« FöregåendeFortsätt »
OTHER PIECES OF OUR EARLIER POETS, TOGETHER
WITH SOME FEW OF LATER DATE
BY THOMAS PERCY
LORD BISHOP OF DROMORE
MACKAY'S 1001 GEMS OF ENGLISH POETRY. THE WORKS OF OLIVER GOLDSMITH.
POPE'S HOMER'S ILIAD AND ODYSSEY.
DISRAELI'S CURIOSITIES OF LITERATURE.
CHAUCER'S CANTERBURY TALES.
THE Publishers had a twofold object in producing this edition of the "Reliques." They wished to make a popular "Percy" in one volume. The design implied revision. Percy compiled his Ballads and Songs with taste and learning; but he sometimes littered the page with the lumber of the antiquary. When the "Reliques" appeared, the lumber itself was valuable, and the Essays on the Stage and Romance possessed a particular interest; but they are now superseded by later and ampler researches, and are therefore omitted in this edition. 1 have retained the discourse on the Minstrel; for it is composed in the best style of the Author, and conveys much information in agreeable language. Some illustrative notes are added. In a companion volume-“Ballads and Romances" the interesting subject of metrical romance will be examined. The introductory Notices of the "Reliques" are either condensed from the originals, or wholly re-written. The limits of a volume made this treatment imperative; but the nature of the book seemed also to suggest and authorise it. A compilation taken up and laid down during several years is unavoidably marked by the desultory habits of the compiler, who, at the end of a poem, is found correcting an error in the beginning. Moreover, since the time
of Percy, ingenious scholars have diligently traversed the paths which he trod, lighting up many dark places in their way. But the claims of Percy deserve respectful deference: I have never talked when he might talk for me, and phrases in harmony with the old. colouring of the verses are constantly preserved.
It is not the least singular circumstance, in the history of the "Reliques," that no attempt has hitherto been made to correct the mistakes or render the beauties of the Collection more conspicuous. Issuing from the press in various forms, the Introductions have always re-appeared in their original shape. The spots on the old face have been religiously transferred to the new. I include the questionable restoration of "The Wanton Wife of Bath," which the praise of Addison tempted the Editor to adopt, but which his maturer taste very wisely excluded. I should have gratified my own judgment by the omission of two or three other compositions, of which the merits and the fitness. are extremely doubtful.
In all editions of the " Reliques" with which I am acquainted, the Glossaries remain as Percy left them. I have endeavoured to improve and enlarge them in this volume. The obscurer words are explained at the foot of each page, and, while constantly availing myself of Percy's assistance, I have sought other guides when he was silent. Mr. Halliwell's "Dictionary of Archaic Phrases," and Mr. T. Wright's "Obsolete and Provincial English," are useful companions.
The poetical text is given, without any abridgment, from the fourth edition, which underwent the revision of the Bishop's nephew, a refined and judicious scholar. The punctuation has been attentively considered, and