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A.Word.A.Day--eclogue

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eclogue (EK-log) noun

A pastoral poem, often in the form of a dialogue between shepherds.

[From Middle English eclog, from Latin ecloga, from Greek ekloge (selection), from eklegein (to select), from ek- (ex-) + legein (to gather). Other words derived from the same root are eclectic, lexicon, and catalog.]

The eclogue as a specifically pastoral form first appeared in the idylls of Greek poet Theocritus. You can read Vergil's 10 Eclogues at: worldwideschool.org.

"The eclogue is traditionally the form of city folk who dress up in smocks to praise the simple pains and pleasures of country life, so it's surprising that a poet so well versed in rural actuality should be willing to countenance it." Jamie McKendrick; The Erotics of the Future; Independent on Sunday (London, UK); Apr 8, 2001.

"Because the eclogues are such a highly stylized form of poetry, they constitute a formidable challenge to any translator. The odd-numbered poems are dialogues, the even-numbered have a single speaker. Virgil's fragrant, bee-loud rural setting is placid, and at first not much seems to be happening ..." Robert Taylor; Virgil Puts Bite Into the Bucolic; The Boston Globe; Aug 3, 1999.

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