It's those exceptions, oratory and poetry, that give me pause. It's easy to be modest about poetry when you have something else to fall back on, such as a political career. So far as we know, Virgil didn't pursue that. He wrote about power, but he didn't seek it. Of course, he did get influence, which is more than most of us have. But influence is not the same thing as imperium.
Virgil's restraint, if that's what it is here, is something we don't see very often. It's difficult, whether you're a poet or merely someone who earns his living by writing about poetry and giving lectures on it, not to make exaggerated claims for what you do. E.g., "Poets are the hierophants of an unapprehended inspiration; the mirrors of the gigantic shadows which futurity casts upon the present; the words which express what they understand not; the trumpets which sing to battle, and feel not what they inspire; the influence which is moved not, but moves. Poets are the unacknowledged legislators of the world." I wish I'd written that, because it's a great piece of writing. All the same, I'm glad it was Shelley who said it and not Virgil.
Dr. David Wilson-Okamura
English Department          Virgil reception, discussion, documents, &c
East Carolina University    Sparsa et neglecta coegi. -- Claude Fauchet

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