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In the definition of "divagate," several dictionaries, like this one, give the following example sentence:

Yeats divagated into Virgil's territory only once.

What instance of Yeats' writing does this refer to?

  • It's highly possible that one dictionary is copying the example sentences from another one as well, so this may be somewhat tenous a connection. – Riker Jan 4 at 21:43
  • Are you looking for the poem in question or the original source for that quote? – Riker Jan 4 at 21:52
  • Certainly, Virgil influenced Yeats' poem Shepherd and Goatherd, one of at least three poems Yeats wrote in memory of Major Robert Gregory. Yeats himself says "... my poem about Robert, a pastoral, modelled on what Virgil wrote for some friend of his ..." – Peter Shor Jan 4 at 21:52
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The original source of the quote seems to be Virgil in a Cultural Tradition: Essays to Celebrate the Bimillenium, edited by Richard Andrew Cardwell and Janet Hamilton. Google books shows that this book contains the quote

Yeats divagated into Virgil's territory only when, in 1915, he wrote Per Amica Silentia Lunae, going for that title to Aeneid 2, 255, A Tenedo tacitae per amica silentia lunae.

However, referring to the 1918 poem Shepherd and Goatherd that he wrote in memory of Major Robert Gregory, Yeats says

... my poem about Robert, a pastoral, modelled on what Virgil wrote for some friend of his ..."

So it seems the dictionary quote is wrong, and Yeats divagated into Virgil's territory at least twice.

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    Only when… can be read as Not until… in some contexts (It was only when [catalyst] that [protagonist] finally took action…). It needn't insist that it only happened the once, in any case: Only when it rains am I forced to take cover. – Will Crawford Jan 10 at 0:16

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