The first three eclogues, in the form of dialogues between Coridon and Cornix, were borrowed from the Miseriae Curialium of Aeneas Sylvius Piccolomini (Pope Pius II.), and contain an eulogy of John Alcock, bishop of Ely, the founder of Jesus College, Cambridge.
But his eclogues were, like his Italian models, also satires on social evils.
Fairholt's edition of The Cytezen and Uplondyshman (Percy Soc. 1847), which includes large extracts from the other eclogues; also Zarncke's edition of Brant (Leipzig, 1854); and Dr Fedor Fraustadt, Uber das Verhdltnis von Barclays Ship of Fools zu den lateinischen, franzosischen and deutschen Quellen (1894).
The change in seriousness of purpose between the Eclogues and the Georgics of Virgil was in a great measure the result of the direction given by the statesman to the poet's genius.
The earliest efforts of his art (the Eclogues) reproduce the cadences, the diction and the pastoral fancies of Theocritus; but even in these imitative poems of his youth Virgil shows a perfect mastery of his materials.