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With these words the Editor reluctantly bids adieu to a task that has brought him more delight than he can dare to hope he will give to any of his readers. Only one pleasant duty remains—that of again thanking Mr. R. H. Inglis Palgrave for giving permission (in the absence from England of Mr. Frank Palgrave) to annotate the volume, and for his kindness in reading the proofs and making suggestions. This latter service has also been rendered once more by the Editor's friend and colleague, Mr. S. T. Irwin. For the Index of Words the Editor is indebted to his wife. Finally, gratitude is lue to the printers for their admirable accuracy and promptitude.

November, 1903.


The following list of books may be found useful :— Courthope, Prof. W. J.-History of English Poetry. Vols. 2, 3, 4. (Macmillan.)

Saintsbury, Prof. G.-Elizabethan Literature. (Macmillan.)

Symonds, J. A.-Shakespere's Predecessors in the English Drama. (Smith, Elder & Co.)

Seccombe and Allen-Age of Shakespeare. Vol. 1. (G. Bell & Sons.) Ward's English Poets. Vol. 1. (Macmillan.)

Abbott, Dr. E. A.-Shakespearian Grammar. (Macmillan.)

Quiller Couch, A. T.-The Golden Pomp: English Lyrics from Surrey to Shirley. (Methuen.)

Bullen, A. H.-Lyrics from Elizabethan Song-books. (Lawrence & Bullen.)



THIS little Collection differs, it is believed, from c in the attempt made to include in it all the best or Lyrical pieces and Songs in our language (save a few regretfully omitted on account of length), by w not living, and none beside the best. Many fa verses will hence be met with; many also which s be familiar: the Editor will regard as his fittest re those who love Poetry so well that he can offer nothing not already known and valued.

The Editor is acquainted with no strict and exha definition of Lyrical Poetry; but he has found the of practical decision increase in clearness and in fa as he advanced with the work, whilst keeping in a few simple principles. Lyrical has been here essentially to imply that each Poem shall turn on single thought, feeling, or situation. In accordance this, narrative, descriptive, and didactic poems,accompanied by rapidity of movement, brevity the colouring of human passion,—have been excl Humorous poetry, except in the very unfrequent inst where a truly poetical tone pervades the whole, with is strictly personal, occasional, and religious, has considered foreign to the idea of the book. Blank

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only understood by Song, and rarely conforming to yrical conditions in treatment. But it is not antici

ated, nor is it possible, that all readers shall think the he accurately drawn. Some poems, as Gray's Elegy, e Allegro and Penseroso, Wordsworth's Ruth or ampbell's Lord Ullin, might be claimed with perhaps qual justice for a narrative or descriptive selection: hilst with reference especially to Ballads and Sonnets, e Editor can only state that he has taken his utmost ains to decide without caprice or partiality. This also is all he can plead in regard to a point even ore liable to question;-what degree of merit should ve rank among the Best. That a poem shall be worthy the writer's genius,—that it shall reach a perfection ommensurate with its aim, that we should require nish in proportion to brevity,-that passion, colour, d originality cannot atone for serious imperfections clearness, unity or truth,-that a few good lines do ɔt make a good poem-that popular estimate is serviceole as a guidepost more than as a compass,—above all, at excellence should be looked for rather in the whole an in the parts,-such and other such canons have een always steadily regarded. He may however add at the pieces chosen, and a far larger number rejected, ave been carefully and repeatedly considered; and that has been aided throughout by two friends of independit and exercised judgment, besides the distinguished erson1 addressed in the Dedication. It is hoped that by is procedure the volume has been freed from that one

Anthologies of different periods, have been twice syste atically read through; and it is hence improbable th any omissions which may be regretted are due to ov sight. The poems are printed entire, except in a ve few instances where a stanza or passage has been omitt These omissions have been risked only when the pic could be thus brought to a closer lyrical unity; and, essentially opposed to this unity, extracts, obviously su are excluded. In regard to the text, the purpose of t book has appeared to justify the choice of the m poetical version, wherever more than one exists; a much labour has been given to present each poem, disposition, spelling, and punctuation, to the great advantage.

In the arrangement, the most poetically-effective ord has been attempted. The English mind has pass through phases of thought and cultivation so various a so opposed during these three centuries of Poetry, tha rapid passage between old and new, like rapid alterati of the eye's focus in looking at the landscape, will alwa be wearisome and hurtful to the sense of Beauty. T poems have been therefore distributed into Books cor ponding, I. to the ninety years closing about 1616, hence to 1700, III. to 1800, IV. to the half century j nded. Or, looking at the Poets who more or less gi ach portion its distinctive character, they might alled the Books of Shakespeare, Milton, Gray, a Vordsworth. The volume, in this respect, so far as mitations of its range allow, accurately reflects

chronological sequence, however, rather fits a collection aiming at instruction than at pleasure, and the wisdom which comes through pleasure:within each book the pieces have therefore been arranged in gradations of feeling or subject. And it is hoped that the contents of this Anthology will thus be found to present a certain unity as "episodes," in the noble language of Shelley, "to that great Poem which all poets, like the co-operating thoughts of one great mind, have built up since the beginning of the world."

As he closes his long survey, the Editor trusts he may add without egotism, that he has found the vague general verdict of popular Fame more just than those have thought, who, with too severe a criticism, would confine judgments on Poetry to "the selected few of many generations." Not many appear to have gained reputation without some gift or performance that, in due degree, deserved it and if no verses by certain writers who show less strength than sweetness, or more thought than mastery of expression, are printed in this volume, it should not be imagined that they have been excluded without much hesitation and regret,—far less that they have been slighted. Throughout this vast and pathetic array of Singers now silent, few have been honoured with the name Poet, and have not possessed a skill in words, a sympathy with beauty, a tenderness of feeling, or seriousness in reflection, which render their works, although never perhaps attaining that loftier and finer excellence here required,-better worth reading than

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