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A METRICAL TABLE:
By C. C. FELTON,
ELIOT PROFESSOR OF GREEK LITERATURE IN HARVARD COLLEGE,
PUBLISHED BY JOHN BARTLETT,
Bookseller to the University.
Entered according to Act of Congress, in the year 1849, by
JOHN BARTLETT, in the Clerk's Office of the District Court of the District of Massachusetts.
PRINTERS TO THE UNIVERSITY
The Birds of Aristophanes has always been regarded as one of his most delightful pieces. Like the Clouds, it is comparatively free from the objectionable license of thought and language, which deforms several of his plays to such a degree that they cannot be used in schools or colleges. It is true there are some passages in this play also too freely executed: but it has been decided, on mature reflection, to let them stand, so as to offer the drama entire, on the principles which guided my decision in editing the Clouds.
The text of this edition is reprinted from the Poetæ Scenici of Dindorf. In the preparation of the notes, I have used Commentaries of Christian Daniel Beck, to. gether with the notes and Scholia edited by Invernizius ; the notes of Bothe, to whose valuable edition I am under great obligations; and the brief, but excellent, annotations of Blaydes. Credit is always given for what has been taken from the labors of these distinguished scholars.
In addition to the critical apparatus just mentioned, I have endeavoured to explain from other sources a branch
of the subject, to which less attention has heretofore been given; -I mean the natural history of the birds, which are prominent and entertaining figures among the persons of the play. I have carefully examined Aristotle's History of Animals, from which I have drawn illustrative descriptions. But it is well known that a considerable portion of the birds of Aristophanes are not mentioned in Aristotle's work, and some of them are thought to be unknown. The natural history of Greece has been almost entirely neglected since the researches of the philosopher of Stagira; and here is an opportunity for a naturalist, who is at the same time a good classical scholar, to make valuable contributions both to science and philology.
I suspected that the poet's selection of birds was not made at random, but that, in every instance, they were chosen with a special meaning, and to effect a particular purpose, in point of art. In considering the play from this point of view, I have been much indebted to my friend and colleague, Professor Agassiz, of whose profound and comprehensive knowledge of ornithology I have been permitted to avail myself in attempting to determine the species of some of the birds supposed to be unknown; and I have come to the conclusion, that, in all cases, the character and habits of the birds are exactly and curiously adapted to the parts they perform in the comedy, showing Aristophanes to have been a most careful observer, as well as a consummate poet. I have also used with profit a little work, entitled “Beitraege zur Ornithologie Griechenlands, von Heinrich Graf von der