Planet13 - 9:02 pm on Jul 20, 2013 (gmt 0)
I hope you won't mind if I take a stab at re-phrasing the original posters question:
Will your rankings be hurt for your ORIGINAL content if you also have large amounts on your site of public domain content that appears elsewhere on the internet?
What I believe the original poster is trying to do is rank for his / her COMMENTARY on the texts.
I believe that the poster is worried that also having the original text - which does appear on other sites that (might) have more authority - would trip a Panda filter, for example.
If one were to post commentary on these texts, it would be quite helpful for a USER to have the texts at hand.
But would google then punish that site with Panda because that same text also appears elsewhere?