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and the value of the notes wholly subsidiary; that he urges him to read the poems first, and the notes (if at all) afterwards, and the poems again many times; and that, finally, he has tried, even in writing notes, to bear in mind the principle that the poets are the best interpreters of themselves and of each other." The advice of one or two critics of the edition of Book Fourth, that the notes should be kept at one level, he has not felt himself able to follow. He has had in view the requirements of more than one class of reader; and he holds that a commentary is not intended, any more than a dictionary, to be read through by one person.
The Editor has again to thank Mr. R. H. Inglis Palgrave, acting in the absence from England of Mr. Frank Palgrave, for permission to annotate this volume. Further work upon the Golden Treasury leads him to value this privilege more highly than ever. In the preface to Book Fourth he quoted the testimony to Mr. F. T. Palgrave's selection given by a recent anthologist, Mr. Quiller-Couch. He may be permitted this time to cite the equally emphatic words in which Professor Courthope, in his inaugural lecture at Oxford, referred to the Golden Treasury as "a work of Greek beauty, which will always remain as a monument of the critical refinement and the large sympathy of my predecessor, Francis Palgrave."
Mr. Inglis Palgrave has, as in the case of Book Fourth, added to his kindness by reading the notes and making suggestions; and the Editor has again to thank his friend and colleague, Mr. S. T. Irwin, for the like
favour. Two other friends, Professor Rowley and Mr. W. T. Arnold, have responded with their unfailing kindness to requests for enlightenment on particular points. In the annotation of Gray much help has been obtained from Mr. Tovey's scholarly edition and from Dr. Bradshaw's volume in this series. For the Index of Words the Editor is indebted to his wife.
J. H. FOWLER.
PREFACE TO THE GOLDEN TREASURY
THIS little Collection differs, it is believed, from others in the attempt made to include in it all the best original Lyrical pieces and Songs in our language (save a very few regretfully omitted on account of length), by writers not living, and none beside the best. Many familiar verses will hence be met with; many also which should be familiar:-the Editor will regard as his fittest readers those who love Poetry so well that he can offer them nothing not already known and valued.
The Editor is acquainted with no strict and exhaustive definition of Lyrical Poetry; but he has found the task of practical decision increase in clearness and in facility as he advanced with the work, whilst keeping in view a few simple principles. Lyrical has been here held. essentially to imply that each Poem shall turn on some single thought, feeling, or situation. In accordance with this, narrative, descriptive, and didactic poems, ---unless accompanied by rapidity of movement, brevity, and the colouring of human passion,-have been excluded. Humorous poetry, except in the very unfrequent instances where a truly poetical tone pervades the whole, with what is strictly personal, occasional, and religious, has been considered foreign to the idea of the book. Blank verse and the ten-syllable couplet, with all pieces markedly
dramatic, have been rejected as alien from what is commonly understood by Song, and rarely conforming to Lyrical conditions in treatment. But it is not antici
pated, nor is it possible, that all readers shall think the line accurately drawn. Some poems, as Gray's Elegy, the Allegro and Penseroso, Wordsworth's Ruth or Campbell's Lord Ullin, might be claimed with perhaps equal justice for a narrative or descriptive selection : whilst with reference especially to Ballads and Sonnets, the Editor can only state that he has taken his utmost pains to decide without caprice or partiality.
This also is all he can plead in regard to a point even more liable to question;—what degree of merit should give rank among the Best. That a poem shall be worthy of the writer's genius,-that it shall reach a perfection commensurate with its aim, that we should require finish in proportion to brevity,—that passion, colour, and originality cannot atone for serious, imperfections in clearness, unity or truth,-that a few good lines do not make a good poem-that popular estimate is serviceable as a guidepost more than as a compass,-above all, that excellence should be looked for rather in the whole than in the parts,-such and other such canons have been always steadily regarded. He may however add that the pieces chosen, and a far larger number rejected, have been carefully and repeatedly considered; and that he has been aided throughout by two friends of independent and exercised judgment, besides the distinguished person1 addressed in the Dedication. It is hoped that by this procedure the volume has been freed from that onesidedness which must beset individual decisions ;-but for the final choice the Editor is alone responsible.
1 Alfred Tennyson, Poet Laureate.