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The Book of Poetry

165 pages
Library of Alexandria
IN the third chapter of the Prolegomena the author has endeavoured to state clearly the principles on which the metrical version of the Book of China's ancient poetry, published in the present volume, has been made, and will only repeat here that his readers will find in it, in an English dress, the Chinese poems themselves, and not others composed by paraphrase from them. It remains for him to relate how he came to undertake the work, and the assistance that he has received in completing it. While preparing his larger and critical work on the She, published at Hong-Kong in 1871, though, as he has stated in the chapter referred to, he did not think that the collection as a whole was worth the trouble of versifying; it often occurred to him that not a few of the pieces were well worth that trouble; and if he had had the time to spare, he would then have undertaken it. Occupied with other Chinese classics, the subject of versifying any portion of the She passed from his mind until he received in the spring of 1874, from his nephew, the Rev. John Legge, M.A., of Brighton in Victoria, Australia, a suggestion that he should bring out a metrical version of the whole Book. To encourage him to do so, his nephew promised his own assistance, and that of his brother, the Rev. James Legge, M.A., of Hanley, Staffordshire, while another helper might be found in the Rev. Alexander Cran, M.A., of Fairfield, near Manchester.