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IF Sordello is to be read at all, a fresh and independent attempt at its elucidation need make no excuse for its appearing. Many aids, from earnest and thoughtful essays to annotated editions that had best be regarded as practical jokes, have been offered to the student of this strange intellectual product, but it is generally acknowledged that it remains a 'dark poem.'
“But that lock went damnable hard,” says the Immortal Tinker, when describing his pilgrims' attempt to escape from Doubting Castle. The words have often come nigh me as I have tried to force my way into the stronghold of the Giant Despair of our literature to rifle its treasures : if my readers can conscientiously finish the sentence of which the words quoted form a part, I shall be more than satisfied.
During the preparation of my work I have received kindness at the hands of many friends. My thanks are due to those who have given me free access to their books, and to those who, out of the stores of their own knowledge, have aided me in following up references. Dr John Sutherland Black, besides revising the proofs,