The Anglo-Saxon Version of the Story of Apollonius of Tyre/Preface


THE object of the Editor in publishing the following fragment being purely philological, all matter relating to the original tale, and its several versions, is purposely avoided, and would, indeed, be superfluous, the subject having already been very amply and ably treated both by Dr. Thomas Warton,[1], and the late Mr. Douce.[2]

The Latin version (of which the Saxon is a translation) forms the 153rd chapter of the Gesta Romanorum; but a more ancient and better text is that given by Welser, from a manuscript in the Library of the Abbey of St. Ulrich and St. Afra at Augsburg.[3]

Compositions in Anglo-Saxon upon profane subjects being so few, it is to be much regretted that a fragment only of the Story of Apollonius of Tyre has been preserved to us in that ancient dialect. The chasm in the Saxon text is supplied in the following translation (a few trifling alterations excepted,) from the recent English version of the Gesta.[4]

The Anglo-Saxon version of Apollonius forms part of the matchless collection of manuscripts in that tongue preserved in the Library of Corpus Christi College, Cambridge; for the most liberal use of which (consistent with the restrictions of the devisor),[5] and for much kind attention during the time he was engaged in transcribing it, the Editor with pleasure offers his grateful acknowledgements to the Rev. Dr. Lamb, Master of the College. To the Rev. H. Calthrop, M. A., one of the Fellows, he also feels greatly indebted for his politeness during the same period: to his friend, John M. Kemble, Esq., M.A., of Trin. Coll., he has likewise to offer his thanks, both for the share he kindly took in the transcription, and for collating the proofs with the manuscript, as they issued from the press.

Oxford, May 30, 1834.

  1. History of English Poetry, vol. i. p. clxxvii. 8vo edit.
  2. Illustrations of Shakespeare, vol. ii. p.135
  3. Marci Velseri Opera Historica et Philologica. Norimb. 1632, fol. p.677.
  4. Gesta Romanorum, &c., by the Rev. Charles Swann. 2 vols. 12mo. 1824.
  5. Archbishop Parker.