Quote from Virgil 70-19 B.C. – and What It Means

by Nindo Mom on November 3, 2010

“A snake lurks in the grass.”

Eclogues, III, 1. 93

“What,” you demand, “is that supposed to mean?!?!”

The statement “A snake lurks in the grass” might seem at first to be a mere statement of fact without any meaning beyond the obvious. But what we can glean from this is a reminder–and perhaps a warning.

A snake is a creature of impulse and instinct, without feeling or thought (as far as we know). This snake can be found exactly where we would expect him: not flying through the air, or sitting in an armchair reading the Sunday paper–but slithering through the grass.

The grass is a normal place for a snake to be–and there we shall find him. Extrapolating on this idea, we can interpret it thus: that any given kind of person, with whatever temperament or attitude we might care to imagine, will likely be exactly where we expect him (or her) to be. A rowdy, drinking sort of person is likely to be found in rowdy, drinking sort of place, like a bar, loud restaurant, or other similar gathering place. Individuals who love the Earth, nature, and peacefulness can likely be found in these sorts of environments, whether for living or recreation. Intellectual people are likely to be found in libraries, at universities, working as scientists, etc.

These are all generalities, of course. Especially when it comes to humankind, whose members sometimes choose to extract themselves from their normal haunts just for variety. But it can be seen that the generality holds true, in many cases.

So don’t be surprised if you run into trouble in the “bad” part of town. Don’t be shocked when a car salesman tries to sell you something. Because overall, you can rightfully expect to find people gravitating around things that–no surprise–attract them for some reason.

Remember that any quote, or interpretation of that quote, is likely to be an over-generalization, and is just one person’s opinion.

But it is, at least, food for thought.

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