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PREFACE The period in which the story of The World's Desire is cast, was a period when, as Miss Braddon remarks of the age of the Plantagenets, "anything might happen." Recent discoveries, mainly by Dr. Schliemann and Mr. Flinders Petrie, have shown that there really was much intercourse between Heroic Greece, the Greece of the Achaeans, and the Egypt of the Ramessids. This connection, rumoured of in Greek legends, is attested by Egyptian relics... more...

CHAPTER I. THE VALUE OF ARCHÆOLOGY. The archæologist whose business it is to bring to light by pick and spade the relics of bygone ages, is often accused of devoting his energies to work which is of no material profit to mankind at the present day. Archæology is an unapplied science, and, apart from its connection with what is called culture, the critic is inclined to judge it as a pleasant and worthless amusement. There is... more...

INTRODUCTION Three thousand years ago the world was still young. The western continent was a huge wilderness, and the greater part of Europe was inhabited by savage and wandering tribes. Only a few nations at the eastern end of the Mediterranean and in the neighbouring parts of Asia had learned to dwell in cities, to use a written language, to make laws for themselves, and to live in a more orderly fashion. Of these nations the most brilliant... more...

THE CRUCIFIXION OF THE OUTCAST. A man, with thin brown hair and a pale face, half ran, half walked, along the road that wound from the south to the town of Sligo. Many called him Cumhal, the son of Cormac, and many called him the Swift, Wild Horse; and he was a gleeman, and he wore a short parti-coloured doublet, and had pointed shoes, and a bulging wallet. Also he was of the blood of the Ernaans, and his birth-place was the Field of Gold; but... more...

THE RUINOUS FACE When the siege of Troy had been ten years doing, and most of the chieftains were dead, both of those afield and those who held the walls; and some had departed in their ships, and all who remained were leaden-hearted; there was one who felt the rage of war insatiate in his bowels: Menelaus, yellow-haired King of the Argives. He, indeed, rested not day or night, but knew the fever fretting at his members, and the burning in his... more...


CHAPTER I. INTRODUCTORY. To summon a dead religion from its forgotten grave and to make it tell its story, would require an enchanter's wand. Other old faiths, of Egypt, Babylon, Greece, Rome, are known to us. But in their case liturgies, myths, theogonies, theologies, and the accessories of cult, remain to yield their report of the outward form of human belief and aspiration. How scanty, on the other hand, are the records of Celtic religion!... more...

CAN read the book of the past? Who can tell us the story of Creation's morn? It is, not written in history, neither does it live in tradition. There is mystery here; but it is hid by the darkness of bygone ages. There is a true history here, but we have not learned well the alphabet used. Here are doubtless wondrous scenes; but our stand-point is removed by time so vast, the mist of years is so thick before us, that only the ruder outlines can be... more...

PWYLL PRINCE OF DYVED.   Pwyll, prince of Dyved, was lord of the seven Cantrevs of Dyved; and once upon a time he was at Narberth his chief palace, and he was minded to go and hunt, and the part of his dominions in which it pleased him to hunt was Glyn Cuch.  So he set forth from Narberth that night, and went as far as Llwyn Diarwyd.   And that night he tarried there, and early on the morrow he rose and came to Glyn Cuch; when... more...

GERAINT THE SON OF ERBIN.   Arthur was accustomed to hold his Court at Caerlleon upon Usk.  And there he held it seven Easters, and five Christmases.  And once upon a time he held his Court there at Whitsuntide.  For Caerlleon was the place most easy of access in his dominions, both by sea and by land.  And there were assembled nine crowned kings, who were his tributaries, and likewise earls and barons.  For they... more...

INTRODUCTION. More than half a century ago Lady Charlotte Guest gave The Mabinogion to English readers in the form which, probably, will ever most delight them.  Her transcript of the Red Book of Hergest was not perfect, she found the meaning of many a Welsh phrase obscure, but her rendering is generally very accurate; and the Celtic tales retain in their new dress much of the charm, which so often evades the translator, of a perfect style... more...