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elder poets and the contemporaries of Virgil, and rarely his successors. For the works of Virgil were universally read and learned by heart, that it is alwa likely that Ovid or Statius, for example, only gives a repetition of the Virgilian phrase, and not an ind pendent instance of its employment.
I could wish that the Bucolics were not read so ea in schools as they generally are; for, excepting Hora I know no portion of the Latin poetry read at school difficult to understand. They might be read after t Aeneis, and perhaps in conjunction with some Idylls Theocritus.
In writing a commentary one should endeavour avoid giving too much explanation, and be careful omit nothing requisite. On the last point I belie myself to be tolerably secure; but I greatly fear tha not being in the habit of teaching or lecturing, I ma have erred on the other side. It is however the sa side.
Even in this work I have a moral object. I am n without hope that young men, from reading and unde standing the rural poetry of Virgil, and learning som thing of the agriculture of the ancients, may have the curiosity excited about that of the present day, and thu be led to acquire a taste for rural life and husbandry and that afterwards, as landlords, as private gentleme or as professional men, they may take a lively interes in our British agriculture, and seek to promote th welfare and to elevate the character of those engage in it.
Before concluding, I will justify my mode of spelling
a word which I use in this as in all my other writings. From the Greek μûeos I have made the word mythe, in which however no one has followed me, the form generally adopted being myth. Now if there is anything like a general rule in the English language it is this, that words formed from Greek and Latin dissyllables in os and us, whether the penultimate vowel be long or short, are monosyllables made long by a final e. Thus βῶλος makes bole, πόλος, pole. I believe that a single instance to the contrary, except myth, cannot be adduced; for plinth and the like are not such, the vowel in them being made short by the two consonants. I am not simple enough to expect to alter the usual practice, I only want to show that analogy is on my side.
In conclusion, as my work cannot possibly be exempt from error, and must be capable of much improvement, I shall feel really thankful for any communications on the subject, and promise to give them all due attention.
Binfield, Berks, Feb. 25, 1846.
VIRGIL, ASINIUS POLLIO, AND CORNELIUS GALLUS.
Ir is always a matter of regret, when in reading the works of men of genius we find ourselves destitute of the means of knowing something of their private history, their ordinary occupations, their mode of life, and their familiar conversation. As a proof of this feeling, we may observe the great avidity with which any anecdote of such men is received whenever it presents itself from any unexpected quarter. In the case of modern writers this is not felt so much; yet who would not fain know more of even Milton? and how much is it not to be deplored that we know so little of Dante, Shakespeare, Spenser and Cervantes! But imperfect as our knowledge is of the history of these great men, it is actually copious when compared with what we can learn of that of the ancients. Of these, with the exception of Cicero, Horace, and Ovid (whom circumstances led to speak of themselves, their habits and feelings), we know almost nothing; for what can be more jejune than the notices of them transmitted to us by scholiasts and grammarians!
Virgil has shared the common fate: nearly all our information respecting him is derived from a Life, purporting to be written by Donatus, a grammarian who flourished in the fourth century, and which, though it is probably founded on earlier and more authentic narratives*, presents in its actual form a farrago
* Especially the work of Asconius Pedianus, Contra detractores Virgilii. In our Notes (pp. 44, 59), we inadvertently followed-Servius in terming him Virgil's contemporary, for he was not born till some years after the death of the poet.
of puerile fictions, many of them apparently the inventions the marvel-loving monks of the middle ages. Their orig can often be easily traced in the history and works of the p himself. Thus he was skilled in magic, because his mothe name was Magia; and he was a clever horse-doctor, and w in that capacity, before he exhibited his poetic talents, e ployed in the stables of the emperor Augustus, because treats in the Georgics of the diseases of cattle.
We will here endeavour to relate all that seems to bear t semblance of truth in Donatus' Life of this poet, and add t little that is known of the history of his friends Pollio a Gallus, as it tends to illustrate the Bucolics.
P. VIRGILIUS MARO.
Publius Virgilius Maro was born on the Ides (15th) of C tober, 682-4, in the first consulate of Pompeius and Crassus The place of his birth is said to have been Andes, a villa within three miles of Mantua, in Cisalpine Gault, where 1 father had a property in land, probably of moderate exte The name of his mother was Maia, or rather Magia, as the was a family of this name in the adjacent district of Cremona to which she may have belonged. Among the figments the grammarians we may reckon the following: viz. his fath was a potter or brickmaker (figulus),-Virgil we know ma (fingebat) verses, —or he was a hired servant of one Magiu who afterwards gave him his daughter in marriage; and whe
* Virgilius Maro, in pago qui Andes dicitur, haud procul a Mantı nascitur, Pompeio et Crasso Coss. Hieronym. in Chron. Euseb.-N.B. He and elsewhere we give the years of Rome according to the Catonian a the Varronian æra.
It was the established belief even in the time of Dante (Purg. C. xv st. 28), that Andes was the present Pietola; but this village is only tv miles from Mantua.
Cn. Magius, Cremona, praefectus fabrum Cn. Pompeii. Caes. Be Civ. i. 24.