The Tradition of Virgil: Three Papers on the History and Influence of the Poet

The Tradition of Virgil: Three Papers on the History and Influence of the Poet

The Tradition of Virgil: Three Papers on the History and Influence of the Poet

The Tradition of Virgil: Three Papers on the History and Influence of the Poet

Excerpt

On Virgil's birthday, the fifteenth of October, 1929, a company of the poet's friends in Princeton assembled to do him honor. The meeting was arranged by the Department of Classics and the presiding officer was John Grier Hibben, President of the University. The three addresses delivered on that occasion, though widely different in character, nevertheless had a certain unity because one and all dealt with the same general theme, the history and influence of the poet. Through the generosity of donors who have wished to remain anonymous these addresses are here published together as a contribution to the Bimillennial of Virgil's birth which is being commemorated this year throughout the world.

In a very real sense Virgil has lived through all the ages. To him has come in fullest measure that immortality for which the Roman poets often yearned--a life on the lips and in the hearts of men. It has been truly said of Cicero that in comparison with his after life his existence on this earth shrinks into nothingness. The remark is even more true of Virgil. From the date of his death, 19 B.C., at the comparatively early age of fifty-one, down through the centuries of the Roman Empire, the Middle Ages, and the Renaissance into our own time the tradition of him has been unbroken. For all who have been conscious of the classical heritage he has continued to be, as it were, a living personality. To this still living Virgil on the greatest of his anniversaries we offer the present volume as a modest birthday gift and with confidence in his future we make our own the good . . .

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