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AEDMON, sing me something.” Then he answered and said, “I cannot sing, and for that I went out from the ban
quet and came hither, because I could not sing.” Then said he who was speaking, “But you can sing for me. And he said, “What shall I sing?” And he said, “Sing me of creation,” and he began to sing :
“Nu we sculon herigean heofonrices Weard,
Thus, according to tradition, our literature began more than a thousand years ago. The study of this literature is an inspiring subject, revealing the range and variety of thought during a period of ten centuries, picturing the inner life of those changing years, and employing the various forms of expression which our language has assumed from its early beginnings to the more perfect richness and complexity of to-day. This book has assembled a notable selection of representatice poetry and prose, chosen with a view to its appeal to the reader and student of the greatest of modern literatures.
There is cultural value that can scarcely be exaggerated in presenting our literature in chronological order. Best in this way, we believe, can be presented the elements that have been woven into the wonderful fabric which has been handed down by those who have made this invaluable contribution to modern civilization. Here are represented the writers of English literature whose names have now become household words. Here we are able to read the story of the