The plays of the Senecan corpus will be abbreviated as follows: Ag. — Agamemnon, H. F. — Hercules Furens, Hipp. — Hippolytus, Me. — Medea, Oed. — Oedipus, Phoen. — Phoenissae, Tr. — Troades, Thy. — Thyestes, H. Oet. — Hercules Oetaeus, Oct. — Octavia. I call the play in question Hippolytus rather than Phaedra in imitation of Gager’s practice. To avoid possible confusion, the title of Gager’s Oedipus will never be abbreviated.
Dedicatory epistles There are four extant copies of the printed edition. Three of them contain the dedicatory epistle to Lord Buckhurst. In the fourth copy (owned by the Huntington Library) the epistle to the Countess of Pembroke is found in its stead. The reason for this substitution is obscure, and is all the more puzzling because both epistles were written on the same day and contain some similar ideas, and also because the latter epistle seems to contain some sort of reference to the former in the words cum ab Ulysse ac Cancellario nostro, illustrissimo Buckhurstio, discesserit.
Sackville epistle Thomas Sackville, Lord Buckhurst (later created Earl of Dorset), had been appointed Chancellor of the University of Oxford in 1591.
tarditate mea excitare volui Perhaps Gager had been slow to agree to supply a play for the present occasion.
fungi…secandi The quote is from Horace, Ars Poetica, 304f. (Only the second line is printed as a verse).
de gravissima illa Thomae Sackvili in Henrici Staffordi ducis Buckinghamiae tragaediam inductione The so-called tragedy mentioned here was in fact no play at all but rather “Buckingham’s Complaint,” Sackville’s contribution to The Mirror for Magistrates. (This was the Duke of Buckingham who first supported, and then raised his standard against, Richard III, with disastrous results). As Boas (p. 203) observes, it is strange that Gager mentions this rather than Sackville’s co-authorship of Gorboduc (1562).
si Ulyssem Ulyssi inscribam? This otherwise obscure phrase is clarified by the phrase in the epistle to the Countess of Pembroke quoted above.
ita multum tibi Ulysses ipse debet Evidently Gager is thanking the Chancellor for subsidizing these Shrovetide performances.
quare imprimis cavi, ne in hominum conspectum publice prodeat Taken literally, this is a rather odd thing to say in the preface of a printing intended for general circulation.
academiae nostrae Maecenatem ac Cancellarium Maecenas was the distinguished patron of literature under Augustus Caesar.
Pembroke epistle, doctissimus Casaeus tuus Possibly the Countess’ chaplain or secretary. I find no degree conferred on anybody of the period named Casey in the records of either University, and cannot otherwise identify this individual (since Gager’s friend the Oxford Aristotelian John Case Latinized his name Casus, this probably does not refer to him).
quam ut aliquis Homerus exoriatur This probably refers to Nicholas Breton, whose The Countess of Penbrookes Love was also printed by Barnes (with The Pilgrimage to Paradise); Gager contributed two prefatory epigrams for this volume.
molliorem tibi fortunam opto Doubtless this refers to the death of her brother in 1586.
Holland epigram Cf. Holland’s biographical sketch in Anthony à Wood, Athenae Oxonienses II.111f. For the academic title Dominus cf. the Introduction to Gager’s poems.
1 πολύτροπον ἄνδρα Odysseus is so described in the first line of the Odyssey.
6 ter vati nostra theatra dabant This refers to the three previous occasions on which Gager’s plays were presented at Christ Church, in 1582, 1583, and 1585.
Gentile epigram For Gentili, cf. the note on the similar epigram prefixed to Meleager, as well as the discussion of Gentili’s role in the Rainolds dispute in the General Introduction to this volume). As with the former poem, the translation is taken from C. F. Tucker Brooke’s unpublished manuscript, p. 546.
Eedes epigram For Eedes, cf. the note to the similar epigram prefixed to Meleager. Here the word theologus refers to Eedes’ position at Christ Church, although the same word meant ”theologian” when applied to Thomas Holland above.
10 aut hoc, aut illo…pede I. e., either in the dactylic meter of epic or in the iambic one of drama.
Bust epigram Henry Bust was a Fellow of Magdalen College and a physician who “practiced his faculty many years in Oxford with great repute”: Joseph Foster, Alumni Oxonienses (London, 1891 - 2, repr. Nendeln, 1968) III.221.
Gwinne epigram Matthew Gwinne was both a supporter of University drama (Boas, op. cit. 252 quotes the document that made him, along with Gager and others, a supervisor of the performances for the Queen’s 1592 visit) and a playwright himself. He wrote, among other things, a tragedy Nero (printed at London, 1603), and a comedy Vertumnus sive Annus Recurrens Oxoniae (performed during a royal visit in 1605, printed at London two years later. For the same visit Gwinne also wrote a short piece entitled Tres Sibyllae in which the three witches who had predicted Banquo’s rise to power return to prophesy great things for Banquo’s descendant James. It is sometimes thought that the royal pleasure with this conceit led to the writing of Macbeth a year or two later.). For biographical sketches, cf. Wood, Athenae Oxonienses II.415 - 8, and John Ward, The Lives of the Professors of Gresham College (London, 1740, repr. New York, 1967) 260 - 65, and now by Iain Wright's article in the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography.
Much of Gwinne’s later prose and poetry is marked by the stylistic bag of tricks characteristic of Euphuism, foreshadowed by the strikingly antithetical construction of the present epigram.
Latewar epigram Another talented poet of Gager’s circle For his more significant poetic work, cf. Leicester Bradner, Musae Anglicanae (New York, 1940, repr. New York, 1966) 66.
Sidney epigram This individual matriculated at Christ Church in 1585, at which time he described himself as coming from Kent, the son of a gentleman, and eighteen years old. In his later years he was rector of Chevening and then of Penshurst, Kent (Foster, Alumni Oxonienses III.1449). There is no reason for thinking that he was any kind of kinsmen of Sir Philip Sidney.
First Hoskyns epigram John Hoskyns, a Fellow of New College, wrote a number of English and Latin epigrams and left behind him an uncompleted Greek lexicon. Cf. Louise Brown Osborn, The Life, Letters, and Writings of John Hoskyns, 1566 - 1638 (Yale Studies in English vol. 87, repr. Hamden, Connecticut, 1973).
1 This line is a recast version of Ovid, Ars Amatoria II.280, si nihil attuleris ibis Homere foras.
Second Hoskins epigram The allusion is to Socrates’ statement at Plato, Apology p. 41A.
Ballowe epigram William Ballow was a student of Christ Church who had been admitted to the B. A. in the previous year; in later years he was a University Proctor and a Canon of Christ Church. Cf. Foster, Alumni Oxonienses III.64. Presumably the point of this epigram is that “Penelope” is Elizabeth.
Weston epigram James Weston had matriculated from Christ Church in 1590 at age 17 (Foster, Alumni Oxonienses III.1603). He was the actor who played Telemachus.
epigram ad Zoilum Zoilus was a rhetorician and cynic philosopher of the fourth century B. C. whose carping criticism of Homer earned him the sobriquet Homeromastix (“Scourge of Homer”).
4 In later antiquity Homer was supposed to be the son of Maeon (-ides is the Greek patronymic ending)
8 Gager anticipates the modern actors’ dictum that “even bad publicity is good publicity.”
Ad Criticum See the discussion of this passage in the Introduction.
et tragicus plerumque Horace, Ars Poetica 95 - 7.
Zoilum esse necesse sit See the Commentary note on the above epigram ad Zoilum.
Cyclope In Renaissance discussions on the subject, Euripides’ Cyclops was often adduced as classical precedent for tragicomedy (cf. Herrick, Chapter I). To be sure, the Cyclops was a satyr play, one of those farcical afterpieces performed after tragic trilogies, not a tragedy. But the nature of satyric drama was very imperfectly understood prior to Isaac Casaubon’s de Satyrica Graecorum Poesi et Romanorum Satyra (Geneva, 1605, reprinted with a Forward by Peter S. Medine, New York, 1973).
Oedipus Colonaeus Gager presumably acquired this anecdote from Cicero, de Senectute vii, 22.
Electrae…Philoctetes Two more plays by Sophocles.
Hercules Oeteus Although this play is now generally recognized to be spurious, in the Renaissance its authenticity was taken for granted.
non ad exquisitam Artis Poeticae I understand this as an allusion to Horace’s work and italicize the title accordingly.
ac non potius cum Bartolo As a student of the law, Gager should be applying himself to the textbooks of the magisterial legal scholar Bartolus da Sassofarto, not to Homer.
Prologus ad academicos In book this Prologue is printed prior to the dedicatory epistles and the epigrams by Gager’s friends. Here it is shifted to the present position both because it is an integral part of the play’s text and because this more appropriate sequence is followed in the case of Meleager.
22 Specifically the comic actor’s soccus. Cf. the next note.
One of the ways in which the diction of the play is less than tragic is the occasional use of English proverbs translated into Latin. Cf. particularly I.327f. with the note ad loc.
32ff. The cothurnus was the tragic actor’s high boot, and the soccus the comic actor’s lower and less elaborate slipper. This is of course a further allusion to the play’s tragicomic nature.
For the contrast, cf. Horace, Ars Poetica 81, hunc socci cepere pedem grandesque cothurni, and line 7 of the Dido prologue, levis in cothurnum vertitur soccus gravem.
47 In this case, not the Old Man of the Sea but “the boss of the sea” (using senex in the sense employed by the comic writers), i.e., Ulysses’ old enemy Neptune.
52ff. These lines are suggested by the end of the prologue to Terence’s Heauton Timorumenos (48 - 52):
si nunquam avare pretium statui arti meae
et eum esse quaestum in animum induxi maximum
quam maxume servire vostris commodis:
exemplum statuite in me, ut adulescentuli
vobis placere studeant potius quam sibi.
Act I The meeting between Ulysses and Minerva is based on Od. xiii.187 - 440; a number of speeches follow those of the Odyssey closely, as noted below.
The setting is the beach of the Ithacan harbor consecrated to Phorcys. For the purpose of this play, the hut of Eumaeus the swineherd is transferred here from the Odyssey’s forest and a “house” is employed to represent it (cf. 212). A second “house” may represent the shrine of the Naiads, addressed at 151ff.
Note that, since the setting for this Act is different from that of II - V, the unity of place is violated (as is also the unity of time). Gager was not concerned with this issue. Both Meleager and Dido ignore the unity of time, and Gager’s extra scenes in Panniculus introduce a violation of the unity of place into Seneca’s Hippolytus.
For the possibility that Gager originally divided his Acts into scenes and that these were removed by the printer, see the note on Meleager 76ff.
For Ulysses’ arrival at the port of Phorcys, cf. Od. 13.96 - 121 and 187 - 99. Ulysses’ present speech is based on Od. 13.200 - 16.
I.66f. These lines imitate Tr. 613f.:
nunc advoca astus, anime, nunc fraudes, dolos,
nunc totum ulixen.
Cf. also Phoen. 78, pectus antiquum advoca.
I.84ff. Ulysses’ address to Minerva is based on Od. xiii.228 - 35.
I.89ff. Minerva’s speech follows Od. 13.237 - 49.
I.91 As is made clearer by Od. xiii.240f., utrique Phaebo means “from the rising sun to the setting one.”
I.93ff. Gager was presumably familiar with Horace’s translation of this Homeric passage at Epistulae I.vii.41f.:
non est aptus equis Ithace locus, ut neque planis
porrectus spatiis nec multae prodigus herbae.
I.101ff. Odysseus’ speech is a very condensed equivalent of that at Od. xiii.256 - 86.
I.115ff. Cf. Athena’s speech at Od. xiii.293 - 310. In antiquity Cretans had a reputation for being liars.
I.118 Actually, versipellis has a stronger implication than my translation. The word really designates someone with the magical ability to change his appearance. For fraudum artifex cf. Tr. 750, o machinator fraudis et scelerum artifex.
I.124ff. Cf. Odysseus’ speech at Od. 312 - 28.
I.131ff. For similar sentiments, cf. Meleager 921f. and the other Gager passages quoted in the note ad loc.:
nullus oblitam tui
meriti videbit, nullus ingratam dies.
I.141ff. Cf. Od. xiii.353 - 60.
I.158ff. Cf. Od. xiii 375 - 81.
I.176f. In the Odyssey Athena works a magical transformation in Odysseus’ appearance. Since this would be impossible to represent on the stage, Gager settles for an onstage costume change.
I.180ff. Cf. Od. xiii.383 - 91 (but the subsequent sententious exchange about the virtue of patience is Gager’s own).
This Senecan-sounding cri du coeur finds a closer parallel in Thomas Legge, Richardus Tertius III.iv.iii 4121, o sors acerba, o fata regnis invida, than in any single line in Seneca.
I.181 Agamemnon was murdered by Clytemnestra and Aegisthus when he returned from Troy.
I.189 Cf. H. F. 69f.:
et posse caelum viribus vinci suis
I.196ff. Cf. Od. xiii.392 - 415.
I.202 Cf. the note on 66f.
I.206 Cf. Vergil, Aeneid III.395 and X.113, fata viam invenient.
I.212 For a similar entrance cue cf. Ag. 780f.:
et festa coniunx obvios illi tulit
gressus reditque iuncta concordi gradu.
But Seneca never uses foribus to mean “out of the stage-building.”
I.213ff. Ulysses’ first encounter with Eumaeus, and his subsequent meeting with Telemachus, represent a simplified dramatization of events in the Odyssey. In the epic Odysseus meets with Eumaeus in Book xiv. Meanwhile, Telemachus is still away on his voyage to Pylos, and is not reunited with his father until his return, narrated in Book xvi. Gager combines these incidents by representing the Pylos excursion as having occurred previously (357ff.).
For Ulysses’ first speech, cf. Od. xiv. 53f.
I.218ff. Cf. Od. xiv.56 - 71.
I.225 Agamenmenon and his brother Menelaus.
I.228 Cf. Me. 20f. (also imitated at Meleager 1600f.):
per urbes erret ignotas egens
exul pavens infisus incerti laris.
I.237ff. Cf. Od. xiv.115 - 20.
I.241ff. Eumaeus’ speech contains elements taken from Od. xiv.80 - 108 and 122 - 147.
I.264ff. Cf. Od. xiv.149 - 64.
I.280ff. Cf. Od. xiv.166 - 79.
I.293ff. Cf. Od. xvi.23 - 8.
I.295ff. This response bears no relation to anything said in the Odyssey. Since in the epic Telemachus appears at Eumaeus’ steading on his homecoming from Pylos, Gager has to invent another pretext for his appearance.
I.310ff. “In the Odyssey Minerva appears, restores the hero to his own likeness, and bids him reveal himself to Telemachus. Gager heightens the dramatic effect by making Ulysses gradually lead up to the declaration of his identity while he is still transformed” (Boas, p. 205, comparing Od. xvi.1 - 320). Gager’s innovation may have been partially motivated by a desire to intensify the dramatic effect, but another consideration is that Ulysses’ physical transformation cannot be shown on stage. The solution to this problem is to have Minerva intervene and address Telemachus directly, which she does not do in the Odyssey.
I.327f. It would seem that this is the first occurrence of the proverb “it is a wise son who knows his own father.” The earliest example listed in the Oxford Dictionary of English Proverbs dates to 1607, although its earlier existence can be inferred form Shakespeare’s inversion “it is a wise father who knows his own son” (Merchant of Venice V. ii.83).
I.368f. In order to avoid going to Troy, Odysseus pretended insanity and plowed his field in a bizarre way. Palamedes, sent by the Greeks to fetch him, placed the infant Telemachus in front of the plow, and Odysseus suddenly became very sane indeed.
I.375 Cf. Tr. 812, nullus est flendi modus.
I.380 “It is curious that Gager should lengthen the period of the visit to the swineherd…In the Odyssey Telemachus returns home next day at dawn, and his father follows in the afternoon. The dramatist was evidently indifferent about the unity of time” (Boas, p. 206 n.1).
I.381 For iubeo and a subjunctive without ut, cf. the examples cited by the Oxford Latin Dictionary “iubeo” 3b.
I.386f. Cf. Thy. 334f.:
haud sum monendus; ista nostro in pectore
fides timorque, sed magis claudet fides.
Act I chorus This chorus is written in anapaestic dimeters.
I.405 Cf. Tr. 124, columen patriae and Oct. 168, columen augustae domus, and also Meleager 674, patrii columen soli. Cf. also H. F. 1250f.:
unicum lapsae domus
firmamen, unum lumen afflicto malis.
Act II Three days later. The setting is now before Ulysses’ palace. More precisely, from the stage direction following III.1202, omnes in hac scena, in transitu Ulyssem alloquuntur, et e conclavi, in aulam exeunt., we learn that there are two “houses,” one representing Ulysses’ dining hall, and the other the palace proper.
Odysseus’ arrival at his palace is narrated at Od. xvii.204ff.
Initial stage direction In his letter to Dr. John Rainolds Gager supplies some interesting information about the staging of this scene:
As first, owre younge men dansed only twoe solleme measures, withowte any lyter galliarde, or other danse, only for a decorum, to note therby vnto the auditorye, what revelinge thay weare to imagin the wooers vsed within, and yet truly if I might have over-ruled the matter, evne that littell also, had byn lefte owte; because I feared lest it shoulde be ill taken, thoughe I thought there was no ill in the thinge, as I nowe perceyve my feare was not vayne.
II.440ff. Cf. Od. xvii.217 - 32.
II.445f. A quadra is literally a quarter-wheel of cheese, a quarter-loaf of bread, or a quarter of flat-bread.
II.454f. Cf. Od. xvii.235 - 8.
II.457ff. Cf. Od. xvii.240 - 46.
II.465ff. Cf. Od. xvii.248 - 53.
II.475 stage direction As with the banquet scene in the Dido, a curtain of the “house” used to represent Ulysses’ dining hall opens to reveal the hall within.
II.476ff. This scene is based on Od. xvii.328 - 605. Other than simplifying by omitting some details, Gager’s main change is that Telemachus’ indignant speeches to the Suitors have no basis in Book xvii of the Odyssey (they are inspired, in a general way, by i.368 - 404).
For Telemachus’ first speech, cf. Od. xvii.345 - 7.
II.480f. Cf. Od. xvii.354f.
II.482ff. Cf. Od. xvii.375 - 9.
II.487ff. Cf. Od. xvii.381 - 91.
II.497ff. Cf. Od. xvii.393 - 404. Cf. Meleager 1465, regina, cohibe mentis effraenae impetum.
II.506ff. Cf. Od. xvii.406 - 8. Cf. also Me. 506, quin potius ira concitum pectus doma.
II.567f. Cf. Od. xvii.454 - 7.
II.569f. Cf. Od. xvii.460f.
II.593 Cf. H. F. 385, sequitur superbos ultor a tergo deus.
II.599 stage direction We have seen that the banquet is to be staged as an interior scene. The subsequent stage directions following lines 689 and 720 show that at some point the curtains are drawn and thereafter the action occurs in front of the palace. At what point, therefore, does the interior scene end? Boas (p. 207) was undoubtedly right to suggest that the present stage direction indicates the transition. Cf. the similar transition at the end of Dido II.iii, where mention of the clearing of the tables in II.iv is also the only textual cue for the change. Although Phemius’ song is primarily included to match a parallel incident in the Odyssey (and because Gager likes to work music and songs into his plays), possibly it was also employed to cover the change of scene.
II.600ff. The Homeric basis for this song is the simple statement at Od. xvii.263 that Phemius was present at the banquet to entertain the Suitors, combined with a description of him singing at an earlier feast at i.325 - 76. This song is in Sapphic stanzas (three hendecasyllables followed by an Adonic). This first two stanzas are imitative of Horace, Ode Il.xii. Compare the first two lines of that poem:
quem virum aut heroa lyra vel acri
tibia sumis celebrare, Clio?
From Gager’s response to Rainolds we know that Phemius was impersonated by the Master of the Christ Church Choristers, who “for his honesty, modesty, and good voyce is as wurthy to be delyvered from infamye, as Phemius hym selfe is fayned to be saved from deathe, for his excellent skill in Musicke.”
II.604 For neque te silebo cf. Horace, Ode I.xii.21.
II.606f. Cf. ib. 46 - 8:
micat inter omnis
Iulum sidus, velut inter ignis
II.620ff. The fight with Irus occurs at the beginning of Od. xviii. For Irus’ first speech cf. xviii.10 - 13.
II.626ff. Cf. Od. xviii.15 - 24.
II.636ff. Cf. Od. xviii.26 - 31.
II.642ff. Cf. Od. xviii.36 - 9.
II.650f. Cf. Od. xviii.52 - 7.
II.657ff. Cf. Od. xviii.61 - 5.
II.664ff. Cf. Od. xviii.79 - 87.
II.672ff. Cf. Od. xviii.90 - 4.
II.676ff. Cf. Od. xviii.105 - 7. (The stage direction is suggested by xviii.100ff.).
II.689ff. The exchange between Ulysses and Antinous follows Od. xviii.119 - 54.
Actus II chorus This chorus, with its jaundiced view of contemporary morals, seeems chiefly indebted to Ps. - Seneca, Oct. 426 - 34:
cupido belli crevit atque auri fames
totum per orbem, maximum exortum est malum
luxuria, pestis blanda, cui vires dedit
roburque longum tempus atque error gravis.
collecta vitia per tot aetates diu
in nos redundant: saeculo premimur gravi,
quo scelera regnant, saevit impietas furens,
turpi libido Venere dominatur potens,
luxuria victrix orbis immensas opes
iam pridem avaris manibus, ut perdat, rapit.
One can only speculate to what extent the haec insula of 754 is intended to be England as well as Ithaca. That Gager is inveighing against the depravity of contempory gilded youths is perhaps suggested by the final stanza of poem XVIII.45 - 9:
at nostra [sc. iuventus ] turpi dedita luxui,
fortisque solam virginis in necem,
artes dolosas tractat, ex quo
Italico medicata fuco est.
And also by his complaints about the corruptive influence of French fashions on English youth at poem XLVII.19 - 23:
quid quod moribus inficis iuventam,
et vestes varias doces puellas
Anglas et iuvenes, levemque plebem?
ut hostis nimium nociva cum sis,
tamen plus noceas amica nobis.
The meter is anapaestic dimeters.
Act III The natural setting for this scene would be Penelope’s chamber, played as an interior scene using the “house” employed to represent the palace, and this appears to be supported by 795 cubiculo. This understanding might appear contradicted by the stage direction after 1047, exit in regiam, but this might mean that she exits from the interior of the “house” by, e.g., a door set in the rear wall (such as is mentioned in the stage direction after 1742). 770 nostras dum tenent operae manus suggests that as they speak Penelope and her handmaidens are shown working on the famous weaving project.
In Homer, Penelope comes down to the hall and shows herself to the feasting Suitors. Gager prefers to keep her in reserve until this point. The first portion of this Actus, prior to the entrance of the disguised Ulysses, has no direct equivalent in Homer, but is broadly inspired by various vignettes of Penelope in her chamber indignantly hearing about the goings-on in the palace, such as at xvii.492ff.
Presumably as a prank the young gentlemen playing Penelope’s handmaids had sat in the audience, in costume, during the earlier part of the performance. Cf. Rainolds, Th’ Overthrow, p.102:
Howe many did obserue & with mislike haue mentioned, that Penelopes maides did not only weare it [i.e., women’s raiment], but also sate in it among true wemen indeed, longer than David wore Sauls armour? neither were more knowne to them to bee men than Achilles was at the first to Deidamia; vntill they suspected it, seeing them entreated by the wooers to rise and danse vpon the stage.
III.766 In the Odyssey it Telemachus sneezes at xvii.541. The Greeks regarded a sneeze as a good omen.
III.774ff. This song is sung by Penelope’s three handmaids (presumably one stanza apiece). It is written in so-called “greater Alcaics”: the kind of hendecasyllables one finds as the first two lines of an Alcaic stanza. Its division into stanzas, with the last two lines of each stanza indented as if they are some sort of refrain, is reproduced from the printed text.
III.775 Cf. Horace, Odes II.xxxi.6, non aurum aut ebur Indicum. An “Indian gem” is a pearl.
III.780 Presumably propago here = propagatio.
III.792f These lines are palpably an applause cue. Symphoniae seems to designate Gager’s intention that this song be performed with instrumental accompaniment.
III.796ff. “With the entrance of Ulysses, to tell Penelope the feigned tale of his meeting with her husband, the play follows closely Books xix.96 - 264 [of the Odyssey.] But towards the close of the scene the dramatist adds some fine original touches. Heartbroken by the mystery of her lord’s fate, Penelope utters the wish that Troy had never fallen…Even the assurance that Ulysses is likely to return home speedily reminds her of the change that the years have wrought in herself…The scene, however, lacks its natural climax through the omission of the episode wherein the old nurse Euryclea recognizes her master while washing his scarred limb. It would have been doubtless difficult to represent the recognition on the stage in Penelope’s presence and yet unobserved by her” (Boas, p. 208). In Homer the interview between Odysseus and Penelope occurs in the hall, not in her chamber (xix.53). It also follows upon a brief scene in which the corrupted handmaid Melantho insults Odysseus. Although Ulysses Redux has a similar encounter, we shall see that Gager handles it quite differently.
Cf. Od. xix. 97 - 9 and 104f.
III.800ff. Cf. Od. xix.107 - 22.
III.817ff. Cf. Od. xix.124 - 63.
III.851f. Cf. Tr. 702, aetate avum transcendat, ingenio patrem.
III.854ff. Cf. Od. xix.165 - 202.
III.872ff. Cf. Od. xix.215 - 9.
III.875ff. Cf. Od. xix.221 - 48.
III.887 Cf. the note on 118.
III.893ff. Cf. Od. xix.253 - 60 although, as Boas observed, Penelope’s wish that Troy were still standing is Gager’s own contribution.
III.895 She means Helen.
III.905ff. Ulysses’s speech is a very condensed equivalent of the speech at Od. 262 - 307.
III.908ff. As Boas noted, Gager omits the business about Euryclea washing Ulysses’ feet, and skips ahead. This speech follows Od. xix.560 - 81.
III.917ff. Cf. Od. xix.583 - 7.
III.921ff. Penelope now instructs Euryclea to wash Ulysses’ feet. From 1880ff. we know that the foot-washing occurs as an offstage event, and that Euryclea duly recognizes her master. But when? Do Euryclea and Ulysses exit, so as to leave the stage for the following interview between Penelope and Amphinomus? Or is Ulysses shown as hiding and overhearing that dialogue? The praise of Penelope in Ulysses’ ensuing monologue at 1049ff. would perhaps better be motivated if we were to assume that he had overheard some or all of that interview. Possibly he and Euryclea exit before Amphinomus’ entry, and then the spectators see him furtively reentering while Penelope and Amphinomus are still conversing. In the absence of a stage direction we cannot fully understand Gager’s intentions.
III.925ff. Cf. Od. xix.317f.
III.937ff. “Up to this point, which is almost exactly the middle of the play, Gager’s work has been mainly one of selection and rearrangment. Henceforward he gives himself a much freer hand. Thus the scene that follows between Amphinomus and Penelope is of his own invention, and both in its use of stichomythia and in its sustained dialectic is markedly more Senecan than those drawn from the Odyssey” (Boas, p. 208f.).
In the General Introduction to Gager’s plays we have already seen that the addition of this scene serves to emphasize the theme of wooing and courtship that links together his Shrovetide trilogy. Both the stichomythic style of this dialogue and Amphinomus’ overbearing taunting show that it is based on Lycus’ wooing of Megara in Seneca’s Hercules Furens, which also served as the prototype for King Richard’s wooing of Edward V’s youngest daughter in Actus IV of the third play of Legge’s Richardus Tertius. Richard’s wooing of Anne Neville in Act I of Shakespeare’s Richard III seems in turn to have been inspired by the scene in Legge, and one of these two encounters is parodied in Robert Burton’s Latin comedy Philosophaster acted at Christ Church in 1617. Because of their common Senecan heritage, there is a certain generic resemblance between all these scenes.
Line 937 is a stock manner of greeting an entering or at least recently-entered character. Cf. Meleager 1017, regina, clarum gentis Aetoli decus, with the note ad loc.
II.940 Cf. Phoen. 46, omitte poenas languidas longae morae.
III.942 Sat cito, si sat bene was a maxim of Cato the Elder (Dicta 80).
III.946 Cf. Hipp. 184f. (of the power of Love):
quid ratio possit? vicit ac regnat furor,
potensque tota mente dominatur deus.
III.948 Cf. Hipp. 251, qui regi non vult amor.
III.950 Cf. Oct. 594f.:
praeferens dextra facem
III.956 Cf. Oct. 550, florem decoris singuli carpunt dies.
III.962ff. The balance of this and the following speech recall the paired arguments of Atalanta and Meleager at Meleager 380ff.
III.979 This line = Oed. 685.
III.991f. Cf. Horace, Epistles I.vii 98, metiri se quemque suo modulo ac pede verum est.
III.994ff. Cf. Ag. 263 - 7:
permisit aliquid victor in captam sibi:
nec coniugem hoc respicere nec dominam decet.
lex alia solio est, alia privato in toro.
quid, quod severas ferre me leges viro
non patitur animus turpis admissi memor?
III.1004f. Cf. Terence, Eunuchus 236, pannis annisque obsitum.
III.1010 For almaeque pacis cf. the apostrophe to peace at Meleager 766ff. and Tibullus I.x.67.
III.1035 For Troia iam vetus est malum cf. Tr. 43.
III.1049ff. This soliloquy is not based on any one Homeric passage, but is generically reminiscent of various monologues in which Ulysses debates with himself or offers himself counsel. Cf., for example, Od. xx.18 - 21.
III.1051 Cf. the note on Meleager 1249 (Philomela and the other participants in the horrible story were eventually transformed into birds).
III.1062ff. These monsters are also linked at Thy. 579 - 83:
Scylla pulsatis resonat cavernis
ac mare in portu timuere nautae
quod rapax haustum revomit Charybdis,
et ferus Cyclops metuit parentem
rupe ferventis residens in Aetnae.
III.1064 Cf. Meleager 1361, animosque silices indue, ac ferrum triplex and the note ad loc.
III.1065 Cf. Phoen. 77, pectus antiquum advoca.
III.1068f. Cf. Phoen. 479f.:
ne matri quidem
fides habenda est.
III.1073ff. In writing a play, if you want to emphasize a character’s nature, a good way to do so is to introduce another character who presents a striking contrast. In Homer, Melantho is a very minor character, and with good dramatic instinct Gager builds up her part to form a contrast to the prudent and chaste Penelope. The first part of this scene is based on nothing more than the simple statement (Od. xviii.325) that Melantho was Eurymachus’ mistress. In the Odyssey she twice jeers at Odysseus (xviii.327 - 36, xix.66 - 9), and Gager appropriates this material for some of her speeches after Odysseus is discovered, as noted below.
Although the text does not make this explicit, the present exchange between Eurymachus and Melantho is also played as a continuation of the preceding interior scene: it would add to the insolence of their behavior if this meeting were to occur in Penelope’s own bedchamber, and note the reference to Odysseus concealing himself in a corner (angulo) at 1115 below.
III.1076 Cf. Ag. 265f.:
quod severas ferre me leges viro
III.1088f. Cf. Hipp. 773f.:
res est forma fugax: quis sapiens bono
confidat fragili? dum licet, utere.
III.1097ff. There is a mention of Danae at Oct. 771f.:
et tibi, quondam cui miranti
fulvo, Danae, fluxit in auro.
But evidently no Roman poet employed her seduction as a symbol of the magical power of gold over women.
III.1114ff. Cf. Od. xix.66 - 9.
III.1121ff. Cf. Od. xix.71 - 74 (the latter part of the speech, in which he prophetically alludes to the possibility of Ulysses’ homecoming, is not Homeric).
III.1132ff. For this and the following speech cf. Od. xviii.327 - 39.
III.1142 Cf. Oct. 265, incendit ira principis pectus truci. For exundat furor cf. Me. 392.
III.1149ff. Cf. Me. 150 - 4:
sile, obsecro, questusque secreto abditos
manda dolori. gravia quisquis vulnera
patiente et aequo mutus animo pertulit,
referre potuit: ira quae tegitur nocet;
professa perdunt odia vindictae locum.
Act III chorus The meter is anapaestic dimeters.
III.1175 Cf. Hipp. 126f.:
probris omne Phoebeum genus
III.1178 Cf. Phoen. 421, volucer per auras ventus aetherias aget?
IV.1179ff. As Boas (p. 211) notes, the bloody-mindedness of this monologue owes much more to Seneca than to Homer. It also goes a long way towards pulling Ulysses Redux into the orbit of the contemporary revenge play.
IV.1194ff. The action now shifts back outdoors. In the following scene various characters address Ulysses individually as they pass from the dining hall to the palace, i.e. as they cross over the stage from one “house” to the other. This scene is suggested by the sequence at Od. xx.160 - 239, where Odysseus is addressed in turn by Eumaeus, Melanthius, and (as he is called in the epic) Philoetius. In the Odyssey scene Telemachus and Melantho play no part.
IV.1205 Cf. poem XXI.29f.:
muris ocelli insunt, domusque
tota nefas videt, et recludet.
Both these passages are based on Juvenal, Sat. ix.103f.:
et canis et postes et marmora.
IV.1206f. Cf. Od. xx.166f.
IV.1208ff. Cf. Od. xx.169 - 71.
IV.1219ff. Cf. Ox. xx.179 - 82.
IV.1224ff. Cf. Od. xx.191 - 6.
IV.1245ff. Cf. Od. xx.227 - 34.
IV.1251ff. Cf. Ox. xx.236f.
IV.1267ff. “It is in the hall that the following scene, wherein the suitors try in vain to bend the bow of Ulysses, is laid. Here the dramatist naturally follows, in its main lines, Book xxi of the epic, but he works up the situation with skilful touches which must have gone home to an audience with whom archery was still a favourite pastime. How animated and rich in effective stage-business is this dialogue between Antinous and the other suitors, which is mainly of Gager’s own invention” (Boas, p. 212).
Surely, however, this scene does not occur in the palace, but outside of it (cf. Penelope’s entrance line at 1266). Gager wanted to show the Contest, but not the following massacre. Therefore he set the Contest outdoors. Afterwards, defeated, the Suitors troop off in disgust (1435) This leaves the stage free for Ulysses to reveal himself to Eumaeus and Philaetus and enlist their aid. Then they exit, and the Suitors and Melanthius reenter and meet Theoclymenus (1279ff.), and also plot the assassination of Telemachus. As the Act closes, they are about to go off for what they imagine will be a consoling dinner (1576f.). This last exit cue sets the stage for the ensuing act: they are pent up in the dining hall while Ulysses shoots at them from outside. Cf. further the note on V.1621.
For Penelope’s speech here, cf. Od. xxi.68 - 74.
IV.1303ff. Cf. Od. xxi.85 - 95.
IV.1308ff. Cf. Od. xxi.102 - 17 and 131 - 35. The stage direction is suggested by xxi. 125 - 9.
IV.1324ff. Cf. Od. xxi.168 - 74 (where the equivalent speech is addressed to Leiodes, who is the first to try the bow).
IV.1328 Cf. Oed. 224, torpor insedit per artus.
IV.1330f. Cf. Thy. 200, flecti non potest, frangi potest.
IV.1342 Cf. Hipp. 893, labem hanc pudoris eluet noster cruor.
IV.1343 The poet mistakenly permits a spondaic second foot to be created by positional lengthening.
IV.1346ff. Cf. Od. 249 - 55.
IV.1350 Resista must be a noun (although it is not in the classical lexicon); it cannot be a typographical error for resisti, which would create a spondaic second foot.
IV.1353ff. Cf. Od. xxi.257 - 68.
IV.1357 For referet diem cf. H. F. 374 and also Vergil, Georgics I.458.
IV.1359ff. Cf. Od. xxi.275 - 84.
IV.1364ff. This is a much shortened equivalent of Antinous’ speech at Od. xxi.268 - 310.
Cf. Hipp. 1156, quis te dolore percitam instigat furor?
IV.1368ff. Cf. Od. 312 - 9.
IV.1372ff. Cf. Od. xxi.321 - 9.
IV.1379ff. Cf. Od. xxi.331 - 42.
IV.1382 For regia stirpe editum cf. Phoen. 320.
IV.1389ff. Cf. Od. xxi.344 - 53.
IV.1397ff. Cf. Od. xxi.362 - 5.
IV.1399ff. This and the following speech have no Homeric equivalent.
IV.1417ff. Cf. Od. xxi.369 - 75.
IV.1422ff. Cf. Od. xxi.397 - 400 (the preceding stage direction is based on xxi.393 - 5).
IV.1426f. Cf. Od. xxi.402f.
IV.1428ff. This speech has no Homeric basis.
IV.1436ff. In Homer (Od. xxi.191 - 244) Odysseus reveals himself to Eumaeus and Philaetius as the three stand outside the palace while the Contest is still occuring within. Gager delayed this incident both because he hads chosen to locate the Contest outdoors, and because he wanted to make it the focus of attention. In Homer, Telemachus is not present.
IV.1440ff. Cf. Od. xxi.193 - 8.
IV.1445ff. Cf. Od. xxi.200 - 2.
IV.1453ff. Cf. Od. xxi.207 - 20.
IV.1470ff. Cf. Od. xxi.228 - 41.
IV.1478 Cf. Oed. 917, invisa propero tecta penetravit gradu.
IV.1479ff. This scene is based on Od. xvi.371 - 405. But in the epic Amphinomus does not oppose the idea of killing Telemachus so vehemently. Gager’s alteration has the effect of turning the discussion into a Senecan debate about the merit of committing a crime, such as those between Agamemno and Pyrrhus in the Thyestes (203ff.) and between Atreus in his henchmen in the Thyestes (176ff.). But in terms both of the dramatic situation and of the sentiments expressed a considerably closer parallel exists in the equally stichomythic debate between Catesby and the Duke of Buckingham about the necessity of killing another young heir standing in the way of a usurped throne, the young King Edward V, in the first play of Thomas Legge’s Richardus Tertius (I.v.i, 1245 - 1332).
For Antinous’ speech cf. Od. xvi.364 - 92.
IV.1481 Cf. Legge’s Richardus Tertius 1297, quoddam scelus honestum necessitas facit.
IV.1483 Cf. Ag. 977, obsoletam sanguine hoc dextram ablue.
IV.1495ff. This speech contains some elements drawn from the speech at Od. xvi.400 - 5 but, as noted above, Amphinomus’ objection is much stronger here, and the following stichomythic debate has no basis in Homer.
IV.1497 Cf. Oct. 56, scelus, quod utinam numen avertat deum.
IV.1508 For a similar sentiment, cf. Meleager 1312f. et mors placet, sed mortis author displicet.
IV.1522 Cf. the note on 1330f.
IV.1523f. Cf. Oct. 189f.:
iuvenilis ardor impetu primo furit,
languescit idem facile nec durat diu.
Cf. also the dialogue between Catesby and Buckingham at Legge’s Richardus Tertius 1279 - 81:
CATES. at ira praeceps est magis pueri levis.
BUCK. minuet dies. vehemens quod est ruet illico.
IV.1533f. Cf. Ag. 115, per scelera semper sceleribus tutum est iter.
IV.1534 Cf. Ag. 150, res est profecto stulta nequitiae modus.
IV.1542 Cf. Hipp. 722, tutissimum est inferre, cum timeas, gradum.
IV.1543ff. Cf. Thy. 201 - 4:
proinde antequam se firmat aut vires parat,
petatur ultro, ne quiescentem petat.
aut perdet aut peribit: in medio est scelus
IV.1548ff. “It is at this point that, with fine dramatic instinct, Gager introduces from Odyssey xx.350 - 357 the wonderful lines in which the second-sighted seer Theoclymenus gives warning that the walls are dabbled with blood, and the chambers phantom-haunted, and the sun is dead in heaven” (Boas, p. 214).
IV.1555 Cf. Hipp. 675, aether et atris nubibus condat diem.
IV.1557ff. Cf. Od. xx.360 - 2.
IV.1561ff. Cf. Od. xx.364 - 70.
IV.1571 For dicta firmavit fides, cf. Meleager 1115 with the note ad loc.
IV.1578ff. There is no Homeric basis for Melanthius’ violent sentiments. As he also does with Melantho, Gager intensifies his villainy.
Actus IV chorus Gager perhaps got the idea for this conceit that both the universe and humanity are in a state of decay from Seneca’s speech at Oct. 377ff., whch contains the passage (391 - 6):
qui si senescit, tantus in caecum chaos
casurus iterum, tunc adest mundo dies
supremus ille, qui premat genus impum
caeli ruina, rursus ut stirpem novam
generat renascens melior, ut quondam tulit
iuvenis, tentente regna Saturno poli.
And concludes, after tracing mankind’s progressive deterioration (430 - 5):
collecta vitia per tot aetates diu
in nos redundant; saeculo premimur gravi,
quo scelera regnant, saevit impietas furens,
turpi libido Venere dominatur potens,
luxuria victrix orbis immensas opes
iam pridem avaris manibus, ut perdat, rapit.
This chorus is written in anapaestic dimeters.
V.1611f. Cf., perhaps, Legge’s Richardus Tertius I.iii.ii 597, plures atro clauduntur heroes specu.
V.1615 Cf. Thy. 491, plagis tenetur clausa dispositis fera.
V.1621 In the following scene, Ulysses and Telemachus will climb to some sort of gallery overlooking the dining hall, represented as an interior scene, where they will shoot at the Suitors before descending to complete the slaughter. Compare the loft or gallery used to represent “heaven” in Dido. According to Boas (p.215) “…the avengers are making their way to the balcony which projected, over the inner stage. Then the curtain must have been drawn, revealing them aloft, and the revelers carousing below…But Gager, probably to avoid a murderous fray in sight of the audience, departs from his original by representing the wooers as completely unarmed and defenseless.”
But by Gager’s standards of decorum (expressed in the stage direction after 1743), even this would have been intolerably excessive. And the problems involved in shooting the Suitors onstage would not, perhaps, have been inconsiderable. The killing of the Suitors was not actually shown to the audience. The door — represented by the curtain — of the “house” representing the dining hall is kept closed, and as several of the Suitors address Ulysses one by one, they perhaps are shown sticking their heads out of a window. Meanwhile, the killing is represented by short speeches by individual Suitors delivered from within the “house,” by the combined Suitors’ offstage cries, and by miscellaneous sound effects. At the end of the entire episode the curtain is drawn to allow the audience to see the Suitors’ corpses.
As Boas intimates, much of this passage has no foundation in Homer.
V.1622 Here foris probably means “outside the hall in which this play is being performed.” Compare the way guns were fired outside the dining hall of St. John’s College, Cambridge, to provide suitable sound effects for the battle scene at the end of Legge’s Richardus Tertius.
V.1627 A musical interlude covers the time necessary for the actors playing Ulysses and Telemachus to climb up to the gallery.
V.1628ff. Cf. Od. xxii.5 - 7.
V.1632ff. In the Odyssey, when Odysseus kills Antinous, the Suitors at first imagine that he has done so by accident. Since Gager chose to separate the Contest of the Bow from the killing of the Suitors, he could not reproduce this detail.
V.1638ff. Cf. Od. xxii.35 - 41.
V.1648 Cf. Me. 670, magna pernicies adest.
V.1649ff. Cf. Od. xxii.45 - 59.
V.1653 Cf. Oct. 284, soror Augusti sociata toris.
V.1656 Cf. Me. 1008, unus est poenae satis.
V.1660 Cf. H. F. 205 - 7:
o magne Olympi rector et mundi arbiter,
iam statue tandem gravibus aerumnis modum
(Cf. also Me. 397 and Thy. 483).
V.1666ff. Cf. Od. xxii.61 - 7.
V.1672f. cf. Me. 1009f.:
si posset una caede satiari manus,
V.1679 Cf. Legge’s Richardus Tertius 579, urbs urbs, cives, ad arma, ad arma!
V.1688f. For mors…honesta cf. H. Oet. 1205f. (For this same concern cf. also Meleager 1401f.):
perdidi mortem miser
V.1692f. Cf. Thy. 192f.:
age, anime, fac quod nulla posteritas probet,
sed nulla taceat.
V.1694 Cf. the note on 118.
V.1695 As someone who achieved his deeds more by treachery than bravery, Ulysses accomplished some of his feats at night. Gager may have been thinking of the adventure described in Book IX of the Iliad.
Cf. Tr. 750 (spoken to Ulysses): o machinator fraudis et scelerum artifex.
V.1701ff. This speech is adapted from that of Leiodes at Od.xxii.312 - 9. Likewise, Odysseus’ response bears a certain resemblance to xxii.321 - 5.
V.1720ff. Cf. Od. xxii.344 - 52. For dux Cephalenum cf. Tr. 518 (the Cephallenians are the Ithacans).
V.1724 There is no such verb as accino. Accano is found at Varro, De Lingua Latina VI.75.
V.1729ff. Cf. Od. xxii.356 - 60.
V.1733ff. Cf. Od. xxii.361 - 70. (One would have had to read the Odyssey to know that Medon is Odysseus’ herald).
V.1736ff. Cf. Od. xxii.372 - 7.
V.1742 stage direction For ut decorum inservetur cf. the stage direction after Meleager 1457 with the note ad loc.
V.1749 Cf. Hipp. 864, o socia thalami!
V.1752ff. This terrible sentence and its sequel follow Od. xxii.473 - 7.
V.1774ff. Cf. Thy. 634 - 6:
si steterit animus, si metu corpus rigens
remittet artus. haeret in vultu trucis
V.1780ff. “This seems at first a curiously inappropriate substitute for the cleansing of the polluted chamber, for which the Homeric hero gives directions. But Gager doubtless wished to soothe, by a musical interlude, the emotions which must have been highly wrought up by the preceding scene, and at the same time to give an opportunity for the stage to be cleared for the final episodes” (Boas, p. 216f., who compares the similar use of music to cover the clearing of the stage after the elaborate banquet scene in Act II of Dido).
The beginning of this song takes its inspiration from the first lines of Horace, Odes III. 25:
quo me, Bacche, rapis tui
plenum? quae nemora aut quos agor in specus
velox mente nova? quibus
antris egregii Caesaris audiar
aeternum meditans decus
stellis inserere et consilio Iovis?
When we come to Gager’s nondramatic poetry in the next volume, we shall see that he not infrequently adopts the persona of a Phemius-like (or, more precisely, Horace-like) bard, swept along by his Muse, sometimes unwillingly or against his better judgment (cf. XX.9ff., XXV.25, XXXVIII.1ff., and LI.17ff.).
This song is written in stanzas consisting of two hendecasyllables followed by two iambic pentameters catalectic.
V.1782f. Cf. Horace, ib. 17f.:
nil parvum aut humili modo,
nil mortale loquar.
V.1786f. Since the reference to plants seems difficult to understand, one wonders if the printed text might reflect a misreading of the manuscript from which it was made: Gager could have written nervisque Phoebum praepotentem, / et cythera iaculorque clarum? Then translate “With what voice, with what lyre, with what harp should I sing of mighty Phoebus, on what strings should I boast of him?”
V.1788f. Cf. Horace, Odes. II.xiii 21f.:
quam paene furvae regna Proserpinae
et iudicantem vidimus Aeacum.
V.1792f. For Mercurialium / custos virorum cf. Horace, Odes II.xvii 29f. (there used of Faunus). Like Horace, by Mercurialium Gager means poets. Compare the way the phrase “Mercury-men” is employed to designate literati by Robert Burton at Anatomy of Melancholy I.ii.iii.xv (p. I.302 of the Everyman edition).
V.1794f. Cf. Horace, Odes I.xxxii 13f.:
o decus Phoebi et dapibus supremi
grata testudo Iovis.
V.1796f. Gager is thinking of various things done by Orpheus, fostered by Apollo. The allusion to “bending rocks” is to Orpheus’ enchanting the stones so that of their own accord they formed the circle of Thebes’ walls. In his current Horatian mood, Gager probably took his inspiration from the description of Orpheus at Odes I.xii 9 - 12:
arte materna rapidos morantem
fluminum lapsus celerisque ventos,
blandum et auritas fidibus canoris
He had already compared the dead Sir Philip Sydney to Orpheus at poem XXXIV.79 - 84:
Daphnidis ad carmen vidi (mirabile dictu
sed vidi) saltare feras, volucresque morari,
saxaque vicinasque movere cacumina quercus,
sistere se rivos, nymphasque agitare choraeas,
arrectos astare deos, Panemque stupore
perculsum, tacitumque leves summittere cannas.
V.1800ff. Cf. Horace, Odes IV.iii 21 - 4:
totum muneris hoc tui est,
quod monstror digito praetereuntium
Romanae fidicen lyrae;
quod spiro et placeo, si placeo, tuum est.
V.1803 Thalia was the Muse of music and poetry.
V.1806 The fact that this line is an obvious exit cue excludes another translation that would otherwise be possible, “let us feast our eyes on this great sight.”
V.1807ff. This scene has no Homeric basis beyond the laconic description of the hanging of twelve unnamed serving women at Od. xxii.440 - 4 and 465 - 73 (where Telemachus supervises the job), and is in keeping with Gager’s policy of making Melantho a more important part. Besides driving home a moral lesson and introducing a note of pathos, this scene caters to the abiding English fascination with gallows speeches, especially those of the repentant variety, often memorialized in broadsides and ballads, that endured as long as hangings were held in public. This may be accounted another of Gager’s concessions to popular taste.
V.1815ff. Cf. Tr. 762 - 4:
utinam liceret. quod tamen solum licet,
tempus moramque dabimus. arbitrio tuo
implere lacrimis: fletus aerumnas levat.
V.1827 Cf. poem XXIII.15f.:
poena comes scelus insequatur.
Both passages are inspired by Horace, Odes IV.v 24, culpam poena premit comes.
V.1830 Cf. the more lighthearted poems about the loosening of the (masculine) zona, LXVIII - LXX, and also line 361 of Gager’s translation of Musaeus’ Hero and Leander, primitiasque ferunt Veneri, zonasque resolvunt.
V.1836ff. Cf. the dialogue of Ulysses and Andromache at Tr. 785 - 9:
UL. rumpe iam fletus, parens:
magnus sibi ipse non facit finem dolor.
AN. lacrimis, Vlixe, parva quam petimus mora est;
concede paucas, ut mea condam manu
V.1839ff. This passage is indebted to the short poem by the emperor Hadrian quoted by Aelius Spartianus (Life of Hadrian xxv.9):
animula vagula blandula
hospes comesque corporis,
quae nunc abibis in loca
pallidula rigida nudula?
nec ut soles dabis iocos?
Boas (p. 217) writes “Modern taste may be troubled by so perverse an application of Hadrian’s hymn…,” but this passage is quite effective and shows Gager striving for a higher poetic level than the rather pedestrian quality about which Boas himself objected (ib. 175).
V.1847f. Cf. Tr. 812f.:
nullus est flendi modus:
abripite propere classis Argolicae moram.
V.1849ff. Cf. Od. xxiii.4 - 9.
V.1854ff. Cf. Od. xxiii.11 - 24.
V.1865ff. Cf. Od. xxiii.26 - 31.
V.1874ff. Cf. Od. xxiii.59 - 68.
V.1880ff. Cf. Od. xxiii.70 - 9, but this speech is fleshed out with material taken from xix.467 - 504.
V.1888f. Cf. Od. xix.475f.
V.1891ff. Cf. Od. xix.482 - 90.
V.1905 This line = Me. 1005 (it is rare for Gager to appropriate a Senecan line in unaltered form).
V.1908ff. Cf. Od. xxiii.81 - 4, but the rather Senecan description of Penelope’s nervous reaction is Gager’s own.
V.1910 There are a number of similar Senecan phrases, such as Tr. 168, artus horridus quassat tremor.
V.1914ff. Cf. Od. xxiii.98 - 103.
V.1921ff. Cf. Od. xxiii.105 - 10.
V.1925ff. Cf. Od. xxiii.166 - 72.
V.1931 Here Gager departs from the Odyssey in a scene that otherwise follows Homer rather closely. In the epic, Penelope bids Eurycleia set up a bed for Odysseus outside her chamber, and Odysseus responds in exasperation by describing the bed he had once made.
V.1942ff. Cf. Od. xxiii.183 - 204.
V.1951ff. This speech is not very closely based on the Odyssey. The remaining speeches in this scene are not based on Homer, save that some of the elements in Ulysses’ final speech are taken from the speech by Penelope at xxiii.209 - 30.
V.1952 Cf. Fortuna…lenta at Tr. 275.
V.1968 Cf. Tr. 812, nullus est flendi modus (also imitated at Meleager 1789).
V.1969f. Cf. Meleager 1856f., itself indebted to Seneca, Hipp. 607, curae leves loquuntur, ingentes stupent.
Act V chorus As remarked in the General Introduction to Gager’s plays, this amusing and somewhat cynical chorus, and especially its ultimate conclusion that bad women, too, are to be numbered among the blessings of life, go a certain distance towards undermining any possible simplistic view of Gager as some sort of misogynist or a man frightened by
female sexuality. The fact that it is a translation rather than an original composition perhaps requires a modification this view, but Gager did select it for inclusion.
In a letter J. W. Binns informs me that Leicester Bradner once pointed out to him that this chorus is a Latin version of a pair of anonymous items in the Songs and Sonets issued by the London printer Richard Tottel (first printed in 1557). Cf. Hyder Edwards Rollins, Tottel’s Miscellany (Cambridge, Mass., 1965) I.201f. One poem (no. 257) is entitled Against women either good or badde:
A Man may liue thrise Nestors life,
Thrise wander out Vlisses race:
Yet neuer finde Vlisses wife.
Such chaunge hath chanced in this case.
Lesse age will serue than Paris had,
Small peyn (if none be small inough)
To finde good sotre of Helenes trade.
Such sap the rote dothe yielde the bough.
For one good wife Vlisses slew
A worthy know of gentle blood:
For one yll wife Grece ouerthrew
The towne of Troy. Sith bad and good
Bring mischiefe: Lord, let be thy will,
To kepe me free from either yll.
This is is immediately followed by An answere:
The vertue of Vlisses wife
Dothe liue, though she hath ceast her race,
And farre surmountes old Nestors life:
But now in moe than then it was.
Such change is chanced in this case.
Ladyes now liue in other trade:
Farre other Helenes now we see,
Than she whom Troyan Paris had.
As vertue fedes the roote, so be
The sap and fute of bough and tree.
Vlisses rage, not his good wife,
Spilt gentle blood. Not Helenes face,
But Paris eye did rayse the strife,
That did the Troyan bldyngs race . [i. e., raze]
Thus sithe ne good, ne bad do yll:
Them all, O Lord, maintain my will,
To serue with all my force and skyll.
The meter is lesser Asclepiadics.
V.1980f. For Nestoris / annos cf. Ovid, Fasti III.533, and Marital V.lviii.5 and XI.lvi.13. Cf. also poem CLXXXVIII.1.
V.1983 Cf. Horace, Sat. II.ii 26, rara avis.
Epilogue 2010 In his Life of Alexander Plutarch has a lot to say about how the Macedonian prince grew up with a positive obsession for Homer.
Epilogue 2011f. In antiquity seven Ionian towns claimed to be Homer’s birthplace. Gager cynically, but perhaps correctly, intimates that they did so with an eye on the tourist trade.
Epilogue 2024 Cf. the note on line 4 of Gager’s “epigram to Zoilus” that prefaces this play.
Epilogue 2037 Grex is sometimes used in the prologues and epilogues of Plautus and Terence to designate a company of actors.
Epilogue 2059f. If we assume that the words iamque quod ludos simul / spectatis, illa fecit, et faciat diu were written to be spoken at the Shrovetide performance, their meaning would be unexceptionable. But if these lines were written for inclusion in the printed version of the play, after the Queen had rebuked Dr. John Rainolds for his opposition to the performance of academic drama, they would be very pointed indeed. If this appraisal is right, here is the only time where Gager has palpably altered one of his texts for printing.
Epilogue 2064 This line closely echoes the final line of Dido, huic vos Elisae tollere applausum decet (1256).