The Poems and Fables of Robert Henryson, Schoolmaster of Dunfermline

The Poems and Fables of Robert Henryson, Schoolmaster of Dunfermline

The Poems and Fables of Robert Henryson, Schoolmaster of Dunfermline

The Poems and Fables of Robert Henryson, Schoolmaster of Dunfermline

Excerpt

It would be ungenerous to introduce a new edition of Henryson without a free and grateful acknowledgment of the admirable work done by David Laing and George Gregory Smith. David Laing owed more than a little to George Chalmers, and the late Professor Gregory Smith paid tribute to Laing: it is now my turn to confess my indebtedness to all three. Henryson has, in the past, been lucky in his editors, but it has been my good fortune to have the handling of material that was unknown or inaccessible to them. In the case of one text in particular, the 1577 Englishing of the Fables byRichard Smith, the volume was known to Chalmers in 1824, to Laing in 1865, and to Gregory Smith in 1914, but has never before, in upwards of a hundred years, been accessible to an editor of Henryson. The St John's College manuscript and the 1663 print of the Testament of Cresseid, though known, have not been used before, and the 1571Bassandyne text of the Fables, upon which my text is based, was neither known nor used. Further, the valuable Asloan manuscript collection, which was withheld from previous editors, has been made available, edited, photographed, and the prints deposited in the National Library of Scotland. It is obvious, therefore, that a new text of Henryson is both possible and necessary; and I hope that in the Commentary and Textual Introduction I have been able to contribute to the better understanding of the poet.

My acknowledgments must be brief and comprehensive. To my friend, Professor Bruce Dickins, of Leeds University, I owe more than I can acknowledge in detail; his enthusiasm first kindled mine, and his scholarship has always been at my service. I wish to thank the Staff of the National Library of Scotland; Dr H. W. Meikle, the Librarian, who, by the purchase of the Bassandyne Henryson, not only accommodated me but enriched the Library; Mr William Beattie, the Keeper of Printed Books, who has kept neither books nor counsel from me; and . . .

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