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PREFACE TO THE FOURTH EDITION.
AT the request of the publishers of Conington's Virgil I have undertaken to revise the first volume of that work. The orthography adopted by Conington, which was that of Wagner's small edition, has been entirely recast in accordance with the principles now accepted by all Latin scholars. I cannot suppose that Conington, had he been now alive, would have bound himself permanently to a system which time has shown to have been founded on an incomplete survey of the evidence, and have let his Virgil fall, in this respect, behind many even of our recent school-books, which, in the matter of orthography, have had the full benefit of the modern advance in Latin scholarship.
I have altered nothing in the notes except where I felt sure that Conington himself would have made a change. But I have written some additional notes, which are enclosed in brackets [ ] with my initials, mainly on points connected with the history of Virgil's time, with the text, or with interpretation given by the ancient commentators. It will be observed that a much greater number of MS. variants is mentioned than in the previous editions. Although many of these are mere mistakes, they will, I hope, be found of some use in assisting students to form a clearer idea than before of the condition of Virgil's text in the fifth century A.D.
The references to Catullus have been altered to suit the most recent editions, and those to Pliny's Natural History have been changed in accordance with the convenient practice of most modern editors, the second number denoting in all cases the short sections into which the books are divided in the editions of Jan and Detlefsen. Nonius is quoted according to the paging of
Mercier, which is given in the editions both of Gerlach and Quicherat. The references to Forbiger's Virgil have been corrected, where necessary, to suit his fourth edition, in which a change or modification of his former views is sometimes observable.
For the Life of Virgil prefixed to the previous editions I have substituted a new memoir, and have added three essays, on the ancient critics of Virgil, on the ancient Virgilian commentators, and on the text of Virgil. These essays will, I hope, be found useful as making more intelligible the allusions made in the notes to the manuscripts and to the ancient commentaries. To the last essay is added a list-the first complete list that has ever been made-of the Bodleian manuscripts of Virgil, with some account of the more important ones, by Mr. F. Madan, Fellow and Tutor of Brasenose College.
The view which I have expressed of the relation between the Macrobian Servius and the Servius of the commentary I had formed independently, before I learned that it was also in substance the same as that of MM. Thilo and Emile Thomas. I desire to record my especial obligations to the excellent essay of M. Thomas ("Essai sur Servius et son Commentaire sur Virgile,” Paris, 1879), which is, so far as I know, the only work in which the problems connected with the Servian commentary are exhibited and discussed in a comprehensive form. Two valuable pamphlets on Macrobius, by MM. Linke and Wissowa, I was unable to procure until the last sheets were going through the press.
In the essays on the ancient Virgilian commentators and on the text of Virgil I need hardly say that I have been much indebted to Ribbeck's Prolegomena. The scope and aim of Ribbeck's treatment of the subject is, however, somewhat different from that which I have had in view, nor am I always able to agree with his conclusions. I have attempted to ascertain approximately the date, or rather the period, to which the Virgilian notes which are common to Nonius and the later commentators should be assigned; a point which, so far as I know, has not been fully discussed in this connection either by Ribbeck or by any other scholar, though the general question of the authorities followed by Nonius has
been treated recently by Hertz, Riese, Schmidt, and Schottmüller. What I have written is offered not as a final solution of the many difficult problems involved in the subject, but as an attempt to break ground in a region as yet imperfectly explored.
In these essays I have endeavoured in all cases to distinguish between the Vulgate of Servius and the additional notes published in Daniel's edition. But I have not thought it necessary to do this in the commentary, as the antiquity and high value of these notes, whether they be regarded as interpolations or not, make them quite equal in importance to the Vulgate for all purposes of interpretation or textual criticism.
I have retained the spelling Virgil in deference to Conington's authority, though no length of literary association can, in my opinion, make it correct.
Oxford, December 1880.
PREFACE TO THE SECOND EDITION.'
WHEN an author has to publish a second edition of a work, not the least perplexing of the questions which occur to him is what to do with the Preface to the first. The answer will probably depend on the extent to which the work has been altered. In a case like the present, where important changes have been introduced, but the bulk of the work is substantially the same, it seems natural that the original Preface should neither be simply repeated nor altogether omitted, but remodelled.
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 owes 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, pre
1 This Preface is reprinted with the omission of such passages only as would, if retained, have conflicted with statements in the Preface to the Fourth Edition. -H. N.