The Latin text of this music is the first ten lines of Virgil’s Fourth Eclogue. It has been described by scholars as “a vision of the new golden age under Augustus.” Virgil associates this with the birth of an unidentified child who most authoritoes believe was the infant son of C. Asinius Pollio, the Roman consul who presided in 40 BC when the poem was written. Virgil developed his style of pastoral poetry by studying the work of Theocritus, a Sicilian. The song of Cumae, in the fourth line, refers to the Sibylline books, which prophesy the coming of a new age after the Age of Iron. The Virgin in line 5 refers to Astraea, the mythical daughter of Zeus, whose name means “star maiden.” During the Golden Age she lived on earth as a blessing for mortals, and at its end she was raised tot eh heavens as the constellation Virgo.
This arrangement can also be used for satb and ssaa choirs.