Golden Age - Political Significance of The Golden Age

Political Significance of The Golden Age

The political interpretation given the Golden Age by Virgil, who situated it in the future, resurfaced in subsequent eras of revolutionary change. The Protestant Queen Elizabeth I of England was frequently hailed by her supporters as the virgin goddess Astraea, and the famous lines of Virgil's fourth Eclogue quoted above are supposed to be the source of the motto Novus ordo seclorum (New Order of the Ages) that appears on the Great Seal of the United States. The British poet Percy Bysshe Shelley (1792–1822) hailed the promise of the romantic and revolutionary era with these lines, which foretell the dissolution of empires and the advent of a new religion, superior even to Christianity:

The world's great age begins anew,
The golden years return,
The earth doth like a snake renew
Her winter weeds outworn;
Heaven smiles, and faiths and empires gleam
Like wrecks of a dissolving dream....
Saturn and Love their long repose
Shall burst, more bright and good
Than all who fell, than One who rose,
Than many unsubdued.
Not gold, not blood, their altar dowers,
But votive tears and symbol flowers.

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