Wendell Clausen. A Commentary on Virgil Eclogues. Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1994. Pp. xxx + 328. $60.00 (hb: 0-19-814916-6).
The vicissitudes to which C. refers in his preface--a project of R. A. B. Mynors for commentaries on both B. and G., but B. then devolved on C. with a view to joint publication, which plan abandoned as Mynors outpaced C.; then Mynors' accidental death in 1989, his commentary on G. largely complete, published in 1990,1 to be followed only now by C.--make inevitable some matching of the twin books (certamen scilicet ) the one introduced by Robin Nisbet as a cultural monument: "Roger Mynors attained eminence as an editor of classical and medieval texts, who could disentangle the most complicated traditions and make manuscripts come alive as part of the cultural history of Europe," and he was known not only as "a scholar of wide and varied learning but as a human being of rare charm and distinction, who made interesting everything that he touched. These qualities will be recognized in his commentary on the Georgics, which is his best memorial."2 Himself a commentator, Nisbet sketches an ideal of changeless humanism--synergy between textual criticism and cultural history, learning and personality--with its crowning glory in commentary.
Now days, of course, commentary is under pressure. The genre gets challenged
to justify itself--what it does and for whom--and to unfold new kinds of
meaning. It gets rebuked for blindspots, avoidances, and quirks, as in
a recent review, when David Ross complains of a commentary where "a central
and profound paradox of the poem, one of Virgil's great themes [gets] reduced
to a mere scholarly 'problem'," and the writer was "more interested in
thinking about what lies outside the poem than in understanding what V.
has made."3 And these, mind you, are friendly challenges from
inside the pale, not questioning why the fuss, why spend more ink and paper
over a superannuated canon. Yet M. emerges unscathed--a wonderfully assured
and genial guide for reading line on line, while for reflecting on how
V. pulls the work together, opinion can be sought elsewhere about further
kinds of meaning;4 nor does M. preclude the search. No, he opens
1 R. A. B. Mynors, Virgil Georgics (Oxford: Clarendon
Press, 1990), with a preface by R. G. M. Nisbet.
2 Nisbet introducing Mynors, p. vi.
3 D. O. Ross, Jr., "Commentaries on the Aeneid," CJ 90.1 (1994) 82, 86.
4 E.g. on G. 4.317 pastor Aristaeus fugiens, " now a pastor who has come to represent all areas of agriculture (that is, all four books of the poem)," in Richard Thomas, Virgil Georgics (Cambridge: Cambridge U. Press, 1988) 202; and still further, "Arcadian Aristaeus . . . flees,"
the way to imagination when he writes of V. that "all his material, things read, things seen, things felt, goes into the cauldron of his mind, perhaps below the level of consciousness; and thence it emerges as the spirit wills, sometimes just as it went in, sometimes combined and changed beyond recognition" (p. vi) and when he avers "a certain risk in laying down for a poet of genius rules as to what he 'can' and 'cannot' do" (p. 296).
Likewise C. comes to the test of commentary from the school of textual criticism, which bonded him with the world of "English classical philology," as Ross calls it (p. 86). Yet early he inspired trust that he would grow beyond those horizons in his Amherst, then Harvard, colleague R. A. Brower, who starting as a summa in Classics became a legendary critic and teacher of critics, especially illuminating the tradition of pastoral as renewed by his friend Robert Frost. What C. offers, then, is termed on the inner fold of his book's jacket "the first full-scale scholarly commentary on the complete book of poems known as the Eclogues to appear in English . . . a comprehensive guide to the poems and the considerable scholarship surrounding them" together with "special attention" to V.'s "use of Theocritus and other Hellenistic poets," to "poetic style and vocabulary, often with references to . . . Lucretius, Catullus, and (virtually unnoticed by previous commentators) Plautus," and to plants and trees, the whole comprising introductions to the several eclogues as well as "a comprehensive general introduction" on ancient pastoral, the "structure of the Eclogues, and the composition of a pastoral landscape" by V. and Th.
Latin poetic style and vocabulary are C.'s forte. Where he notes some archaizing or colloquial turn, or novelty, my first reading produced along his margins a host of signals for future reference--"NB, yes, +" etc. Leafing back, now, in search of a typical example I light on "NB" at 6.29:
related to fugimus (B. 1.4), profugus (A. 1.2), and fugit (A. 12.952), in John Van Sickle, The Design of Virgil's Bucolics (Roma: Ateneo, 1978) 227-28.
lenge to heroic tradition. Taking this back to V., I realize that in context 6.29 also makes a proemial challenge to traditional singing. But rupes . . . something sticks in the mind from other eclogues. I reach down for the concordance,5 which presents 1.56,76 (nostalgic visions of Italian scenery from Meliboeus, the exiled singer, embroidering on Tityrus' future and his own past); 5.63 (scenery's outbursts of song for a deified singer), which is in tune with our 6.29 (scenery's joy in master singing); but then 10.14,58 (dying singer in newly posited Arcadian scenery). As I look at the contexts and their distribution, I am reminded of a remark in the old commentary attributed to Probus, as to how V. puts themes at diverse places in the liber for different emphasis. At this, V.'s uses of r. come together as moments from the beginning, the middle, and the end of the book that help to define and vary pastoral landscape: from initial positing in Italy, through central fullness--enhancing and amplifying the sense of place --, to closing and repositioning in Arcadia. Returning to C., I find the following:
By now curious to see if V. continues to privilege rupes, I find
(4x) and A. (18 x)--occasions of scenographic (projective and ecphrastic)
power. Wondering if I would have found more in other commentaries, I discover
a further facet in Co.: "Parnasia rupes, towering above Delphi,
evokes the prophetic as well as the poetic powers of Apollo."6
This adumbrates but hardly spells out the vatic nature of Silenus' song.
The rest of the pack echo Servius on geographical location. Only at the
dawn of modern reading does Landino add the aberrant spectacle of correcting
himself for once believing that Parnassus had two peaks called Helicon
and Cithaeron: now he has learned that these are mountains in Boeotia,
yet he insists that P. does have two peaks, sacred respectively to Apollo
and Bacchus, which for us resonates with the intertwining of themes in
6 and 5.7 I also find Fulvius Ursinus adducing Th. 7,8
although the discovery does not interest La
5 H. H. Warwick, A Vergil Concordance (Minneapolis:
U. of Minnesota Press, 1975).
6 Robert Coleman, Vergil Eclogues (Cambridge: Cambridge U. Press, 1977).
7 Landino in P.V. Bucolica & Georgica, & Aeneidos Libri XII. Venetiis in aedibus Aurelii Pincii Veneti excussi, & per Baptistam Egnatium Venetum emendati. Anno Domini M.D.XXXI.
8 Virgilius collatione scriptorum graecorum [ms. et aliquot Latinorum, praesertim poetarum ] illustratus opera et industria Fulvii Ursini (Antwerp: Plantin, 1567; repr. that C. used, L. C. Valckenaer, ed., Leeuwarden: G. Coulon, 1747). Th. 7 is cited also by an anon. ms, densely written in margins of P. Virgilii Maronis Bucolicorum liber unus, in decem aeglogas diuisus (Paris: M. Vascosanus, 1543), now in the Vatican, inviting comparison with Ursinus and with Politian's
Cerda, who instead writes a learned and exuberant gloss on the rhythms provoked by Silenus' singing, briefly relating the image of nature's joy in song (gaudet rupes 6.29) to 5.62-63, even though the actual verse (6.29) somehow failed to get printed in his text.9 My eyes beginning to ache, I remember to go over to EncVir, where rupes gets full credit as a building block: in bucolic landscape, in linking B. and G. (Gallus »« Orpheus), and in emulating Homer.10 I am left to ponder if it matters whether Ursinus, Politian, or who first spotted a Theocritean parallel,11 or whether a word in V. occurs 28 or 30 times.12 What does seem important is what gets made of the information. By and large, C. shows little interest in the effects of selective repetition in or among eclogues. Nor do his repeated references to V.'s further employment of a word usually come with any hint as to the significance of the iteration. Before long the detailing comes to seem tedious and inert.
A like reticence characterizes a whole thicket of examples of usage and style, including the advertised parallels with Plautus--citations sometimes the same, sometimes different from those in Co. Yet for a Plautine word like sordent (2.44), where Co. had nothing to say, C. can neatly point up the coarseness and hint at its aptness to a slave's speech. More generally, claims abound of "first" or "only" use of a word, rarely qualified by "attested" or "surviving" and again risking tedium, since C. so rarely ventures to suggest how the poet's straining for the new or the nonce or the colloquial or the vulgar may shape a context. With the advent of data base searching, raw information becomes less important than the ability to select and bring to bear. Often as I was reading I would think, if only he pulled these points together, what a stylistic and linguistic profile he could give of this persona! As the bare instances mounted, they brought to mind another diagnosis from Ross: "There is a great deal of space taken up in this commentary by the mechanical or perfunctory." (p. 85).
The need to compare with Co. made itself felt early. Approving
C. on florem depasta salicti (1.1), "to be distinguished
from the accusative of respect . . . a Graecism and not found in the E.,"
I wanted to see what Co. had done and found him complementary, more fully
displaying alternative analyses, while not providing references to the
history of the feature in Löfstedt, Kühner-Stegmann and Hofmann-Szantyr.13
By now the margins of both commentaries team with notes such as "more lucid
Co" or "Cl more detailed." In the end, C.
marginalia to V., now in the Bibliothèque Nationale, pillaged
by Ursinus without credit. Concerning Politian on V., see M. Gioseffi,
sul commento a Virgilio dello Pseudo-Probo (Florence: La Nuova Italia,
9 J. L. de la Cerda, PVM Bucolica et Georgica (Lyon: H. Cardon, 1619).
10 L. R. Moscadi, "rupes," Enciclopedia Virgiliana (Rome: IEI, 1988) IV.605-07.
11 C. credits Ursinus for spotting Callim., on 9.51.
12 In the concordance, entries overlap for rupes and its cousin rumpere, rupi (2x)--a useful reminder of potential connotations, but the latter pair are potential culprits for inflating count from 28 to 30, if the perfects be mistaken for datives.
13 "florem, acc. Graec." writes H. Holtorf, P. Vergilius... Bucolica (Frieburg: Alber, 1959) 135, on 1.54.
engendered a new appreciation of the expository merits of Co. Used in tandem, correcting and elucidating each other, they make the intricate mass of information easier to absorb. Not that C. refers to Co. with any system (ignored, duplicated, less full than, inexplicably cited here and there, e.g. on 6.62, 9.21). Other checks will suggest themselves to others. Although faulted for not citing secondary sources,14 Co. at least does not claim to be comprehensive. On this score, readers of Vergilius will harbor no illusions. No work on B. published in America figures in C.'s general bibliography (pp. xi-xiii), nor do the brief prefaces and bibliographies to the several eclogues make any serious attempt to comprehend the critical discussions and larger issues raised in recent decades--the community of most readers of Vergilius.15
Plants and trees were a forte of M., the gentleman-farmer. To sample C., I returned to patches, well nigh purple, where V. represents intense feeling by botanical means (2.45-55, 4.18-25, 5.36-39). C. cites, e.g., Theophrastus, Callim., Ap. Rhod., Th., Nicander, Leonidas of Tarentum, Cato, Catull., Lucr., Varro, Varro Atac., Livy, G., A., Horace, Ovid, Manilius, Gellius, Columella, Pliny NH, Macrobius, Petrarch, and Milton, with Meleager aptly noted for culling his blooms from poetry. The strength of C.'s approach shows to special advantage when he demonstrates how distinctive it is for V. to use an adjective like suauis (2.49,55; 3.63÷4.43; G. 4.200), redolent of Lucr. and Catull. and about to yield to dulcis in poetic preferment.16 C. uses the demonstration, however, merely to argue that V. was under Catullan influence "only in his earliest E.," resorting as throughout to chronological speculation where others would see choice for point (e.g. G. 4.200, e suauibus herbis: V.'s last recourse to s. evokes the bees' asexual procreation from alluring plants).
Regularly C. caps his well stocked notes with references to scholarly resources, e.g. 5.38:
14 By W. W. Briggs, Jr., "A Bibliography of Virgil's 'Eclogues',"
II.130.2 (Berlin: De Gruyter, 1981) 1273.
15 In addition to Briggs in ANRW, see the annual Vergilius bibliographies, also the retrospective/prospective studies in "Vergilian Scholarship in the Ninties," W. W. Briggs, Jr. ed., Vergilius 36 (1990), which on B. includes C. Perkell with my response.
16 Nothing on this in Co., who remains indispensible on other points both botanical and literary, e.g. that the Nymphs appeared already in Il. and Od.. Yet Co.'s laudable attempt to generalize about the whole floral burst, which C. typically avoids, ends in confusion, intruding Arcadia into what Co. himself earlier identified as V.'s sole certifiably Sicilian landscape.
17 Eduard Norden, P. Vergilius Maro Aeneis Buch VI (Stuttgart: Teubner, 19574) Anhang IV, "Gleicher Auslaut aufeinander folgender Worte."
ments the practice of V. to avoid as a rule but employ with selective point.18 C., with his bare invocations of such authorities, perpetuates another quirk ticked off by Ross: "annoying . . . to find so frequently reference to a scholarly discussion without any indication of what that discussion might be about." (p. 85).
The rite of intertextuality, as Ross dubs it (p. 82), looms large in C.'s advertisement, not without a tell-tale imbalance: "special attention" to V.'s "use of Theocritus and other Hellenistic poets," while Latin predecessors are relegated to documenting style and vocabulary. How C. conceives of relations between texts may be gleaned from a sampling of his own vocabulary (habitual terms cited only in an early occurrence):
cf. (p. 34), imitation (p. 34), similarly (p. 63), so (p. 79),
from (p. 35), borrowed (p. 130), owe (p. 82), indebted (p. 154), dependent on (p. 261),
thinking of (p. 96), had in mind (p. 154), reference to (p. 153), recall (p. 136), reminiscence of (p. 145), allusion (p. 49),
modelled on (p. 34), prompted by (p. 281), suggested by (p. 83), echo (p. 29), literary resonance (p. 199), old theme of poetry (p. 84),
close translation (p. 92), took notice of the Sibyl's annunciation (p. 119).
vary after the fashion of the Hellenistic poets (p. 181), contrast (p.
rarely simple (p. 140),
unlike (entirely, p. 74; quite, p. 104), very different (p. 192),
adapting to his own purpose (p. 290), pastoral rendering (p. 174), recreated (p. 178),
Lucretian term in an un-Lucretian sense (p. 190),
improve upon (p. 274), refinement of (p. 51), effect mitigated (p. 136), line borrowed but not the pathos (p. 262),
incapable of mere appropriation . . . a Latin elegance (p. 62), not as shaped by V. (p. 83), more dramatic (p. 113),
Corydon of course an accomplished musician . . . Polyphemus claims only to be the best piper . . . (p.71),
no wish to compete directly . . . little or no resemblance (p. 152).
"Cf." far outstrips all others, doing duty for parallels in usage or style as well as any kind of relationship between texts. Next come the varieties of similitude: not differentiated with any system; insulated in any event from the unsettling thought that every claim of identity provokes some awareness of difference. The ideas of difference are fewer by far. Nonspecific notions predominate, again--above all C.'s penchant for elegance, which emerges as the most basic tenet of his esthetics.
Scanted are V.'s own ideas of tradition, such as mythic origin (Pan
primum 2.32), actual continuation (te nunc . . . secundum 2.38),
matching the master (aequiperas 5.48), and novelty through emulation
(expressed by metaphors of con-
18 Consulting homoeoteleuton in C.'s index leads to his note on 3.1, which reveals part of N.'s argument, not the whole, a partiality C. repeats on 9.28, not indexed. Suspicion grows that C. worked not only slowly but disjointedly, then in final haste did not take time to reread and impose coherence.
quest: vincet . . . Pan . . .victum 4.55,60, cf. superare 5.19). All these C. skirts or slights (inexplicably going out of his way to pooh-pooh the challenge to Pan and play down the importance of Arcadia: see below for reports on contexts). Without V.'s conceptions, C. remains closed to the nature and scope of V.'s assault on tradition.
Readers will have to penetrate for themselves beyond "cf." For the enterprise, they will have at least the convenience of the large number of parallels collected by C., and the crutch of Greek translated. But this very apparatus carries its own danger, for neither is C. comprehensive (who could be?) nor can he be trusted to provide an adequate excerpt, let alone whole relevant context, or to take its point (e.g. the case with Th. 7.148, above, and several cited below with Lucr. and Catull.).
THE SEVERAL ECLOGUES: if C.'s notes suppose a highly restricted audience--bibliographically privileged, wary, patient to pick value from ill-sorted accumulation--, his introductions to eclogues seem more crafted but for a very different class of reader. Paraphrase becomes the dominant mode, simply retelling situations and imagining the psychology of characters. Often the studied elegance of storytelling papers over sticking points. The pleasure of narrative synthesis preempts, foreclosing more analytical reading.
ECL. I: C. speaks simply of the initial "echo" of Th. 1, then launches into paraphrase, producing an imaginary narrative that departs from the text: e.g. "Tityrus' master may be imagined as residing in the nearby town" (p. 31), then how Tityrus went to Rome "to seek redress from the young master of Italy . . .. But loss of property did not entail loss of freedom." Yet V. only depicts Tityrus as an old slave going to Rome to get free, but hearing an oracular command to go back to work 'as before', without the change in status he had gone to get (1.45). V. may well confuse "the private with the public sense of libertas" as C. writes (p. 31), and many have said, but V. also perpetrates confusion in the oracle, with its reassurance of return to old ways, which is a theme suited to the needs of an exile, Meliboeus, not a slave. In the oracle and the figure of the god at Rome, V. inaugurates the "mystery, or mystification" that C. will describe when he encounters it in the fourth eclogue (p. 126)--the whole realm of oracles and omens, building up to prophecy and establishing V.'s public posture in the first half-book, only to be progressively deflected in the second half. C., however, glossing over the confusion in the oracle, paraphrases "Now Tityrus can pasture his animals as before" (p. 32). C. concludes that V.'s "sympathies are usually engaged on the side of defeat and loss; and here, in a poem praising Octavian, it is rather the dispossessed Meliboeus than the complacent Tityrus who more nearly represents Virgil," although others have been saying that V. if at all must be present in both of the personae he invents.19
-- I notes [1-10: situation]--1-3, 7: in lines as pregnant with
implication for Western culture as this opening exchange, just about every
word attracts a mass of information. I like, e.g. "Recubo is a rather
unusual verb, here perhaps with a connotation of luxurious ease; cf. Cic.
or. 3.63 (Cyrenaic philosophy personified) 'in hortulis
quiescet suis, ubi uult, ubi etiam recubans molliter et delicate nos
auocat a rostris'. Yet I cannot help noticing the consequences of C.'s
way of thinking about relations among texts. On siluestrem . . . Musam
he writes simply, "from Lucr. 4.586-9." His excerpt conceals the context
(DRN 4.565-94), which sets the stage for a significant con-
19 So the Vergilius panel mentioned above.
trast, since Lucr. vilified pastoral mythology as a poor fiction, made
up to explain echo and console rustics, while V. reclaims the myth, not
without the irony so fruitfully signalled by Philip Damon.20
Having thus skirted one sticking point, C. takes pains to explain another
away, i.e. the fact that V. calls the first musical instrument in his book
'oat', which is a brittle weed, unutilizable and unused--a choice consistent
with the other hints of V.'s initial self-irony, like the echoes of Lucr.:
not only silu. mus. but the tentative, posited status of Tityrus'
god ('for me' 1.7, as opposed to a confident deus ille at DRN
5.8--Epicurus of course, philosopher not condottiere). As for V.'s
most striking echo of Th., further silence from C.: I mean the shift from
(1.1) in first position, qualifying music made by nature and man, to dulcia
(1.3), qualifying 'plowlands', and so opposing the ethos of georgic work
and pathos of Roman history to bucolic art.
[40-45: epiphany at Rome - oracle]--44-45: in the responsum Tityrus heard at Rome, C. notes that an allusion to Hesiod's poetic initiation has been detected (1955), but stops at that, just where a comprehensive investigation would retrace Hesiod's influence, including Th. 7 (defining bucolic genre) hence to V. (redefining bucolic at the beginning of his book, inventing the story of Tityrus' journey and encounter with new authority in a new place). To this image of Theocritean bucolic reauthorized and enlarged by history and Rome, C. continues to prefer Callimachean elegance (see below, B. 6). Yet recognizing that V. opens with the trope of the defining journey, indeed not one but two (Meliboeus also echoing Th.), would have pointed the way to comparable journies of definition in, for example, Spenser, Wordsworth, and Frost.
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ECL. II: "the elegance of his first line is a Latin elegance"
writes C. emulating V.'s framing pattern, asserting effective identity
between V. and Th., although horchaios Poluphamos (11.1) established
a variation on Homer, while formosum . . . Corydon posits two variations,
not just on Th. but on B. 1.5, formosam (for the latter,
C. remarked ad loc. V.'s "predeliction," but took this as
an occasion to list every other -osus in V., bettering what he called
the "lacunose" list of Ernout but overlooking how V. set out in successive
eclogues to vary love's object from happy to unhappy and female to male.).
-- II notes [1-5: situation varied]--3: densas umbrosa cacumina fagos carries C. back to Callim, again ignoring a variation on the opening motif in B. 1, where beech "placed so prominently at the beginning of the book" did become "symbolic or representative" (p. 35). Tityrus sat beneath an isolated beech, widespread, while Corydon is imagined pacing a grove--faggeta--like the one where the trees grow closely packed, leggy, interlacing their leafy tops, to this day on the Mons Ciminius north of Rome.
[19-34: pastoral values, generic]--32-33: C. documents the ideas of "The Ancients" concerning inventors, slighting V.'s appropriation of the myth of Pan as inventor of the pipe.
[35-39: value of specific poetics]: nor does C. ask why V. places the story of inheriting a pipe at the center of this eclogue, although he did note the epiphany of Tityrus' god at B. 1.42 (the center).
[63-68: towards closure - unrest / rest]: winding down, C. paraphrases: "Corydon is still burning with desire . . . The turbulence of human emotion as contrasted with nature's tranquillity is an old theme of poetry" (p. 84); and he goes on to cite neglected chores as "a symptom of lovesickness in Hellenistic literature." Again and again C. prefers such excursions into miscellaneous lore to engagement with the text. The tranquillity V. posits belongs not merely to a generic "nature" but to nature in harmony with regular georgic tasks, which here throughout contrast with the disorderly passion of the bucolic singer. In this way V. varies further on B. 1, where the georgic world of the
20 Modes of Analogy in Ancient and Medieval Verse (Berkeley: U. of California Press, 1973).
singer, Meliboeus, was disordered by Rome while bucolic love (cf. formosam)
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ECL. III: abruptly C. launches into a roundup of singing in Th.
and V. Yet B. 1 not only "begins with an evocation of song" but
describes Meliboeus as a displaced singer (1.77). C. concludes, "The absence
of song in the Fourth is an indication of its original character." Yet
Eclogue Four is a song, the only one attributable to the poet (canamus,
4.1). Reading on, I begin to wonder where this will lead. C. describes
the contest in Th. 5 so densely that I am forced to pencil a chart in the
margin. Then he outlines B. 3 so loosely that again I feel the need
of a plan. Although competition and victory are basic bucolic tropes, C.
only asserts, "the poet's decision must be arbitrary" (p. 91). Nevertheless,
then, he asks, "Why, with these models before him, did Virgil decide to
alter the pattern?" (p. 92). But instead of a look into V.'s mind, C. paraphrases:
"Because Palaemon intervenes and determines otherwise."
-- III notes [1-6: competitive envy]: "Menalcas and Damoetas repeatedly avail themselves of Plautine language" (p. 93), writes C., using the mode of paraphrase to make one of many valuable stylistic points about V.'s closest approximation to comedy.
-- 1: an Meliboei--"1.6n.," without curiosity as to why the exiled singer here.
[7-27: envy brought round to song]: as I try to read on, I find myself stumbling, looking ahead and back, to figure out where we are in the text--a difficulty felt, already if less acutely, with the previous eclogues--because C. adopts no regular system of announcing a whole segment, commenting, then announcing and treating another segment (La Cerda might have offered a model). Also a nuisance is the constant use of "cf." forward to some later note: a more efficient working principle would be to give basics on first occurrence, then refer back, registering differences and developments, which is what V. clearly expected of readers.
[28-48: envy formalized as song competition]: when the singers boast of cups, C. reminds us that one carving comprises tokens of Alexandrian learning (Callim., perhaps Aratus) and the other the first Orpheus in Latin. However, C. offers no clue as to why V. thus suddenly enlarges his thematic horizon with such images, which add up to a remarkable departure from Th.
[55-59: set for two-fold singing]--[60-63: proems]: the importance of centering has dropped from C.'s concerns (55-7: nunc omnis ager, nunc omnis parturit arbos . . .nunc formosissimus annus), though he signals the uniqueness of the metaphor (parturit). For V.'s further stretch in thematic horizons as the contest opens (Iouis omnia plena), C. registers "from Aratus" and "cf." Nor does C. link this with the hint of Aratus already on Damoetas' cup. Similarly C. takes no note of the contrast between Italic goddesses of poetry in the frame (Camenae, 59) and Greek Muses in the contest (Pierides, 85).
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ECL. IV: although unruffled by the irruption of Arat., Callim., Orpheus and general testing of horizons in eclogue three, C. now goes overboard, imagining that V. took his "pretext" from some actual prophecy of the Sibyl (as if Cumae were not long since silent). The manner of paraphrase prevails, too, if less boldly, in what follows, reinforced by the original function of this piece as a lecture (not revised for its place in the book, hence C. tells us, as if for the first time, that V. was interested in Th. and Callim).
After retelling Hesiod's myth of five races, with decline from golden
to iron,21 and the variant in Aratus (three races only, gold
to bronze, with moral decline rebuked by the Virgin, also called Justice
and by some Astraeus' child), C. navigates the shoals of political allegory
to attach the composition to the circumstances of marriage between Octavia
and Antony. C. emphasizes that V. clothes the infant in mythic and linguistic
trappings of Hercules,
21 The tradition is a bit more complicated than C. allows. Most heroes died at Thebes or Troy, says Hes. Only some went off to enjoy a virtual golden age--an idea expanded in later tradition: so M. L. West, Hesiod Works and Days (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1978) 190-194.
from whom Antony claimed descent (p. 122), and cites the apposite examples of paradigmatic births: in Callim. Hymn 4 (Apollo) and Th. 24 (Herakles). Into this sketch of the eclogue's outer frame, C. inserts a less careful paraphrase of the middle (he just won't pay attention to segments, even in such a patently segmented composition).22 He passes over the key words by which V. signals three stages in the growth of the child and concomitant return of the age: prima (18), at simul . . .iam (26-7), hinc ubi iam firmata uirum te fecerit aetas (37: Is this the only future perfect? iam is a mannerism of this eclogue, demanding overall comment).
When C. glosses the motif of a new Argo and second Trojan war (34-36),
he imagines a merger of elements that have struck most readers as antithetical
(the violent heroes, sailing and besieging, but the pacific child): "During
this period of military expansion in the eastern Mediterranean and beyond,
the Golden Age will insensibly be merged, as the boy grows to man hood,
with the age of heroes" (p. 125). Closing with a plausible case for Antonine
dominance conveniently forgotten,23 C. might be expected to
note how the ideas of this eclogue returned in G. and A.,
entering the ideology of the empire, hence their special appeal to a bishop
like Eusebius seeking to accommodate Rome and Christianity--a metaphorical
link that powerfully extended the ideological employment of V.'s new world
order--NOVUS ORDO SECLORUM. C. leaps, instead, to a sketch of messianic
exegesis, which comes around in Norden.
-- IV notes [1-17: situation present & future]--[4-10: kairos - return & innovation]--7: on V.'s most prominently cited theme, C. writes: "noua progenies: a new race of men, the 'gens aurea' of line 9." Yet this goes against expectation, since g. a. is a traditional motif, and others, like saturnia regna (6) and heroes (34-6), are imagined coming back (which is the natural inference from 4.9, where g. a. might be expected to suggest the old golden race, coming back as the iron race departs). Nou. prog. is the novelty--the child, which V. imagined as a demi-god (deum suboles, . . . Iouis incrementum 49): in any event, this vision of life sent down from above is one that Lucr. emphatically denied, although C. gives no hint of the contradiction in citing DRN 2.1153-54. Comparable reversals and corrections of both Lucr. and Catull. 64 (which C. similarly muffles) serve V. throughout the eclogue to expand his thematic range and define his ideological innovation.
[18-45: promises to infant]--[26-30: adolescence predicted]--28-30: V. imagines nature keeping step with the child's growth and taking on qualities of the golden age 'little by little' in three miracles, the first of which--'field growing gold with soft awn'--C. goes to unusual lengths to play down. C. first declares "molli: with no particular emphasis" (yet he usually argues that position underscores and here the attribute heads the verse, which reveals its surprise only with the answering substantive at the end). Then C. invokes authority: "the soft strokeable look" (Pickard-Cambridge), which would be pretty but no miracle. M. should have arranged a georgic field trip, to let C. stroke the ripe grain and feel the stiff heads and prickly beards.
[46-52: climax & exhortation] -- 46: Talia is "retrospective and summarizing," writes C., "as in Catull. 64.265," giving no sign that here V. envisions centuries that reverse the decline evoked by Catullus when he synthesized the Argnonautica and Iliad with myths of degeneration (Arat. and Hes.). Nor does C. remark the rhetorical climax as V. pushes his thematic horizons toward their extreme. Talia saecla must be accusative, C. argues cogently, although the case can still be clarified by Co.: "accusative of the space traversed." T. s. was taken as accusative, C. points
22 Far more responsible Co., p. 153.
23 In an appendix (pp. 145-50), C. argues that V. "imitated" Hor. Epode 16, "certainly a poem he admired," citing the sound reasoning of Franz Skutsch and opining, "Is not such a bold act of appropriation characteristic of Virgil?" It would have been a logical next step to note that V. thus also took over and amplified the refurbished role that Hor. claimed for his prophetic and public voice: uate me (the ringing last verse).
out, in the comparison of the reign of the Emperor Gratian to V.'s aureumsaeculum
by Symmachus: a nice example of V.'s part in imperial ideology; nice, too,
that the orator characterizes himself drawing on V.'s 'new age' as uati
similis: he perceives V. here as speaking with the voice of a uates.
-- 47: for Parcae, C. refers to Catull. 64 and Lycophron. Yet the situation, imagined between birth and first significant initiative, suggests Varro's account of how the Parcae assign fata to an infans when first he speaks (fatur), Ling. lat. 6.52.
-- 49: silence about Ursinus: "magnum Iouis incrementum. Cui non dissimile illud Theocriti in edyll. vii. [43-44] -- houneken essi | pan ep'aletheiai peplasmenon ek Dios ernos. On connotation and usage, Co. again an essential complement.
-- 50-52: On aspice . . . mundum / . . . / aspice . . . laetentur ut omnia, C. remarks artful composition, varied construction, parts of the universe summed up, without hint that here rhetorically and ideologically V. reaches the thematic range towards which he has been building: o. is comprehensive.
[53-59: inference from climax for poetics]: the segment least explicated by C., although V. here extends his thematic horizons to a future poetic project--dicere facta, hint of epic--that would allow him to defeat--bellicose metaphor--poetic tradition. Where V. exposes the heart of his aim to outdo past poetry, even to its foundations (Arcadia, Pan), the verses strike C. as "rather too emphatic" (p. 126). He adds (p. 143) that "the style is an occasional feature of Hellenistic poetry; see Dover . . . Th. . . . Callim. . . . Nonnus." For most of the information a reader needs, see Co., to whom this match by default.
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ECL. V: a circumspect paraphrase of the proem (1-19) that is properly circumstantial,24 mostly allows if not unveils V.'s allegory of poetics, e.g. not omitting that Menalcas proposes conventionally Theocritean subjects for song while Mopsus has something fresh. Yet C. hardly shares V.'s implication that eclogue four--bringing in all that history, cosmology, and dense digestion of the Argonauts and Iliad--has changed the game. In a telling poetic allegory, V. brings back his testy young singer from the third eclogue, Menalcas, but now imagined as maior and provoked by the advent of a feisty youngster. This new arrival bears the name of the old seer, Mopsus, who challenged Calchas once, and brags of a master song newly inscribed on the bark of beech, nor will he rest in Menalcas' usual shady place. Nothing less will do than a grotto, like that Meliboeus left (1.76).
Where the talk turns openly to poetics, in the interlude between songs (45-55), when Mopsus puffs that nothing is maius for him than Menalcas' song, which Stimichon praised long since (53-55), C. infers: "In other words, Mopsus already knew Menalcas' song and modelled his own after it" (pp. 151-2) [Footnoted: "How else is l. 55 to be interpreted?"] And further, "Mopsus wishes to be like Theocritus and therefore borrows from him, while Menalcas transforms the little that he borrows" (p. 153). C. lingers in paraphrase, as if Men. and Mop. were anything but fictions, invented by V. to some end. Yet C. offers material at least for a plausible scenario, in which it is V. who "wishes" to stake out two positions in his own poetics--one closer to Th., the other reaching for greater distance, just as contrasting positions were represented in the figures of Tityrus and Meliboeus.
C. also plays down the relations between eclogue five and idyll one
where he might have noted V.'s innovation in the bucolic genre. V. appropriates
the Hellenistic lament for a dead poet (Bion) and thus supplies a sequel
to the first idyll--a lament for Daphnis. Between omission and commission,
C.'s account of the intertextual relations of eclogue five ranks among
his most disappointing.
24 C. credits as his model Guy Lee, "A Reading of Virgil's Fifth Eclogue," PCPS 203 (1977) 62-70, which distinguished three "levels" of interpretation and stepped back from dramatic fiction not without critical finesse.
As for the relations of this eclogue to its predecessors in the book,
C.'s lack of concern with V.'s practice of self-citation and cumulative
revision keeps him from noting how the song of Mopsus reverses motifs of
eclogue four,25 while the song of Menalcas reinforces motifs
of three, two, and one. C. can only paraphrase the closing scene (suggest
identification with V.), inferring a move "away from dependence" on Th.
with no clue as to what that would mean or where lead, or why Mopsus, newly
endowed with the retrospective pipe of Menalcas, gets the last word in
the first half-book (also the first word after the center of the whole
-- V notes [1-19: resiting song]--1: C. gives "Mopse: not a pastoral name before V.; perhaps borrowed from Ap. Rhod. 3.916-18" [seer travelling with the Argonauts, as did Orpheus]. Yet the name also recalls the translation by Cornelius Gallus of Euphorion's poem on Apollo's Grynean Grove, where a Mopsus defeated Calchas in a contest of divination: so Carl Wendel, De nominibus bucolicis (Leipzig: Teubner, 1900), arguing from Serv. (on 6.72, which C. cites ad loc. ignoring Mopsus). Another Mopsus, says Co., was son of Apollo and Manto (founder of Mantua). V. has thus chosen to give his newly minted character a name with vatic associations, in keeping with the links just remarked of Mopsus' song to the vatic eclogue four.
[20-44: Mopsus' lament]--44: on the epitaph inscribed for Daphnis, "formosi: an adjective often applied to animals; see 1.5 n., TLL s.v. 111.25." No hint of f. in B. 2.1 or 3.56.
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ECL. VI: facility of paraphrase again outmatches
scruple for V.'s language--a temptation compounded by an idéefixe.
Since 1964 (C. cites) C. has believed that V. here professed all- embracing
faith in Callim. Never (it seems) has C. asked whether here as elsewhere
V. might have made bold to appropriate but redeploy. Now, C. repeats that
V. swallows Callim. whole hog:"His
pastoral poetry, Virgil implies, though ostensibly Theocritean, is essentially
Callimachean." (p. 175). C. is no Landino, to correct course
and move on.
-- VI notes [1-12: Tityrus recanting]: C. goes so far as to state that V. speaks "in his own person" (p. 178, as Callim. did in the prologue to the Aetia, fr.1 Pf.). Also C. ignores the pronounced narrational style, that links three successive moments in time--prima (1) . . .cum (3) . . . nunc (6). The 'first' V. defines as 'play in woods'; only in the second does V. appropriate from Callim. the image of Apollo laying down poetic law against expansiveness, hence conditioning the third moment, which will not, however, be a simple reversion to the first.
--4: Tityre no comment. Yet the name assigned the narrator links this narrative of a defining encounter to the one at the beginning of the book. There V. looked back to Hesiod's initiation through Th. 7, here he looks through Callim., not to open his book with a general statute, but in modulation, like a change in key. The new story that V. invents for Tityrus reflects the large con trast in the first half book between bucolic and broader horizons. V. makes it clear that henceforth in the book Roman history will not figure so powerfully and positively as before. After the fifth eclogue and the fourth, little wonder that V. here imagines a Bacchic singer--like a drunken uates--sodden from yesterday's binge.
[13-26: decanting] -- 13: on Pierides C. gives only "3.85 n." where he wrote, "V. con fines the Pierian Muses to the E." Confines?! Why then at all? The question makes a good paper topic by way of introduction to poetic topography, which is always a problem with today's students in a pastoral course. Co. for once gives hardly more help.
[27-40: song enchanting nature]--29: for Parnasia rupes see above.
[47-60: love perverts bucolic]--48: on Proetides, C. speculates whether Calvus mentioned them or not, without noting Callim. Hymn 3.233-36, which described how they wandered mad over Arcadian hills (more like Gallus in B. 10; since here V. imagines them fearing work in fields).
--55-56: for Nymphae, / Dictaeae Nymphae, C. translates into Greek then cites similar repetitions of the name in Th. 13 and Nonnus, again neglecting Callim. Hymn 3., this time vv. 190-
25M. C. J. Putnam, Virgil's Pastoral Art (Princeton: Princeton U. Press, 1970) 173-78.
200, etiology of the adjective 'Dictaean', said to derive from nets,
that saved the nymph Britomart, after pursuit by a passionate Minos through
the Cretan hills.26 Paraphrasing V., C. imagines the Nymphs
"playing the parts of huntsmen" to catch the bull Pasiphae loves, ringing
the upland pastures, which in fact is what hunters do--with dogs (10.57)
or nets (e.g. 3.75, 5.60). Hence Dictaeae as explained by Callim.,
'from nets', are just right for the hunt.
[61-73: love redeemed by song]: accurately C. sorts out how "Callimachus has remodelled Helicon," but to place the details in perspective, most readers will welcome the fuller background and more intelligible exposition of Co.
[82-86: coda]--82: omnia, says C., tacks on another theme to Silenus' song. Placed in first position, however, abruptly, with no connective, up against everything before it, rhetorically o. sums up the whole with a view to closure. Already the need for closure was signalled when V. made Tityrus break the flow of reportage to ask what else to excerpt from Silenus (quid loquar 74), after which the two themes chosen were connected by aut . . . aut. By contrast, omnia, unconnected, comprehends all. Also, in the overall layout of the eclogue, it opens a coda of five lines.
--82: quondam--no comment, but cf. e.g. Catull. 64.1, where it expresses pote, the 'once' of epic narrative as in Il. 2.547, Mosch. Europa, et al.
--82: Phoebo meditante--for V. to imagine Apollo 'working up' a song that includes Gallus is no less conceivable (pace the elder Skutsch and C.) than for V. to imagine Apollo and Pan encountering Gallus in Arcadia. Above all add: Varro Atac. Chorographia (Morel p. 97).
Vidit et aetherio mundum torquerier axe
et septem aeternis sonitum dare uocibus orbes
nitentes aliis alios, quae maxima diuis
laetitia est. at tunc longe gratissima Phoebi
dextera consimiles meditatur reddere uoces.
"Joy" for the gods when Phoebus "works up" echoes to the music of the spheres. V. imagines Phoebus' singing, retold through Silenus, reechoing to the stars and pleasing the gods: cf. 'rejoice' 4.52, 5.62, and Hes. Theog. 40-3, Muses' music causing joy in Zeus' house echoing across Olympus.
--83: Eurotas, if lined by laurels, must be where Apollo caught Daphne and complained of her loss in song (if I read C. aright), even though Nicander says Apollo slew Hyacinth and made lament by the stream. By now, fervor for Callim. seems to have petered out: add fr. 699 Pf. Eurotas amnis, ut ait Callimachus, in flumina serpit per Laconum fines. fontes agit ex monte Maenalio, confunditur Alpheo rursusque discedit. [From Ps.-Probus on B. 6.] Flowing from springs in Arcadia, mingling with Alpheus: the mythemes curiously anticipate the tenth eclogue with Arethusa's flight and flow.
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ECL. VII: here if anywhere a tactful paraphrase in the manner of Guy Lee would at least not spoil the occasion. C. devotes two impenetrable pages to the age-long squabbling over what decides the contest, all without a conceptual breakthrough. When he modulates into paraphrase, he asserts that this eclogue is "unique . . . in being a reminiscence," which obscures its relationship with other eclogues. More systematic analysis (for which see Aristotle's Poetics as echoed in the commentary of Philargyrius ad Buc.) would distinguish modes of representation--dramatic, narrative, and mixed (in the latter, a narrative voice sets scenes and represents speakers in their own voices, as Homer did). Of these modes, the dramatic comprises eclogues 1, 3, 5, 9 and the mixed 2,
6, 7, 8, 10, only 4 approximating to narrative (but the Parcae, how
are they represented?). Only in 2, 4, 8, 10 is the narrator, for lack of
a bucolic name, susceptible to being called "the eclogue poet" or just
plain "Virgil." Still, remembering does stand out, but so, too, in eclogues
six and five. Also, as in six, remembering takes the form of defining narrative:
in six, Tityre and now in seven o Meliboee--the same two
characters that conveyed such different defining narratives in eclogue
one.27 All these signs that V. is intensively recapitulating
and sifting out the complementary strains in his own book elicit only a
postulate of evasive impotence: "Virgil frees himself from the obligation,
or possibly the embarrassment, of justifying his umpire's decision" (p.
213: cf. C. on previous contests)
-- VII notes [1-20: Meliboeus recalling]--4: Arcades prompts an excursus on putative relations to Erycius, useful reminders of bucolic motifs in epigram (but did Sicilian and Arcadian mingle there, as in Th. 1?).
--9: o Meliboee "without the pathos of 'o Meliboee' in 1.6," writes C., with no wonder why V. here suddenly imagines this elaborately staged return--Meliboeus distracted from work and happening upon Arcadians who had been attracted to Daphnis now firmly down to earth and settled where Mincius weaves its reeds.
--18: uersibus gets no comment nor indexing. No better Co. Why is uers. so confined, as C. would say, and what slant does V. intend, by distinguishing it from carmina (predominant in the first half book)? Another good topic for a paper to get a student thinking about fine points in V.'s poetics.
[21-68: 'great contest']--[21-28: poetics, humble / ambitious] --21: on Libethrides, C. writes, "Corydon begins with a show of Hellenistic learning": but why did V. assign it to a character called Corydon and why here?
--28: uati--"9.32-6." Here as so often, C. refers forward, although V. points back with baccare on which C. notes: "in Latin poetry . . . only here and in 4.19, in both places ablative").
--[29-36: piety & proportion]--36: si fetura gregem suppleuerit, aureus esto merits no comment, yet f. (Cato? Lucr.? Varro?), suppl. (only the second future perfect in the book? ominous overfill?), aur. (cf. gens aurea). "Unpleasant contrast to the style of Corydon," Co. Thyrsis over reaching again? V. pointing again to the fourth eclogue (incrementum, 4.49)?
--[53-60: relation with nature]--59-60: Phyllidis aduentu . . . nemus omne uirebit / Iuppiter et laeto descendet plurimus imbri gets paraphrased, "At the coming of Phyllis every tree will turn green and Jupiter will descend in a downpour of rain to fecundate and gladden the earth; cf. Lucr. 1.250 . . .," nicely bringing out the implication of fullness, maybe too nicely, if Thyrsis is striking a tone like that in his earlier piques, this being the third and last time V. used laet- in B. (cf. 5.60, 4.52); frequent in G. (cf. Italian letame, 'manure') and A. More, too, than 'every tree', V. wrote nemus, echoing the charm-style of nemus omne canet (6.11), with a trace of earlier degrees of comprehensiveness (omnis 4.39, 3.55).
Does V. also endow Thyrsis with Hellenistic learning? 'Grove turning
green at Phyllis' arrival' sounds suspiciously like an extension of the
etiological tale associated with her name (Serv. on 5.10): forlorn, she
turned into a barren trunk, only to put out leaves when embraced by her
beloved on his return, "uelut sponsi sentiret aduentum," so that erstwhile
were renamed phylla for her.
[69-70]--70: Corydon, Corydon nailed down by La Cerda, "geminatio vocis indicat plausum." Pace Serv. and C., the name is neither proverbial (not a "Daniel") nor generic (rightly Co.).
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ECL. VIII: in a perceptive opening C. remarks an aura of "forced
unity" and over- determined bucolic conventions, shifting abruptly to the
"chief difficulty of the poem," the dedica-
27Like C., Guy Lee heads the seventh eclogue "Meliboeus," but excludes "Tityrus" from the sixth.
tion. By careful argument, C. reinforces the view that here V. can only have Octavian in mind, harking back to the god in the first eclogue (C.'s map, though, could be more legible, above all to show at least where the Timavo is). Yet C. comes down a bit hard on poor Kÿouhnken for reading Sophocleo coturno as "metonymy for the high style": the gradations of high, low, and middle styles with their correlated thematic registers (bucolic, georgic, civic/heroic) add up to a system with which V. makes hay throughout. Right in the present eclogue, tragic exemplum and denouement obtrude, to say nothing of the theatrics of Corydon (B. 2) or tragical (paratragic) style of Gallus ranting and hunting on the hills (B. 10).
As a reader I part company with C. when he asserts that the second song (Alphesiboeus) must be considered first to understand the structure of the eclogue (p. 237). C. buys in to one of those aprioristic autoschediastic dicta (Bethe's) that the refrain does not fit the first song and must therefore be modelled on the second song. True, the second song differs from the first in metrical technique (Nilsson discovered), while resembling eclogues two and three. This resemblance, argued Nilsson, meant that V. used different techniques to represent different feelings ("tragischer Ernst" in the first song). For C., the techniques reveal chronology, placing the first song "among the latest of Virgil's pastoral compositions" and making the whole eighth eclogue contemporary with the first, which also honors Octavian. Myself more persuaded by Nilsson, I would be slow to speak of "latest" and "contemporary." I would avoid the rush to chronological judgment, before a more thorough reading of the text. For a start, I might assign a student paper on the complementary themes of the two songs and how each relates to a great idyll of Th. (C. documents the numerous recalls of Th. 1 in the first song, yet does not infer that this idyll was uppermost in V.'s mind). My student would be assigned to look, too, at how V. in composing each song makes recourse to motifs and polarities internal to the book, recourse that is tantamount to further revision and development (cf. the revisions already noted in B. 7,6,5).
In fact, as C. remarks, V. does not stage this 'contest' with the elaborate
scenarios of seven or three. It smacks of something labored and forced.
Symptomatically, then, the internal symmetries turn out to be so intricately
calculated, number and incantation emphasized (by V. not C.), the stories
and gestures extreme, and the narrator thinking out loud about the book--how
he got into it and how he will get out (desinam 11).
-- VIII notes [14-16: situating]: "Pastoral order is reestablished," writes C., who remarks, that Damon's standing "posture is unusual," but cites only instances of sitting singers, ignoring the relevant parallels of singers erect and on the move (Meliboeus, Corydon). Nor does C. associate the anomalous posture with the unique time, early morning. The scene inspires one of La Cerda's rhapsodic outbursts, praising V. for varying the settings from eclogue to eclogue and looking back to describe how each differs from its predecessors.
[17-61: Damon's verses]--[17-25: poetics of Arcadian verse]--21: C. calls the refrain "reminiscent" of Th. 1.64, with no thought for the fact that V. transforms it from 'bucolic song' to 'Maenalian verses'.
--22: Maenalus does rhetorically "explain" (C.'s word) Maenalios uersus of the refrain and the mountain had been mentioned at Th. 1.124. But C. gives no hint how deep the explanation goes, that Th. there alluded to Pan's role as inventor of the bucolic tradition (syrinx), which foundation myth (etiology of poetics) V. here amplifies (after appropriating it at B. 2.32-33). C. notes that carmina occurs in the same position in the refrain of the second song, adding that it "requires no explanation," leaving readers to wonder why V. makes such a pointed distinction between 'verse' (Arcadian, but cf. mainesthai La Cerda) and 'song' (incantatory, vatic, Sicilian), as well as between tragic and comic plots.
[62-63: narrator of 'verses' recuses 'songs']: on Pierides C. remarks that V. "unexpectedly appeals to the Muses for help," comparing the similar break and invocation in G. 3, but with no effort (still) to link up the roles of the Pierians in the book in a way that could account for their function here.
[64-108: Alphesiboeus' songs]--[64-71: poetics of Sicilian song]--67:nihil
nisi carmina desunt, 'spells' translates Lee, faithful to the context,
where C. writes: "for the attraction of the verb, cf."
--69-71: carmina . . ./ carminibus . . ./ cantando--"elegantly imitated by Tibullus . . . The omnipotence of charms, carmina, is a commonplace of later Latin poetry; see Pease on A. 4.487." I was expecting ne malum carmen incantasset --some reference to the force in archaic Latin of c.,28 the rhythmic chants of uates, benign or maleficent. Nor does C. point out that V. again explains a key term of the refrain in the first stanza following its introduction (as Maenalios by Maenalus, so now carm. by carm. etc.--examples of magical powers).
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ECL. IX: grudgingly C. allows that V. suggests a sequel to the
first eclogue (p. 266). He infers that V. imagined the old Moeris as a
tenant paying rent to a usurping master, which is the second of three possible
reconstructions sketched by Co., whose systematic analysis and telling
account of contrasts with Eclogue One get beyond paraphrase.29
C.'s preoccupation with chronology resurfaces (B. 1 has to be later
than B. 9). How far all this can take C. from the text appears in
a symptomatic reading: in V.'s image of "old beeches' broken crowns" (Lee),
C. perceives "the creation of an ideal landscape . . . with its literary
beeches, curiously vague and indeterminate" (p. 267). Again Damon's insight
and synthetic power (as on 'echo' in 1.2) are sorely missed.
-- IX notes [1: defining journey announced]--1: after identifying the "casual question" as "apparently suggested by Theocr. 7.21," referring Moeri to 8.98 (sc. 97), and nicely handling pedes (connotation of mechanical motion: 'plodding' Co.), no comment on uia (yet 4x here, nowhere else in B.) or on in urbem, which pointedly reverses the end of B. 8, ab urbe uenit (urb- 15x in B., of which 10x B. 8, 2x B. 9. and 3x B. 1). Tone of surprise and menace underlined by Co.
[2-10: remembering place lost]--9: On ueteres, iam fracta cacumina, fagos, C. gives, "cf. 2.3 'densas, umbrosa cacumina, fagos'; the broken tree-tops are in harmony with the general mood," slightly correcting "creation of an ideal" and "literary . . . vague" (just cited) but not recalling that 'beech' played a defining and linking role in the first half-book.
[11-16: Menalcas' songs defeated]--13: Chaonias . . . columbas for C. is an "exquisitely pointless epithet . . . apparently borrowed from Euphorion": if so, then it shares that source with the name Mopsus (see above on 5.1) and adds another hint of prophetic (sc. vatic) lore, which suits the picture sketched by V. of Moeris--depicted as one who reads an omen rightly (14-5), cites a superstition (54), and is both poet and uates (see 32-34 below) and cf. Moeris the wizard, 8.96).
[17-29: Menalcas' songs recalled]--18-20: powers of song to console, create shade strike C. as "an elegant variation of 5.40"; but Co. also remembers 1.51, 2.54, and Silenus.
--21: tibi must be Moeris, writes C., laying down a rule--"It would be out of character for Lycidas to address the master-singer of the neighborhood so familiarly"--in spite of Serv., La Cerda, Heyne, Conington, Leo, Klingner, Co. (acknowledged here), and the symmetry arranged by V.
--28: On uae miserae C. catches expressive force: u. unique in V., who regularly avoids similar endings (Norden, see above, clearly cited), with moving parallels from A. and Bion.
[30-36: Lycidas urging new song]--32: On incipe si quid habes, C. cites 3.52 and 5.10, where "the singer is invited to sing something of his own"; yet C. follows DServ. in finding a call
28The Twelve Tables surface only at 8.97, 'Qui fruges excantassit'
(8.8a Bruns p. 30). Useful would have been A. Ronconi, "'Malum carmen'
e 'malus poeta'," Interpretazioni letterarie nei classici (Firenze:
29Remember, too, the detailed comparisons of the twin eclogues by C. P. Segal, "Tamen cantabitis, Arcades--Exile and Arcadia in Eclogues One and Nine," Arion 4 (1965) 237-266.
for further quotation from Menalcas, which goes against the personal
thrust of the ensuing self- definition:
. . . et me fecere poetam
Pierides, sunt et mihi carmina, me quoque dicunt
uatem pastores, sed non ego credulus illis,
glossed by C. with Th. 7.37-41 (Simichidas to Lycidas) and Varro Ling. lat. 7.36 (uates old name for poet). Like Lycidas, C. draws back from uates, declaring that its differentiation from poeta for V. "was hardly more than an expedient, the solution to a particular literary problem, that is, his need for another, more elevated word meaning 'poet'." Why such a "need" for a gradation in poetics struck V. twice does not concern C., who writes off Thyrsis' boast (uati futuro 7.28, cf. above) as "a passage secondary, for obvious reasons, to this." No hint of how Horatius uates was challenged by B. 4, which was perceived as vatic by Symmachus. Wholly suppressed the implication in et me . . . et mihi . . . me quoque that Moeris is imagined as a poet and uates.
[37-50: Moeris' songs recalled]--[39-43: Moeris' bucolic themes]: viewed by C. as Moeris recalling a bit of Menalcas, in spite of the invitational drama just played out.
--[44-50: Moeris' vatic themes]: "sung by Lycidas" writes C., leaving the fragments identified as three from Menalcas, one from Moeris and thus ignoring the dramatic indications and symmetries of structure. On this whole matter, the notes seem especially hard to read, but for once Co. is far less lucid.
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ECL. X: a congenial paraphrase--Gallus, not the erudite poet
on Helicon but the love elegist, "on leave in Arcadia." The famous name
unleashes the autoschediast: "A landscape unknown to Theocritus and merely
alluded to elsewhere in the Eclogues":30 cf. Polybius
(perhaps or perhaps not), in any case, to account for V.'s choice, "The
Arcadian poetic tradition, tenuous as it now appears, is probably sufficient."31
C. adds Arethusa, however, noting that V. "plays, in ll. 4-5, with the
conceit of her derivation from Arcadia." Imitations abound of Gallus, both
those already supposed and presumably many more. Love for Gallus grows,
but suddenly it is evening. "The poet takes his leave of pastoral song"
-- X notes [1-8: situating]--[1-3: who & what]--1: Arethusa gets identified, her story documented ("alluded to" by Pindar Nem. 1.1-2 and A. 3.694-96, and told by herself in Ovid M. 5.572-641)--how she melted, fled Alpheus, emerged fresh in Syracuse--, but now the "sweetness" certified by Emerson is "sadly . . . impregnated with salt." Also, C. tells us that Arethusa was hailed at Th. 1.117, cf. Th. 16.102, and honored as the pastoral Hippocrene ([Moschus] Epitaph. Bion. 76-77).
--2: legat, no comment, yet readership and writing are select in realm of pastoral song.
--: Lycoris, Gallus' invention notes C., "apparently modelled on 'Lycoreus', a cult-title of Apollo and therefore suggesting Hellenistic elegance." C. compares the similarly Apolline names of mistresses, Cynthia and Delia (cf. Petrarch's Laura). But if the old cult-title supposed Lycoreia, a hamlet above Delphi on Parnassus, the Greek luk- also suggests 'wolf' opening the way to an ironic implication in Latin (lupa, 'whore': 'infame illud scortum' La Cerda!), not without, in the present context, an Arcadian twist (e.g. Lycaon the Arcadian hero, werewolf; cf. wolf magic at 9.54, 8.97, where C. cites HastingsEnc. on lycanthropy).
--3: C. on dicenda gives only "3.55 n.," where for dicite sc. carmina he glossed, "first attested in this sense" Catull. 61.39, 62.4,18, and appended "Cf. 5.2, 10.3." Would he connect Gallus pap. 6-7, "tandem fecere carmina Musae / quae possem domina deicere digna mea" from his footnote (p. 288)?
30 C.'s note: "Far too much has been made of Virgil's Arcadia"
31 Sufficient, instead, argued Carl Wendel, is knowledge of the story of the syrinx invented by Pan, assumed by Th. 1.123-30: Überlieferung und Entstehung der Theokrit Scholien (Berlin 1920) 71-72: the myth cited by V. at 2.32-3, 8.24, assumed at 4.58-9.
--[4-8: when & where]--4-5: . . .cum fluctus subterlabere
by C. glossed only "Cf. G. 2.157." He has already told the story
of flight by Arethusa from Arcadia to Sicily (at 10.1). The rush
to comment there may have trampled a nuance. The cited precedents show
purely as Sicilian and emphasize the submarine passage of Alpheus (as does
Moschus 3.4-5, cited by C. for the conceit of mingling different waters,
10.5). So V. gives the first surviving emphasis to Arethusa's flight,
but V. postpones the motif, allowing his reader to savor momentarily the
first surprise of her meeting Gallus (presumably in Sicily, as in Th. and
Bion., just cited), before adding the motif of her journey, which heightens
surprise and underscores her origin. Another surprise must be the time-frame
imagined. V. uses the future tense, suggesting that he imagines Arethusa
before she left Arcadia to found Sicilian verse.
[9-30: Gallus in Arcadia]--[9-12: Naiads reproached]: C. is fuller and more circumstantial than Co. on how V. adapts Th. 1.66-9, turning Sicilian nymphs into Muses that might haunt, above all, Helicon, with Aonian Aganippe, for which C. highlights association with Gallus (Aonas 6.65).
--[19-30: salutatio of Gallus by Arcadians]--20: C. selects and paraphrases--"uuidus hiberna . . . de glande Menalcas: Menalcas is wet through from handling the winter mast. Acorns were collected in late autumn and steeped in water for preservation during the winter; see Mynors on G. 1.305"--without mention of Arcadian balanephagia or uenit, cf. B. 9 end, cum uenerit ipse (sc. Menalcas) etc.
[31-69: reply by Gallus]--[31-41: ideal of Arcadia]: well furnished with parallels and analysis of style, e.g. molliter (33) nicely bracketed as elegiac (Gallan; and cf. remarks on elegiac style, pp. 290-1).
--[42-49: apostrophe to Lycoris]: C. in his element (well showing elegiac mannerisms: cf. pp. 291-2), although on Gallus' mad love, whether that for Lycoris or now for Mars, C., without the patience of Co. to weigh alternatives, breaks no new ground.
--[50-57: projected remedies for love]--50-51: ibo et Chalcidico quae sunt mihi condita uersu / carmina pastoris siculi modulabor auena, on which C., "no more love elegies, and the epyllion he composed in Chalcidic verse he will set to music on a Sicilian shepherd's pipe. The Grynean Grove, a locus amoenus . . . would easily lend itself to a pastoral rendering." Paraphrase again fails to penetrate self-reflexive allegory. Surely one of the projects imagined for Gallus--modulation of songs in Chalcidic verse by means of a Sicilian shepherd's oaten pipe--reflects V.'s shift in the book from the image of Gallus on Helicon to the image of Gallus here as a bucolic hero.
The ensuing project of Gallus carving loves on trees suggests what the
shift has actually entailed--translating the elegist, his 'loves', into
bucolic guise (53-54): on which C.'s only thought is for literary parallels,
not for V.'s image of auxesis,--trees will grow and so augment the
force of love. In effect, V. appropriates elegiac love and amplifies it
to paratragic dimensions (C. on 55, "The notion of hunting as a cure for
love derives ultimately from Euripides . . . see 2.4-5n. In Hipp.
215-22 . . .").
[70-77: close]--71: On gracili fiscellam texit hibisco, C. writes: "'allegoricos autem significat se composuisse hunc libellum tenussimuo stilo' (Serv.)--a literary comment of some value."
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COMPREHENSIVE GENERAL INTRODUCTION -- Pastoral Poetry: At first reading, I was baffled by C.'s remarks on pastoral poetry, which seemed to take for granted the panoply of assumptions and information to be expected from a scholarly audience, yet sounded like nothing so much as a lecture for the uninitiate (e.g. "the invention of Theocritus of Syracuse . . . a town-bred poet, and the pleasure he finds in the country is that of a townsman" (p. xv). On second reading, I see that the style and conceptual frame are those of the paraphrases. Not for C. the discourses of contemporary scholarship. His gesture to the wider study of
pastoral as a mode of imaginative and real production in Greco-Roman culture is to cite an article by an intimate friend published in 1957. His ideal audience seems to have been someone who would neither know nor care about the changing intellectual horizons outside his coterie.
--The Book of Eclogues: although he writes that V. was capable of "composing and recomposing his poems, when the design of individual poems had become, to some extent, subordinate to the design of the book" (p. xxi), it becomes clear in the course of reading how little C. cares about possible modes of coherence in either the whole book or the several eclogues (the latter may explain why he did not create an intelligible system of reference to sections and lines). Even though despairing of a chronology of all the eclogues ("illusory" p. xxii), he still places faith in chronology for some and some parts at will.32 Such remarks as C. appends on structure are superficial and desultory, e.g. how many eclogues there are in a half-book, where the longest poems are, and where to find the poems he still thinks of as "most Theocritean" or "unTheocritean" (the latter a consequence of his lack of an adequate conception of intertextual links: p. xxiii). He can report that vocatives, Tityre and Menalca open and close the first half book; but calling these "Virgil's occasional personae," (a role also hinted for Meliboeus, p.32),33 he goes on, "Such precision of form cannot be accidental . . . Did Virgil expect his reader to notice such details?" About those framing vocatives, C. does not stop to ask, by whom were they spoken in the fictive drama, by what manner of personae--two singers, it turns out, imagined as preferring the grotto (antrum) to the more usual shade as the ideal place for song. No, C. presses on to make an argument, on the basis of supposed chronology. After citing the many details shared by B. 5 with B. 1 (but not Putnam's analysis, noted above), he infers: "A reminiscence of the First Eclogue, or so these lines would seem to an observant reader, and so no doubt Virgil intended. But the opposite must be the case, for the First Eclogue, Virgil's introduction to his book, must be, if not his 'last labour', one of his latest, later at any rate than the Fifth." (p. xxv) What V. "intended" does not interest C. He seems, also, to have in mind an audience without experience in rearranging compositions and unaware that, in finished work, the beginning, middle, and end are expected to cohere and be intelligible in that order. Instead C. seeks a putative sequence of fabrication that only he can declare (ubi exigit ratio). On this score, too, like the commentator reproached by Ross, C. appears "more interested in thinking about what lies outside the poem than in understanding what V. has made" (p. 86).
In fine, where C. is strongest, he will be a complement to Co. for studying
V.'s language and style. Where he is indifferent, reductive, or stylishly
dismissive--on e.g. poetics, thematic variation, rhetorical crescendo and
diminuendo, coherence of most contexts beyond the compass of a tricolon),
he may at least
32 C.'s arbitrary decisions in this area resemble his handling
of personal allegory, discussed below.
33 Idiosyncratic opinions about personal allegory in B. have long stood in the way of careful reading, to cite only Servius as to where allegory must be accepted: non tamen ubique, sed tantum ubi exigit ratio (1.1)
provoke reactive reading.34 For every "NB" in my margins, there seems to be a "How does this connect?" or "Why this here?"--fresh reminders of how much there would be to do if only we could somehow manage a shift, no, a return to the paradigms lost in the estrangement of commentary from the unifying poetic mind.
When all is said and done, style tells. C.'s notions about V.'s writing--detached exercises, revisions opportunistic and sporadic, inserts late and poorly integrated, absence of consistent method or overall design, a taste for Hellenistic mannerism--remind me less of V. than of C. Scholars will know how to salvage nuggets, despite the spotty indexing and erratic relations to other scholarship. Students will be well advised to use with caution and have the courage of their instincts and intuitions--to empathize, discriminate, dare to imagine, engage first and last with the text.
For the history of Virgilian studies and the man himself, it is a pity that so much talent and time were forced into forms that make our discipline seem more marginal than it is. Part of the remedy -- opening to new cultural instances and horizons if there still is time -- may be to drop the tralatitious title "Eclogues" (never V.'s) and the load of trivial questions it drags along, so as to free energies for the fullness of V.'s imagination through commentary on The Book of Bucolics.
A vision comes to mind of two venerable shades--RABM and RAB--shaking their heads as they withdraw. They make their way towards a nearby knoll, where one figure, seated, speaks by turns to others: "Yes, Juan Luis, my poetry did embroider nature. It is your own exuberant embroidery I admire. But, Edmund, yours was a nice turn, sending Colin into town for love and bringing Eliza to the green." Then to an older man with a silvered shock of hair, "Canny, how your townsman tells of rambling towards the mountain to meet a country sage. At that, Theocritus smiled. Those others, though . . . I wish I'd never said I'd set a pillory for scholars. They torture me with their quibbling and their eclogues, forever eclogues. Early? Late? What do they think it means to sit and weave a book?"
Brooklyn College and the Graduate School,
City University of New York
34 The printers' errors I noticed were few: 165 purpurea, sc. purpureo; 265 RIFC, sc. RFIC; 285 aurea, sc. aurae.