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THE 1150 poems and extracts, by more than 300 authors, contained in this volume cover a period of upwards of 600 years. The poets appear in alphabetical order, and their poems are also printed in the alphabetical order of first lines. This plan has been adopted for convenience in reference, and it has been departed from only in the case of Shakespeare, the extracts from whose works follow the commonly accepted order of the plays, the selected sonnets, however, being given in the alphabetical order of their first lines.
At the beginning of the book there is a list of authors, giving their full names and the dates of birth and death where known; and at the end are two indexes, one of first lines of the poems, in which the authors are indicated, and the other a subject index, in which an attempt has been made at classification.
It would have been impossible to print so many poems in one volume if all had been given in full, and very long ballads are necessarily omitted. Only such headings as have been adopted by the poets themselves have been given as a rule. While some pieces have been included because they are familiar or enshrine some time-honoured phrase or thought, or for their author's sake, the volume, large as it is, contains comparatively little verse of poor quality, and not a little that is unfamiliar to the general reader.
Many anthologies have been collated, and the compiler gladly acknowledges his indebtedness to earlier gleaners in the field, but he has exercised his own judgement, and he has not been content without consulting the earliest or most authentic sources for the words. As regards accuracy of
text, it is claimed that this volume is superior to any collection made on a similar scale.
The work of living poets has been excluded, but the volume includes a number of copyright poems which are given by the kind permission of the following : Messrs. George Bell & Sons (Coventry Patmore); Messrs. Chatto & Windus (George MacDonald, A. W. E. O'Shaughnessy, and R. L. Stevenson); Mr. Bertram Dobell (James Thomson and T. Traherne); The Houghton Mifflin Company (O. W. Holmes, H. W. Longfellow, and J. G. Whittier); Messrs. Longmans & Company (W. E. H. Lecky); Messrs. Macmillan & Company (T. E. Brown); and Mr. Nutt (W. E. Henley).
R. M. LEONARD.