Posted by Eric » Add Comment »
At A. 1.297 Mercury is dispatched to instruct Dido to welcome the Trojans to Carthage. His flight is described thus in 300-301:
…Volat ille per aera magnum
remigio alarum ac Libyae citus astitit oris.
The end of 300 is entirely dactylic (save, obviously, the sixth foot), and it reflects well the initial verb “volat.” Things slow down in 301, but the double elision is effective in spite of the heavier rhythm, for one gets a sense of Mercury gliding through the air on the easy carriage of his wings. As he “rows” with his wings, it’s all smooth sailing. The tempo then picks up again with a dactylic ending, drawing attention rhythmically to the meaning of the adverb “citus.” From Olympus to the shores of Libya, just like that. “Oris” as the endpoint of his journey and as the end of the line is a nice touch.