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442 pages, Paperback
First published January 1, 20
Sometime you may recall today with pleasure. (1.203)
And end is set for everyone,
For life is brief and cannot be recovered. (10.467-468)
I don’t fear death. To me, the gods are nothing. (10.880)
He dreamed about immortal fame . . . (10.548)
I am in awe of scholars who can expertly debate Vergil’s political pose and attitude; I find him difficult just to read. In part, I blame the half-finished state of his epic: only twelve out of the projected twenty-four books exist, and many are two- or three-word fragments. Some full lines were obviously misplaced, either by Vergil or by a scribe struggling with the text. We have a reliable report that Vergil was unhappy with the draft, and I am grouchily convinced that this was not only on aesthetic grounds but also on those of clarity.