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INTRODUCTION It may well be doubted whether works of controversy serve any useful purpose.  ‘On an opponent,’ as Mr. Matthew Arnold said, ‘one never does make any impression,’ though one may hope that controversy sometimes illuminates a topic in the eyes of impartial readers.  The pages which follow cannot but seem wandering and desultory, for they are a reply to a book, Mr. Max Müller’s Contributions... more...

CHAPTER I: ANCESTRY, BIRTH, EDUCATION, ENVIRONMENT: 1513(?)-1546 “November 24, 1572. “John Knox, minister, deceased, who had, as was alleged, the most part of the blame of all the sorrows of Scotland since the slaughter of the late Cardinal.” It is thus that the decent burgess who, in 1572, kept The Diurnal of such daily events as he deemed important, cautiously records the death of the great Scottish Reformer.  The... more...

PREFACE The author would scarcely have penned this little specimen of what Scott called “antiquarian old womanries,” but for the interest which he takes in the universally diffused archaic patterns on rocks and stones, which offer a singular proof of the identity of the working of the human mind.  Anthropology and folklore are the natural companions and aids of prehistoric and proto-historic archaeology, and suggest remarks... more...

ESSAYS INTRODUCTORY THE SO-CALLED HOMERIC HYMNS “The existing collection of the Hymns is of unknown editorship, unknown date, and unknown purpose,” says Baumeister.  Why any man should have collected the little preludes of five or six lines in length, and of purely conventional character, while he did not copy out the longer poems to which they probably served as preludes, is a mystery.  The celebrated Wolf, who opened the... more...

PREFACE TO NEW IMPRESSION. When this book first appeared (1886), the philological school of interpretation of religion and myth, being then still powerful in England, was criticised and opposed by the author. In Science, as on the Turkish throne of old, "Amurath to Amurath succeeds"; the philological theories of religion and myth have now yielded to anthropological methods. The centre of the anthropological position was the "ghost theory" of Mr.... more...


INTRODUCTORY: OF MODERN ENGLISH POETRY To Mr. Arthur Wincott, Topeka, Kansas. Dear Wincott,—You write to me, from your “bright home in the setting sun,” with the flattering information that you have read my poor “Letters to Dead Authors.”  You are kind enough to say that you wish I would write some “Letters to Living Authors;” but that, I fear, is out of the question,—for me. A thoughtful... more...

CHAPTER I.  SCOTLAND AND THE ROMANS. If we could see in a magic mirror the country now called Scotland as it was when the Romans under Agricola (81 A.D.) crossed the Border, we should recognise little but the familiar hills and mountains.  The rivers, in the plains, overflowed their present banks; dense forests of oak and pine, haunted by great red deer, elks, and boars, covered land that has long been arable.  There were lakes... more...

PREFACE The Editor thinks that children will readily forgive him for publishing another Fairy Book. We have had the Blue, the Red, the Green, and here is the Yellow. If children are pleased, and they are so kind as to say that they are pleased, the Editor does not care very much for what other people may say. Now, there is one gentleman who seems to think that it is not quite right to print so many fairy tales, with pictures, and to publish them... more...

ACT I TABLEAU I The Double Life The Stage represents a room in the Deacon’s house, furnished partly as a sitting-, partly as a bed-room, in the style of an easy burgess of about 1780. C., a door; L.C., second and smaller door; R.C., practicable window; L., alcove, supposed to contain bed; at the back, a clothes-press and a corner cupboard containing bottles, etc. Mary Brodie at needlework; Old Brodie, a paralytic, in wheeled chair, at... more...

JOHN AMEND-ALL On a certain afternoon, in the late spring-time, the bell upon Tunstall Moat House was heard ringing at an unaccustomed hour. Far and near, in the forest and in the fields along the river, people began to desert their labours and hurry towards the sound; and in Tunstall hamlet a group of poor country-folk stood wondering at the summons. Tunstall hamlet at that period, in the reign of old King Henry VI., wore much the same... more...