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Hero-Myths & Legends of the British Race   By: (1867-)

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Transcriber's Note

The Glossary and Index includes a pronunciation of the Anglo Saxon names in the text. These include some characters with diacritical marks. These are shown as [=x] for a character with a macron (straight line) above it, and as [)x] for a character with a breve (u shaped symbol) above it. Also used is the accute accent (´). If this does not display properly, you may need to adjust your font settings.

HERO MYTHS & LEGENDS OF THE BRITISH RACE

BY M. I. EBBUTT M. A.

WITH FIFTY ONE FULL PAGE ILLUSTRATIONS BY

J. H. F. BACON A.R.A. BYAM SHAW W. H. MARGETSON R.I. GERTRUDE DEMAIN HAMMOND AND OTHERS

[Illustration]

GEORGE G. HARRAP & COMPANY LTD. LONDON CALCUTTA SYDNEY

[Illustration: Robin Hood and the Black Monk

William Sewell

[ Page 331 ]]

First published August 1910 by GEORGE G. HARRAP & CO. 39 41 Parker Street, Kingsway, London, W.C.2

Reprinted: October 1910 September 1911 December 1914 May 1916 December 1917 February 1920 June 1924

Printed in Great Britain at THE BALLANTYNE PRESS by SPOTTISWOODE, BALLANTYNE & CO. LTD. Colchester, London & Eton

TO

MISS JULIA KENNEDY

IN TOKEN OF THE ADMIRATION AND AFFECTION OF AN OLD PUPIL THIS BOOK IS DEDICATED

PREFACE

In refashioning, for the pleasure of readers of the twentieth century, these versions of ancient tales which have given pleasure to story lovers of all centuries from the eighth onward, I feel that some explanation of my choice is necessary. Men's conceptions of the heroic change with changing years, and vary with each individual mind; hence it often happens that one person sees in a legend only the central heroism, while another sees only the inartistic details of mediæval life which tend to disguise and warp the heroic quality.

It may be that to some people the heroes I have chosen do not seem heroic, but there is no doubt that to the age and generation which wrote or sang of them they appeared real heroes, worthy of remembrance and celebration, and it has been my object to come as close as possible to the mediæval mind, with its elementary conceptions of honour, loyalty, devotion, and duty. I have therefore altered the tales as little as I could, and have tried to put them as fairly as possible before modern readers, bearing in mind the altered conditions of things and of intellects to day.

In the work of selecting and retelling these stories I have to acknowledge with most hearty thanks the help and advice of Mr. F. E. Bumby, B.A., of the University College, Nottingham, who has been throughout a most kind and candid censor or critic. His help has been in every way invaluable. I have also to acknowledge the generous permission given me by Mr. W. B. Yeats to write in prose the story of his beautiful play, "The Countess Cathleen," and to adorn it with quotations from that play.

The poetical quotations are attributed to the authors from whose works they are taken wherever it is possible. When mediæval passages occur which are not thus attributed they are my own versions from the original mediæval poems.

M. I. EBBUTT

TANGLEWOOD BARNT GREEN July 1910

CONTENTS

CHAP. PAGE INTRODUCTION xvii

I. BEOWULF 1

II. THE DREAM OF MAXEN WLEDIG 42

III. THE STORY OF CONSTANTINE AND ELENE 50

IV. THE COMPASSION OF CONSTANTINE 63

V. HAVELOK THE DANE 73

VI. HOWARD THE HALT 95

VII. ROLAND, THE HERO OF EARLY FRANCE 119

VIII... Continue reading book >>




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