« السابقةمتابعة »
rence, as we were one day conversing on the difficulties and discouragements which encounter a young man at his entrance into life, my son pointed to a box in his apartment, which he stated contained the wages of his industry, or at least the greater portion of them, during the three years of his brief practice ; requesting me to accept them as a kind of first-fruits' offering of filial affection. On opening the box, to my surprise I discovered-not the emoluments of a tardily remunerating profession, consolidated into some tiny trinket-but the MS. copy of the work now presented to the public!
I know not to what extent I may have been influenced by the circumstances under which I received it, but the more I perused it the more anxious I became that others should participate in the pleasure which it afforded me : nor will I attempt to conceal that a little parental pride, mingled with this wish to please. I therefore resolved to employ the few hours of leisure, which I could steal from more serious labours, in preparing the manuscript for publication.
It has been my object to make this work instructive to the classical student, as well as
entertaining to the general reader: I have, therefore, added numerous references to corroborate what might seem doubtful, and eluci. date what might seem obscure. Nor have I allowed partiality completely to triumph over candour in my criticisms; but where my son has appeared to me to follow the current of tradition rather than the stream of history, I have marked the divarication, in order that the reader might choose his own course.
As the narrative, after traversing the sombre shades of early civilization, emerges into the full light of classical sunshine, and connects itself in its progress with some of the greatest characters, and some of the most important events which the world has ever witnessed ; I have cited standard authorities to authenticate and illustrate its various descriptions and allusions. Indeed, I have done that for “Stonehenge,” which my learned brother, Monkbarns, proposed doing for the “Caledòniad :" but in this I deem myself more fortunate than him that my comment has not been delayed by the non-completion of the text. Hoping that this hint will not be lost upon my Lord Geraldine, I proceed further to observe, that my friend Monkbarns's very
excellent proposal of introducing his important Essay on Castrametation into an appendix, has also suggested to me the idea that an Essay on Druidism would give great value to the present work. I had commenced a series of notes explanatory of the rites and history of Druidism ; but upon more mature reflection, I determined to collect all the information which I had to communicate on that subject; embracing a considerable quantity which had been amassed by my son, into one essay; which I have now appended to the narrative; and in which, I flatter myself, the curious reader will find the apparent incongruities of the rites and tenets of this mystical religion satisfactorily explained and accounted for, and the whole digested into one consistent system.
If thou art given to the study of thy country's antiquities, and hast felt thy heart glow within thee as thou hast read of
Spenser's fairy themes
thou wilt not despise this attempt to clothe in modern language, a very ancient tale.
If the study of antiquity hath taken deep hold on thy mind, thou wilt have acquired that habit of cautious discrimination for which antiquaries are so proverbial! In such case thou wilt not care to perplex thyself by judging of the authenticity of any work by its internal evidence, but will rather list to what it's au
thor shall say concerning it. It is in vain, therefore, to ask thee to peruse the following tale, until I have satisfied thee of its genuine antiquity; which task I will now address myself unto, not doubting but that I shall perform the same in such manner, that he who shall have any misgivings concerning it must be a sceptic outright: a man who would even question the authenticity of the veritable Geoffrey of Monmouth, or the veracity of the truthseeking Sammes !
It is an unco-weary thing to tow against the stream of time for eighteen centuries in quest of a pedigree; but it were happy for the author, could he make as good a title to some of the unclaimed dividends in the bank of England, as the prototype of this little book can make to a place in the Archives of the first century.
The materials of the following tale are gathered from a MS. written in the Armoric tongue, apparently about 1700 years ago. Now, as in proving the descent of an ancient family, it is not necessary to begin with Adam and Eve; and it hath been even held by some moderns, that it is not essential to prove your kith and kin with. Noah ;-(contrary, however, to the established practice of antiquity in that