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The object of this book is two-fold, to provide the students of Propertius with an annotated edition of a portion of the poems of Propertius and a general introduction to the study of the whole.
In selecting the poems, I have not picked out all the easiest or most interesting, but I have endeavoured to make the selection representative of my author's subjects and of his style, and I am very confident that those who are attracted by the poems that I have selected will not be disappointed when they read the remainder. In forming my text, which is chiefly based on the critical materials of Hertzberg supplemented by those of Baehrens, I have been generally guided in cases of doubt by internal considerations, which are our sole stay when the relative values of manuscripts have still to be determined. (Compare the remarks in Appendix A.) I may add that I have spent some pains to make the spelling as near as possible to that of the age of Propertius.
In my notes, whether original or drawn from the sources specified below, I have endeavoured to be suggestive rather than exhaustive, but I trust that they will supply all the information required for understanding a very difficult author. With that end in view, I have given arguments for most of the poems, and a complete translation of the first half ; in performing which most delicate task, I have aimed at preserving, as far as I could, the full sense and general style of the original. I am afraid that my readers will find a certain want of uniformity in the notes due to the fact that I have had to work at them intermittently and at long intervals. But I trust that it will not be serious enough to cause any practical inconvenience.
Through pressure of space I have often passed over explanations which I believe to be wrong but which would have been noticed in a larger commentary. I mention this expressly, as it might otherwise be thought that I was ignorant or negligent of the work of my predecessors. I have however generally reoorded the opinion of the only English editor of Propertius, Prof. F. A. Paley (abbreviated P.), where it differs from my own.
Besides Mr Paley's edition, I have consulted the following, of which the ones marked with a star are those that I have found the most useful.
* Scaliger, Passerat (chiefly in Volpi's edition), * Volpi, Broukhuys, * Burmann, * Lachmann (chiefly the first edition), Paldamus, Barth, Kuinoel, * Becker (selections), * Hertzberg, Carutti, * Jacob, Keil and L. Müller.
Baehrens' and Palmer's texts came into my hands when the bulk of my work was done. But I have nevertheless been able to make some use of them. In preparing the Notes and Introduction I have also referred to several programmes and dissertations as well as papers in the learned journals. Amongst the former I may mention those of Nobbe, Peerlkamp,