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which is dedicated to Quintas Atius Varus (k), who Year of hadi ferved under Julius Caesar in Gaul and Ger- Rome many, with singular courage, and conduct; and
714 perhaps in this war against Lucius Anthony'; tho' he is not particularly named by the Historians now extant. To thefe actions of his Virgil seems to allude, when he says,
Super tibi erunt, qui dicere laudes, Vare, tuas cupiant, et tristia condere bella.
This Eclogue was probably written at the command
(k) See the note on ver. 6. of the fixth Eclogue.
-Te noftrae, Vare, myricae,
Ibid. ver, 10, 11, 12.
Ibid. ver. 9.
Year of have made war the subject of his Poetry : but that Rome he was restrained from choosing a lofty subject; and 7.14:
ordered to keep within his pastoral sphere (n). We may reasonably believe, that Varus was an Epicurean; and that Virgil in compliment to him, made that Philosophy the subject of his poem. It would have been improper to have made a fhepherd run through a whole system of Philosophy: he therefore takes advantage of a famous story, that the old demi-god Silenus was found drank and alleep, by some shepherds, who carried him bound to king Midas; where he gave answers to feveral questions Telating to Philofophy. Virgil therefore avoids the censure of putting into the mouth of a herdman things above his capacity, by introducing two fhepherds, who with the affistance of a Nymph, catch Silenus in one of his drunken fits, and compel him to give them a long promised fong. The old Deity fings a fuccinct account of the Natural and Moral doctrine of Epicurus ; the formation of the world from Atoms; and the neceffity of avoiding perturbations of the mind. Here he takes an opportunity of paying a very fine compliment to Cornelius Gallus, another favourite of Caefar ; representing him as a pattern of Epicurean wisdom, retiring from the distractions of the times, and amusing himself with Poetry. Gallus is wandering on the banks of Permesfus, when one of the Muses conducts him to the Aonian mountains and introduces him to the court of Apollo. The whole assembly rises to do honour to this great man, and Linus presents him with the
(n) Cum canerem reges et proelia, Cynthius aurem
Vellit et admonuit : paftorem, Tityre, pingues
Ibid. ver. 3, 4, 5.
pipe of old Hefiod, with which he is to sing the Year of honours of the Grynean grove, facred to Apollo. Rome Gallus about that time wrote a poem on this grove, wherein he imitated the stile of Hefiod. Virgil therefore elegantly commends this poem, when he fays Gallus will cause this grove to become the favourite of Apollo (@). · Caefar' did not remain long in quiet, after the compleat victory, which he had obtained over Lu. eius and Fulvia (). This turbulent Lady fled to her husband, and incited him to make war upon Caefar. Anthony, inflamed with rage, steered his course to Italy; and began a most furious and dan= gerous war But the news of the death of Fulvia, whom he had left fick at Sicyon, coming opportune
ly, gave a favourable opportunity of settling a peace E between these mighty rivals. Cocceius, a common | friend to both, went between them, and projected
a reconciliation: the Consul Pollio appearing on the part of Anthony, and Maecenas on the part of Caesar, to arbitrate the differences between them. The arbitrators proposed, that as Fulvia the wife of Anthony was just dead; and, Marcellus also, the husband of O&avia, half fister to Caesar; Octavia should be given in marriage to Anthony (9). This being agreed to caused an univerfal joy: and the whole
army expressed their joy by shouting, all that day, and the following night. Octavia was with child at the time of this marriage. Therefore, as this great Lady, who was also a person of a most unspotted character, was the cement of fo bleffed a
6) His tibi Grynaei nemoris dicatur origo :
Ne quis sit lucus, quo fe plus jactet Apollo. Ibid. 72, 73. (D) Appian, lib. 5. Dio, lib, 48. notes on the fourth Eclogue.
(9) See the
Year of peace, and union between the two great Triumvirs, Rome who were upon the point of tearing the world in 714. funder by their divisions ; Virgil was not backward
in testifying his joy for so happy an event. The Șibylline Oracles had foretold, that a child was to be born about this time, who should rule the world, and establish perpetual peace. The Poet ingeniously supposes the child with which Octavia was then pregnant, to be the glorious infant, under whose rule mankind was to be made happy; the Golden Age was to return again from heaven; and fraud and violence was to be no more. This is the subject of that Eclogue, of which the usual title is Pollio. In this celebrated Poem, the Author, with great delicacy, at the same time pays his court to both the chiefs, to his patron Pollio, to Octavia
, and to the unborn infant. It is dedicated to the great Pollio by name, who was at that time ConJul (): and therefore we are sure of the date of this Eclogue ; as it is known, that he enjoyed that high office in the year of Rome 714. Many Criticks think the stile and subject of this Eclogue too high, to deserve the name of a Pastoral. But that the Author himself intended it for a Pastoral is very plain ; because at the very beginning he in vokes the Sicilian Muses (s). But as he intended to offer this poem to fo eminent a person, as a Roman Consul, he thought, thật lome attempt should be made to foar above the common level of Pastoral writing: and that if a rural poem was offered to a Consul, it ought to be composed in such a manner,
() Tequc adeo decus hoc aevi, te Consule, inibit
Eçi. IV. ver. 11, 12.
as to be worthy of the ear of so great a magi- Year of strate (t). Yet he does not lose sight of the coun
Rome goats, cows, and the Theep have their share in these bleslings of peace ;, and the spontaneous plants, which are to spring up at the renova, tion of the golden age, are suited very well to Pass toral Poetry
Caesar and Anthony now made a new partition of the world : all toward the East, from Codropolis
, a town of Illyricum within the Adriatick, being assigned to Anthony; and all toward the West to Caesar (u). Africa was left to Lepidus: and the war with Sextus Pompey was to be managed by
and the Parthian war by Anthony. Each of them fent armies, under the command of their respective friends into different parts of the world: amongst whom it appears, that Pollio was sent into Illyricum ; for it appears that he obtained a triumph for his victory over the Parthini, a people in that part of the world, at the latter end of the year of Rome 715
It was during this march of Pollio, 715. that Virgis published his Pharmaceutria, which is dedicated to that noble person (). This beautiful Eclogue was partly written in imitation of one under the same name in Theocritus. It consists of two parts; the first of which contains the complaints of a shepherd, who was despised by his mistress; and the second is full of the incantations used by a forceress to regain the loft affection of her lover. It seems probable, that Pollio had engaged Virgil in an attempt to imitate the Dappaxsútpice of
(t) Si canimus sylvas, fylvae sint Consule dignae. Ibid. ver. 3.