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among living British authors, who encouraged me in the most friendly manner, by words * as well as by deeds, privileging me, to publish their productions in my
“ Collection.” To all of them this volume may convey my best thanks for their kindness. Its companion volumes may at the same time prove a monument of my gratitude to the public, adorned by such a glorious galaxy of literary names. **
* One of them, celebrated alike as novelist and statesman said: “It is with extreme satisfaction, that I have assented to the wish of Mr. Bernhard Tauchnitz of Leipzig, to prepare an edition of ..... for continental circulation and especially for the German public. The sympathy of a great nation is the most precious reward of authors, and an appreciation, that is offered us by a foreign people has something of the character and value which we attribute to the fiat of posterity."
** I append a list, in alphabetical order, of writers, whose works have appeared in the Collection: Miss Aguilar, W. H. Ainsworth, Currer Bell, Ellis & Acton Bell, Lady Blessington, Rev. W. Brock, Sir Edward Bulwer Lytton, John Bunyan, Robert Burns, Miss Burney, Lord Byron, Thomas Carlyle, w. Collins, Fennimore Cooper, Miss Cummins, Ch. Dickens, B. Disraeli, E. B. Eastwick, George Eliot, Fielding, Lady G. Fullerton, de Foe, Mrs. Gaskell, Oliver Goldsmith, Mrs. Gore, N. Hawthorne, Th. Hughes, Washington Irving, G. P. R. James, Douglas Jerrold, S. Johnson, Miss Kavanagh, R. B. Kimball, Kinglake, Ch. Kingsley, Ch. Lever, G. H. Lewes, H. W. Longfellow, Lord Macaulay, Lord Mahon, Mansfield, Captain Marryat, Mrs. Marsh, Milton, Thomas Moore, Miss Mulock, Hon. Mrs. Norton, Ossian, Mrs. Paul, Mrs. Pike, Pope, Ch. Reade, Walter Scott, Miss Sewell, Shakespeare, Smollett, Sterne, Mrs. Stowe, Swift, Baroness Tautphoeus, Alfred Tennyson, W. M. Thackeray, Thomson, Anthony Trollope, Warburton, S. Warren, Miss Warner, Miss Yonge.
In the present volume it has been my intention to trace out the development of the English language during the last five centuries - from Jolin Wycliffe, the venerable founder of the modern English in the middle of the Fourteenth Century, to Thomas Gray, the mild star on the sky of English poetry in the middle of the Eighteenth Century-in characteristic specimens. It constitutes a supplementary part to those ancient authors, whose works have already appeared in this “Collection,” namely, Shakespeare, Swift, Thomson &c.
And so I will proceed with this undertaking, with the same zeal and spirit that have hitherto marked its progress.
LEIPZIG, February 1. 1860.
“This Version (of the New Testament by Wycliffe) is interesting from the circumstances under which it was made, and its connexion with one of the greatest names of our country, so curious a monument of the language of that period, of so much philological importance, illustrating, as it does, the formation of our own mother tongue and exhibiting it in its transition-state, and also so valuable, as showing incidentally, and therefore the more surely, how certain questions of theology, were regarded by him whom we term our earliest reformer, and what was, in his day, and by him, considered the most authentic as a standard and, as it were, an original text."
Preface of "The New Testament in English translated by J. W. etc. Printed for Will. Pickering."
pe cuvangelie of Joon
na pe bygynnynge was be worde (pat is goddis fone)/ and pe worde was at gode e god was pe worde/ pis was in be bigynnynge at god/ alle pingis ben made by hym: and wij outen hym is made nouzt / pat ping þat is made: in hym was liff / and pe liff was pe lizte of men/ and pe ligte (chynep in dirkenellis # dirkenellis comprehenden (or taken) not it/ a man was sente fro god: to whom pe name was ioon/ bis man came into witneslynge. þat he schulde bere witneslynge of pe ligt. Þat alle men schulde bileue by hym/ he was not be lizt: but þat he schulde bere witnellynge of pe lizt: it was verrey ligte pe whiche liztenep eche man comynge into pis worlde, he was in pe worlde e pe worlde was made by hym: and be worlde knewe bym not/ he came into his owne pingis: and hes receyue: den hym not/ forlope how manye euer receyueden hym: he zaue to hem power for to be made Þe Cones of god: to hem þat bileueden in his