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"AMONG the many movements" of the human mind during the nineteenth century not the least worthy of note has been the greatly wider prominence and popularity reached by landscape art, not only in the form of picture and drawing, but as diffused by multiplied forms of reproduction, and by photography. The manifold sources of interest and pleasure thus opened to civilised nations-to England in particular, long the favourite home of this art—are obvious. Nor, perhaps, would it be possible to name any other line of development and advance more innocent and wholesome, or more free from the counterpoising evils which, with a sad, an almost uniform frequency, lie in wait upon every step forward or onward that mankind can take.
Poetry and painting, if not brother and sister (as once was said of music and of song), are at least nearly akin; and this progress in landscape art seems to give a timeliness to the aim of the following book, enlarged from lectures delivered in the University of Oxford during 1895. And the sphere of University work has itself been recently widened in two directions which may also, it is hoped, render such an attempt more seasonable,-the Honour School of English Language and Literature, and the "Extension" system. It has been partly with reference to these that so many specimens of the treatment of Landscape in its widest sense are here offered; and that those from ancient or foreign literatures have been
translated into prose with the greatest degree of closeness to the originals which I have been able to provide or to find,-although conscious everywhere how largely poetical charm has been hence sacrificed. Yet thus only, as a rule, can any fair portion of the original tone and colour be preserved. Almost every verse translator is inevitably tempted to import modern, romantic, detail and feeling into classical poetry. And even where the aim has been at literal accuracy, the difference in sentiment with which the ancient and modern worlds have regarded Nature is so fine and subtle, that it proves apt to evaporate under metrical necessities. A few translations in verse, however, are included for the sake of relief when they seemed sufficiently close to retain some part of the authentic quality.
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."
LONDON, September 1896
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.