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EX OVIDII CARMINIBUS.
METAMORPH. LIB. I.
The Greek and Roman poets consider man as fallen from a state
of primeval innocence into a state of guilt. This declension they represent by a series of Ages, which, according to their worth, they compare with the metals; the purest being named after gold, the age next in purity after silver, and so on. The poets differ from each other with regard to the number of these Ages. Ovid assumes four - the Golden, the Silver, the Brazen, and the Iron.
AUREA prima sata est aetas, quae vindice nullo,
91. Fixo aere.
In the earliest times, the laws were set up for public view on brazen tablets, as we are expressly informed with regard to the Laws of the Twelve Tables.-95. Pinus. The fir is here, as frequently, put for that which is made of fir (materies pro materiato): the ship.-98. Tuba directi - aeris cornua flexi. According to the analogy of the genitivus qualitatis (Gram. $ 276), the material is here put in the genitive.—101. Immunis, which properly signifies free from taxes, is here more particularly explained by
Saucia vomeribus, per se dabat omnia tellus ;
nullo cogente, v. 103. The earth yields its fruits, not by compulsion, but spontaneously, ipsa per se. — -104. Arbuteos foetus, the fruit of the strawberry-tree, which grows wild in Italy (Arbutus unedo, Linn.) It resembles the common strawberry, except that it is larger, and bears the seed within the pulp. Montana fraga, common strawberries, which grow in abundance on wooded hills.
- 105. Corna, the fruit of the wild cornel-tree. It is stony, with, little pulp. In Homer it is mentioned as the food of swine -- Odyss. X. 242. Mora, blackberries, the fruit of the rubeta. 106. Palula Jovis arbore. The oak is sacred to Jupiter, who is said to have delivered his oracles at Dodona by means of oaks. — 108. Sine semine. Without having been planted.--110. Nec renovatus ; that is, without having been prepared anew after the respite of the winter, or of the whole year, when the field lies fallow. The former seems the more simple. Nec must be connected with the next word (et non renovatus), and not with the whole sentence, which would give exactly the opposite sense. — 111. Nectar. The Golden Age was thus exalted above mere human enjoyments.-112. Flavaque mella. The ancients considered honey as an ethereal dew, which, in the Golden Age, dropped, pure and abundant, from the leaves of trees, especially of the oak; but which is now corrupted by foreign juice, and must be toilsomely gathered by the bees. of the later age Virgil says: Juppiter mella decussit foliis. — 113. Saturn is usually distinguished in Italian story from the Kronos of the Greeks, as the first king of Latium. Here the poet takes no notice of this : he refers simply to the end of the god, which is also transferred to Saturn by the Roman poets.—114. Subiit. The last syllable is here lengthened by the arsis, or metrical accent. This takes place principally in words ending in r, s, or t, more rarely in words ending in a vowel.-115. Auro deterior-aere. Auro and aere for aurea and aenea. Deterior, less good, in comparison with good. Pejor, worse, in comparison with bad.—117. Inaequales autumnos. With the Latin poets the versus spondaicus seldom ends in a molossus (Metam. ii. 247, Taenarius Eurotas). They seem to have