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the sole recreation of life. His observatory at Ely furnished him with the means of improving himself, as well as instructing others, in astronomical science; and his lecture there, which I heard, on modern Rome, proved the interest he took in architecture, sculpture and painting, as well as in history and geography.
The 'Memorabilia' of your husband's career at Cambridge and elsewhere I need not here recount. They have been fully and ably set forth in the Memoir of him by Dr Wood of St John's College, printed first in a College periodical (the Eagle) and subsequently published in a separate form. I would willingly add a few records of his earlier time, and grateful memories of later years (in which I owed so much to his kindness and yours), if I did not think that brevity would be more accordant to your feelings.
His excellence in all the relations of life needs no testimony from me. But at this time I would emphatically say that he was a good Churchman in the truest sense; for he was moderate, reasonable and tolerant in his Church principles.
In the new Divinity Schools, which Cambridge will soon have gained by his munificence, may the same temper prevail among teachers and students, the only temper which, by the divine blessing on its exercise, can restore order and harmony to our sadly divided Church.
My dear Mrs Selwyn,
Your affectionate friend,
THE EDITOR'S PREFACE.
THE title of this book, which may seem a strange one, is due to the simple fact, that nearly all the verse contributed by myself was composed at odd times, in walking or riding or in bed; and, generally, by way of recreation. I have had plenty of work in the study at most times but the only verse-writing done by me there consists of a few translations printed in my commentary on Virgil. These, as they came in the course of work, may count as work; but any other versifying of mine (psalms and hymns included) must rank with what the younger Pliny calls 'Lusus,' amusements of spare hours. And such amusements, alternating with others different in kind, I have found through life not merely harmless, but wholesome to body and mind.
Professional scholars need not be ashamed of recreations which have occupied the leisure of poets so illustrious as Milton and Gray, of statesmen so eminent as Grenville, Wellesley and Stratford de Redcliffe.
In public education it has not been my theory or practice to worry pupils with verse-writing. Boys who learn a language should at least have the chance given them of appreciating and imitating its poets. Those who can avail themselves of that chance are entitled to a fair share of reward and promotion. Those who are unable (for all cannot do all things)
may be allowed to 'hang up the pipe to Pan,' and apply themselves to something else, 'quorum indiget
The metres I have taken and the styles I have followed are, I fancy, those which were most familiar to me in boyhood. The Homeric, the Pindaric, the Aristophanic, the Plautine, the Lucretian, are not of the number. One or more of these I may have tried ere now but, as I could not satisfy myself, and did not want to labour for the purpose, I laid them aside. Hence, in reading the Greek Heroic Verse of Mr Munro or Dr M. Butler, the Greek Lyrics of Prof. Jebb, or the comic masterpieces, Greek and Latin, of the late Richard Shilleto, I recognize and enjoy works of genius transcending any powers of mine: and 'non equidem inuideo, miror magis1.'
Most of my own Greek and Latin translations here printed have already been published in the Sabrinae Corolla, or elsewhere. Some few appear now for the first time, as, for instance, the version of Gray's poem at p. 87; which (as an Eclogue, not an 'Elegy ') made railway travelling less tedious last summer.
The Miscellanies which follow are slight enough, and chiefly of ancient date. The songs from German were written for the use of a musical cousin who did not know that language.
1 Hence I could not concede so much to an opponent as Mr Thring did at the late Head Masters' meeting when he said: 'I should not mind if every Latin verse of modern writing my own included-were burnt in a big bonfire.' To me it seems that anything of beauty,' Greek, Latin or English, original or translated-and such things' exist in each kind is worth preserving. Cultivated minds have various tastes, more or less catholic. And which of us shall claim to dictate to another his own taste or distaste?
The motive for my translation of Virgil's Eclogues is explained in the Appendix, where an account is also given of the two next poems (the Death of the Princess Charlotte, and the Reign of Youth), with a brief notice of their author.
These two Poems, with Prof. Jebb's brilliant Pindaric version of the Ode, constitute the chief claims of this book to permanent favour. Without these, I might well say, in the spirit of Martial (1. 4): Tired of my shelves, with longing eyes you look to Paternoster Row, my little book.
yet if, worm-eaten here, you moan your fate,
But, feeling as I do the intrinsic beauty of the Epicedium and the Lyric Poem, and knowing that a scholar such as Prof. Jebb would not have given his time and thought to the reproduction in Greek of an unworthy English original, I venture, on the strength of these, to place in front of my book the Horatian motto (c. III. 30. 5):
I shall not wholly perish: part of me
will shun oblivious death
and draw perpetual breath
from the fresh praises of posterity.
THE ELMS, Cambridge,
B. H. K.
March 24, 1877.