The Deeds of Beowulf: An English Epic of the Eighth Century Done into Modern Prose

The Deeds of Beowulf: An English Epic of the Eighth Century Done into Modern Prose

Read FREE!

The Deeds of Beowulf: An English Epic of the Eighth Century Done into Modern Prose

The Deeds of Beowulf: An English Epic of the Eighth Century Done into Modern Prose

Read FREE!

Excerpt

The Volume of the Cottonian Library in the British, Museum which is marked Vitellius, A. XV. is a short but rather bulky folio containing ten distinct manuscripts, wholly unconnected with one another both as regards date and contents. Ninth in order comes our poem, which occupies about a third part of the volume; and it is written in a hand-writing which seems to belong to the close of the tenth or the early part of the eleventh century. This book suffered considerably in the unfortunate fire which happened to the Cotton Library in 1731, and many of the scorched leaves have since chipped away, so that the text is often mutilated at the ends of the lines.

A committee was appointed by the House of Commons to view the Cotton Library after this disaster, and we learn from their Report (1732, folio) that '144 volumes are either lost, burnt, or entirely spoiled, and 98 others damaged so as to be defective; so that the said library at present consists of 746 entire volumes and 98 defective ones.' The collection when purchased . . .

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