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The subject of this Eclogue, which was probably composed
(after the Alexis, the Palæmon, and the Daphnis) A.C. 41, A. U.C. 713, is presumptively the division of the lands of the conquered provinces among the soldiery after the battle of Philippi, and the consequent expulsion of their rightful proprietors. Tityrus, or Virgil (as it is generally imagined) under that name, expresses his joy at being restored to his estate in the neighborhood of Mantua ;, which he owed-as it has been inferred from the ninth Eclogueeither to the intercession of his friend Pollio with Varus, or with some other of Octavius' favorites, or to the circumstance of his having deified Julius Cæsar the year before in his Daphnis. In retaking possession, however, he nearly incurred from the usurping intruder the loss of life, and only saved himself by swimming across the Mincio. On this he returned to Rome, where he seems soon afterward to have composed his Mæris; from which, as well as from Appian's fifth book on the Civil Wars, it appears that portions of the Mantuan territory had been seized without authority by the encroaching soldiers, to whom the lands about Cremona had been assigned. This induced numbers of complainants to flock to Rome in quest of redress.
Melibous. Beneath this beech you, Tityrus, thrown
Pour through the reed your sylvan melodies ;
1 Professor Martyn, in his valuable edition of the Bucolics, suggests that. Tityrus' (the ‘happy old man,' with the 'grey
We quit our homes, our pleasant native plains;
Tityrus. O Melibæus, to a god I owe
Mel. Your lot I envy not, but more admire-
clad chin') as too aged for Virgil, then only twenty-nine-may represent generally the successful, and Melibæus' the unsuccessful applicant; or • Tityrus' Mantua, and · Melibæus' Cremona. Poetically, Tityrus’ is a pastoral name, borrowed (like a great number of other things contained in these Eclogues) from Theocritus.
6 Some commentators fancifully conceive that under the names of ‘Amaryllis ’ and · Galatea’ the poet allegorises Rome and Mantua. Yet why, as De la Rue asks, this invo. lution; since Rome is twice mentioned by name, and Mantua as urbs? Besides, we are told by Servius, that in nothing are we to interpret the Bucolics figuratively; though we find him more than once offending against his own canon, parti. cularly in the third Eclogue.
21, 22 These two lines, as a version of one which is not found in the most ancient Mss., or the more respectable edi. tions (and which has therefore, it may be conjectured, been transferred from the Mæris), are inclosed in brackets.