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of winter, as is already proved. This opinion is fortified by the arrival of Æneas at the mouth of the Tiber; which marks the season of the spring; that season being perfectly described by the singing of the birds saluting the dawn, and by the beauty of the place, which the poet seems to have painted expressly in the seventh book of the Æneid:
Aurora in roseis fulgebat lutea bigis,
-Variæ, circumque supraque,
The remainder of the action required but three months more . for when Æneas went for succour to the Tuscans, he found their army in a readiness to march, and wanting only a commander; so that, according to this calculation, the Aneid takes not up above a year complete, and may be comprehended in less compass.
This, among other circumstances treated more at large by Segrais, agrees with the rising of Orion, which caused the tempest described in the beginning of the first book. By some passages in the Pastorals, but more particularly in the Georgics, our poet is found to be an exact astronomer, according to the knowledge of that age. Now Ilioneus (whom Virgil twice employs in embassies as the best speaker of the Trojans) attributes that tempest to Orion, in his speech to Dido :
Cum, subito assurgens fluctu, nimbosus Orion. He must mean either the heliacal or acronical rising of that sign. The heliacal rising of a constellation is when it comes from under the rays of the sun, and begins to appear before daylight: the acronical rising, on the contrary, is when it appears at the close of day, and in opposition to the sun's diurnal
The heliacal rising of Orion is at present computed to be about the sixth of July; and about that time it is that he either causes or presages ternpests on the seas.
Segrais has observed further, that, when Anna counsels Dido to stay Æneas during the winter, she speaks also of Orion:
Dum pelago desævit hyems, et aquosus Orion. If therefore Ilioneus, according to our supposition, understand the heliacal rising of Orion, Anna must mean the acronical, which the different epithets given to that constellation seem to manisest. llioneus calls him “nimbosus;" Anna, “ aquosus." He is lein
Lestuous in the summer, when he rises heliacally, and rainy in the winter, when he rises acronically. Your lordship will pardon ine for the frequent repetition of these cant words, which I could not avoid in this abbreviation of Segrais, who I think deserves no little commendation in this new criticism.
I have yet a word or two to say of Virgil's machines, from my own observation of them. He has imitated those of Homer, but not copied them. It was established, long before his time, in the Roman religion as well as in the Greek, that they were gods; and both nations for the most part worshipped the same deities; as did also the Trojans, from whom the Romans, I suppose, would rather be thought to derive the rites of their religion than from the Grecians; because they thought themselves descended from them. Each of those gods had his proper office, and the chief of them their particular attendants. Thus Jupiter had in propriety Ganymede and Mercury; and Juno had Iris. It was not for Virgil then to create new ministers; he must take what he found in his religion. It cannot therefore be said that he borrowed them from Homer, any more than Apollo, Diana, and the rest, whom he uses as he finds occasion for them, as the Grecian poet did: but he invents the occasions for which he uses them. Venus, after the destruction of Troy, had gained Neptune entirely to her party; therefore we find him busy in the beginning of the Æneid to calm the tempest raised by Æolus, and afterward conducting the Trojan fleet to Cumæ in safety, with the loss only of their pilot, for whom he bargains. I name those two examples (among a hundred which I omit), to prove that Virgil, generally speaking, employed his machines in performing those things which might possibly have been done without them. What more frequent than a storm at sea, on the rising of Orion? What wonder, is, among so many ships, there should one be overset, which was commanded by Orontes, though half the win's had not been there which Äolus employed ? Might not Palinurus, without a miracle, fall asleep, and drop into the sea, having been over-wearied with watching, and secure of a quiet passage, by his observation of the skies? At least Æneas, who knew nothing of the machine of Somnus takes it plainly in this sense :
O nimium cælo et pelago confise sereno,
Nudus in ignota, Palinure, jacebis arena. But machines sometimes are specious things to amuse the reader, and give a colour of probability to things otherwise incredible. And, besides, it soothed the vanity of the Romans to find the gods so visibly concerned in all the actions of their predecessors. We, who are better taught by our religion, yet own every wonderful accident which befalls us for the best, to be
brought to pass by some special providence of Almighty God, and by the care of guardian angels: and from hence I might infer that no heroic poem can be written on the Epicurean principles: which I could easily demonstrate, if there were need to prove it, or I had leisure.
When Venus opens the eyes of her son Æneas to behold the gods who combated against Troy in that fatal night when it was surprised, we share the pleasure of that glorious vision (which Tasso has not ill copied in the sacking of Jerusalem). But the Greeks had done their business, though neither Neptune, Juno, nor Pallas had given them their divine assistance. The most crude machine which Virgil uses is in the episode of Camilla, where Opis, by the command of her mistress, kills Aruns. The next is in the twelfth book of the Æneid, where Venus cures her son Æneas. But in the last of these the poet was driven to a necessity; for Turnus was to be slain that very day; and Æneas, wounded as he was, could not have engaged him in single combat, unless his hurt had been miraculously healed. And the poet had considered that the dittany which she brought from Crete could not have wrought so speedy an effect, without the juice of ambrosia, which she mingled with it. After all, that his machine might not seem too violent, we see the hero limping after Turnus. The wound was skinned; but the strength of his thigh was not restored. But what reason had our author to wound Æneas at so critical a time? and how came the cuisses to be worse tempered than the rest of his armour, which was all wrought by Vulcan and his journeymen? These difficulties are not easily to be solved, without confessing that Virgil had not life enough to correct his work ; though he had reviewed it, and found those errors, which he resolved to mend : but, being prevented by death, and not willing to leave an imperfect work behind him, he ordained by his last testament that his Æneid should be burnt. As for the death of Aruns, who was shot by a goddess, the machine was not altogether so outrageous, as the wounling Mars and Venus by the sword of Diomede. Two divinities, one would have thought, might have pleaded their prerogative of impassibility, or at least not have been wounded by any mortal hand'; besides that the they shed was so very like our common blood, that it w
was not to be distinguished from it but only by the name and colour. As for what Horace says in his Art of Poetry, that no machines are to be used, unless on some extraordinary oceasion,
Nec deus intersit, nisi dignus vindice nodus ; that rule is to be applied to the theatre, of which he is then speaking, and means no more than this: that when the knot of the play is to be untied, and no other way is left for making
the discovery—then, and not otherwise, let a god descend on a rope, and clear the business to the audience : but this has no relation to the machines which are used in an epic poem.
In the last place, for the Dira, or flying pest, which, flapping on the shield of Turnus, and fluttering about his head, disheartened him in the duel, and presaged to him his approaching death, I might have placed it more properly among the objections ; for the critics who lay want of courage to the charge of Virgil's hero quote this passage as a main proof of their assertion. They say our author had not only secured him before the duel, but also in the beginning of it had given him the advantage in impenetrable arms, and in his sword (for that of Turnus was not his own, which was forged by Vulcan for his father, but a weapon which he had snatched in haste, and by mistake, belonging to his charioteer Metiscus): that, after all this, Jupiter, who was par. tial to the Trojan, and distrustful of the event, though he had hung the balance, and given it a jog of his hand to weigh down Turnus, thought convenient to give the Fates a collateral security, by sending the screech-owl to discourage him : for which they quote these words of Virgil:
Non me tua fervida terrent
Jupiter ipse duas æquato examine lances
Quem damnet labor, et quo vergat pondere letum.
Æneas and Turnus stood fronting each other before the altar, Turnus looked dejected, and his colour faded in his face, as if he desponded of the victory before the fight; and not only he, but all his party, when the strength of the two champions was judged by the proportion of their limbs, concluded it was “impar pugna,” and that their chief was overmatched: whereon Juturna (who was of the same opinion) took this opportunity to break the treaty and renew the war. "Juno herself had plainly told the aymph beforehand that her brother was to fight
Imparibus fatis; nec dîs, nec viribus æquis ; su that there was no need of an apparition to fright Turnus: ho had the presage within himself of his impending destiny. - The Dira only served to confirm him in his first opinion, that it was his destiny to die in the ensuing combat: and in this sense are those words of Virgil to be taken:
Non me tua fervida terrent Dicta, ferox : di me terrent, et Jupiter hostis. I doubt not but the adverb “ solum" is to be understood : “ It is not your (threats) only that gives me this concernment; but I find also by this portent that Jupiter is my enemy :” for Turnus fled before, when his first sword was broken, till his sister supplied him with a better ; which indeed he could not use, because Æneas kept him at a distance with his spear. I wonder Ruæus saw not this, where he charges his author so unjustly for giving Turnus a second sword to no purpose. How could he fasten & blow, or make a thrust, when he was not suffered to approach? Besides, the chief errand of the Dira was to warn Juturna from the field ; for she could have brought the chariot again, when she saw her brother worsted in the duel. I might further add, that Æneas was so eager of the fight, that he left the city, now almost in his possession, to decide his quarrel with Turnus by the sword; whereas Turnus had manifestly declined the combat, and suffered his sister to convey him as far from the reach of his enemy as she could—I say, not only suffered her, but consented to it; for it is plain he knew her, by these words:
O soror, ét dudum agnovi, cum prima per artem
Et nunc necquidquam fallis dea.I have dwelt so long on this subject, that I must contract what I have to say in reference to iny translation, unless I would swell my preface into a volume, and make it formidable to your lord. ship, when you see so many pages yet behind. And indeed what