John Conington

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John Conington (10 August 182523 October 1869) was an English classical scholar.


  • There are few writers whose text is in so satisfactory a state as Virgil's.
    • P. Vergili Maronis Opera. The Works of Virgil, with a Commentary by John Conington, M.A., Vol. I (1858), Preface, p. xi
  • Virgil imitated Homer, but imitated him as a rival, not as a disciple.
    • P. Vergili Maronis Opera. The Works of Virgil, with a Commentary by John Conington, M.A., Vol. II (1863), Introduction, p. 27
  • Blank verse really deserving the name I believe to be impossible except to one or two eminent writers in a generation.
    • Preface to The Aeneid of Virgil (1866)
  • It is true that the longer one has lived the better one can appreciate a poem which is concerned with life. But the gain that comes to us with the years depends, partly at least, upon the riches we have been willing to extract from literature, which is the experience of men and women written out. In youth's search for this treasure the Aeneid will be at once a fair haven and a port of departure.
    • As quoted in School and Home Education, Vol. 35 (1916), p. 172


The Aeneid of Virgil (1866)[edit]

  • This suffering will yield us yet
    A pleasant tale to tell.
    • Book I, p. 12
  • 'Is there, friend,' he cries, 'a spot
    That knows not Troy's unhappy lot?'
    • Book I, p. 23
  • If men and mortal arms ye slight,
    Know there are gods who watch o'er right.
    • Book I, p. 27
  • Myself not ignorant of woe,
    Compassion I have learned to show.
    • Book I, p. 31
  • Too cruel, lady, is the pain,
    You bid me thus revive again.
    • Book II, p. 39
  • Fury and wrath within me rave,
    And tempt me to a warrior's grave.
    • Book II, p. 52
  • We have been Trojans: Troy has been:
    She sat, but sits no more, a queen.
    • Book II, p. 53
  • Dire agonies, wild terrors swarm,
    And Death glares grim in many a form.
    • Book II, p. 55
  • Fell lust of gold! abhorred, accurst!
    What will not men to slake such thirst?
    • Book III, p. 77
  • Live and be blest! 'tis sweet to feel
    Fate's book is closed and under seal.
    For us, alas! that volume stern
    Has many another page to turn.
    • Book III, p. 96
  • Snatch him, ye Gods, from mortal eyes!
    • Book III, p. 101
  • While memory lasts and pulses beat,
    The thought of Dido shall be sweet.
    • Book IV, p. 124
  • My life is lived, and I have played
    The part that Fortune gave.
    • Book IV, p. 138
  • 'To die! and unrevenged!' she said,
    'Yet let me die.'
    • Book IV, p. 138
  • Hush your tongues from idle speech.
    • Book V, p. 146
  • They can because they think they can.
    • Book V, p. 153
  • The journey down to the abyss
    Is prosperous and light:
    The palace gates of gloomy Dis
    Stand open day and night:
    But upward to retrace the way
    And pass into the light of day
    There comes the stress of labour; this
    May task a hero's might.
    • Book VI, p. 191
  • A lethargy of sleep,
    Most like to death, so calm, so deep.
    • Book VI, p. 209
  • Here sees he the illustrious dead
    Who fighting for their country bled;
    Priests who while earthly life remained
    Preserved that life unsoiled, unstained;
    Blest bards, transparent souls and clear,
    Whose song was worthy Phoebus' ear;
    Inventors who by arts refined
    The common lot of human kind,
    With all who grateful memory won
    By services to others done:
    A goodly brotherhood, bedight
    With coronals of virgin white.
    • Book VI, p. 217
  • Ah! would but Jupiter restore
    The strength I had in days of yore!
    • Book VIII, p. 294
  • O ye Gods, and O great Jove,
    Have pity on a father's love
    And hear Evander's prayer:
    If 'tis your purpose to restore
    My Pallas to my arms once more;
    If living is to see his face,
    Then grant me life, of your dear grace:
    No toil too hard to bear.
    But ah! if Fortune be my foe,
    And meditate some crushing blow,
    Now, now the thread in mercy break,
    While hope sees dim and cares mistake,
    While still I clasp thee darling boy,
    My latest and my only joy,
    Nor let assurance, worse than fear,
    With cruel tidings wound my ear.
    • Book VIII, p. 295
  • 'Tis thus that men to heaven aspire:
    Go on and raise your glories higher.
    • Book IX, p. 333
  • Each has his destined time: a span
    Is all the heritage of man:
    'Tis virtue's part by deeds of praise
    To lengthen fame through after days.
    • Book X, p. 367
  • In vain she strives with dying hands
    To wrench away the blade:
    Fixed in her ribs the weapon stands,
    Closed by the wound it made.
    Bloodless and faint, she gasps for breath;
    Her heavy eyes sink down in death;
    Her cheek's bright colors fade.
    • Book XI, p. 427
  • Why reel I thus, confused and blind?
    What madness mars my sober mind?
    • Book XII, p. 436

The Satires, Epistles, and Art of Poetry of Horace (1869)[edit]

  • Then take, good sir, your pleasure while you may;
    With life so short 'twere wrong to lose a day.
    • Satires, Book II, satire viii, p. 85
  • O Fortune, cruellest of heavenly powers,
    Why make such game of this poor life of ours?
    • Satires, Book II, satire viii, p. 94
  • Let hopes and sorrows, fears and angers be,
    And think each day that dawns the last you'll see;
    For so the hour that greets you unforeseen
    Will bring with it enjoyment twice as keen.
    • Epistles, Book I, epistle iv, p. 108
  • Mere grace is not enough: a play should thrill
    The hearer's soul, and move it at its will.
    • Art of Poetry, p. 175

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