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Anne C. Lynch Botta

The following works are the sources from which this book is wholly or chiefly derived:—

1. ANTE-HOMERIC SONGS AND BARDS.—Many centuries must have elapsed before the poetical language of the Greeks could have attained the splendor, copiousness, and fluency found in the poems of Homer. The first outpourings of poetical enthusiasm were, doubtless, songs describing, in few and simple verses, events which powerfully affected the feelings of the hearers. It is probable that the earliest were those that referred to the seasons and their phenomena, and that they were sung by the peasants at their corn and wine harvests, and had their origin in times of ancient rural simplicity.

1. FRENCH LITERATURE AND ITS DIVISIONS.—Towards the middle of the fifth century the Franks commenced their invasions of Gaul, which ended in the conquest of the country, and the establishment of the French monarchy under Clovis. The period from Clovis to Charlemagne (487-768) is the most obscure of the Dark Ages. The principal writers, whose names have been preserved, are St. Remy, the archbishop of Rheims (d. 535), distinguished for his eloquence, and Gregory of Tours (d.

1. STATESMEN AND POLITICAL WRITERS.—Among the causes which rapidly developed literature and eloquence in the colonies, the most important were the oppressions of the mother country, at first silently endured, then met with murmurs of dissatisfaction, and finally with manful and boldly-expressed opposition.

1. LITERARY PREDOMINANCE OF ATHENS.—Among the Greeks a national literature was early formed. Every literary work in the Greek language, in whatever dialect it might be composed, was enjoyed by the whole nation, and the fame of remarkable writers soon spread throughout Greece. Certain cities were considered almost as theatres, where the poets and sages could bring their powers and acquirements into public notice. Among these, Sparta stood highest down to the time of the Persian war.

1. THE TROUBADOURS.—When, in the tenth century, the nations of the south of Europe attempted to give consistency to the rude dialects which had been produced by the mixture of the Latin with the northern tongues, the Provencal, or Langue d'oc, was the first to come to perfection. The study of this language became the favorite recreation of the higher classes during the tenth and eleventh centuries, and poetry the elegant occupation of those whose time was not spent in the ruder pastimes of the field.

1. The Language.—2. Dutch Literature to the Sixteenth Century: Maerlant; Melis Stoke; De Weert; the Chambers of Rhetoric; the Flemish Chroniclers; the Rise of the Dutch Republic.—3. The Latin Writers: Erasmus; Grotius; Arminius; Lipsius; the Scaligers, and others; Salmasius; Spinoza; Boerhaave; Johannes Secundus.—4. Dutch Writers of the Sixteenth Century: Anna Byns; Coornhert; Marnix de St. Aldegonde, Bor, Visscher, and Spieghel.—5. Writers of the Seventeenth Century: Hooft; Vondel; Cats; Antonides; Brandt, and others; Decline in Dutch Literature.—6.

1. HISTORY, BIOGRAPHY, AND TRAVELS.—From the year 1820, American literature may be considered as fairly launched upon its national career. The early laborers in the field had immense difficulties to encounter from ridicule abroad and want of appreciation at home; but they at last succeeded in dispelling all doubts as to the capability of the American mind for the exercise of original power, and to some extent diverted public thought from Europe as an exclusive source of mental supplies.

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