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Year of Theocritus, before he began his march: for the Rome Poet lays expreffly, that these verses were begun by 715.' his command (x). : He celebrates his patron in a

molt elegant and polite manner : and as Pollio was not only a great General ; but also one of the best scholars of his time, he mentions his great actions, and noble tragedies together, and intreats him to permit the Poet to mix his ivy with the victorious bays, that were to crown the head of Pollio (y). If we take Virgil's own opinion, we shall judge this to be one of the finest of his compositions: for the Introduction prepares us to expect something more than ordinary (z); and when he has finished the speech of Damon, he calls upon the Muses to relate what Alphefiboeus faid, being unable to proceed any farther by his own strength (a). Indeed there are a great number of exquisitely beautiful paffages in this Eclogue : which, as they cannot easily escape the observation of a reader of any


(x) A te principium ; tibi desinet: accipe jussis
Carmina coepta tuis.

Ibid. ver. II, 12.

En erit unquam
Ille dies, mihi cum liceat tua dicere facta,
En erit, ut liceat totum mihi ferre per orbem
Sola Sophocleo tua carmina digna cothurno.

Ibid. ver. 7, 8, 9, 10.

Atque hanc fine tempora circum
Inter victrices hederam tibi ferpere lauros.

Ibid. ver: 12, 13 .fm) Pastorum Mufam, Damonis et Alphesiboci,

Immemor herbarum quos est mirata juvenca,
Certantes, quorum ftupefactae carmine lynces,
Et mutata fuos requierunt flumina cursus.

Hi, Ibid. ver. 1, 2, 3, 4 (a) Haec Damon : vos, quae responderit Alphesiboeus, . Dicite, Pierides : non omnia poffumus omnes.

Ibid. ver. 162, 63



, and as most of them are pointed out in the Year of Notes , need not be particularly mentioned in this Rome

715 place.

The year 716 passed without any publick tranf- 716. action of note, except the power which Sextus the fon of Pompey acquired by fea; who became so famous by his naval exploits, that he was believed to be the son of Neptune. Nor is it certain, that Virgil composed any of his Eclogues this year : however, as the Meliboeus is the only Eclogue, of which we cannot ascertain the date ; we may form a conjecture, that it was written this year, which must otherwise have passed without any apparent exertion of our Poet's genius.

The next year began with the march of M. Vip- 717. fanius Agrippa, one of the new Consuls into Gaul ; to quiet an insurrection there. Agrippa was fuccessful, and was the second Roman, who crossed the Rhine with an army (6). But the depredations of Pompey were so great, that Caesar was impatient for his returns that he might overfee the maritime business; and give directions for the building of ships in all the ports of Italy. It must have been in this

year, that Virgil composed the last of his Eclogues, which bears the title of Gallus; the subject of which is the passion of that Poet for Lycoris (c), who had left him to run away with some soldier, who marched over the Alps (d). As Agrippa was the first Roman, after Julius Caesar, who crossed

(6) Dio, lib. 48.

Extremum hunc Arethufa mihi concede laborem.
Pauca meo Gallo, fed quae legat ipfa Lycoris,
Carmina funt dicenda.

Ecl. X. ver. 1, 2, 3. (d)

muito Tua cura Lycoris
Perque nives alium, perque torrida caftra fecuta est.

Ibid. ver. 22, 23.


Year of the Rhine with an army: it must have been with Rome that very army, that Lycoris ran away over the 7!7: snows of the Alps, and the frosts of the Rhine (e).

Caesar in the mean time had business enough to engage himself, and all his friends, in defending the sea-coast of Italy against the invasions of Pompey. Among these it is highly probable, that Gallus was employed, for we find, that he was detained in arms at the same time (f). We have seen already that the Silenus was begun, at the command of Varus ; and the Pharmaceutria at that of Pollio. Thus the tenth Eclogue seems to have been undertaken, at the request of Gallus. Perhaps he defired Virgil to imitate the first Idyllium of Theocritus: and the Poet, complying with his direction, represented Gallus himself, as a shepherd dying for love, like the Daphnis of the Greek Poet (8).


(e) Tu procul a patria, nec fit mihi credere, tantum

Alpinas, ah dura, nives, et frigora Rheni
Me fine fola vides.

Ibid. wer. 46, 47, 48,
(f) Nunc infanus amor duri me Martis in armis.
Tela inter media atque adverfos detinet hoftes.

Ibid. vér, 44, 45. (3) It will be objected per- years. But both tirese Authors haps by some, that a longer are irreconcileable with each time is here assigned for Vir- other, and in some measure gil's occupation in writing the with themselves. Donatus says, Eclogue, than is consistent with that the Bucolicks, on their the faith of History. Both Do- publication, were so well renatus and Servius affirm, that ceived, as to be frequently rethe Bucolicks were finished in cited by the fingers on the three years : whereas I have theatre; and that Cicero himsupposed him to have begun felf having heard fome of the writing before the death of Ju- verses, called out to have the lius Caefar, and not to have whole repeated ; and when he finished them before the year had heard the whole, cried out of Rome 717, a space of time in an extasy, that the Author containing no less than seven was the second great hope of


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* It feems to have been about this time, that Vir- Year of

Rome gil began his GEORGICKS; under the patron


age Rome, esteeming himself to write the Bucolicks : “ Poftea, be the first : “ Bucolica eo fuc- “ ortis bellis civilibus, inter “ ceffu edidit, ut in scena quo-, .“ Antonium et Auguftum,

que per cantores crebra pro “Auguftus victor Cremonen& nunciatione recitarentur. At "fium agros, quia pro An

cum Cicero quofdam versus " topio senserant, dedit miis audiffet, et statim acri ju

ftatim acri ju- litibus fuis. Qui cum non 16 dicio intellexisset non com fufficerent, his addidit agros "muni vena editos, juffit ab

< Mantuanis fublatos, non * initio totam Eclogam reci-; “ propter civium culpam, fed tari :

quam cum accurate propter vicinitatem Cremopernotalfet, in fine ait : nenfium. Unde ipse in Bu

Magnae' Spes altéra Romae. k. colicis Ecl. IX. 28. Man" Quasi iple linguae Latinae“ « tua vae miseraė nimium vi" '{pęs prima fuisset, et Maro " cina Cremonae. Amisfis a« futurus effet fecunda. - Quae gris Romam venit: et usus ""* verba poftea Aeneidi ipfe in patrocinio Pollionis et Mae* feruit." Therefore, ac <scenatis, folus agrum, quem cording to Donatus, Virgil * amiserat, recipere meruit. must have published one at least “ Tunc ei proposuit Pollio, ut of his Bucolicks before the end " carmen Bucolicum scriberet, of the year 711, when Cicero iis quod cum conftat triennio was murdered. Now it has

Now it has + feripfile; et emendaffe.” just been shewn, that the Gal. The reader will easily observe, lus could not be written before that the Civil war here men

year 717: therefore Virgil tioned could be no other, than must have spent fix years in that with Fulvia, and Lucius tead of three, in writing his the brother of Mark Anthony, Bucolicks.

Servius on the which was not ended before the contrary, says he did not be- surrender of Perusia, in 714; gin his Bucolicks before the and that the story of our Auyear 714 for he tells us ex thor's being protected at Rome pressly, that Virgil having lost by Pollio and Maecenas is highly his lands, after the contention improbable. Pollio was so far between Anthony and Au- from being then at Rome, in guftus, went to Róme, and was favour with Caefar, that he the only person who recovered was at that time at the head of his estate, being favoured by an army, not far from ManMaecenas and Pollio, the latter tua, with which he had acted of whom persuaded him to against Caefar. As for Mae




Year of age of Maecenas, to whom he dedicated every part Rome of that noble work. Caius Cilnius Maecenas was -717. descended from the ancient kings of Etruria; whole

posterity, after many unsuccessful wars, were at last incorporated into the Roman State, and admitted into the Equestrian order. He was an Epicurean, and wrote several pieces both in prose and verse, which are now loft., But he is best known as a favourer and patron of learned men, particularly of the two best of the Roman Poets, Virgil and Hor race (b). He was high in the favour of Caesar, which probably began about this time : for Virgil does not mention his name in any of the Eclogues ; and in the next year, we find, that except a few magistracies which were continued, the administration of publick affairs in Rome, and all over Italy

, was committed to him (i). This wife minister, having well considered what difficulties the Romans had lately met with for want of corn; what kur mults, and insurrections had been thereby raised cenas, if he had any share in to Donatus, he did not begin recommending the Poet to the them later than 711, in which protection of Caefer at that year Cicero was killed; and, time, it is strange that his name' according to Servius, that he should not be mentioned in any did not finish them earlier than one Bucolick,

We see how 717.,,
irreconcileable thefe old Gram-
marians are: for if, as they

(h) Maecenas, atavis edite both agree, Virgil wrote his

regibus : Bucolicks in three years; he

O, et praesidium, et dulce must have finished them, ac

decus meum.

Horat. lib. i. Ode 1. cording to Donatus, not later than in 714, and according to Servius, not earlier than

(i) Τα τε άλλα τα εν τη

717 Therefore, if there is πόλει, τη τε λοιπη Ιταλία Γάany pofibility of reconciling ιός τι Μαικήνας, ανήρ ιππεύς, και them, it mut be by fuppofing τοίε και έπειτα επίπολυδιώκησει. the space of three years to be a mistake; and that, according

Lib. 49.


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