Italian humanist Coluccio Salutati remarks on the reading of Virgil, around the year 1378:
I have dwelt upon this at such length that you may not suppose the reading of Virgil to be a mere idle occupation if one is willing to take the right view of it and to separate the wheat from the tares. Not, indeed, that I believe one should look there for the teachings of our faith or for the Truth; but as Seneca says of himself, I go over into the enemy’s camp, not as a guest or as a deserter, but as a spy. I, as a Christian, do not read my Virgil as if I were to rest in it forever or for any considerable time; but as I read I examine diligently to see if I can find anything that tends toward virtuous and honourable conduct, and as I run through the foreshadowings of his poetry, often with the aid of allegory and not without enjoyment, if I find something not compatible with the truth, or obscurely stated, I try to make it clear by the use of reason. But, when it is my good fortune to find something in harmony with our faith, even though it be wrapped up in fiction I admire it and rejoice in it, and, since our poet himself thought it well to learn even from an enemy, I joyfully accept it and make a note of it.
From “In Defense of Liberal Studies” by Coluccio Salutatio in The Portable Medieval Reader (Penguin, 1977, page 612).