The Aeneid of Virgil

The Aeneid of Virgil

The Aeneid of Virgil

The Aeneid of Virgil

Excerpt

Virgil's Aeneid is, of course, a major poem; it is also a great and beautiful one. The scope of an epic requires, in the writing, a designed variety, a calculated unevenness, now and then some easy-going carelessness. So the reader will find, here and there, transitional passages, the stock epithet, the conventional phrase, a few lines of vamping, and, in this or that line, what the Spanish call ripios. Over and above these matters of small detail, in the large panorama the reader will find valleys as well as peaks, dry ravines as well as upland meadows: the landscape is not always the same height above sea level, and its flora and fauna vary more than a little. The epic terrain of the Odyssey differs greatly from that of the Iliad, and both Iliad and Odyssey differ from the Aeneid, but there is nothing obtrusive in Virgil's relatively studied concern with composition. Less wild and "natural," the demesnes of the Aeneid have their full measure of more than pleasant countryside, loftiness also, majesty, grandeur.

Virgil, we have been told, wanted to burn the Aeneid; he was not satisfied with it. This attitude, it seems to . . .

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