Monday, August 05, 2013


Receipt to Make a Great Critick

[William Oldisworth (1680-1734),] The Odes of Horace in Latin and English; With a Translation of Dr. Bentley's Notes. To which are added Notes upon Notes; Done in the Bentleian Stile and Manner, Part III (London: Bernard Lintott, 1712), p. 19 (on Ode 1.15.21-22):
Here the Dr. musters together about a Dozen of Quotations to prove that Excidium or exitium may be followed by a Genitive Case, as if this were some extraordinary Discovery. From such Atchievements as these Men attain the Titles of Acurate, Illustrious, Learned, Accute, the Star of Criticism, the North-Pole of Erudition, and the like; now in order to enable the Reader to follow such Steps, and attain the same Character, I shall here subjoin a Receipt to make a Great Critick. Take two or more Words out of Horace, Virgil, or any other Author; put these together in a Phrase; then lay them by a-drying upon the Alphabet; then take the Indexes of Statius, Juvenal, Tibullus, and as many other Authors as you think fit, not less in Number than six. Sift them well, and take out of them all the Excidiums or Exitiums, (if that be your Word) together with the Genitive Cases that follow; then bruse the whole together. Let it stand a while 'till it comes to a consistency; then spread it upon Paper, and without any Inward Application, it will infallibly make you a Person of a sound Judgment, of Great Erudition, and of Immense Reading.
Bentley, in his note on Horace, Odes 1.15.21-22, wasn't merely trying to prove that excidium or exitium may be followed by a noun in the genitive case. He was trying to solve a real problem, viz., which of the following readings found in manuscripts of Horace was best:
He concluded that exitium tuae gentis should be read.

See Oldisworth p. 18 and Q. Horatius Flaccus, ex Recensione et cum Notis atque Emendationibus Richardi Bentleii, 3rd ed. (Berlin: Weidmann, 1869), vol. I, p. 44.

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