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PREFACE TO THE FOURTH EDITION.
This volume has not undergone a thorough revision since Mr. Conington's death, after which a second edition was published with such additions and corrections as had been inserted by Mr. Conington himself. The reprint was revised by Mr. Long and myself. The editors corrected a few errors, and inserted also a few notes which had been sent to Mr. Conington by the Rev. Mr. Backhouse, of Felsted School, Essex.
The third edition, published in 1876, was merely a reprint of the second. For the fourth edition I have dealt with the volume as with the first and third, recasting the Latin orthography, adding a great number of notices of manuscript variants, correcting and re-writing the notes where this appeared to be necessary, and altering the references to Pliny and Catullus as in the other volumes. All notes added by myself are marked by my initials. [H. N.]
Fourteen years have elapsed since this volume was last revised, and it is not surprising, considering the advances which have been recently made in Latin scholarship, that much has had to be done in the way of addition and correction. Besides revising the notes, which has been a matter of considerable labour, I have added to the volume an essay, formerly published in the Journal of Philology, on the story of Aeneas' wanderings, and two short papers on the relation of the Aeneid to the Epic Cycle, and on the evidence to be gathered from ancient authors as to the
composition of the Aeneid. At the end of the commentary on the second Aeneid I have inserted a short excursus on the question of Virgil's alleged debt to Pisander.
I have carefully read the commentaries of Servius and Tiberius Donatus and the Verona Scholia,' and added from them and from other sources a considerable number of new notes to Conington's commentary. I have occasionally obtained some new light from glossaries. The abbreviations Gloss. Labb. and Gloss. Amplon. denote respectively the glosses collected by Labbé, and published after his death by Ducange, as printed in Valpy's Stephanus : and the glossaries in the Amplonian library at Erfurt, edited by Oehler in the Neue Jahrbücher Suppl., Band 13 (1847). Thilo has conferred a great boon upon scholars by the publication of the first instalments of his new edition of Servius, which will, I hope, be speedily completed. Of this work I have spoken at length in the twentieth number of the Journal of Philology.
I have consulted Dr. Henry's Aeneidea? throughout, with the greatest pleasure and profit.
HENRY NETTLESHIP. OXFORD, 1884.
1 See vol. i. (fourth edition), pp. xcix-cvii.
PREFACE TO THE SECOND AND THIRD
[1872.] The following remarks comprise the greater part of the original Preface prefixed to this volume on its publication in 1863, with some alterations and one or two additions.
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 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 bafle 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, whatever 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.
Since this work was first undertaken, the criticism of the text of Virgil has been placed on a new basis by the publication of Ribbeck's edition. Previously, though we had reports of the readings of a great variety of copies, we were unhappily without accurate collations of several of the most important; in the case indeed of one of them, the Palatine, we seem to have been without a collation at all. We now possess collations of all the uncial MSS., fragmentary and entire, and of four or five of the most important of the cursives, which for minute and painstaking accuracy apparently leave but little to desire : and great care has been taken not only in collecting the testimonies of the different grammarians who quote passages from Virgil, but in noting the readings of the various MSS. of each witness. There can be no doubt that our present critical materials surpass most of those