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MY DEAR FRIEND,(For though you are still young, and I am now indeed old, having outlived the period usually assigned to the age of man, yet, to say nothing of graver reasons, friendship, you know, may exist in its most companionable form between juniors and their elders, when founded on the love of such never-fading things as the beauties of nature and the books which they have inspired,) you gratified me extremely, when you asked for some remarks from my pen on the subject of the class of poems from which you meditated a selection. The interest which with a zeal so generous you take in the Transatlantic welfare of my writings would alone be as sufficient as it ought to be to set me gladly to the task; but you considered, I have no doubt, (for I have learnt to detect your artifices in such matters,) that the subject would be one that I should like for its own sake also ; and when you concluded your request with mentioning the names


of the distinguished persons who agree with you in
thinking that the remarks would be welcome to the
American public, the measure of my satisfaction was
“full measure, pressed down, and running over.”
It may be thought by some persons who do not hap-
pen to be conversant with the particular form of verse
denominated the SONNET, that, while making extracts
from poets, we might have done better than confine
ourselves to a species of composition not yet associated
in the general mind with the idea of anything very
marked or characteristic; but it will not be difficult to
show, that the Sonnet, while admitting of a greater and
happier levity than those who think lightest of it imag-
ine, is in reality connected with some of the most
thoughtful, some of the most affecting, and some of the
grandest events of the most exalted men.
“Scorn not the Sonnet,” says one of its most dignified

maSters : —

“Scorn not the Sonnet. Critic, you have frowned,

Mindless of its just honors. With this key
Shakespeare unlocked his heart; the melody
Of this small lute gave ease to Petrarch's wound;
A thousand times this pipe did Tasso sound;
With it Camoens soothed an exile's grief;
The sonnet glittered a gay myrtle-leaf
Amid the cypress with which Dante crowned
His visionary brow; a glow-worm lamp,

* It cheered mild Spenser, called from Fairy-land
To struggle through dark ways; and when a damp
Fell round the path of Milton, in his hand

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