The Golden Legend was first published in 1851. The title was derived from the epithet given to Voragine sL egends of theS aints, A ureaL egenda which was said by its admirers to exceed all other books, as gold passeth in value all other metals. So the story upon which this poem is founded seems to me, says Longfellow, in his original note, to surpass all other legends in beauty and significance. It exhibits amid the corruptions of theM iddle A ges, the virtue of disinterestedness and self-sacrifice, and the power ofF aith, Hope, and Charity, sufficient for all the exigencies of life and death. The story was first told by aM innesinger of the twelfth century, Hartmann vonA ue, in the poem entitled Der A vme Heinrich. The hero, a man of wealth and noble birth, is suddenly stricken with leprosy, which he is told can only be cured by the sacrifice of the life of a maiden who may be willing to die for him. This maiden is found in the family of one of Poor Henry stenants, who receives him after the world has cast him off.
(Typographical errors above are due to OCR software and don't occur in the book.)
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