or Virgil (Publius Vergilius Maro) 70 B.C.–19 B.C., Roman poet, born. Andes district near Mantua, in Cisalpine Gaul Vergil turned to rural poetry of a contrasting kind, realistic and didactic. In his Georgics , completed in 30 B.C., he seeks, as had the Greek Hesiod before him, to interpret the charm of real life and work on the farm. His perfect poetic expression gives him the first place among pastoral poets. For the rest of his life Vergil worked on the Aeneid , a national epic honoring Rome and foretelling prosperity to come. The adventures of Aeneas are unquestionably one of the greatest long poems in world literature.
THE GATES of heav’n unfold: Jove summons all
The gods to council in the common hall.
Sublimely seated, he surveys from far
Of air-born honey, gift of heaven, I now
Take up the tale. Upon this theme no less
Look thou, Maecenas, with indulgent eye.
ALL were attentive to the godlike man,
When from his lofty couch he thus began:
“Great queen, what you command me to relate
You, Tityrus, 'neath a broad beech-canopy
Reclining, on the slender oat rehearse
Your silvan ditties: I from my sweet fields,