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FOR POETRIE

EDITED WITH AN INTRODUCTION AND NOTES

BY

J. CHURTON COLLINS

PROFESSOR OF ENGLISH LITERATURE IN THE

UNIVERSITY OF BIRMINGHAM

OXFORD

AT THE CLARENDON PRESS

HENRY FROWDE, M.A.

PUBLISHER TO THE UNIVERSITY OF OXFORD

LONDON, EDINBURGH

NEW YORK AND TORONTO

PN 1031 8 65

PREFACE

This noble little treatise well deserves more attention than it appears to have received from those who regulate the courses of study in our systems of secondary and advanced education ; for to all who regard poetry as it too generally is regarded in modern times it must come as a revelation. Most lucidly and most persuasively it explains and vindicates the claims of poetry to the place it held among the Ancients, to the place it held when Aristophanes could say that boys have the schoolmaster to teach them, but when they grow up the poets are their teachers. So completely has poetry come to be dissociated from its true functions that such a conception of its educational importance sounds now like paradox; it is not paradox but truism, as Sidney here demonstrates.

A better introduction to the study of poetry could scarcely be conceived, for not only does it put poetry in its proper place as an instrument of education, but it deals with it generally as only a poet himself could deal with it, with illumining insight, with most inspiring enthusiasm. As it is here that the treatise is most precious and furthering to students, it is here, and here only, that stress should be laid in dealing with it as a subject of teaching and examination; with its innumerable references to obscure and now forgotten writers and writings it is not desirable that students, and young students especially, should be required to load their memories. What they are expected to retain

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