THE main substance of the following pages consists of public lectures given to the University of Oxford in the years 1907 to 1911. Together with two volumes previously published, The Springs of Helicon ( 1909) and Lectures on Greek Poetry ( 1910), this volume contains all the lectures given by me from the Chair of Poetry, except a few which were given on particular occasions or were of more local and transitory interest.
The paper on the Divine Comedy was read to the Oxford Dante Society; and that on the Aeneid incorporates the substance of two addresses given to the Classical Associations of the University College of South Wales and the Victoria University of Manchester. The greater part of the lecture on Virgil and Virgilianism has already been printed in the Classical Review for May 1908.
The Professorship of Poetry is an institution possessed by Oxford alone among the two hundred and fifty Universities of the modern world. It is a Chair which allows its successive occupants an infinite variation of scope, even were it not the case that the import of poetry and the substance of poetical criticism are themselves subject, from age to age, to processes of change and continuous growth. The guiding idea pursued by me during my tenure of the Chair was