The Eclogues Of Virgil Are Singularly Pastoral

1577 WordsSep 27, 20177 Pages
The Eclogues of Virgil are undeniably pastoral. They are flush with idyllic imagery of countryside scenery, animals and abundant greenery, shepherds tending to their flock--the simplicity of a life most intimately intertwined with the natural world. In English Pastoral Poetry, Sir William Empson describes pastoral writing as a method of “putting the complex into the simple” (22). Through idealized and vivid lines, Virgil attests to the greatness of the everyday desserts of life, the “song of a woodman pruning the trees”, the “cool of the shade”, and the “vine on the leafy elm” (7). Examining further, however, one can observe political, personal, and religious allegories that lay beyond the surface of each Eclogue--particularly in Eclogue…show more content…
Meliboeus comes upon Tityrus, another shepherd, who is contrastingly content and without worry. Tityrus explains to Meliboeus that after travelling to Rome and meeting a young man, who has widely been presumed to be the Roman emperor Augustus, he has obtained definitive ownership of his land and need not worry about it being repurposed into housing for discharged soldiers. Meanwhile, Tityrus, the shepherd whom many have speculated to be representative of Virgil, basks in his freedom and love for Augustus, "a god [who] gave [him] this peace" (3). Prior to his travels to Rome, Tityrus suffered in a relationship with the greedy Galatea, in which freedom was a concept unknown to him. His transformation from enslavement to liberation is found through a fusion of urban (Rome) and rural (Arcadia) instances, thus confirming the pastoral element of Virgil to be only complete in this Eclogue when observing similarities and differences between the intricate and the simplistic. Within this employment of the pastoral mode, of its indulgent language and both its conventional and unconventional themes, a light is shone on the poet, Virgil himself, that illuminates the facets of his political and personal thought subtly implemented in the First Eclogue. While he lived comfortably in his home on the coast of Northern Italy, his acquaintances were

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