本卷的目的是把在一般读者我们两个早期诗意杰作 - 坎特伯雷故事与该仙灵女王做的方式，将呈现一个小休闲时间的“流行阅读”简便，无界等以智力倦怠的诱惑，以及在相同条件下，提出从乔叟和斯宾塞的诗同样重要的和熟悉的一个自由和公平代表的选择。目前，可以说，首先，独特优势和地放置在两个并排诗人现在第一次尝试是否恰当。虽然他们两个世纪的鸿沟，但斯宾塞是直接和真正的直接继承者乔叟诗的继承。这两个百年来，忙碌的，因为他们还编印了所有值得没有诗人采取了地幔，从乔叟的肩膀下降;和斯宾塞并不需要他的影响陈腐，还是他的频繁和虔诚呼吁“丹Geffrey，”平反为自己的地方很接近他的伟大前任在英国文学史。如果乔叟是“英语好玷污，”斯宾塞是广泛而庄严的河流，但拥有了自己的生命喷泉任期从远在其他和粗鲁的场面。
坎特伯雷故事集，只要它们是在诗，已印没有任何删节或设计在这个意义上的变化。但在散文的两个故事 - 乔叟的故事的Meliboeus，和牧师的布道长就后悔 - 已承包，以排除30页的散文缺乏吸引力，并承认了有趣和特征相同数量的诗歌。这些差距从而使故事的散文，但是，通过仔细供应的遗漏问题的轮廓，使读者在没有损失需要理解的全部内容和原始序列。随着仙灵皇后一个更大胆的课程已进行。伟大的障碍斯宾塞的辉煌作品的受欢迎程度还处在较低的比在其长度的语言。如果我们加在一起的三个古代伟大的诗 - 对伊利亚特，在奥德赛的04年书，和埃涅阿斯纪的12个图书24书籍 - 我们只在一半的尺寸得到女王的仙灵。这六个书籍，不超过一个第七，而只有作者的设想12，数量约35,000诗句存在;荷马和维吉尔的书籍的片段数目60 37,000。这首诗仅仅散装，然后，一个巨大的障碍一直反对它的知名度;说由无数的事件所产生的影响没有分心，繁琐的叙述，并不断重复，这在很大程度上肿胀的大部分。在此卷上的诗被压缩成两其原有空间的三分之二，通过代表的机械少，更有趣的一个浓缩散文段落的大纲，其中已被要求尽量保存的非常有利的话诗人。虽然自嘲对裸露和约束在今天这样并列站立细密太重要判断，这是希望的劳动力在节省读者的涉水通过麻烦赋予许多是没有必要的斯宾塞的奇妙寓言的享受，不会赏识。
THE object of this volume is to place before the general reader our two early poetic masterpieces -- The Canterbury Tales and The Faerie Queen; to do so in a way that will render their "popular perusal" easy in a time of little leisure and unbounded temptations to intellectual languor; and, on the same conditions, to present a liberal and fairly representative selection from the less important and familiar poems of Chaucer and Spenser. There is, it may be said at the outset, peculiar advantage and propriety in placing the two poets side by side in the manner now attempted for the first time. Although two centuries divide them, yet Spenser is the direct and really the immediate successor to the poetical inheritance of Chaucer. Those two hundred years, eventful as they were, produced no poet at all worthy to take up the mantle that fell from Chaucer's shoulders; and Spenser does not need his affected archaisms, nor his frequent and reverent appeals to "Dan Geffrey," to vindicate for himself a place very close to his great predecessor in the literary history of England. If Chaucer is the "Well of English undefiled," Spenser is the broad and stately river that yet holds the tenure of its very life from the fountain far away in other and ruder scenes.
The Canterbury Tales, so far as they are in verse, have been printed without any abridgement or designed change in the sense. But the two Tales in prose -- Chaucer's Tale of Meliboeus, and the Parson's long Sermon on Penitence -- have been contracted, so as to exclude thirty pages of unattractive prose, and to admit the same amount of interesting and characteristic poetry. The gaps thus made in the prose Tales, however, are supplied by careful outlines of the omitted matter, so that the reader need be at no loss to comprehend the whole scope and sequence of the original. With The Faerie Queen a bolder course has been pursued. The great obstacle to the popularity of Spencer's splendid work has lain less in its language than in its length. If we add together the three great poems of antiquity -- the twenty-four books of the Iliad, the twenty-four books of the Odyssey, and the twelve books of the Aeneid -- we get at the dimensions of only one-half of The Faerie Queen. The six books, and the fragment of a seventh, which alone exist of the author's contemplated twelve, number about 35,000 verses; the sixty books of Homer and Virgil number no more than 37,000. The mere bulk of the poem, then, has opposed a formidable barrier to its popularity; to say nothing of the distracting effect produced by the numberless episodes, the tedious narrations, and the constant repetitions, which have largely swelled that bulk. In this volume the poem is compressed into two-thirds of its original space, through the expedient of representing the less interesting and more mechanical passages by a condensed prose outline, in which it has been sought as far as possible to preserve the very words of the poet. While deprecating a too critical judgement on the bare and constrained precis standing in such trying juxt'ition, it is hoped that the labour bestowed in saving the reader the trouble of wading through much that is not essential for the enjoyment of Spencer's marvellous allegory, will not be unappreciated.