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This let me beg (and this no fates withstand)
Mr. DRYDEN. By the way, I have often admired at Virgil for representing his Juno with such an impotent kind of revenge as what is the subject of this speech. You may be sure, says Eugenius, that Virgil knew very
well this was a trifling kind of request for the queen of the gods to make, as we may find by Jupiter's way of accepting it.
Olli subridens honinm rerumque repertor:
keep their name, their habit, and their tongue.
I am apt to think Virgil had a further view in this request of Juno than what his commentators have dis
covered in it. He knew very well that his Æneid was founded on a very doubtful story, and that Æneas's coming into Italy was not universally received among the Roinans themselves. He knew too that a main objection to this story was the great difference of customs, language, and habits among the Romans and Trojans. To obviate therefore so strong an objection, he makes this difference to arise from the forecast and pre-determination of the gods themselves. But pray what is the name of the lady in the next medal? Methinks she is very particular in her quoiffure.
It is the emblem of Fruitfulness*, says Philander, and was designed as a compliment to Julia, the wife of Septimius Severus, who had the same number of children as you see on this coin. Her head is crowned with towers in allusion to Cybele the mother of the gods, and for the same reason that Virgil compares the city of Rome to her.
Felir prole virúm, qualis Berecynthia mater
VIRG. Æn. lib. 6.
The vine, issuing out of the urn, speaks the same sense as that in the Psalınist. “Thy wife shall be as the fruitful vine on the walls of thy house." The four stars overhead, and the same number on the globe, represent the four children. There is a medalion of Romulus and Remus sucking the wolf, with a star over each of their heads, as we find the Latin poets speaking of the children of princes under the same metaphor.
Utque tui faciunt sidus juvenile nepotes,
Ovid, de Trist. lib. 2. el. ..
* Fig. 9.
-Tu quoque extinctus juces,
Sen. Octav. act. 1.
-Maneus hominum contentus habenis,
STAT. THEB. lib. 1.
In need not mention Homer's comparing Astyanax to the morning star, nor Virgil's imitation of him in his description of Ascanius.
The next medal was stamped on the marriage of Nero and Octavia *; you see the sun over the head of Nero, and the moon over that of Octavia. They face one another according to the situation of these two planets in the heavens.
-Phæbeis obvia flammis
Sen. Thyest. act. 4. And to show that Octavia derived her whole lustre from the friendly aspect of her husband.
Sicut luna suo tunc tuntum deficit orbe,
Because the moon then only feels decay,
Mr. CREECH. But if we consider the history of this medal, we shall find more fancy in it than the medalists have yet discovered. Nero and Octavia were not only husband and wife, but brother and sister, Claudius being the father of both. We have this relation between them marked out in the tragedy of Octavia, where it speaks of her marriage with Nero.
Thy sister, bright with every blooming grace,
Shall reign a Juno with the Roman Jove.
Luna. VIRG. Georg. 1. The flattery on the next medal* is in the same thought as that of Lucretius.
Ipse Epicurus obit decurso lumine vitæ;
As far as meaner stars the mid-day sun. Mr. Creech.
VIRG. Ubi primos crastinus ortus. Extulerit Titan, radiisque retexerit orbem,
* Fig. 11.
When next the sun his rising light displays,
And gilds the world below with purple rays. Mr. DRYDEN. On his head you see the rays that seem to grow out of it. Claudian, in the description of his infant Titan, descants on this glory about his head, but has run his description into most wretched fustian.
Invalidum dextro portat Titann lacerto,
CLAUD. de rapt. Pros. lib. 2,
A gentle breathing and a harmless flame. The sun rises on a medal of Commodus *, as Ovid describes him in the story of Phaëton.
Ardua prima via est, et quà vir manè recentes
Ov. Met. lib. 2. You have here too the four horses breaking through the clouds in their morning passage.
-Pyroëis, et Eõus, et Æthon,
The woman underneath represents the earth, as Ovid has drawn her sitting in the same figure.
Sustulit omniferos collo tenus arida vultus;
* Fig. 12.