« السابقةمتابعة »
translated into prose with the greatest degree of closeness to
It is simply as Literature that the Greek and Roman poets, with those who follow, have been here regarded. Philological questions, with the influence of national History over Poetry, lie beyond my scope.
But so far as I may have succeeded in this effort it will meet the wish expressed by Matthew Arnold in one of his letters, that a somewhat considerable body of Greek and Latin literature should be so rendered as to make it accessible to readers, anxious for some familiarity with the literature of those great languages which they have studied but little.
The original texts have uniformly been subjoined (except in case of Hebrew, Celtic, and Anglo-Saxon quotations), in the hope that the book may thus gain an interest for a larger body of readers. Here the always increasing number of University Extension students, and of other readers everywhere, has been specially kept in view; those who, without directly aiming at scholarship, have knowledge enough of languages not our own as to be able, by aid of an English version, to trace something of the aspect, something of the original charm and magic by
which Homer, Vergil, or Dante, are enhaloed :—While scholars may be interested by this first attempt to unite in what might be strictly named an Anthology, a tolerably full gallery of exquisite pictures from worlds now passed away
Cras amet qui nunquam amavit, quique amavit cras amet.
To those readers, again, who are preparing for the English Honour School, I would point out First, that knowledge of the great classical literature, of the poets in particular, is simply essential to the true, the innermost appreciation of our own poetry ; and then, that the series of this collection which ranges from Hellas to Saxon England, in its degree displays the sources, more or less foreign, which have played a part so large and so beneficial in forming that literature, which, in Macaulay's noble phrase, is “the most splendid and the “ most durable of the many glories of England.”
The plan of the volume is explained in the prefatory chapter. Here, on my own account, I will only add a few words from the excellent Household Book of English Poetry, by Archbishop Trench : “I trust that I shall not be found fault with that I “ have sometimes taken upon me in these notes to indicate what “ seemed worthy of special admiration, or sought in other ways “ to plant the reader at that point of view from which the merits “ of some poem might be most deeply felt and best understood.”
If the explanatory criticisms now offered should sometimes have the good fortune even to approach the quality of those supplied by the good and gifted Archbishop, my readers may be amply satisfied.
LONDON, September 1896