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authors of which I have failed to discover. They are arranged in such chronological order as the repositories whence they are gleaned, or their own internal evidence, warrants. Other anonymous pieces are scattered through the work. Many of these epigrams are of great beauty, and it is a subject of regret that my efforts to recover the names of the writers have not been successful. Some, however, which have hitherto been generally given as anonymous, I am glad to be able to ascribe to their authors. The epigrams have been obtained from many sources, but whenever I could find out the volumes in which they originally appeared, I have examined them, in order to ensure correctness. The old spelling is generally modernised, with the exception of that of Spenser and Herrick, which is preserved to show the orthography of their day.

The translations are by many different writers, whose names will be found attached to their renderings. Elegance has been sought, but closeness to the original has always been considered of greater importance. Many of the translations from the Greek are by Bland and Merivale, the “associate bards” distinguished by Byron ; some are from the “Anthologia Polyglotta" of the late Dr. Wellesley; and a few from Major Macgregor's translation of the Greek Anthology, a work of recent date which should be consulted by all who take an interest in the subject. For a considerable number of translations marked C., I am indebted to a friend. For the few marked D., I am responsible; but I have never had recourse to my own pen when I could find renderings by others which faithfully represented the originals. In some cases I have made slight alterations in versions which were not sufficiently exact, but never without stating that change has been made. It has been difficult to find translations of the epigrams of the mediæval and early modern Latin poets ; for these Epigrammatists, being so little known, have found very few to array them in an English dress. Use has been made of about a dozen excellent renderings in the 233rd No. of the “ Quarterly Review.”

The reference of the Greek Epigrams is to Jacobs' “Anthologia Græca," 1794–1814. The reference of the Mediæval and Early Modern Latin Epigrams is, with a few exceptions, to the Anthology, entitled " Delitiæ Delitiarum," of Abraham Wright, 1637. General references will, I trust, be found to be carefully given. This is a point to which I have felt it of importance to pay special attention. I have not, however, considered it necessary to give particular references, when the epigrams are published in the wellknown works of their authors, or in the editions of the British poets, known as Bell's, Johnson's, and Chalmers'.

The Introduction contains a brief sketch of epigrammatio literature from the earliest times. My own views of the best style of epigram-writing, which have governed me in the general selection, will be there seen. A list of books, which may be useful to students in this department of literature, is added as an Appendix.

It remains to express my earnest thanks to the friend whose translations, marked C., display so conspicuously the accurate and the elegant scholar. His encouragement induced me to commence this work, and gave me energy in its progress; and the interest he has shown in it has rendered his advice as agreeable to seek as it has been valuable to receive. The obligation which I feel is a pleasure, for it is the evidence of a friendship which I prize.

RAJSGATE. January, 1870.


To this edition a supplement has been added, consisting chiefly of epigrams of an amusing character. Some valuable ones have been inserted, which were omitted in the previous edition.

Alterations have been made in the Greek Section by the omission of the fragments of Sappho and others, the Odes of Anacreon, and the Idylls of Bion and Moschus; and the insertion in their place of epigrams included by Jacobs in his “ Anthologia.”

Similar alterations have been made in the Ancient Latin Section, where additional epigrams by Martial have been inserted.

Various minor alterations have been made in the other Sections.

An Index of First Lines of all the epigrams has been added.

To many Reviews, in which “The Epigrammatists” received praise far greater than I ventured to hope, I am much indebted for valuable suggestions. Of these I have gladly availed myself in the present edition; and also of several excellent translations of mediæval Latin epigrams by the Rev. James Davies, in the “Contemporary Review.”

For a few spirited renderings of epigrams of Theocritus I am indebted to Mr. Calverley's translation of that poet; and I have again to express my obligation to C., who has contributed more of his graceful translations from the Greek for this edition.

RAMSGATE, Easter, 1875.


NO FORM of poetic composition is more universally popular than the epigram. The orator uses it in the Legislature to point his satire; the conversationalist at the diunertable to display his wit; and the correspondent in his Letters to enliven his subject. Short, it is easily retained in the memory; pithy, it contains in the compass of a few lines the sum of an argument; and the result of experience, it often expresses the wisdom of ages. Changed much in its character, it has yet retained its essentials, and, though shorn of its elegant simplicity, it has gained in the breadth of its application.

So ancient is the epigram, that its earliest use must be sought in the uncertain traditions of an age, the literature of which has descended but in fragments. So varied has been its form, that at one time largely employed for monumental inscriptions to honour the dead, at another it has been commonly used for satire to vilify the living. For example, Artemidorus, the Greek, composed the following for the tomb of Theocritus (Jacobs I. 194, i., translated by Polwhele):

Theocritus my name—of Syracuse
I claim no kindred with the Chian Muse.
Praxagoras' and Philinna's son, I scorn
The foreign bays that others' brows adorn.

With this let a well-known and worthless modern epigram be compared, on James Moore, or More, who was not averse to wear the bays belonging to others :

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