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Old French Romances by William Morris
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OLD FRENCH ROMANCES DONE INTO ENGLISH BY WILLIAM MORRIS




INTRODUCTION




Many of us have first found our way into the Realm of Romance,
properly so called, through the pages of a little crimson clad volume
of the Bibliotheque Elzevirienne. {1} Its last pages contain the
charming Cante-Fable of Aucassin et Nicolete, which Mr. Walter
Pater's praises and Mr. Andrew Lang's brilliant version have made
familiar to all lovers of letters. But the same volume contains four
other tales, equally charming in their way, which Mr. William Morris
has now made part of English literature by writing them out again for
us in English, reproducing, as his alone can do of living men's, the
tone, the colour, the charm of the Middle Ages. His versions have
appeared in three successive issues of the Kelmscott Press, which
have been eagerly snapped up by the lovers of good books. It seemed
a pity that these cameos of romance should suffer the same fate as
Mr. Lang's version of Aucassin et Nicolete, which has been swept off
the face of the earth by the Charge of the Six Hundred, who were
lucky enough to obtain copies of the only edition of that little
masterpiece of translation. Mr. Morris has, therefore, consented to
allow his versions of the Romances to be combined into one volume in
a form not unworthy of their excellence but more accessible to those
lovers of books whose purses have a habit of varying in inverse