Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Aeneid Book 4

Let us delve in and see what we can come up with.

At regina gravi iamdudum saucia cura
vulnus alit venis, et caeco carpitur igni.
multa viri virtus animo, multusque recursat
gentis honos; haerent infixi pectore vultus
verbaque, nec placidam membris dat cura quietem. (1-5)

postera Phoeba lustrabat lampade terras,
umentemque Aurora polo dimoverat umbram,
cum sic unanimam adloquiter male sana sororem: (6-8)

Note first all of the hard palatal sounds in the first five lines; this adds effect to the jarring, harsh state which Dido is in. Here Virgil is describing how the queen is completely consumed with love for Aeneas, and the palatals lend an air of harshness to the lines. Note also that there are many voiceless dental stops; the t's are also a harsh sound.

Note then how things change in the next three lines. In the description of the dawn breaking (6-7), we find mostly soft sounds: labials and liquids predominate, and we don't find nearly as many of the harsher sounds like in the first five lines. The lines sound softer and more gentle; the two sets of lines juxtaposed to one another create an interesting contrast between the soft dawn and the harsh passion which Dido is captured by.

More thoughts will be posted as they occur to me.

1 comment:

Mattitiahu said...

You can tell that guys like us are way too hyped up on the writings of Calvert Watkins