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ROBERT YELVERTON TYRRELL, LITT.D.
FELLOW AND PUBLIC ORATOR, TRINITY COLLEGE, DUBLIN
HON. LITT.D. CANTAB., D.C.L. OXON, LL.D. EDIN.
NEW YORK: THE MACMILLAN COMPANY
All rights reserved
This collection of specimens of Latin poetry is intended to be a companion volume to the Eight Lectures given in America in 1893, and subsequently published (Houghton and Mifflin, Boston ; Macmillan, London) under the title of Latin Poetry in 1895. I have called the collection Latin Anthology, as the most convenient title available ; but that is not really the most accurate description which could be given of the contents or the aim of the volume. An anthology ought to contain only exquisite models of poetic composition. Now this collection aims at providing characteristic specimens of Latin poetry.
Therefore, while the specimens of the work of the great masters will be very beautiful and also characteristic of their genius, the inferior artists will be found to exhibit the invariable signs of minor poetry, exaggeration, unreal sentiment, forcible-feeble diction, and ineffectual (sometimes almost ludicrously ineffectual) struggles to achieve the grand manner. This point of view has been put forward and illustrated in dealing with some of the early writers in Latin Poetry. It is dwelt upon in the notes to this volume in commenting on the specimens taken from Manilius and Grattius, who are not, I think, mentioned at all in Latin Poetry. Even in the case of the great poets like Lucretius, Statius, and Lucan, I have thought it better to present, among the more beautiful examples of their genius, also those which better illustrate their attitude towards their
art, and their peculiar place among the poets. Thus it seemed better to give, beside the sublime passages of Lucretius, some which dealt technically with his not very attractive subject; and the temperament of Statius could not have been so well understood, if I had not included examples of one or two of his failures to achieve the sustained splendour of the Horatian lyric. In a word, I have kept before my mind the endeavour to illustrate to some extent the weakness as well as the strength of the poets who are not in the first flight, and to point out characteristic blemishes in the notes. In the case of the very great poets I may have been guided in my choice by other considerations. For instance, I suppose there is hardly an ode written by Horace which would not grace any treasury of Latin verse : so perfect is the execution of every one of them, in spite of the lack of genuine feeling commented on in Latin Poetry. In the embarras de richesse I have been guided by a wish to illustrate the great variety of his lyric measures. Similarly in my selections from Juvenal I have sometimes been influenced by a desire to draw the attention of my readers to a beautiful emendation like mulio for multo in CCLXXXVI 148 or miniis for miris in ccxc 70. It is hoped that the exquisite Pervigilium Veneris (CCXCIII) is here presented with more attention to the text and fuller explanation of the meaning than have been hitherto accorded to it in Latin anthologies published in England.
As regards the commentary, in the case of the authors universally read and copiously edited and commented on, I have supplied no notes at all, except where I have introduced a reading which has not yet found its way into school editions. In dealing with those authors who have not been largely explained in English, I have aimed at giving such notes as would not be deemed superfluous by a teacher in the higher forms of a public school. No doubt I have not
always carried out my plan perfectly. Probably I have sometimes given a superfluous note, and perhaps I have sometimes failed to supply needful comment. I have studied brevity in my notes, which are strictly subservient to the text, and do not aim at conveying any higher instruction. In the selections from the more ancient writers I have largely used Dr. Merry's very excellent and scholarly little book Fragments of Roman Poetry, as well as Dr. Wordsworth's larger work Fragments and Specimens of Early Latin. My method of dealing with the plays of Plautus is explained in the note on LI, and a similar note on CCLIV will guide those who desire fuller comment on the Epigrams of Martial. I have often used the notes of Dr. Pinder in his Less Known Latin Poets (Oxford, 1869), and in other cases the source of my information is indicated in the notes themselves.
The orthography will, I hope, at least not mislead. I trust I have not admitted anywhere forms like coelum, coena, which point to an erroneous etymology, nor monstrous forms like quum.
I have not banished v or U from my text, though I do not admit ; or J. In the case of uu I have printed uo, or have changed the form of the word, giving ecus, relincunt, secuntur, metuont, for equus, relinquunt, sequuntur, metuunt. When I have given suos tuos for suus tuus, I have called attention to the case in the note when it seemed that the form might lead to misapprehension. As regards -is for -es in accus. plur. I have given the forms in -is in the preOvidian poets only. In the rest I have kept the conveniently distinctive -es. I would justify this proceeding by the following extract from Prof. Lindsay's Short Historical Latin Grammar (Oxford, 1895), p. 55: “The accus. plur. was formed by adding -ns to the stem. Latin consonantal stems show -es from -ens, Latin I-stems show -is from -ins, e.g. regēs, turrīs. By the end of the Republic and the beginning of the Empire this distinction came to be lost sight of, and turres, partes,