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TO THE READER.
certain universal subjects, such as Love, or Death, or the Influences of Nature, will like to find grouped together poems which treat of a common theme. These groups, again, are for the most part linked with other groups in such wise as to carry on slight chains of connection between subjects far apart. By bringing together, for instance, songs of courtship, of lullaby, of childish growth and promise, of early death and of parental bereavement, it has been sought to convey something like an episodical picture of everyday human life. To the few who may be interested in tracing them, these lines of association may perhaps convey an added sense of harmony; while for those who prefer dipping into the book wherever it may chance to open, each poem will have its individual and unassisted charm.
“Here and there, to suggest the intended sequence, the Editor, following the precedent of Mr. W. G. Palgrave, has ventured, though with all diffidence, to give or alter a title. It may be as well to observe, however, that readers who desire to take the poets in strict order of succession may do so by referring to the Table of Authors, which has been chronologically arranged for that purpose.
“The notes at the end of the volume are given, not in the vain hope of offering anything new in the way of criticism, but in order to assist foreign readers, and to supply the place of those classical and other
TO THE READER.
dictionaries which travellers are obliged to leave at home.” Preface to A Poetry-Book of Elder Poets.
Touching the general contents of this volume, it will be easily understood that the duty of levying contributions from the works of living authors must have largely added to the difficulty of the task. Herein, however, the Editor has endeavoured to be as little as possible biassed by merely personal taste, and as far as possible guided by contemporary and popular verdict. For the rest, the whole field of modern English Poetry has been surveyed and gleaned to fill the following pages. No famous name will, it is believed, be found unrepresented; and some few names which are less known than they deserve to be (as, for instance, that of Thomas Lovell Beddoes) will here be met with for almost the first time in a work of this character. Certain American poets with whom, to our loss, we are but too slightly acquainted, have also received due recognition. It is, indeed, difficult to see how any selection that includes writers still living can be deemed complete without them.
The Editor, in conclusion, takes this opportunity of tendering her thanks to the Lord Houghton, Matthew Arnold Esq., William Morris Esq., A. C. Swinburne Esq., J. A. Symonds Esq., and Miss Christina Rossetti, for the ready permission by which certain of their poems appear in the following pages. Also to Robert Buchanan Esq. who has himself most kindly
TO THE READER.
abridged his poem “The Storm,” in order to bring it within the necessary compass. Messrs. Longmans & Co., Macmillan & Co., and Smith, Elder & Co., have with the like courtesy conceded some copyright verses by Macaulay, Southey, the late Canon Kingsley, and G. Macdonald Esq., while Mrs. Clough has granted the use of two poems from the pen of the late Arthur Hugh Clough. The fine poem entitled “In the Storm” by the late Mrs. Norton, was presented to the Editor, expressly for this work, by the author, and has till now, it is believed, existed only in a privately printed form, and in MS.
AMELIA B. EDWARDS.
Westbury on Trym, Gloucestershire, 1878.