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WITH this volume the annotated edition of the Golden Treasury (First Series) is complete; Book Second having already been edited by Mr. W. Bell, and Books Third and Fourth by the present Editor.
To readers of English poetry the First Book is probably less familiar, on the whole, than any of the later Books. As it is more remote from us in time, its language is in some ways more difficult; and its range of thought is certainly more limited. But it is the product of an age in which Music and sweet Poetry agreed as they have never done in England since; and if their long divorce is to be ended, it must be, one would think, by our learning anew from the lips of the Elizabethans the secret of their golden diction.
For students into whose hands this book may come, it may not be superfluous to repeat here the caution already given in the prefaces to Books Third and Fourth as to the proper function of notes; and to ask them to remember that the value of these is wholly subsidiary to the text; that it is the text which they should read first and many times; and that the notes, if read at all, should be read afterwards. Such literary criticism as is attempted in the notes is meant to provoke thought, not to be committed to memory; and always the endeavour has been made to show, by illustrative quotations and reference to parallel passages, that the poets are the