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“Flowers of all hue, and without thorn the rose.”
280. s. 101.
THERE are certainly many “ Books of Poetry” already before the world; but the taste of the public is fastidious or capricious : no one volume has ever won universal suffrage, and there still exists a “ longing after something unpossessed.” It is this unsatisfied craving which encourages me to cast another little book on the waters.
Fifty years ago, “ Aikin's Poetry” stood unrivalled as a simple, pure, and elegant selection of pieces adapted for youthful minds. But the rapid progress of education in the last half-century has rendered a higher standard of poetry requisite even in the schoolroom ; and the schoolboy, whose father wept over “ The Beggar Man,” and enjoyed the mingled humour and pathos of the “ Mouse's Petition,” repeats with delight the bold lyrics of Campbell, or aspires to emulate the glorious lays of Macaulay. The 19th century has been rich in poetic genius ; the discoveries of science, the wide diffusion of useful knowledge, have failed to quench the pure and ennobling flame of poetry. A long catalogue of immortal names— Byron, Scott, Wordsworth, Shelley, Tennyson, &c. &c.—may well form an excuse for remodelling the school-poetry of the day; for mingling with the amaranthine wreath of the elder poets a few of the gorgeous flowers of modern genius.
In my pleasant task, it has been my earnest intent to fulfil an important duty; the most splendid passages have been rejected, which might tend to sully the mind, or develop the latent seeds of evil passions; and I venture to hope my little manual may excite emulation, form the taste, and foster noble and generous feelings, while it inculcates the pure spirit of morality and piety.
........... Tennyson ...... Page
.. Byron ........
James Montgomery ..
.. Longfellow ......
.. Dryden's Virgil
............ Young ..........