The Mabinogion/Preface to the Second Edition

The Mabinogion (1877) translated by Charlotte Guest
Preface to the Second Edition
2780682The Mabinogion — Preface to the Second Edition1877Charlotte Guest


THE Arthurian Legends have at all times furnished a congenial subject to the students of Romance; and in the eight-and-thirty years which have elapsed since the first part of this Translation appeared, my "Mabinogion" have found their way into the hands of the learned both among ourselves and on the Continent.

More recently, however, the publication of the "Idyls of the King"—and among them of "Enid," which is founded on my version of "Geraint"—has interested a much wider circle of readers in the Legends, and there has arisen a demand for a new and more popular edition of my work, which it is the object of the present issue to supply.

It will be found to differ from its predecessor in the omission of the Welsh text, of all Welsh quotations in the Notes, and of the French Metrical Romance of the "Chevalier au Lion." The notices relating to the corresponding versions of the Tales in other European languages have also been condensed.

It is, then, under these altered conditions, and in the absence of all means of comparison on their part, that I ask my new readers to believe that I have striven to preserve in Saxon English the primitive simplicity of the Welsh original.

To these remarks it only remains for me to add, that the text of the Mabinogion exists in the Llyfr Coch o Hergest (or Red Book of Hergest) preserved in the Library of Jesus College, Oxford, and that for the accurate copy which I used, I was indebted to the learned labours of the Rev. John Jones (Tegid), Fellow of that College, and to the courtesy of the late Mr. Justice Bosanquet, for whom the transcript in question was originally made.

Langham house, London,
18th January, 1877.