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on certain universal subjects, such as Love, or Death, or the Influences of Nature, will like to find grouped wogether poems which treat of a common theme. These wroups, again, are for the most part linked with other groups in such wise as to carry on slight links of connection between subjects far apart. By bringing together, for instance, songs of courtship and 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 will 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.Preface to A Poetry-Book of Elder Poets.

Touching the general contents of this volume, it will easily be understood that the duty of levying contributions from the works of living writers 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 (with one regrettable exception) 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 authors still living can be deemed complete without them.

It being found impossible to obtain Mr. Tennyson's sanction for the use of certain of his lyrics, the Laureate's name is perforce omitted from this goodly muster-roll.

The Editor, in conclusion, takes this opportunity of tendering her thanks to the Lord Lytton, the Lord Houghton, Robert Browning Esq., D. G. Rossetti Esq., Matthew Arnold Esq., William Morris Esq., Algernon C. Swinburne Esq., Miss Jean Ingelow and Miss Christina Rossetti, for the ready permission by which certain of their poems appear in the following pages. Also to J. A. Symonds Esq., two of whose poems here given



are hitherto unpublished; and to Robert Buchanan Esq., who has himself very kindly abridged his poem “The Storm” in order to bring it within the necessary compass. Messrs. Macmillan & Co., and Smith, Elder & Co., have with the like courtesy conceded some copyright verses by the late Canon Kingsley and G. Macdonald Esq., while Mrs. Clough has granted the use of two short poems from the pen of the late Arthur Hugh Clough. The fine poem entitled “In the Storm” by the late Mrs. Norton (Lady Stirling Maxwell) 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.


Westbury on Trym Gloucestershire, 1878.

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