"Down pours a novel shower, sulphur mixt
With blazing flames: the ether seethes: the air
Crackles with liquid exust."
19 The story of Phaëthon and his fate is told in Ov., Met., ii. 1-399, which may be compared with the present piece. His two sisters were transformed into white poplars, according to some; alders, according to others. See Virg., Aen., x. 190 sqq., Ec., vi. 62 sqq. His hal-brother (Cycnus or Cygnus) was turned into a swan: and the scene of these transformations is laid by Ovid on the banks of the Eridanus (the Po). But the fable is variously told; and it has been suggested that the groundwork of it is to be found rather in the still-standing of the sun recorded in Joshua.
21 I have hazarded the bold conjecture - which I see others (Pamelius at all events) had hazarded before me - that "feritas" is used by our author as - "fertilitas." The word, of course, is very incorrectly formed etymologically; but etymology is not our author's forte apparently. It will also be seen that there is seemingly a gap at this point, or else some enormous mistake, in the mss. An attempt has been made (see Migne) to correct it, but not a very satisfactory one. For the common reading, which gives two lines,
"Occidit illa prior feritas, quam prospiciens Loth
Nullus arat frustra piceas fuligine glebas,"which are evidently entirely unconnected with one another, it is proposed to read,
"Occidit illa prior feritas, quam prospiciens Loth,
Deseruisse pii fertur commercia fratris.
Nullas arat," etc.This use of "fratris" in a wide sense may be justified from Gen. xiii. 8 (to which passage, with its immediate context, there seems to be a reference, whether we adopt the proposed correction or no), and similar passages in Holy Writ. But the transition is still abrupt to the "nullus arat," etc.; and I prefer to leave the passage as it is, without attempting to supply the hiatus.
23 This seems to be the sense, but the Latin is somewhat strange: "morsest maris illa quieti," i.e., illa (quies) maris quieti mors est. The opening lines of "Jonah" (above) should be compared with this passage and its context.
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