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INTRODUCTION Gay's concern in his survey of The Present State of Wit is with the productions of wit which were circulating among the coffee-houses of 1711, specifically the large numbers of periodical essays which were perhaps the most distinctive kind of "wit" produced in the "four last years" of Queen Anne's reign. His little pamphlet makes no pretence at an analysis of true and false wit or a refining of critical distinctions with regard to... more...

CHAPTER I BROWNING AND TENNYSON Parnassus, Apollo's mount, has two peaks, and on these, for sixty years, from 1830 to 1890, two poets sat, till their right to these lofty peaks became unchallenged. Beneath them, during these years, on the lower knolls of the mount of song, many new poets sang; with diverse instruments, on various subjects, and in manifold ways. They had their listeners; the Muses were also their visitants; but none of them... more...

"It would be hard to name a better commonplace book for summer lawns. . . . The lover of poetry, the lover of gardening, and the lover of quaint, out-of-the-way knowledge will each find something to please him. . . . It is a delightful example of gardening literature."—Pall Mall Gazette. "Mr. Ellacombe, with a double enthusiasm for Shakespeare and for his garden, has produced a very readable and graceful... more...

CHAPTER I INTRODUCTORY In history we find certain names associated with great movements: Luther with the Reformation, or Garibaldi with the liberation of Italy. Luther certainly posted on the door of the church at Wittenberg his famous Theses, and burnt the Papal Bull at the gates of that city; yet before Luther there lived men, such as the scholar Erasmus, who have been appropriately named Reformers before the Reformation. So, too, Cavour's... more...

I.   LD King Cole Was a merry old soul, And a merry old soul was he; He called for his pipe, And he called for his bowl, And he called for his fiddlers three. Every fiddler, he had a fiddle, And a very fine fiddle had he; Twee tweedle dee, tweedle dee, went the fiddlers. Oh, there's none so rare, As can compare With King Cole and his fiddlers three! [The traditional Nursery Rhymes of England commence with a legendary satire... more...


IDust “I see the ships,” said The Eavesdropper, as he stole round the world to me, “on a dozen sides of the world. I hear them fighting with the sea.” “And what do you see on the ships?” I said. “Figures of men and women—thousands of figures of men and women.” “And what are they doing?” “They are walking fiercely,” he said,—“some of... more...

CHAPTER I THOTH, THE AUTHOR OF EGYPTIAN LITERATURE.WRITING MATERIALS, ETC. The Literature of ancient Egypt is the product of a period of about four thousand years, and it was written in three kinds of writing, which are called hieroglyphic, hieratic, and demotic. In the first of these the characters were pictures of objects, in the second the forms of the characters were made as simple as possible so that they might be written quickly, and in... more...

PREFACE This is no Chronicle of Saints. Nor yet is it a History of Devils. It is a record of certain very human, strenuous men in a very human, strenuous age; a lustful, flamboyant age; an age red with blood and pale with passion at white-heat; an age of steel and velvet, of vivid colour, dazzling light and impenetrable shadow; an age of swift movement, pitiless violence and high endeavour, of sharp antitheses and amazing contrasts. To judge it... more...

CHAPTER I. INTRODUCTION. Information of Mediæval Europe Concerning India and Persia—Travellers—India and Persia in Mediæval German Poetry. The knowledge which mediæval Europe had of India and Persia was mostly indirect, and, as might be expected, deficient both in correctness and extent, resting, as it did, on the statements of classical and patristic writers, on hearsay and on oral communication. In the... 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...