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THE ECLO GUES.
ARCHDEACON WRANGHAM, M.A. F.R.&
COLLECTED FROM MARTYN, PENN, &c
The subject of this Eclogue, which was probably composed
(after the Alexis, the Palemon, 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 neighbourhood of Mantua; which he owed-as it has been inferred from the ninth Eclogue-either to the intercession of his frier.d Pollio with Varus, or with some other of Octavius's favourites, 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.
Melibæus. BENEATH this beech you, Tityrus,
thrown at ease, Pour through the reed your sylvan melodies : We quit our homes, our pleasant native plains; We our dear country fly! You trill your strains,
1 Professor Martyn, in his valuable edition of the Bucolics, suggests that “Tityrus” (the “happy old man,” with the "grayclad chin”)—as too aged for Virgil, then only twenty.nine-may
As love inspires, stretch'd careless in the shade, 5 And Amaryllis echoes through the glade.
Tityrus. O Melibeus, to a god I owe This blest repose: to him, as god, I bow ; And oft a youngling of my fleecy brood Shall stain his hallow'd shrine with offer'd blood. 10 He gave my herds, as here you see, to stray; And me to breathe at will my woodland lay.
Mel. Your lot I envy not, but more admireWhen all the region shakes with storms so dire ! Lo! I my goats urge fainting o'er the mead: 15 This, feebler than the rest, with pains I lead. Yean'd 'mid yon hazels on the flinty plain, Her dying twins, my flock's late hope, remain. Oft (had I mark'd it) to myself, and fold, This whelming ruin the scathed tree foretold; 20 [The left-hand raven oft, with prescient croak, Distinctly boded from the hollow oak !] -But who this god of your idolatry ?
Tit. The city they call Rome, ah, silly me! I fondly thought might like our Mantua be, 25 Where oft we shepherds drive our tender lambsTheir sires so whelps resemble, kids their dams.
represent generally the successful, and “Melibcus” the unsuccessful applicant; or “Tityrus" Mantua, and “Melibous” 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 allegorizes Rome and Mantua. Yet why, as De la Rue asks, this involution ; 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, particularly 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 editions (and which has therefore, it may be conjectured, been transferred from the Mæris), are enclosed in brackets.