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.
Though the book is imitative and secondary in character it contains several passages of force and beauty, e.g.
His last publication was On Imitative Art (1882).
But the imitative act is itself instinctive.
The characteristic feature of the imitative act, at the instinctive level, is that the presentation to sight or hearing calls forth a mode of behaviour of like nature to, or producing like results to, that which affords the stimulus.