26 JUNE 1936, Page 20


[To the Editor of THE SPECTATOR.] SIR,—In his interesting and illuminating article on " The Scholarship of A. E. Housman," Mr. Bowra speaks—and justly—of that eminent scholar's " piercing intelligence and matchless resource in devising solutions for difficulties." May I give a concrete example ? In a poem of Martial's (xi.8.1) we find, in a number of editions, the word drauci, which has given rise to many emendations, none of them satisfactory. Housman saw that the offending word was a corruption of another word signifying some sort of vessel for holding ungu- ents. And he divined what that word was—dracti, an example of a Greek word used by Martial. Readers interested in matters of this kind would do well to turn up the brilliant exposition given by Housman in the Classical Review for 1930. It is a characteristic piece of critical exactness.—Faithfully