The Praefatio begins by stating that the emperor Ludwig the Pious, desirous that his subjects should possess the word of God in their own tongue, commanded a certain Saxon, who was esteemed among his countrymen as an eminent poet, to translate poetically into the German language the Old and New Testaments.
But the result of these conditions and of his own inadequate conception of the proper limits of his art is that his best poetry is clogged with a great mass of alien matter, which no treatment in the world could have made poetically endurable.
His protest, it is needless to say, was unavailing, and all who respect his memory must regret that the sunset of life failed to give him that insight into the future which is poetically ascribed to it.
The coarse myth told by Ovid, in which Anna plays a trick on Mars when in love with Minerva, is probably an old Italian folk-tale, poetically applied to the persons of these deities when they became partially anthropomorphized under Greek influence.
This belief in individual immortality is expressed poetically and obscurely: it is later than the eschatology of the people.
Yet, for the most part, they either relate to objects thoroughly incapable of poetic treatment, where the writer's endeavour is rather to expound the matter fully than to render it poetically beautiful, or else expend themselves on short isolated subjects, generally myths, and are erotic in character.
The name Scotland for this geographical area of northern Britain (the Caledonia of the ancients - a name still poetically used for Scotland) originated in the 11th century, when (from the tribe of Scots) part of it was called Scotia (a name previously applied to what is now Ireland); and the name of Scotland became established in the 12th and 13th centuries.