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primitive epic, whose author has so skillfully hidden himself behind his work that, as some one has said of Homer, “his heroes are immortal, but his own existence is doubtful.”
Although the historical events chronicled in the epics have in every case been so distorted by the fancy of the poets that they cannot be accepted as history, the epics are storehouses of information concerning ancient manners and customs, religious beliefs, forms of government, treatment of women, and habits of feeling.
Constructed upon the noblest principles of art, and pervaded by the eternal calm of the immortals, these poems have an especial value to us, who have scarcely yet realized that poetry is an art, and are feverish from the unrest of our time. If by the help of this volume any reader be enabled to find a portion of the wisdom that is hidden in these mines, its purpose will have been accomplished.
My thanks are due to Mr. John A. Wilstach for the use of selections from his translation of the “ Divine Comedy;" to Prof. J. M. Crawford, for the use of selections from his translation of the "Kalevala; to Henry Holt & Co., for the use of selections from Rabillon's translation of “La Chanson de Roland; to Roberts Brothers, for the use of selections from Edwin Arnold's "Indian Idylls; ” to Prof. J. C. Hall, for the use of selections from his translation of “Beowulf;” and to A. C. Armstrong & Son, for the use of selections from Conington's Translation of the “Æneid." The selections from the “Iliad” and the Odyssey" are used with the permission of and by special arrangement with Houghton, Mifflin & Co., publishers of Bryant's translations of the “Iliad” and the “Odyssey.” Special thanks are due to Miss Eliza G. Browning of the Public Library of Indianapolis, to Miss Florence Hughes of the Library of Indiana University, and to Miss Charity Dye, of Indianapolis.
THE HINDU EPIC: THE RAMAYANA .
FROM THE RÂMÂYANA :
FROM THE NIBELUNGEN LIED:
How Brunhild was received at Worms Lettsom
How Margrave Rüdeger was slain