As the Editors of the Cambridge Edition of Virgil,
printed in Quarto in the Year 1701, and Father de
la Rue, have, by the Help of various Manufcript
Copies, improved on the Edition published by the
learned Nicholas Henfius, he thinks it can prove no
ingrateful Tribute to the Publick, if he offers an
Improvement on them: Where he differs from them
in the Text, he gives fuch Reasons, he believes, in
the Notes, as will eftablish the Credit of his Readings.

He has, he tells us, made many and confiderable
Alterations of La Rue's Profe Interpretation for the
Ufe of the Dauphin; the Neceffity of which he evinces
by three Inftances, one from the Eclogues, another
from the Georgics, and a third from the Eneis. The
Interpretation of recubans, in the firft Verfe of the first
Eclogue, La Rue gives in the Word jacens; which
is not the Meaning, for jacens does not convey the
Idea of the recumbent Pofture which Virgil intended.
Again, in the first Verse of the firft Book of the
Georgics, La Rue gives copiofas for the Interpretation
of letas; which is too poor a Word, without a Note,
to explain the Metaphor contained in letas: The Poet
calls them fegetes latas, because plentiful Crops give
Joy to the Poffeffors, and are figuratively called joy-
ful themfelves, as in the 14th Verfe of the lxvth Pfalm,
The Valleys fhall stand fo thick with Corn, that they
fhall laugh and fing. Thirdly, In the firft Verfe of
the firft Book of the Eneis, hominem is for virum ;
which is entirely wrong, homo being either Man or
Woman; and virum needs no Explanation by ano-
ther Word. Mr. Cooke fays, he gives thefe Ex-
amples to fhew, that it is wrong to change the
Words of the Poet, when no better Word can be
had to exprefs his Meaning; and it is furely very
wrong, he adds, to change them for Words not fo
expreffive of his Meaning.

He has endeavoured alfo to correct the Pointings,
of the beft Editions, as he did in his Edition of


Terence; and has done it, he affures us, in Thou-

fands of Places in this Edition of Virgil, and, he

believes, greatly to the Eafe of the Reader in the

Conftruction. He takes notice, that he never faw

any Edition of this, or any other Claffic Author,

pointed with the Exactness with which it ought to

be. "Tho' Pointing is a modern Custom, yet as

"it is intended to enable the Reader to read with

"the greater Facility, we cannot be too accurate in

"that, more than in any other Branch of Know-

"ledge. A Nominative Cafe fhould never be dif-

36 joined from the Verb or Verbs by more than a

"Comma, when that Nominative Cafe belongs to

"two or more Verbs; when it belongs but to one,

"it fhould not be disjoined. A Verb fhould not

"be divided from any Cafes which it governs by

"more than a Comma, when it has feveral Nouns

following it and governed by it." Mr. Cooke

has produced one Inftance of injudicious Pointing

from the Cambridge Edition of our Poet, and from La

Rue's; but there are Thousands of the like fort, he

complains, in thofe Editions, hitherto juftly esteemed

the beft; all which he has rectified in this Edition.

This Exactnefs in Pointing, he fays, will be an

Advantage not only to Learners, but to many al-

ready learned.


In his Notes, he likewife tells us, he has corrected

the Errors of other Commentators, and explained
those Paffages which wanted Explanation, and has
moreover endeavoured to point out fome particular
Beauties, and to fhew in what thofe Beauties confift,
that he might contribute towards forming youthful
Minds to Tafte, at the fame time that he is an Ex-
pounder to them. He has been cautious of burden-
ing the Work with more Notes than are neceffary,
thinking it impertinent to write Remarks on, or to
give Explanations of, fuch Words as are to be found
fufficiently explained in any common Dictionary.

He has indeed entered into an Explanation of many Words and Things which he did not at first intend; as confidering this Edition is defigned for the Ufe of Youth as well as Perfons of fome Learning. He has written his Notes in English; becaute, when we endeavour to explain to young Minds what needs an Explanation, we cannot be too clear: And, as he has given a more correct Edition of this great Poet than we have heretofore had, he hopes he has adapted it to the Service of those who are learned, as well as of those who are inclined to be fo.

I will, for the embellishing of this Article, add to the foregoing Account of Mr. Cooke's Edition of Virgil, the Memoirs which he has compiled of that illuftrious Poet, as alfo the fabulous Accounts which he has collected concerning him.

The Life of this incomparable Perfon has been attempted by very many; but none, our Author fays, have delivered his Hiftory in a Manner deferving the Attention or Applause of the Learned, excepting Father de la Rue and Mr. Bayle: Even that by our great Dryden is fuch a Mixture, as difcovers the Talents of a fine Writer tainted with extraordinary Weaknels and Credulity. Mr. Cooke follows Father de la Rue's Method in what he has here reprefented, fo far as confifts with the Brevity he propofes, not omitting any thing requifite towards giving a compleat Account of his illuftrious Subject.

The Year of ROME* 684, of VIRGIL I.


* 684 Years after the Foundation of Rome, 69 Years before the Birth of Christ.

+1, after the Name of a Conful, fignifies the firft Time of his being Conful; 2, the fecond, &c.


Publius Virgilius Maro was born at Andes, near Mantua, on the 15th of October: The Name of his Father was Maro, the Name of his Mother Maia. Servius tells us, that his Father was a Citizen of Mantua; Probus fays he was a Hufbandman Donatus, or he that affumes the Name of Denatus, affirms, that he was a hired Servant; and fome fay he was a Porter: From all which Relations the only Inference to be made is, that our Poet was born of mean Parents.

The Year of ROME 691, of VIRGIL 8.



Octavius, afterwards called Auguftus, was born in this Year; which is mentioned, that the Reader may know the Age of Auguftus Cæfar, who was afterwards fo great a Patron to our Poet,

The Year of ROME 696, of VIRGIL 13.




Virgil was educated at Cremona, where he profe cated his Studies feven Years; which, according to Scaliger on Eufebius, were from the eleventh Year of his Age to the fixteenth. He ftudied the Greek Language, Phyfick, and Mathematicks: He likewife ftudied Philofophy under Tyro the Epicurean. While a Boy he writ his Ciris, his Etna, his Culex or Gnat, and several other small Pieces: But the Culex now extant, is too mean to be admitted as Virgil's, and is of a later Date.

B 3.


[ocr errors]

The Year of ROME 699, of VIRGIL 16.


Virgil is faid to have put on his togam virilem: The toga virilis was a Gown which the Romans put on when they arrived to the State of Manhood.

The Year of ROME 713, of VIRGIL 30.



In this Year a Divifion of Lands was made; and Virgil's Patrimony at Andes was given to Arius, who fought against Brutus and Caffius. By a ftrong Recommendation to Octavius Cæfar, Virgil recovered his Lands. He was at this Time in the Friendship of Pollio, Gallus, and Varus; to the laft of which he infcribed his fixth Eclogue on the Epicurean Doctrines: He continued his Intimacy with Varus from the Time of their being FellowStudents together under Tyro the Epicurean: But through which of thefe great Men, perhaps by the Interceffion of more than one, he recovered his Land, is not certain. On this Occafion he is faid to have writ his first Eclogue. A Story is told of his going to demand his Land of Arius the Centurion, who was then in Poffeffion of it; and that Arius not only refufed him Admittance, but ufed him fo roughly, that he was forced to swim cross the River Mincius to fave his Life: But he afterwards gained a quiet Poffeffion of his Eftate. The Eclogue, which is placed the ninth in the Order as they ftand, is faid to be the fecond which he writ; and we are told it was occafioned by the Treatment he met with from Arius.


« VorigeDoorgaan »