« AnteriorContinuar »
Entered according to Act of Congress, in the year 1866, by
HURD AND HOUGHTON,
of New York.
RIVERSIDE, CAMBRIDGE :
STEREOTYPED AND PRINTED BY
II. 0. HOUGHTON AND COMPANY.
uw 99-uy von
This volume claims such measure of novelty and merit as may belong to a selection, somewhat thoroughly made, from the entire works of the most voluminous and least - known of British lyrists. The published poems of Charles Wesley occupy above three thousand closely printed pages. Of this mass hardly more than one fifth (and that in an altered and fragmentary shape) is before the world, chiefly in the Methodist hymn-books of England and America. As a hymnist, this author is widely famous, though either beyond or beneath his merit, according to sectarian accidents of creed and name ; but as a poet, he is scarce heard of or suspected ; for the critical world is yet but half-persuaded that a hymn can be poetry. To remedy this injustice, which lies alike on the faine of him departed, and on the living that are robbed of many a gem of sacred song, is in some degree attempted in this book : for it is believed that, whatever eccentricities of temper, habit, or opinion may have marred the Methodist preacher's verses, there is in them the genuine fire, and that in such portion as has been bestowed on few that used the English tongue.
The following objects have been kept in view, in the preparation of this volume :
1. Absolute literary integrity. Every poem (except those on pages 52–58, which are from Charles Wesley's manuscripts, and first printed in his “ Life") has been taken from its original volume, and, when possible, from the first edition of that; and each is given unaltered and unabridged. The punctuation, the spelling, and the use of capitals are not retained; but in substantials the reader of this volume has the poems as their author wrote them, except for such errors of type or pen as may have come in first or last.
2. To present, of course, such pieces as have most poetic merit.
3. To give permanent value to the book by making the bulk of its contents such as shall be new to nearly all readers ; that is, other things being equal, to give preference to such poems as are little known, or not at all.