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Published November, 1904
Electrotyped and Printed by
Poetry is truer than history. History records what has been seen and heard. The senses are less trustworthy than the feelings. Lyrical poetry expresses what has been felt. The Prophet foresees and foretells. The Poet forefeels and forthtells. The Prophet and the Poet are twin souls.
Why do the Hebrew Psalms compose so large a part of the devotional reading of Christendom? In an age passionately fond of facts, why do we go back to Judea, where there was no scientific spirit, for the statement of our faith? Because those songs embody the interior facts of human life. They are history “ writ large.”
Sin and sorrow and strife and death; pardon and comfort and peace and the dream of deathless life ;—these constitute the biography of the soul.
ocf, MP, 10-12.40
Science has done much for us in diminishing labor and increasing productive power; in the relief of suffering and the improvement of general conditions. But Death remains unconquered. We still must yield to “the oldest custom of the race.” No art can touch the mouldering lip to speech, nor stir the pulseless heart to beat again. Until the end of time must mourners sit by wayside graves, uncomforted save by those inner hopes, desires, longings, of which the Poet is the best interpreter.
It is true, the science that teaches the conservation of energy renders immortality antecedently probable; the philosophy that assures us of the survival of the type offers us a kind of life after death; a certain sense of justice whispers“ It should be so ;” and even the agnostic echoes, “ It may be so." But the Poet speaks in no uncertain tone. Whether relying on the validity of consciousness, as in “ The Pagan Questioning Death,” he says,
“ Yet has my soul within the gift of seeing,
or, trusting the integrity of instinct, he affirms, “ The Law that writes Migration in the birdling's breast
Writes Immortality in mine;"
or, accepting the historicity of Jesus' resurrection, he declares,
“ Because He lives, I, too, shall live !
My spirit to the skies,"
the Poet speaks the word we yearn to hear.
He knows, by discernment of reasonableness if not by process of reason; he sees with eyes tears cannot dim; he feels a Force he name, and Nature joins with Faith in the Poet's assurance of immortality.
The editor of this volume acknowledges his indebtedness to various publishers and authors for kind permission to print many copyrighted poems; especially to D. Appleton & Company, for William Cullen Bryant's poems; The Lothrop Publishing Company, for Paul Hayne's; The Century Company, for Mary Mapes Dodge’s; The Bobbs-Merrill Company,
for Frank Stanton's and J. Whitcomb Riley's; and Houghton, Mifflin & Company, for Edward Rowland Sill's, Mary Clemmer Ames', Edward Clarence Stedman's, Mrs. A. D. T. Whitney's, James Russell Lowell's, Phoebe Cary's, John Greenleaf Whittier’s, and Lucy Larcom's.
CHARLES CARROLL ALBERTSON. OXFORD STREET, ROCHESTER, New York.