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Virgil's English TranslatorsCivil Wars to Restoration$
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Ian Calvert

Print publication date: 2021

Print ISBN-13: 9781474475648

Published to Edinburgh Scholarship Online: January 2022

DOI: 10.3366/edinburgh/9781474475648.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM EDINBURGH SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.edinburgh.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Edinburgh University Press, 2022. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in ESO for personal use.date: 20 May 2022

Private Interest: James Harrington

Private Interest: James Harrington

(p.137) Chapter 6 Private Interest: James Harrington
Virgil's English Translators

Ian Calvert

Edinburgh University Press

Chapter 6 shows that James Harrington used his writings to present himself as a Virgilian counsellor to a sovereign, but despite his period of service as a personal attendant to Charles I the person he sought to advise was Oliver Cromwell. Harrington quoted and adapted Virgil in The Commonwealth of Oceana to delineate the values of autocratic republicanism, and to criticise Cromwell as Lord Protector for not seizing the opportunity to establish a republic on Harringtonian principles when he had the means to do so. While Harrington continued to use Virgil for political purposes in his translations from the Eclogues, his translation of Aeneid 1-6 lacked any substantial political commentary beyond his sympathetic commemoration of Charles I’s execution. A coda to the chapter discusses Sir William Kingsmill, who like Harrington produced an apolitical translation of the Aeneid despite his history of royal service and the presence of political commentary in his other writings.

Keywords:   James Harrington, republicanism, Commonwealth of Oceana, Eclogues, Aeneid, Charles I, Protectorate, Oliver Cromwell, William Kingsmill

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