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Copyright, 1898

BY THE MACMILLAN COMPANY

Set up and electrotyped, January, 1899. Reprinted, March, 1901;

July, 1902; July, 1903; July, 1907.

OF THE

CRRITY

L

CALIFORNIA

PREFACE.

H4134 1907 -MAIN

"MANY a boy," says Lowell, "has hated, and rightly hated, Homer and Horace, the pedagogues and grammarians, who would have loved Homer and Horace the poets, had he been allowed to make their acquaintance." The danger which besets us all is that of forgetting that the appreciation of a simple and noble work of art is an immediate one on the part of those who are fitted to receive it, and that the unfit cannot be made over by more apparatus. Here, if anywhere, the letter killeth. Happily, the days are past when the master-work of a great poet could be used chiefly as a corpus vile for the demonstration of facts in Indo-European phonetics, and yet the feeling cannot be avoided that we are often not satisfied with the direct message of the artist's creation itself, but must attach to it a load of outside information. The case is rather similar to what is seen in certain Italian churches, where the attempt is made to relieve the severe simplicity of some marble statue by adding to it brocaded garments, wreaths of paper flowers, and a crown of brass.

If our poem be worthy of the place which it has held for a century, it is because it is not a dead work but a living one, and the most helpful interpretation of any such work must always be sought in the living word of one who has reverently and patiently penetrated into its spirit, and who

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transmits it faithfully to the next generation. Some aid must be given to help the transition from the known to the unknown in the case of the student of a foreign language and civilization, so that the author shall not speak as an alien, but as friend to friend; some illustrations and parallels which shall aid in the comprehension of the rich. content of the words and phrases of a strange idiom ; some assistance must be lent in making clear the purpose of the artist, but whatsoever is more than these, in the way of insinuated matter, cometh of evil. The best that can be done is to put a pure text into the hands of an inspired and thoroughly equipped interpreter, and allow it to do its own work.

As regards the state of the text, it can perhaps be said without presumption that the present one is more free from outside intrusions than any which has appeared since Goethe undertook the revision of the poem. It has been my good fortune to enter into the fruits of the elaborate studies upon the text made for some years by Professor Hewett, and to have his results placed fully at my disposal. The Schneider collection of original editions of the German classics, recently acquired by the Northwestern University, has also supplied invaluable original materials. for this purpose. In orthography and punctuation, modern rules have been applied in this, as in countless other ways, I have had much help from Professor Hewett's monumental edition.

:

Mention must also be made of the helpful advice given me from time to time by my valued colleague, Professor George O. Curme; of the loyal assistance of Miss Estelle Caraway, fellow in the department, and of the fidelity

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