Saturday, July 15, 2017

Thoughts on Virgil's Aeneid

     Back at Eisenhower High School, studying Roman and Greek mythology under our teacher, simple Tom Kuykendall back then, represents some of my fondest academic memories.  Returning to Virgil's Aeneid, I am particularly struck but the powerful imagery and evocative language.  Here's one particular excerpt that caught my attention.  Interestingly enough, the translation quoted below uses the word "fame," whereas Robert Fitzgerald's translation uses the word "Rumor."  Odd that such different words would be synonymous in this context.

Fame, the great ill, from small beginnings grows: Swift from the first; and ev'ry moment brings New vigor to her flights, new pinions to her wings. Soon grows the pigmy to gigantic size; Her feet on earth, her forehead in the skies. Inrag'd against the gods, revengeful Earth Produc'd her last of the Titanian birth. Swift is her walk, more swift her winged haste: A monstrous phantom, horrible and vast. As many plumes as raise her lofty flight, So many piercing eyes inlarge her sight; Millions of opening mouths to Fame belong, And ev'ry mouth is furnish'd with a tongue, And round with list'ning ears the flying plague is hung. She fills the peaceful universe with cries; No slumbers ever close her wakeful eyes; By day, from lofty tow'rs her head she shews, And spreads thro' trembling crowds disastrous news; With court informers haunts, and royal spies; Things done relates, not done she feigns, and mingles truth with lies.

Virgil. The Aeneid English (Kindle Locations 1413-1421). Kindle Edition. 

     I love this description of rumor (or fame), as it so eloquently conveys the dark and pervasive nature of gossip.  (It's slightly reminiscent to me of the description of sin found in James 1:15.)  The honorable man, the hero abides by the middle of the way or via media.  

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