Page images
PDF
EPUB

άλα κεκλιμένη, όσσον το επιμύρεται ισθμός Χερση επιπρηνής καταειμένος. Hence Prop. iii. (iv.) 22. I, 'Frigida tam multos placuit tibi Cyzicus annos, Tulle, Propontiaca qua fuit Isthmos aqua' (where Isthmos fluit=there is a bridge over the water).

1. 30. Haemoniao =Thessalian. Hacmonia is a poetical name of Thessaly, frequent in Ovid, so called from Haemon, the mythical father of Thessalus, from whom it drew its name. Cyzicus was founded by Aeneus, a Thessalian, or, according to some accounts, by his son Cyzicus.

1. 31. “And the shores of Byzantium that command the entrance of the Euxine.'

1. 32. gemini maris, the Propontis and the Euxine.

1. 33. evincat. Though the ship ought to have passed these places by this time, he has not yet had tidings that it has done so: hence he utters a prayer that it may have had a safe passage, and may pass through the Symplegades, which, from the time of Homer and the Argonautic legend downwards, were proverbially dangerous to mariners. Hence the present is used. Evincere is a word specially applied to ships surmounting dangers : M. xiv., 76, avidamque Charybdim Evicere rates;' xv. 706, 'evicitque fretum.

fortibus, because it requires a strong breeze for the ship to pass briskly (strenua) through the Cyaneae.

1. 34. instabiles Cyaneas (note the quadrisyllabic ending), the Kváveau ('dark,''misty,''distant,' for they were the frontier of the known ancient world) vĩool or métpai, were two small rocky islands, mythically supposed to clash together (ovuti hooelv, hence called Symplegades), and crush any ship that tried to pass through the narrow passage between them (Symplegades artas, 47). After this had been safely accomplished by the Argonauts, they were fixed open for ever, as had been decreed by the gods should happen, as soon as any ship got safely through; though Ovid, here speaking as a poet, presers to regard them as still instabiles (θαμα ξυνίασιν εναντίαι αλλήλησιν, Αpoll. Rhod. ii. 321). For the legend see Grote, Gk. Hist. pt. i. ch. 13, and W. Morris, Life and Death of Jason, book 6.

1. 38. arces ... dictas nomine, Bacche, tuo, a circumlocution for Διονύσου πόλις. .

1. 39. Alcathous was a son of Pelops, and son-in-law of Megareus, one of the early kings of Megara, whom he succeeded. He beautified Megara, and restored its walls, which had been destroyed by the Cretans.

The town referred to in this line is Bizone, which was on the coast of the Euxine between Dionysupolis and Tomi. It was a colony of

H

Mesembria, as Mesembria itself was of Megara. In M. viii. 8 Mesembria itself is called 'urbs Alcathoi.'

The order is : 'et (praetereat eos) quos, Alcathoi a moenibus ortos, memorant profugos sedibus his constituisse larem.'

1. 41. Miletida urbem. Tomi, near the modern Kustendsche, not far from the mouth of the Danube, was one of the numerous colonies of Miletus on the Euxine: iii. 9. 3, 'Huc quoque Mileto missi venere coloni, Inque Getis Graias constituere domos.' The Milesians first opened the Euxine for ordinary navigation and commerce, and changed its name from the inhospitable (&felvos or áfevos, ii. 83 n.) to the hospitable (EÚgelvos) áfelvos or sea : iv. 4. 55, ‘Frigida me cohibent Euxini litora ponti : Dictus ab antiquis Axenus ille fuit.' According to Pliny there were no less than 80 Milesian colonies on the Euxine. See Thirlwall, Gk. Hist. ii. 106; Grote, pt. ii. ch. 26 fin.; Bunbury, Hist. Geogr. i. 97 ff.

1. 43. contingere is generally used of good fortune, and then is the opposite of .accidere,' which implies misfortune (Mayor on luv. viii.

8): thus Hor. Epp. i. 17. 'non cuivis homini contingit adire Corinthum'=' everyone is not so lucky as to go to the expensive and luxurious city of Corinth.' The word is sometimes used of bad fortune. See Reid on Lael. $ 8.

1. 44. facere, meaning to suit,' is often used with ad (cp. our colloquial idiom 'to do for '): H. vi. 128, Medeae faciunt ad scelus omne manus' ('Medea's hands are suited to every kind of crime'); xiv. 56, ‘non faciunt molles ad fera tela manus ;' xv. 8 ; xvi. 190; Am. i. 2. 16, frena minus sentit, quisquis ad arma facit.' It is found less frequently in the same sense with a dat. : H. ii. 39,' per Venerem, nimiumque mihi facientia tela.' Occasionally it is used absolutely; A. A. iii. 57 ; T. iii. 8. 23, 'nec caelum nec aquae faciunt nec terra nec aurae (i. e. the climáte here in Tomi does not suit me).

1. 45. Leda, the wife of Tyndareus, was the mother of Castor by her husband, and of Pollux (and Helen of Troy) by Zeus. They were . called hence the Albokovpoi (sons of Zeus), and became a constellation (Gemini, the Twins), which was supposed, if seen in a storm, to bring safety-cp. the modern St. Elmo's fire,,hence they were regarded as the tutelary deities of sailors. Hor. Od. i. 3. 2 invokes them to protect Vergil on his voyage to Greece.

quos haec colit insula. The worship of the Dioscuri in Samothrace appears to have been confused with the worship of the primitive Cabiri, and hence to have assumed large proportions : Lobeck, Aglaophamus, p. 1229 ff.

1. 46. duplici viae, (1) the voyage of the ship to Tomi, and (2) of the second ship, which is to convey the poet to Thrace (Bistonias aquas).

1. 50. ille . . . ille are not anfrequently used for the former', “the latter :' H. iii. 28, ‘ille gradu propior sanguinis, ille comes.' See Mayor on luv. x. 91.

EL. XI. This poeni forms the Epilogue, as the first was the Prologue, of the book. It was written during the voyage from Samothrace to Thrace, when Ovid was on his route to Tempyra (31), at the close of the winter of A. D. 8 (33 and 39). The land journey through Thrace was performed in the spring of A. D. 9.

SUMMARY.—All the epistles of this Book have been written during my voyage, either on the Hadriatic or Aegean seas; for the power of song has not left me amid the perils of the deep, but has proved my sole consolation (1-12). I have encountered many storms, and now too a fearful tempest is raging, and shipwreck on the barbarous shore of Thrace has as many terrors as death by drowning itself (13-34). Therefore pardon, reader, the blemishes of my lines, for I am writing no longer at ease in my home, but amid the fury of the storm, which I pray may soon abate (35-44).

1. 1. littera= a letter of the alphabet. The pl. litterac (a collection of such letters) =

=a letter, in the sense of an epistle.
tibi ... mihi, dat. of agent.
libello. See on 7. 33.

toto libello, ' in the whole of my book,' abl. of place where. 1. 3. oum tremerem. See on 3. 26.

gelido mense decembri as mensis december forms one notion, and is equivalent to one substantive, the second epithet (gelido) is quite regular: so ii. 491, 'fumoso mense decembri? See Munro, Lucr. i. 258 ; Conington, Aen. vi. 603; Kennedy, L. Gr. p. 278.

1. 4. Hadria appears to be used rather loosely for the Ionian Sea : see iv. 3 n.

1. 5. bimarem Isthmon, the Isthmus of Corinth on its two gulfs,' the Corinthian and Saronic.

bimaris = d.oátagoos, is an epithet constantly applied by Ovid, as by Horace, to Corinth and the Isthmus.

: cursu, ' at full speed,' adverbial use of the abl. of manner, which in such cases is used, contrary to ordinary rule, without an epithet, being regarded loosely as an instrument.

1. 6. nostrae fugae='mihi fugienti :' see 5. 36 n.

1. 7. facerem. Subj. because of the reported reason; the Cyclades said to themselves, We are astonished that he is writing verse.

1. 8. Cyclades, the group of islands so called because they lie in a circle (kukos) round Delos.

1. 9. tantis fluctibus, abl. of circumstance (or may be instrumental, cecidisse being equivalent to beaten down.'—H. J. R.]

1. 11. ‘Call my devotion to poetry folly or madness as you will, my heart has been comforted in its troubles entirely by this occupation.'

For insania cp. ii. 15, 'At nunc—tanta meo comes est insania morbo-Saxa malum refero rursus ad icta pedem ;' Cic. de Or. ii. $ 194, saepe enim audivi poetam bonum neminem . sine inflammatione animorum exsistere posse et sine quodam adflatu quasi furoris.'

1. 12. ab. This otiose use of ab, “in consequence of,' where we should have expected a simple instr. abl., is poetical, and especially common in Ovid: see ii. 28, 'fiat ab ingenio mollior ira meo;' 462,' docetque, Qua nuptae possint fallere ab arte viros; ' iv. 5. 3, cuius ab adloquiis anima haec moribunda revixit;' 10. 16, 'curaque parentis Imus ad insignes urbis ab arte viros;' Ibis 145, 'consumptus ab annis' (see Ellis).

1. 13. The constellation of the Kids rises Sept. 25th-29th, and brings stormy weather (pimbosis = pluvialibus haedis,' Verg. Aen. ix. 668). Dict. A. 163 b.

1. 14. Sterope was one of the seven Pleiades (Lat. Vergiliae), the daughters of Atlas; after their death they became a constellation whose rising and setting, in the first half of May and beginning of November, were the signals in early times for the Greek mariner to begin and discontinue his voyages. Dict. A. 150 a.

1. 15. custos Erymanthidos ursae. See on 3. 47 and 4. I.

1. 16. The seven Hyades were fabled to have been sisters of the Pleiades. The name is said to be derived ånd toll útiv (cp. F. v. 166, 'navita quas Hyadas Graius ab imbre vocat'), because the time of their morning setting is at the most rainy and stormy season of the year, the end of October and beginning of November (hence here, seris aquis, because their setting is late in the year). Dict. A. 150 a, 163 a. The etymology which connects them with us, 'a pig,' because of their resemblance to a litter of pigs, is borne out by their Latin name Suculae, and possibly the Pleiades also may mean not the sailing stars,' i.e. stars by which mariners sail (ad elv), but the pigeons' (med eiádes). See Hallam on F. 1.c.; Merry on Od. v. 272.

hauserat ='exhauserat,' as in Verg. Geor. iii. 105, 'exsultantiaque haurit Corda pavor pulsans.'

seris aquis, abl. of part concerned. Translate : •Or the south wind had drained the Hyades of their latter rains.'. [I should take it the south wind had swallowed (i. e. brought about the setting of) the Hyades in the waters of autumn.'--A. S. W.] .

auster (Columella, xi. 2, notices that the total setting of the Suculae on Nov. 30 is accompanied by ‘Favonius aut auster') and hauserat is an intentional play upon the words, for the Romans derived auster (which really is connected with aŭa, 'the hot; drying wind '), 'ab hauriendis aquis' (Isid. Orig. xiii. 11. 6, Carmen de ventis in Baehrens, Poet. Min. v. p. 384, quoted by Heinsius, ' austrum rite vocant, quia nubila flatibus haurit'); an etymology which is more intelligible if we remember that until the time of the empire the sound h was in many words very weak : Quintil. i. 5. 20, 'parcissime ea veteres usi etiam in vocalibus, cum

" aedos

“ircos”-que dicebant.' To Stat. Theb. iv. 120, where a river, and, ix. 460, where a storm are said Pleiadas haurire in the same sense as here, passages quoted by Heinsius, add ix. 454, where the river Ismenos 'umentes nebulas exhaurit, et aera siccat.'

1. 18. ducebam. The metaphor is from drawing out the threads in spinning (see note on deducta, i. 39): cp. iii. 14. 32, 'carmen mirabitur ullum Ducere me tristi sustinuisse manu ;' v. 12. 63, 'cupio non ullos ducere versus ;' P. i. 5: 7' mihi si quis erat ducendi carminis usus;' Hor. S. i. 10. 44.

qualiacumque, supr. 7. 12. 1. 19. Cp. supr. 4. 9. aquilone, instr. abl.

1. 20. oondava refers to the overarching of the waves in a rough sea : Hom. Οd. xi. 244, πορφύρεον δ' άρα κύμα περιστάθη ούρεϊ ίσον, Κυρτωθέν. 1. 23. adspexi, see 2, 23 n, in Appendix.

mortis imago, the sight of death,' is from Verg. Aen. ii. 369, and is found again in Am. ii. 9. 41, stulte, quid est somnus, gelidae nisi mortis imago,' where the meaning is the semblance of death.' In M. x. 726, 'repetitaque mortis imago Annua plangoris peraget simulamina nostri,' it means 'a representation of the death of Adonis.'

1. 24. 'With what misgiving of heart I dread, yet pray for all my dread.'

1. 25. attigero, conditional use of indic. in protasis of conditional sentence, to which terrebor is the apodosis, R. 651.

1. 26 is explained by iv. 4. 59, "Sunt circa gentes, quae praedam sanguine quaerunt; Nec minus infida terra timetur aqua.'

1. 27. insidiis, causal abl. [laboro, 'I am troubled,'has usually the construction of a passive verb.--A.S. W.]

1. 29. meo sanguine, instrum. abl., 'booty by means of, through my blood.' 1. 30. titulum nostrae mortis ='titulum ex mea morte;' see on 1. 53.

nostrae mortis is gen. of definition. 1. 31. laeva is nom., 'the district on the left,' viz. the coast of Thrace,

« PreviousContinue »