Saturday, September 23, 2017

A contemporary Virgil …

… Of Arms and the Man - WSJ. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

The late Robert Fagles praised Virgil’s “unequalled blend of grandeur and accessibility.” Mr. Ferry’s poem has stateliness often encased in easy 21st-century diction. This helps make his Virgil our contemporary. His “Aeneid” is readable, even page-turning. Virgil’s impulit becomes “bashes,” and vestem, “shirt.” During the fall of Troy, Panthus tells Aeneas “the Trojans are finished.” Even grammar turns easygoing: “But who is that who from afar we see?” Words like “guesthouse” and “waggled” appear. Turnus accuses Drances of “talking away with your famous windbag blather.” Tarchon rallies his troops: “What are you so afraid of, you so-called soldiers, / You no-good, hang-back, half-ass Etruscans?” At the end Jupiter shuts Juno up once and for all: “I forbid you to try anymore. Enough is enough.” And when Aeneas defeats Turnus he tells him: “Now get it together, the time has come.”

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