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QUINTI HORATII FLACCI
BY THE REV.
ARTHUR JOHN MACLEANE, M.A.
TRINITY COLLEGE, CAMBRIDGE.
WHITTAKER AND CO. AVE MARIA LANE;
THIS commentary is longer than I intended, but it might have been much longer than it is if I had filled the notes with quotations as some editors have done, or with exclamations as others. I have had but one object in view, that of helping students and general readers, of whom no Latin writer has more than Horace, to understand his poems in their letter and spirit, so far as I understand them myself. The author is much mixed up with his poetry, to comprehend which therefore it is necessary to enter into the character of the man. It is this, in fact, that makes Horace so many admirers, the continual presence, or supposed presence of the author in every page. I have tried to show the limitations with which this opinion must be received by pointing out the purely artistic, artificial character of much that he has written, and in which his own feelings have by many been supposed to be drawn. I shall probably be thought deficient in warmth and taste by some who, having only a general and dreamy acquaintance with Horace, the reflection in many instances of slovenly teaching in boyhood, have been accustomed to find beauties where I have seemed to find defects, and have invested some of his poems with charms which a closer inspection dispels. I can only say that I have tried to look at every poem and every word dispassionately, and to realize as far as possible the author's mind while he was writing it, and I believe
no editor discharges his duty who does not take that course. The result I have given, in each case, in the notes or introduction, or both; and in order to help the reader to form his own judgment, I have added, in such cases as admitted of it, the substance of each poem in the form of an Argument. This serves the purpose of giving a conspective view of the poem and its scope, and the connexion of the different parts, and often supplies a word or sentence which it otherwise might be necessary to translate in a note. The Arguments and Introductions will be found to relieve the notes considerably.
I have done my best to determine the merits of the various readings, and to choose in every disputed case the best, according to my judgment. I have given in a note the amount of authority for each disputed reading that I have adopted, and there is not a word in the text which has not good MS. authority. "Lectiones ex conjectura profectas tanquam pestem a contextu procul me removisse dico'." To those who are accustomed to look upon Bentley as a benefactor to the text of Horace, this statement will not be acceptable. I have in no single instance adopted a conjecture of Bentley's or any body else's, nor have I proposed any myself. The antiquity, genuineness, and number of the MSS. of Horace that have been collated by scholars of great respectability, as well as the authority of the Scholiasts and quotations in early writers, all combine to supply materials for a more perfect text of Horace than we can get of almost any other writer. Opinions will always differ as to the choice of readings, but to desert the MSS. and resort to conjecture in the case of this author I hold to be inexcusable. I have not seen the smallest excuse for it in any single instance, and with this opinion I can only look upon the numerous conjectural readings of Bentley (nearly all of which I have referred to in the notes) as so many instances of false taste
1 H. Stephens, Diatr. ii. p. 46.
and perverted ingenuity. Orelli, who was not wanting in respect for Bentley, says, "conjecturae summi Critici, etsi semper sagaces et acutae, admodum raro a circumspecto Critico probari nunc possunt." Nor do I think he is much more happy, in most instances (especially in the Odes), in his choice of readings than in his conjectures. He was always liable to be misled by want of ear and poetical taste, as well as by the excess of a prurient sagacity3 and an unbounded egotism. The text in this edition will be found to differ less from Orelli's than from any other. Where it does so the reason is, I think, always given in the notes. He collated some excellent MSS., especially three in the library at Berne, of which the oldest he places at the end of the eighth century or the beginning of the ninth, and the other two in the tenth. His other MSS. were one of St. Gallen nearly complete, and another of Zürich containing the Odes, Epodes, and Ars Poetica, both of which he says are of the tenth century. Other MSS. referred to in these notes are the Vatican and other Roman MSS. collated by Fea (1811); twenty-three MSS. in the Royal Library at Paris collated by Pottier (1823), varying in age from the tenth to the thirteenth century; and sundry others quoted with or without name by Lambinus (1577'), Cruquius (1611'), Torrentius (1608*), and Bentley (1711). Of the last the most important are four collated by Cruquius, and known as the Blandinian MSS. belonging to the monks of a Benedictine monastery in Flanders, and which were very soon afterwards destroyed with the monastery by fire. The oldest of these, which is appealed to as a great authority, but which was certainly more often wrong than right in the instances in which Cruquius quotes it, was said to be earlier than the ninth century. On the margin of this MS. Cruquius found some old notes, which, as he says, with infinite pains he deciphered, and he
2 Vol. ii. p. 97.
3 "Vide quo provectus sit prurigine corrigendi" (Bentley on Dan. Heinsius: note upon, S. ii. 4. 16).
These are not the earliest editions, but those that I have used.