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“SHAKESPEARE, Homer, Dante, Chaucer, saw the splendor of meaning that plays over the visible world; knew that a tree had another use than for apples, and corn another than for meal, and the ball of the earth than for tillage and roads; that these things bore a second and finer harvest to the mind, being emblems of its thoughts, and conveying in all their natural history a certain mute commentary on human life.”
In this age of science let it be remembered that the objects of nature may be viewed in a poetic aspect as well as in a scientific. Asters, willows, , butterflies and sparrows serve just as high a purpose when we think of them as symbols as when we study them analytically. Roses exist as much for the purpose of suggesting love, sweetness, youth, and purity as for the study of calyx and petals and stamens.
In carrying on nature study in our public schools we are in danger - as in all other departments of intellectual activity - of being too scientific. We forget the language of the heart and the imagination, and especially that children by nature are all poets.
Our original purpose in preparing this volume was to place at the disposal of teachers a multitude of poems which are needed in connection with nature study, but which, from being so widely scattered, were not available except to those who have sufficient leisure to go on long exploring expeditions among papers, books, and magazines. Many poems by standard authors have been purposely omitted, simply because they are already available in works to be found in every school library.
We regret that we have been unable to represent in this collection a number of writers of exceptionally charming nature verse, but we hope to perfect arrangements by which they may appear in a future edition.
In some instances verses have been retained because of their valuable thought rather than for any distinctive poetic merit.
Some poems, having been gathered as waifs and strays, have been necessarily used without especial authority; and where due credit is not given, or where the authorship may have been erroneously ascribed, future editions will, we hope, afford opportunity for corrections.
We desire to acknowledge the valuable assistance of Mr. L. W. Crocker in the determination of technical names in those cases where the exact
genus or species the poet had in mind was somewhat doubtful, and also the kindly aid of Miss Wildie Thayer in the preparation of the manuscript.
We desire also to express our warmest appreciation of the helpful suggestions and encouragement from many authors, teachers, and personal friends, which have been a constant source of inspiration in our work.
We wish also to express sincere thanks for the courtesy extended by authors and publishers, by which many copyrighted poems appear in this compilation. Particular acknowledgments should be made to D. Appleton & Co. for extracts from the poems of William Cullen Bryant; to Roberts Brothers and their successors, Little, Brown & Co., for several poems by Helen Hunt Jackson; to G. P. Putnam's Sons for a number of extracts from In Berkshire with the Wild Flowers by Elaine and Dora Read Goodale, and also for an extract from Lotus Life and Other Poems by Miss L. Cleaveland.
To Emily Shaw Forman and her publishers, L. C. Page & Co., we are indebted for several poems from Wild Flower Sonnets.
Extracts from the complete works of John G. Whittier, James Russell Lowell, Henry W. Longfellow, Lucy Larcom, Celia Thaxter, and Thomas Bailey Aldrich are used by permission of, and by arrangement with, Houghton, Mifflin & Co., publishers of the works of these authors.
also indebted to them for brief extracts from the poems of Margaret Deland, Elizabeth Stuart Phelps Ward, Annie Fields, Mrs. A. D. T. Whitney, Christopher Pearse Cranch, Lizette W. Reese, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Oliver Wendell Holmes, Dinah Muloch Craik, Robert and Elizabeth Browning, and also for two or three reprints from Our Young Folks.
We are indebted to Charles Scribner's Sons for extracts from Josiah G. Holland's Bitter Sweet and Mistress of the Manse; for extracts from Along the Way by Mary Mapes Dodge; for extracts from Poems by Sidney Lanier; and from Poems, Complete Edition, by Julia C. R. Dorr; and also for the use of brief extracts from Mrs. William Starr Dana's How to know the Wild Flowers.
We would acknowledge the courtesy of Harper Brothers in permitting us to use several poems by Margaret Deland, Marian Douglas, Angelina W. Wray, Margaret Eytinge, and Margaret E. Sangster
We are indebted to Little, Brown & Co. for extracts from the poems of Mary Thatcher Higginson, Susan Coolidge, Christina Rossetti, Dante Gabriel Rossetti, and Arlo Bates; to Frederick A. Stokes Company for four poems by Samuel Minturn Peck; to Copeland & Day for poems by John B. Tabb, Clinton Scollard, Richard Burton, Harriet Prescott Spofford, Bliss Carman, and Zitella Cocke; to the Century Company for one