intertwined. - - - 'Haerent' etc. These four jagged words, with five long syllables in a row, as well as two syllables in the first and last word and three in both middle words (thus: 2 3 3 2), are as harsh in sound as they are surprising in meaning: "His features are stuck, jammed into her breast". 'Haerent' ("sticking, adhering") is soon to be used of the arrow of the hunter still sticking in the fleeing doe, it is a loaded word. (Note: "breast" in English is too female and mammary to be used for 'pectus', while "chest" is too masculine and hairy; perhaps a less accurate but better translation would be "heart".) Jamming as these four words are, we are not yet done with them, Vergil continues right across into the next line, which starts with "Verbaque", and we have changed tone and meaning in a flash. Using this carry-over word here does something like this : "... (and)... Oh yes, and his words too. ", this is made real by the dactyl beat of long-short-short in 'verbaque'. One has to read this aloud carefully to see what this lovely little microtexture is about.

At this point, the carried-over first word in a new line should be mentioned. In Epic writing from Homer on, lines are uniform dactylic hexameters and are read as distinct and separate. The dactyl-spondee sequence which ends most lines gives a sense of finality, a closing lilt and pause. But Homer had already seen that if the first word of a new line is grammatically joined with the previous line, a hesitation in meaning follows, terminating in a distinct lunge. A fine example is to be seen in Homer Iliad I 5l-2:

autar epeit' autoisi belos echepeukes ephies

ball'(e).

"And then at them, the sharp-pointed arrow aiming,

He fired."

Homer uses this formula again and again, generally with action words signifying hurling, shooting and crashing. It is a surprisingly effective twist occurring among the thousands of lines of uniform, winged hexameters. - - - Now Vergil often uses this borrowed device in the Homeric manner, as at Aeneid I 8l-2 when Aeolus breaks open the mountain of the incarcerated winds with the dynamic dash of "Impulit". But Vergil is never content merely to imitate his sources, and in this passage he puts the words which pulse into Dido's consciousness as an afterthought, in exactly this dynamic spot. Although they sound a little like an afterthought, they pulse heavily into her mind, just as much as the hero's 'infixi' facial feature did before. Hot sexual love has a way of jamming the mind although it seem to lilt lightly and walk on air. - - - And just then, after all this force, come words of infinite quietude and peacefulness, 'placidam membris dat cura quietem'. You can in the sounds of the words almost hear a yawn as someone goes to sleep, read it slowly aloud, as it mesmerizes you.... except for the fact that the phrase is as if algebraically bracketed and modified by one word, the negative: 'nec". Evoking the aura and sound of restful sleep, and then exorcising it, Vergil teases with a sweet, soft feelings, which are immediately withdrawn.. And so with a jerk, the first scene of Dido's ineffectual dealings with love fades, and night descends upon the poor lady, NOT enfolded in the arms of Sleep.

POSTERA PHOEBEA LVSTRABAT LAMPADE TERRAS

VMENTEMQVE AVRORA POLO DIMOVERAT VMBRAM

CVM SIC UNANIMAM ADLOQUITVR MALE SANA SOROREM:

After the last scene showing Dido NOT enfolded that night in sweet sleep, the dawn finally comes, but it is a strange dawn indeed. Every Roman would remember the five simple words Homer uses for dawn arising:

emos de phane rhodo-daktylos eos "then appeared the
rosy fingered Dawn"

Homer is precise, dawn comes fast, it is red with moisture in the morning since there are moisture bearing seas to the East, and light returns us to the world of men and their actions. Knowing this by heart, Vergil goes the other way. Stealing a line from Homer (as he had said), is no easy matter, it calls for alteration and reworking, so Vergil throws out on his page a kaleidoscopic jumble of verbal scenery in fragmented order, but woven together with the embroidering thread of art. Lines 6-7 defy comprehension at first glance, one must gaze and squint at them again and again, as one looks at the unfamiliar and confused world around him in the morning light with bleary eyes. A Roman literature student would have had trouble with these two lines, as is evidenced by Servius' detailed interpretation; he even calls it a 'circumlocutio'.

The order of the words is planned: 'postera' is the adjective for a subject not here yet, and we are grammatically left hanging, while we proceed to Phoebea ( which would be automatically an ablative to the Roman, by ear). Standing poised at the middle of the line is 'lustrabat', which S. had already noticed as having three meanings, "looking over, spreading light over, and purifying", all of which the dawn does. This verb occupies a central position in the line, like the Dawn centering itself of the horizon, after which comes the "lamp" of the dawn-light modified on the other side of the verb by its adjective,"Phoebean". Light stretches over the earth, onto 'terras' as an object, and we have the basic picture already, but must strain on into the next line for the subject 'Aurora This lady is hiding in second place (in line 7), as befits the not overly dutiful wife of Tithonos. Dawn now pivots onto her second function, she removes from the sky (polo) the dew-damp shadows, which bracket the line as first and last word. This poetic word entanglement is highly wrought, and certainly would have required the careful attention of an educated Roman reader. By slowing up the rising of daybreak, in contract to Homer's swift and clear Dawn, Vergil consciously reworks a familiar scene to his own taste. Homer had used this Dawn-scene wording over and over again, Vergil throws in one repeat (recalling Aeneid 3, 589) as a sort of footnoted aside. - - - The previous passage had showed Dido unable to yield to sleep, the line following the Dawn couplet (line 8) returns to Dido, sick at heart, as she addresses her dearest sister. Thus the complex Dawn couplet is sandwiched between two humanly simple lines about Dido, and we see a balanced structure involving Dido preceding and following the dawn, just as Dido saw the whole Dawn appear.

9 ANNA SOROR QVAE ME SVSPENSAM INSOMNIA TERRENT

QVIS NOVVS HIC NOSTRIS SVCESSIT SEDIBVS HOSPES

QVEM SESE ORE FERENS, QUAM FORTI PECTORE ET ARMIS

CREDO EQVIDEM, NEC VANA FIDES, GENVS ESSE DEORVM.

DEGENERES ANIMOS TIMOR ARGVIT. HEU, QVIBUS ILLE

IACTATUS FATIS, QVAE BELLA EXHAUSTA CANEBAT

This section, which stretches through line l9, starts off simply. "Dear Anna.. .", (her 'un-anima'), "having a soul like my own, my altera ego".... (How completely wrong Dido is in her estimate of her sister's mind, we will soon see in Anna speech after line l9: she is Dido's inverse in psyche, character, and words, a committed opportunist from the word go). As the passage, which turns into a tirade, progresses, and the verbal and psychological complications become complex, Dido spills out all her love, her hangups, guilts and fears.. .. Notice that significant word 'suspensam', itself left hanging, as it were, near the center of the line! - - - S. already in the fourth century had a variant reading of 'terret'. He explains that there was an older Latin fem.sg. noun 'insomnia' meaning the same as our word in English. If you follow the standard reading with the plural verb, 'insomnia' must be neut. pl. to 'insomnium' "something seen in sleep, dream, portent", but then you have a problem : Dido is not able to sleep in line 5, but has terrible dreams to tell her sister about the next morning! For a full account of the arguments see Pease ad loc.. Probably the safest path is to stay with the plural 'terrent' and assume that 'insomnia' n.pl. can also mean 'sleeplessness', despite some scholars' objections. - - -Blind terror is certainly the heading for this line.

Lines 10 and 11 are constructed rather oddly on the paradigm of the declension of the interrogative pronoun. We perceive through Dido's series of some rhetorical questions her wide-eyed wonder at this new man in town. Exclamations like these would seem more suitable for a girl of seventeen than a woman of more than twice that age. (Exactly how young girls talked in Latin is difficult to document, but some support for girl-talk can be found in Plautine comedy, for example the speech patterns of the two girlies in Plautus' Rudens.) With 'quis.?....quem...... quam!' we have an enthusiastic conflation of words, not unlike the aactual process of falling in love. Again in line l2: "I do believe - - - and I'm sure I'm not wrong - - - " Dido picks up the girlish tone again, exclaiming " he looks like a god = he's just divine!". - - - But just as we get caught up by in the ingenuous tone of these lines, the tone crashes with four brutal words:

DEGENERES ANIMOS TIMOR ARGVIT

These four words are in the form of a rule of proverbial wisdom, they state a truth impersonally. Citing a proverb is unexpected here, just as the sound of the four strict and unadorned words is unawaited. The logic of this formula works strangely: He (Aeneas) may be a noble soul, fear does have a way of revealing craven minds, but he doesn't show fear in his history, therefore he doesn't have a craven or degenerate mind, and must therefore be a noble soul. Instead of sensing Aeneas' nobility, she craftily proves it to herself by inverted syllogism, in a verbal formula which is short, sounds tough, and shows her suspicions. The brutal contrast which Vergil employs here is a fine poetic device and delineates Dido's oscillating personality well, since a moment later she reverts to her gushing girlishness with a theatrical 'Heu', which is more "My, oh my" than the traditional Classical "alas!"- - - 'Iactatus' takes us back to Aeneid I, 3 and 613 for an echo of the man tossed about by the Fates. - - - 'Exhausta' means literally "drained out, drained to the dregs", an odd expression for wars. S. has a good understanding of this word, he says that 'exhausta' means "finished, terminated", and adds: "Almost anyone can start a war, it is the very few who can finish it up and conquer." This typically Roman statement fits the passage well, it seem fair to think of "bella exhausta' as "wars that have mopped up the enemy, campaigns that wiped out the opposition". Retaining the "liquid" figure of speech from "haurire" is less important than pointing to the aim of a military campaign, which must "get every last drop of fight blotted up". This kind of diligent militarism was of course the Roman's special field of expertise!

With line l5 we change course, and plunge into a tirade which starts off slowly but increases speed with each line, as it reveals every aspect of Dido's inner feelings, every sick and guilty thought, and ends with the prophetic phrase "in the grave". Taking the passage line by line :

Line l5 "were it not inexorably fixed and seated in my mind... "

l6 that I should not (even) wish to associate myself in (con)jugal bond(=chain, fetter) with anyone... " (Note the bitter alliteration in the -v- and -v- pair, pronounced between the lip and teeth, bitterly.

l7 Bitterness and paranoia are now rising fast :"after my first love tricked me, deceived by his death... " (this is an inverted remark, as if Sychaeus had gone and died just in order to trick her... an obviously incorrect assumption since the poor man was murdered).

l8 But paranoia now turns to disgust: "were I not completely tired (turned off by) of marriage- chamber (sex) and the torch (used in the marriage ceremony, analogous to bridal veil)... " (the brittle triple -t- { recall Gr. theta is an aspirated -t-, not English -th-} signalizes disgust, marital and sexual turn-off)

l8 After the previous hostile buildup, she suddenly changes: "I could (maybe?) succumb to this one (man!)... " ('Succumbere' means not only "yield" but specifically "lie down under", with clear has sexual meaning. (Compare 'succuba', the Roman sexually seductive female ghost.) She may say "yield", but more is connoted! Next, we see 'huic uni' as a dative singular, but since the masc. fem. and neut. are identical, the first association of the reader will be that Aeneas is meant and that ' succumbere' is meant sexually, unless it is taken as a Freudian slip, which would have much of the same meaning..... Just as she realizes what she is saying, she deftly adds one word, which agrees grammatically with the dative of 'huic uni', but disagrees with her statement. She removes Aeneas instantly from her overloaded and guilty conscience by adding 'culpae". The sentence thus comes out :"I could just possibly yield (myself) to this ONE.... (no! I mean)... to this one SIN." Catching herself in the nick of time, she prefers to be guilty of sin in thought, rather than sinning with a man.... (Scholars have argued for years whether she is succumbing to Aeneas on the one hand, or on the other hand to sin, missing the real point: By starting with the one alternative, and switching to the other at the last moment, she shows how deeply guilty she is in her own eyes. She can't even say what she means to her unanimous (?) sister, or to herself..... S. suggests that the words in this line are to be spoken individually, one at a time, in consideration of her hesitancy, witnessed by 'forsan' "maybe". (An even longer pause before the last word would give the exact effect I want) We never get reading instructions from Servius himself, so this suggestion could conceivably come from Vergil's own staging requirements, which were said in Probus' Life to be very precise.

20 ANNA FATEBOR ENIM MISERI POST FATA SYCHAEI

CONIUGIS ET SPARSOS CRVORE PENATES

SOLVS HIC INFLEXIT SENSVS ANIMVMQVE LABANTEM

IMPVLIT. ADGNOSCO VETERIS VESTIGIA FLAMMAE.

Line 20 starts off gently, with a confession from the heart: "I'll admit, my dearest Anna, after the sad fate of poor Sychaeus (now forgetting that he had tricked her by going and getting himself killed as she maintained few lines before) and the bloody scene of that crime, this is the first man who has turned around my feelings, and my swerving mind... (new line)... HE HAS JAMMED." This is overstated in paraphrase, but the emphatic position of the verb, which is loaded with the meaning of 'impulit', shows incredible force. S. says of the passage that it could mean either "he has driven my mind so as to swerve" or " my already swerving mind, he has pushed over", Perhaps the latter interpretation is more in Dido's style, everything considered..... Line 2l: "I recognize traces of the old fire", seems an entirely human thought to us, but to the conservative Romans it would have implied wronging the memory of her dead husband. Dido softens momentarily, thinking of love, her first love and her marriage, and the possibility that it could occur again. It could be happening with this one, and right now... but...

24 SED MIHI VEL TELLVS OPTEM PRIVS IMA DEHISCAT

VEL PATER OMNIPOTENS ADIGAT ME FVLMINE AD VMBRAS

PALLENTIS VMBRAS EREBO NOCTEMQVE PRODVNDAM

ANTE PUDOR QUAM TE VIOLO AVT TVA IVRA RESOLVO.

With line 2l the soft thoughts instantly disappear: " Before this happen, may Earth open, or lightening strike me dead". Dido lets herself think loving thoughts, but cancels them with a vengeance. She is clear in her mind and quite specific: " May Our Father in Heaven drive me down with a thunderbolt to the shades, (which are ruminatingly repeated in the following line:) those pale shades in Hell, and the eternal night, before.....

These lines seem so real, written as it were from within a woman's mind, that one might question what wellspring of human experience or emotion gave Vergil the capacity of writing thus.. I would like to cite two bits of information from the short two-page Life of Vergil by Servius, who says that Vergil was shy and modest, called at Naples Parthenias, "the Little Maiden, the Virgin", and then he adds that V., although "having a good reputation throughout his life, labored with just one disease (morbo), which was that he was intolerant of sexual feelings ("impatiens libidinis" are the exact words)". Some of the things that Dido says and feels may have been Vergil's own thoughts, perhaps Dido's disgust with sex was in fact the mirror of the poet's feeling., his "malady".

Dido concludes (line 27) "Before, Oh my Shame, I violate you, and break your laws" She has abstracted modesty and shame from herself, giving it almost the position of a guardian spirit, a 'genius', and she apologizes to "it" guiltily, but she does go back to Aeneas with love. Just so Vergil's shamefastness may have been a sickness he couldn't deal with on an intellectual level,, yet he had relations with his two slave boyfriends, despite his sexual antipathies. Without belaboring a point which nobody can prove, it seems fair to assume that a poet's basic attitudes toward life and love are likely to be in some ways parallel to that of characters he is developing in his work and that poets write out of their own lives and experience to some degree. [At line 26 we find the first seven syllables in the line all long, making three spondees, a heavy effect suitable of the underworld.]

28 ILLE MEOS, PRIMVS QVI ME SIBI IVNXIT, AMORES

ABSTVLIT. ILLE HABEAT SECVM SERVETQUE SEPULCRO.

Of course " he who first... " is Sychaeus, now mentioned a third time After the formula "who joined me to himself", she follows with "all my love... he has taken away = stolen". The position of the written-over verb 'abstulit' contrasts stealing, always a secret process, with emphatic proclaiming of THEFT at the beginning of a line. [Abstulit is from 'au-fero' basically meaning 'carry away' but regularly used for "deprive, steal, destroy"]. Dido is less hostile here than before, she still remembers that she was cheated of something, but her anger collapses in the face of old Roman institutions: Remarriage was not favored, (as S. remarks) only 'univirae' were permitted to participate in the rites of numerous deities, and Roman conscience considered a second marriage a disgrace if not a crime. (How quickly this was all to change, within a hundred and fifty years a statute could state: 'Post decimum coniugium, adulterium est.').... One further remark about "all my love (amores)": Let him have it, and keep it safe, but "in the grave. " As she says "let him have it", after "he has stolen" all my love, Dido seems bitter but facts, but adds with a resigned tone : "and let him keep it safe... in the grave". Keeping his wife's good reputation safe is entirely suitable for Sychaeus, until we see exactly where he is to keep it. The idea of putting the "love" of a live woman in the grave, entombed beside her long dead husband's bones, creates a strange and ghastly image, with an almost Dracula-like weirdness..... Mixed emotional content would seem to be a good description of Dido's thoughts, she demonstrates a fast oscillation from love to hate via guilt. The passage we have been looking at, from line l0 to 29, traces this unhealthy, wavering path, and ends quite naturally with words of death. This swerve from life through love to death characterizes the whole of the fourth book.

30 SIC EFFATA SINVM LACRIMIS IMPLEVIT OBORTIS

In the section before line 30, Dido traverses a wide range of emotional territories, but manages to maintain control. As she ends, she breaks down and sobs uncontrollably, with tears which are "welling up" = 'obortis'. This gush of the tears over her garment and lap is less important than the quality of the last word, 'obortis'. The tears have welled up, sudden and unannounced. That is true to the nature of crying., which comes in a gush and always takes the griever by surprise.

Now it is Anna's turn. Dido had called her sister 'unanima', but in reality Anna is Dido's exact opposite. As Dido is emotional, guilty, and tantalized by a love she shouldn't want, Anna is tough-minded, practical, completely aware of consequences, and above all she sees herself as a winner and survivor. The best word to use to describe Anna would be "opportunistic", with all the associations of self-servingness and small-minded self-interest that go with that sleazy term..

3l ANNA REFERT: O LVCE MAGIS DILECTA SORORI,

SOLANE PERPETVA MAERENS CARPERE IVVENTA

NEC DVLCIS NATOS VENERIS NEC PRAEMIA NORIS?

ID CINEREM AVT MANIS CREDIS CURARE SEPULTOS?

ESTO...

Anna proceed in a hard- hitting and businesslike manner: l) You're so young, dear, do you want to be the only one to grieve forever (You do feel sorry for yourself... don't you?) 2) You can have none of the nice things that go with Venus (indicating children and love, which means sex, covertly mentioned). Even prosaic Servius sees that something is wrong here, since he notes the order is backwards, since love comes first and then children follow. But Anna is smart and puts the acceptable part first, in deference to her knowledge of Dido's guilty conscience. 3) Do you think that the whole superstructure of our ancient established religion is concerned with something as small as this? [The use of a word as short as 'id' at the beginning of the line focuses attention on a something which is almost nothing, when this "nothing" is compared with ashes and ghosts and Roman religiosity, the discrepancy between All That and "this" becomes ludicrous. Do you actually think that the ancestral spirits have time to spare to think about things like this? Vergil would have early learned that Epicurean philosophy, especially in Lucretius' formulation, would maintain that the deities are distant and unconcerned with human concerns. Anna's remark has a clearly Epicurean flavor. But Anna has no time to quibble: OK (= 'esto') let's go on....

35 ESTO. AEGRAM NVLLI QVONDAM FLEXERE MARITI,

NON LIBYAE NON ANTE TYRO. DESPECTVS IARBAS

DVCTORES ALII QVOS AFRICA TERRA TRIUMPHIS

DIVES ALIT. PLACITONE ETIAM PUGNABIS AMORI?

['Libyae" is locative, grammatically parallel to the loc. abl. of Tyro.] Personal taste is now invoked, Anna lists the high and haughty princes who had defiled before Dido, all distasteful and all unacceptable. But this one is acceptable, now are you going to reject him too? (Of course fighting against what she likes is a basic part of Dido's personality, Anna can't understand this at all ('unanimam'?), she sticks to her argumentative logic and to the facts:

39 NEC VENIT IN MENTEM QVORVM CONSEDERIS ARVIS?

HINC GAETVLAE VRBES GENVS INSVPERABILE BELLO

ET NVMIDAE INFRENI CINGVNT ET INHOSPTIA SYRTIS

HINC DESERTA SITI REGIO LATEQVE FVRENTES

BARCAEI. QVID BELLA TYRO SVRGENTIA DICAM

GERMANIQVE MINAS?

Anna knows that if she can't get through to her sister by persuasion, she can always use fear. "Don't you know where you are, in what dangers?", and she proceeds to outline them in frightening detail. [Using 'hinc' and then again 'hinc', she hems Dido in on one side and the other.] Gaetulians and Numidians are foreign and savage peoples (especially so to Roman eyes on the other side of the Mediterranean Sea). Then look at the geography, the north African shoals which are dangerous to ships, the desert on the other side toward the south, and the barbarians themselves, riding horses without bridle, and they themselves are unbridled! (S. sees these consideration about being "unbridled" as exclusive, but both are certainly meant, and this further increases the tension). Finally she mentions the Barcaeans as "raging afar", a phrase neatly twisted out of its Homeric original 'euru kreontes', which is used of kings "ruling afar". Note the normal phrase 'populum late regem' at Aeneid 1, 2l, beside which our variant "having gone crazy... afar" seems insanely dangerous, which is exactly what Anna wants to infer.... As if this were not enough, what about the dangers from "back East" in Tyre? Anna slips into a neat rhetorical 'praeteritio' or passing over something which cannot be said, no doubt a leftover from Vergil's unused legal training, which she cleverly fuses into one of Vergil's finer uses of the incompleted line.

The incomplete lines in Vergil have been a subject of much discussion even from Roman times. (For a good statement of the facts, see Sparrow: Half Line and Repetitions in Vergil l93l; the scholarly literature continues and multiplies to this day.) Servius notes that one of Vergil's assistants had a knack for finishing out half lines, and he gives examples, but obviously the assistant was not encouraged to rework them all. The Daniel Scholiast notes: ' et oratorie finivit ubi vis argumenti constitit", which statement looks simpler than it is: "when the argument of the story came to a natural stop, Vergil simply closed off there, (as if) with an oratorical gesture" If the pauses reflect the natural end of a sequence, that is would be enough., and the oratorical gesture would be unnecessary for Vergil and certainly inconsistent. A second view is that the half-lines represent the unfinished state of the poem at the time of the author's death, and the real question is how Vergil would have completed these lines. It would be next to impossible to add three or four words and yet make sense, let alone poetic sense. Many years ago Mackail went in the opposite direction, and suggested that the half-lines were composed together with the preceding line, since many of these line-and-a-half units could be dropped without affecting the meaning. But the question remains, how did they get in there in the first place, and why would anyone trying to complete half lines suture on a previous line but neglect filling out the short one?... A third approach is this: The half-lines have been in Vergil 's established text for two thousand years, we have learned to accept them as defective, or in many cases incorporate them into our own view of the poet's technique. Some seem pathetic, some perfectly attuned to the meaning, like the case we have been examining. Saying "But why mention....." (praeteritio from rhetoric or passing over unsaid materials), Anna heads for a break-off (aposiopesis as used by rhetoricians and poets too). What better place for such a double headed break than the natural aposiopesis of a half-line?.... In conclusion, it seems best to leave things the way they are, and consider the incomplete lines incomplete. One can no more speculate about the half-lines of Vergil with profit, than he can speculate about the conclusion of the Gospel of St. Mark, which cuts off abruptly after verse l6.8. But it is the nature of human beings to fidget with the fringes.

But now Anna, forgetting that she had said the shades wouldn't care about such going-ons much, turns to Religion as an authority:

45 DIS EQVIDEM AVSPICIBVS REOR ET IVNONE SECUNDA

HVNC CVRSVM ILIACAS VENTO TENUISSE CARINAS

DIVINE PROVIDENCE is always a welcome sound to insecure ears. But we need not stop here, we can leap with Anna's vision into the future, and imagine in cinematic montage a distant shot of a major cosmopolitan complex. arising...

47 QVAM TV VRBEM SOROR HANC CERNES, QVAE SVRGERE REGNA

When Romans say 'urbs' they think automatically of Rome, their city par excellence, just as many American say "The city" when they mean New York. Dido is supposed to think of her new CITY as another Rome, a city like that flashes before her eyes, but something is inherently wrong. That great new city is on the wrong side of the Mediterranean, and in fact it's name is Carthage! After the terrible Punic Wars the Romans would never forget. But line 47 does not stop, it merely pauses and the critical pre- condition for all this happening is inserted (in the emphatic position):

CONIUGIO TALI.

The condition for this city is simple: Marriage. There is however one problem, "coniugium' is the proper word for legal Roman marriage, that is between Romans. Another term, 'conubium', is used for marriage between persons of different states, it is legally binding but falls into a very different legal category. 'Conubium" is used in writers on agriculture for cross-breeding of animals and plants, so its basic hybrid meaning is clear. Anna made a mistake, she used the wrong word. This might seem slight to us, but to the legalistic and omen-conscious Romans this would have been a grave error. Vergil himself sees this problem, since later in this book (at line l68), when he pictures lightening flashing on the mountains and the cognizant heavens serving as witness to the ceremony, he uses the alternate word "conubiis", intentionally. Dido herself in the cave seduction scene calls what she has been engaged in, Marriage (coniugium, of course wrongly). "With this name she cloaks her sin". Vergil knows the difference, even if Dido doesn't!

48 CONIUGIO TALI. TEVCRVM COMITANTIBVS ARMIS

PUNICA SE QVANTIS ATTOLLET GLORIA REBVS.

Anna wastes no time with sentimentality about marriage. "When we have their military might, who knows how far we may go...." Line 49 would read to any Roman citizen as a prophetic program for the Punic Wars, much as a phrase like "the might and glory of the Third Reich" would sound similar to an American who had lived through the Second World War, or to his descendants. 'Experientia docet.'

50 TV MODO POSCE DEOS VENIAM, SACRIS LITATIS

INDVLGE HOSPITIO CAUSASQVE INNECTE MORANDI

DVM PELAGO DESAEVIT HIEMS ET AQVOSVS ORION

QVASSATAEQVE RATES, DVM NON TRACTABILE CAELVM.

Anna proceeds right on course with her argument, never missing a beat. "You just get down on your knees and pray to God that......" In line 50 the personal prayer for what Dido herself wants is immediately superimposed on the public prayer giving at which she, as queen of the country, must officiate. There is something wrong about the phrase 'indulge hospitio'. The words look harmless, perhaps the catch is that 'indulgere' implies indulging a personal feeling, having a desire to bestow and give freely the 'hospitium', which itself must be given freely and graciously under aegis of Zeus-Iovis the Guest God. Here it is not given for the sake of the pleasure of giving, nor in respect for God's command of guestship, but it is given for reasons of profit to self. V.. handles this so subtly that we might easily pass Anna's little formula by unnoticed, as her sister Dido does..... And now Anna can come out in the open, saying " weave in (to the fabric of lies) reasons for staying, the storms of winter, ships wrecked, and a terrible bout of weather". How pure and noble Dido seems in comparison to her practical and scheming sister.

54 HIS DICTIS INCENSVM ANIMVM FLAMMAVIT AMORE

SPEM DEDIT DVBIAE MENTI SOLVIT PUDOREM

Anna wins. But already there are warnings of what is to come in such words as 'incensum' and 'flammavit'. In line 55 the phrase 'dubiae menti' catches a major component of Dido's frame of mind, which she sheds only when she realizes that death is her best escape. One wonders whether some of Dido's feminine hesitancy was part of the conventionally accepted notion of how a woman should behave. The great Aphrodites in Greek sculpture have a certain hesitancy in their stance, the arms strive to cover breasts and body, but without conviction. Perhaps this was a reflection of how women were expected to behave in intimate association with men. Dido shows hesitancy when she is involved with Aeneas, but when she loses him and hope of him forever, she sheds this doubtfulness of mind and becomes as determined and tough in spirit as Aeneas At that point, her feminine role doesn't matter, she can't offend her man anymore, so she becomes determined like a man, working for her own interests, which in fact means her own destruction.... At this point Dido follows Anna's religious prescription for success, and proceeds to conduct the holy rites:

56 PRINCIPIO DELVBRA ADEVNT PACEMQUE PER ARAS

EXQVUIRUNT. MACTANT LECTAS DE MORE BIDENTIS

LEGIFERAE CERERI PHOEBOQVE PATRIQVE LYAEO

IVNONI ANTE OMNIS CUI VINCLA IVGALIA CVRAE

The story moves into the strange space in the middle of a Carthaginian temple, where rites combining foreign and Roman elements are mixed.. Greeks and Romans alike tended to see universal characteristics in their deities, and often equated them with the gods of the peoples with whom they came into contact.. There may have originally been a triad of old Carthaginian deities behind the names Vergil chooses, but scholarly research has not been successful in identifying them. After the "trinity" of Ceres, Phoebus and Dionysus, Juno comes immediately as protectress of Carthage, and goddess in charge of marriage and births, which now attracts Dido, for whom the 'vincla' of marriage seem suddenly to have lost their distaste. Within this temple setting, we turn to the queen:

60 IPSA TENENS DEXTRA PATERAM PULCHERRIMA DIDO

CANDENTIS VACCAE MEDIA INTER CORNUA FUNDIT

AVT ANTE ORA DEUM PINGUIS SPATIATVR AD ARAS

INSTAVRATQVE DIEM DONIS, PEDVDVM RECLUSIS

PECTORIBVS INHIANS SPIRANTIA CONSVLIT EXTA.

Dido is shown as a lovely, regal lady, holding in her hand a ritual wine-bowl in a what is virtually an art nouveau setting. But the scene takes on a different and unfamiliar appearance, we stare at the white cow about to be slaughtered, the gods' huge sculptured masks above, the blood and fat stained altars, before which Dido is standing magically summoning up the day, then peering into the steaming, still twitching entrails of sacrificial animals, seeking signs through augury. Much of such a scene would have been familiar to Romans, but here the tone is different, it is agitated and it is foreign. If Dido is prime actor in these foreign, hereditary roles, the Roman would ask: Is such a woman is suitable to be a Latin king's consort?

65 HEV, VATVM IGNARAE MENTES. QUID VOTA FVRENTEM

QUID DELUBRA IVVANT? EST MOLLIS FLAMMA MEDULLAS

INTEREA ET TACITVM VIVIT SVB PECTORE VOLNVS.

[ The verb 'est' is 3 sg. from 'de' "eat, eat at", not from sum, as everybody thinks at first sight! Romans speak of the marrow, 'medulla', much as we speak of having something deep in the heart, neither of which is anatomically correct.] The poet now speaks out in his own persona, with a special clarity and ring to his voice, talking about atheism or at least some anti-theic doctrine, an amazing detail in an officially approved "Roman epic" poem. With shocking speed we careen from the open guts of animals slaughtered in a ritual, to questioning the very basis of rites and religion, and then we veer back to the wound in Dido's heart, the living wound which makes no sound. The wound dominates, and Dido becomes (like) the doe with a deadly arrow stuck in her side, trying to flee over the Cretan mountains in vain. If we see this scene as a verbal metaphor, we get a much less vivid impression of its pathos, than if we imagine it appearing on a cinema screen coming out of a fade, suddenly there in front of us, clear and alive and agonizing. Since we have cinema and TV to make such scenes real, we no longer require the art of poetry which the ancients used for exactly this same purpose. In turn we have lost a great deal of the ability to correlate vivid imaginative fantasies with the printed word, saying instead, academically, "Look, students, here is a metaphor!" The following passage cannot be read properly unless one demands of his inner-sight the form and color sensations of a visually vivid scene.

68 VRITVR INFELIX DIDO TOTAQVE VAGATVR

VRBE FVRENS, QVALIS CONIECTA CERVA SAGITTA

QVAM PROCVL INCAVTAM NEMORA INTER CRESIA FIXIT

PASTOR AGENS TELIS LIQVITQUE VOLATILE FERRUM

NESCIVS. ILLA FVGA SILVAS SALTVSQVE PERAGRAT

DICTAEOS, HAERET LETALIS HARVNDO.

[Coniecta cerva sagitta: It is perhaps too elementary to mention that the first and third words are abl., but the deer is n.sg., which a Roman would have known immediately by reading the verse aloud. Do this now, please.] One of the least pleasant aspects of hunting, then or now, is the idea of wounding an animal which escapes to run to its death hours later. Any hunter with a shred of conscience will spend hours following the blood trail to avoid this possibility, but worse is the situation in which the hunter does not even know he has hit the game, marching off with a light heart while the animal goes to its death. Just so, Aeneas does not seem to have understood that he "wounded" Dido, the arrow is stuck in her flesh, his heart is free while she suffers... . Several words in this passage are double-edged, since they apply to Dido as well as to the deer. Both are "incautious", despite hesitations, and the shooting verbs 'fixit' and 'haeret' re-echo from line 4 of this book: 'haerent infixi pectore voltus'. The scene now " dissolves", and when it reappears, we see Dido in her city, agitated and hunted by her own thoughts:

74 NVNC MEDIA AENEAN SECUM PER MOENIA DVCIT

SIDONIAS OSTENTAT OPES VRBEMQUE PARATAM

INCIPIT EFFARI MEDIAQVE IN VOCE RESISTIT

[The educated Roman would have been sufficiently familiar with Greek not to balk at the Greek accusative 'Aenean'. Donatus' Vita mentions that Vergil mixed Greek and Latin names in together, he may be thinking of such grammatical mixtures as this as well as mythological superimpositions.] In this brief interlude we see Dido in a silent, mime-like sequence, showing her city under construction to a person who is not there, explaining and pointing to the works in progress, to the walls, the towers, suddenly starting to speak as if to her lover beside her, and then stopping. She is as if at some distance, a middle to long shot, a pathetic figure gesturing and explaining something to someone - - -in vain.

77 NVNC EADEM LABENTE DIE CONVIVIA QVAERIT

ILIACOSQVE ITERVM DEMENS AVDIRE LABORES

EXPOSCIT PENDETQVE ITERVM NARRANTIS AB ORE.

POST VBI DIGRESSI LVMENQVE OBSCVRA VICISSIM

LVNA PREMIT SVADENTQVE CADENTIA SIDERA SOMNOS

SOLA DOMO MAERET, VACUA STRATISQVE RELICTIS

INCVBAT....

As day falls, her only thoughts are to get back to the partying atmosphere of the night before. In line 78, Vergil does an effect that he is specially good at: All the words in the line are flat and colorless, except one word, 'demens', which stands out in contrast and totally dominates the line. This device is strikingly imaginative and Vergil uses it often..... Notice how by saying 'exposcit' (not just 'poscit'), Vergil intensely focuses our attention on Dido, who aggressively "demands" the story again, but as soon as it starts she "hangs" on every word that Aeneas says with a starry-eyed stare. She may not be actually "demented' in English,(which is different from Vergil's 'demens') but she is certainly well on the way to losing control.

We all recall the pensive thoughts we feel after the party is over, as we look around the room where life and laughter and talk was present such a short time before, as we notice the half-empty glasses and dishes and paper napkins, all those signs of people who are no longer there. The quiet of this afterview makes the party seem like a dream. Vergil gets this tone perfectly, he notices the moon which now lights the room differently, thrusting as if with great effort its weak light down through a thick evening fog which has suddenly appeared.... Line 80 is intensely mysterious, that cloudy moon seems to have difficulty "pushing" its light down, and then as we see the stars to one side, we remember that it is time to go to sleep. But not for Dido, for her it is just grief in an empty house. She finds the coverlets on which Aeneas has been so recently reclining, and curls up on them. (Again, all verbs with the root 'cumb-, cub-' have sexual as well as sleeping associations; note incubus beside succuba.) Poor lady, all she has left from the party is the bedspreads on which HE was lying!

83 INCVBAT... ILLVM ABSENS ABSENTEM AVDITQVE VIDETQVE

The pulse of the two "absents", followed by two 'que's, is unmistakable, it is nothing but heartache-beat.

84 AVT GREMIO ASCANIVM, GENITORIS IMAGINE CAPTA

DETINET, INFANDVM SI FALLERE POSSIT AMOREM.

Dido's pathetic substitution of a the son for the man she loves is what emotionally desperate people do. Overdoing the situation, she "detains" the boy, who is probably thinking of getting away and back to his games. (We will see him soon playing like a boy in the hunting scene, his "toy" is a real, live horse, and he enjoys it like a real boy.) In line 85 we again have a colorless line with that one strange word: 'nefandum', literally "unspeakable [ne + fari, fandum], unspeakably evil". It is true, this is something she cannot speak of, and it is cursing her mind.

86 NON COEPTAE SVRGVNT TVRRES, NON ARMA IVVENTVS

EXERCET, PORTVSVE AVT PROPVGNACVLA BELLO

TVTA PARANT. PENDENT OPERA INTERRVPTA MINAEQUE

MURORVM INGENTES AEQVATAQVE MACHINA CAELO

The city is without activity and without people, everything has stopped just as it was, deserted and still. In the brief visual tour of the town, activity is indicated everywhere by the winches (machinae) and half finished construction, but there is absolutely no motion. Walking through excavated Pompeii one feels the same kind of staticness, here was a city teeming with human life and emotion, now as still and silent as the grave, or a museum, which of course is what it has come to be. The difference is that Pompeii is an ancient city to modern tourists, whereas ancient Carthage is here seen as a modern city in the process of being constructed..... [The word 'mina' is used in its original meaning of "weight, ponderous rock mass, overhanging boulder", the common meaning "threat", is transferred ]... ['Machina' is the Doric form of the word (with the long -a- rather than Attic -e- as in "mechanical"), a term borrowed along with the equipment from South Italian or Sicilian sources. It probably refers to a construction winch with a tall tower and ropes, like the derrick winches which we use in city construction to this day. Ancient engineering was well developed, boatyards produced ships up to 600 feet long, and such winching equipment would be necessary to move them around.]

The passage from line 90 to l28 is a curious interlude, which shifts our attention to "heaven". Vergil treats us to a dialogue between Juno, the champion of Dido and the Carthaginians, and Venus, backer of the Trojan and hence Latin line. Traces of tales of a Trojan origin for Rome have been found in Roman storytelling, but they are thin and do not constitute a real religious system. If anything, Juno is to Romans more of a Roman deity, since she is concerned with marriage, childbirth and other functions in which womens' role is important. If we recall that Vergil was in early life deeply interested in Lucretian-Epicurean thought, we should consider the contrastive portrayal of Juno and Venus as parallel to Lucretius' depiction of Venus and Mars. These two deities are "reformed" from the earlier roles of the Greek Olympian gods, and in a removed and airy way they serve as representatives of two contrasting forces: that of peace, quiet and generative growth, which Venus represents, as against the disruptive, divisive and aggressive spirit which Mars stands for. Lucretius takes these to be basic forces in the real world of nature, and it is interesting to note how close his philosophical dyad is to the ancient Chinese, Yin and Yang. As Yang disturbs, disrupts, condenses and hardens, so Yin pacifies, smoothes, spreads out and softens and diffuses. These functions are largely the roles of Venus and Mars. If we examine the passage before us in the Aeneid in a similar light, we will see that the male, aggressive, dominating force of Juno is offered as a contrast to the gentler, feminine aspects of Venus' role. Thinking of this passage as philosophical in essence rather than purely mythological in the Classical vein, Juno's short-term victory as the passage ends will be doomed to failure by the specifications of her "Martian" role, while Venus' forces are life-giving and procreative, hence despite setbacks, they will be the ultimate winner.

Seen from a human and social point of view, the scene represents a contest between two familiar personality types, the forceful and dominating woman who operates on a basis of intelligence and conviction, in contrast to the person with winning wiles, the Lady of Persuasion and sexuality. Although both actors here are female, they should not be seen as representing specifically female forces, for Yang Juno and Yin Venus transcend gender. The question is again philosophical, does drive always prevail, or are there situations in which softness conquers? Various schools of the Eastern martial arts take this problem seriously, and usually prescribe some softness along with the hard, not only as philosophically satisfying, but physically effective.

90 QVAM SIMVL AC TALI PERSENSIT PESTE TENERI

CARA IOVIS CONIVNX NEC FAMAM OBSTARE FVRORI

TALIBVS ADGREDITVR VENEREM SATVRNIA DICTIS:

EGREGIAM VERO LAVDEM ET SPOLIA AMPLIA REFERTIS

TVQVE PVERQVE TVVS. MAGNVM ET MEMORABILE NOMEN

VNA DOLO DIVOM SI FEMINA VICTA DVORVM EST.

NEC ME ADEO FALLIT VERITAM TE MOENIA NOSTRA

SVSPECTAS HABVUISSE DOMOS KARTHAGINIS ALTAE.

98 SED QVIS ERIT MODVS AVT QUO NUNC CERTAMINE TANTO?

QVIN POTIVS PACEM AETERNAM PACTOSQVE HYMENAEOS

EXERCEMUS? HABES TOTA QVOD MENTE PETISTI:

ARDET AMANS DIDO TRAXITQVE PER OSSA FVROREM.

COMMVNEM HVNC POPVLVM PARIBVSQVE REGAMUS

AVSPICIIS. LICEAT PHRYGIO SERVIRE MARITO

DOTALISQVE TVAE TYRIOS PERMITTERE DEXTRAE.

At line 90 Vergil uses the word 'peste', or "disease. plague", for love, which calls to mind the Servian Life's reference to Vergil's sexual 'morbus'. Love can be either a plague or a disease, in different circumstances, but only someone who recognizes from experience the details of amorous pathology, is able to delineate it vividly in a poem..... In 91 alliteration yokes together two alliterative words, 'fama' and 'furor', despite their contrary meanings, in one phrase..... Line 93 and 94 drip sarcasm: " Large praise and big booty you have, you and that brat of yours...." and Cara Juno continues with heavy phonetics in nasal mode: 'magnum et memorabile nomen'. This acoustic rumble, enough to shake mountains elsewhere, is intended to shake Venus' courage, for Juno never does anything lightly. She drives everything home hard, but Venus ignores it easily. June rages on: "One woman against two gods.. it's not fair!" This familiar human argument, which one hears at recess in every schoolyard, defines sporting chances and a sense of fair play!... Lines 96-97 move us into a political area sensitive to Romans, since Carthage is still the name for the archtypical enemy. But Vergil pointedly uses the adjective 'alta' with the "walls of Carthage", although every Roman schoolboy who had read the first lines of the Aeneid knew that the adjective 'alta' was the personal property of Rome ['Albanique patres atque altae moenia Romae '(Aeneid !,7)]. It is curious that line 97 begins with the word 'suspectas', with its root-meaning of "looking up (from under) at... ", but the line ends with 'altae', the walls of lofty Carthage. Squinting up at the high walls, one feels (as the pun intimates) something is certainly wrongheaded.

At line 98 Juno makes an appearance of throwing in the towel: "Why fight, why not work together in peace?" But at line l00, we can see how much she really despises her pretty adversary: " Now you have everything you always wanted... . she is madly in love... " Is that all Venus wanted, is Venus nothing more than crazy passion? We know that Vergil read and valued Lucretius, so we know that Vergil must have known better.... Under the heading of "our working together", comes the rubric: "She will serve (sic) a Phrygian husband, and put the cash-down dowry in your hand". Imagine Queen Dido serving spiced dormice and Falernan to a recumbent Aeneas on his dining couch! Imagine trying to bribe a goddess with a promise of cash dowry paid into her hand!..... So ends Juno's impassioned speech, with lots of force and drive, but absolutely no finesse.

l05 OLLI (SENSIT ENIM SIMVLATA MENTE LOCVTAM

QVO REGNVM ITALIAE LIBYCAS AVERTERET ORAS)

SIC CONTRA INGRESSA VENVS: QVIS TALIA DEMENS

ABNVAT AVT TECVM MALIT CONTENDERE BELLO?

[' Olli' is an archaic alternate to 'illi' dat. sg. of 'ille'.] That one important word, 'simula mente', shows that Venus understands everything that is going on. [Note that in the Romanic languages the adverb comes from this combination of an adjective with the fem. noun 'mens' in the ablative. Even in Latin this can sometimes be taken as one word, 'simulatamente'.] In l07, Venus asks " who would be so 'demens' (the word we have previously used for Dido) as to fight with Juno; let good luck follow what you suggest" Fair and placating words are always her style.

l09 SI MODO QVOD MEMORAS FACTVM FORTVNA SEQVATVR!

SED FATIS INCERTA FEROR, SI IVPPITER VNAM

ESSE VELIT TYRIIS VRBEM TROIAQVE PROFECTIS

MISCERIVE PROBET POPVLOS AVT FOEDERA IVNGI.

Venus does have a light sense of humor, she makes fun of Juno's heavy-duty phrase 'magnum et memorabile nomen' by imitating it phonetically with 'si modo quod memoras'. She is however not sure what the Fates want, ' fatis incerta feror', and says "I don't really know about such things (as fate and politics and miscegenation), alas! " Being unsure, uncertain, hesitant and cautious are characteristics of both Dido and Venus, not unfittingly... The problems she mentions are of wider concern than in Aeneas' story. The Roman of the first century B.C. was concerned with changes in the old Roman population, and a century later he would see the Tigris flowing up the Tiber in an unprecedented wave of Near Eastern immigration. Miscigenation would be soon enough a part of the Roman experience, especially as Christians appeared on the scene, but it was not going to come naturally or easily. Vergil's line provokes thoughts in the Roman reader's mind, beyond the framework of the story.... Now Venus continues:" But you are his wife, you know about these things, it's right for you to test his will.... (naturally) by entreating." And she closes her little response in the style of an archtypical Marilyn Monroe, with what she knows Greco-Roman women are expected to say: "You go on ahead, andI'll follow."

The answer is typically Juno-esque: "Just leave that business to me! "

115 MECVM ERIT ISTE LABOR. NUNC QVA RATIONE QVOD INSTAT

CONFIERI POSSIT, PAVCIS (ADVERTA) DOCEBO.

Assuming the tough role of a Roman-type administrator, Juno goes right to business: "Now just how/ what remains/ can best be effected / in brief terms / note this well/ I will explain." It is interesting to note the breaking up of the message into two word phrases, with a snotty "Pay attention!" inserted into that last bit of the instructions. Apparently Romans, when giving orders, tried to make everything perfectly clear and explicit, even to fools, in which context such speech as we have here would make good sense. we see a certain amount of this kind of administrative wording in Caesar's remarkable Commentaries. The statement: "The Army is a system devised by geniuses to be operated by idiots" is an American notion, but probably applicable to the Roman administrative world.

ll7 VENATVM AENEAS VNAQVE MISERRIMA DIDO

IN NEMVS IRE PARANT VBI PRIMOS CRASTINVS ORTVS

EXTVLERIT TITAN RADIISQVE RETEXERIT ORBEM.

[Venatum is a supine in -um, one of those forms they mention in passing in the grammar books. It is "like an infinitive" but with purpose (which the infinitive never has), so can be best translated : "to hunt".] [In l2l the 'alae' are right and left hand lines of "beaters" who drive the animals out into the open where they can be killed by the hunters. Hunting in the ancient world was usually done this way, often with nets to entangle the animals before killing them. Deer hunting in New England seems to give a much fairer chance to the animal., especially as the hunters have a way of shooting each other.] Dido, earlier called 'pulcherrima' is suddenly seen as 'miserrima'. In terms of the story, this word is prophetic, but it also calls attention to the fact that Dido, for all her beauty and trappings and fancy retinue, is sick at heart. Being sad in the middle of festivities is the certainly the saddest state of all.... The hunt starts early, we see the Dawn come up again. But dawns associated with Dido seem to be special, they are brocaded, difficult to grasp, and they have a strange reticence about them, perhaps because they are to be taken as "Dido's dawns". The mythological key for connecting Dawn with Dido is the story that Dawn arises each morning fleeing the bed of her husband Tithonus, to whom Zeus gave immortality but not youth. ['Retexerit' meaning "uncovers" is a linguistic necessity, since 'in-' can mean "not" but also "really, intensively", which are opposites. The Romans used 're-' as a replacement for 'in-' (negative) in a number of compounds.] Dido too is fleeing the memory of an old love, Sychaeus, who didn't even have to good luck to get immortality!.... The storm is being prepared with all the effects Juno can think up, the following lines have the quality of watching a storm gather from a high-flying plane.

l20 HIS EGO NIGRANTEM COMMIXTA GRANDINE NIMBVM

DVM TREPIDANT ALAE SALTVSQVE INDAGINE CINGVNT

DESVPER INFVNDAM ET TONITRV CAELVM OMNE CIEBO

DIFFVGIENT COMITES ET NOCTE TEGVNTVR OPACA

SPELVNCAM DIDO DVX ET TROIANVS EANDEM

DEVENIENT. ADERO ET, TVA SI MIHI CERTA VOLVNTAS,

CONUBIO IVNGAM STABILI PROPRIAMQVE DICABO.

HIC HYMENAEVS ERIT.... !

At line l25 Juno's real purpose appears, the scene is being staged as background for a wedding ceremony (of sorts), which is to take place after a storm and in a cave. Juno uses the same line which she had used when bribing Aeolus, King of the Winds, (Aeneid Book 1,73) she apparently has her lines down pat, like many aggressive people.... Her closing remark is ominous: "That will be the wedding ceremony!"

127... NON ADVERSATA PETENTI

ADNVIT ATQVE DOLIS RISIT CYTHEREA REPERTIS.

Venus agrees, and giggles ('risit') at the scheme which has just been revealed to her ('dolis... repertis). Every educated person in Rome knew Sappho's famous epithet of Aphrodite as 'dolo-ploka', "weaver-of-wiles", which experience in living indicates to contain a certain measure of truth. Remembering that Venus-Aphrodite is a goddess of procreation first and foremost, any wiles which aid fecundity are legitimate in her book. Venus is not blind, just passive for the nonce, and she prefers being agreeable.

129 OCEANVM INTEREA SVRGENS AVRORA RELIQVIT

Again we have a simple, and direct Homeric sunrise, not one of Dido's complicated, hesitant and uncertain dawns spreading itself over the waking world. Vergil does know and show the difference.

Now comes the remarkable scene (lines l30-l59) in which the preparation for the hunt and then the hunt itself are portrayed. The "preparation for the hunt" is described like a painting, it is static, with few cues to indicate movement .Everything is seen in great detail, the men, dogs and horses are poised for action, and this starts with the slow, royal processional as the retinues of Dido and of Aeneas each in turn move forward. (For anyone who may chance to be near New York City, a few hours spent observing the late-medieval Unicorn Tapestries hung in the Cloisters Museum uptown, with Vergil text in hand, will be a wonderful experience. The tapestries are fascinating in their detail of craftsmanship, they also illustrate the kind of visual perception which Vergil employs in this scene, which is a close parallel The text of Vergil would have been well known to the designers, if not the weavers, of the Unicorn scene, beyond that there seems to be an inner similarity of outlook and stance.)

l30 IT PORTIS IVBARE EXORTO DELECTA IVVENTUS

RETIA RARA, PLAGAE, LATO VENABVLA FERRO,

MASSYLIQVE RVVNT EQVITES ET ODORA CANVM VIS.

['Iubar' is used for the first gleam of daylight, rather than Dawn ('Aurora') which is the whole process of sunrise.] The phrase 'it portis' is striking in its blunt directness, the phrase suggests a great assortment of men, horses, dogs, and equipment of every sort tumbling madly out of the city gates as they are opened. [ Vergil starts a number of lines with short words like 'it, id", he even uses monosyllables as the introductory word in Books 4, 6, 7, 8, and disyllabic 'atque' in 9;which perhaps was part of what the Donatan Life's authorities criticized as his "new tastelessness, neither in fancy nor stripped style, but something in between, which hence escapes notice". To our ears, this would sound like ordinary speech, which we are used to in our poetry, but apparently Augustan Romans were not sure about the propriety of daily words in verse.]... The effect of these two simple words is striking: "There pours through the gates, at first light, the following: etc." It is almost like the confused profusion of objects in Picasso's paintings from the Synthetic Cubist style, these things are thrown pele-mele, the nets, spears, horses, dogs, all going out of the city in a mixed route, crowding through the city-gates in a jumble.... ['Retia' are always called 'rara', which we might translate best as "reticulated", but the Romans can use 'rarus' in ways parallel to the Elizabethan "rare old Ben Jonson': in fact Propertius does say: 'Rara Cynthia mea 'st... ]'

l33 REGINAM THALAMO CVNCTANTEM AD LIMINA PRIMI

POENORUM EXPECTANT, OSTROQVE INSIGNIS ET AURO

STAT SONIPES AC FRENA FEROX SPVMANTIA MANDIT

[When a Roman thought of the Poeni, did he subliminally think of the Latin word 'poena' meaning "punishment", such as the Romans meted out to the Poeni. in the punishing Punic Wars?] ['Soni-pes' means "sounding-footed-one", and as a traditional poetism going back to the third century authors, it is not Vergil's invention.] The contrast of the queen high above making up in her royal chamber, with the restrained activity of men impatiently waiting to be off, suggests something common in human experience.

The focus shifts to a palace window, = we see the Queen "dallying in her chamber" while nobly titled and richly garbed Phoenician courtiers await her descent in the courtyard below. (The Unicorn tapestries do this scene to perfection.).... Attention shifts, to a magnificent high-strung horse, decorated with cloth into which are worked mother-of-pearl and gold thread, who is stamping his feet in impatience, biting the foaming bit.

136 TANDEM PROGREDITVR MAGNA STIPANTE CATERVA

SIDONIAM PICTO CHLAMYDEM CIRCUMDATA LIMBO

CVI PHARETRA EX AVRO, CRINES NODANTVR IN AURUM

AVREA PVRPVREAM SVBNECTIT FIBVLA VESTEM

At long last ('tandem') the Queen has ceased with her toilette, she moves forward, accompanied by a vast encircling crowd. The motion is slow, a royal procession rather than a hunting party at this stage, above all it is regal (line l36), since she is wrapped in a Sidonian chlamys (imported from the Near Eastern Phoenicians) with an embroidered fringe. [S. remarks the chlamys was of Asiatic origin, the word itself, with its -ch- and -y-, marks itself as foreign and Greek] ['Circumdata' is "wrapped around (with), enveloped in..., not just "dressed in".] Her quiver, the 'pharetra' (again Greek), reminds us that it is a hunting party, but it is made of pure gold, her hair is pinned up in gold combs, a gold brooch under her chin secures her cloak of Tyrian purple. [Note that in the phrase ' in aurum' (in with the accusative) her locks are knotted "into " the gold threads, like the Vestal Virgins' hair tied into red wool fillets. Dido hoever, is no Vestal and she is certainly no virgin.] (Tyrian purple is an inordinately expensive dye, produced at Tyre in droplets from myriad shellfish, it has an unmistakable, true-purple hue, and automatically indicates royalty.) The slow motion forward, the mass of attendants, and the richness of the decoration, mark DIdo as a queen in the Asiatic style. Remember that to the Romans of the first century B.C., the words king and queen held bad memories from the period of Etruscan domination four centuries earlier; even in Horace's boyhood, when playing tag, the one we call "it" was called 'rex', and Cicero boils with rage when he thinks of rich Cleopatra's great estate outside Rome,. calling her merely "regina" as a mark of derision. Romans would see this scene in Book IV as primarily dangerous, and secondly decorative.

Turning now to Aeneas and his group:

140 NECNON ET PHRYGII COMITES ET LAETVS IVLVS

INCEDUNT. IPSE ANTE ALIOS PVLCHERRIMVS OMNIS

INFERT SE SOCIUM AENEAS ATQVE AGMINA IVNGIT.

['Nec-non' is equivalent to "also", two negatives apparently making a positive.] Iulus is "happy" because he is still a kid, and has a childlike, natural enthusiasm for going on an outing, especially when it is a hunt.... . "Pulcherrimus" matches Aeneas up with 'pulcherrima Dido" mentioned just before. If Dido is decked out and dressed out to kill, the Roman must not look like a country-bred clod (shades of Donatus' criticism of Vergil's personal manner).... Notice in line 141 how slowly and formally Aeneas moves. ' The word 'incedere' refers not only to walking forward, but advancing with the formal Roman "incessus", a gait which the serious and somewhat pretentious Romans adopted as the mark of civilized man. Perhaps the lengthy robes of the toga made this to some degree advisable, since tripping on your own garments would have been seen as a most unfavorable "omen". Now Aeneas slowly brings himself into position, and the two lines of mounted hunters, the Phoenicians and Trojans, join and fuse into one hunting procession.

If Aeneas is handsome, then exactly how? The following passage, again to be taken not as a verbal mythological "aside", but as a montaged scene full of vivid color and visualness, moves us into that fairer and brighter world of mythology and imagination, in which Aeneas is seen as an Apollo:

l43 QVALIS VBI HIBERNAM LYCIAM XANTHI FLVENTA

DESERIT AC DELUM MATERNAM INVISIT APOLLO

INSTAVRATQVE CHOROS, MIXTIQVE ALTARIA CIRCVM

CRETESQVE DRYOPESQVE FREMVNT PICTIQVE AGATHYRSI.

IPSE IVGIS CYNTHI GRADITVR MOLLIQVE FLVENTEM

FRONDE PREMIT CRINEM ATQVE IMPLICAT AVRO.

TELA SONANT VMERIS.... HAUD ILLO SEGNIOR IBAT

AENEAS, TANTVM EGREGIO DECVS ENITET ORE.

The passage, rich in visual and associative detail, uses the same series of motifs which the poet has used just before in describing Dido, so that Aeneas may not seem in any way a lesser personage. If Dido ritually restores the day, Aeneas ritually restores the dance, if she has a "painted" (embroidered) border around her garment, he has painted Agathyrsi all around him. Her hair is bound back into gold strings, he lightly brushes his locks back with branch, as an insouciant Greek statue might, and then binds it in gold. She has a gold pharetra, he does it better since "the arrows clang on his shoulders" in the quiver, exactly as in Homer (Iliad 1,46). Dido may have Sidonian antecedents, but she can never cite Homer as part of her royal background. The Roman is perfectly well aware which, in fact, is better.

Now that they have proceeded to the forest, the scene changes and the hunt begins in earnest.

151 POSTQVAM ALTOS VENTVM IN MONTIS ATQVE INVIA LVSTRA

ECCE FERAE SAXI DEIECTAE VERTICE CAPRAE

DECVRRERE IUGIS. ALIA DE PARTE PATENTIS

TRANSMITTVNT CVRSV CAMPOS ATQVE AGMINA CERVI

PVLVERVLENTA FVGA GLOMERANT MONTISQVE RELINQVONT

{Three grammatical points may be mentioned here together, for those who are less experienced in Latin: "ventum" is an impersonal pppl., "when it was come", a normal and uncolored expression, like Fr. 'on va' or Germ. "man geht', denoting a general or mass going., with 'est' understood.... 'Montis' is the alternate form beside -es for acc. pl. 3 rd decl., a form used as often in poetry as the regularly taught form, perhaps more often... 'Decurrere', which looks like some sort of infinitive to beginners, is the alternate form in 3 pl. pf. beside -erunt, used frequently, and a form which it is important to recognize quickly. ]

The scene has changed, they are coming to the mountains and the pathless (invia) haunts of wild animals, looking up they see mountain sheep "dashing themselves' down from high rocks, exactly as bighorn sheep still do in Yellowstone..... In the open country the deer in a herd are wheeling in flight, disappearing in clouds of dust. Vergil has indeed watched the countryside with a careful eye.

156 AT PVER ASCANIVS MEDIIS IN VALLIBVS ACRI

GAVDET EQVO, IAMQVE HOS CVRSV, IAM PRAETERIT ILLOS

SPVMANTEMQVE DARI PECORA INTER INERTIA VOTIS

OPTAT APRVM AVT FVLVVM DESCENDERE MONTE LEONEM.

Again a quick and deft glance at the adolescent boy, behaving with traits of kiddishness which apparently endure through the centuries. Just as our kids "horse" a motorcycle or jalopy, Iulus "horses" a horse, zipping now ahead of this one and then that one. Had equestrian insurance been required for the ancients, Ascanius would have had high premiums until he was twenty-five, for apparent reasons. [S. notes correctly that the regular conjunction used twice would have been 'modo... modo', but Vergil uses 'iam' twice in its place. By the way, 'iam' is a favorite word with Vergil, Merguet lists more than six tightly packed columns of its use, more than for any other monosyllabic word of its type except 'nunc'. Both words show a positive interest in establishing a "present" context, indicating the reality of the moment. ].... Iulus prays (optat with dari, a regular formula for a wish) for some "real" animals to appear, a boar or a lion, as against these "cattle" (tame cattle is what he, insolently, calls deer and other ungulates). There are only four lines in this little sequence, yet Vergil captures perfectly the spirit of an adolescent Roman boy. Since he is not overburdened with historical awareness about a remote period, as we might well be in his place, he can mix and match the ancient and contemporary freely, thus creating a sense of life and present-ness in stories set in the remote past. Vergil often seems to be talking about someone he has seen and knows well even when writing a story veiled in ancient myth; Aeolus in Book 1 (lines 55-80) must be the portrait of a minor public official, who hems and haws and scrapes and bows, and finally gets thoroughly confused about what his exact responsibilities and duties are. When Vergil's patrimony and later his farm were in the courts, he must have seen such people again and again. Studying Vergil's mythical stories, we often get glimpses of real people, but the poet would have never wanted to work them into the story in realistic detail as an Ibsen or Arthur Miller did. Only at rare moments when reading ancient authors, do we get an example of a "slice of life" writing, as in some of Catullus' experimental poems, or in the Mimes of Herondas. The man in the street had not yet taken his place in the formal dramatis personae of literature.

160 INTEREA MAGNO MISCERO MURMURE CAELUM

INCIPIT, INSEQVITVR COMMIXTA GRANDINE NIMBUS

ET TYRII COMITES PASSIM ET TROIANA IVVENTVS

DARDANIUSQVE NEPOS VENERIS DIVERSA PER AGROS

TECTA METU PETIERE. RVVNT DE MONTIBVS AMNES.

SPELUNCAM DIDO DVX ET TROIANVS EANDEM

DEVENIVNT.....

In line 160, Vergil employs the grand sonorities of nature again for a storm, these are actually the ones he had used before in Book I (lines 53- 63) to such good effect,. The series [-m-,-n-,--r- and finally -l-+-m- in 'caelum], roars and rumbles with a thunderous effect which can only presage ill, especially when the sounds crack suddenly with 'incipit' [three front vowels with the three ranks of unvoiced stop-consonants, the brittlest possible combination in the Latin language]. It is interesting that when thunders roars and the hunters run for shelter, it is in farm-houses (tecta) that they seek to try to get out of the rain, a homely touch worthy of a minor Dutch master. The streams rush down from the mountains, then as now, in summer flash floods.... "They find" ('deveniunt')purely by chance the same cave, but, the emphatic position of the verb shows how really un-chancy this chance meeting is. Vergil delights in subtle interplays of two threads of thought.. As our eyes and minds lift upwards to the thunder and lightening, the primordial deities of nature take over:

156 (DEVENIVNT.)... PRIMA ET TELLVS ET PRONVBA IUNO

DANT SIGNVM. FVLSERE IGNES ET CONSCIVS AETHER

CONUBIIS, SVMMOQVE VLVLARVNT VERTICE NYMPHAE.

The rain-flooded earth and the roaring sky above turn into God Earth while above stands Marital Juno, who (emphatically) gives the sign (another crack of Joycean extended thunder). Fires in the sky, and the bowl of heaven itself, take up their roles as legal witnesses to this unholy marriage. {Vergil actually calls it 'conubium', a mixed-marriage, which is the correct word.). Mountain Spirits howl on the ridge. ['Ululare' is used of the hoot of owls and the howling of dogs and wolves, all these art bad signs for the omen-conscious Romans.] The nature-scene is brilliantly illuminated by the flash of lightening, and the poet proceeds with his "third eye" assessment of the situation, which sounds less like Vergil's poetical persona than the very voice of God:

169 ILLE DIES PRIMVS LETI PRIMVSQVE MALORVM

CAUSA FVIT, NEQVE ENIM SPECIE FAMAVE MOVETVR

NEC IAM FVRTIVOM DIDO METITATVR AMOREM.

CONIVGIVM VOCAT, HOC PRAETEXIT NOMINE CULPAM.

[Furtivom is the correct Latin orthography of the Augustan period, which maintained that after -u-, a following -u- must retain the old spelling -o-. Hence we write 'Septimios' in Catullus 45, 'equos' as n. sg. in our texts, more correctly EQVOS, although Cicero would have written 'ecus'.] The first line and a half has an authentic judgmental sound which might come from the hollow chest of an Old Testament prophet, or we can associate it with the medieval "Dies Irae, Dies Illa" [despite the changed gender of the noun], or perhaps even with Berlioz' orchestration for eight trombones at the back of the hall proclaiming the day of judgment..... Dido knows it is now all out in the open. She calls it "marriage". She is not the last person in the world to cover a guilty conscience by saying "we're going to get married anyway, so... ". but as we suspected, she will use the wrong legal term and thus contradict the very thing she is trying to effect. The ominous settings, the storm, the howling of beasts on the heights, and the cave itself, serve as the worst of omens against her claim, which she further invalidates by mistaking the legal kind of marriage bond for another. Heaven and Earth were witnesses to a 'conubium' and nothing more, so Dido, thinking of love and hoping for marriage and children by Aeneas, loses again.

Lest this legalism seem trivial, recall that the Romans invested the greatest part of their collective genius in the structure to which we admiringly look back to as the Roman System of Law. Perhaps this would not have been so important to them, had not the world at this time found itself expanding geometrically and involving widespread Mediterranean business and trade. Business had to be attended to effectively, and the sum total of transactions of all kinds was taken to be the basic concern of Law. Lacking a real interest in scientific medicine, in physics and philosophy, and in most of the arts, the Romans valued Law, along with the military and public administration, as the areas in which they literally had to shine. They knew they were no equals for the Greeks in art, music and even poetry, their contribution would have to be in some other direction if their reputation was to last. That other direction was destined to be the Law, and in this area their achievement has endured through the ages. Roman science gave us nothing but some second-rate hand-me-downs, Roman literature transmitted a great deal, but little of it is conceivable without the great Greek antecedents. Roman philosophy presents nothing more than a survey of Greek thinking, in Lucretius' case housed in some very lovely poetry, in Seneca's in pedestrian prose. But Roman Law gave us guidelines for what exact thinking and exact wording could be, and it handed down a basic framework to use in administering the infinitely more complex transactions of the modern world.

William Harris
Prof. Em. Middlebury College
www.middlebury.edu/~harris