Ornatissimo doctissimoque viro This dedicatory epistle is not easily translated, particularly in its first sentence, both because Crowther is striving so mightily for an elegant style that his Latin is far from pellucid, and because some words have been omitted from the ms. (at the end of the fourth line the copyist wrote hume-, as if the word would be completed at the beginning of the fifth, but his eye must have skipped ahead a little). So the reader’s indulgence must be requested.
Dramatis Personae Nugel (p. 18) identifies this character as a governess. One might want to disagree, on the grounds that, if she were such, she should be called a nutrix, whereas alumna means “foster-daughter, pupil,” and it is reasonably clear from 197f. that her family is dead and she living in the household some kind of dependent or ward of Procris, who does work in her kitchen (197). But the fact that she is repeatedly called a matrona in IV.i. shows that Nugel was right (and the consideration that in the course of the play she is repeatedly called an anus or old woman shows that she is the proper age for this duty). And at 733f. there is mention of Cephalus giving Procris “a guardian over her chastity,” and it would seem reasonable that this refers to this same character, to whom Cephalus has given some kind of watching brief.
I.i - iv The first four scenes of this act are set in the forest.
12 The old man in question is Aurora’s mythological consort, Tython.
15 She is fickle because she is willing to abandon Tython.
22 An eastern land bordering the Caspian Sea, proverbial in antiquity for its fierceness. Hyrcania was also celebrated for its savage tigers, so perhaps tiger’s milk is meant.
44ff. Vulcan caught his consort Venus in flagrante with Mars and trapped the adulterous couple by casting a net over them.
48 The ancients regarded the liver as the seat of the passions.
I.ii As was the custom in academic drama of the time, the five acts of the play are subdivided into numbered scenes. Each of these, prefaced by a list of the speaking parts in it, is precipitated either by a change in the grouping of characters or when the stage is momentarily cleared. As such, these scene-divisions often serve as a rather imperfect means of indicating entrances and exits, and no discontinuity of time or place is necessarily implied.
This scene and the following one are suggested by Ovid, Metamorphoses VII.700ff.:
alter agebatur post sacra iugalia mensis,
cum me cornigeris tendentem retia cervis
vertice de summo semper florentis Hymetti
lutea mane videt pulsis Aurora tenebris
80 A mountain outside of Athens.
I.iii Crowther got the main outline of this interview from Metamorphoses VII.705ff.:
quod sit roseo spectabilis ore,
quod teneat lucis, teneat confinia noctis,
nectareis quod alatur aquis, ego Procrin amabam;
pectore Procris erat, Procris mihi semper in ore.
sacra tori coitusque novos thalamosque recentes
primaque deserti referebam foedera lecti:
mota dea est et “siste tuas, ingrate, querellas;
Procrin habe!” dixit, “quod si mea provida mens est,
non habuisse voles.” meque illi irata remisit.
98f. In his plot summary (p. 18) Nugel wrote, “In the following scene Cephalus sees a dreadful lizard-like monster.” But it is far more likely he is speaking metaphorically of Aurora.
103 At a number of points in Cephalus et Procris Crowther uses seu rather than ceu to introduce a comparison (in the pronunciation of his time these two words were homophones, and this facilitated the lexical confusion).
139ff. “Cephalus, however, thinks of the heavenly bliss arising from his love” (Nugel p. 18).
170 The use of the ablative fide with paenitet instead of the normal genitive is unusual, but the meter prevents us from reading fidei.
I.iv Cephalus’ soliloquizing reflections and their sequel are suggested by Metamorphoses VII.714ff.
cum redeo mecumque deae memorata retracto,
esse metus coepit, ne iura iugalia coniunx
non bene servasset: facies aetasque iubebat
credere adulterium, prohibebant credere mores;
sed tamen afueram, sed et haec erat, unde redibam,
criminis exemplum, sed cuncta timemus amantes.
quaerere, quod doleam, statuo donisque pudicam
sollicitare fidem; favet huic Aurora timori
inmutatque meam (videor sensisse) figuram.
I.5 The setting changes to the royal palace of Cephalus, at Athens.
254f. Cf. Carmine Popularia (P. M. G.) fr. 2.2, quoted by Athenaeus VIII.lx.8:
ἦλθ’ ἦλθε χελιδὼν
καλὰς ὥρας ἄγουσα,
I.vi This scene is inspired by a simple statement in Ovid (Met. VII.724f.)
culpa domus ipsa carebat
castaque signa dabat dominoque erat anxia rapto
II.i - ii A street near the palace.
296 Proteus is the shape-shifting wizard in Book IV of the Odyssey.
301 Alcides = Hercules.
302 A phrase used by Horace to designate long, impressive-sounding words put in the mouths of stage-characters (Ars Poetica 95ff.):
et tragicus plerumque dolet sermone pedestri,
Telephus et Peleus cum pauper et exsul uterque
proicit ampullas et sesquipedalia verba,
si curat cor spectantis tetigisse querella.
But in fact, save for shifting at times into dactylic hexameter, Crowther does not give “Polemoceraunus” any distinctive style of diction.
350 This line appears to make no sense in context: has it been wrongly transferred here from some other passage?
II.iii The focus shifts to the palace itself, where it remains until the end of Act IV. The mention of a knock at the door at 437 suggests this was meant to be played as an interior scene.
470 Unfortunately the stage direction is partially illegible, so that Crowther’s intentions are not fully clear, but the word desuper appears to indicate that the onstage “house” had two storeys. On the strength of descendunt in the stage direction at line 545, it would seem that this scene was meant to be played with the men at ground level conversing with the women above.
481 Mercury was the patron god of heralds, messengers, and go-betweens.
500 Mt. Parnassus has two peaks.
529 He means the Gorgon that decorated Minerva’s aegis.
531 Literally, “I do nothing but look stones” (cf. our English idiom “look daggers”).
III.i The portion of this scene featuring an interview between Cephalus and Procris takes cues from Met. VII.723ff.:
vix aditus per mille dolos ad Erecthida factus.
ut vidi, obstipui meditataque paene reliqui
temptamenta fide; male me, quin vera faterer,
continui, male, quin, et oportuit, oscula ferrem.
tristis erat (sed nulla tamen formosior illa
esse potest tristi) desiderioque dolebat
coniugis abrepti: tu collige, qualis in illa,
Phoce, decor fuerit, quam sic dolor ipse decebat!
quid referam, quotiens temptamina nostra pudici
reppulerint mores, quotiens “ego” dixerit “uni
servor; ubicumque est, uni mea gaudia servo.”
cui non ista fide satis experientia sano
magna foret? non sum contentus et in mea pugno
vulnera, dum census dare me pro nocte loquendo
muneraque augendo tandem dubitare coegi.
571ff. In his plot-summary (p. 20) Nugel identifies the portion of Act III in which Eumetis is onstage as Scene ii, and the portion (beginning at 754) after he leaves as as Scene iii. But in the manuscript this act is not divided into scenes.
590ff. In order to seem more impressive, Cephalus shifts into dactylic hexameters, which he affects through much of the remainder of this act. (Sometimes the other characters imitate him, sometimes they stick to their normal iambic senarii).
606 He suddenly realizes that Procris is not reacting well to the sight of the sword, and begs her pardon.
612 Let alone a sword.
620 Most of this line is illegible because the ink has been blotted, perhaps deliberately.
698ff. Even if one grants that it is not dramatically implausible for Eumetis to be talking impressive-sounding nonsense, these lines seem intolerably garbled. The text looks seriously deranged at this point.
706 The Roman god of marriage. Crowther frequently employs Hymenaeus to designate marriage itself.
708ff. They are speaking of the myth dramatized by Plautus in the Amphitryo: Jupiter came down disguised as Amphitryon and spent the night with Alcmene. Thus Hercules was fathered.
737 There is a pun on the homonyms unio, meaning “pearl” and “union” respectively.
759ff. Cf. Met. VII.741f.:
exclamo male victor: “adest, mala, fictus adulter!
verus eram coniunx! me, perfida, teste teneris.”
767 I believe the meaning of this statement is as I have translated it, “What do you imagine a true lover could do if a pretended suitor has accomplished so much?” But as written the line is incoherent, either because the text is disrupted or because for dramatic effect Crowther reduces Cephalus to disjointed sputtering.
786 Cupid is at the forge of his father Vulcan, on the isle of Lemnos.
812 Perhaps a curtain is drawn to show the ward praying inside the stage-building.
831 Phocus seems to be implying that Juno is Polemoceraunus’ stepmother, and therefore that he has some sort of divine ancestry.
869 Cf. Seneca, Phaedra 607, curae leves locuntur, ingentes stupent.
924ff. Cf. Met. VII.745f.:
offensaque mei genus omne perosa virorum
montibus errabat, studiis operata Dianae.
Act V This entire act employs the same woodland setting used for the first four scenes of Act I.
1082ff. For the wonderful virtue of this javelin cf. Met. VII.681ff.:
maiorem specie mirabere” dixit “in isto.
consequitur, quodcumque petit, fortunaque missum
non regit, et revolat nullo referente cruentum.”
1092 Also the dog’s name in Ovid (Met. VII.771). The name is a significant one: in Greek it means “furious storm, hurricane.”
1135ff. For following interview between Cephalus and Procris and their reconciliation incorporates hints from Met. VII.747ff.:
tum mihi deserto violentior ignis ad ossa
pervenit: orabam veniam et peccasse fatebar
et potuisse datis simili succumbere culpae
me quoque muneribus, si munera tanta darentur.
haec mihi confesso, laesum prius ulta pudorem,
redditur et dulces concorditer exigit annos.
1180 The Romans equated Diana with Lucina, goddess of childbirth.
1181ff. Cf. Met. VII.753ff.:
dat mihi praeterea, tamquam se parva dedisset
dona, canem munus; quem cum sua traderet illi
Cynthia, “currendo superabit” dixerat “omnes.”
dat simul et iaculum, manibus quod, cernis, habemus.