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‘Pastoral and its futures: reading like (a) Mantuan’

Stephen Hinds

Résumé

Perhaps no poetic genre is as central to the ‘Classical Tradition’ as is pastoral; at times, indeed, despite its ostensibly narrow and stylized terms of reference, pastoral seems to operate as the privileged space of European classicism, a genre into which everything Greek and Roman can be subsumed, and more besides. This paper takes as its case study the Adulescentia of Baptista Mantuanus (1447-1516): its readings of Mantuan’s early modern pastoral collection offer synecdochic glimpses of the reception-history of Virgil's Eclogues, and map the generic self-awareness of the Adulescentia itself.

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BAPTISTA MANTUANUS (1447-1516): THE ADULESCENTIA

  • 1 This is a lightly revised and augmented version of a paper delivered at the November 2015 ‘réseau’ (...)

1This paper offers some glimpses of a particular moment in early modern pastoral tradition, with two purposes: first, to map the self-awareness of one post-Virgilian poet’s interventions in pastoral tradition, an episode of literary historical reflexivity which I offer, as such, to Alain Deremetz, author of Le miroir des muses;1 but also, as a second methodological emphasis, to dramatize the spacious reach of Virgilian pastoral when it is viewed in the future tense, through the history of its early modern reception, and to suggest that that spaciousness is inseparable from the idea of ‘Virgil’ for an interpreter of Augustan poetry today. Seen in an Augustan moment, Virgilian pastoral is the narrowly delimited deductum carmen within which the poet manoeuvres before his ‘Virgilian career’ takes him out, via the rural didaxis of the Georgics, into the cosmic vastness of epic; but seen through the early modern Latin eclogues of Baptista Mantuanus (= Battista Spagnoli Mantovano, 1447-1516), Virgilian pastoral functions not just as a point of access to the master-poet’s oeuvre at large, but as a totalizing space capable of embracing everything poetic, everything Augustan, and indeed everything in the world of classical paganism and beyond. In some ways, in the early modern period, pastoral becomes not just a space but the space of the Greco-Roman imagination. And, for this Carmelite friar from Mantua, specifically, Virgilian pastoral becomes a space for negotiation between and among his worlds, poetic, political and religious.

2 ‘Old Mantuan, old Mantuan! who understandeth thee not, loves thee not’: so Shakespeare’s pedant-schoolmaster Holofernes (Love’s Labour’s Lost, act 4 scene 2). Mantuan published his collection of eclogues, under the title Adulescentia, on September 1, 1498; Shakespeare’s (or Holofernes’) repeated adjective is a pedagogic prompt to remember that ‘youthful’ title (of which more below). Mantuan’s collection is a difficult one to characterize in holistic terms, and this paper makes no claims so to characterize it. Rather my use of the Adulescentia will be opportunistic and synecdochic. In what follows my aim is less to explore the bucolic book of Mantuan in itself, and more to use certain junctures and vignettes in Mantuan to provoke broad if discontinuous observations about the dynamics of pastoral as a genre, both diachronically and synchronically.

PASTORAL AND ITS PASTS

  • 2 The move to a fully conventionalized Arcadia (cf. Cucchiarelli 2012.22-5) is often associated with (...)

3The title of my paper is paradoxical, in that pastoral (ancient as well as early modern) always shows a strong pull not toward the future but toward the past, both intertextually and intratextually: to read pastoral ‘today’, aujourd’hui, whether in a poem or a painting, whether in a masque or a fantasy of garden art, is always to be pulled into its pastness. And in no respect more so than in the association of pastoral with the locus amoenus; an association which becomes even more insistent in early modern pastoral than in ancient, as the template of the ‘lovely landscape’ causes specific rural topographies to be flattened into conventionality – as, famously, in the assimilation of once-rocky and mountainous Arcadia to the shady pools, grottoes and grassy margins expected of the genre.2 We often speak of the locus amoenus as a ‘timeless’ space; but, really, it is a space oriented toward the past, and in particular toward the idealized past of the Golden Age.

  • 3 See Met. 1.107-12 ver erat aeternum ... (‘spring was everlasting ...’), Ovid’s own primal Golden Ag (...)

4 We can see this backward-facing aspect of Greco-Roman rural idealism overtly negotiated in Ovid’s Metamorphoses, whose recurrent loca amoena are intratextually grounded both in the originary landscapes of the creation narratives of Met. 1, and in Jupiter’s early re-greening of Arcadia itself in Met. 2 after the grand conflagration of Phaethon.3 Ovid’s Metamorphoses is indeed very much to the point here, since its landscapes, heavily influenced by the rural descriptions of Theocritean and Virgilian bucolic, in turn feed back into later pastoral tradition – so that (as we shall see more than once below) Mantuan’s eclogues can show a Metamorphoses now more fully integrated than in antiquity into the discourse of pastoral.

  • 4 Mantuan’s name (aliter Battista Spagnoli Mantovano): see Mustard 1911.11 and 18 (‘as a member of a (...)
  • 5 Mantuan fleshes out this publication history in a prefatory epistle attached to the printed edition (...)
  • 6 ‘You, Tityrus, reclining beneath the canopy of a spreading beech ...’ (Virg. Ecl. 1.1). This post-V (...)

5 That impulse toward pastoral pastness is multiply thematized in the Adulescentia. This is a collection by a poet whose very coincidence of birthplace with Virgil, embodied in his regular appellation (Baptista, called Mantuanus),4 causes his work, from the author’s name on the title page onward, to orient itself toward a Virgilian past; his title, Adulescentia, further thematizes the turn toward the past by presenting the poems as juvenilia (composed in his student days in Padua) which have been ‘rediscovered’ and (re)published by the poet in later life (‘old Mantuan’, to cite Shakespeare again).5 The opening exchange of the Adulescentia’s first poem perhaps thematizes all these turns toward pastness by placing its first shepherd-singer, Faustus, in a shady woodland spot beneath a tree under which he recalls sitting four years previously, and from which we are likely to draw a memory of the opening mise en scène of Virgil’s First Eclogue, Tityre, tu patulae recubans sub tegmine fagi etc.:6

  • 7 I quote the Adulescentia from the text of Mustard 1911, ‘based upon that of the first printed editi (...)

hic locus, haec eadem sub qua requiescimus arbor
scit quibus ingemui curis, quibus ignibus arsi
ante duos vel (ni memini male) quattuor annos;
sed tibi, quando vacat, quando est iucunda relatu,
historiam prima repetens ab origine pandam. (Adul. 1.6-10)7

This place, this very tree beneath which we are resting, knows with what cares I sighed, with what fires I burned two or (unless memory fails me) four years ago. But since there is leisure and the tale is pleasing to tell, going back to the first beginning, I will lay open the history for you.

THE SELF-PURIFYING GENRE

6In Mantuan’s ninth eclogue the shepherds Faustulus and Candidus, having migrated south from their lush northern Italian homeland to the bleak fields of Rome,

(C.) at postquam segnes agros et inertia saxa
vidimus et siccis arentem fontibus undam,
paenituit longaeque viae patriaeque relictae (Adul. 9.9-11)

(C.) But after I saw the listless fields, lifeless stones, and dried-up springs here, I regretted my long journey and the leaving behind of my homeland

7look back nostalgically on the idealized landscapes of their past:

F. o nostrae regionis opes, o florida prata,
o campi virides, o pascua laeta feraxque
et numquam sine fruge solum, currentia passim
flumina per villas, rivi per rura, per hortos.
hinc pecus, hinc agri pingues; sub sidere Cancri,
cum tritura sonat passim, cum Iulius ardet,
arva virent, textae lento de vimine saepes
poma ferunt, redolent ipsis in vepribus herbae.
C. o nemorum dulces umbrae mollesque susurri,
quos tecum memini gelidis carpsisse sub umbris
turturis ad gemitus, ad hirundinis ac philomenae
carmina, cum primis resonant arbusta cicadis.

aura strepens foliis nemorum veniebat ab Euro
et bacata super tendebat bracchia cornus.
ipse solo recubans pecudes gestire videbam
atque alacres teneris luctari cornibus agnos.
post somnos per gramen humi nunc ore supino
aut flatu implebam calamos aut voce canebam,
pectore nunc prono rutilantia fraga legebam.
F. vivere tum felix poteras dicique beatus. (Adul. 9.59-78)

F. Ah, the wealth of that land of ours! its flowery meadows and green fields! its pastures rich and fertile and its soil forever fruitful! its rivers everywhere running through farms and its brooks flowing through fields and gardens! On this side flocks, on that side fertile fields. Under the sign of Cancer when the sound of threshing everywhere fills the air and July burns with heat, the fields are green, hedges woven of pliant branches support their burden of fruit, and even among the brambles the wild herbs diffuse their fragrance.
C. Ah, the sweet shade and soft murmuring of the groves! I remember gathering the delights of these with you in the cool shade to the sighs of the turtledove and the songs of the swallow and nightingale, when the copses were resounding with the first cicadas. A breeze, rustling among the leaves in the groves, came from the East, and above us a cornel tree stretched out its branches laden with berries. Lying on the earth I myself used to watch the sheep exult and the lambs contend eagerly against one another with their tender, new horns. After sleeping on the sward, sometimes, reclining on my back on the ground, I played my pipes or sang and sometimes, bent forward, I used to gather the gleaming red strawberries.
F. At that time you were able to live as a fortunate man and could be called blessed.

  • 8 Mantuan Adul. 9.67-9 with Virg. Ecl. 1.51-8 (Meliboeus to Tityrus): 52 frigus captabis opacum, 55 l (...)

8The flashback to shared times together in a happier time and place is a classic pastoral attitude, of a piece with the general impulse towards pastness. And Mantuan’s intra-generic reminiscences of Virgil seem especially intense here, so that Faustulus’ and Candidus’ nostalgia for their own pasts is figured in poetological terms as nostalgia for a ‘happier’ time for the genre. This construction of the past of the genre as happier than the present is an effect tending towards what we might call the ‘pastoralization’ of pastoral, the cementing of the pastoral ideal as something always more secure in the past than in the present. Now this does entail a tendentious reading of Virgil’s First Eclogue, in particular, since some of the idealized details in the lines above (specifically in 67-70, italicized) derive from Meliboeus’ account, in that poem, of the world he is in process of losing.8 But for most readers the main takeaway from Faustulus’ and Candidus’ exchange will not be those specific entailments but rather the idyllic glow of Virgilian amoenitas in lines 59-78 as a whole. The disruption of the pastoral world dramatized in Adulescentia 9 comes across not (in the first instance) as a reflection of disruptions already inherent in the genre, including (programmatically) in Virgil’s First Eclogue, but as a new disruption of a genre viewed as previously tranquil – in its idealized past.

9 And the fact is that, structurally, as a genre of withdrawal from quotidian reality, pastoral is pre-programmed for this kind of ‘self-purifying’ mechanism. Consider, in microcosm, the final lines of Candidus’ speech above:

post somnos per gramen humi nunc ore supino
aut flatu implebam calamos aut voce canebam,
pectore nunc prono rutilantia fraga legebam. (Adul. 9.75-7)

After sleeping on the sward, sometimes, reclining on my back on the ground, I played my pipes or sang and sometimes, bent forward, I used to gather the gleaming red strawberries.

10These ‘strawberry fields forever’ recall a vignette in Virgil’s Third Eclogue – minus a lurking danger:

qui legitis flores et humi nascentia fraga,
frigidus, o pueri, fugite hinc, latet anguis in herba. (Virg. Ecl. 3.92-3)

You boys who gather flowers and strawberries that grow low to the ground, begone from here; a chill snake lurks in the grass.

  • 9 Mantuan’s intervention tends to emblematize the lurking snake of Virg. Ecl. 3.93, in the process of (...)

11That is to say, Mantuan has ‘purified’ the vignette, in intertextual recollection, by removing Virgil’s snake in the grass;9 as in the dialogue of Faustulus and Candidus at large, the idyllic detail must be made whole before the new poet can (re)enact its rupture.

RUSTICITY AND HYPERRUSTICITY

  • 10 Horace’s early characterization of the Eclogues at Sat. 1.10.44-5: see now Gowers 2012 ad loc.; als (...)

12Pastoral is founded, in both its Greek and its Roman versions, on a contrast between rusticity of lifestyle and urbane polish of poetic style, Virgilian molle atque facetum.10 Hardly less foundational is a tendency in the genre for the lifestyle to move in the direction of the poetic style, for rural realism to clean itself up: the Hameau de la Reine at Versailles; Longus’s Daphnis grooming the goats and polishing their horns for the arrival of the city folk in Book 4 of Daphnis and Chloe. It can come as a shock, then, when the herdsmen of pastoral occasionally insist on ‘keeping it real’.

13 The following passage from Adulescentia 4 offers a particularly pungent moment of generic self-reflexivity (italicized below), in which the rustic dimension of Virgilian pastoral is at once acknowledged and then pressed by Mantuan to a point of parody:

Iannus: dic Umbri, dic, si quid habes. meditare parumper
et verba et numeros; Umbri est memorabile carmen.
Alphus: est (ut ais) sed non gratis, memorabile carmen.
quas referes grates? et quid mercedis habebo?
I. accipe: promissis absolvo et spicula reddo.
A. dum vado ad ventrem post haec carecta levandum,
Ianne, meum tu coge pecus,
ne vitibus obsit.
I. o aries, aries, qui tortis cornibus atrum
daemona praesentas, semper vineta subintras.
non sapies donec fossa tibi lumina fronte
eruero. non sunt porrecta in iugera centum
pascua sat, nisi pampineos populeris et agros.
A. Ianne, recordatus redeo ... (Adul. 4.82-94)

Iannus: If you have any song of Umber’s, pray sing it. For a little while rehearse both its words and measures. A song of Umber’s is worthy of being remembered.
Alphus: It is (as you say) a song memorable, but not free. What thanks will you give me? What reward will I have?
I. Take these things: I free you from your promises and give back your arrows.
A. While I go to relieve my bowels behind that sedge there, keep together my flock, Iannus, lest they harm the vines.
I. Ah, ram, ram – you who with your twisted horns bring to mind a dark devil – you are forever stealing into our vineyards! Until I have plucked your eyes out, you won’t know any better! A hundred acres of pasture aren’t enough unless you have ravaged the vineyards and fields.
A. I’m back, Iannus, and have recalled Umber’s song ...

14Let me explain. In the passage here excerpted, a typical pastoral transaction is taking place: as part of a song-exchange Alphus has agreed to relay a carmen by the master-shepherd Umber in return for a gift from his fellow-herdsman Iannus. We are ready for Alphus to begin the song; but instead he interposes (lines 87-8, in a slightly heightened paraphrase), ‘Just a minute, Iannus: mind my flock while I go behind that tall grass over there for a quick shit’. The language of the interposition is from an address by Menalcas to Damoetas in Virgil’s Third Eclogue, carecta and all (italics below),

Menalcas: quid domini faciant, audent cum talia fures?
non ego te vidi Damonis, pessime, caprum
excipere insidiis, multum latrante Lycisca?
et cum clamarem ‘quo nunc se proripit ille?
Tityre, coge pecus’, tu post carecta latebas (Virg. Ecl. 3.16-20)

Menalcas: What can owners do, when thieves are so daring? Didn’t I see you, lowlife, trapping Damon’s goat, while his mongrel Lycisca barked madly? And when I shouted: ‘Where is that fellow off to? Tityrus, keep together the flock!’ you were skulking behind the sedge

  • 11 ‘... a new and unpoetic level’: but see the recent commentary of Severi 2010 on Adul. 4.87-8: ‘l’ep (...)

15... but the bowel movement, emphatically, is not. What is going on? Mantuan has picked up a ‘rustic’ moment in Virgil’s Eclogues and taken its rusticity to a new and unpoetic level. Virgil’s thieving herdsman was up to no good behind his tall grass, but he did not, like Mantuan’s, go so far as to allow the alimentary pressures of everyday field work to interrupt the pastoral idyll.11

  • 12 On the not uncomplicated matter of cuium as ‘rustic’ diction see Coleman 1977.25-6, with his comm. (...)

16 It is significant that Mantuan’s intervention is directed at a moment near the start of Virgil’s Third Eclogue, in particular, a poem whose opening words were flagged for an alleged ‘rusticity’ as early as the parodic Antibucolica of Numitorius (which Mantuan will have known from the Suetonian-Donatan Life of Virgil):12

M. dic mihi, Damoeta, cuium pecus? an Meliboei?
D. non, verum Aegonis; nuper mihi tradidit Aegon. (Virg. Ecl. 3.1-2)

M. Tell me, Damoetas, who owns the flock? is it Meliboeus’s?
D. No, but Aegon’s. Aegon turned it over to me just now.

dic mihi, Damoeta: ‘cuium pecus’ anne Latinum?
non, verum Aegonis nostri, sic rure loquuntur. (Numit. Antibuc. fr.2)

Tell me, Damoetas, cuium pecus, is it correct Latin? – No, it’s our Aegon’s, that’s how they speak in the country.

17 Indeed, that Virgilian incipit (which I now quote at greater length) will itself be picked up in one of the later poems of the Adulescentia:

M. dic mihi, Damoeta, cuium pecus? an Meliboei?
D. non, verum Aegonis; nuper mihi tradidit Aegon.
M. infelix o semper, oves, pecus! ipse Neaeram
dum fovet ac, ne me sibi praeferat illa, veretur,
hic alienus ovis custos bis mulget in hora,
et sucus pecori et lac subducitur agnis. (Virg. Ecl. 3.1-6)

M. Tell me, Damoetas, who owns the flock? is it Meliboeus’s?
D. No, but Aegon’s. Aegon just now handed it over to me.
M. Poor sheep, unlucky all the time! While your master fondles Neaera, and is afraid that she prefers me to him, this hired keeper milks his ewes twice an hour, and the flock are robbed of their strength and the lambs of their milk.

(Candidus:)                ... de vertice Baldi
saepe melampodion legi; medicina capellis
nulla magis praesens. quondam Valsasinus Aegon
tradidit hoc, dum vere sues castraret et agnos;
tradidit et dixit, ‘solus medicamen habeto’. (Adul. 8.16-20)

(Candidus:) From Baldo’s peak I have often gathered black hellebore – no medicine is better for my goats. Aegon from Val Sasina once handed over this herb to me when he was castrating pigs and lambs in the springtime. He handed it over to me and said, ‘Keep this medicine as yours alone’.

  • 13 Appropriately (in terms of pastoral ‘pasts’), the interaction with Aegon which in Virgil was ‘recen (...)
  • 14 So Piepho 1989.xxxii (as ever, a genial guide to the Adulescentia), whose brief notice of the ‘eart (...)

18Both passages concern cooperative animal husbandry, in both cases involving interaction (flagged by verbal repetition) with an identically named Aegon (quondam ... Aegon / tradidit; nuper mihi tradidit Aegon).13 Virgil’s Aegon engages in an erotic dalliance, to the detriment of his flocks; Mantuan’s Aegon (here seen recommending a herbal purgative, 17 melampodion) engages (19) in the castration of pigs and young sheep. Although the Aegon of Adulescentia 8 is a better farmer than his Virgilian namesake, his effectiveness comes at a certain cost to pastoral decorum. Virgil’s Third Eclogue may be at the ‘rustic’ end of his bucolic range, and notoriously so, but again Mantuan’s moment of imitation has added an unwonted edge: as Lee Piepho remarks, ‘Arcadia’s gentle shepherds never castrate sheep and swine’.14

  • 15 For the term see Richlin 1992.26-30; cf. Hinds 1998.134-5.

19 Two episodes, then, of generic ‘staining’;15 and in each case the Virgilian model-passage, on a reread, perhaps becomes more like Mantuan’s imitation. In revisiting the Virgilian version of the carecta vignette, the reader fresh from the Adulescentia may now wonder if Virgil’s thieving herdsman was himself having a quiet bowel movement as he hid behind the tall grasses in Ecl. 3.20; in the case of the first Aegon’s flocks, Menalcas’ regretful infelix o semper, oves, pecus (Ecl. 3.3) may now read as a wry comment on the lambs’ loss of their testicles chez Mantuan rather than on the consequences, chez Virgil, of their deprivation of milk.

20 The other thing to add here, parenthetically, is that the ‘shit’ in Adulescentia 4, despite its offence against the decorum of pastoral representation, is itself highly stylized: this is one of the most overdetermined bowel movements in literature. The song of Umber, which Alphus manages to recall while he is doing his business behind the carecta (4.94), is a 130-line-long satirical tirade against women (frequently translated in the years which followed), whose hijacking of the rest of the poem constitutes an interruption and disruption of the pastoral project; and the penultimate item in Umber’s long catalogue of misogyny is a characterization of women as Harpies, ... who (he alleges) cover the entire world with the filthy stream from their bowels (4.236-9, esp. 236-7 quae ventre soluto / proluvie foeda ...). An editorializing ring-composition, in effect, which retrospectively defines the poem’s long tail as a self-conscious cross-generic experiment in the ‘alimentary’ modes of satire and invective.

  • 16 That is, the discussion of linguistic usage is also a discussion of liturgical usage. Mantuan’s sub (...)

21 Finally on hyperrusticity, after the pastoral ‘ungrammaticalities’ of bathroom breaks and animal castration I end this section with an exchange between two of Mantuan’s shepherds, Candidus and Alphus, again in Adulescentia 8, about a perceived impropriety of linguistic usage (the matter at issue is the proper conduct of a service of religious thanksgiving):16

C. quid ni aliquid dandum est? opus est persolvere crates.
A. rusticus es, ‘crates’ etenim pro ‘gratibus’ inquis.
C. ‘crates’ et ‘grates’ parvo discrimine distant. (Adul. 8.158-60)

C. Why shouldn’t we offer something? We ought to give our harrows.
A. You’re a rustic indeed: you said ‘harrows’ [crates] instead of ‘thanks’ [grates].
C. Crates and grates – the words are very close to one another.

  • 17 Mustard 1911 ad loc., also adducing Aen. 2.537 persolvant grates dignas. Alphus’ line-beginning ‘qu (...)
  • 18 sic rure loquuntur: but also, as often in pastoral, the voice of the learned scholar-poet is audibl (...)

22Behind Alphus’ reproof, flagged with the Virgilian bucolic tag rusticus es ..., lies a memory of an actual locution, an epic one, in the Aeneid: 1.600 grates persolvere dignas.17 And again Mantuan, in making one shepherd call out another shepherd’s ‘rusticity’ of expression, has made us think of Virgil’s own paratextual tradition: sic rure loquuntur, as Numitorius said of the Third Eclogue’s cuium pecus.18

‘GO THOU TO ROME’

Tityrus: urbem quam dicunt Romam, Meliboee, putavi
stultus ego huic nostrae similem, quo saepe solemus
pastores ovium teneros depellere fetus ...
Meliboeus: et quae tanta fuit Romam tibi causa videndi? (Virg. Ecl. 1.19-21, 26)

Tityrus: The city which they call Rome, Meliboeus, I foolishly thought was like this of ours, whither we shepherds are often wont to drive the tender younglings of our flocks ...
Meliboeus: And what was your great reason for seeing Rome?

23The opposition between the country and the city is hardwired into pastoral from Virgil’s First Eclogue on, an opposition which represents a stylization and thematization of the genre’s actual origins as rural poetry produced by cosmopolitan poets in the Hellenistic world-city – as touched on at the start of the previous section. But Rome is not just any city, nor indeed just any world-city. The ‘future’ that Virgil could not know includes the changing face of Rome itself – as historical force and as contested symbol – through many centuries to come. In particular, the associations of ecclesiastical politics and polemic which Rome will bring for many early modern pastoral poets, including Mantuan, are in one sense an irrelevance to and a distraction from the original connotations of Virgilian pastoral. And yet Virgil’s Rome too was a locus of combined political and religious power, a locus in which there were (in the very years that he was writing his early works) clear winners and losers. When (in a recurrent preoccupation) Rome represents to Mantuan’s shepherds the opportunities, and more especially the dangers, afforded by the Vrbs to those who venture thither, including a Carmelite reformer like the real-life Baptista Mantuanus himself, the same basic patterns of history underlie this as underlay Virgil’s First Eclogue, alongside and despite the temporal gulf that separates them.

24 And this provides a context within which to read the Adulescentia’s own moments of self-conscious negotiation between ancient and modern Rome. To Mantuan’s Candidus in poem 5, Augustus has perished:

Silvanus: Candide, vidisti Romam sanctique senatus
pontifices, ubi tot vates, ubi copia rerum
tantarum? facile est illis ditescere campis.
Candidus: deciperis me velle putans ditescere ...
fac habeam tenuem sine sollicitudine victum;
hoc contentus eam. Romana palatia vidi,
sed quid Roma, putas, mihi proderit? o Silvane,
occidit Augustus numquam rediturus ab Orco. (Adul. 5.111-14, 118-21)

Silvanus: Candidus, have you seen Rome and the prelates of its holy court where there are so many poets, so much abundance? It is easy to grow wealthy in those fields.
Candidus: You are deceived in thinking I want to grow wealthy ... Give me a slender diet without care, with this I will live content. I have seen Rome’s palaces. But in what respect do you suppose Rome will help me? Oh Silvanus, Augustus has perished, never will he return from Orcus.

25To Mantuan’s Faustulus in poem 9, ancient Rome itself is dead and gone, its springs emblematically dried up, and its famed urban water-supply in ruins:

                ... laudatae gloria Roma
quanta sit in toto non est qui nesciat orbe;
fama quidem manet, utilitas antiqua recessit.
illa prisca quibus maduerunt pascua fontes
nunc umore carent, venis aqua defuit haustis,
nulla pluit nubes, Tiberis non irrigat agros,
tempus aquaeductus veteres contrivit et arcus
et castella ruunt; procul hinc, procul ite, capellae.
hic ieiuna fames et languida regnat egestas. (Adul. 9.203-11)

In the whole world there is no one ignorant of how great is Rome’s glory. Her fame indeed remains, her former usefulness has passed away. Those springs by which the ancient pasturelands used to be moistened now lack water, their channels drained dry. Clouds pour down none of their rain, the Tiber does not irrigate the fields, time has worn down the old aqueducts, arches and fortresses are collapsing in ruins. Away, goats, get away hence! Here reign lean famine and dull poverty.

  • 19 See Piepho 1989.xviii, xxiv. Adul. 9 is titled thus: Falco: De moribus curiae Romanae, post religio (...)
  • 20 With Adul. 9.220-1 below cf. Tityrus’ speech at Virg. Ecl. 1.40-5, esp. 42-3 hic illum vidi iuvenem (...)

26And yet, directly afterwards, the same poem holds out hope that a benefactor like Augustus (the Falco named in poem 9’s title, Falcone de’ Sinibaldi19) may be about to bring the hope of deliverance once offered at Rome by a certain iuvenis to that first shepherd who made the journey to the Vrbs, Virgil’s Tityrus. The point is underlined by near-quotation, emphasized below (and simultaneously reinforced and qualified by a nod to the First Eclogue’s displaced Meliboeus in the immediately preceding lines):20

hic tamen (ut fama est et nos quoque vidimus ipsi)
pastor adest quadam ducens ex alite nomen,
lanigeri pecoris dives, ditissimus agri ...
credimus hunc illi similem cui Tityrus olim
bis senos fumare dies altaria fecit.
( Adul. 9.212-14, 220-1)

And yet here – for such is the rumour, and I have seen him myself – there is present a shepherd to help us, a shepherd who takes his name from a certain bird, a man rich in woolbearing flocks, most rich in land ... I believe this man to be like that one for whom Tityrus once long ago caused his altars to smoke twice six days.

  • 21 Protestant: Adul. 9, with its attacks on the Curia at Rome, became ‘a favorite during the Reformati (...)

27 Such currents and counter-currents are the very stuff of pastoral. Both within the poems of Mantuan under consideration here, and through all the versions of the gravitational pull that brings pastoral to Rome subsequent to Virgil’s First Eclogue – imperial and neo-imperial, Catholic, Protestant, Romantic – , it can be argued that these historical associations tend to feel cumulative rather than mutually self-cancelling.21 And what a student of reception might suggest is that it is in principle impossible for a reader of Augustan poetry today (la poésie augustéenne aujourd’hui, in the title of the Lille conference) to disentangle the ‘pull’ of Rome in Virgil’s First Eclogue from some or all of those futures, whether post-Tityran or post-Meliboean:

Go thou to Rome, – at once the Paradise,
The grave, the city, and the wilderness. (Percy Bysshe Shelley, Adonais 433-4)

28 Mantuan actually gives to one of his poems, Adulescentia 6, the subtitle De disceptatione rusticorum et civium; and this may be as good a place as any to register a remarkable conceit within that eclogue which bears indirectly upon the theme of the present section:

(Cornix:)                 ... omnibus urbs est
fons et origo malis. descendit ab urbe Lycaon,
Deucalion Pyrrha cum coniuge rusticus.
ille
intulit illuviem terris, hic abstulit; ille
abstulit humanum terris genus, intulit iste.
si terra (ut perhibent) flammis abolebitur umquam,
istud grande nefas ulla descendet ab urbe. (Adul. 6.245-51)

(Cornix:) The city is the fount and source of all evil. Lycaon arose from the city. Deucalion and his wife, Pyrrha, were countrybred. Lycaon brought a flood on the earth, Deucalion put an end to it. Lycaon put an end to the human race on the earth, Deucalion restored it. If (as men assert) the earth is ever destroyed by fire, that great horror will arise from the deeds of some city.

  • 22 Lycaon was of course a primeval king of Arcadia (Ov. Met. 1.218 Arcadis ... sedes et inhospita tect (...)

29Consider (with my emphases) what Mantuan has done in the lines just quoted. The origin of the dispute between country and city has been pushed back to a time before Rome, a time before Alexandria, to the origins of the human species itself. Through an invocation of the proto-pastoralism of Ovid’s Metamorphoses (discussed by me earlier), Deucalion and Pyrrha now become archetypes of the country-dweller, and perhaps the pastoral genre’s first ‘couple’; but the real paradox comes in the identification of their Ovidian anti-type Lycaon as the primal exemplar not just of original sin, but of the sins of urbanism in particular. Lycaon was an early ruler of an early city; indeed, on one ancient tradition (preserved in Pausanias), it was he who founded the world’s very first city. A geographical paradox underlies Mantuan’s mythic aetiology of the rural-urban conflict, then, even if he does not quite spell it out: namely, that the urbs which started all the trouble was located (where else?) in the heart of Arcadia.22

(RE)PASTORALIZING AUGUSTAN EROTICS

  • 23 On the tantalizing questions about Gallan elegy raised by the Tenth Eclogue see Fabre-Serris 2008.6 (...)

30Some of the energy of Virgilian pastoral, especially in the Tenth Eclogue, comes from a creative tension between bucolic epos and erotic elegy, a tension the harder to decode because of our uncertainty about whether or how much the pre-Virgilian elegy of Gallus was already ‘pastoralized’.23 As part of the operation of ‘big tent pastoral’, whereby the genre evolves into a catch-all for anything classical or classicizing that can serve an early modern poetic vision, the non-pastoral erotic verse of Augustan Rome (up to and including that of Ovid) is in later practice effortlessly assimilated to a pastoral mise en scène so that any ancient tension between pastoral and adjacent genres ceases to be operative. ... Or does it?

31 Consider this self-depiction in poem 3 of Mantuan’s Adulescentia, subtitled De insani amoris exitu infelici, of a cowherd (Amyntas) afflicted by an excess of erotic passion:

o me felicem, si, cum mea fata vocabunt,
in gremio dulcique sinu niveisque lacertis
saltem anima caput hoc languens abeunte iaceret;
illa sua nobis morientia lumina dextra
clauderet et tristi fleret mea funera voce. (Adul. 3.103-7)

Oh happy my lot if, when fate calls me, I could at least lay my languishing head, my soul then departing, on her lap, sweet breasts, and in her snow-white arms! With her right hand she would close my dying eyes, and with a sad voice she would bewail my death.

  • 24 See esp. Tib. 1.1.59-62, cited by Mustard 1911 ad loc.; also e.g., with Piepho 1989 ad loc., Prop. (...)

32Notably, this does not present itself just as a random piece of excessive erotica, but as a specific evocation of Augustan elegiac Liebestod – with its situational allusions to near-necrophiliac embrace, predominantly Tibullan,24 headed up by the cited incipit of a famous (if more upbeat) poem by that even more assiduous Augustan elegist of love and death, Propertius (2.15.1 o me felicem, o nox mihi candida ... ‘oh happy my lot, oh night bright for me ...’). And what shows a sense of generic discrimination is that this markedly elegiac passion is presented in Mantuan’s poem as an active obstruction to or distraction from the proper pursuits of pastoral – a reinvention of Virgil’s Tenth Eclogue, one might say, for a collection in which the religious allegorization of the genre has raised the moral (as well as the literary) stakes on episodes of erotic misadventure. (Not only will Amyntas soon die of his passion, but his dead body, unburied, will be devoured by birds and wild beasts: 3.151-5.)

33 To move from Tibullus and Propertius to Ovid, and from erotic elegy to the erotic myths of the Metamorphoses, consider now a passage in the preceding Adulescentia 2, subtitled De amoris insania, which forms a pair with Adulescentia 3. His fellow herdsman Fortunatus is explaining how Amyntas first set eyes upon the girl who robbed him of his senses, while he was searching the countryside for a lost bull:

ah puer infelix, aestus te maior in umbra
corripiet. nudam videas ne in fonte Dianam,
claude oculos, blandis neu des Sirenibus aurem.
sors tua Narcisso similis: Narcissus in undis
dum sedare sitim properat, sitit amplius; at tu
exteriorem aestum fugiens intinsecus ardes.
quam melius fuerat (nisi te sic fata tulissent)
ad reliquum rediisse pecus, servasse iuvencas,
amissi bovis aequo animo dispendia ferre
quam, dum conaris nil perdere, perdere te ipsum. (Adul. 2.81-90)

Ah, unfortunate boy, within the shade a greater heat will lay hold of you! Close your eyes lest you see Diana naked in the fountain, lend not your ear to the seductive Sirens. Your fate is like Narcissus’. Narcissus, while he hastened to ease his thirst within the waters, thirsted still more. You, however, fleeing an outward heat, burn inwardly. How much better had it been (had not fate thus carried you off) to have returned to your abandoned herd, watched over your heifers, and endured with equanimity the cost of your lost bull, than, in trying to lose nothing, to lose your very self!

  • 25 The evocation of these as specifically Ovidian myths about the dangers of eye-contact is guaranteed (...)
  • 26 Virg. Ecl. 6.47 a, virgo infelix, quae te dementia cepit!, 52 a, virgo infelix, tu nunc in montibus (...)

34An explicit pair of allusions to the myths of Actaeon and Narcissus, canonically juxtaposed in Book 3 of Ovid’s Metamorphoses,25 is preceded by an apostrophe (italicized) which makes implicit allusion to the myth of Pasiphae in the Sixth Eclogue of Virgil: the ah puer infelix addressed by Mantuan, like the a virgo infelix famously addressed by Virgil, is on the track of an elusive bull (though not with the same end in view ...).26 That is, the main line of allusion in this passage is to an erotic complex in Ovid’s Metamorphoses; but the verbal trace of the Sixth Eclogue’s apostrophe simultaneously reaffirms for Mantuan an intra-generic point of departure in Virgilian pastoral – even though Pasiphae is herself also assimilable (via Ars Amatoria 1) to a wholly Ovidian poetic.

  • 27 Inadvertent voyeurism, in the case of Ovid’s Actaeon, but the moralizing potential is there none th (...)

35 These mythic allusions, both implicit and explicit, bring into Mantuan’s Adulescentia an enlarged range of Augustan erotic representation; but that is not to say that their ‘pastoralization’ is entirely unproblematic. Just as Pasiphae’s hair-raising version of animal husbandry sat uneasily in Virgil’s Eclogues, so here Mantuan’s Christian pastoral cannot but be threatened by new evocations of some of Augustan poetry’s most extreme case-studies in erotic disorder (voyeurism,27 self-love, bestiality). Amyntas’ doomed passion (ah puer infelix!) both is and is not capable of being accommodated by the genre.

PERFORMING CHRISTIANIZATION

36‘La venue même du Christ n’a rien qui étonne quand on a lu Virgile’ (Sainte-Beuve). Proto-Christian Virgil has been around ever since the first ‘messianic’ readings of the Fourth Eclogue in late antiquity. To such an extent that, for a reader of Latin poetry today, it takes an almost wilful effort of historicization to exclude ‘Christian Virgil’ from our readings of the poet, from Eclogues to Aeneid: even in our modern scholarly world Virgil is almost always un Virgile moralisé. In particular, the morphing of Virgilian bucolic into Christian pastoral over the centuries, the superimposition of the Judaeo-Christian pastor on to the poetic herdsmen of Greco-Roman antiquity (Virgil’s especially), is a move so thoroughly naturalized that it can feel like an act of critical reductiveness to read the Eclogues apart from these medieval and (early) modern futures.

37 What interests me in this section (as a specific twist upon that tradition) is the way in which, in his seventh poem (subtitled De conversione iuvenum ad religionem, cum iam auctor ad religionem aspiraret), the Carmelite Mantuan has his shepherds renegotiate the Christianization of pastoral, dramatizing and ‘performing’ it as if anew. In the following passage, early in the poem, one of the two interlocutors, Galbula, is relating what he learned from the herdsman-sage Umber about God’s plan for and love of the world’s ‘first shepherd’ (14 ovium primus pastor):

sic profecit apud Superos, sic numina flexit,
ut fuerit primo mundi nascentis ab ortu
tempus ad hoc caelo pecoris gratissima cura.
Assyrios quosdam (sed nescio nomina; curae
diminuunt animum)
Deus ex pastoribus olim
constituit reges
qui postea murice et auro
conspicui gentes bello domuere superbas.
cum Paris Iliaca tria numina vidit in Ida
(aut Paris aut alius puerum qui obtruncat ad aram)
pastor erat. quando caelesti exterritus igne
venit ad ostentum pedibus per pascua nudis,
pastor erat Moses, Moses a flumine tractus.
exul apud Graios Amphrysia pastor Apollo
rura peragravit posito deitatis honore.
caelestes animi Christo ad praesepia nato
in caulis cecinere Deum pastoribus ortum,

et nova divini partus miracula docti
pastores primi natum videre Tonantem,
et sua pastores infans Regnator Olympi
ante magos regesque dedit cunabula scire.
se quoque pastorem Deus appellavit, ovesque
mitibus ingeniis homines et mentibus aequis. (Adul. 7.20-41)

He so advanced himself in the eyes of the gods, he so bent their will, that from the world’s beginning to this day the tending of sheep has been most pleasing to Heaven. Certain Assyrians – ah, I don’t know their names! care has shattered my thoughts – God once made from shepherds into kings who, splendid afterwards in purple and gold, conquered proud nations in war. When on Trojan Ida Paris viewed the three goddesses – either Paris or that other man who slays a boy at an altar – he was a shepherd. When Moses, terrified by the fire from heaven, came barefooted through the fields to reveal this miracle, Moses, plucked once from the river, was a shepherd. An exile among the Greeks, Apollo traversed Amphrysus’ fields as a shepherd, the honour of his godhead put aside. When Christ was born in a stable, heavenly spirits sang to shepherds in their sheepfolds of the birth of God the Son. And when they had learned of the recent miracle of his divine birth, shepherds were the first to see the newborn Thunderer, and, before wise men and kings, the infant Ruler of Olympus allowed shepherds to behold his cradle. God called himself too a shepherd, and he called sheep those men of mild disposition and balanced mind.

38Galbula here narrates a history of the pastor which juxtaposes classical exemplars (Paris on Ida in 28, Apollo tending the herds of Admetus in 32-3) with the patriarchs of the Old Testament (23-6, as treated below; 29-31 Moses), with the shepherds of the New Testament who first saw Christ (34-9), and finally with Christ himself (40-1). And what is especially piquant in these lines is the difficulty that Mantuan’s speaker seems to have in coming up with the biblical names – whether his horizons are represented as limited by rustic artlessness or (in metapoetic terms) by a hangover of pagan Latinity.

  • 28 Piepho 1989 ad loc. (also, below, on line 28). Jodocus Badius (Josse Bade) published his commentary (...)
  • 29 Missed by Mustard 1911, but noted by Severi 2010 ad loc.

39 Thus line 23 of poem 7 (with my underlining), Assyrios quosdam (sed nescio nomina ...), where it is left to Mantuan’s early commentator Badius helpfully to supply the elusive ‘Assyrian’ names, viz. Abraham, Lot and Jacob.28 Thus also line 28 (again underlined) aut Paris aut alius puerum qui obtruncat ad aram, where Galbula seems to be reaching for the biblical story of Abraham and Isaac (so again Badius), but again to be unable to retrieve the names. In this latter case, there is an allusive twist: despite Badius’ gloss, a clear Virgilian intertext29 irresistibly but irrelevantly points to a different name that fits the bill:

iamque aderit multo Priami de sanguine Pyrrhus,
natum ante ora patris, patrem qui obtruncat ad aras. (Virg. Aen. 2.662-3)

And soon will come Pyrrhus, steeped in the blood of Priam, he who slays the son before the face of the father, and the father at the altar.

40aut Paris aut ... Pyrrhus? Hardly, despite the shared Trojan context; but the allusion, deictic pointing and all, is a witty metapoetic dramatization of the hazards of cultural interference between classical and Christian Latin, between one Mantuan and another.

41 There is a more general point to be made here, which will come up in the next (and final) section too. Galbula’s moments of artless aporia (sed nescio nomina ..., aut Paris aut alius ...) have the effect of denaturing Mantuan’s routine use, late in the passage above, of classical nomenclature for the infant Christian deity, which might otherwise pass unremarked as standard neo-Latin conventionality:

pastores primi natum videre Tonantem,
et sua pastores infans Regnator Olympi
ante magos regesque dedit cunabula scire. (Adul. 7.37-9)

  • 30 Jupiter is regularly for the Romans the Thunderer, Tonans; his title regnator Olympi (vel sim.) is (...)

4237 Tonantem, 38 Regnator Olympi: such are the terms that Mantuan here uses of the final shepherd in the series, Christ himself, (un)problematically defined in the classicizing language of Roman paganism ... and of Virgil.30

TRANSLATING VIRGINS, WITH VIRGIL

43To stick with the same eclogue, a related question of identification and naming, an important one, hangs over Adulescentia 7 as a whole. The poem is framed as a conversation between Galbula and Alphus about a mysterious epiphany experienced by their fellow-herdsman Pollux:

(A.) ... ferunt illum, pecudes dum solus in agris
pasceret, effigiem quandam vidisse deorum.
cetera non memini, sed tu quid, Galbula, sentis? (Adul. 7.6-8)

(A.) They say that, while he pastured his sheep alone in the fields he saw some sort of divine apparition. I don’t remember the rest – but you, Galbula, what do you think?

44Running away from home, but pulled this way and that by the tugs of a recent disappointment in love, Pollux encounters a mysterious virgo in a forest; and Mantuan, via Galbula, unfolds the story as another post-Virgilian performance of Christianization.

45 Who is this virgo? We are not explicitly told until the eighth poem, Adul. 8.78-80 (quoted a little below) – where it will emerge that Pollux’s vision was of the Queen of Heaven, the Virgin Mary, mother of Christ. For now, still in poem 7, a series of ‘staged’ clues guides us towards recognition (or misrecognition) of the epiphany:

fronde sub Herculea fessus maerore sedebat;
ecce puellari virgo stipata corona
ora, manus, oculos habitumque simillima Nymphae,
et tali affata est puerum sermone dolentem:
‘Care puer, quo tendis iter? vestigia verte ...’ (Adul. 7.88-92)

Under Hercules’ leafy boughs he sat wearied by mourning. And behold! there stood a maiden thronged by a circle of girls, her face, hands, eyes and mien most like to a Nymph. And thus she addressed the grieving lad: ‘Dear boy, where are you directing your course? Turn around ...’

  • 31 Cf. Virg. Ecl. 7.61 populus Alcidae gratissima ‘the poplar is most pleasing to Alceus’ descendant H (...)
  • 32 Badius; cf. Piepho 1989 on Adul. 7.88. The allusion to the Choice of Hercules is appropriate, since (...)

46In line 88 the encounter with the virgo is located fronde sub Herculea: that is, under the leaves of a poplar,31 but also, as the earliest commentator points out, an allusion to the story of Hercules at the crossroads, flagging the upcoming scene as one of moral choice.32 Then in line 90 the virgo is described as ora, manus, oculos habitumque simillima Nymphae. At this point, in an early modern eclogue which mobilizes an enlarged Virgilian pastoral intertext, we know exactly where we are: not with Mantuan’s Pollux but with Virgil’s Aeneas:

cui mater media sese tulit obvia silva,
virginis os habitumque gerens et virginis arma ... (Virg. Aen. 1.314-15)

across whose path, in the midst of the forest, came his mother, with a maiden’s face and mien, and a maiden’s weapons ...

47The allusion sends us to the most sylvan scene in the first book of the Aeneid, at the moment when Virgil’s Aeneas, like Mantuan’s Pollux, has just encountered a mysterious virgo in a forest: but is she a maiden huntress, a votary of Diana, or is she a goddess, Diana herself ...?

‘o quam te memorem, virgo? namque haud tibi vultus
mortalis, nec vox hominum sonat; o dea certe!
an Phoebi soror? an Nympharum sanguinis una? ...’ (Aen. 1.327-9)

‘But how am I to address you, maiden? for your face is not mortal nor has your voice a human ring: o goddess surely! sister of Phoebus? or one of the race of Nymphs? ...’

  • 33 The Virgilianizing language at Adul. 7.88-92 (noted in the modern comms. ad loc., but the unpacking (...)

48Well, as Aeneas eventually finds out, neither of the above: she is of course his mother Venus disguised as a maiden huntress. And now Mantuan, reworking the scene for Pollux, tweaks this question of identification into a transcultural puzzle: when is a Virgilian virgin goddess also a Virgilian mother goddess? Answer: either when she is Aeneas’s mother Venus in disguise, or when she is the Virgin Mary, mother of God.33

49 In the following, eighth poem (as noted), another conversation between shepherds will revisit the puzzle of the epiphany to make the Christian identification explicit:

(Alphus:) sed quod montanis de religionibus inquis
rettulit in mentem quae de Polluce feruntur.
quae dea, si nosti, visa est, quae, Candide, Nympha? ...
Candidus: non erat illa Dryas neque Libethris nec Oreas;
venerat e caelo Superum Regina, Tonantis
Mater, anhelanti pacem latura iuventae.
(Adul. 8.67-9, 78-80)

  • 34 Nymphs of wood, fount and mountain, respectively; the Nymphae ... Libethrides, found in Latin poetr (...)

(Alphus:) But what you said about religious devotion in the mountains brings to mind what men are saying about Pollux. What goddess (if you know), what Nymph, Candidus, appeared to him? ...
Candidus: She was neither Dryad, Libethrid nor Oread.34 From Heaven she came, Queen of the Gods above, Mother of the Thunderer, destined to bring peace to the young men who thirst for it.

50The Queen of Heaven, the mother of Christ: this, Candidus affirms, is the vision that Pollux saw. Not that the Virgilian shadow is altogether forgotten: the wording of Alphus’ question at 69, quae dea ... quae, Candide, Nympha?, reaches behind Pollux to remind us of the ‘original’ epiphany of Venus, and of Aeneas’ attempt to read it: Aen. 1.328-9 o dea certe! ... an Nympharum sanguinis una?

51 In the verses just quoted, note how that allusive reminder in 69 of the contribution of Aeneid 1 is followed by a more routine classicization of the Marian epiphany in Candidus’ use of the pagan-to-Christian title Tonantis / Mater (79-80) to describe the Queen of Heaven (I here resume a point from the end of my previous section). Note also how Candidus, less routinely, proceeds in the immediately following lines to follow up his initial response with a veritable torrent of syncretic theological exegesis:

huic [i.e. Superum Reginae] Tethys, huic alma Ceres famulantur, et ipse
Aeolus aequoreis ventos qui frenat in antris.
hanc Deus astrorum flammas super atque volantes
Solis equos, supra fulgentem Cassiopeiam
extulit et sacram bis seno sidere frontem
cinxit et adiecit subter vestigia lunam. (Adul. 8.81-6)

She is waited upon by Tethys and life-giving Ceres, by Aeolus himself, who bridles the winds in his sea-caves. God has lifted her above the fires of the stars and the Sun’s flying horses and beyond glittering Cassiopeia. He has bound her sacred forehead with twice six stars and has cast the moon under her feet.

52Candidus has had the advantage of a briefing from Pollux, the recipient of the vision. But what is poor Alphus, Candidus’ present interlocutor, to make of all this information? Shepherds who talk like humanists and learned churchmen may be par for the course in early modern pastoral (in this they take their cue from the herdsmen of Greco-Roman bucolic, never just herdsmen either). Mantuan, to his credit, is not a poet to exploit that age-old convention and disjunction without editorializing on it:

A. Candide, mira canis nullis pastoribus umquam
cognita.
quid Tethys? quid fulgens Cassiopeia?
Aeolus aequoreis ventos quis frenat in antris?
qui sunt Solis equi? magna atque ignota recenses.
C. sidera sunt partim, partim sunt numina prisca. (Adul. 8.87-91)

A. Candidus, you sing of wonders unknown ever to any shepherd. What’s Tethys? What’s glittering Cassiopeia? Who’s Aeolus, who bridles the winds in his sea caves? Who are the horses of the Sun? Great and unknown matters you recount.
C. Some are constellations, some gods of old.

  • 35 On Neo-Latin religious and devotional pastoral before and after Mantuan see Grant 1965.258-89. On ‘ (...)
  • 36 Behind Adul. 8.85-6 (so Badius) lies Revelation 12.1 mulier amicta sole, et luna sub pedibus eius, (...)

53 To Alphus, evidently, Candidus’ ‘clarification’ of the Marian epiphany has brought more questions than answers. As in Adulescentia 7, Mantuan restages the Christianization of pagan pastoral35 by testing his shepherds with a mixed bag of classical and biblical learning (and this time it is the classical rather than the biblical names that form the stumbling-block: Tethys, Cassiopeia, Aeolus ...). As the poem goes on, further explanation will be offered, to Mantuan’s shepherds and readers alike; but the above moment of interpretative aporia is still, for the poetics of pastoral, a telling one. I close my very partial look at the Adulescentia with this multi-tasking passage, in which Alphus has expressed his astonishment at an intervention and epiphany so far beyond the knowledge of any shepherd, while the poet blurs the question of whether that missing knowledge is of Marian devotion, or of Virgilian divine machinery, or a bit of both.36 Transculturality, lost and found: to read like a Mantuan, whether in Virgil’s time, in Battista Spagnoli’s or aujourd’hui, is to experience the pastoral tradition as an ongoing and far-reaching conversation, between and across codes, always familiar, always open to defamiliarization.

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Bibliographie

Barchiesi, Alessandro (2006), ‘Music for monsters: Ovid’s Metamorphoses, bucolic evolution, and ‘bucolic criticism’, in M. Fantuzzi and T. Papanghelis, eds., Brill’s Companion to Greek and Latin Pastoral, Leiden, 403-25

Clausen, Wendell (1994), ed., Virgil: Eclogues, Oxford

Coleman, Robert (1977), ed., Vergil: Eclogues, Cambridge

Cucchiarelli, Andrea (2012), ed., Publio Virgilio Marone. Le Bucoliche, Rome

Deramaix, Marc (1984), Théologie et poétique: le De partu Virginis de Jacques Sannazar dans l’histoire de l’humanisme napolitain. Thèse de doctorat inédite, Paris

Fabre-Serris, Jacqueline (2008), Rome, l’Arcadie et la mer des Argonautes, Villeneuve-d’Ascq

Fulkerson, Laurel (2012), ‘Pastoral appropriation and assimilation in Ovid’s Apollo and Daphne episode’, Trends in Classics 4, 29-47

Gowers, Emily (2012), ed., Horace: Satires Book 1, Cambridge

Grant, W. Leonard (1965), Neo-Latin Literature and the Pastoral, Chapel Hill

Hinds, Stephen (1998), Allusion and Intertext: Dynamics of Appropriation in Roman Poetry, Cambridge

Hinds, Stephen (2002), ‘Landscape with figures: aesthetics of place in the Metamorphoses and its tradition’, in P. Hardie, ed., The Cambridge Companion to Ovid, Cambridge, 122-49

Hinds, Stephen (2014), ‘The self-conscious cento’, in M. Formisano and T. Fuhrer, eds., Décadence: ‘Decline and Fall’ or ‘Other Antiquity’, Heidelberg, 171-97

Hubbard, Thomas K. (1998), The Pipes of Pan: Intertextuality and Literary Filiation in the Pastoral Tradition from Theocritus to Milton, Ann Arbor

Mustard, Wilfrid P. (1911), ed., The Eclogues of Baptista Mantuanus, Baltimore

Piepho, Lee (1989), ed. and tr., Adulescentia: The Eclogues of Mantuan, New York and London

Putnam, Michael C.J. (2009), ed. and tr., Jacopo Sannazaro: Latin Poetry, Cambridge, Mass.

Richlin, Amy (1992), The Gardens of Priapus: Sexuality and Aggression in Roman Humor, rev. ed., Oxford

Severi, Andrea (2010), studio, edizione e traduzione, Battista Spagnoli Mantovano: Adolescentia, Bologna

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Notes

1 This is a lightly revised and augmented version of a paper delivered at the November 2015 ‘réseau’ meeting in Lille, Interpréter la poésie augustéenne aujourd’hui: principes et méthodes. It was a great pleasure to be associated with that event’s celebration of the career of Alain Deremetz, which for me renewed a connection first made at the 2000 Entretiens of the Fondation Hardt, and to see all my Lille-based friends and colleagues on their home ground. For support of the larger project which gave rise to this paper I am indebted to the National Endowment for the Humanities; my transatlantic travel to the conference was made possible by a generous grant from the Thomas and Joyce Morgan Endowment for the Classics at the University of Washington. I thank my fellow-participants for feedback and discussion at the meeting, Syrithe Pugh for a valuable read subsequent to it, and the journal’s referees for helpful comments and corrections at the final stage.

2 The move to a fully conventionalized Arcadia (cf. Cucchiarelli 2012.22-5) is often associated with the prosimetric Arcadia of Mantuan’s contemporary Sannazaro. However, the process is an ongoing one; and it should be noted that Sannazaro does give due notice to the mountainous terrain of the real Arcadia, even as he ‘greens’ it.

3 See Met. 1.107-12 ver erat aeternum ... (‘spring was everlasting ...’), Ovid’s own primal Golden Age landscape and, even before that, the marshalling of the raw materials for such a landscape within the creation narrative at Met. 1.38-44; see then Met. 2.405-8 (Jupiter’s ‘restoration’ of the streams, grasses and foliage of Arcadia): cf. Hinds 2002.122-30, esp. 124 and 127-9. On appropriations of pastoral in the Metamorphoses more broadly see Barchiesi 2006; cf. Fulkerson 2012, esp. 37.

4 Mantuan’s name (aliter Battista Spagnoli Mantovano): see Mustard 1911.11 and 18 (‘as a member of a monastic order – Frater Baptista Mantuanus – our author never calls himself by his family name. He was the son of Pietro Spagnolo, a Spanish nobleman from Granada ...’); cf. Piepho 1989.xv, as also for uncertainty about Mantuan’s birthdate (1447 or 1448).

5 Mantuan fleshes out this publication history in a prefatory epistle attached to the printed edition of 1498, addressed to Paride Ceresara. He describes the original Adulescentia as a carmen bucolicum divided into eight eclogae, which he believed to have been long ago destroyed and whose rediscovery has embarrassed him; he is now, however, publishing it, duly corrected and improved by the addition of two subsequently written eclogues (9 and 10). For the fuller picture which can now be set alongside this disingenuous autobiographical sketch see Piepho 1989.xx-xxv.

6 ‘You, Tityrus, reclining beneath the canopy of a spreading beech ...’ (Virg. Ecl. 1.1). This post-Virgilian element in Faustus’ backward look is compounded in Adul. 1.9-10 (see quotation), which contain a near-repetition of Aen. 1.372-3 (Aeneas to his disguised mother Venus) o dea, si prima repetens ab origine pergam / et vacet annalis nostrum audire laborum ... ‘o goddess, if, going back to the first beginning, I were to proceed to tell, and you have the leisure to hear the annals of our toils ...’, noted in the commentary of Mustard 1911 ad loc.: for a moment not just the Eclogues but the ‘recollections’ of the Aeneid are glimpsed in the rear-view mirror.

7 I quote the Adulescentia from the text of Mustard 1911, ‘based upon that of the first printed edition, of Mantua, 1498 ... The spelling is modified to suit the convenience of the modern reader’ (7). English translations are taken or lightly adapted from Piepho 1989, who himself reprints Mustard’s text.

8 Mantuan Adul. 9.67-9 with Virg. Ecl. 1.51-8 (Meliboeus to Tityrus): 52 frigus captabis opacum, 55 levi ... susurro, 58 nec gemere aeria cessabit turtur ab ulmo ‘you shall catch the cooling shade ... gentle murmuring ... and the turtledove shall not be slow to sigh from the elm top’. In Adul. 9.70, the background voice is no longer that of Virgil’s Meliboeus but of his (suffering) Corydon at Ecl. 2.13 resonant arbusta cicadis (a half-line echoed verbatim). These, along with other Virgilian reminiscences in the passage at large, are noted by Mustard 1911 ad locc.

9 Mantuan’s intervention tends to emblematize the lurking snake of Virg. Ecl. 3.93, in the process of removing it: as often in Christian pastoral, we are reminded of the Garden of Eden. ‘Biblical’ rereadings of Virgilian serpents are as old as Proba’s fourth-century Cento: Hinds 2014.179-82.

10 Horace’s early characterization of the Eclogues at Sat. 1.10.44-5: see now Gowers 2012 ad loc.; also Coleman 1977.26.

11 ‘... a new and unpoetic level’: but see the recent commentary of Severi 2010 on Adul. 4.87-8: ‘l’episodio comico allude probabilmente al rusticus cacans, un celebre carme del Panormita (Hermaphroditus, I 40)’.

12 On the not uncomplicated matter of cuium as ‘rustic’ diction see Coleman 1977.25-6, with his comm. n. on Virg. Ecl. 3.1; also Clausen 1994 ad loc.

13 Appropriately (in terms of pastoral ‘pasts’), the interaction with Aegon which in Virgil was ‘recent’ (nuper) has been pushed by Mantuan into a more remote past (quondam).

14 So Piepho 1989.xxxii (as ever, a genial guide to the Adulescentia), whose brief notice of the ‘earthiness’ of Mantuan’s shepherds constitutes a point of departure for both of the present section’s case studies: ‘Arcadia’s gentle shepherds never castrate sheep and swine (VIII, 19), nor are any of them so explicit about the demands of nature (IV, 87-8)’.

15 For the term see Richlin 1992.26-30; cf. Hinds 1998.134-5.

16 That is, the discussion of linguistic usage is also a discussion of liturgical usage. Mantuan’s subtitle for Adulescentia 8 is De rusticorum religione.

17 Mustard 1911 ad loc., also adducing Aen. 2.537 persolvant grates dignas. Alphus’ line-beginning ‘quotes’, (in)appositely, Virg. Ecl. 2.56 rusticus es, Corydon; nec munera curat Alexis ‘you’re a rustic, Corydon; Alexis cares nothing for gifts’. Intratextually, Alphus has already shown himself familiar with the idiom of ‘thanks’: Adul. 4.85, in the first passage quoted in this section.

18 sic rure loquuntur: but also, as often in pastoral, the voice of the learned scholar-poet is audible behind that of the shepherd: in another context, 8.160 could be a commentator’s gloss on an emended manuscript reading.

19 See Piepho 1989.xviii, xxiv. Adul. 9 is titled thus: Falco: De moribus curiae Romanae, post religionis ingressum.

20 With Adul. 9.220-1 below cf. Tityrus’ speech at Virg. Ecl. 1.40-5, esp. 42-3 hic illum vidi iuvenem, Meliboee, quotannis / bis senos cui nostra dies altaria fumant ‘here, Meliboeus, I saw that youth for whom our altars smoke twice six days a year’ (a iuvenis understood from antiquity on to be Octavian, the future Augustus). And as a foil to these hopes in Adul. 9.212-21, line 210 procul hinc, procul ite, capellae, emphasized in the previous quotation, sounds an emblematic note of pastoral despair associated in First Eclogue with Tityrus’ less fortunate companion Meliboeus (Virg. Ecl. 1.74 ite meae, felix quondam pecus, ite capellae ‘away, my goats! away, once happy flock!’): cf. Hubbard 1998.267.

21 Protestant: Adul. 9, with its attacks on the Curia at Rome, became ‘a favorite during the Reformation’ (Piepho 1989.125, adducing both Spenser’s ‘September’ in The Shepheardes Calender and Milton’s Lycidas). Romantic: the lines from Shelley’s Adonais quoted at the end of my paragraph, which are focussed in the first instance upon the grave of Keats in the Protestant Cemetery, adjacent to the Pyramid of Cestius, embrace within their vision all the worlds of pastoral, and of Rome, good and bad alike.

22 Lycaon was of course a primeval king of Arcadia (Ov. Met. 1.218 Arcadis ... sedes et inhospita tecta tyranni ‘the seat and inhospitable abode of the Arcadian king’). A suggestive note by Severi 2010 on Adul. 6.246, citing Pausanias 8.2.1-6 and 8.38.1-7, illuminates the prehistory of urbanism that evidently underlies Mantuan’s reference: ‘Licaone, figlio di uno dei re primordiali, regnò in Arcadia, dove gli abitanti della regione dicevano che proprio lui avesse fondato la prima città della terra, Licosura, sul monte Liceo’. It has to be said that the gravitas of Cornix’s conclusion here in Adul. 6.245-51 is somewhat undercut by the immediately following words of his internal interlocutor, Fulica, at 252-5: in paraphrase, ‘stop talking and eat your porridge’.

23 On the tantalizing questions about Gallan elegy raised by the Tenth Eclogue see Fabre-Serris 2008.62-76, Hubbard 1998.127-39, and (with citation of earlier landmark discussions) Cucchiarelli 2012 and Clausen 1994 on Ecl. 10, intro. nn.

24 See esp. Tib. 1.1.59-62, cited by Mustard 1911 ad loc.; also e.g., with Piepho 1989 ad loc., Prop. 1.17.19-24 and Ov. Am. 3.9.51-8 (on Tibullus’ death).

25 The evocation of these as specifically Ovidian myths about the dangers of eye-contact is guaranteed (across the intervening Sirens) by the close verbal allusion in line 85 to the Met.’s Narcissus: Met. 3.415 dumque sitim sedare cupit, sitis altera crevit ‘while he sought to ease his thirst, another thirst sprang up’.

26 Virg. Ecl. 6.47 a, virgo infelix, quae te dementia cepit!, 52 a, virgo infelix, tu nunc in montibus erras ‘ah, unfortunate girl, what a madness has gripped you! ... ah, unfortunate girl, now you roam the hills’; cited by Mustard 1911 ad loc.

27 Inadvertent voyeurism, in the case of Ovid’s Actaeon, but the moralizing potential is there none the less (and Mantuan will have known Apuleius’ more prurient Actaeon too ...).

28 Piepho 1989 ad loc. (also, below, on line 28). Jodocus Badius (Josse Bade) published his commentary in Paris in 1502, less than four years after the printed publication of the Adulescentia at Mantua in 1498: Piepho 1989.xxv. For the shepherds of the Bible as ‘Assyrians’ cf. Adul. 9.222-30 at 227 (of St. Peter), in a resumption of the present passage.

29 Missed by Mustard 1911, but noted by Severi 2010 ad loc.

30 Jupiter is regularly for the Romans the Thunderer, Tonans; his title regnator Olympi (vel sim.) is a distinctively Virgilian one (four times in the Aeneid). Tonans was appropriated for Christian use as early as late antiquity: Mustard 1911 ad loc.

31 Cf. Virg. Ecl. 7.61 populus Alcidae gratissima ‘the poplar is most pleasing to Alceus’ descendant Hercules’.

32 Badius; cf. Piepho 1989 on Adul. 7.88. The allusion to the Choice of Hercules is appropriate, since the virgo will direct Pollux to abandon his present wayward path and to seek instead the idyllic summit of Carmelus (7.124-6) – i.e. a vocation, standing for Mantuan’s own, as a Carmelite monk.

33 The Virgilianizing language at Adul. 7.88-92 (noted in the modern comms. ad loc., but the unpacking is mine) includes another Virgilian subplot of (mis)identification too. 89 ecce puellari virgo stipata corona, of Pollux’s mysterious maiden, comes close to Virgil’s description of Dido in the scene immediately following the epiphany of Venus: Aen. 1.497 incessit magna iuvenum stipante caterva ‘she advanced with a great company of youths thronging round her’. Dido is neither a goddess nor a virgin, but she is at this point compared by Virgil to Diana, who is both: 498-500 qualis .../ exercet Diana choros, quam mille secutae / hinc atque hinc glomerantur Oreades ‘even as ... Diana leads the dance, with a thousand mountain nymphs massing behind her on either side’. Note too, with the last-quoted Virgilian word (Oreades), a detail in Mantuan’s recapitulation of the Marian epiphany at Adul. 8.78 (quoted in the text below): non erat illa Dryas neque Libethris nec Oreas. In the Shepheardes Calender Edmund Spenser (always an astute reader of Mantuan) will remix the Aeneid 1 epiphany to bring a different virgin queen on to the pastoral stage: Elizabeth, named ‘Elisa’ by his shepherds: Venus, Diana and Dido all in one. (I plan to return to this nexus elsewhere.)

34 Nymphs of wood, fount and mountain, respectively; the Nymphae ... Libethrides, found in Latin poetry only at Virg. Ecl. 7.21 (Clausen 1994 ad loc.), and in ancient commentary related to or identified with the Muses, are a notably recondite choice.

35 On Neo-Latin religious and devotional pastoral before and after Mantuan see Grant 1965.258-89. On ‘Mary-eclogues’ see Grant 1965.275-6 and 280-9; and cf. the contemporary Virgilianism of Sannazaro’s epic De partu Virginis, already being drafted in the 1490s: Putnam 2009 (rich nn., and Appendix II); Deramaix 1984 (a reference I owe to the journal’s anonymous referee).

36 Behind Adul. 8.85-6 (so Badius) lies Revelation 12.1 mulier amicta sole, et luna sub pedibus eius, et in capite eius corona stellarum duodecim ‘a woman clothed with the Sun, and the Moon under her feet, and upon her head a Crown of twelve stars’, which is, in the words of Piepho 1989 ad loc., ‘a description often applied to the Virgin Mary’. Adul. 8.82 returns us to the first book of the Aeneid, at 1.52-4, and 84 echoes [Virg.] Catalepton 9.28.

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Stephen Hinds, « ‘Pastoral and its futures: reading like (a) Mantuan’ », Dictynna [En ligne], 14 | 2017, mis en ligne le 21 novembre 2017, consulté le 16 juillet 2018. URL : http://journals.openedition.org/dictynna/1443

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Stephen Hinds

Univ. of Washington, Seattle

shinds@uw.edu

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