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gifted few, men of divine birth and character, are permitted both to descend and return again.
131. Tenent omnia, etc.: 'woods occupy all the intervening space'; i.e. between the upper and lower world. Cocytus, Styx, and Acheron are used indifferently to denote the waters which are supposed to flow around Hades. More strictly, they are branches of one great stream. See note on 1. 295. Cf. Milton's description of the rivers of the lower world (Par. Lost, 2, 577) :
'Abhorred Styx, the flood of deadly hate;
Forgets both joy and grief, pleasure and pain.' 133. menti (est): 'your mind has.' For the infinitive with amor, cupido see note on II, 10.
134. Bis : i.e. once now, and again after death. This is said on the supposition that Aeneas will die like other men.
137. foliis, vimine : join with aureus ; 'golden in leaves and stem.' H. 480; LM. 650; A. 253; B. 226; G. 397; (H. 424).
138. Iunoni infernae : cf. IV, 638. dictus sacer: 'consecrated.'
141. qui: indefinite; “any one.' In prose, cuiquam would have been used in the foregoing clause, and the pronoun omitted here. fetus : 'growth.'
142. Hoc suum munus : 'this as her peculiar gift ’; most dear to her.
144. simili — metallo: 'a twig of the same metal puts forth leaves '; or metallo may be joined with frondescit as an ablative of manner.
145. alte: i.e. with your eyes directed high. rite: ‘properly'; not by cutting, but by “pulling off' with the hand; join with carpe.
146. sequetur: 'will yield.'
149. Praeterea : she has now given the necessary directions for his descent to the lower world, and now adds of her own accord the information following in regard to the sudden death of Misenus. tibi : ethical dative.
150. incestat: defiles’; in a religious sense.
151. consulta: ‘responses.' The term was used technically of the legal advice given by Roman lawyers.
152. Sedibus suis : “to his own resting place'; the tomb.
153. Duc: 'lead (to the altar).' nigras pecudes : see note on V, 736. prima : 'first '; i.e. preliminary, initiatory, prior to the descent into Hades.
154. Sic: i.e. by first making such a sacrifice.
156-235. Aeneas returns to the shore, and discovers that the dead body spoken of by the Sibyl is that of Misenus. While preparing the funeral pile, he enters the forest and is led by the doves of Venus to the tree on which the golden bough is hid. He plucks the branch and conveys it to the cave of the Sibyl, and then completes the funeral rites of Misenus.
158. Cui: see note on II, 704.
162. Diceret: the question depends on serebant. They were uncertain what person the Sibyl spoke of; for they could not think that her words (11. 149, 150) had reference to Palinurus, who had been lost on the first night of the voyage from Sicily to Cumae.
163. indigna : "unworthy'; not such a death as was meet for a hero.
164. Aeoliden: “the son of Aeolus '; Aeolus, a Trojan, mentioned in XII, 542, as slain in battle with the Latins.
165. Aere : cf. III, 240. ciere, accendere: H. 608, 4; LM. 952; A. 273, d; B. 333; G. 241, C; (H. 533, II, 3). cantu: ‘with the sound.'
190. inferiora: ‘fortunes less noble'; for Aeneas was a hero of the same rank as Hector, with whom he is placed side by side in XI, 289.
171. personat: for the tense, see note on I, 494. concha: he used the shell on this occasion, such as Triton himself employed, thus showing still more daring in competing with him.
173. exceptum immerserat: seized and plunged him.' See note on I, 69. si credere dignum: this indicates a doubt as to the truthfulness of the report about the manner of his death.
176. iussa Sibyllae : see l. 152.
182. montibus: from the mountains.' The ad- in advolvunt has reference to the pyre.
183. primus : ‘foremost.' Cf. I, 24.
184. accingitur, etc. : 'girds himself (middle use) with like implements.' He encourages' them also by his example.
185. ipse : ‘he himself,' while employed in common with the rest, is also turning over in his mind these (the following) thoughts.
187. Si: if only,' “O that.' arbore: 'on the tree.'
188. quando: since. As she has proved true in regard to Misenus, she must be trusted also as to the golden bough.
191. Ipsa sub ora: before his very eyes'; so that they could not fail to attract his attention. caelo: for de caelo.
193. Maternas : sacred to his mother.? Doves as well as swans were
sacred to Venus.
195. pinguem: ‘fertile'; since it produces such a bough. 196. rebus : dative.
197. vestigia pressit: ‘he checked his steps ’; stopped in order to watch the first signs given by the birds.
198. quae signa ferant: “what tokens they bring '; what signs, by which he may be led to the wished-for tree.
199. tantum prodire : ‘kept advancing only so far. The infinitive is historical.
200. possent: see note on I, 20. acie : the ablative of instrument. 201. grave: cognate accusative with olentis, 'foul-smelling,' fetid.'
203. Sedibus, etc. : “they alight in the wished-for place on the twofold tree.' gemina: indicates the twofold nature of the tree; one part ordinary wood and foliage, the other, the branch of gold. optatis : i.e. by Aeneas.
204. Discolor : variegated'; the gleaming of the gold contrasting with the
green of the other foliage. aura : “radiance.' 205. viscum: a parasite growing on oaks and other trees, and penetrating with its roots into the inner bark of the foreign tree (non sua arbos).
206. seminat: ‘produces.' 207. croceo : refers to the yellowish green bark of the mistletoe twigs. 209. Ilice : ablative of place.
211. Cunctantem: 'lingering’; not actually resisting, for this would be inconsistent with the words of the Sibyl in l. 146; but slow to yield as compared with the eagerness of Aeneas, described by avidus. 214. taedis: join with pinguem; robore with Ingentem. See note on
505. 216. Intexunt: it was customary to cover the sides of the pyre with dark green boughs. cupressos: the fumes of the cypress were said to counteract the odor of the burning body. The tree has thus come to be connected with death.
217. armis: the arms and clothing of the dead were burned with the corpse.
218. undantia : refers to the water boiling up in the caldron.
220. toro: 'on the (funeral) couch,' on which the body was placed or laid in state, after being washed and anointed. Then in the usual order of funeral ceremonies the lamentation was raised (Fit gemitus), but the order is not here observed.
221. velamina nota: well-known habiliments’; familiar to the eyes of them all.
222. subiere feretro : 'took up the bier’; upon their shoulders. The accusative is the usual construction with this sense of subire.
See III, 113. 223. ministerium: in apposition with the thought contained in subiere feretro. Cf. IX, 53; X, 311. more parentum, etc.: after the custom of
their ancestors, with averted face they held the torch to the foot' (subiectam tenuere facem) of the pile, after they had deposited the corpse thereon.
224. Congesta : brought together.' The participle is understood with dapes and crateres.
225. dapes: 'the victims'; such also being burned on the funeral pile. olivo: ablative of description.
229. Idem — unda: lit. 'he also thrice carried pure water around the assembly.' He sprinkled them thrice with a branch of olive dipped in water. This was the lustratio, a ceremonial cleansing, necessary to remove all religious impurity supposed to be contracted from the presence of a dead body. This act of purifying was expressed in the old Latin by circumferre, which thus acquired a transitive signification (“to purify') analogous to that of circumdare, and so was followed by the accusative and ablative.
230. felicis: fruitful.' The wild olive, wild pine, and non-fruitbearing trees are called infelices. The laurel was generally used instead of the olive for the lusiratio.
231. novissima verba: salve, vale, the last words’ addressed to the dead. See note on I, 219; XI, 97.
233. sua arma: namely, the ‘oar' and 'trumpet.'
234. Misenus: the name of the lofty promontory, Misenum, which forms the northwestern point of the bay of Naples, suggested the story of the death and burial of Misenus there. See view, Fig. 51.
236–263. Aeneas at midnight makes the proper sacrifices preparatory to entering upon his journey to the lower world. At sunrise Hecate approaches; the cavern of Avernus opens, and the Sibyl rushes in, followed by Aeneas.
236. praecepta : see l. 153.
237. Spelunca : not the grotto of the oracle under the Acropolis, but a cave on the shore of Lake Avernus, a little more than a mile distant from Cumae.
238. tuta : 'guarded.'
243. nigrantes terga : 'with black bodies'; the Greek accusative. The sacrifices are made as directed in l. 153.
245. carpens saetas: she plucks some of the hairs from the forehead to throw into the fire as the first offering (libamina prima) to the infernal gods. See note on IV, 693.
247. Voce : emphatic; with a loud voice.' Cf. IV, 681. Caeloque Ereboque : see note on IV, 510.
250. matri Eumenidum : Nox. sorori : Terra.
252. Stygio regi: Pluto. nocturnas - aras: it was customary to make offerings to the infernal deities by night. incohat: incohare as a ceremonial
term, Servius says, is used for facere, ‘make' or 'consecrate.' In infernal rites the ground hollowed out was substituted for an altar.
253. solida viscera : “whole carcasses ’; all parts of the victim excepting the skin. See note on 1, 211. The gods below required a 'holocaust.'
254. super : is separated from infundens by tmesis. It also has the last syllable long under the ictus.
255. primi — ortus : at the first flush of day.
256, 257. iuga Silvarum : “the wood-covered summits.' canes : Stygian hounds were supposed to accompany Hecate and the Furies.
258. Adventante dea : the approach of the goddess, Hecate, to open the way, is announced by the howling of her dogs. Procul este profani: this is the sacred formula employed on solemn occasions to warn away the uninitiated. The words are addressed to those of the Trojans who have been present to aid in slaying and burning the victims. See 1. 248.
260. vagina eripe ferrum: the drawn sword, though useless in itself, will give him greater boldness at the first sight of the shadowy monsters which he is about to encounter.
264–294. After invoking the favor of the deities, whose realms he is about to describe, the poet enters upon this new and difficult part of his work. Aeneas first passes through the vestibule, where he is startled by many hideous forms.
265. Chaos: personified, is sometimes represented as the father of Night and of Erebus, and sometimes as a deity of Hades.
266. sit numine vestro : ‘let it be (mine) with your consent.'
269. vacuas: (empty'; because unoccupied by material bodies. inania regna: the realms of shadows.'
270. maligna: “dim.'
273. The woes which afflict men in various ways, that continually destroy life, and conduct men, as it were, to the lower world, are personified in hideous forms and occupy the very entrance, as the point whence they can most easily continue their fatal work.
274. ultrices curae : avenging cares'; the pangs of conscience.
276. malesuada: that tempts to robbery and other evil deeds. Egestas : is called turpis, “loathsome,' with reference to the squalor of the poverty stricken.
278, 279. mala mentis Gaudia : “the guilty joys of the mind'; all evil desires. adverso in limine: on the threshold that meets you after passing through the vestibule just described; i.e. at the doorway of Hades. Cf. Shelley (Queen Mab): –
'How wonderful is Death,