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Ecloga III

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Ecloga III

Postby swtwentyman » Fri Apr 17, 2015 4:31 pm

First off:

Lines 3-4. Menaclas remarks that Damoetas is inattentive and incompetant with the herd:

ipse Neaeram
dum fouet ac ne me sibi praeferat illa ueretur

("(Damoetas) himself, while he fondles Neaera and fears that she prefers me to him, (makes blunders with the flock)." Do I have this right? I'm unclear whether "ipse" refers to Damoetas or Aegon, the owner of the herd (which reminds me of another question: did Aegon give Damoetas the flock outright or did he entrust it to him for safekeeping?) but in light of the following lines I think Damoetas makes more sense, the third person and "ipse" used instead of the second person for rhetorical effect)

Lines 12-15, spoken by Damoetas:

Aut hic ad ueteres fagos cum Daphnidos arcum
fregisti et calamos, quae tu, peruerse Menacla,
et, cum uidisti puero donata, dolebas
et, si non aliqua nocuisses, mortuus esses.

("Or here among the old beeches when you broke Daphnis' bow and arrows, from which you, perverse Menaclas, when you saw (something) given to that young man, suffered pain, or, if you had injured/damaged (the bow and arrows?) without any reason, would have suffered death." "Quae" in line 13 would make sense to go with "fagos" but it seems to refer to the bow and arrows, though I can't account for the neuter form in "quae" and "donata" (if that in fact has the same antecedent) unless it means "these things". Perhaps I could figure this out with more time and fresher eyes but this morning it's not fitting together. It doesn't make much sense semantically either. The line before is a sarcastic retort (to Damoetas' suggestion that the nymphs snicker at Menaclas' trysts) that I don't quite understand. As I understand it, Damoetas suggests that Menaclas is a homosexual "bottom" and that he heard it from the nymphs, to which Menaclas replies that the nymphs must have seen the trysts at the same time as they saw him cutting down Micon's trees/vines, which wouldn't happen, and here Damoetas replies "aut...". Am I following this correctly?)
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Re: Ecloga III

Postby Qimmik » Fri Apr 17, 2015 5:56 pm

ipse Neaeram
dum fouet ac ne me sibi praeferat illa ueretur


You have this right, except that instead of responding directly to Damoetas, Menalcas turns to the flock and addresses the sheep: you poor sheep -- while this alienus custos , i.e., Damoetas, who doesn't own the sheep (they've been entrusted to Damoetas by Aegon), is toying with Neaera and is afraid that she prefers me to him, he's milking the sheep twice an hour and robbing the lambs of their nourishment. (I guess he's stealing the milk for himself while the sheep are in his custody.)

Aut hic ad ueteres fagos cum Daphnidos arcum
fregisti et calamos, quae tu, peruerse Menacla,
et, cum uidisti puero donata, dolebas
et, si non aliqua nocuisses, mortuus esses
.


quae is neuter plural referring to two things (logical, not grammatical gender) -- the bow and the reeds (i.e., pipes).

"when you saw these things given to the boy, you were stricken (with jealousy), and you would have died if you hadn't/couldn't have damaged them somehow."

More to come.
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Re: Ecloga III

Postby Qimmik » Fri Apr 17, 2015 7:24 pm

Tum, credo, cum me arbustum uidere Miconis
atque mala uitis incidere falce nouellas.


This is ironic. Credo -- "I suppose."

"I suppose this was when they saw ME cutting Micon's bushes and vines with a nasty pruning hook" out of jealousy.

mala -- epithet transferred from Damoetas to the pruning hook.

Menalcas says this implying that Damoetas, not himself, was the perpetrator. Then Damoetas accuses Menalcas of purposely damaging Daphnis' hunting bow and pipes, also out of jealousy.

Parcius ista uiris tamen obicienda memento. -- "You ought to be more careful about slinging those insults at real men [uiris]."

qui te -- the grammar makes it clear what was going on without a verb.
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Re: Ecloga III

Postby swtwentyman » Fri Apr 17, 2015 8:16 pm

Thanks a lot. This one is harder to follow than the first two.
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Re: Ecloga III

Postby Qimmik » Fri Apr 17, 2015 9:07 pm

The banter between the two herdsmen is elliptical.

I couldn't remember the technical term for the transferred epithet. It's hypallage.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hypallage

What would be the mood and tense of the omitted verb in qui te . . . et quo sarcello?

If you want to supply a verb for qui te, in the first and last lines of Catullus 16 you'll find two that would fit.
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Re: Ecloga III

Postby swtwentyman » Sat Apr 18, 2015 8:40 am

Qimmik wrote:What would be the mood and tense of the omitted verb in qui te . . . et quo sarcello?

If you want to supply a verb for qui te, in the first and last lines of Catullus 16 you'll find two that would fit.


"Pedicare" isn't in the Elementary Latin Dictionary but "inrumare" is. (I looked up the poem on Wikipedia. That's quite something.)

I suppose the mood and tense would be subjunctive pluperfect? Subjunctive as a category of men (rel. cl. of characteristic? "We all know what kind of men you've been with, and in what chapel") and pluperfect because it took place before the perfect "nouimus" (at least I believe it happened before: it had to have already happened for it to be known, right?)? I'll have to give this more thought but that's my immediate reasoning. Ed: I guess it might be indirect questions as there are the interrogatives "qui" and "quo" but I don't associate "noscere" as a verb of asking. The only reason that even comes to mind is that you know I have trouble with them so you might just be quizzing me. "Rogat qui veniat" is one thing but "video illum qui venit", as this one seems to be closer to, is quite another. ed2: I looked up indirect questions in A&G and in Wheelock's and read them both through, and this might be one, I guess. "Nouimus qui te pedicassent" as indirect; "qui te pedicaverunt?" direct.

(Just to see if I'm getting this: going off the "video illum qui venit" example: "video qui veniat" would be indirect question? with "quis venit?" as the direct question?)

Thankfully this morning was a bit easier.

Lines 23-24:

Damoetas has won a goat from Damon in a singing-contest, which Menalcas had accused him of stealing:

et mihi Damon
ipse fatebatur sed reddere posse negabat.

("And Damon himself confessed to me but(?)(that he was?) was denying he could give back (the goat)." I'm missing something here. Does "mihi" go with "fatebatur", "reddere", or both?)

Lines 28-29:

Damoetas suggests to resolve their differences with a singing contest:

Vis ergo inter nos quid possit uterque vicissim
experiamur?

("Do you then wish to test what one another can do, between ourselves, in turn?" I think I know what it's saying but I can't quite parse it. "Vis" would seem to take an infinitive yet what would make the most sense would be with the subjunctive "experiamur" -- which would seem to be subjunctive as a hypothetical condition with "vis" -- and I'm not sure about "quid possit".)
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Re: Ecloga III

Postby Qimmik » Sat Apr 18, 2015 4:35 pm

qui te -- this isn't a relative clause of "characteristic"--a specific individual (or specific individuals?) is obviously implied. I think this would be subjunctive--an indirect question. Lewis and Short doesn't offer a clear example with noui, but there are a number of examples with scio:

isti jam sciunt, negotii quid sit, Plaut. Poen. 3, 2, 13: ut sciamus, quid dicamus mox pro testimonio, id. ib. 3, 2, 19: scin' quam iracundus siem? id. Bacch. 4, 2, 12: cuivis facile scitu est, quam fuerim miser, Ter. Hec. 3, 1, 15: cum sciatis, quo quaeque res inclinet, Cic. Rep. 2, 25, 46: Sestium quanti faciam, ipse optime scio, id. Fam. 13, 8, 1: ex tribus istis modis rerum publicarum velim scire quod optimum judices, id. ib. 1, 30, 46: ut eum (hostem) non modo esse, sed etiam, quis et unde sit, scire possimus, id. ib. 2, 3, 6: coqua est haec quidem: Scit muriatica ut maceret, Plaut. Poen. 1, 2, 39; Ter. Hec. 3, 5, 18; Cic. Mur. 9, 22; Hor. C. 3, 4, 42 al.: scire velis, mea cur opuscula lector Laudet, id. Ep. 1, 19, 35; 2, 2, 187: quī scis, an, quae jubeam, sine vi faciat? Ter. Eun. 4, 7, 20; Hor. C. 4, 7, 17; id. A. P. 462; cf. the phrase haud scio an, under an.—Pass.: hinc sciri potuit, Quo studio vitam suam te absente exegerit, Ter. Heaut. 2, 3, 38: scito ... nec, quando futura sint comitia, sciri, Cic. Att. 1, 11, 2.—


And Ecl. 8.43: nunc scio quid sit amor.

You would expect an interrogative pronoun, singular quis, but I think there's some variability on this point in Latin. And it's possible that qui is plural--given that the verb is missing--which would make the crude humor even cruder. So I would vote for perfect subjunctive.

et mihi Damon
ipse fatebatur sed reddere posse negabat.


I would say mihi goes with fatebatur, but is understood with reddere.

Damoetas won the contest with Damon and was entitled to the goat,

"and even Damon himself said I was right [fatebatur], but told [me] he couldn't give it [to me]. Nego is equivalent to dico non . . . , "say that . . . not", not necessarily "deny." Reddere -- closer to "render what is due" here than "give back". "he said he couldn't give it to me" with the implication that Damoetas was entitled to it.

Vis ergo inter nos quid possit uterque uicissim
experiamur?


Vis is the irregular 2d sing. indic. of uolo. ut is omitted with experiamur. To rephrase: Vis [ut] experiamur uicissim quid possit uterque?

"So do you want that we should test what each of us is capable of by turns?" "Do you want us to make a trial of . . . "

You'll find paedico in the Elementary Lewis and the on-line version of the big L&S, but the entries aren't graphically informative. This is just Catullan casual obsenity, a characteristic of his efforts at a colloquial immediacy--here, buddy talk among guys.
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Re: Ecloga III

Postby Qimmik » Sat Apr 18, 2015 5:28 pm

"Vis" would seem to take an infinitive yet what would make the most sense would be with the subjunctive "experiamur" --


A good dictionary will list the various usages of a word like volo. Lewis & Short volo (you have to look down the entry a long way to get to this):

D With subjunct. of dependent verb (mostly ante-class.; class. and freq. with velim and vellem; but in Cic. mostly epistolary and colloquial). 1 To wish: ergo animum advortas volo, Plaut. Capt. 2, 3, 23; 2, 3, 28; 2, 3, 70: volo amet me patrem, id. As. 1, 1, 63 dub.: hoc volo agatis, id. Cist. 1, 1, 83: ducas volo hodie uxorem, Ter. And. 2, 3, 14: quid vis faciam? Plaut. Merc. 1, 2, 49; Ter. Eun. 5, 8, 24; Plaut. Mil. 2, 3, 64; 2, 3, 65; 2, 6, 65; 3, 3, 3; id. Ps. 4, 1, 17; 4, 7, 19; id. Cas. 2, 3, 56; id. Capt. 1, 2, 12; id. Poen. 3, 2, 16; id. Pers. 2, 4, 23; id. Rud. 5, 2, 45; 5, 3, 58; id. Stich. 5, 2, 21; Ter. Heaut. 4, 6, 14: volo etiam exquiras quam diligentissime poteris quid Lentulus agat? Cic. Att. 8, 12, 6: Othonem vincas volo, id. ib. 13, 29, 2: eas litteras volo habeas, id. ib. 13, 32, 3: visne igitur videamus quidnam sit, etc., id. Rep. 1, 10, 15: visne igitur descendatur ad Lirim? id. Fragm. ap. Macr. S. 6, 4: volo, inquis, sciat, Sen. Ben. 2, 10, 2


You can also find this usage in the Elementary Lewis dictionary, though you have to dig.

Perhaps it's wrong to say that ut is understood: volo can simply take the subjunctive without a conjunction--a usage that is colloquial in the classical period of Vergil and Cicero.
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Re: Ecloga III

Postby swtwentyman » Sat Apr 18, 2015 6:26 pm

Thanks.

You propose the perfect subjunctive for action prior to "nouimus". Are words like "(cog)novi". "odi", or "memini" then considered present for the purpose of sequence of tenses?

Also, "paedicare" is indeed in the Elementary Lewis but the Latin Library's online text has it as "pedicare". I guess "ae" started collapsing into "e" fairly early, then. (But then it would reflect Greek pronunciation, the history of which I know nothing about but it's unlikely that "ae" and Greek "ai" would have become "e" at the same time. Perhaps it's just a mistake?)
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Re: Ecloga III

Postby Qimmik » Sun Apr 19, 2015 3:50 am

Are words like "(cog)novi". "odi", or "memini" then considered present for the purpose of sequence of tenses?


I think A&G sec. 485a answers this:

485. In the Sequence of Tenses the following special points are to be noted:—

[*] a. The Perfect Indicative is ordinarily a secondary tense, but allows the primary sequence when the present time is clearly in the writer's mind:—


http://www.perseus.tufts.edu/hopper/text?doc=AG+485&fromdoc=Perseus%3Atext%3A1999.04.0001

This relates to perfects that aren't treated as present, but should apply a fortiori to those that are such as noui.

Vergil Georgics 2.105 ff.:

quem qui scire velit, Libyci velit aequoris idem
discere quam multae Zephyro turbentur harenae,
aut ubi navigiis violentior incidit Eurus,
nosse, quot Ionii veniant ad litora fluctus.


He's talking about the number of grape varieties--they're more than anyone can ever hope to know.

"He who would like to know the number of the grape varieties [quem refers to numerus in the preceding line] would also want to learn how many [grains of] sand of the Lybian Sea are stirred up by the west wind, or where the east wind falls on ships with even more violence, [he would want] to know how many Ionian waves come to the shore."

ae vs. e -- there was probably a certain amount of fluctuation in spellings even in Vergil's day; modern texts generally normalize the spellings one way or the other. But of course there were no comprehensive and authoritative Latin dictionaries or other spelling authorities in Vergil's and Catullus' day. In Catullus' case, the text depends on a single ms. that was discovered in the 14th century in Verona, and was later lost, but not before copies were made. Under these circumstances, the ms. tradition just isn't very sound authority for ancient spellings. Who knows how Catullus himself spelled the word?
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Re: Ecloga III

Postby swtwentyman » Sun Apr 19, 2015 7:05 pm

Yeah, I overlooked that the texts are secondhand-many-times-over. Makes sense. (And I did see the indirect question in that excerpt from the Georgics. Thanks for the example)

Lines 44-46. Damoetas has fine cups of his own, to which Menalcas' wager is inadequate:

Et nobis idem Alcimedon duo pocula fecit
et molli circum est ansas amplexus acantho
Orpheaque in medio posuit siluasque sequentis;

("And that same Alcimedon made two cups for me, as well, and he encircled the handles all around with soft bear's-foot; he placed Orpheus in the middle, and (placed there) following forests." At first I couldn't account for "amplexus" -- it wasn't a participle with "ansas" and the noun didn't make sense -- but I think I've figured it out: does it go with "Alcimedon"? And what are "following forests"? "Orphea" is accusative, I take it?)
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Re: Ecloga III

Postby Qimmik » Mon Apr 20, 2015 1:12 am

Your translation is correct: amplexus est is perfect active of the deponent verb amplector, and the subject is Alcimedon; Orphea is Greek accusative.

Orpheus was said to have moved trees and stones and wild beasts with his music, so that they followed him as he went on his way singing.

Book 11 of Ovid's Metamorphoses begins with the story of how Orpheus, after singing various stories in Book 10, was torn limb from limb by Maenads, and his head floated down the river Hebrus in Thrace still singing:

Carmine dum tali siluas animosque ferarum
Threicius uates et saxa sequentia ducit . . .


Threicius uates is Orpheus, who was Thracian.
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Re: Ecloga III

Postby swtwentyman » Mon Apr 20, 2015 4:26 pm

No trouble today, but in the song-contest the "I've brought you some apples; tomorrow I'll bring the rest" couplet came up. I remember that you provided I believe a Theocritan (or certainly Greek, in any event) precedent almost word-for-word. Also you mentioned the "malo me Galatea petit ... et fugit ad salices" bit, I believe, though I don't remember that one being Greek (more so because there's nothing about it in the commentary save for the meaning of throwing apples).

For a poem that started out more difficult than the other two it certainly got easier once the song contest comes up. For the first time I'm able to parse the words as I'm reading with the meter, though I don't know how far that will take me. Usually I have to stop and parse the sentences while reading through -- I don't intend to, but my instinct is to look ahead to the rest of the sentence, and into the next line if I have to -- so I'm able to understand it as I read only afterwards.
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Re: Ecloga III

Postby Qimmik » Mon Apr 20, 2015 4:57 pm

Glad to hear you're reading more fluently--and metrically.

malo me Galatea petit

petit has the double sense of aiming and throwing the apple and enticing Meliboeus (or was it Menalcas?).
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Re: Ecloga III

Postby swtwentyman » Wed Apr 22, 2015 1:12 pm

Damoetas, actually.

I read through the poem again (finished it yesterday morning) and got a lot more out of it from reading without having to try to understand it. Yet still, when reading metrically, I found myself looking a few words ahead to find the complements of ablatives and the like; I still have a way to go before I can run across a word separated widely from its coimplement and hold it in mind. The meter helps some with distinguishing between ambiguous forms but holding that thought, again, is still beyondmy abilities. I must say that the second half of this eclogue is especially good for building reading skills as it's composed of fairly easy language in tiny couplets that build and play off each other. There's no way I could read the bit about Damoetas' cups straight through and make sense of it but the song-contest is another story.

Instead of proceeding to the fourth eclogue I'm going to read De Senectute because it fits in better with my schedule the next few days. I shouldn't need much help with it because the notes are extensive and aimed at students fresh out of their first year. Frustratingly I accidentally ordered De Amicitia from a British seller on Amazon and, although it shipped March 23rd, it has yet to arrive and according to Amazon I should expect it between April 17th and 30th. It must be stuck in customs hell, if it's going to get here at all.
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Re: Ecloga III

Postby Qimmik » Wed Apr 22, 2015 2:01 pm

The fourth eclogue is the most famous. Unto us a child is born, to usher in new age of gold.
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Re: Ecloga III

Postby swtwentyman » Wed Apr 22, 2015 10:46 pm

Yes: it was even adapted in Wheelock's Latin (in a fairly early chapter, so it's just a few sentences long and in prose). I'm looking forward to it.
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Re: Ecloga III

Postby Interaxus » Sun Apr 26, 2015 12:09 am

Qimmik:

… pocula ponam
fagina, caelatum diuini opus Alcimedontis;
lenta quibus torno facili superaddita uitis
diffusos hedera uestit pallente corymbos:

Bit late in the day, I'm afraid. Just checking that my translation of these lines (as literal as I can make it) is on the right track:

‘I will stake my beechwood cups, a carved work of divine Alcimedon’s, imposed upon which by his deft lathe a clinging vine clothes its widespread clusters in pale ivy.’

Is ‘upon which’ a correct translation of ‘quibus’ here?

or perhaps:

... on which a clinging vine imposed by his deft lathe
clothes its spreading clusters with pale ivy.

Does the awkward English nevertheless reflect the Latin structure?

Also, I’m assuming the clusters are of grapes, not ivy-berries as some translations would have it. (My dictionaries too typically say: ‘corymbus: cluster of fruit or flowers, ESP. OF IVY BERRIES worn by Bacchus and his followers.’

Here are some translations I find less than helpful:

‘where a limber vine … TWINES OVER CLUSTERING IVY-BERRIES PALE.’
‘round which a curling vine … MANTLES THE CLUSTERING BERRIES DIFFUSELY SPREAD BY THE PALE IVY.’
‘where a clinging vine ENFOLDS PALE IVY WITH HER SCATTERED BERRIES’.
‘… to which a slender vine decks CLUSTERS OVERSPREAD WITH THE PALE IVY.’

I find these more acceptable:

‘… on which a pliant vine CLOTHES ITS WIDE-SPREADING CLUSTERS WITH PALE IVY.’
‘… a pliant vine, WREATHING ITS SCATTERED CLUSTERS WITH PALE IVY.’

And C. Day Lewis’s slight re-working:

‘Effortlessly he (Alcimedon) chiselled upon them a supple vine
And wreathed its branching CLUSTERS OF GRAPES with livid ivy.’

I would be glad to read a close correct Qimmik version phrased in more natural English - only, I hasten to add, to understand the Latin better.

Gratias tibi ago.
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Re: Ecloga III

Postby Qimmik » Sun Apr 26, 2015 3:35 am

Interaxus:

… pocula ponam
fagina, caelatum diuini opus Alcimedontis;
lenta quibus torno facili superaddita uitis
diffusos hedera uestit pallente corymbos:


lenta is supple or lithe.

Mynors, in his commentary on the Georgics (2.449), suggests that torno in this passage "looks like a wood-carver's chisel," not a lathe, although he notes it does mean "lathe" elsewhere. It's hard to see how the intricate relief described here could be produced with a lathe--not that I know anything about wood-carving.

superaddita seems to be a word coined by Vergil. Perhaps "added onto the surface". I think you're correct that quibus is an indirect object or a dative complement of the verb with the pre-verb super-, "added onto which by a skillful tool a supple vine", but it could possibly be a locative ablative, "on which a supple vine, added by a skillful tool, . . ."

Incidentally, the mss. read facilis, agreeing with uitis, but Servius recognizes the variant facili, and most editors adopt it because (1) it seems to make more sense with torno (this is an instance of Vergil using a common word in an unusual way, I think), and (2) it would seem odd to give uitis another epithet and torno none.

There's no agreement on the last line. As your various translations illustrate, there are two alternatives:

1. corymbos refers to ivy-berries, which are scattered on pale ivy [N.B.: corrected; thanks, Interaxus!] (Clausen explains hedera pallente as a locative ablative, "on the pale ivy"). The vine clothes the ivy-berries scattered on the pale ivy. This is Clausen's reading, and both Lewis and Short and the Oxford Latin Dictionary gloss corymbos in this passage as "ivy-berries." Clausen cites Aeneid 11.464 as a parallel.

2. corymbos refers to bunches of grapes. The vine clothes its scattered grapes with pale ivy. Coleman supports this interpretation, as does the Italian translation of Alfonso Traina, which accompanies the new edition of the Bucolics with introduction and commentary by Andrea Cucchiarelli (which doesn't discuss the ambiguity here, although it's a very good edition with a lot of background information and citations of parallel sources and ideas).

#1 seems to be the most prevalent interpretation. Personally, I think that in the past I've read the line according to #2, without necessarily seeing #1 and without thinking too hard about it--probably because I was too awe-struck by the sheer beauty of the line. Clausen says that "on a first reading . . . the reader will naturally take hedera pallente not as a local ablative with diffusos, but as instrumental with uestis" (as I did). (As an undergraduate, I took a couple of courses with Clausen. I learned from his lectures, more than from anyone else, how to read Roman poetry.)

Conington (reported by Clausen) has the last word: 'Virgil cannot be acquitted of obscurity, as the ablative at first sight seems clearly to belong to "vestit"'.

I don't think there's really any way to resolve the ambiguity here--both interpretations have their adherents.

This stunning line, which caps Damoetas' speech, is a variant of the "golden line" scheme, in which a pair of adjectives and a pair of nouns surround a verb. The usual pattern is Adjective1 Adjective2 Verb Noun1 Noun 2. Here we have Adjective1 Noun2 Verb Adjective2 Noun1. The adjectives and the nouns are intertwined instead of being separated by the verb--just like the grapevine and the ivy. I can't help thinking this intertwining, like every other felicity in Vergil, is deliberate.

I couldn't possibly do justice to this line, so I'm going to resist your request to translate.
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Re: Ecloga III

Postby Interaxus » Mon Apr 27, 2015 1:15 am

Qimmik,

Thanks for your help!

Yes, ‘lithe’ feels better than ‘clinging’ for ‘lentus’, though I found it in a dictionary (I also found ‘sticky’ in another). Then again, ‘lentus in umbra’ is something else again (‘relaxed’, I guess). It begins to be part of the fun to watch Vergil re-using similar words in different senses. For example, here we have ‘facile torno’ (with ‘cunning’ chisel) while earlier we had ‘faciles Nymphae’ (easy-going?).

‘superaddita’ makes me think more of clay modelling than carving/chiselling, but I guess Vergil is thinking of the final carved/chiselled result rather than the process of making it. Just as one might say a twining snake was ‘added’ to the marble bodies of Laocoon and his sons.

I’m going to stick with ‘torno facili’ because it seems easier. But I prefer the more awkward version of the sentence it's a part of "added onto which by a skillful lathe a supple vine ..." because it seems to fit the structure of the Latin better.

As for that fantastic last line, I favour solution #2 (instrumental ablative). Easier for me to see the sandwich that way. I also find it (slightly) easier to imagine ivy draped over vines and grapes (the larger entity underneath) than vice-versa.

But I do see (after googling) that the other version is more favoured. For example, this is what Conington has to say:

Lit . 'the pliant vine … clothes the scattered clusters of pale ivy’, hedera pallente being a Vergilian variation for the genitive, like pictas abiete puppes‘ painted pine-stems', virgulta sonantia lauro ‘rustling laurel bushes': the point being that the less natural relation (abl. of instr. or material) is substituted for the more natural genitive. In translating so artificialised an expression it is best to recast: ‘where the pliant vine wreathed round them by the cunning tool is twined with pale ivy’s spreading clusters’.

I’ll try to keep a half-open mind …

Incidentally, I think there’a typo in your post: “scattered on pale ivory”. I think you meant “pale ivy’, no?. (Hope you don’t think me uncharitable pointing it out.)

I understand your hesitating to produce a translation (though I wasn’t expecting great art).

Anyway, you’re a great guide to have at the fringe of the sacred Vergilian wood.

Bene vale!
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