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ROMANS AND GAULS, from the Column of Trajan
ARCH OF JANUS QUADRIFRONS. Morelli, &c., Vedute di Roma
Real Museo Borbonico
THE WHITE SOw, on a Large Brass of Antoninus
Rossi, Gemme Antiche
ROMULUS AND REMUS, on a Denarius
TITUS TATIUS. Iconografia da Canini
RECONCILIATION OF THE ROMANS and Sabines, on a Coin of Faustina
COCLES DEFEnding the BRIDGE. Museum Florentinum
THE CAPITOL, on a Denarius
ANCILIA, on a Denarius
GREEK WARRIOR SETTING OUT FOR THE WARS. Panof. Bild. Ant. Leben. 307
GREEK WARRIOR. Hope's Costumes of the Ancients
THE TESTUDO. Sargent.
ROMAN EMPEROR, from the Column of Trajan
TIBIA. The Double Flute, from a Painting at Pompeii
BAY OF BAIAE.
ROMAN CONSUL AND DACIAN. Montfaucon
COUNCIL OF THE GODS, from a Bas-relief
ROMAN SOLDIER DISCHARGING A CATAPULT. Sargent
DEAD WARRIOR. Mus. Capitol
Panof. Bild. Antik. Leben.
STATUE OF A GREEK WARRIOR. Panof. Bild. Antik. Leben.
ROMAN HORSE SOLDIER. Montfaucon
RAISING A TROPHY. Sargent
FUNERAL CEREMONIES. Panof. Bild. Antik. Leben.
FUNERAL PILE. Bardon
AMBASSADORS. On a Medal of Augustus
VULCAN MAKING THE SHIELD OF ACHILLES. Müll. Denk. der Alt. Kunst. 362
ROMAN MILITARY LABOURERS. Montfaucon
Real Museo Borbonico
ANCIENT SURGERY, from a Terra Cotta in the British Museum
DACIANS ATTACKING A ROMAN FORT. Montfaucon
ARCH OF CONSTANTINE. Morelli, &c., Veduti di Roma.
REV. HENRY THOMPSON, M.A.
FORMERLY SCHOLAR OF ST. JOHN'S COLLEGE, CAMBRIDGE, VICAR OF CHARD, SOMERSET.
PUBLIUS VIRGILIUS' MARO was born at Andes, near Mantua, on the 15th October, U.c. 684. His father, Virgilius Maro, was an opulent farmer; who, being an intelligent person, gave his son a liberal Greek and Latin education at Cremona and Milan, which was completed under the poet Parthenius, and the Epicurean Syron. From his father, Virgil inherited the family estate at Mantua. But before the Triumvirate undertook their expedition against Brutus and Cassius, they had agreed at Mutina, in order to retain their soldiers in allegiance, to give them, in the event of success, eighteen principal towns of Italy, which had adhered to the opposite faction; and among these were Venusium and Cremona. Thus, in the distribution which followed the consummation of the war, the neighbourhood of Mantua to the devoted Cremona ensured it a fate scarcely less deplorable from the lawless soldiery. The patrimony of Virgil was consequently confiscated. By whose intercession he regained it authors are not agreed. Asinius Pollio and Mæcenas, the celebrated patron of literature, have the best authorities in their favour. Pollio, having charge of that district, probably recommended his case to Maecenas, who was little likely to have been otherwise acquainted with the son of obscure rustics, as all Virgil's biographers represent his parents to have been. On this event his Ist Eclogue was, most
1 Vergilius in the oldest Medicean MSS., and in the Vatican MS.
certainly, composed. The character of Tityrus in this poem may not have been intended for Virgil himself, although some of the ancients so understood it, and the poet elsewhere appropriates the name; it is, however, a lively picture of the surprise and gratitude of an outcast, who finds himself suddenly restored to his domestic comforts, and contrasts strikingly with the desperate melancholy of the houseless wanderer Melibœus, taking his last survey of the desolated hearth, with which all his dearest affections were associated. The removal of Pollio was attended with disastrous consequences to Virgil. His estate was again seized by the rapacious military, and himself compelled to seek his safety by flight to Rome. The story of his second expulsion is treated in the IXth Eclogue. He succeeded in again recovering his patrimony, apparently through the interest of one Varus, of whom he speaks in the highest strain of commendation in the VIth and IXth Eclogues; who this Varus was cannot now be determined." Perhaps he was Quinctilius Varus, whose death Horace deplores in the XXIVth Ode of the Ist Book, and of whom he there speaks as the especial friend of Virgil. Donatus and Servius make him Alfenus Varus, who was, according to the latter grammarian, appointed to succeed Pollio in the government of the country in which Mantua was situate. This opinion is rejected by Heyne, from chronological considerations. Yet it is not necessary to suppose the Varus of the grammarians the same with the eminent jurist; and no person was so likely to have been instrumental in reinstating the poet in his possessions, as he who had them in absolute control.
That Virgil was early acquainted with Augustus, Mæcenas, and many of the most eminent literary persons of his time, and that this acquaintance was not long in ripening into intimacy, is certain; though of the origin of this intercourse we have no accounts but such as are palpably fabulous. The misfortunes of his youth were probably, as is sometimes the case, the foundation of his subsequent elevation. These brought him into communication with men who would soon appreciate his elegant and cultivated mind. At an early period of his acquaintance with Mecenas he accompanied that statesman, together with Horace, Varius, and Plotius, on the celebrated expedition to Brundusium, whither the minister was sent by Augustus to treat with Antony. From the same munificent patron he acquired an ample fortune, and had residences in Rome, Campania, and (according to Donatus) in Sicily. The authority of this writer, which, however, is not always to be implicitly relied on, pronounces the poet to have been kind and generous to his parents; and the general character of Virgil here confirms the statement of his biographer.
Virgil was studious of the opportunities which his own good fortune had given him of enriching his country's literature. His local situation, added to his mode of living, had engendered in him a strong perception of the pleasures of rural
1 Ecl. vi. 4.
2 Conf. Heyne, Excurs. ii. ad Bucolica.
life. The beauties of Theocritus, therefore, were deeply felt by him; the Ist and IXth Eclogues, in which he attempted to convey their spirit in his native tongue, have been already noticed. Martyn, however, conjectures that the Alexis and Palamon were the earliest in point of composition, from the following passage in the Daphnis:—
Hâc nos te fragili donabimus antè cicutâ:
Hæc nos: "Formosum Corydon ardebat Alexin :"
Hæc eadem docuit: "Cujum pecus? an Melibœi ?"
He then makes the Daphnis the third in order. His argument is: "As the poet does not give the least hint here of his having composed any other, it seems probable that these were the three first Eclogues which our author composed.”1 The subject is scarcely of sufficient importance to demand a formal refutation of Martyn's argument, which is certainly defective: suffice it to state that about this time the Bucolics were completed. It will be preferable to take a sketch of the Bucolic Muse, as she appeared attired in the Latian garb by the hand of Virgil.
No department of Greek poetry promised less to the Latin imitator than the pastoral. The poems of Theocritus, Bion, and Moschus, are distinguished by a simplicity equally remote from epic majesty and sordid rusticity. Every charm of the country has been rifled to adorn them, and almost every deformity carefully concealed. If the Romans were unfortunate in possessing no Attic dialect for dramatic expression, the want of a Doric was a still greater obstacle to success in the pastoral. This dialect at once removed the reader from the town, while it afforded the Muse every facility of utterance. The lordly language of
1 On the order of the Eclogues, see Bähr. Gesch. d. Röm. Lit. § 187, and the references.