Page images
PDF
EPUB

SELECTIONS

FROM

VIRGIL'S GEORGICS

[ocr errors][merged small][merged small][ocr errors][merged small][merged small][merged small]
[merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][ocr errors][merged small][merged small][merged small]

PREFACE

TI

HAT excellent scholar, Mr T. E. Page, says in

the preface to his edition of the Georgics, Young students seem now to limit. their reading of Virgil chiefly to the Aeneid.Mr Hirzel again, the editor of Virgil in the Oxford Classical Texts, writes in the Classical Review of “the unmerited oblivion into which the Bucolics and Georgics have fallen at our public schools." I find, on pretty wide enquiry, that as a rule very few pupils read more than a single Georgic before leaving school.

There exists a quite proper prejudice against reading mere extracts from any great poem. But to select from the Georgics is quite a different thing from selecting parts out of Aeneid I or II or vi. In each of the latter to omit a single scene is to cut off an organic part of the book. The Georgics is largely a descriptive and meditative poem which embodies much technical matter and young readers soon weary of description, even when done by a master-hand. It is not surprising that teachers of Classics should prefer the Aeneid, which possesses the interest of narrative and incident which the Georgics lack. But to make up for these drawbacks there are, scattered over the four books, many different passages of wide range and deep human interest. In these much of Virgil's best known and most characteristic writing is to be found. They show his practical 'philosophy' and attitude to life and reveal how profoundly his country's tragedy, in an age of Revolution like our own, had shaken and remoulded all his outlook. The personality and ideals

« PreviousContinue »