THE degree to which Friendship, in the early history of the world, has been recognized as an institution, and the dignity ascribed to it, are things hardly realized to-day. Yet a very slight examination of the subject shows the important part it has played. In making the following collection I have been much struck by the remarkable manner in which the customs of various races and times illustrate each other, and the way in which they point to a solid and enduring body of human sentiment on the subject. By arranging the extracts in a kind of rough chronological and evolutionary order from those dealing with primitive races onwards, the continuity of these customs comes out all the more clearly, as well as their slow modification in course of time. But it must be confessed that the present collection is only incomplete, and a small contribution, at best, towards a large subject.
In the matter of quotation and translation, my
best thanks are due to various authors and holders of literary copyrights for their assistance and authority. In cases where no reference is given the translations are by the Editor.