all the hallowed names of universal
art, I believe that the greatest
patron of nature until the present
day, has been the poet, Vergilius,
a Roman, native of Andes, near
Mantua, in the north of Italy.
Even though he is far from being
our contemporary by date of
birth, it's true (seventy B.C.),
he is our contemporary by the
actuality of his ideas, of his
intransigent defense of everything
that he deemed as belonging
to the environment. He had intimate
disposition and political knowledge
worthy of an ecologist at the
end of the Twentieth Century.
Everything about Vergilius was
of the firmest simplicity and
he lived for each musical sound
and every hue of all his auroras.
A man of integrity, he talked
equally freely with kings and
pastors, able to share the company
of the nobles in their palaces
as well as the children of the
fields and the soft and icy
snowflakes of the mountains.
The stars and nightingales,
the tempests and morning dew,
the flight of birds and the
fresh blooming of flowers...
everything, for him, was music
from the depths of the heart,
joy to the eyes, and inspiration
to the soul. The beauty of the
world and of life itself was
the best of raw materials for
his work, a life of poetic light.
A light so strong, that it would
forever give brilliance to his
intelligence. Vergilius was
only twenty-five when he began
his composition, "Eclogas".
At thirty, he produced the "Georgicas",
a didactic poem in four strophes,
in which he celebrated the joy
of rural labor and life closer
to nature, in the countryside.
A friend of Otavia, sister to
the emperor, he enchanted her
with the reading of the sixth
strophe of "Eneida", referring
to the death of his son, Marcelo.
An enchantment of such scope,
it would render him fame and
fortune, besides the much-coveted
royal protection of Mecenas
and of the Cesar, himself. With
his poetry, the young poet proclaimed
the glory of Rome and the Romans,
living joyfully and helping
others to do so. An enemy of
luxury, his verses sung about
the sweet harmony of family
life and declared that nothing
was better than keeping to the
wilderness and solitude. Timid,
delicate, and of a tender heart,
the clashing turmoil of the
empire's capital held no beckoning
for this sensitive young man.
As incredible as it may seem,
the greatly impassioned bard
of Dido, one of the most beautiful
pages of universal poetry, never
dedicated his tender, solitary
heart to marriage. Cult and
melancholy, he preferred to
live apart from his fellows.
One of the absolute leading
bestsellers in Brazil, in the
end of 1982, from the German
writer, Hermann Broch, curiously
has it's entire theme based
on the last hours of the life
of Vergilius, who died in Brindisi,
Calabria. At the time, he was
fifty years old and had decided
to travel to Greece, where he
took part in the committee of
Augustus and unfortunately fell
sick during the festivities
of Megara, near Corinto. It
is thought that during the short
course of the fatal illness,
in the year 19 B.C., that an
entire life perspective had
come into his conscience, and
that he had spun of heart and
soul, a bittersweet inner examination
of himself and of his contemporaries.
For the scope of an intelligence
of the girth of the author of
"Eneida", the true creator of
"Eneas", life in itself must
have been the most monumental
of all works of reality and
art. Now, would depart from
the world one of the cultist
intellectuals of the time, involved
in all provinces of knowledge,
from Mathematics to Veterinary;
from Philosophy to Apiculture.
A life, which, not unlike the
"Georgicas", was an epic of
creativity and meaningful work.
I become enthused when I hear
my friend, Monsenhor Murta,
speak excitedly about the poetry
of Virgilio. Monsenhor Murta,
who is the outstanding authority
on Vergilius in our part of
the world. What really enchants
me is discovering about the
existence of people so intelligent
and sensitive as he and Professor
Pedro Maciel Vidigal, for searching
so far back in time to recapture
the vanity of love and the glorification
of poetic rationality. I become
even more engrossed when I find
that Vergilius was also a graffiti
artist, wall poet, landscape
painter and acclaimed sculptor.
Influenced by Homer, he was
emulated by Dante, and by Camoens.
A Friend of Augustus and Mecenas,
by the eternity of his genius,
he is still our immortal friend.
How good it would be if we could
be then at his time to read
his last verses! They were written
for his tomb in Naples: "Mantua
gave me life; Brindisi gave
me death; and Naples, the grave.
I sang of flocks, fields and
He died as he was born and lived
his life: in immortality!