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Harold : the Last of the Saxon Kings — Volume 01 by Baron Edward Bulwer Lytton Lytton
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to ascend.

In venturing on ground so new to fiction, I saw before me the option
of apparent pedantry, in the obtrusion of such research as might carry
the reader along with the Author, fairly and truly into the real
records of the time; or of throwing aside pretensions to accuracy
altogether;--and so rest contented to turn history into flagrant
romance, rather than pursue my own conception of extracting its
natural romance from the actual history. Finally, not without some
encouragement from you, (whereof take your due share of blame!) I
decided to hazard the attempt, and to adopt that mode of treatment
which, if making larger demand on the attention of the reader, seemed
the more complimentary to his judgment.

The age itself, once duly examined, is full of those elements which
should awaken interest, and appeal to the imagination. Not untruly
has Sismondi said, that the "Eleventh Century has a right to be
considered a great age. It was a period of life and of creation; all
that there was of noble, heroic, and vigorous in the Middle Ages
commenced at that epoch." [1] But to us Englishmen in especial,
besides the more animated interest in that spirit of adventure,
enterprise, and improvement, of which the Norman chivalry was the
noblest type, there is an interest more touching and deep in those
last glimpses of the old Saxon monarchy, which open upon us in the
mournful pages of our chroniclers.

I have sought in this work, less to portray mere manners, which modern
researches have rendered familiar to ordinary students in our history,
than to bring forward the great characters, so carelessly dismissed in
the long and loose record of centuries; to show more clearly the