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PREFACE TO THE SECOND EDITION.
At the time when I undertook this edition of Virgil in 1852, I had, as the public are aware, the advantage of being associated with another editor, the distinguished friend to whom I have now the satisfaction of a second time inscribing it. In 1854 he was called to other duties, which removed him from Oxford, while they engrossed his time ; and I had to continue the work alone. Those who know him will be able to feel how much he might have contributed to the illustration of an author one of whose chief characteristics is his subtle delicacy of expression, and who requires in those who would appreciate him, not only the power of an analytical critic, but the sympathy of a practised master of the Latin language. Even as it is, this volume owės not a little to Mr. Goldwin Smith's assistance. The Eclogues, the first two Georgics, and a part of the third we read together. The notes on the latter part of the first Georgic, the whole of the second, and the early part of the third, were, to a considerable extent, prepared by us in concert for publication : those on the first five Eclogues are based on some which he composed by himself: and many passages in both poems have since been discussed between us. The editorial responsibility is however entirely mine, and I have exercised it freely with reference to the materials which he allowed me to use, adding, altering, and suppressing, as I deemed best. One important remark, affecting the interpretation of the first Eclogue, I have thought it right to assign distinctly to him, as it appears to me new and valuable (p. 13). On the other hand I fear it is not impossible that the notes may betray, here and there, even after the present revision, a trace of that inconsistency which is perhaps almost inseparable from a divided editorship, though it is also conceivable that indications of this kind may have arisen from changes in my own opinion, such as it is no less natural to expect in the course of a protracted work.
Even a transient glance at the contents of the present volume will show that the production of it must necessarily have been a work of time. It does not profess, indeed, any more than the other editions of the Bibliotheca Classica, to be a work for the learned, the result of elaborate original research. No manuscripts have been consulted in the formation of the text: a very large portion of the notes may be found in the commentaries of others.
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 well-known Dictionaries of Antiquities, Biography and Mythology, and Geography
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. 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, were substantially delivered as public lectures before the University : the remaining two, which are of much slighter texture, were written for the present publication.
With regard to the text, I may refer generally to what I have said in the Preface to my second volume. The publication of Ribbeck's apparatus criticus has made a new recension necessary, though here as well as in the Aeneid I have accepted his facts without holding myself bound by his judgment. The more important varieties I have mentioned in the notes, particularizing the MSS. in which they are found, and noticing even transcriptural errors when they seemed to suggest any critical considerations. Doubtless the text of Virgil cannot yet be said to be fixed : but it is satisfactory to know that so much has been added to our materials for fixing it. Meantime it may be asserted even with more confidence than before 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, each 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. Even the two instances where, in the first edition, following other editors, I had disturbed the text without any external authority, have now disappeared. In Eclogue VII, v. 54, Lachmann and Madvig have shown 'quaeque' to be the true reading : in Eclogue VIII, though there is no authority for leaving out the burden contained in v. 76, there is authority for introducing a corresponding burden after V. 28, which I have accordingly done.
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
| [In this (fifth) edition, Servius is quoted from Thilo's edition. No distinction has
supplied me with many of the notes of Germanus, Cerda, Taub-
been made between Servius proper and the additions sometimes called Daniel's Servius. The difference between the two is not very important for an explanatory commentary, and Mr. Nettleship attributed both to Servius, see p. xcvi, note.]
1 [The dates are Germanus (Germain Vaillant de Guelle, Bishop of Orleans) 1575, the Spaniard Cerda's first edition 1608, Taubmann 1618, Emmenessius 1680. Other early editions quoted are N. Heinsius 1676, Ruaeus 1682, Masvicius 1717.]
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. From Ladewig's German school commentary (I speak of the first edition only) I have gained something, though his novelties of interpretation seem to me frequently untrue, and his conjectural deviations from the received text unfortunate.
I have carefully studied the valuable review of the first edition of this volume by my friend Mr. Munro, in the Journal of Classical and Sacred Philology, frequently adopting his views, and never rejecting them without full consideration. And I have introduced not a few suggestions from a body of remarks kindly forwarded to me by Mr. Blackburn, Rector of Selham in Sussex, who speaks not only as a student of Virgil, but as a man accustomed to country pursuits. While, however, I trust that from these and other sources various improvements will be discovered in the explanatory part of the present edition, it is right to say that it will be found to be substantially unaltered.
As subsidiary works, bearing on the subject of the Georgics, I have consulted Dickson's Husbandry of the Ancients, and Dr. Daubeny's recently published Lectures on Roman Husbandry; but my knowledge has, I fear, not been always sufficient to enable me to use them with effect. The grammar to which I have most frequently referred is Madvig's ; the lexicon, Forcellini's.
In concluding the Preface to my first edition, I spoke of my obligations to Mr. Long and his lamented colleague. To their supervision were due the removal of many errors, and the accession of some new information. At the same time I said that their criticisms had very considerably abated the confidence with which I offered the volume to the public: and though the favourable opinion of most of my reviewers, and the sale of a large impression, seem to show that the work has in the main been approved, I have learned quite enough, both from my own increased experience and from the observations of others, to prevent me from