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Though text-books of every variety abound, and many persons assert the old to be better than the new, yet every year sees no inconsiderable number added to their list. It is folly to suppose
any one prepares a work merely for the sake of doing it, and careful examination proves that every successor in a given field has some superiority of plan, comprehensiveness, detail, or material to recommend it. Something it may lack that others have; but it also has something that others lack. So it is with compilations of poetry. Every one is found faulty somewhere, by somebody, nor can it be imagined possible, with the varied tastes of men, that the work of one should be so allembracing as to leave no intelligent reader disappointed. The compiler of this volume has not pretended to make what she has never found,-a perfect compilation, - and will be gratified if this prove so well done as to save it from the charge of being a supernumerary. Whatever its defects, it still carries out, in the main, her aim in undertaking it, which was, –
First. - To represent the genius of woman as fairly as that
Second. — To the extent of the compiler's power, to give those poets their just dues who have hitherto not had them.
Third. — To quote largely, though in brief passages, from those authors whose works, through their uninviting looks, length, or subject, or the undue bias imparted by ridicule and one-sided criticism, are generally seldom read, and but imperfectly represented.
Fourth. - To bring together not only copious extracts from the standard and popular writers of Great Britain and America, but also a goodly number of poems from the very latest volumes of both countries, and a representation, through one poem, at least, of those whose writings are as yet uncollected, and whose names have not appeared in other compilations.
The alphabetic arrangement of the work — prepared virtually in portions; not offered complete to the printers — demanded unusual readiness in the choice and supply of material, and the temporary omissions of chance or necessity placed authors and poems desired for the body of the work in its supplement. A glance at the latter will quickly discover, from its value, that, though coming after, it is no afterthought.
A number of names on the compiler's list were, through accident, wholly omitted, while others were left out through want of space on account of the length of poems, or because extracts could not be seasonably obtained. Positive knowledge of insufficient space excluded translations from the work, and though ballads and anonymous poems were in the plan, there was found to be very meagre room for even these.
In comparing the extent of representation, it will be remembered that the space occupied by poems, no less than their number, must be considered. Other things being equal, the compiler welcomes brevity, and the more this element prevails in an author, or the more his works admit of short and striking quotation, the more variously can he be represented. It often happens that one long lyric claims as much room as five or six short ones, while a mere glance at the index would seem to indicate injustice.
To the editor's sincere regret, and through circumstances over which she had no control, JOAQUIN MILLER, JOHN WHITE CHADWICK, and Walt WHITMAN are unrepresented in this volume; while the poems from HIELEN JACKSON, DR. JOYCE, and EDGAR FAWCETT are, from a like necessity, not those at first selected from their works.
The publishers acknowledge the generous courtesy of the following houses in granting the use of their publications: Messrs. Houghton, Mifflin & Co.; J. R. Osgood & Co.; Harper & Brothers; Charles Scribner's Sons; J. B. Lippincott & Co.; G. P. Putnam's Sons; Lee & Shepard ; D. Appleton & Co.; The Century Company; E. P. Dutton & Co.; and R. Worthington.
The editor also recognizes the private courtesy of many, among whom are EDMUND CLARENCE STEDMAN, RICHARD Watson GILDER, John BOYLE O'Reilly, John TOWNSEND TROWBRIDGE, WILLIAM WINTER, EDGAR FAWCETT, EDNA DEAN PROCTOR, MARY MAPES DODGE, LOUISE CHANDLER Moulton, HARRIET PRESCOTT SPOFFORD, JULIA C. R. Dorr, and Louisa PARSONS HOPKINS.
Justice requires the statement that this compilation has occupied the leisure intervals of a busy life for but fifteen months; also that it has been prepared entirely without aid; and that a thorough examination of the authors' works, where accessible - as in the majority of cases they were — made the selections, as largely as possible, independent of those prepared by others, though of necessity, choice has often proved coincident.
C. F. B.
ENGRAVED AND PRINTED UNDER THE SUPERVISION OF
GEORGE T. ANDREW.
(Dinah Mulock Craik). CONCORD BRIDGE .
(Ralph Waldo Emerson). CLEOPATRA EMBARKING ON THE CYDNUS
(Thomas Kibble llerrey). “As I CAME ROUND THE HARBOR BUOY"
(Jean Ingelor). MAIDEX AND WEATHERCOCK
(Henry W. Longjellou). AUF WIEDERSEHEN
(James Russell Lowell). THE RIDE OF COLLINS GRAVES
(John Boyle O'Reilly). SENECA LAKE
(James Gates Percival).