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THIS is an attempt to give a faithful rendering, word by word, of a book which is the mirror of the soul of a cultured people with a great past; the mirror is chipped and tarnished by time and mischance, but the loving labour of scholars may soon renew its lustre and repair some of its injuries. Even in the state in which it is here presented the work can hardly fail to provoke interest. The history of the poem makes it worthy of perusal, for it has been in a unique manner the book of a nation for seven hundred years; down to our own days the young people learned it by heart; every woman was expected to know every word of it, and on her marriage to carry a copy of it to her new home. Such veneration shown for so long a period proves that the story of the Panther-clad Knight presents an image of the Georgian outlook on life, and justifies the presumption that merits tested by the experience of a quarter of a million days, most of them troublous, may be apparent to other races, that such a book may be of value to mankind, and chiefly to those peoples which, like the Georgian, came under the influence of Greek and Christian ideals. Here we are dealing with no alien psychology, but with a soul which, though readily responsive to the great cultural movements of nearer Asia, showed in a thousand years of struggle that its natural gravitation was towards Western Europe, whither with pathetic constancy it kept its gaze fixed. Iberia of the East and Iberia of the West, the high-water marks of Arab conquest, were both fertilized by the Semitic flood, and, whether or not they have some ancient ethnic affinity, this has given them not a few common characteristics; Spain had Christendom at her back, Georgia carried on her glorious crusade in isolation till the struggle was hopeless, and a century ago she was forced into an alliance with the Russian Empire.

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