Yesterday, from Alibris, my favorite online used book seller, arrived Christopher Pearse Cranch's translation of Virgil's Aeneid. And today, I see, is the birthday of the great poet of the Roman Augustan age who was born in 70 BCE.
For the past week or so, Virgil's "Georgics" has been my morning devotional reading and I am looking forward to diving into Cranch's translation of the epic Aeneid.
Robert Richardson, in his illuminating biography of Henry David Thoreau, talks of Virgil's influence on the young Henry...
"Thoreau's sense of the nature of the classical achievement had...two main emphasis. The first is the assertion of the importance and permanence of nature. In November, reading Virgil...Thoreau was struck by passages about the buds swelling on the vines and fruit scattered about under the trees. The point, he told himself, was that 'It was the same world.' His second observation followed naturally enough. If Virgil's was the same world as ours, then 'the same men inhabited it.' Neither nature nor human nature has changed, in essence, from Virgil's time to ours...
In enunciating this belief in the permanence of nature and of human nature, and the equivalence of all eras-that any age is a heroic age to the heroic individual-we come to what is perhaps the single most important set of convictions for the young Thoreau. It was not a creed or a theoretical construct, but the core of his practical, daily, actual belief."
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