From the preface:
One needs no longer to fetch an oracle, antiquam exquirite matrem, for example, in order to compel attention when one writes about the sources of language, literature, and institutions of the great Eng- lish-speaking race. This volume aims to give an account of the founders of that race while they still held their old home, their old faith, their old cus- toms; and the sole purpose of these “forewords” is to explain what materials and what method have been employed. The author has tried to free his text from cumbrous allusions, and to put into the notes material for wider study. These notes, as well as a portion of the introductory chapter, tell the reader what sources have been consulted in the making of the book itself. Quotations at second hand occur only where the authority from which they are taken is itself of the first class, such as Grimm on mythology, Miillenhoff on archaeology, or Waitz on institutions.
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