Go to: COMMENTARY TO AENEID BOOK IV




INTRODUCTION TO THE ART OF VERGIL




l) Any discussion of Vergil and his poetic output must start by looking carefully at the Homeric epic poems. Composed around 700 B.C. and committed to writing just before 500 BC, they stem from a long oral tradition, such as is found in the early stages of many societies. The mark of Homer in the later Western world has been profound and pervasive, and hardly needs documenting here. Homer's antecedents are harder to identify, one can point to the Near Eastern Gilgamesh text which shows parallels to the eleventh book of the Odyssey, and other parallels may be forthcoming as we learn more about the Ancient Near East. The Mycenean-Minoan civilization, dating from about l800 BC to l200 BC and using at least in part the Greek language, is well attested through archaeological remains including written tablets, but identification of Homer's actual knowledge with specific references in Minoan-Mycenean history remains unproveable. There are certainly Homeric references back to the world of the Mycenean-Minoan period, but no overall identifications can be made at this time. Egyptian civilization, dating back to 5000 BC must have had influence on the rise of the Greek world, there are constant reminders of Egyptian influences in crafts, sculpture, pottery, and perhaps mathematics, but there is as much mystery in the exact process of cultural transmission, as there is fact. Homer's text, itself a model of all that is clear and precise, stems from a world of deep historical shadows.

2) Homer's writings are clear, precise in speech and thought, and always perfectly explicit. They say exactly what they want to say, and that is one of their chief glories. Perhaps for this reason these texts assumed a strong educational role at an early date in Hellenic civilization, and this lasted through the ages, actually into Byzantine times.. The best things to introduce to the young as they learn to read, as the ancients saw it, would be exactness, directness of word and deed, the very things found throughout the Homeric corpus. Homes does employ "poetic" dictions, a good many metaphors and figured structures, but they never dominate the poet's vision, he drags them along in his wake, like a great river which is going its own course. Poeschl noticed long ago this "explicitness" of Homer's language, which is not just linguistic but also a quality of his mind. Things, men and actions in Homer are just what they are, nothing more and nothing less, and it was in just this light that the Hellenes saw their national poet. If in our modern world we have cast over Homer novel shimmerings of theory, based on recent developments in psychology, on new anthropologies, and each new criticism as it appears. Although this may not be wrong as a part of human nature, it is not a part of Homer or the Homeric world.. This discussion is intended to serve as preface to Vergil and his artistry, therefore it is important at the outset to peel off some of the encrustations of time which have, like barnacles, grown on the hull of Epic Poetry.

3) Every educated Roman in Vergil's time knew everything we know about Greece and a great deal more, since many important books and documents have disappeared over the years. Since educated men and women spoke Greek as easily as Russians in the l9th century spoke French, we can assume that Greek thought was ever-present in the Roman's mind in terms of art, history and literature. Proposing to write an "epic" about the origins of Rome, Vergil would have thought of Homer automatically, and since Roman taste prized Greek models, there would have been no problem in utilizing much of the external appearance of Homer's writings. The general structure, the scenes of combat, certain metrical devices, and even imitation of phrases and words would have seemed acceptable to the Augustan world, not at all derivative or "imitative". But Vergil apparently wanted to keep some parts of his thought private to himself, and so devised ways of not being completely submerged in the flow of the Homeric current. If Homer was "explicit", then he could indulge in being "implicit", which we see as one of the most characteristic marks of Vergil's thought Since implicitness is by its nature secretive, it may mot be detected immediately, and only one who is sensitive and reasonably skilled in the Latin language can, with some effort, perceive the robes of the implicit poetic processes unfolding. This quality is often more important than the story-line, than creation of historical epics, and the even perpetuation of a venerable Hellenic tradition. It presents to us a new kind of artistic thinking, which the world has never forgotten since. The Western world in its poetic tradition has inherited far more from Vergil's inner, implicit vision than from Homer's visual explicitness. The Western poetic mind took a giant step forward with Vergil.

4) Homer used sound effects strikingly, but cautiously and with restraint. Vergil uses sound continually, in a new and virtually contrapuntal manner, since the sounds are used not merely to form a bridge to the sounds of nature or men or the sea, but they are used abstractly, to show in their patterning an endless variety of emotions. Cold anger, fury, sadness, melancholy, remorse and every other feeling that we know, can be found in Vergil, encoded in the phonetics of his Latin wording. This is his secret for manifesting his inner implicitness, which is literally woven into the texture of his words. It often operates on a level different from the line of the story, and this separation can, in turn, create its own transcendental effects. Unfortunately a great deal of penetration into the Latin language is required to draw back the curtain. To read Homer one needs only a year or so of Greek study, but to read Vergil you need many years. High school work is the introductory level, college is intermediate, postgraduate study opens the doors, but only after you have lived with Vergil for twenty years can you say that you begin to possess him. This should not be discouraging, on the other hand it is the greatest possible encouragement: After reading Vergil for a lifetime there will still be something to receive.

When read years later, Homer offers special rewards, a great sense of what society is about, and what it means to be a great-spirited human being. Homer is the finest corrective to a life lived in a dehumanized, worried and insecure society. But Vergil shows us something different, the world of the inner mind, sometimes staged against a backdrop of nature, but always cast in the intense world of human affairs. Sometimes these affairs of men and women are transparent, hardly comparable with the breathtaking, blinding truth of Greek Drama or Homer. This act of turning inward, which so marks Vergil's thought, is not surprising in the wake of the hundred years of Roman history which started with the brutal murders of the Gracchi and only terminated with Augustus and his cold imperialism.. There may be in human history times to turn inward and tend the garden of the inner mind, our twentieth century has shown a great deal of this trait, for we too follow in the wake of a century of social brutality. Vergil's treatment of his characters may at times be thin, but this is understandable in a world of chicanery, double-dealing and manic tyranny. Achilles, on the other hand, is never thin, he is always amazing and special, although forever hard to understand, and tragically self-destructive. The scenario which Vergil loves is the world of half hidden thoughts, suggested perceptions, evanescent sounds, and the intricate web of words. These are hard for us to perceive, schooled as we are in plot, structure and "idea", but they are the things Romans immediately grasped in Vergil's poetry. The art of word and music comes first, and the incorporation of episodes from Roman pre-history are secondary. You can no more describe the Aeneid as a poetic version of Roman origins, than you can call Dante's Divina Commedia an encyclopedia of late medieval thought. Remember that Dante can be read only in Italian if you are serious about it, and Vergil must be read in Latin. He is virtually untranslatable, generation after generation tries it, but nobody succeeds. The only "translation" that exists is the transfer from the page of Latin into your consciousness, and this takes place only with much time and effort since it is an emotional transference, via a special kind of intense poetry.

5) Coming to Vergil, first and foremost, one must approach by the avenue of FORM.

Form is not the consecutive structure of ideas, the sequencing of episodes, the tabulation of motifs, or the development of style in a historical framework. The word "form" is often used thoughtlessly and formlessly, and the special aspect of literature which most needs interpretation, true FORM, is ignored. The evil bequest of Longinus' charming little treatise On Style, is the elevation of "idea" to supreme position, while "form" is seen only as setting, clothing and decoration. Horace accepted this as doctrine in the Ars Poetica, although his own case proves the contrary, since it is often the form and not the idea which confers the literary immortality which he craved. Dionysos of Halicarnassos' important critical essay on literature and writing (De Compositione) makes it clear that educated Hellenists of the first century B.C. did understand his idea of form as "sound interweaving with sound, and combining with certain natural affinities of the sonorities". The actual sequencing of sound in words, phrases and echoes, when interwoven with rhythm, which is itself in Latin a polyphonic combination of meter and stress, defines Form in basic terms. Form when used musically, serves to illustrate and amplify meaning. But Vergil often uses form and meaning antithetically, everything may be serene in the story-line, when an ominous note sounds, or perhaps a tone of what critics have called "the sound of sweet sadness ". This often seems mysterious to the reader, he feels it comes like a gust of wind from nowhere, like the strange pensiveness in Rembrandt's late paintings of his own face. These magical moments of half- hidden revelation are produced by subtle, partly cloaked structures of carefully controlled form. A good amount of phonetic awareness, whether academic or intuitive, is clearly essential for understanding Vergil.

Briefly, the sounds of Latin are divisible into four general classes.

The vowels, well called in German "bearers of the syllable", are from the front to the back of the resonating mouth-cavity, -e-,-i-,-a-,-o-,-u-. They form an oral and aural sequence which is perceivable by speaker and hearer alike. The tightness and hardness of -i- and -i- soften in mid-mouth into a relaxed -a-, but as -o- and -u- dip further back into the throat, an ominous, often hollow sound comes forth..

The (so-called) liquids, -r- and -l-, and the phonetically allied nasals -m- and -n-, are loud, heavy, and rolling. They suggest powerful, sometimes dangerous effects, they linger in the ear, and press down on the mind. They are always striking.

The unvoiced "stop-consonants" are -p-,-c- and -t-, or when voiced -b-, -g- and -d-. Formed by a buildup of breath against a closure at the lips, teeth or mid-mouth, these are short sounds, made by releasing air pressure at slightly different locations. The consonants are important and distinctive sounds in Latin, but not easy to hear since they are both short and weak. Esthetically they connote tightness, they are used with abrupt words snapped out at the front of the mouth. The voiced variants are slightly softer, but still terse.

The last group of sounds, the breath or "air" sounds, is the weakest acoustically(-h-, -f-, and -s- represent this group). [Note that -v- is -w-, a semivowel in Classical pronunciation; -z- is Greek only; -ph- and -ch- are aspirated consonants, but always point to Greek influence. ] In this group, -h- tends to disappear from pronunciation and writing, -f- and especially -s- have hissing, threatening, and at times serpentish associations. Since there are so few sounds in this group, when they do appear, they are likely to have significant meaning.

This rough and bald phonetic outline may not convince the reader of the importance of sound in Vergil, without cogent examples of Vergilian usage it can only serve as a brief, and therefore rememberable, table of things to watch for in reading. Detailed examples of how the sounds are actually employed will be found in the commentary to Aeneid Book IV, but in the last analysis, each reader must make personal associations of his own...

6) Two traits in Vergil's art appear again and again. First, he maintains a special relationship with Nature (using the word in the modern English, rather than the Latin sense). This stems from the deep strain of "animism" which pervades Roman religious thought, and must be kept apart from the use of literary Olympian figures in the epic tradition. There exist certain linguistic affinities between the Italic and Celtic subdivisions of the Indo-European stock, and we may well look for common traits in the handling of the forces of nature. Mysterious, at times almost elfin beings, appear and disappear in Vergil's lines, every river and tree houses a minor deity, powerful in his own realm, Nature is first and last our setting, our agricultural mainstay, and the world around us. This is no formless, inert world, but a live, continually changing backdrop to human life. The deities of forest and orchard are not perceived as abstract forces, but as if actually seen. Behind this may lie the psychological capacity of the human mind to construct recognizable portraits from randomized water, rock and tree patterns. We all do this when daydreaming or looking at the clouds passing, but to the Romans, prepared by their religious usages for believing in reality in Nature, these visual tricks of the eye (as we see them) could easily be taken as real. Positing reality is actually a simpler explanation for shapes seen in nature than citing recognition patterns in a matrix of perception theory. If you see the old man's face in the leaves, that may be the very deity your grandfather told you about, and if changing light makes him disappear, why not say he was displeased and went away. Vergil's use of such materials is well known, but what he felt and what they meant to him, is still elusive.

A second trait often observed in Vergil is his use of simple and unadorned language, which he borrowed from Roman daily speech. He often places ordinary phrases in passages of high literary style, contrastively. There are many simple words which hardly occur in poetic diction, Vergil himself may have used them only once or twice. When these words are used, they have a strong effect, they stand out in contrast to the grand literariness of the epic and poetic tradition, representing the world which we find in the Suburra, in the theater, the shops. We identify these words by our experience with the Latin language, and by searching the dictionaries and word-index to Vergil. If a word is "vulgar", and used by poets rarely, then when it is used in a passage in Vergil, it must be there for a special reason. If we are thinking of Latin primarily as a vehicle for high literature, we will certainly miss the little, common words of the people, which bring a sense of immediacy to high-flown literary contexts. Romans of the Augustan period noticed Vergil's use of common and ordinary words, and some censured him for this. (Donatus' Life, discussed below, is the authority for this matter.)

7) The Greek and Latin poets use much more striking and visual imagery, and far less abstract ideas, than we do in modern poetry. The continual use of color suggestions, changes of focus and distance, cuts and sutures of scenes, flashbacks, action-stops, fades and montages that we find in Classical authors, suggest that in their poetry the ancients sought an effect comparable to what we expect in cinematic art. If we think of cinema as the outgrowth of a specific invention, the movie camera, we might consider cinematic vision applicable only to this century. The history of art from the Renaissance on, however, points to many regular practices which art has always shared with modern cinema. Pursuing artistic vision further back into Roman and Hellenic times, we see in the poets a manifest fascination with every aspect of visual perception. In fact, if one ignores the many visual cues found in ancient poetry, one loses a great part of the impact and meaning. Especially in Vergil, who has what I have no hesitation to call a natural, intuitive cinematic eye, the cues must be carefully watched. Often when mentally recasting a Vergil ian scene in pseudo-cinematic terms, one will suddenly find he has come upon the real setting and the inner meaning of what he is reading.

8) Much of Vergil's vast literary reputation is involved with history, whether going back from his time to the Greek antecedents, or on through the centuries. Layer rests upon layer of appreciation and misappreciation. If the strange Fourth Eclogue produced the rather fantastic notion that Vergil was predicting the birth of Jesus, and this entitled him to a semi-sanctity among the Christians, finally turning him in the Middle Ages into a magician, sorcerer and necromancer, whom Dante finally adopted Vergil as friend and guide.... we must ask if this is of value in reading Vergil's poetry. Or if we turn our attention to Vergil's influence just since the Renaissance, does this make our understanding of the poetic quality in a passage any richer? Nostalgia is a strong force in our society as this century comes toward its end, we seem to love and prize all kinds of old things, big and small, common and rare. Are we to value our Classics more, because they are old, because they have the whiff of stale air from an ancient society?

One of the values of literature is that it brings minds from different ages and societies together, and lets the men of later days see, from the writings of former people, what things we have in common, and which things have really changed. Subtle differences of attitude are informative and precious, since genuine artistic materials from the past are so rare. It is this contacting of minds, especially of creative and imaginative minds, from another time that is valuable, not just the fact of antiquity by itself. When the work you are dealing with is good, and you are sharp in your perceptions, then the ancient author will often seem to be in the room with you. This is the wonderful illusion of the persistence of true genius, perhaps it is less of an illusion than we think.

9) Very little factual information about the lives of ancient authors is available, in Vergil's case we know more than we know about many other Latin authors, such as Lucretius and Catullus. A review of Rose's Handbook of Latin Literature (p.236 ff, or any literary reference manual) will state the facts of Vergil 's life succinctly. We see a young man of middle-class background, by nature shy and retiring, studying the books and courses which were usual for the time, first trying law which he dislikes, and soon after writing poetry, at which he succeeds quite well, artistically and in reputation. Skirting the dangers of troubled times, he meets the Prime Minister and Emperor, wins favor and funding, writes a national and at times nationalistic Epic, and dies in Greece at the age of 5l, intending to burn his unfinished Aeneid, which is by imperial order rescued and lightly edited by friends.

Beside this "conventional" biography, there are curious details to be found embedded in the ancient Vitae, written by grammarians near the middle of the 4 th century. The general intellectual tone of academicians of this period of not high, fanciful interpretations are mixed in with stories which could go back the few hundred years between the commentator's time and the poet's. Nineteenth and twentieth century scholars have gone over these Vitae carefully, but they have drawn out only provable, factual materials, by and large. It seems worthwhile to examine the ancient Vitae carefully and with a fresh point of view, to see if some of the minor Vermilion anecdotes may have information which can help to fill in the very sketchy and formal personal history of Vergil which we possess. The Vitae, since they are late, must be treated with caution, but overcaution can obliterate worthwhile historical detail. Their date is some seven times nearer to Vergil's than ours, and caution must take second place to historical common sense.

Starting with materials drawn from Donatus' rather full Vita, the poet's father is mentioned by some authorities as a potter (this would be interesting as possibly providing a sense of form and craft to the son), by others as a viator mercennarius, which might mean salaried (public?) agent, just possibly traveling salesman, or as the British say, commercial traveler. More important would seem to be the story that his father considerably improved the family finances by purchasing woodlots and tending bees, thus incidentally providing raw material background for his son's Eclogues and Georgics. The mother's oft cited dream (producing a laurel branch which grows and bears fruit) is certainly a back-formation from Vergil 's fruitful, laureate career, and nothing more. Vergil received the man's toga at l7, on the very day Lucretius died, surely establishing for him a sense of tradition in poetry; his constant use of Lucretian words and phrases confirms this notion. Physically Vergil was described as "big" (grandis), dark in complexion (aquilus), and having a country-style face (facie rusticana). This last remark is interesting, but one can only guess exactly what a countrified appearance would be to Roman eyes. After centuries of formal Roman portrait busts, could this mean a more relaxed and less mannerismed countenance? If we take the evidence of modern developing, rural areas into account, we might think of the country type as lean, muscular, thin from a life of hard work and little extra food, and dark from exposure to the sun. One thinks of the poet Persius calling himself semipaganus, "some sort of a country yokel" as he comes before the Muses. Ethnologists concerned with Italian history have suggested that the Etruscans disappeared from history not by attrition, but by disappearing underground into the country population, where they are still recognizable as a separate physical type, tall, thin, dark skinned, and deep eyed. If Vergil were from Etruscan stock, can traces of Etruscan culture be found in his work? Many Roman literary figures came from outside Rome, perhaps this points to a country freshness and an aggressive talent for succeeding at Rome, traits possibly shared by the youthful poet. Vergil was noted as sickly, but it is not clear with what ailment or ailments: he had stomach trouble, tooth pain (jaw trouble), and headaches, and often threw up blood! He was a fastidious eater and drinker, perhaps in part because of the above ailments. He was said to have inclined sexually to boys, had two known slave boyfriends; however this must not be taken as unusual, since the educated upperclasses could be openly bisexual, and educated Romans at this time were the very group to which Vergil belonged. More to the point is his stubborn refusal to have an affaire with a lady named Plotia who was interested in him, and the fact that at Naples he was nicknamed Parthenias "The Maiden". Perhaps this referred less to girlish mannerisms than to his asexual bearing, befitting of the maiden of mythology, Artemis. Girlish shyness was apparently part of his personality, witness the fact that when famous at Rome as a poet, he avoided crowds by ducking into nearby buildings.

Following Donatus, we find that Vergil at one period studied medicine, and also mathematics. One thinks of Duckworth's studies on use of Gold Mean proportion of 1.6l8034 to 1 in alternative paragraph lengths throughout the Aeneid. He had studied rhetoric, but plead just one case, apparently disliking the courtroom scene. This is not surprising since he was described as very slow of speech and when speaking he sounded (Donatus' sources say) like an uneducated person. Putting this together with the countrified face, one gets the picture of a young man far different from the poet laureate as depicted in the famous mosaic portrait (this can be found in any history of ancient art, and is well worth examining with care). Vergil was certainly not slick or facile in speech in an age characterized by the prevalence of the ready word on the tip of the tongue. Ovid would be a better example of a smooth, educated Roman gentleman.

In beginning the Aeneid, Vergil is stated to have wished to encompass the scope of both Iliad and Odyssey, to have decided to use both Greek and Latin words and names mixed in together, while also providing an outline of Roman origins. His composing methods, mentioned specifically in relation to the Georgics, was to write many verses early in the day and then spend the rest of the day reducing them to a very few, which process he himself compared to the habit of a female bear, constantly licking it's young into shape. He wrote the Aeneid out in prose first, then turned it into verse. This seems surprising, perhaps the prose version was not a complete text but just an outline in note-form; in any case mechanical versification of a full prose version doesn't sound like Vergil's style. In order not to lose his speed in composing, he is said to have included parts which were not really finished, other sections admitted shoring up with temporary verses, using them as "props", as he put it jokingly, until the permanent columns could be set in place. (This remark, which is quoted as coming from Vergil himself, is interesting since it shows architectural awareness, helpful for any author; he probably began composing the Aeneid in 30 B.C., which is quite near the probable date of the publication of Vitruvius' work De Architectura).

After Actium, at a time when Vergil was trying to recover from "jaw trouble" (perhaps infection of the bone following tooth extraction), he read aloud to the Emperor over a three day period, but when Maecenas took turns reading, he was often interrupted by the poet because of errors in his pronunciation. Vergil pronounced words with remarkable sweetness and "charm" (the word is lenocinium, a word of sexual cast, meaning "pimping, enticing, sexual allurement, charm, blandishment and flattery"). The "Maiden of Naples" is charming in his speech as well as his manner, it would appear. This careful attention to speech is important, it accords exactly with the musically and phonetically aware tenor of Vergil 's language, and warns us never to read in a terse and frigid manner. (It should go without saying that all reading of Vergil must be done as the Romans did it, aloud. We know that wealthy Romans had isolated reading rooms in their villas, because they simply were not able to read silently as we do. St. Augustine does point to silent reading, but at a much later period.)

The celebrated "half lines" in the Aeneid were already seen by the author as impossible to finish. One of his secretaries had a knack for rounding them out, but apparently Vergil felt under no compulsion to complete them all, and they stand as he left them, immortally truncated. The story of Vergil 's trip to Greece while finishing the Aeneid, his death there, and the editorship of the poem with minimal changes, is too well known to need comment. More interesting is the fact that even in Vergil 's time there were critics and detractors, who made specific reference to his off use of words, as in this parody from the famous line in the Georgics:

Dic mihi Damoeta cuium pecus, anne Meliboei?

"Dic mihi Demoeta cuium pecus, anne Latinum?"

Tell me, Damoetus, whose's herd, is that Meliboeus'?

"Tell me, Damoetus, whose's herd? Is that Latin? "

And this is followed by the cutting second line: "No, it's actually Aegon's, that's the way they talk in the countryside". Apparently the Romans connected Vergil 's use of odd locutions with his country face, his slow and uneducated sounding manner of speech, and his country origins. (There are many places in the poetry where one suspects that Vergil is using words drawn from daily speech, of course native-speaking Romans were able to recognize these things better than we can.) Another critic said that Vergil, apparently supported by Maecenas, was the inventor of a new kind of "tastelessness", which featured neither blown-up nor pared-down words (marks of the Asiatic and Atticistic style-camps of Cicero's generation), but he used ordinary words and hence escaped being detected. (An odd comment, perhaps we fail to see some of the common words which Vergil uses, accustomed as we are to a mixture of high-level literary words beside words of daily, ordinary conversation in twentieth century poetry.) There were various extensive lists of Vergil's borrowings of materials from other authors, especially Homer, and these were apparently felt to be plagiaristic. But Vergil told them to go try borrowing themselves, it was quite difficult, since you can more easily steal the club from Heracles than a line from Homer. (In other words, the borrowings, especially the Homeric loans, are altered and transmuted, hence must be seen for their degree of difference, not for their similarity. This is a point which we often fail to observe...)

In the shorter Life which goes under the name of Probus, there is a curious remark: "He lived for several years.... (words missing)... in contemplative leisure, following the school (sectam) of Epicurus... " Place this together with the comment in Donatus' life, which we have been following :" he decided to retire to Greece and Asia, and for three years did nothing but polish the Aeneid, so that the remainder of his life would be free for philosophy.". The question is "Which Philosophy?" Scholarly opinion casts Vergil as a staunch Stoic and his epic is so interpreted, largely because of his sympathetic treatment of Aeneas, who is "stoical" in spirit, but it appears possible from these statements in the Vitae, that Vergil was privately an Epicurean, and that the Stoic attitude was merely a part of his external, public-oriented personality. The standard view that Dido is sexual and Epicurean, whereas Aeneas, who is destined to prevail, is self-controlled and hence Stoic, is entirely too simple. Both Stoic and Epicurean philosophies far more to say than this, and their history cannot be encapsulated in a glib cliche.

Vergil technically became a man on the day the Epicurean Lucretius died, and Lucretius is the author from whom Vergil borrowed and echoed most after Homer. We may surely expect to find deep Epicurean roots in Vergil's philosophy.

These citations are from documents which are, although late in date and stemming from an unperceptive era, fairly close to Vergil and his time. They have a certain ring of fact and authenticity, and give us a number of details which point to a poet far from the celebrated laureate enshrined in the Poetic Hall of Fame. We have at hand a quiet and shy, tongue-tied young man of retiring, perhaps somewhat effeminate mien, seeming to urbane Romans countrified in appearance and in manner of speaking. When he speaks, however, he is highly conscious of intonation and pronunciation, he is exact in the requirements for reading his poetry, and impatient with bad reading technique., even Maecenas'. He associates with the highest level of his society on an easy basis, is neither more nor less homosexual than his contemporaries, never enters into deep connections with any woman, and apparently doesn't consider old-style Republican family life as suitable for himself.

l0) This commentary is intended to be an artistic and esthetic companion to the Latin text of Vergil 's Aeneid Book IV. Over the years there has grown up such a vast array of comment on Vergil that the sheer bulk makes it largely inaccessible to readers. A great deal of the commentary dating from the last two hundred years is focused on matters of professional scholarship, and although it constitutes a wealth of useful factual information, the application of this scholarly material to work of the poets seen as creative artists, has often been ignored. This stems from a traditional notion that the Classics are concerned primarily with facts, rather than ideas, and literature has often been seen as a minor appendage to historical record. Even the history of ancient ideas is often understood as essentially historical and factual. When the New Criticism appeared on the American scene years ago, it was felt at first that this might provide a refusing of attention to the words of Classical authors taken just as they were, as the carriers of artistic and literary concepts. This was certainly the idea behind the autotelic approach, to be concerned only with the text as it stood. In the ancient world, however, so much is inexplicable without historical and social background, that the autotelic method never gained a firm footing. Furthermore graduate school training in the Classics, which focuses heavily on the traditional and scholarly attitudes of the l9th c. philologists, monitors the door for professional entry of the teachers and researchers who ultimately determine the directions of new thinking in the Classics. Students of artistic temperament tend to choose areas more sympathetic to the study of the creative processes, and Classics has often been left with the hard core of scholarly fact-finders, temperamentally unsuited to pursue matters like poets' minds. To understand the world of poetry, one must know a great deal about the arts, about philosophy, psychology, anthropology and about the world at large, this is implicit in the idea of the Humanist. The training of a Humanist can only be begun in the five or eight years of graduate school, completing the full program is a life's work, and only the gifted and diligent have any chance of succeeding.

1l) In dealing with major work from a major poet, we want to be as sure as we can be that we are dealing with the text in an authentic and accurate way. To be sure, there are many fine points of ancient Roman pronunciation which are lost forever. Exactly what intonation and what slurring occurred in spoken speech can only be guessed at, but the detailed work of five generations of accurate linguistic scholars gives us reasonable assurance that the more important features of the ancient Latin language are known, and can be reproduced. There have always been quibbling arguments about "the true Latin pronunciation", but at this date, the level of the entrenchment of the quibbles is more a block to proper use of Latin than the level of our knowledge. Taking the state of knowledge achieved by the Yale scholar Edgar Sturtevant's work on Latin pronunciation as a base, we can vocalize Latin letters with cautious confidence. But the written text itself has gone through various transmutations.

First, in manuscript texts dating from the Roman period, all letters are in capitals, there is no capital -u-, (it is always -V-), and of course no small -v- in the event of your reading a minuscule text. Letters were printed large, almost an inch high, especially in important books like Vergil, as a concession to chronic eye infections which plagued the populace, and of course it was impossible to correct defective vision by ground lenses. With such large print the reading rate was slow, and this was in turn further retarded by the Roman's inability to read silently. This may seem strange to our culture, in which children learn not to phonate by the age of eight or nine, but we know from primary evidence that Romans always read aloud, and so heard their readings with a remarkable acuity. Furthermore they liked reading aloud, and this made poets responsible for producing euphonic, acoustically enjoyable texts. Ancient books are full of music, but until we get completely used to reading them in a strong and unembarrassed voice, we cannot get their full effect. In the case of Vergil, whose writing is musical above all others,, we must practice reading aloud until the process becomes natural to us. Reading the Aeneid silently is like inspecting Bach's score to the B minor Mass... it is true, you can perceive absolutely everything, except the sound.

The text is is printed in CAPITAL letters, and intended to be read aloud, slowly and thoughfully at the rate of less than ten pages an hour. The Romans used only capital letters in their manuscript texts, with "uncial" letters a little under and inch high, about like this:

AT REGINA GRAVI IAMDVDVM SAVCIA CVRA

This has great advantage for an age without eyeglasses, reading handwritten and heavily used copies, on a very wide page of parchment in a codex or book-form. It suits our sense of readable text even less when written without spacing as below, the normal Latin usage except for very elementary students, who might have small red interpunct marks.

ATREGINAGRAVIIAMDVDVMSAVCIA CVRA

Reading a continuous row of letters like this, one would read carefully, phonating each character and listening to the sound of one's voice for the "text", which is the way Romans actually read. But since we have been schooled since third grade to read words as "characters" without phonating out the sound, we gain far greater reading speed, while losing the directness of the writer's voice arising from re-sounding the words. The Commentary hopes to bring us back in some measure to an auditory approach to Vergil's poetry, without which we miss half of the effect of his language. When you download the Latin text (from the main menu) you can choose between the minuscule (normal) or capital letter continuous text for your reading,

Since poetry often has an element of visual display in the individual lines, the format makes the line visually and artistically clear as a study in design. Many lines of Vergil are studies in design, and the ancient format makes this easier to grasp. We are fortunate in being able to imitate an early style of lettering such as the Romans used with our modern typefaces, you cannot do this with Greek, which in older MSS is unreadable, as are the papyri. Perhaps at this point a word about "long marks" is in order. The Romans knew the longs by knowing how the language sounded, but never wrote them in, nor do modern texts of any author include them with the one exception of high school textbooks. Since students seriously studying Latin will never see a long-marked text after high school, the use of such crutches may well be questioned. It would seem better to learn to deal with regular printed texts, than learn everything in "marked" text, and later wonder where the cribbed marks went. A Dutch doctor named Smets published in l599 a dictionary of regularly used poetic words illustrated with one verse from a good poet of the Augustan period,which establishes the natural length of the vowels. But even so there are questions about length in some words, which the OLD lists at the beginning of each entry. Note that modern Russians must speak with precise pitch accents, but would never think of writing them in their books. If students learn the longs and shorts by hearing Latin spoken by the teacher and speaking it themselves, there will be no problems later on, that is the long and the short of it.

Two letters in the Latin alphabet and how they are to be pronounced have always generated more heat than light, the letters -u/v- and -c-. If we use the capitals alone, we will see only -V-, which must be pronounced -w-. There is no question about this linguistically, although those favoring "church pronunciation" will fight on for -v-. The same is true of -c-, which was always -k-, but the palatalized pronunciation -ch-, which did appear in very late Latin, is preferred by those whose Latin started in church schools. It would seem better to alter one's pronunciation in view of linguistic correctness, and in hopes of getting nearer to the author's sounds, but if the teacher can't learn new tricks, using the accustomed pronunciation will be necessary. But at least sound the Latin words out loud and clear, there is no earthly virtue to whispering and mealy mouthing. The worst sin against the nature of poetry would be -v- and -c- engrained in the mind as ghostly letters , forever deprived of sound..

Latin metre has always been a real problem for students. The system of scansion which traditional grammar books cram into their concluding pages is too slow and clumsy for use while actually reading. Writing out the longs and shorts laboriously and then reading back the notes while intoning as if you were on a creaky rocking horse,is no way to apprehend the musicality of poetry. Having developed an unusable system of scansion, many teachers treat Latin poetry as unreadable, and have the students translate verse and parse in class, then scan a few lines on paper for the sake of discipline. TO do things right, the teacher must be able to read Vergil at a normal pace, with feeling and good intonation, getting the longs and shorts right automatically, as easily as in reading Shakespeare's pentameters. (Just so one sings from sheet music in church without thinking of quarter and eighth notes all the time.) When the teacher does this, he can read to the students and let them get a sense of what the sound of Latin verse is like. Vergil is easy, with only one basic metre and not a great many variants, but even if it were hard, there would be no excuse for reading great poetry silently.

When students have absorbed the sound of the dactylic hexameter in their ears, they can then consider these things:

A line has only dactyls ("fingers" in Greek, which have one long bone and two shorts) or spondees (in Greek "libations", referring to the slow step at religious ceremonies). Dactyls are emotionally fast, moving and stirring, spondees are heavy, weighty, sometimes threatening. or sad.

Lines must begin with a long, after which comes a binary choice: either two shorts, followed by a long (the beginning of the next foot) or a long, which also must be followed by a long for the beginning of the following foot. Getting used to this simplified system, the choices will be found to be small.

Most lines (say 49 out of 50) end with a two foot sequence, a dactyl followed by a spondee. If the last syllable of the line is short, it is to be considered long.

"Long" means of a vowel that l) it is long by its nature, as it were, genetically, or 2) it is considered long if it occurs before two consonants (which double-stopping-off demands a longer vowel to start with).

Everything not long is short. Sometimes it is easier to watch the shorts than the longs.

A vowel at the end of one word combines and fuses with a vowel at the beginning of the following word, even over -m- which is a weakened nasal-colored and not a real consonant in this final position.

The longs are somewhat longer, but not intrinsically louder, than the shorts, like quarter and eighth notes in music, but by Vergil's time the 1:2 ratio which the Greek maintained was evening out. Try to keep longs and stressed syllables as separate ideas (below)

We should note at this point that the above statements apply to Latin poetry, whereas a different system is used in prose and conversational speech:

A word is stressed (not lengthened) on the third syllable from the end, unless the next-to-last (antepenult) is long by nature, in which case the stress goes there, on the next-to-last. English uses a similar accentuation by stress in similar locations, so this system should seem fairly familiar.

However, there does exist a problem of harmonization between the metrical and stress systems as outlined above. If a poet wrote lines which were metrically correct, but put the stress, as used in prose, in odd and unusual places, his work would be laughable. Poets knew that the two should work together, although they cannot actually cannot work together perfectly. Vergil understood this well, and rather than make metre and stress as coincident as possible, he found ways to make them work out of phase with each other here and there. There are verses in which the metre-stress imbalance creates secondary effects of great interest, sometimes giving a line an interesting lilt or a lurch. This is due to the care with which the poet adjusts metre to encompass, but not completely repress stress. These are subtle effects which will appear automatically if you read aloud and listen to what you are saying. You will certainly hear the lilts, just as you will hear the shifts in musical phrasing in a Bach Unaccompanied Cello Suite, where you will probably hear it sooner by listening than by poring over the music score. Don't be impatient, this is a difficult area to understand and it will take time.

l2) This commentary deals, first of all, with the words printed on the page. Poetry is the art of words, so we must behold their shape, form, associations, connotations and musicality at the very beginning. Since paying close attention to the words, as words, that the author uses is often ignored in the study of Latin authors, a great part of this commentary is devoted to this. As the facts of ancient life and social organization come up, they enter the commentary, with one proviso: They are there to serve as illustrations to the ideas of the poet, but poetry is not a set of illustrations to history. Poetic materials can be used perfectly well as raw materials for history, especially social history and the sociology of the "populus minutus", as the Romans called their populace, but this is an entirely different study from the study of poetic creativity, it demands different training, a different type of intelligence., and it has an entirely different purpose. Poetic sensitivity easily gets lost in the world of exact scholarship, to restore it to a working method which explicates poems is one of the aims of this study.

For further reference, some of the following books may be important. The huge Oxford Latin Dictionary brings together a good selection of citations on every word used in the Latin language, here the reader can find good information about the Roman's use of words. Wetmore's complete index to Vergil 's vocabulary shows how often, and usually exactly how, Vergil used a particular word. Merguet's German index has the great advantage of citing each line in full, so one can read the context without going back to the text for each word, which is a definite advantage; the disadvantages are that the sections are organized in a confusing manner, and the translations are from Latin into German. Arthur Stanley Pease's great commentary on Aeneid IV, published in l935 and reflecting many years' assiduous reading, is a useful monument of pertinent materials, unfortunately gathered primarily as information, and lacking artistic interpretation. The Roman materials on Vergil's life, which have been used above, and the Commentaries of Servius date from the 4th c., since they reflect the impressions of the last native speakers of Latin who were in contact with the classic authors, they are most interesting. The Lives of Vergil are collected in a thin Oxford volume, the commentary of Servius with additions is to be found in the older edition of Thilo and Hagen from l88l, or better the Harvard Servius, which in Volume 3 contains about two hundred pages of Latin text on Book IV. (Donatus' Vergilian Commentaries is preserved, but it is longwinded, inept and at all costs to be avoided.




Bibliography:

OLD= Oxford Latin Dictionary ed. P.G.W. Glare, Oxford Univ Press. l982

Wetmore: Index to Vergil l934

Pease= A.S. Pease: Aeneid Book IV Harvard Univ, Press l935, repr. l960

Vitae Vergilianae Antiquae ed. C. Hardie Oxford Univ Press l966 or OCT

M. Merguet: Lexikon zu Vergilius l9l2, Hildesheim reprint l960

Vergil: Opera ed Hirtzel OCT Series Oxford Univ. Press l900 or any modern text. (MSS alternative readings and three centuries of scholarly

corrections are interesting, but not our primary concern here.)

Servianorum in Vergili Carmina Commentariorum ed. Harvard. Vol III, Oxford l965, p.247 and following for Aeneid IV.

H.J. Rose: A Handbook of Latin Literature Methuen London l936 (reprinted) is still useful for general background and selected detailed information.




In this commentary the following conventions will be followed:

V. = Vergil

S.= Servius' Commentary

" " These double quote marks are used for translated words

' ' These single quote marks are used for Latin

[ ] Square brackets are used for purely grammatical aids to the student, but only difficult points are noted.

cf.= Lat. confer = compare....

e.g. = exempli gratia = for an example.......




(The Latin text is in capital letters, which may surprise you, but there are two reasons. First the Romans through the time of the Empire, read their Latin in Uncial letters, which are capitals of about a 24 point size. Using capitals gives much more the sense of what Latin looked like, although with most texts the words were not separated, something I think we are not prepared to deal with. Second reading the Latin in capitals will make you read more slowly, more carefully, which is very important (as discussed above) and the unfamiliarity of the -v/u- characters will also slow you down.




AENEID IV: THE 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.

COMMENTARY TO BOOK IV

(Note: This commentary was written a number of years ago, before we had the options of computer editing, cutting and pasting, and the flexibility of manipulating copy which we now have inherited. I would write the following Commentary more succinctly now perhaps....)




We start with the last three lines of Book III, since they establish a startling contrast with the beginning of Book IV :

7l6 SIC PATER AENEAS INTENTIS OMNIBVS VNVS

FATA RENARRABAT DIVVM CVRSVSQVE DOCEBAT

CONTICVIT TANDEM FACTOQVE HIC FINE QVIEVIT

716 shows a typical vowel sequence which Vergil is going to use a great deal: we start with a string of vowels, proceeding from the front of the mouth to middle position in the first half of the line, followed by tight, fronted vowels in 'intentis'. He then switches to a back vowel series, -o-(-i-) -u- -u- -u-, which dominates the end of the line. The next line, in similar manner, starts with -a- vowels, but at the middle, with ' divum cursusque doc-', it swings again to the back vowels. The third line, which closes the book, sums up the pattern of the preceding two lines, starting with 'conticuit' (back vowels), going with 'tandem fact-' forwards, then back again with '(fact)oque', now forward and more fronted-ly than before with 'hic fine', and finally 'quievit', which in one word does it all again in microform: -u- + -ie-+ -u(v)- + -i-. Explanation is more complicated than the verses, read them again carefully, and see how they work without the verbal description.... We see the phonetic structure of the lines, now what does it mean? - - - Aeneas is talking hard and fast (fronted sounds), the audience is staring "openmouthed" at him as he alone speaks, telling about fate (front and hard sounds), which comes from the gods (back and hollow sounds), and their courses (back and empty sounds), which he "taught".

Notice the hollow reverential sound sequence in the academic verb 'docebat'. When Aeneas finally becomes silent ('conticuit tandem') and as it were breaks off, the phonetic equivalent to a yawn occurs: 'factoquehic finequievit'. Vergil had been leading somewhere with this elaborate sequencing of front and back vowels, but with the last four words it becomes clear what he means. This sound display becomes clear if one reads these three lines several times aloud, and it complements the meaning of the last four words perfectly. means. Yawns always commence with the mouth open and an in-breath, then the mouth closes, and finally the breath just inhaled is exhaled, as if with a sigh. After Aeneas' late and lengthy story concludes, a yawn (audience's or his, or both?) occurs which coincides with the words "the end came" and "he rested = was silent". This passage has been outlined in detail as an introductory example of the phonetic concatenation of sound with meaning. After we pass line 30 of Book IV and phonetic analysis becomes more familiar, we will be able to proceed in a more summary manner.- - - Note that Aeneid Book II starts line 1 with 'conticuere omnes intentique ora tenebant', as it were bracketing the pair of books with a pair of key words. Ancient poets have long memories for echoes and use them well.




VERGIL: THE AENEID VOOK IV


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