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alteration must have been one of Wakefield's own character; a man ready to pull to pieces, and to change round for square or square for round; but Fox's good sense inclined him to rest very well satisfied with what had satisfied others. Wakefield rejoins thus: "In reading the passage, I was struck with an instantaneous repugnance of feeling to the connection of qualem with the participle incultus; and I am very much inclined to think (for confidence on these points, of all others, is most inexcusable and absurd), that no similar instance will easily be discovered." Strange delusion! Whoever should seek for instances might find plenty of them; and it is surprising that Wakefield should not have recollected the common passage,
Facies non omnibus una,
Nec diversa tamen, qualem decet esse sororum,
where the position of diversa with qualem is exactly the same as that of incultus with qualem.
In editing Virgil he comes to
Certent et cycnis ulula; sit Tityrus Orpheus, which is very good sense; and alters it to Cantent et cycnis ululæ,
which is mere absurdity.
In editing the Odes of Horace, he alters
O beate Sexti
O bea te, Sexti,
committing a false quantity that would disgrace a schoolboy.
In the Epodes, he is caught by the difficulty in
Fugit juventas; et verecundus color
but refuses to accept Bentley's conjecture of
and will have us read
Fugit juventas; et verecundus color
telling us that it is easy to understand me and sunt. Most readers, we fear, will think it not at all easy, but will be likely to consider the ellipsis very forced. In the" Art of Poetry," the lines,
Liber et ingenuus, præsertim census equestrem
had satisfied all critics till Wakefield fell upon them. Even Bentley had left them undisturbed. But Gilbert tells us that Horace must have written vincloque instead of vitioque. We think that if Horace had written vinclo, he would have used some other word than remotus with it.
His Lucretius, which he published, to his credit, in a handsome form, and, to his sorrow, with loss to his purse, he disgraced, not only by this absurd rage for conjecture, but by railing at Lambinus and others, far better men than himself, as has been remarked in the preface to the most recent English translation of that author. But there was another point on which he exposed himself to censure; he made a great show of having consulted manuscripts for various readings, but did not always find in the manuscripts exactly what he
said that he found. This is shown in a review of the edition in the "British Critic" for May 1801, of which the chief part is understood to have been written by Porson, and of which we must take due notice. It commences thus:
"Miror equidem doleoque, eò decidisse rem literariam, ut à multis libri è chartis et typis magis quàm ex argumento astimentur.
"We see with grief and astonishment the state of letters so fallen, that, by multitudes, books are valued rather for the type and paper than for the value of the contents."
"It will readily be granted, by men of sense and judgment, that an edition of a classical author is by no means to be estimated from the beauty of the type, the fineness of the paper, or the elegant proportions and arrangements of the page. If these matters could afford foundation for a reasonable judgment, there could be no possible doubt about the praises due to the present work. In its external form, the book speaks abundantly for itself, nor can many editions of the classics vie with it in that respect; such only excepted as exhibit merely a beautiful text, without any apparatus of notes.
"The notes of Mr. W. are indeed very numerous and various; philological, critical, illustrative, political; such as he always pours forth with a facility which judgment sometimes limps after in vain. A reader, however, must be more than usually morose, who is not pleased with the strong and lively relish which this annotator exhibits for the poetical beauties of his author, and those of all the ancient classics; though, it is true, he sometimes rather overwhelms than illustrates Lucretius by these incursions.
"But very distinct from the talent or feeling last mentioned is the power of reading with precision, and collating with accuracy, a variety of ancient MSS.; and on the degree of success with which this difficult task has been performed, must ultimately depend the characteristic value of the present
edition above others: the correction of the author's text, by these means, being particularly promised in the title-page and preface."
The reviewer then proceeds to remark that,
"with every allowance made for a labour in which the acutest eye will sometimes be deceived, and the most determined sagacity will sometimes remit its attention, Mr. Wakefield cannot receive the palm of a skilful or scrupulously accurate collator."
He observes that Mr. Wakefield had examined five manuscripts, one in the Public Library at Cambridge, one belonging to Edward Poore, Esq., and three Harleian manuscripts in the British Museum; that the first two of these were not within the reviewer's reach, but that he had examined the three Harleian manuscripts, taking the first two hundred and fifty lines of the first book, and a passage at hazard from the third book. After a few preliminary remarks on these collations, he says, on ver. 78,
"Mr. W. has published, 'Irritat animi virtutem, effringere ut arta; and adds this note: Hanc constitutionem versûs, quam ex auctoritate librorum dederim, proprium acumen ingenii priùs expediverat. Verborum ordinem præbent G. B. L. M. A. II. Σ.' (the three last being the Harleian MSS.).
Solus . conjecturam firmat, effringere scribens pro confringere; quam tamen necessariam reddidit codicum modo memoratorum ratio. In P. V. ed. (plurimis veteribus editionibus) A. II. E. ordo est verborum Irritát virtutem animi. Q. irritant.'
"The third sentence of this note forgets the second. If A. II. E. and other MSS. give the order of words which Mr. W. has preferred, that is to say, Irritât animi virtutem, how can the same A. II. E. give this other order, Irritât virtutem animi? Our collation furnishes the following
account of the MSS., and we can fully assert its correctness, if the printer does but well and duly perform his part:
“▲. Irritāt animi virtutē: effringere et arcta.
"II. Irritat v tutē ai cōfingere ut arcta.
"Σ. Irritat ai virtute ëffrige ut arcta.
LIFE OF RICHARD PORSON.
The two points over the ë in effringere refer the reader to the margin, in which it is written cöfrigere.
"In the sequel of the note, and in three sets of addenda, Mr. W. pours forth an army of examples to prove the frequent use of the word effringere. Nonius, in the word cupiret, x. 16., quotes the passage with perfringere, which, though much rarer than effringere, is good Latin. According therefore to the critical canon, which directs the more recondite reading to be preferred, perfringere would stand a good chance of success. But this canon has too often, and especially of late years, been pushed beyond all reason and modesty. Priscianus vulgatis consentit' (x. p. 879, 15), says Mr. W., but there Aldus gives effringere. Towards the end of the note Mr. W. says, Porro, pro ut, A. et, et in versu sequente cuperet G. B. L., caperet II.'
"Here is an error, either of the editor or printer, for neither II. nor any one of the Museum MSS. gives caperet. In A. it is plainly cupiret; in II. and Z. as plainly aperiret. It appears then that Mr. W., in his assertions concerning these three MSS., has been oftener in the wrong than in the right." "V. 156. Versus 156, 157, 158 desunt in II.,' says Mr. W. Verse 156 is not omitted in II., but only 157, 158. The verses follow in this order: 154, 155, 159, 156, 160. In the 159th verse Mr. W. has noticed that II. gives divinum for divom; but he should also have remarked that it gives quocumque for quo quæque."
In regard to the collation of the passage in B. III. the reviewer says,
"V. 1006. Mr. W. conjectures Quem volucris, lacerat. This very reading, totidem apicibus, is in II. This is therefore an error of omission.
E: ita conjeceram legendum, et ita scribitur