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PROFESSOR JOHN S. HART, LL.D.,
OF THE COLLEGE OF THE STATE OF NEW JERSEY,
This Book is Dedicated,
AS A MEMORIAL OF PERSONAL FRIENDSHIP,
AND AS A TRIBUTE
TO EMINENT SERVICES
IN THE CAUSE OF LITERATURE AND LEARNING,
BY HIS FRIEND AND FORMER PUPIL,
HE text of the Eclogues and Georgics of Virgil is the best preserved in the whole range of Latin literature. The editor of these works need therefore feel but little perplexity in the selection of his text. The most trustworthy manuscripts exhibit but few variations, and even these are of trifling significance. The text here presented is chiefly that of Wagner's minor edition, and quite identical with that adopted by Conington. The text of the Moretum is that of Jahn.
The relatively large body of Notes will appear superfluous to no one who considers both the literary quality and the peculiar subjects of these poems. The Georgics in particular have been justly called the most elaborate and finished poem in the language. Minuteness of detail-though the subject would easily bear it- became unnecessary to a people whose character was largely agricultural. Besides, condensation, both in the thought and in the expression of it, would give a certain force and vigor to the style and a certain dignity to the subject; and condensation tends always and naturally
to obscurity. Hence the frequent need, to the student, of dilution, expansion, and explanation.
The grammatical references are to the grammars of Allen, Allen and Greenough, Andrews and Stoddard, Bullions and Morris, Gildersleeve, Harkness, Madvig, and Zumpt. To the latter two only occasional references are made. It may also be remarked here, that as the numbering of the sections is the same in the grammars of Allen and Allen and Greenough, a single set of references answers for both.
The Lexicon has been a work of great labor, and was prepared with special reference to the accompanying text. Besides the primitive or the usual meaning of each word, it contains also the meaning of each word as used by Virgil. Of course these two meanings are very often identical.
LIFE OF VIRGIL.
PUBLIUS VERGILIUS MARO (for so, and not Virgilius, the best MSS. give his name) was born at Andes, a little village about three miles below Mantua, on the 15th Oct., B. C. 70. His father, a comfortable farmer, spared no pains to give his son a liberal Greek and Latin education, sending him to school at Cremona, and, after he had assumed the manly gown at the beginning of his sixteenth year, to Milan, and finally to Naples, where he was instructed by the poet and philosopher Parthenius. After several years' residence at Naples, Virgil betook himself to Rome (B. C. 47), where he took lessons of the Epicurean Syron, the friend of Cicero, in philosophy, mathematics, and physics. His love of letters and of a country-life, as well as his feeble health, ill adapted for the strifes of the forum, or the hardships of military service, prevented his indulging an ambition for a public career, and caused him to withdraw to his farm at Andes, where he occupied himself with husbandry, and with the study of the Greek poets, especially Theocritus. In this period he wrote a number of short poems, some of which may have descended to our times; although the authenticity of the minor poems ascribed to Virgil is doubtful. In the year 42 he began to write his Bucolics, to which the name Eclogues was afterwards given by the critics. These are short pastoral poems, ten in number, and were probably all written before the year 37. They at once attracted attention and gained him fame and friends. Some lines from them being recited on the stage, when Virgil happened once to be in the theatre, the whole audience rose to do him honor. Their merit consists in their versification, which was smoother and more polished than the hexameters which the Romans had yet seen, and in many natural and simple touches. John Dryden, in the Dedication of his translation of the "Pastorals," says: "[Virgil] found the strength of his genius betimes, and was, even in his youth, preluding to his Georgics and his Aeneis. He could not forbear to try his wings, though his pinions were not hardened to maintain a long laborious flight. Yet sometimes they bore him to a pitch as lofty as ever he was able to reach afterwards. But when he was admonished by his subject to descend, he came