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their aim of affording to young students that amount of interpretation and assistance which previous works of the kind have but imperfectly supplied. In each extract, every word of every line has been carefully gone through; and no serious difficulty of meaning, construction, usage, or allusion, no peculiarity of metre or rhythm, that seemed at all worthy of notice and illustration, has consciously been passed over, however imperfectly such may have been dealt with. All information, on the other hand, which may be gathered from such books as Dr. Smith's Dictionaries, has, except in a few necessary cases, been carefully excluded from this portion of the work. Whatever assistance was to be derived from such commentaries on the several authors as were within my reach, I have freely availed myself of; but in the case of many, among the later poets especially, existing aids to interpretation are so scanty, slight, and unedifying, that an editor must rely almost entirely on his own judgment in interpreting them. For my own part, I heartily acknowledge the benefits which my work has in this respect received from Professor Conington's careful revision of the sheets as they passed through the press; and I take this opportunity of expressing once for all my obligation to him for several excellent illustrations and critical suggestions, which, without in every case specifying their source, I have gladly incorporated with my notes.
The well-known Lives of the Roman Poets in Dr. Smith's Dictionary appeared to me to render unnecessary all but the very brief biographical notices prefixed to the several extracts, which aim simply at imparting that amount of information concerning the age and leading circumstances of each author, which is indis
pensable to an intelligent study of even the smallest portion of his works. For the literary criticisms ap
pended to the Lives I have not bound myself by the authority of any writer in particular, but have in the main followed my own judgment, assisted by such works as Bernhardy's Grundriss der Römischen Litteratur,' and M. Nisard's 'Etudes sur les Poetes Latins.' For the dates of the several MSS., a subject of which I possess no special knowledge, I have relied generally on the assertions of Bernhardy, verified, as far as was possible, by reference to other authorities, and, where these have failed me in one or two instances, upon the researches of critical friends.
From a work ranging over so large a field of poetical literature, and descending into the minutiae of interpretation, errors, inaccuracies, and defects can hardly be absent. I am myself conscious of many, and scholars may discover more. He who deals with short portions of several authors must be prepared to encounter the erudite and searching criticism of those whose studies may have been concentrated on each one of them in particular. Some lack of thoroughness will, I have no doubt, be detected here, some want of discrimination, or rashness of generalization, may betray themselves elsewhere in the following pages; but these and similar faults need not, it is hoped, materially impair the general usefulness of the book, if it shall succeed in introducing young classical students in a pleasant and easy way to some new acquaintances among the less known Latin Poets.