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TO THE READER.
The notes in the present edition of Martial were for the most part written in the years 1862–1863. My late lamented friend and former pupil, Mr. Stone, scholar of Trinity College, had consented to join me in the attempt (no light one, we were well aware) to produce such an edition of this poet as might be found suitable both for school reading and for general use. He entered into his work with great enthusiasm, and devoted much time and labour to his allotted portion of the task. An excellent and promising scholar, and a keen admirer of Martial, whom he justly regarded as the greatest wit as well as the most accomplished and artistic versifier of antiquity, he had not only made himself master of his author, but he had read a good deal for the express purposes of illustration and explanation. His notes were placed in my hands, after his early decease, not indeed fully finished, nor as he himself intended them for publication, yet in such an advanced state that I have been able to avail myself of them as far as they went. In considering how we might best satisfy a want that
all scholars admit-for it is a remarkable fact, that no complete edition of Martial with explanatory notes has ever appeared, either in England or in Germany, since the · Variorum' editions of nearly two centuries ago, which, even when they can be procured, are behind the requirements of the age,-one principal difficulty presented itself. However brilliant the wit, however valuable the details of domestic Roman life and of Roman topography, and however admirable the poetry and the latinity of Martial, there is this valid ground of objection to the use of his epigrams in schools, that not less than a fourth part of them is exceedingly gross, and quite unfit for general reading. The same, indeed, may justly be said of Catullus, Juvenal, Aristophanes, and some others; but the remedy of expurgation has long ago been so far applied to them, as to make them not only endurable, but highly popular in schools. Now selection, which is the plan we resolved upon, has obvious advantages over expurgation ; and it is fortunate that of all authors Martial most readily admits of selection, because each epigram is quite complete in itself. Since, however, many of the epigrams are very difficult, and require a large amount of illustration, we feared that it would be found impossible to include in one moderately sized volume all the residue, i. e. all the really readable epigrams. We were compelled, therefore, to select again from these ; and that was a task in itself requiring a good deal of time and judgment. Having agreed, in common consultation, as to
1 Very rarely-perhaps in half-a-dozen instances-we have omitted a line or two from the epigrams given in this series.
the particular epigrams we would admit (and be it understood, we have omitted hardly any of the readable sort which can fairly be considered important, excluding, however, not without regret, the very interesting distichs, about 350 in number, composing the thirteenth and fourteenth books), it only remained to mark them in our respective editions, and work upon them by reference to our own numbers. Thus, we uniformly quote the number and verse of our collection, as a shorter and more convenient method than the full reference to book, epigram, and verse, except in the tolerably numerous
cases where epigrams not in our series are referred to or cited for the sake of illustration. Once made, it is obvious that the numbering of our epigrams could not be altered without throwing all our references into confusion. I hope that this plan will be thought, on the whole, the best that could be adopted. I think that to have produced a readable edition of the best parts of such a poet, fit to be placed in the hands of all, with a brief heading to each epigram to explain the general drift of it, and with such notes as will suffice for every purpose of explanation, will be thought a useful expenditure of labour.
My own time has been so much taken up with other classical work of late years, that I have advanced but slowly with these notes, though I have never laid them entirely aside. Still, all that time I have been reading and teaching Martial, and thus learning him better and better. And of this I have long been satisfied—that there is no Latin poet that would take such extensive illustration, if the learning of an editor or the limits of his work would