Virgil’s The Eclogues: The Poem That Inspired Christmas

VirgilAeneid3Here it is folks: Virgil’s The Eclogues, the poem (37 BCE) that set the entire Greco Roman empire a fire with a messianic dream and implanted the mythopoeic beau idéal that a god child would be born and bring about a golden era of peace on earth:

“Now the last age by Cumae’s Sibyl sung
Has come and gone, and the majestic roll
Of circling centuries begins anew:
Justice returns, returns old Saturn’s reign,
With a new breed of men sent down from heaven.
Only do thou, at the boy’s birth in whom
The iron shall cease, the golden race arise,
Befriend him, chaste Lucina; ’tis thine own
Apollo reigns. And in thy consulate,
This glorious age, O Pollio, shall begin,
And the months enter on their mighty march.
Under thy guidance, whatso tracks remain
Of our old wickedness, once done away,
Shall free the earth from never-ceasing fear.
He shall receive the life of gods, and see
Heroes with gods commingling, and himself
Be seen of them, and with his father’s worth
Reign o’er a world at peace.

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