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all cases where there are words of more than two syllables ; for thus a short syllable will often serve as a key to the entire structure of the verse.
For examples, we will take the first four lines of the poem.
1. Inonova fert ánimus mutatas dicere forinas. Here the last three words are scanned exactly as they read: mū, tátas | dicěre fórmas. Of the others, ánimus shows by its accent that the i of the penult is short; and, as its last syllable must belong to the following foot, nothing more is needed to show that the verse will scan as follows:
In növă fert ănilmus || multātās dīvěrě | formas ; and the quantity of the other syllables is shown at once by their position in the verse.
2. Corpora : Di, coeptis — nam vos mutastis et illas — The first word corpora, being a dactyl, at once gives a correct start to the verse. The second foot, Di cæp-—is equally plain, as a spondee; and after this beginning, the rest of the verse scans of itself:
Corpora : | Di, coeptis || — nam | vos mūstastis ět | illas.
3. Adspiráte meis; primaque ab origine mundi. The first word, adspirate, is nearly as clear, as, when we remember either the pronunciatien of adspiro or the quantity of the a of the first conjugation, we see that it contains three long syllables, a spondee and the beginning of a dactyl. The last three feet are pronounced exactly as in prose (observing the elision): –
Adspī'rātě mělīs; || prijmāqu' åb o rīgỉně | mundi. 4. Ad mea perpétuum dedúcite témpora carmen. Here the three last words form a perfect metrical series ; and the only difficulty in the verse is caused by the ictus coming on the first syllable of perpetuum, while the accent is on the second.
Ad měa | perpětŭlum || deldūcytě | temporă | carmen. These directions would be sufficient for all or nearly all cases,* if it were not for the frequent elision of the last syllable of words : viz., in general, whenever a word ending in a vowel or in m is followed by a word beginning with a vowel or with h. This makes the commonest and most annoying of the obstacles to be met, and requires the beginner to be constantly on the watch. If he will now carefully compare the following lines, as metrically divided, with the rules which have been given above, it is hoped that he will have little difficulty hereafter.
* It will be observed that, of the first twenty verses of the poem, only the 8th and 13th Jack the cæsura in the third foot; while in the 16th, 18th, and 19th the principal pause is in the fourth foot instead of the third.
1. The Creation and the Flood.
Ante malr et terras | et I quod tegit , omnia | cælum,
I. The CREATION AND THE Flood. v. I. In nova ... corpora. At first sight it would seem that it ought to be corpora mutata in novas formas. But formas and corpora mean nearly the same thing: the forms are changed and so the bodies are new. - animus, the soul; hence often the inclination. — fert, impels [me] (a standing expression). - dicere, depends on fert animus, as an expression of wishing.
2. ceptis, efforts : lit. things begun. — et, too, belonging with vos: You too have changed (your forms).
3. mundi, the universe, or system of things; a word having the original sense (like the Greek kóduos) of order or beauty.
4. perpetuum carmen, uninterrupted song, implying the introduction of the later (Italian) myths, along with the Greek.
6. orbe, sphere of space : more strictly, orbis is a flat disk, which was the ancient poetic notion of the “circle” of being.
7. chaos : this word is from the same root as the Greek xaivo, yawn=the yawning void. — moles, heap, as of elements, or materials, chance-piled together. — nec quicquam, and nothing, the negative and connective being combined as usual.
8. iners, i. e., lacking the skill (ars) to combine them. — eodem, into the same place.
10-14. Titan, Phæbe, Tellus, Amphitrite=Sun, Moon, Earth, Sea. As the last of the old nature-divinities (Titans), the Sun sometimes retains this name in poetry:
Didst thou never see Titan kiss a dish of butter?
The variety of names of the ancient divinities comes from the fact that new sets of gods springing up or introduced from abroad were identified with the old ones.
11. Phoebe (poißn), the bright one, feminine form of Phæbus (Apollo), later identified with Diana (Artemis), goddess of the chase. — crescendo, in her waxing. — reparabat: re- means in place of the old.
12. circumfuso aere: later philosophers taught that the Earth is a sphere or globe, surrounded by air, in which it hangs balanced by its own weight - ponderibus librata suis. — Tellus, the Earth as contrasted with the heavens : terra (connected with torreo) is the “ dry” land, as contrasted with the sea.
13. longo margine, about the long outline ($ 258. f; G. 387).
14. Amphitrite : Amphitrite, “she that enfolds,” the wife of Neptune, is poetically the Sea — here confounded with the Ocean, which (in Homer) embraces the whole earth like a vast river. Observe that this is a spondaic verse: Amphitritē.
16. sic, so, i. e. in this condition of things. — instabilis, innabilis =" the earth that could not be trod, the wave that could not be swum,” the opposite of their most striking properties.
17. nulli, sc. eorum. — manebat, was fixed. 18. obstabat aliis aliud = every thing hindered every thing else. 19. calidis, dat. ($ 229. C; G. 344, Ro).
20. sine pondere (understand“ with those ")=levibus. habentia pondus = gravia, in the same construction with frigida, humentia, mollia.
21. hanc litem, this strife, of which a case at court seemed the most natural image to a Roman: etymologically, strife=stlit-(lis).
23. spisso aere, the grosser air.
24. quæ relates to the elements ; terras, undas, caelum, aer · when he had unfolded these.
25. locis : each element is supposed to have its own place, or natural level.
26. ignea vis, fiery nature. — et connects ignea and sine pondere. — convexi, bending, as if considering it from the outside. Observe the four elements in the order of their gravity : ignea vis, aër, tellus, humor. — sine pondere=levis, agreeing with cæli.
27. emicuit, leaped forth, as by its nature ; perhaps also as if it took the supremacy and occupied the citadel. - summa arce, the zenith (topmost height).
29. grandia, coarser.
32. ubi secuit, when he had parted : the subject is quisquis. dispositam, i.e. so that it was arranged.
I. 11-64.] 1. The Creation and the Flood.
34. principio, in the beginning, qualifying glomeravit. 35. speciem ... in=in speciem. - orbis, see note to v. 6.
36. rapidis, not merely swift, but (with active force) dragging the waters, which swell under them.
39. obliquis, sloping; declivia, down-flowing (clivus).
40. ipsā, sc. terrā (v. 37). The ab shows that the Earth is here represented as a living agent.
42. aquæ, construed with campo, expanse (the sea). — ripis, litora : notice the contrast, one word meaning banks, the other shores.
45. ut, as. - dextrā, sinistrā, right and left in reference to the celestial equator. The division into five zones was first made by Eudoxus, a pupil of Aristotle.
46. quinta est, there is a fifth (in the middle). 47. onus inclusum, i. e. the earth. - numero, sc. zonarum.
48. premuntur, lie below. This word often loses its passive force, and means merely to lie, with the idea of lowness added. — tellūre, on earth (loc. abl.).
50. totidem, sc. zonas. -- locavit: the subject is cura dei.
52. his, i. e. the terrestrial zones. - quanto, etc.=is as much heavier than flame as water is lighter than earth ($ 250 ; G. 400).
54. illic, here, in this. — nebulas, vapors; nubes, clouds. 55. motura, destined to excite.
56. cum ... ventos, winds which cause cold along with lightnings. The ancients thought that lightning was caused by the friction of wind upon the clouds (see Book XV. 70).
57. his, i. e. the winds. — passim, at random (an adverbial form from pando, spread). — fabricator, framer. — quoque, these too, as well as the elements, were set each in his place.
58. vix obsistitur illis=scarce can they be with stood impersonal, § 230; G. 208). — nunc, as it is, when they are separated, giving the reason of separating them by implying the consequence of their being together.
59. cum ... regant, while they direct each his own blast (subj. of characteristic). — tractu, region.
60. quin, following vix obsistitur, from rending, lit. so but that, &oc.
61. Nabatæa regna, in Arabia Petræa.
63. juga, mountain ranges. Notice how Ovid varies the de. scription in the four cases.
64. Scythiam : this term was applied to the vast steppes of
Independent Tartary and south-eastern Russia. It was therefore north-east rather than north. — septemtrionem, a compound (also used in the plural), separated by tmesis by the enclitic -que. The meaning of the word is the “ seven ox-team,” i. e. the constellation of the Bear (north).
66. madescit, is moistened.
68. nec quicquam habentem, and having nought. — terrenæ fæcis, dregs of earth. - liquidum, purely transparent. - æthera, identical with the element of fire.
70. quæ, the antecedent is sidera. — pressa, hidden.
72. neu (neve), and lest, the regular connective with ne. — foret, § 287. h; G. 519, R.
74. cesserunt, fell to the lot of.
75. agitabilis, beaten with the wing (compare v. 16), poetical for yielding.
76. animal, a being. — mentis, following capacius ($ 218. b; G. 374).
77. deerat, two syllables, - quod posset, which might : clause of purpose, $ 317 ; G. 544.
79 origo, source.
80. sive, sive, i. e. whether it was an act of creation or a manufacture from materials already endowed with life.
82. quam, which (i. e. earth). — satus Iapeto (§ 244. a; G. 395), son of Iapetus, Prometheus.
83. in effigiem, etc.: compare “Let us make man in our image,” Genesis, i. 26. — moderantum=qui moderantur, which would be used in prose.
84. cum, while, whereas (8 326; G. 587, R).
89. aurea : compare the description of the Golden Age in Virgil, Ecl. iv. — vindice nullo (abl. abs.), when there was no avenger (of guilt], i. e. by no constraint.
91. fixo ære, posted up in brass, like the tablets of the Roman law. - pæna metusque=fear of punishment.
94. cæsa, agreeing with pinus ; suis with montibus : the pine felled on its native hills, and wrought into ships.
95. norant ($ 128. a), knew, lit. had learned ($ 58, 5, R; G. 227, R?).
98. directi, flexi, both agreeing with æris (gen. of material, $ 214. e; G. 367, R). The tuba was a long straight brazen horn; the cornu was curved.