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 Manuscript
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 such Reasons, he belieyes, in
the Notes, as will eftablish the Credit of his Readings.

He has, he tells us, made many and considerable
Alterations of La Rue's Prose Interpretation for the
Ufe of the Daupbin; the Necessity of which he evinces
by three Instances, one from the Eclogues, another
from the Georgics, and a third from the Æneis. The
Interpretation of recubans, in the firft Verse 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 first Book of the
Georgies, La Rue gives copiosas for the Interpretation
of lætas; which is too poor a Word, without a Note,
to explain the Metaphor contained in lætas: ThePoet
calls them segetes lætas, because plentiful Crops give
Joy to the Possessors, and are figuratively called joy-
ful themselves, as in the 14thVerse of the lxvth Psalm,
The Valley's Mall stand so thick with Corn, that they
Mall laugh and sing. Thirdly, In the first Verse of
the first Book of the Æneis, 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 says, he gives thefe Ex-
amples to Thew, that it is wrong to change the
Words of the Poet, when no better Word can be
had to express his Meaning ; and it is surely very
wrong, he adds, to change them for Words not to
expressive of his Meaning.

He has endeavoured also to correct the pointings,
of the best Editions, as he did in his Edition of


[ocr errors]

Terence; and has done it, he assures us, in Thou-
sands of Places in this Edition of Virgil, and, he
believes, greatly to the Ease of the Reader in the
Construction. He takes notice, that he never saw
any Edition of this, or any other Classic 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 Case should never be dis-
" joined from the Verb or Verbs by more than a
« Comma, when that Nominative Cale belongs to
« two or more Verbs ; when it belongs but to one,
“ it should not be disjoined. A Verb should not
“ be divided from any Cases which it governs by
" more than a Comma, when it has several Nouns
“ following it and governed by it." Mr. Cooke
has produced one Instance of injudicious Pointing
from the Cambridge Edition of our Poet, and from La
Rue's ; but there are Thousands of the like sort, he
complains, in those Editions, hitherto justly esteemed
the best ; all which he has rectified in this Edition.
This Exactness in Pointing, he says, will be an
Advantage not only to Learners, but to many al-
ready learned

In his Notes, he likewise tells us, he has corrected
the Errors of other Commentators, and explained
those Paffages which wanted Explanation, and has
moreover endeavoured to point out some particular
Beauties, and to shew in what those Beauties consist,
that he might contribute towards forming youthful
Minds to Tafte, at che same time that he is an Ex-
pounder to them. He has been cautious of burden-
ing the Work with more Notes than are necessary,
thinking it impertinent to write Remarks on, or to
give Explanations of, such Words as are to be found
dufficiently explained in any common Dictionary.

B 2


He has indeed entered into an Explanation of many Words and Things which he did not at first intend; as considering this Edition is designed for the Use of Youth as well as Persons of some Learning. He has written his Notes in English; becaule, 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 illustrious Poet, as also the fabulous Accounts which he has collected concerning him.

The Life of this incomparable Person has been attempted by very many; but none, our Author says, have delivered his History 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 such a Mixture, as discovers the Talents of a fine Writer tainted with extraordinary Weakness and Credulity. Mr. Cooke follows Father de la Rue's Method in what he has here represented, so far as consists with the Brevity he proposes, not omitting any thing requisite towards giving a compleat Account of his illustrious Subječt. 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 Consul, fignifies the first Time of his being Coniul; 2, the second, &c.



Publius Virgilius Maro was born at Andes, near Mantwa, on the 15th of OEtober: 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 says he was a Husbandman;

Donatus, or he that assumes the Name of Deratus, affirms, that he was a hired Servant ; and fome say 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 Augustus, was born in this Year; which is mentioned, that the Reader may know the Age of Augustus Cæfar, who was afterwards so great a Patron to our Poet,

The Year of Rome 696, of VIRCIL 13.


Virgil was educated at Cremona, where he prose. cated his Studies feven Years ;. which, according to Scaliger on Eufebius, were from the eleventh Year of his Age to the sixteenth. He studied the Greek Language, Physick, and Mathematicks: He likewise studied Philosophy under Tyro the Epicurean. While a Boy he writ his Ciris, his Ætna, his Culex or Gnat, and several other small Pieces: But the Culex now extant, is too mean to be admitted as Pirgols, and is of a later Date.

[blocks in formation]

The Year of ROME 699, of VIRGIL 16.


Virgil is said 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,

[ocr errors][merged small]

The Year of Rome 713, of VIRGIL 30.


In this Year a Division of Lands was made ; and Virgil's Patrimony at Andes was given to Arius, who fought against Brutus and Cassius. By a strong Recommendation to Oétavius Cæsar, Virgil recovered his Lands. He was at this Time in the Friendship of Pollio, Gallus, and Varus ; to the last of which he inscribed his sixth 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 these great Men, perhaps by the Intercession of more than one, he recovered his Land, is not certain. On this Occasion he is said 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 noc only refused him Admittance, but used him so roughly, that he was forced to swim cross the River Mincius to save his Life : But he afterwards gained a quiet Poffefsion of his Eftate.

The Eclogue, which is placed the ninth in the Order as they stand, is said to be the second which he writ; and we are told it was occasioned by the Treatment he mer with from Arius,


« VorigeDoorgaan »