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Georgics, Book 2, line 265 and after

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Georgics, Book 2, line 265 and after

Postby hlawson38 » Wed Mar 19, 2014 9:05 pm

Am I reading the grammar of this right?

at si quos haud ulla viros vigilantia fugit,***
ante locum similem exquirunt, ubi . . . .

***this was the hard line

Virgil seems to portray watchfulness (vigilantia) as something that can escape some men (quos . . .viros).

vigilantia, nominative singular, subject of fugit
quos . . . viros, direct object of fugit

They [implied subject of equirunt], whom [quos . . . viros ]watchfulness rarely leaves
first search out a like place, where [ such and such can be done]
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Re: Georgics, Book 2, line 265 and after

Postby Qimmik » Wed Mar 19, 2014 11:04 pm

ulla vigilantia is the subject of fugit, and quos uiros is the object.

Quos (accusative plural of quis) here is equivalent to aliquos after si. (Sorry, I don't have time right now to find the citation for this in Allen & Greenough, but I will later unless someone else tracks it down.)

"If no vigilance (or here, perhaps, 'diligence') flees (maybe, 'escapes') some men", "if no diligence escapes some men", in other words, "if there are some men whom no diligence escapes", "if there are some men who are extra-diligent".

This is a kind of anallage or hypallage: the logical subject and object are inverted. This kind of unusual way to frame a familiar idea is typical of Vergil. If you're attuned to these sorts of things in Vergil, you will experience a frisson of delight when you encounter them.

ante locum similem exquirunt - ". . . they, i.e., the men who are super-careful, first seek out a similar place, etc". "Men who are super-diligent first seek out a similar place . . . "
Last edited by Qimmik on Thu Mar 20, 2014 2:29 am, edited 4 times in total.
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Re: Georgics, Book 2, line 265 and after

Postby Qimmik » Thu Mar 20, 2014 2:10 am

Quos (accusative plural of quis) here is equivalent to aliquos after si.


I should have written "accusative plural of qui, since quos here is an indefinite adjective, not a pronoun.

Allen & Greenough sec. 310a: http://www.perseus.tufts.edu/hopper/text?doc=AG+310&fromdoc=Perseus%3Atext%3A1999.04.0001

the logical subject and object are inverted.


Actually, he has endowed an abstract concept, vigilantia, with agency, and made it the subject of the verb, where you would expect the humans to be the agents and the subject of the verb.

Also worth noting in this line:

1. The interlocking noun-adjective pairs adj1 adj2 noun1 noun2: quos haud ulla uiros uigilantia

and

2. the interlocking patterning of rhyme and assonance:

at si quos haud ulla uiros uigilantia fugit

-os ui- -os ui-

Vergil has transmuted a mundane and pedestrian idea into exquisite poetry!
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Re: Georgics, Book 2, line 265 and after

Postby hlawson38 » Thu Mar 20, 2014 11:46 am

Thanks for the commentary, Qimmik
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Re: Georgics, Book 2, line 265 and after

Postby Qimmik » Wed Mar 26, 2014 1:21 pm

My favorite line from the Georgics:

uere nouo, gelidus canis cum montibus umor

o o u+[s c] [s c] u+m+o u+s u+m+o

Also -idus is partially echoed by -ibus.

Adj1 Adj2 Conj Noun2 Noun1

I.43

After the dedicatory preface, it's the first line of the substance of the poem, starting out in early spring. He lavished a lot of effort on the sound effects of this important line.
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