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This edition contains the first detailed commentary in English upon the entire text of Tibullus, Sulpicia, and the anonymous elegies of the fourth book. Whether the edition has any further justification of its existence must be left to the judgment of the reader.
The text coincides in the main with that of Hiller's recension (1885, reprinted 1899). Changes are recorded in the Appendix, and details of textual transmission, whenever they seem to be of sufficient importance, are discussed in the Notes. The Panegyricus Messallae and the elegies of Lygdamus are not dealt with in the Notes, and, owing to the uncertainty of their pedigree, the two Priapea sometimes found in editions of Tibullus are not included in the text. It is obvious, however, that intelligent and profitable study of our poet must be accompanied by frequent recourse to the entire Corpus Tibullianum as it now stands. No portion therefore of the traditional text has been omitted. The “ Testimonia Veterum,” by which the text is followed, contain whatever else antiquity has to say of Tibullus's life and work.
In its present form the Introduction is the result of a thorough revision in the interests of brevity and simplicity. Not a little has been completely excised, discussion of theories, and especially of untenable theories, has been reduced as a rule to a passing reference, and a considerable body of material in the chapter on the poet's art has been trans
ferred to the Notes. The section concerned with the influence of Tibullus upon the literatures of Modern Europe is a mere sketch derived in large part from my own reading. Prolonged and intelligent investigation is necessary before the picture can be completed. I trust however that I have outlined it with a fair degree of accuracy.
It will be observed perhaps that my critique of Tibullus runs counter to some discussions of his art and some estimates of his genius which just at present would appear to be generally accepted. It was considered however with the utmost care, and as yet I see no reason for revising it in any essential particular. In this connection should be mentioned two articles (R. Bürger, Beiträge zur Elegantia Tibulls, and M. Pohlenz, Die Hellenistische Poesie und die Philosophie) in the recent volume of studies to Professor Leo (Xápites Friedrich Leo zum Sechzigsten Geburtstag dargebracht, Berlin, 1911). I should have been glad to consider these, but when they came to my hands the Introduction was already in final proof and no further changes could be made. Bürger's discussion is a complete justification of the illuminating statement of Plessis (La Poésie Latine, p. 354, see my Introduction, p. 68) that Tibullus belonged, in taste if not in fact, to the Attic School. Pohlenz's discussion of Philetas (pp. 108-112) cannot be ignored by those who assert that erotic elegy of the subjective type was unknown to the Alexandrian poets.
In the preparation of the Notes I have not hesitated to avail myself of whatever appeared to be of value, and it is possible that through inadvertence I may have failed in some cases to give credit to whom credit was due. I hope however that special obligations have always received special acknowledgment. The scope and character
of the Notes will be sufficiently clear to any one who has read the Introduction. A recital of my aims and endeavours, an account of my preparation for this work, would be merely stating in another form what I conceive to be the plain duty of any commentator who deserves the name. I shall be content if scholars whose opinion I value shall accord me the credit of an honest effort to perform that duty to the best of my ability.
In its original form the Appendix contained a full apparatus criticus, two or three notes on technical matters, and a complete list of authorities consulted. Upon second thoughts it seemed advisable to withhold all this material from a book already in danger of becoming overgrown. Moreover, the loss is largely, if not entirely, compensated by the fact that the principal authorities or the sources from which they may be derived are now mentioned in the Notes or in the footnotes of the Introduction. So, too, the essential details of textual tradition have already been discussed, and the minutiae of the complete record are easily accessible in the excellent critical editions of Hiller and Postgate.
I was forced to prepare the Index even for my own use. I may assume therefore that it will be useful to others. I had thought of entering here the imitations and reminiscences of Tibullus gleaned from the later Roman poets by various editors and special investigators. The majority of these however are too vague to be conclusive. I have recorded therefore only those which are mentioned in the Notes.
This book has been enriched by the helpful suggestions, and I myself have been upheld by the genuine interest, of more than one friend whose name is not recorded here.
The criticism of Professor E. P. Morris, supervising editor of this series, has been at my service. Nor do I fail to appreciate the generous coöperation of the publishers, and especially of Mr. Everett E. Thompson. He has given freely of his invaluable training and wide experience. My old friend and colleague Professor Wilfred P. Mustard has subjected the entire book to a rigid cross-examination, and in its present form it owes much to his relentless accuracy, his candid criticism, and his refined taste.
My obligations to Professor Gildersleeve — his examination and criticism of my Introduction is merely one of them
cannot be estimated. By no means the least of these obligations was incurred when I determined at the beginning of my long task that, so far as lay within my power, this book should deserve the honour of dedication to the friend whose living presence has enriched and inspired all my academic life.
KIRBY FLOWER SMITH. BALTIMORE.