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WITH ILLUSTRATIONS FROM
POETRY AND PROSE
GERALDINE E. HODGSON
LITT.D., TRIN. COLL., DUBLIN
“CRITICISM AT A VENTURE, ," "ENGLISH MYSTICS," ETC.
ALL THOSE, NOW MEN AND WOMEN,
MANY OF THEM TEACHERS,
WHOM I HAVE TRIED TO TEACH
E English have been called a “ nation of shopkeepers." Since, in such a climate as
ours, no one can exist without clothes and shelter, to say nothing of food, which all animal creatures want, we need not be ashamed if we have spent time, effort and thought on producing these first necessities of life.
Shopkeepers or no, we have, from our earliest days, shown that we realise that“ Man doth not live by bread only." However money-making or dull we may, as a race, seem to some other nations, we have produced a literature which in beauty, depth and variety cannot be surpassed perhaps by any other.
This book is not meant to be an Outline History of this our Literature: plenty of such exist. It has, as its main aim, the purpose of helping some of those who do not know much or perhaps anything about it, or who may be thinking of it as a dull, horrid thing which they have to “ learn ” in school, to see it as it is. But in trying to carry out that aim, it is not going to pretend that this great heritage of ours will ever be really ours if we take no trouble at all to get hold of it. That is there, waiting for everyone, if we will take some trouble to find, and understand it. Never, nowhere has a mortal being got something for nothing. If he seemed to do so, someone else paid the price. “ The gods sell