Went up for a break to a 3rd-floor library carrel, thinking about previous Virgil comments. Opened up my RS Crane book, started reading. Looked up at the books on the carrel shelf - & found that the carrel's collection was entirely devoted to Virgil's poetics. Art thou with me, dolce padre?

Virgil's 4th Eclogue contains the famous messianic passage, predicting the "virgin birth" of the Child who will bring the return of the Golden Age. So his pastoral is tainted with "history". (& the eclogue is echoed later in the center of the Aeneid, in the lengthy apostrophe to Caesar Augustus.)

Dante, self-appointed heir to Virgil, places his pastoral earthly paradise in Purgatory, a way station to the final refuge in Paradise; but that Paradise is full of earthly history - the center of the final rose containing the empty chair for the coming of the messianic Holy Roman Emperor (Henry VII).

Milton, the revolutionary Protestant and advocate of regicide, sets aside any merely earthly political authority : his Adam & Eve, before their fall, in Eden, are taught directly by angel-shepherds, and after the fall, political authority on earth is described as under apocalyptic judgement.

Eliot(monarchist) & Pound(fascist) - political authoritarians both - looked to Dante, rather than Milton, as their model. But for Dante, divine & earthly (political) authority were counterbalanced. For Eliot & Pound, the (medieval) balance was broken : the feebleness, or complete lack, of a desired spiritual authority, made political authoritarians of them both.

The world is still dealing with these problems (imposed, politicized religious ideology; authoritarian politics; spiritual anomie & despair).

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