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N this progressive period, when University Extension is beginning its great work
of promoting the education and refinement of all who choose to embrace its advan
tages, we have prepared this collection of literature, independent of that movement but in harmony with its plan, to aid in developing the admirable idea of extending the benefits of an education in Belles Lettres to the people as well as to the student. The work is intended to give to every reader of the family an opportunity of becoming familiar with the great writers of every age and every land, not confining this knowledge, as heretofore, to the favored son upon whom is conferred an expensive education.
In carrying out this enterprise the publishers have been so fortunate as to secure for the compilation of this work the services of that distinguished and cultured scholar, Professor Henry Coppée, who has devoted the greatest portion of his life to the study and teaching of literature. Dr. Coppée graduated at West Point, served with honor in the Mexican War, and afterward for years filled the chair of Belles Lettres at the University of Pennsylvania, from which he was called to the same position at the Lehigh. Of Professor Coppée as an author little need be said, as his works are widely and favorably known: many of them are of an educational character, and some of them are used as text-books.
The design of the work is to embrace the whole field of literature, ancient ara modern, giving choice selections from eminent Historians, Poets,. Philosophers
, Sages, Scientists, Travelers, Statesmen, Dramatists and Authors of all ages, and also from the celebrated writers of story and song.
The authors of our country and the best writers of England, Scotland and Ireland will be largely represented. Much space will also be devoted to translations from rite French, German, Spanish, Portuguese, Italian and other modern tangues, 'thus affording facilities for becoming acquainted with the literature of Europe and the best results of culture and investigation in those fields.
The classics will also be largely represented— Homer, Hesiod, Virgil, Plato, Juvenal, Seneca and many others—giving the most popular renderings. Oriental literature will occupy a place in the present work.
From the Chinese classics selections are given from Mih Teih, who flourished about 400 B. C., and who advocated as a cure for all human ills universal mutual love; Yen Hwuy (521 B. c.), who wished to aid some prince to establish a reign of universal peace; Mencius (371 B. c.) who, maintained that man's nature was evil, but that he had only to learn and his nature would become good; and from the philosopher Seun (270 B. C.), a powerful reasoner, the John Calvin of those days, who took issue with Mencius and contended that man's nature was only evil. The student of literature, when comparing the theories of the worthies of those ancient days with the theories of the statesinen, philanthropists and philosophers of our own time, will find that as men differed then as to the best mode of curing or mitigating human ills, so men differ now. From the Chinese classics we have also the wisdom of their great teacher, of whom the Chinese say, “O Confucius, Confucius! before him there was none such, and after him there will come none like unto him.”
India, the land of story and fable, rich in its ancient literature, presents to our readers choice selections from its sacred books, the Vedas, and its great poem of ages, the Mahabharata.
Asiatic literature is also represented by the famous writers of Palestine, the Koran of Mohammed and the wise maxims of that very ancient, world-renowned sage of Persia, Zoroaster.
Our columns are enriched from Africa by the authors of Egypt, the ancient storehouse of primitive literature, the once proud possessor of that lost treasury of knowledge, the Alexandrian Library. Cyrene, also of the Dark Continent, bequeaths to us the writings of Callimachus, and from her famous city of Carthage, once the rival of proud Rome, she gives us the eloquent address of Hannibal and the dramatic writings of Afer.
Australia and New Zealand present their valuable contributions from the writings of such authors as Charles Harper, the forefather of Australian poetry, Adam Lindsay Gordon, Mrs. W. J. Anderson, Garnet Walch and Mary Colborne Veel.
Moorish literature contributes the fiery, eloquent address of that hero, patriot and able general, Musa ben Abel Gazan, who defended Granada to the last against the army of Ferdinand, and then sacrificed his life in combat rather than submit to the conqueror; we have also from the same literature the tender, poetic lament of Sultana Morayma for her brave father, Ali Atar, who was killed, and her husband, Sultan Boabdil, who was taken prisoner, at the battle of Lucena, -which was fought on the 21st of April, 1483, and in which the army of the Moors was almost annihilated. Cidi Caleb, a solitary horsemen, brought the sad news of defeat to “Granada. The song of the royal minstrels, sung to comfort the Sultana, is also given.
Mexico before the advent of the white man presents us with some fine specimens of the literature of a partially civilized people. Selections will be found from the beautiful poems of Nezahualcoyoti
, the poet-king of Tezcuco, whose capital has been called “The Athens of the Western World.” Our columns will also contain selections from the same rich literature, gathered by that wonderful antiquarian linguist and historian, Bernardino de Sahagun.
While the work abounds with choice gems from the authors of ancient days, and while it also shows authorship of every century from twelve hundred years before Christ to our own times, and has choice selections from countries the literature of which is almost unknown to the general reader and is even but little known to many students, yet the editor has devoted the largest portion of the work to the productions of the distinguished writers of civilized lands and of modern days. He has also introduced many pieces espee cially adapted to private and public readings
The following ancient authors are represented in the work. The date before the author's name is the year in which he was born or flourished:
BEFORE CHRIST. ZOROASTER, THE PERSIAN SAGE. Very ancient. Time he lived unknown. Aristotle, who was born 384 B. C., places him 6000 years before Plato, who lived 429 B.C. His disciples claim for him the invention of the wheel. 2357 YAOU, THE SAGE.
235 APOLLONIUS RHODIUS. 1600 MOSES, THE LAWGIVER.
521 YEN HwvY.
204 POLYBIUS. 1150 to 1200 ORPHEUS.
200 Moschus. 1033 SOLOMON.
195 PUBLIUS TERENTIUS AFER. 1015 LOKMAN THE SAGE.
137 NICANDER. 900 HOMER.
108 LUCIUS SERGIUS CATILINE. 850 HESIOD.
106 MARCUS TULLIUS CICERO. 740 ISAIAH, THE PROPHET.
470 KING ARCHIDAMUS.
100 JULIUS CÆSAR. 685 TYRTEUS. 468 SOCRATES.
96 MELEAGER. 665 PERIANDER. 445 XENOPHON.
95 TITUS LUCRETIUS CARUS. 650 PITTACUS. 444 ARISTOPHANES.
86 Caius VALERIUS CATULLUS. 610 THALES, 429 PLATO.
85 CAIUS CRISPUS SALLUST. 638 SOLOx. 400 YANG Choo.
69 VIRGIL. 611 ALCÆUS. 400 Мiн TEIн. .
64 HORACE. 600 ERINNA. 385 DEMOSTHENES.
59 Titus Livius. 600 SAPPHO. 384 ARISTOTLE.
54 ALBIUS TIBULLUS. 600 MUSÆUS. 371 MENCIUS.
52 SEXTUS AURELIUS PROPERTIUS. 600 CLEOBULUS. 342 MENANDER.
50 DIODORUS SICULUS. 600 ESOP. 300 CLEANTHES.
50 MARCUS MANILIUS. 570 Bias. 280 Bion.
50 CALIDASA or KALIDASA. 563 ANACREON. 272 THEOCRITUS.
43 OVID. 556 SIMONIDES. 270 SEUN (Philosopher).
35 Caius PEDO ALBINOVANUS. 556 CHILO or CHILON. 256 CALLIMACHUS.
24 PUBLIUS CORNELIUS SEVERUS. 551 CONFUCIUS. 250 M. JUNIANUS JUSTINUS.
19 C. VALLEUS PATERCULUS. 525 EscHYLUS. 247 HANNIBAL.
7 LUCIUS ANNÆUS SENECA.
The following writers lived and wrote between the beginning of the first century and the close of the thirteenth century:
23 PLINY (The Elder). 34 AULUS PERSIUS FLACCUS. 37 FLAVIUS JOSEPHUS. 43 MARCUS VALERIUS MARTIALIS. 50 PLUTARCH. 50 DECIMUS JUNIUS JUVENALIS. 52 EMPEROR TRAJAN. 55 CAIUS CORNELIUS Tacitus. 61 PLINY (The Younger). 72 CAICS SILIUS ITALICUS. 120 LUCIAN. 172 FLAVIUS PHILOSTRATUS. 211 OPPIAN. 220 JEHUDA-HA NASSI. 250 RHIANUS.
640 CÆDMON. 671 EMPEROR TEN-JI. 680 EMPRESS Ji-To. 673 to 735 VENERABLE BEDE. 849 ALFRED THE GREAT. 940 FERDOUSEE or FERDUZI. (LUB. 1020 MICHAEL CONSTANTINUS PSEL1056 SÆMUND (The Learned). 1077 CHAOU YUNG. 1157 RICHARD CUR DE LION. 1175 SADI. 1185 THOMAS OF CELANO. 1265 DANTE. 1280 ROBERT D. BRUNNE. 1300 MOHAMMED HAFIZ.
The above lists of writers and orators, who, with others also, are represented in the work, show a chain of authorship commencing in remote antiquity and extending down to the close of the thirteenth century. Literature began in very ancient times with occasional writers belonging to different parts of the world, giving to the men of those days a light of knowledge whose faint rays scarcely penetrated that dark night of ignorance the canopy of which enveloped our race. As time moved on writers increased in number, until, between the sixth century B. C. and the fifth century A. D., there flourished a galaxy of authors and orators who for deep thought and beautiful expression have rarely been equaled in the history of literature. These great lights of learning gradually disappeared, leaving, , from about the sixth until the close of the thirteenth century of our era, a dearth of letters. During this time the tide of human thought appeared to be rolling backward to that night of ages from which it sprang: only now and then some writer, like a star in a cloudy sky, loomed forth to shed a ray of knowledge upon a period of pitchy darkness. The close of the thirteenth century, however, gave one great name to literature—that of the poet Dante.
With the dawn of the fourteenth century thought commenced again to assert itself, and a new life of letters began which has steadily grown from that time to the present day.
The Editor has given the selections without comment, leaving it to his readers to consider speculative points for themselves. The thought, however, will occur to the reflecting mind, " Will there come another blight on knowledge, or will literature and science continue on their grand march of progress until ignorance and its offspring, superstition, shall be driven from the dark places of the world ?"
The following writers and orators are a few of the many hundreds represented in our work who flourished between the fourteenth century and the present time:
1304 FRANCESCO PETRARCH.
1651 THOMAS OTWAY.
1780 PIERRE JEAN DE BÉRANGER.