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11426.14

HARVARD
UNIVERSITY

LIBRARY
AUG 10 1960

Entered according to Act of Congress, in the year 1865,

By CHARLES SCRIBNER & Co.,
In the Clerk's Office of the District Court of the United States for the

Southern District of New York,

ALVOR, STEREOTYPER AND PRINTER.

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Introduction.

T was the intention of the compiler to include, in a volume of moderate size, the most notable of the minor love-poems of the English language, and its dialects, in such order and to such extent as would

serve to show the progress of our amatory poetry, while it gave a fair idea of the different style of our poets, and their relative merits in a single field of action. In this, being an endeavor to combine distinct objects in one, there were some difficulties to be encountered; but these did not prove to be insurmountable. It is possible that some may think a few poems admitted into the collection are not the very best specimens of their kind; while others may complain that some poems deserving a place have been omitted. The former censure may be palliated by a declaration, that all that is mainly a matter of taste; and to the latter it may be replied, that some fitting poems may have escaped the compiler's notice. It is believed that the collection will, nevertheless, be found the most complete and best-arranged in its contents, as it is the most elegant in mechanical execution, of any yet issued. Should the volume meet with favour, and arrive at the desired goal of other editions, it is to be hoped that the consequent revision will render it still more perfect of its kind.

Some difficulty was experienced in culling for a work designed for the centre-table, as well as the library, from celebrated writers at different periods. In the Elizabethan age especially, the erotic poets covered some of their finest conceits with the grossest language, rendering the poems unfit for the perusal of persons of delicate minds. At a later period, the puerilities of the pastoral school afforded but little scope for selection. At all times prior to the close of the last century, there was an affectation of classical knowledge which destroyed the fire and fervour of the verse, by pressing the Roman deities most absurdly into the service of the poet. As the compiler had no right to alter or erase, and did not desire to omit passages, his range of selection was considerably decreased. With all this, there was a sufficient mine of wealth to explore-enough, indeed, to make a larger volume —and he availed himself of the treasure at hand as his judgment taught him to do.

The biographical sketches at the close are purposely meagre. To have made them more full was no part of the design. A few salient points of personal history, to gratify the curiosity of the reader, were considered to be sufficient. Where it was thought to be necessary or desirable, in the body of the work, a foot-note has been introduced ; but superfluous comment has been scrupulously avoided.

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