F ROMAN POETRY.
A great fluctuation of opinion has taken place, among scholars and critics, in regard to the worth of Latin Poetry. From the revival of learning till the end of last century, the poets of ancient Rome, and especially those of the Augustan age, were esteemed the purest models of literary art, and were the most familiar exponents of the life and spirit of antiquity. Their works were the chief instruments of the higher education. They were studied, imitated, and translated by some of the greatest poets of modern Europe; and they supplied their favourite texts and illustrations to moralists and humourists, from Montaigne to the famous English essayists who flourished during the last century. Up to a still later period, their words were habitually used in political debate to add weight to argument and point to invective. Perhaps no other writers, during so long a period, exercised so powerful an influence, not on literary style and taste only, but on the character and understanding, of educa
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