Virgil: In Two Volumes

الغلاف الأمامي
Harvard University Press, 1918
VIRGIL (Publius Vergilius Maro), greatest of Roman poets, was a countryman's son born in 70 B.C. at Andes near Mantua and was educated at Verona, Milan and Rome. Slow in speech, shy in manner, thoughtful in mind, weak in health, he went back to northern Italy for a quiet life. Influenced by the group of poets there, he may have written some of the doubtful poems included in our Virgilian manuscripts. All his undoubted extant work is written in his perfect hexameters. Earliest comes the collection of ten pleasingly artificial bucolic poems the Eclogues, which imitated freely Theocritus' idylls. They deal with the pastoral life and love, but allude also to Virgil's (temporary?) loss of his home by confiscation. Most famous is the mysterious fourth eclogue anticipating a return to the Golden Age. Before 29 B.C. came one of the best of all didactic works, the four books of Georgics on tillage, trees, cattle, bees - a splendid product of a countryman-poet. Virgil's remaining years were spent in composing his great, now wholly finished, epic the Aeneid, inspired by the Emperor Augustus' rule: if not by Augustus himself, on the traditional theme of Rome's origins through Aeneas of Troy - a poem Homeric in metre and method but influenced by later Greek and Roman literature, philosophy and learning; and deeply Roman in spirit, in feeling national not personal. Virgil died in Greece in 19 B.C., intending to round off the Aeneid. He had left in Rome a request that all its twelve books should be destroyed if he were to die then, but they were published by the executors of his will.

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