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The Modern Reader's Bible

Biblical Idyls

Solomon's Song
Ruth
Esther
Tobit

A SERIES OF WORKS FROM THE SACRED SCRIPTURES PRESENTED

IN MODERN LITERARY FORM

Bible.O. T. Selections. English.

BIBLICAL IDYLS

EDITED, WITH AN INTRODUCTION AND NOTES

BY

RICHARD G. MOULTON, M.A. (CAMB.), PH.D. (PENN.)

PROFESSOR OF LITERATURE IN ENGLISH IN THE

UNIVERSITY OF CHICAGO

New York
THE MACMILLAN COMPANY

LONDON: MACMILLAN & CO., LTD.

1900

All rights reserved

COPYRIGHT, 1896,
BY THE MACMILLAN COMPANY.

Set up and electrotyped July, 1896. Reprinted December, 1896; January, July, 1897; June, 1898; July, 1899; January, 1900.

Norwood Press
J. S. Cushing & Co. - Berwick & Smith

Norwood Mass. U.S.A.

INTRODUCTION

that, 746

The word 'Idyl’as a literary term is not easy to define. It first appears in literary history in connection with the late school of Greek poetry represented to modern readers chiefly by Theocritus, and the kind of composition which thus arose when the poetry of Europe, having exhausted its primary impulses, found a new starting point in external nature from the open air shepherd life of Sicily. The Sicilian songs were the source of the long pastoral tradition which has run through Roman and modern literatures; and in association with such arcadian scenes the term 'idyllic' seems especially appropriate. If we go to etymology for light on the word · idyl,' we are met by a difficulty. It is a diminutive of the Greek word eidos, and eidos is a “form' or “kind' of literature. But what is the force of the diminutive? 'That it is partly intended to convey the fragmentary and miscellaneous character of the poems is suggested by the application to them of

1 The commonly received explanation of idyls as little pictures' seems to me to have nothing in its favour. It is not clear that eidos could mean picture; still less clear that 'little pictures' would be sufficiently descriptive of the poems to constitute a name for them. .

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