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In writing my notes I have had no one class of readers exclusively in view, but have aimed at producing a commentary which should contain such information as is suited to the various wants of a somewhat mixed body—those who constitute the highest classes in the larger schools, and those who read for classical honours at the Universities. As a general rule, however, I have said nothing where I did not think it possible that a doubt might arise in the mind of a fairly instructed reader. My custom has been to take every line as it came before me, and ask myself whether I thoroughly understood it; and this process has often led me to entertain difficulties which had not previously made themselves felt. Some of these I have come to think of importance: others a little consideration has sufficed to dispel : but it seemed worth while to endeavour to preclude the latter no less than the former. I have not in general desired to furnish information of a kind which is to be found in Lexicons, or in the. well-known Dictionaries of Antiquities, Biography and Mythology, and Geography. With regard to the last-named works, however, my practice has not been very consistent: I have frequently referred the reader to them, and as frequently left him to refer himself. I trust, however, that this awkwardness has not been productive of any serious inconvenience.

The essays which I have ventured to introduce in different parts of the volume are intended in one way or another to illustrate the literary peculiarities of Virgil's poems. Possibly they may be found interesting on their own account, as, with the signal exception of Colonel Mure's unfinished work, our language is singularly deficient in sketches of the history of classical literature. Here, as elsewhere, I have written rather for learners than for scholars : I have sought to popularize what already exists in less accessible forms. Two of these essays, those introductory to the Eclogues

. and the Georgics, have been substantially delivered as public lectures before the University: the remaining two, which are of much slighter texture, are written for the present occasion.

The text may be called a new recension, but it differs in no very important respect from Heyne's, as revised by Wagner, which is itself based on the celebrated edition by Nicholas Heinsius. The few changes that I have introduced have been derived from an examination of their apparatus criticus. My only additional help has been my friend Mr. Butler's collation of the Canonician MS. in the Bodleian Library—a source which, if it has not supplied me with new readings, has occasionally furnished additional evidence for those adopted on other authority. It is greatly to be regretted that of the four MSS. which appear to be generally regarded as possessing paramount claims to consideration, the fragment of the Vatican, the Roman, the Palatine, and the Medicean, only two, the first and fourth, have been satisfactorily collated throughout. The third in particular is supposed to be the source of a number of variations, which, introduced apparently by Commelin's edition in 1589, for a long time took possession of the common texts in this country-variations which in many cases cannot be accounted for by any theory of trans-scriptural confusion, and must accordingly, supposing the authority of the recensions to be equal, be accepted or rejected on their intrinsic merits. A critical edition of Virgil has for some time been announced by Otto Ribbeck, the learned and careful editor of the Fragments of the Roman Tragic and Comic Poets; and though his theory of the composition of the Eclogues, about which I have spoken elsewhere, induces me to fear that I should not always agree with his judgment, I cannot but look forward with great interest to the result of his inquiries. Meantime I have not unfrequently referred to the transcript of the Medicean MS. published by Foggini (Florence, 1741), though I find that the need of doing so has been almost superseded by - Heyne and Wagner's apparatus. After all, it would seem that there are few writers whose text is in so satisfactory a state as Virgil's. Variations there are, and probably will continue to be, as some of the most eminent of the ancient grammarians appear to have made independent recensions, each of which would naturally have distinctive peculiarities. But the choice generally lies between words, any of which has considerable probability, external and internal; and though the critic may not always feel sure that he has before him the actual hand of Virgil, he is not left to the hopeless confusion which unskilful transcribers have introduced into the text of other authors. The more important MSS., though not always accurate representatives even of their own recension, supply each other's defects: the less important may in general be passed over entirely. The need of critical conjecture is almost wholly removed. There are, perhaps, only two instances in the present volume where the text has been disturbed without any external authority. The one is in Eclogue 7, v. 54, where 'quaque has been substituted for 'quaeque,' with Heinsius and most of the subsequent editors: the other is in Eclogue 8, v. 76, which, following Jahn, I have enclosed in brackets, it being merely the burden of the pastoral song, which the structure of the composition shows to have been repeated once too often.

Such exceptions may fairly be said to prove the rule against which they may be arrayed.

The orthography which I have followed is in general that of Wagner's small edition. The notes, I fear, may occasionally be found to present a discrepancy, especially in the spelling' is ’ores'

a in certain accusatives plural. I hope the English reader's instinct will not be revolted by the spelling Vergilius,' which seems on the whole to have the best authority. There seemed no choice about adopting it, as Forbiger has done, in Georgic 4. 563; and that being so, it would have been mere deference to prejudice to retain the common spelling in the title and headings. I am glad

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to see that Ladewig prints · Vergilius' throughout, though I do not propose to talk of Vergil' in English, as he has done in

German.

In the notes I have availed myself largely of the labours of my predecessors. Servius and Philargyrius I have used constantly, though it is likely that some few of their remarks may have escaped me, as I have studied them chiefly in the commentary attached to the Delphin and Variorum Classics, where they seem 'not to have been reprinted quite entire. The same collection has supplied me with many of the notes of Germanus, Cerda, Taubmann, Emmenessius, and others. This field had been partially reaped by Heyne; but I found that he had left me something to glean. From Cerda in particular, whose own complete commentary I have sometimes consulted, I have derived some additional parallel passages, though he is fond of accumulating matter which is not strictly relevant. Trapp's notes, appended to his translation, are not without good sense, but do not show much learning or poetical feeling. Martyn's commentary has been constantly at my side, and has been of some use, independently of its botanical and agricultural information, as containing the opinions of others, particularly Catrou, whose own edition I have never seen. Heyne's explanatory notes deserve much of the praise they have received, but they are deficient in minute attention to the author's language. I have used Voss's commentary on the Eclogues (in Reinhardt's Latin translation) with advantage, frequently availing myself of his research even where I could not accept his views; his commentary on the Georgics I have unfortunately been unable to procure, though I have no reason to believe that it is an uncommon book. The explanatory notes of Wagner are few, though more numerous than those of Spohn and Wunderlich, which he has incorporated in his edition of Heyne ; they are however generally valuable, while his Quaestiones Vir

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gilianae' exhibit very great care and diligence. The merits of Forbiger's edition are chiefly those of a compilation ; but it contains a large amount of exegetical matter; it leaves few difficulties unnoticed ; and its references to grammars and other works where points of language are examined deserve much commendation. I have made great use of it, levying on it the same kind of contributions which it has levied on others. To Mr. Keightley I owe a more personal acknowledgment, as he has been kind enough to place in my hands a copy of his Notes on the Eclogues and Georgics, containing many MS. corrections and additions, and also to favour me with his opinion on certain points by letter. His book has been chiefly useful to me in relation to agricultural and botanical matters, but I have derived considerable advantage from his independent judgment as a general commentator, though frequently compelled to differ from him on questions of scholarship. There is one point of great importance to the understanding of the Eclogues, which he has, I believe, been the first to set in its true light, the confusion between Italy and Sicily in Virgil's pastoral scenery. From Ladewig's German school edition I have gained something, though his novelties of interpretation seem to me frequently untrue, and his conjectural deviations from the received text unfortunate. An English school edition has recently been published by Mr. A. H. Bryce, of the Edinburgh High School, to whose courtesy I am indebted for a copy of it. It contains a good deal of useful information; but I do not think it always successful in its attempts to give a new and more philosophical aspect to questions of grammar. sorry to have availed myself but little of a critique by Ameis on passages in Wagner and Ladewig's editions of the Eclogues and Georgics, under the title of “Spicilegium explicationum Vergilianarum ;” but I did not procure it till the printing of this volume was drawing towards the end of the Third Georgic, and accident

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