« PreviousContinue »
THE text of this edition of Virgil is a recension of the critical texts of Heyne, Wagner, and Forbiger. In orthography, the usual modes adopted in the best dictionaries of this country have been adhered to; and the punctuation, on which so much depends for the right understanding of an author, has been carefully attended to, and adjusted so as best to elucidate the sense, without that minute subdivision which serves to perplex rather than to guide the student.
In annotation, the Editor has availed himself of the most distinguished commentaries, ancient and modern. The great object has been, to adduce such information on points grammatical, mythological, geographical, and historical, as may guide the learner to the understanding of the aim, the allusions, and the beauties of the author, without interfering with the exercise of his own judgment and research. Peculiarities and anomalies in prosody are not only stated in the notes, but arranged in regular sequence in a METRICAL INDEX. Some attention has been given to point out in our own poets passages illustrative of Virgil; this, however, has been done sparingly, being intended chiefly as suggestive to the industrious student and intelligent teacher. The geographical, mythological, and historical notes are as brief as is consistent with perspicuity, entering only into such explanations as tend to elucidate the passage under consideration. All beyond this has been left to the Classical Dictionary, a copy of which ought to be in the hands of every student.* The Arguments have been made sufficiently full to give a clear idea of the main object of each Book, in order to enable the
The best classical dictionaries hitherto published are those of Dr William Smith. His SMALLER CLASSICAL DICTIONARY is admirably adapted for easy reference, being handy as well as elegantly illustrated.
pupil to appreciate the poet's skill in elaborating and weaving a consistent whole, as well as better to comprehend the bearing, and perceive the beauties, of the details.
In this volume we have included only those parts of Virgil which are almost universally read in schools, as preparatory to entrance at our colleges and universities; in another volume will be comprehended the remaining Books of the Aeneid, with the Georgics.
The INDEX OF PROPER NAMES is intended as a mere guide to their scansion and pronunciation, which often prove perplexing to the learner.
In conformity with the plan pursued in the various works of this Classical Series, a Life of the Author has been prefixed.
EDINBURGH, July 1854.
the great Epic Poet of Rome, was born on the 15th of October, B. C. 70, in the consulship of Cn. Pompeius, and M. Licinius Crassus, the men who, ten years afterwards, combined with Julius Caesar to form what is sometimes called the First Triumvirate.' Horace, destined to be his bosom friend, was born five, and Octavianus, afterwards Augustus, on whom so much of his life depended, seven years after him. His native place was Andes, in Cisalpine Gaul, a few miles from Mantua, to which latter town his birth is often ascribed, as when he is termed the Mantuan bard.' Mantua is situated on a marshy lake formed by the Mincius (the modern Mincio), about twelve miles above the place where it joins the Po, on the north bank. The Mincius flows from the Lacus Benacus, a noble lake (now the Lago di Garda), which Virgil has not left unsung.1 About three miles below Mantua is the birthplace of our poet. Tradition, as early at least as the time of Dante,2 identified, as it does still, this spot with the modern Piétola, a small but neat village in a flat though fertile and well-wooded country, still waving with the spreading beech and lofty elm. Here a farm is still called Virgiliana, which is said to have been that possessed by the poet; but the features of the country in the neighbourhood, which is low and unpicturesque, do not bear out the hints which we can gather from the poet of his residence; while the Mincius, with its reedy banks and lazy course, is by him faithfully and graphically described.3
There are various accounts of the occupation of his father ; and these are so blended with manifest absurdities regarding the 1 Georg. ii. 160.-2 Purgatorio, xviii. 82.-3 Ecl. vii. 12; Georg. iii. 14.