Page images



Though the multitude may never

Come to hearken to the strain;
Though to him who toileth ever

All thy singing be in vain;
Though the merchant's gains and losses

Fill his heart, and close his ears;
Though ambitious pride engrosses

Noble statesmen, high-born peers;

Poet! ne'ertheless continue

To uplift thy voice in song;
Use the power that is within you;

To subdue it were a wrong.
Use the gift and thank the Giver,

Blending notes of love and praise;
Let thy song flow like a river,

Fertilizing arid ways;

Flowers shall spring where least expected,

Cheering thoughts in many a heart,
Pining, lonely, and neglected,

Stricken by affliction's dart;
Hope, and Peace, and Gladness giving,

Such shall be thy blessed lot,
Cherished by the few while living,

And, when dead, still unforgot.”

Scarcely, however, need the true Poet be told

this; he knows full well that the glorious talent with which he is entrusted, is for the enjoyment of others, no less than of himself—it cannot be made to minister to his especial delight only, and if it could, he would not so employ it, for his creed is this,

[merged small][merged small][merged small][ocr errors]



One word as to our plan: it will be seen that

have arranged our extracts under certain heads, which are placed in alphabetical order; the several quotations too, are arranged chronologically, or nearly so; and in many instances it will be curious to observe how the idea, and often the same form of expression, has been repeated by Poets of different periods; or how a similar thought has been cast into a different mould, and taken a shape and hue in accordance with the peculiarities of the mind through which it has passed. A copious index of subjects is given, and also one of authors' names, by means of which the beauties of any particular Poet may be easily referred to, and collected, by a reader who may be desirous of separating them from the "Beauties of all the Poets." It will thus be seen that our plan is a tolerably comprehensive one, and we have spared no pains

[blocks in formation]

to carry it out fully and perfectly; but should any of our readers search in vain for a favourite passage, which they might reasonably expect to find here, let them not accuse us of carelessness, or want of judgment, but remember that within the limited space of a single volume, it was quite impossible to give every thing good in the way of Poetical extract which might be found in the English authors alone, not to speak of those of other nations, and especially of America, to the press of which country we are indebted for the main idea, and much of the material of this volume, of the contents of which, as it may be looked upon as one of the “Curiosities of Literature,” we may perhaps be pardoned if we insert here a brief summary. We give round numbers only, thinking these a sufficiently near approximation to the truth for our present purpose. First, then, there are 700 pages, with an average of at least six extracts to the page, making ano aggregate of 4200 extracts; probably 5000 would be more exact. The number of authors quoted exceeds 500, of whom 427 are English, which of course includes Scotch, Irish, and Welch;

[blocks in formation]

27 American; 6 German; 4 Italian; 3 French; 2 Spanish and Portuguese; 9 Greek; 12 Latin; 8 Persian, 2 Hindoo. The number of subject headings under which the matter is arranged exceeds 1000, being, it is believed, at least twice as many as can be found in any work of the kind ever published: the advantage of this must be obvious to all quoters of Poetry. With very few exceptions, not merely the idea embodied in the heading under which it stands, will be found in each extract, but the very word, in one of its forms or inflexions, marking the meaning of the passage with greater distinctness than if it were otherwise: it is sometimes difficult to say what is the leading idea of a quotation; and, without asserting that we have altogether obviated this difficulty, we may express a belief, that the plan which we have adopted, renders it at least likely, that we have placed each passage under a heading, that is expressive of its chief meaning. It will thus be seen that our field of research has been a wide one; it may be judged that our labour of compilation and arrangement has not

[blocks in formation]

been small; we have accomplished this work in the midst of other avocations, often of a very engrossing character, and hope to meet with an indulgent criticism of the errors which have unavoidably crept in: we shall be obliged to any of our readers who will point out such as they may meet with, in order to their correction in a future edition of the work.

In conclusion, we would observe that one class of subjects we have altogether excluded, namely, those which would tend to foster a spirit of pride and vain glory, whether in nations or individuals, and set up a standard of morality opposed to that of the Gospel of the Prince of Peace. And herein, we apprehend, it will be found that our compilation differs from nearly all other volumes of Poetical Extracts. Too many of the most spirited, and most admired stock pieces of such collections, breathe a spirit which would better suit a heathen, than a Christian author: with such we have nought to do; the sooner they are forgotten the better. Such themes

we would fain hope are

unsuited to the inclinations and

« PreviousContinue »