THIS may be called a sequel to my Classical Background of English Literature ( Allen and Unwin, 1948). That book was not unfavourably received, but there was a feeling among those for whom it was principally intended that it suffered from the absence of illustrative examples. The broad statements I made might be reasonable, but one wished to see them tested by their application to cases. In this volume I have tried to meet that criticism. But the subject is so large, and the risk of not hitting the mark so great, that I have confined myself to poetry. If my treatment appears to satisfy readers, I shall hope to employ it in a subsequent volume dealing with prose.
Since I am not writing primarily for classical scholars, I have had to impose certain restrictions on myself: these I may now explain. No Greek is quoted, only Latin. But as Latin is a very difficult language, and Latin authors use it in very different ways, I have translated my Latin extracts for the use of those who may feel glad of the assistance. These translations I have put in an Appendix, that they might not disfigure the page, and offend those who can read the original without them.
I have not been very scrupulous or consistent in my quotation of texts whether Latin or English. In a book which is not meant for the critical scholar more is lost than gained by following a rigid plan. It does not seem to me worth while, but much the contrary, to make it harder for the average man to read Latin by writing v as u and -is instead of -es in the accusative plural of many third declension nouns. On the other hand it seems that the Romans did not normally begin verses, as we do, with a capital letter, and I have followed them in this, since no confusion is possible.