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MONG many arbitrary laws enjoined by prescription, is is the obligation of writing a Preface. I obey it the more willingly in the present instance, as I wish to give some explanation of a seeming inconsistency in writing notes in two languages.
I have long convinced myself that the affinity between the Greek tongue and our own is so much closer than that which the Latin bears to either, that I have frequently wondered why so few Scholars have broken through the usage of their forefathers, and that a vast majority still continue to explain the Greek idioms and structure through a medium no longer necessary even for foreign readers. And surely one would hope it is from no fear of the cuckoo cry of some dokno loopo, that English note-writing produces slip-shod and slovenly Scholars. If this charge has any foundation, it will equally apply to oral lectures in English, and Lexicons in English, and Grammars in English. Neither, one would fain believe, do they apprehend with the same worthies, that the cultivation of the Latin language is thereby neglected, as though we learnt our Latin style from the traditionary language of heavy and ponderous Critics, and not from the sources of Classical Authors, the well of Latin undefiled. Arnold in England and Heindorf1 in Germany, either a host in himself, have, amongst others, broken through the trammels of writing commentaries in a hybrid dialect of a dead language. After forming the above expressed opinion, which I came to not without mature reflection, I proceeded
1 In his admirable edition of Horace's Satires.
some years ago to test it practically by writing notes to a once contemplated edition of a Greek Tragedy. Here I confess I was often perplexed: not that I found myself unable to express my thoughts clearly in my own language upon grammatical and otherwise exegetical matter: but I was sadly at fault on any point purely critical for words of a technical nature, if I may use the phrase, where the traditionary Latin of Scholars had created in a manner a vocabulary of its own. I accordingly, on some hundred lines of the Tragedy alluded to, wrote notes in both English and Latin: and the result to which after this process I came, was a deliberate persuasion that explanatory notes ought to be written in one's own language, critical in the Latin. How far I have accurately drawn the line between the two classes of notes in the edition now placed before the public, I will not venture to determine: but I can add that several of the notes written originally in Latin were, on second thoughts, rewritten in English, and vice versa. My time too has been far more limited than I could have wished. I was applied to by Messrs Deighton to undertake this edition in the last week of June, and placed myself under an obligation, notwithstanding the most pressing and constant demands upon my time, to bring it out before the end of November, perfectly unconscious, being a complete tyro in publishing, of the arduous work I had before me. This may probably, with candid readers, excuse any mistakes of hurry and oversight: fundamental mistakes I have no right to ask forgiveness for: rather I desire strict enquiry, and fair, but unsparing criticism.
I have no time to enter into the merits of the several MSS. on which the text of Demosthenes is based1. It is well known that the Parisian MS. S. (or 2.) is acknowledged on all hands to be the best and Bekker (according to the Zurich Editors) has corrected more than 3,000 passages in Demosthenes on its authority. With all deference to the Coryphæus of Critics, I
1 An explanation of the symbols used in recording various readings is given below.
have some misgivings whether he has not himself deferred to its unsupported authority sometimes too hastily, and I am not sure that I ought not more frequently to have, on such occasions, departed from his text. But the Zurich Editors would seem to have extended their regard for this MS. beyond the rational and calm esteem of unimpassioned Critics, and to have hugged it to their bosoms with the "prodigal devotedness” of a tender passion2. It omits a word, and to their eye the word becomes at once an interpolation: it presents a new reading, and forthwith the old is condemned3: grammar and sense may be violated by the novelty, but "Codex Parisiensis Σ." is unus instar omnium.
Now I am not myself prepared to say: "Malo cum Codice Parisiensi . errare quam, &c." The MS. was undoubtedly transcribed by a learned, acute, and careful copyist: but I shrewdly suspect that his very learning and acuteness have led him occasionally to meddle with the text (precisely as a modern Critic would do) and in other respects he shares in the common lot of humanity, and has not escaped oversights and slips of the pen. After the reader has perused the Critical Anno
2 I transcribe the first paragraph of their Preface: "Quæ Demosthenis vivi pectus adversum gravissimis vulneribus percutere non destiterat, fortuna mortui memoriam pie coluit et illustravit. Demosthenis enim exemplum patriæ, libertatis, sanctissimorum omnium vindices generosissimi ad hunc usque diem admirabundi intuentur. Demosthenem quisquis eloquentiæ perfectæ formam animo comprehensam habet imitando exprimere studet, Demosthenis orationes etiam nunc fere omnes extant, Demosthenis denique superest Codex Parisiensis Σ." So pure a specimen of bathos, one which will hardly be paralleled in the 19th century, surely must have sprung from the "seething brains" and "shaping fantasies" of that most romantic and chivalrous affection, which " sees Helen's beauty in a brow of Egypt."
3 With the exception of such confusions as are found in all MSS. e. g. ai for e, n for i, and so forth.
4 This opinion is held also by Professor W. Dindorf. [i. e. in the smaller Edition: "Quanquam caute illo libro utendum est, quippe doctas indoctasque grammaticorum manus non uno in loco experto." (Præf. p. 1.) His general opinion of this MS. has been somewhat modified: for in his latest Edition (Præf. p. ix.) he writes: "Non dubitavi ad hujus potissimum Codicis auctoritatem oratoris verba exigere, et severiore quidem lege quam in Editione minore ante hos duodeviginti annos alio consilio suscepta feceram quanquam cavendum ab altera parte fuit ne quæ huic Codici fides merito habetur in nimiam admirationem verteret."]
tation of this edition, I shall feel mortified if he does not fall in with my opinion. I have invariably given (or at least intended to give) the readings of this MS., and I venture to anticipate that I have reduced it from the giant dimensions, which the Zurich Editors have invested it with, to the ordinary proportions of full-grown stature.
The argument for the overwhelming ascendancy of this MS. is of course entirely drawn from internal evidence. Now that obviously is to be determined by critical judgment, and I leave the reader to draw his own opinion from my list of various readings in the Annotatio Critica. The Zurich Editors appear to lay some stress on the fact that this MS. records the number of lines2 in which each oration was originally written, and hence infer that the speeches of Demosthenes were interpolated by the early grammarians, as the numbers do not tally with the received text of Demosthenes. But granting that the speeches have been interpolated (which by the way is not proved from this, unless we accede also to the obelisks of Aristarchus and others in commenting upon Homer), what follows? Certainly it is not a consequence that the copyist of the "Cod. Σ." has detected all the glosses, however "keen and fine-nosed" he was at hunting them out: for after my investigation of the MS. I am persuaded that I am no more begging the question when I affirm that the copyist acted on the emendatory principle in transcribing, than the Zurich Editors, who maintain that he transcribed from an older copy, not as yet adulterated by the grammarians. Besides, the numbers are found in other MSS., as themselves bear witness, which MSS. however abound with the (supposed) interpolations.'
Certain points on which I differ from Bekker (to whose text I have adhered as closely as possible) I proceed to enumerate. I have invariably written avrov, whenever the word
As also the various readings of Bekker's and the Zurich Editions. 2 See p. 199 of this edition.