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P. VERGILI MARONIS

OPERA.

THE WORKS OF VIRGIL,

WITH A

COMMENTARY

BY

JOHN CONINGTON, M.A.

PROFESSOR OF LATIN, AND FELLOW OF CORPUS CHRISTI COLLEGE ;

LATE FELLOW OF UNIVERSITY COLLEGE, OXFORD.

VOL. II.

CONTAINING THE FIRST SIX bookS OF TIPE AENEID.

LONDON:

WHITTAKER AND CO. AVE MARIA LANE;

GEORGE BELL, FLEET STREET.

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PREFACE.

a

LIKE its predecessor, this volume is the result of considerable labour, labour too of a kind which tends to diminish an author's confidence in his work. A commentator on Virgil is not likely to feel that those difficulties which weighed heavily on him while engaged on the Eclogues and Georgics have become fewer or less formidable when he passes to the Aeneid. To grapple with his subject thoroughly, he is still required to be an aesthetical judge of language, a Latin scholar, if not a philologer, a competent textual critic; and though no longer expected to display a knowledge of agriculture and rural life, he has to exhibit instead an acquaintance with mythology and legend, with Roman antiquities and Roman history. Virgil is confessedly one of the most learned of poets : and a commentator who would do him justice ought to be still more learned. The learning of a poet, even when extensive and multifarious, may be desultory, uncritical, inexact : he may show ignorance as well as knowledge, but he will be a learned poet still. It is the business of a commentator to understand both that knowledge and that ignorance : and his learning accordingly ought to be accurate, searching, and profound. I need not say how little I profess to approach the ideal which the nature of my work keeps of necessity continually before my mind. Virgil interests me

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chiefly because he is a Latin poet: as a student of poetry, I take delight in tracing, word by word, his delicate intricacies of expression, which stimulate curiosity while they baffle analysis, as well as in endeavouring to appreciate the broader features of his work as a whole and its place in the history of literature: as a student of Latin, I am interested in comparing his language with that of his predecessors and successors, and in observing the light which his use of his native tongue throws on the various unsolved or half-solved problems in Latin grammar. Other questions, what

, ever may be their relative importance to the scholar, I have ventured to regard as subordinate: they appear to me to be less immediately connected with the interpretation of Virgil, as they certainly have less affinity to my own tastes and the course of my studies. I have not neglected them: when they have crossed my path, as they have in almost every page, I have sought to obtain the requisite information about them : but I have generally been content to trust the knowledge which has been accumulated by others without trying to add to it, or indeed affecting to form an independent judgment.

Among the various notices (the generality of them, I may be allowed to say, very kind and appreciative) with which my first volume has been honoured, the only one to which I need advert here is that in the Journal of Classical and Sacred Philology by my friend Mr. H. A. J. Munro, of Trinity College, Cambridge. It is a really valuable and instructive piece of criticism, and I am truly grateful to a writer who has pointed out my shortcomings in such a manner as to raise my conception of the standard to which I must endeavour to attain.

I hope to profit by some of his remarks in the event of a new edition of the first volume: I have, I trust, profited by others in preparing the present. In one respect indeed, as he is himself now aware, he has misunderstood the object which I proposed to myself. I spoke in my preface of

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