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The sentiment expressed in these lines is fully verified in this celebrated Eclogue. The date of this poem is said to be about 40 B. C., or 714 A. U. C., during the consulship of Asinius Pollio, a friend of the poet Virgil, and one to whom he was indebted for the restoration of lands which had been formerly confiscated by an order of Augustus. In view of his services many have supposed that Virgil testifies his gratitude to the father by dedicating these lines to the son; further, that the key to the poem is found in verse 17:
"Pacatumque reget patriis virtutibus orbem."
"He shall rule the world reduced to peace by his father's virtues."
That is, the son of Pollio shall reach the highest honors in the Roman State, and shall rule in great pomp and splendor. His reign shall be an era of peace, and shall be beneficial to all classes plebeian as well as patrician.
Orbem seems to include the world as then known to the Romans. -the Roman empire as a whole. If we accept this interpretation,. then the office referred to could not have been that of the consulship alone, but rather that at the head of the empire itself. However, the prophecy was not fulfilled, as the son of Pollio died in nine days after his birth. The chief objection, nevertheless, is, taking the Eclogue in its entirety, that the poet has ascribed to the son of a mere man what might fittingly be attributed to a divine rather than a human being, whether advocate, senator, or conqueror.1
It is true that the golden age was looked for and extravagant expressions indicating its approach marked nearly every page of both prose and poetry, as may be observed in the following verses: "Pauca tamen suberunt priscae vestigia fraudis,
Quae temptare Thetim ratibus, quae cingere muris
Oppida quae jubeant telluri infindere sulcos.
Alter erit tum Tiphys, et altera quae vehat Argo
Atque iterum ad Trojam magnus mittetur Achilles.
(Virg. Ecl. IV., 31-39.)
1 These terms are used by Horace in his Ode to Asinius Pollio (Bk. II., Ode I.), in which he counsels him to cease writing tragedies until he shall have finished his history.
I cannot believe that Doctor Trapp is correct in his interpretation of
"Aspice convexo mutantem pondere mundum," etc.
"Look with compassion upon a world laboring and oppressed with a load of guilt and misery." I am rather inclined to believe that the poet meant to say,
"Behold a world reeling to and fro with its vaulted mass, earth, expansive sea and high heaven; behold how all nature rejoices at the approach of the golden age." (Virg. Ecl. IV., 50 Sqq.
There is a similar thought to be found in the 68th Psalm, 8th v., also 114th, 7th v. The one refers to the coming of the Deity; the other to the earth's trembling at His presence. There are many other parallel passages noticeable in the Eclogues and the Psalms.
Professor Jerrain, the English scholar and classical editor, regards the language of verse 17, Ecl., as inapplicable to the consular dignity of Pollio. He thinks it is rather an exaggerated description of consular power. This is doubtless the correct view to take of it. As to vagueness of language and expression, Virgil has succeeded admirably. He leaves the reader to draw his own conclusions as to the real thought of the poet, and to surmise the best he can as to who is the principal hero - the son of Pollio, Marcellus, or the offspring of Octavianus and Scribonia.
If we turn to verse 49,
"Clara (cara) Deûm suboles, magnum Jovis incrementum!" we observe that the reference is evidently made to the great Julian family —“divi genus." (Vide Aen. VI., 790, etc.)
The aurea condet saecula qui rursus, v. 792 of this same book, "he who again shall establish the golden age," etc., is the theme of Ecl. IV. the age of peace. Virgil lays great stress upon this phase of his Eclogue and praises without stint the infant boy (nascentem puerum), who is to be the future ruler of the empire. Says he, "Jove nascenti puero," "Be propitious to the infant boy." As to who this boy is, whence he comes, are questions that have not been settled.
I venture the suggestion, which is by no means a new one, that reference, indirectly at least, is made to the advent of the Messiah, and to the peaceful state of things at that period - the golden age that is to follow.
There seems to have been about this time a general belief that a Messiah would come into the world. His appearance was doubtless looked for by many of the Romans as well as Jews. As is well known, the Jews were spread in considerable numbers over the Roman empire, and the Jewish scriptures had become known to many who were not of Jewish extraction. Virgil probably obtained some knowledge of these sacred writings through some such channels. There is no authority whatever for assuming that the poet was inspired, or that he wrote under inspiration in the same sense as St. Paul and other sacred writers. Whatever else may be drawn from vv. 54, 55, there is no ground for attaching to the passage any such meaning as divine inspiration.
Spiritus here means poetic inspiration which the poet desired should remain just long enough to enable him to describe the deeds of his mystic hero. If any such interpretation could be put upon the passage, I am sure that our more recent editors and annotators of Virgil - Allen, Greenough, Frieze, Johnson, Papillon, Jerrain, etc. - would not have omitted to make some mention of the fact.
If Virgil had no knowledge of the Scripture, we are at a loss how to account for the parallelisms that seem to exist between this Eclogue and the language of the prophet Isaiah and the psalms already referred to. We must not forget that the traditions of a "Messianic kind" were wide-spread, and that it is not assuming too much to suppose that the poet had a traditional knowledge of the Sacred Narrative.
Some have supposed that as the images employed by the poet are common to all descriptions of a golden age, and as abundant parallels are found in the Greek and Latin classics, it is unnecessary to seek further explanation. Usage is sufficient to make what seems obscure perfectly clear. While it is true that Hesiod and many subsequent writers have adopted extravagant figures descriptive of the golden age, there are few passages I believe where the meaning of the writer is so difficult to understand as the Eclogue in question. Other poems of Virgil are a key unto themselves, but this one seems to be a remarkable exception. To show further the resemblance between this Eclogue of Virgil and portions of the Sacred Narrative, I make a few other citations. Says Virgil:
"Nec magnos metuent armenta leones."
"Nor will the common herds fear the lions of great size," etc. (Ecl. IV., 22.)
Isaiah speaks thus:
"And the cow and the bear shall feed; their young ones shall
lie down together; and the lion shall eat straw like an ox," etc. Chap. II., v. 7.
Again in Isaiah (LXV., 25),
"The wolf and the lamb shall feed together," etc.
Virgil, in his Eclogue:
"Occidet et serpens et fallax herba veneni occidet," etc.
"The serpent shall die and the deceiving poisonous herbs," etc. (Ecl. IV., 24.)
Another from this Eclogue
"Jam redit et Virgo, redeunt Saturnia regna," etc.
"And now returns the Virgin (the Goddess of Justice) and the reign of Saturn," etc.
In Genesis we find the following:
"And I will put enmity between thee (serpent) and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head and thou shalt bruise his heel.”—(Chap. III., 15.)
Remarkable passages are these strange coincidences. poisonous herb shall die. There shall not remain one plant whose destructive properties shall injure man or beast. The serpent whose head was to be bruised by the Messiah shall no longer exist, the terror of mankind.
If this coincidence is to be explained by the poet's acquaintance with the later Sibylline books which were manufactured at Alexandria, then those books must have reflected Jewish ideas largely. There is no other alternative.
Some writers hold that the child referred to was that of Antony and Octavia, by whose marriage the peace of Brundisium was solemnized. This interpretation according to Papillon, rests upon the "authority of Ascanius Pediamus, and is adopted by Ribbeck and Professor Sellar, but," continues he, "it is difficult to think that Virgil could, under the circumstances, speak of the child of any subordinate person as the regenerator of the Roman world." In truth, it is so difficult as to make it highly improbable.
In the sixth book of the Aeneid, Virgil compliments Marcellus,
but this is not sufficient to prove that a similar compliment was intended in the fourth Eclogue of his Bucolics. Vide Aen. VI.,
Marcellus was born during the consulship of Pollio, was adopted by Augustus, and was intended by him to be his successor in the
The closing lines of this Eclogue are exceedingly beautiful:
Incipe, parve puer, risu cognoscere matrem;
Matri longa decem tulerunt fastidia menses;
Incipe, parve puer: cui non risere parentes,
Nec Deus hunc mensa, Dea nec dignata cubili est." "With a smile, dear boy, begin to recognize thy mother," etc., etc., etc.
The child is not yet born, and these lines seem to be of the nature of a prayer, invoking blessings upon it, its mother, and its future career. The child is commanded to smile that its mother may smile in return a good omen; for him upon whom his mother has smiled, a God will honor at his table and a Goddess will bless with the marriage tie.
SHOULD THE EDUCATION OF GIRLS DIFFER FROM THAT OF BOYS?
BY MARY E. CARDWILL.
AIVING the irrelevant, though interesting and much discussed, question of the relative brain weight of the sexes, is there any good reason why the intellectual training of girls should differ from that thought proper for boys?
A century ago very little provision was made for the education. of girls. If they could read and write, and had a slight acquaintance with French and music, they were called accomplished. Yet this poor little pretence of learning was considered of no importance in comparison with a knowledge of household affairs. To be illiterate was then no special disgrace to a woman, but something like infamy rested upon her if she failed to be a good cook, seamstress, or housekeeper.
When girls' schools were first started, the art of sewing, at least, was given, often, if not always, a prominent place in the curricu