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PREFACE TO THE THIRD EDITION.
O comprise, so far as may be, within the
limits of a school-book a representative
Latin Anthology is the object of this Edition. The selections themselves remain unaltered, but the notes, which are now in English, have been throughout re-cast or re-written, and numerous additions have been made to them. The aim proposed has been, to leave no passage presenting any material difficulty without someexplanation, though minuteness of discussion has not been attempted. In a collection extending over so wide a field, embracing as it does several thousand lines, there are naturally many parts that mutually illustrate each other. This will account for the frequent references to parallel passages in the book itself—a feature which, it is hoped, will contribute to its usefulness as a class-book. An apology is perhaps hardly needed for the constant appearance in the notes of
the honoured names of Conington and Kennedy, of Munro and Ellis, of Paley and of Mayor ; but the editor gladly takes the opportunity, not merely of acknowledging the many obligations under which he lies individually to their commentaries, but still more of expressing how deeply the cause of Latin scholarship is indebted to their labours during the last quarter of a century.
The apparent duration of genuine Latin poetry, as represented by the interval of more than 700 years that separates Nævius from Boethius, must not mislead us. In reality its death-knell had sounded in the third century, when quantity, although the knowledge of it was retained by artificial training, had already begun to be superseded by accent. Still allowing, as we must, for the display of the highest poetic genius in Italy, a brief period as compared with that of its manifestation in Greece; allowing, too, the want of creative power and originality which characterizes much of the poetry of the Romans, we must still claim for it that it is their most complete literary monument.' Apart from the national character which is indelibly stamped upon them, there is a tenderness and a brilliancy, a dignity and a strength in the masterpieces of the Roman poets, which entitle them to rank among the lasting treasures bequeathed to us by the past.
At a time when the requirements of education are being daily extended, it may be a help to students who cannot read through many entire authors (however desirable that may be) to have some survey like the present of one branch of ancient literature. At a time too of which it has been remarked, that our sensibilities to grace and beauty have not kept pace with our scientific progress, and which is sometimes indifferent to literary form, it may be well to have the attention recalled to a few excellent models, many of which, it is believed, if committed to memory, will prove a source of life-long pleasure, and grow dearer by familiarity with all the steadfastness of an old and well-tried friendship. ETON COLLEGE,
Jan. 8th, 1880.