Robert Graves, "The Virgil Cult," Virginia Quarterly Review
38.1 (Winter 1962) 13-35
Why Virgil's poems have for the last two thousand years
exercised so great an influence on our Western culture is,
paradoxically, because he was a renegade to the true Muse.
His pliability; his subservience; his narrowness; his denial of
that stubborn imaginative freedom which the true poets who
preceded him had prized; his perfect lack of originality,
courage, humour, or even animal spirits: these were the negative qualities which first commended him to government circles, and have kept him in favour ever since.