in Claverings

Chapter 17 – Let Her Know That You’re There

knowing the right course but not following it

Although Harry knows that he should tell Julia about his engagement to Florence, he does not.  To express this fact Trollope uses a turn of phrase that hearkens back to Ovid’s Metamorphoses:  caught between love for Jason and loyalty to her father and country, Ovid’s Medea says, “I see and approve better things; I follow worse” (video meliora proboque, deteriora sequor).  In knowingly following a worse path, Harry is like his father, whom Trollope also described using this Ovidian formulation.  See commentary for Chapter 2.  [RR 2013]

Source:  Ovid, Metamorphoses 7.20-21.


hectoring Hugh

In laying plans for his courtship of Lady Ongar, Archie Clavering chooses to consult Captain Boodle rather than his brother Hugh.  Captain Boodle is more companionable than Hugh because he does not have any of Hugh’s “hectoring, domineering way” about him.  The English verb “hector” is derived from the Homeric hero Hector who often exhorts his fellow Trojans to fight.  In book 6 of the Iliad, Hector speaks sharply to his brother Paris, who is returning to battle after spending time with Helen; Archie does not want similar badgering from his own brother as he prepares his “campaign” to win Julia.  [RR 2013]

Source:  Homer, Iliad 6.520-529.