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1. In nova
• • • corpora : for corpora mutata in novas formas; the poet, in allusion to his design of writing of transformations, begins by making a transformation of his words.-Fert animus : 'I design.'
2. Nam vos illas · • for you also transformed them.' The poet therefore with propriety invokes their aid in describing these changes. 4. Perpetuum :
a connected poem.' 5. Antè : in the beginning.'
6. Unus ... in orbe : 'exhibited one appearance of nature throughout the world.'
7. Rudis indigestaque : 'unformed and confused.'
8. Congestaque . rerum : the construction is, discordiaque semina rerum non bene junctarum congesta eòdem.Discordia semina : 'the jarring principles.' 10. Nullus Titan :
For an account of the Titans, see Lempriere's Classical Dictionary.
11. Phæbe : 'the moon;' a name of Diana, the sister of Phæbus or the sun.
12. Circumfuso : 6 ambient.'
13. Nec brachia Amphitrite : 'nor had the sea extended itself to the distant coasts.' Amphitrite, the daughter of Oceanus and Doris, and the wife of Neptune, is here put for the sea itself.
17. Nulli . . . manebat : nothing appeared in its proper form.'
18. Uno : 'the same.'
20. Sine pondere habentia pondus : "things heavy, with things light.
23. Liquidum , cælum : 'the clear air.'
24. Quæ postquam · ligavit : 'which elements, after he had disengaged them, and separated them from the chaotic mass, though dispersed in different places, he combined in harmonious order.'
26. Ignea arce : the construction is, ignea vis cæli convexi et sine pondere emicuit, l-gitque locum sibi in summâ arce.
27. Sibi legit ; chose for itself.' 29. Tellus : est is understood.--Grandia: 'the heavier.' 30. Circumfluus humor : the water.
31. Uliima possedit : 'spread over the utmost parts of the earth's surface.'--Solidumque coërcuit orbem : «and begirt the solid globe.'
32. Sic ... orbis ; the construction is, ubi, quisquis de
orum ille fuit, secuit congeriem sic dispositam, redegitque
eam sic sectam in membra; principió glomeravit terram, ne * non foret aqualis ab omni parte, in speciem magni orbis.
33. In membra: “into distinct parts.' 34. Principio : 'in the first place.' 37. Ambitæ : 'encompassed by water.'-Circumdare : to mark out.' 38. Immensaque stagna : "and vast marshes.' 39. Fluminaque
ripis : 'and he confined within winding banks the rivers flowing downward.'
40. Diversa locis : “in their different courses.'-—Ipsâ : sc. terra.
41. Campo ... liberioris aquæ : the ocean.
46. Zona : the word favn, zona, signifies a belt, or girdle. The celestial sphere has been divided by astronomers into five of these broad belts, which divisions are supposed to be transferred to the earth, or terrestrial sphere, which therefore has likewise five zones. -Quinta : i. e. et ut quinta zona.
47. Onus inclusum : the earth.
49. Media: the torrid zone. The part of the earth which is situated between the tropics, and which is called the torrid zone, was thought by the ancients to be uninhabitable, on account of its heat and barrenness; but later discoveries have proved it to be the most fertile, and not the least populous part of the earth.
50. Duas : the two frigid zones; situated between the arctic and antarctic circles and the poles.
50. Totidlem: i. e. the two temperate zones.— Inter utrumque : not utramque: this word is frequently used thus by the best writers in a different gender from the preceding nouns, agreeing with latus, or some other word, understood. 51. Flammâ : heat.'
52. Qui ... igni : the construction is, qui est tantò onerosior igni, quantò pondus aquæ est levius pondere terra.
55. Motura : 'that will terrify.'
57. His: sc. ventis.--Passim ... habendum : 'to be had by them at large.'
58. Vix nunc obsistitur illis : 6 they are now scarcely prevented.'
59. Sua flamina : 'their own blasts.'
60. Quin lanient mundum : ' from tearing the world to pieces'
61. Eurus : the winds are here mentioned which blow from the four cardines, or principal points in the world, hence called cardinal points. Eurus, the east wind : Zephyrus, the west wind : Boreas, the north wind : and Auster, the south wind.-Nabathæaque regna: a country of Arabia, which derived its name from Naboth, the son of Ismael, who is said to have settled in it.
62. Persida: the Greek accusative from Persis, 'Persia,' a country of Asia.
64. Zephyro : “to the habitation of the Zephyr, or the west wind.' Zephyrus or Favonius, the son of Astræus and Aurora, was married to Chloris or Flora, the goddess of flowers. He was said to produce flowers and fruits by the sweetness of his breath.-Scythiam, 'Scythia,' an extensive country in the northern parts of Europe and Asia, the ancient boundaries of which cannot be exactly ascertained.--Septemque trionem : for Septemtrionemque, by tmesis.
66. Austro : the south wind.' Auster was the god of rain. His breath is said to have been as pernicious to the flowers, as the breath of Favonius was beneficial.
68. Æthera : 'æther, the firmament.'
76. Mentisque capacius alte: 'endowed with higher faculties.
80. Seducta: separated.'
81. Cognati : 'kindred.'-Semina: 'the nature, the properties.'
82. Quam : tellurem, is here understood.-Satus läpeto : Prometheus; the son of Iapetus, one of the Titans, and of Clymene, the daughter Oceanus and Tethys. Having formed a man with clay, he is said to have infused life into him by means of fire, which he had stolen from the chariot of the sun, and brought down to the earth at the end of a rod. To punish him for his many acts of impiety, Jupiter ordered Mercury to chain him to a rock on mount Caucasus, where an eagle or vulture continually preyed on his liver, without destroying or diminishing it. When he had lived thirty years in this painful state of confinement, he was delivered from it by Hercules, who killed the vulture, and broke his chain. Prometheus was distin
guished for his knowledge of future events, as well as for his cunning, fraud, and impiety. He is also said to have invented many useful arts, and to have instructed mankind in agriculture and physic.
89. Sata est : began.'— Vindice nullo : without any magistrate to punish crimes.'
91. Nec verba ... legebantur: 'nor were threatening laws read from brazen plates fixed up in public view.' The laws of the Romans and of other ancient nations were engraven on brass, and affixed to some place of public resort, that they might be read by the people.
94. Peregrinum ... orbem : 'foreign lands.'— Viseret : from viso.
95. Pinus : 'the pine tree,' of which ships were formerly made.
98. Directi : of straight brass.' 99. Sine militis usu : without the assistance of soldiers.'
103. Contentique : sc. homines.-Nullo cogente: without cultivation.'
106. Jovis arbore: the oak; a tree sacred to Jupiter, because, as it is said, he first taught mankind to live upon its acorns.
Jupiter was the chief of the heathen deities, and was called the father of the gods. After he had defeated the Titans, and reinstated his father on his throne, Saturn began to be jealous of the power and courage which had rescued him from imprisonment, and ungratefully plotted against the life of his son. His treachery, however, ended in his own ruin ; Jupiter obliged him to fly from his kingdom, and took possession of the empire of the world. The sovereignty of the heavens and the earth he reserved to himself, but he gave to his brother, Neptune, the empire of the sea, and made his second brother, Pluto, monarch of the infernal regions. Although the heathens imputed to Jupiter innumerable acts of the greatest injustice and wickedness, and represented him as a slave to the basest and most criminal passions, he was still universally worshipped by them during a succession of ages; and, even at the present period, he has not ceased in some countries to be an object of blind adoration. The Africans are generally supposed to have worshipped this deity under the name of Ammon, the Babylonians as Belus or Bel, and the Egyptians as Osiris.
108. Mulcebant : 'blew softly over.'
110. Nec renovatus ager : 'and the land, without being renewed, or turned up by the plough.
113. Tenebrosa ... misso : ' being driven by his son Jupiter into gloomy Tartarus ;' a place in the infernal regions, which was said by the ancients to be the abode of those among mankind who had deserved a heavy degree of punishment by their guilt and impiety on earth.
117. Inaquales : changeable.'
119. Ustus: “scorched.'--Siccis fervoribus : “ with parching heat.' 123. Semina ... Cerealia: 'the seeds of Ceres,' i. e.
Ceres was the daughter of Saturn and Vesta, and the goddess of corn and husbandry. She is said to have been the first who instructed men in the arts of agriculture, and taught them to convert their corn into bread. The place in which she was principally worshipped was the island of Sicily; which was her favorite residence during her continuance on the earth.
125. Mas : sc. ætates. 126. Ingeniis : 'in their dispositions.' 128. Vena pejoris in ævum : 'into an age of baser metal.' In mines the ore is found in streaks, called veins.
131. Amor habendi ; covetousness.' 134. Insult avêre : 'bounded over.' 135. Communemque priùs : before enjoyed in common.' 137. Debita : that it ought to produce.' 138. Sed itum est : « but men penetrated.'
139. Recondiderat : sc. terra, 'which she had concealed,'-Stygiis . . . umbris: “to the Stygian shades, deep parts of the earth.' The Styx was a river of Arcadia, which, from the poisonous nature of its waters, and the suddenness of its disappearance at a short distance from its source, was supposed by the ancients to be a river belonging to the infernal regions, in the middle of the earth. It was by this river that the gods were accustomed to swear ; and whenever they swore by it, they considered their oath inviolable. It received its name from the nymph Styx, who with her three daughters, Victory, Strength, and Valor, assisted Jupiter in his war against the Titans.
142. Utroque : with both iron and gold : ' i. e. with the sword and with bribes.
144. Ex rapto: . by rapine.'-Hospes : est is understood. 146. Illa: 5 she seeks the destruction.'