« PreviousContinue »
Entered according to Act of Congress, in the year 1844, by
JAMES MUNROE & CO.
in the Clerk's Office of the District Court of Massachusetts.
The Translators of the following work have long felt the necessity of a treatise on the Greek and Roman Metres, as a general book of reference, to accompany the text books used in colleges in teaching the ancient languages. No manual suited to supply the deficiency has appeared in English. The great work of Hermann has been abridged and translated by Seager; but the distinguished German is so much attached to certain philosophical views of Kant, on which his theory of metre is founded, that great as are the merits of the Elementa in a scientific point of view, it is not found to answer very well the purpose of a practical manual. The treatise of Dr. Munk has been most favorably received wherever it is known; his theory of metre is essentially the same as that which Böckh unfolded in his essay “ de Metris Pindari,” which, says the author of the present work, “recommends itself not only by the historical grounds on which it is constructed, but also by its truth and intelligibleness."
The work of Dr. Munk, here presented in English, it is believed, will be found to contain a very accurate and thorough account of the metrical systems of the Greeks and Romans; and as complete an elucidation of all the details of those systems, as can now be given. The introduction condenses into a few pages the facts in the historical development of the ancient metres which are elsewhere scattered over many volumes. The theory of metre is not dwelt upon at too great length, but is handled with a due regard to the amount of knowledge actually existing. The impossibility of establishing the precise mode in which the ancients applied their metrical principles, in several cases, such, for example, as the method by which the Greeks reconciled the metrical with the rhetorical accent, in reading or delivering verse, is duly acknowledged. The subject, it is believed, is laid out and discussed with scientific precision; the divisions are clear and obvious, and the proportions just. Every point is sufficiently illustrated by examples, taken mostly from the purest Greek and Latin writers. The translators have had a difficulty in determining the proper technical terms in some instances; the subject has been so imperfectly handled in English, that the metrical nomenclature was not fully adequate to the exigencies of the case. Very few new terms, however, have been coined, and those the classical reader will at once comprehend from their etymology.
The references of the author to the Greek and Latin poets, have been retained. In the citations from the Greek dramatists, Dindorf's Poetae Scenici Graeci (Lips. 1830) has been used by him; in those from Pindar, Dissen's edition (Goth. et Erf, 1830).
For the convenience of reference, an Index has been added by the translators.
Cambridge, Mass., August, 1844.