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searches into every original document that he had the opportunity of examining was immediately begun, and steadily pursued, till all that was most worth preserving was collected from the AngloSaxon MSS. and other ancient books. The valuable information thus obtained the author endeavoured to give to the public, in a readable form, in this work, of which two thirds have not appeared in English history before. His favourite desire has been fulfilled — a taste for the history and remains of our Great Ancestors has revived, and is visibly increasing

Many writers have since followed in the same path. Their publications have spread the useful taste, and contributed to obtain for our venerable forefathers the attention of their enlightened posterity. To gratify more fully this patriotic curiosity, some additional portions of original matter, from the Anglo-Saxon remains, have been inserted in the present edition. The most important of these consist of the following additions :

On reading our Alfred's Anglo-Saxon translation of Boetius, the author observed passages which were not in the original. Struck with this curious fact, he compared the king's work carefully with the Latin of Boetius, and found that Alfred had frequently taken occasion to insert his own thoughts and reasonings in various parts, forming so many little essays, dialogues, and imitated tales of our venerable sovereign's own composition. Some of the most important of these have been selected and

translated, and inserted in the second volume. [P. 103—120. of the present edition.]

SINCE the author called the attention of the public, in 1805, to the neglected, and indeed unknown Saxon heroic poem on Beowulf, Dr. Thorkelin has printed it at Copenhagen in 1815. This valuable publication has assisted the author in giving a fuller analysis of this curious composition in the third volume.

On the composition of the Anglo-Saxon parliament, or witena-gemot, many have desired more satisfactory information than the author had incorporated in the preceding editions. He has inserted, in the present, all the facts that he found, which seemed to have an actual relation to this interesting subject, and has added such remarks as they have suggested to a mind, wishing to be correct and impartial.

The author has added a statement of the great principles of the Anglo-Saxon Constitution and laws, as far as an attentive consideration of our most ancient documents has enabled him to discriminate them.

He has been long since requested to give some detail of the Anglo-Saxon population. The Conqueror's Record of Domesday afforded good materials for this subject. It has been examined, with this object in view; and the reader will find, in the third volume, an enumeration of the different classes and numbers of people whom it records to have been living in England about the time of the Norman conquest.

Some pains have been taken to make the work, in its other parts, as improved and as complete as a careful diligence could secure, and at the same time to comprise the whole within the compass of three octavo volumes. This object has been attained without the sacrifice of any material information, although, to accomplish it, some parts have been necessarily printed in a smaller type, and others as appendices. But the convenience to the public of compressing this history into three volumes seemed to outbalance the disadvantage of a partial alteration of the printed letter. As it now stands, it presents the reader with the History of England from the earliest known period to the time of the Norman conquest.

It would have been desirable, for the gratification of the curious student, that the original Anglo-Saxon of the various passages that are cited and given in English should have been added; but this would have extended the work into a fourth volume, and have made it more expensive than the author desired. The public may rely on his assurance, that he has endeavoured to make the translations literally faithful, in order that the style, as well as the sense, of the Anglo-Saxon writer may be perceived.

March 1820.

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