Virgil: Eclogue IX

Heaney offers us his version of Virgil’s original.  He remains loyal to the original but weaves into his translation the subtleties of meaning he perceives, adding the alliterations, assonances, mood and rhythms that ensure that Virgil’s original ‘song’ remains pleasing to the ear. The inclusion of the eclogue form in Electric Light is meaningful. There is much in Eclogue IX of 37BC that chimes with Irish experience and Heaney’s inner preoccupations 2000 years on: dispossession and change of routine imposed on ordinary folk from above; the apparent  impotence of opposition and repression of the vox populi ; the role of poetry in this respect and the dangers this brings; the reluctance of poets–in-waiting to wade into the debate; the opposition […]