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first in the order of time, and with reference to the disposition of the work, the editor has the pleasing task of communicating that the most important contributions to these volumes have flowed from other sources. Nearly the whole of Warton's first and second volume had been sent to the press when the publisher acquired by purchase the papers of Mr. Park, a gentleman whose general' acquaintance with early English literature is too well known to need remark, and whose attention for many years has been directed to an improved edition of the History of English Poetry. Among the accessions thus obtained were found some valuable remarks by Mr. Ritson, Mr. Douce, and an extract of every thing worthy of notice in the copious notes of Dr. Ashby 185, and an extensive body of illustrations either collected or written by Mr. Park, of which it would be presumption in a person so little qualified as their present editor to offer an opinion. To have incorporated this newly acquired matter in the respective pages to which it refers was found impossible, without cancelling nearly the whole impression, and it has therefore been subjoined in the shape of additional notes at the close of each volume. Fortunately, however, the greater share of Mr. Park's commentary was directed to the contents of Warton's Third Volume, and was consequently obtained in time to be inserted beneath the original text. For this portion of the edition, indeed, Mr. Park may be considered responsible, as the editor's notes were withdrawn wherever they touched upon a common subject, and those remaining are too few to need any specific mention. It would have been more agreeable if such an opportunity had presented itself in an earlier stage of the work; but however much might have been gained by having the same information communicated in a more pleasing form, this was not thought sufficient
195 The papers of Dr. Ashby were found to contain anything of consealso purchased at the same time (at jence which had not been previously no small expense); but they were not used by Mr. Park.
to countervail the objection that might have been brought against the work for its extensive repetitions. Wherever therefore Mr. Park's remarks on the previous volumes referred to a common subject without supplying any further illustration of it, they have been suppressed : but this, with the exception of a few animadversions of a sectarian tendency, and one or two notes copied from other writers, and obviously inaccurate, forms the whole that has been withdrawn from the public eye.
In the progress of his duties, a variety of subjects presented themselves to the editor's mind, as requiring some further illustration than could be lawfully comprised within the limits of a note; and under this impression he more than once ventured to promise a further discussion of the points at issue, in some subsequent part of the work. But the materials connected with these topics have so grown under his hands, that he has been compelled to relinquish the intention, and to reserve for a separate and future undertaking the inquiries to which they relate. The promised account of the distinctions of dialect in the Anglo-Saxon language, and the state of their poetry $5, has been in part withheld for the same reasons; and partly from a knowledge subsequently obtained that the subject was in much better hands. A volume containing numerous specimens of Anglo-Saxon and AngloNorman poetry, with translations and illustrations by the Rev. J. J. Conybeare, is on the eve of publication.
NOTE omitted at p. (96.) 1. 13. For the same reason (want of space) it has been found necessary
196 The Anglo-Saxon ode given at read “werig and wiges sæd," weary, and p. lxxxvii
. will be considered a substi- sad of (on account of, the) war, the tute perhaps for this omission. One of present difficulty vanishes, and the exthe obscurities in that poem may be re- pression may be justified by the “hilde moved by a slight emendation of the sædne” of Beowulf, ed. Thorkelin,
If for “werig wiges sæd," we
to omit any examination of the general style of the romantic tale, and the tone and colouring of its events, as compared with similar productions of the ancient world. The latter indeed are only preserved to us in the meagre notices of the grammarians; but even these inadequate memorials contain the traces of all those lineaments which have been supposed to confer an original character upon the poetry of modern Europe. The same love of adventure, of heroic enterprise, and gallant daring; the same fondness for extraordinary incident and marvellous agency obtrudes itself at every step: and to take one example out of many, the Life of Perseus might be made to pass for the outline of an old romance or the story of a genuine chevalier preux. Let the reader only remember the illegitimate but royal descent of this hero, his exposure to almost certain death in infancy, his providential escape, the hospitality of Dictys, the criminal artifices of Polydectes, the gallant vow by which the unsuspecting stranger hopes to lessen his obligation to the royal house of Seriphus, the consequences of that vow, the aid he receives from a god and goddess, the stratagem by which he gains a power over the monstrous daughter of Phorcys_who alone can instruct him in the road which leads to the dwelling of the Nymphs—the gifts conferred upon him by the latter, the magic scrip (which is to conceal the Gorgon’s head without undergoing petrifaction), the winged sandals (which are to transport him through the air), the helmet of Pluto (which is to render him invisible), the sword of Mercury, or according to other traditions of Vulcan, and the assistance given him by Minerva in his encounter with the terrific object of his pursuit — let the reader only recall these circumstances to his memory, and he will instantly recognise the common details of early European romance, Again: his punishment of the inhospitable and wily Atlas, the rescue of Andromeda, and the slaughter of the monster
about to devour her; the rivalry and defeat of Phineus, the delivery of Danaë from the lust of Polydectes, and the ultimate succession of Perseus to the throne of Argos, which he forgoes that he may become the founder of another kingdom, -only complete the train of events, which make up the successful course of a modern hero's adventures. A mere change of names and places,—with the substitution of a dwarf for Mercury, and a fairy for Minerva, of a giantess for the Phorcydes, of a mild enchantress for the Nymphs, à magician for Atlas, and the terrific flash of the hero's eyes for the petrifying power of Medusa's head-an Icelandic romance would say “at hafa ægishialmr i augom,”—with a due admixture of all the pageantry of feudal manners, would give us a romance which, for variety of incident and the prolific use of supernatural agency, might vie with any popular production of the middleage. The extraordinary properties of the sandals and helmet have already been shown to occupy a conspicuous rank among the wonders of modern romance; the sword of Mercury was called Harpé, as that of Arthur was named Excalibor; while to prove the affinity of this singular story with the genuine elements of popular fiction, all its incidents are to be found in the life of the Northern Sigurdr, or the Neapolitan tale of Lo Dragone. (Pentamerone Giorn. iv. Nov. 35.)
There is another point connected with the present subject, upon which a similar silence has been observed, and found exclusively in modern romance, the tone of chivalric devotion to the commands and wishes of the softer sex, and the general spirit of gallantry, which without the influence of passion acknowledged their rights and privileges. On a future occasion it will be shown, that in considering this question, the expressions of Tacitus in his Germany have been too literally interpreted. There is little in this valuable tract, relative to the female sex, which does not find a parallel in the institu
tions of other nations of the ancient world, wherever we find a notice of them, under a similar degree of civilization. The respect paid to female inspiration ought not to receive a more enlarged acceptation than is given to the remark of Pythagoras:
“ He farther observed, that the inventor of names .... perceiving the genus of women is most adapted to piety, gave to each of their ages the appellation of some Deity. In conformity to which also, the oracles in Dodona and at Delphi are unfolded into light by a woman.” (lamb. Life of Pythagoras, c. xi. Taylor's Transl.) Indeed the customs of the Doric States have been wholly overlooked in settling this question, and the Attic or Ionic system of seclusion taken for the general practice of all Greece. Is there any thing in Tacitus more decidedly in favour of female rights, than the apophthegm of Gorgo preserved by Plutarch (and quoted from memory)? “ Of all your sex in Greece,” said a stranger, “you Lacedæmonian women alone govern the men.” “True," replied Gorgo; “but then we alone are the mothers of men.” The elder Cato met a similar charge by observing: “Omnes homines mulieribus imperant, nos omnibus hominibus, nobis mulieres.” But here again it was insufficient to check those results so mournfully pourtrayed by Tacitus in his Annals and his History. If, however, this feeling were of Northern or Germanic origin, we might naturally expect that it would be most apparent among those nations who were last converted to Christianity, and who are known to have preserved so many of their ancient opinions. Now Mr. Müller, who has just risen from the perusal of all the Northern Sagas, assures us, that there is no trace of romantic gallantry in any of these productions: and it is clear from his analysis of many, that the Scandinavian women in early times were cuffed and buffeted with as little compunction as Amroo and Morfri castigate Ibla. (See Antar. i. 334. ii. 71.) We might with equal