I have added to this reprint of my “Elene and other Anglo Saxon Poems” a translation of the dream of the rood, which has been on hand for several years awaiting a suitable time to see the light. A brief Introduction to the poem has been prefixed, which, doubtless, leaves much to be desired, but it is all that the translator now has time for, and I must refer to the works mentioned for fuller information and discussion. With thanks for past consideration, and the hope that this addition has made the book more acceptable, I entrust it again to indulgent readers.
James M. Garnett.
PREFACE TO EDITION OF 1911.
I have read over carefully these translations with a view to another reprint, which the publishers find necessary, but I have not compared them again with the texts used. I have corrected a few typographical errors of little importance.
For the bibliography I would refer to Brandl’s Sonderausgabe aus der zweiten Auflage von Paul’s Grundriss der germanischen Philologie (Strassburg, 1908), in which I find noted Holthausen’s edition of the Elene (Heidelberg, 1905), but I have not seen it.
I take advantage of this opportunity to say that my translation of Beowulf, of which the last reprint was issued in 1910, is not in prose, as some have misconceived it, but it is in the same metrical form as the translations in the present volume,—an accentual metre in rough imitation of the original. I agree with Professor Gummere and others that this is a better form for the translation of Old English poetry than plain prose. It was approved by the late Professor Child nearly thirty years ago, as noted in the Preface to the second edition of my translation of Beowulf, January, 1885.
James M. Garnett.
In presenting to the public the following translations of the Old English (Anglo-Saxon) poems, Elene, Judith, Athelstan, Byrhtnoth, and the dream of the rood, it is desirable to prefix a brief account of them for the information of the general reader.
I. The Elene, or Helena, is a poem on the expedition of the Empress Helena, mother of Constantine the Great, the first Christian emperor, to Palestine in search of the true cross, and its successful issue. The mediaeval legend of the Finding of the Cross is given in the Acta Sanctorum under date of May 4, assigned by the Church to the commemoration of St. Helena’s marvellous discovery. The Latin work is the Life of St. Quiriacus, or Cyriacus, Bishop of Jerusalem, that is, the Judas of the poem.