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The success with which it has been recently cultivated by Mr. Wordsworth, would alone have conferred an enduring celebrity on his name, even if he had achieved no other triumphs.

The object of this volume is to exhibit specimens of our best Sonnet-writers, both ancient and modern,—to lay before the public productions of intrinsic merit, not to gratify the curious antiquary by extracts from the rare works of forgotten rhymers.

All the Passionsin Watson's Centurie of Love exceed by four lines the limits prescribed to the Sonnet : one of them, however, I have inserted, not choosing to exclude from the selection a writer (by no means contemptible ) who has acquired some notoriety of late years from the preposterous declaration of Steevens,—that he was a more elegant sonnetteer than Shakespeare.”

The arrangement of the following pieces has been made, not according to the dates of their authors' deaths, but with reference to the time of their first appearance : thus, the beautiful Echo and Silence of my friend Sir Egerton Brydges, having been published in 1785, is placed earlier in the volume than Sonnets by various writers who have long been in the grave.


London, June 1, 1833.


From Tuscane came my Lady's worthy race ; Fair Florence was sometime her ancient seat. The western isle, whose pleasant shore doth face Wild Camber's cliffs, did give her lively heat. Foster'd she was with milk of Irish breast:

Her sire an earl; her dame of princes' blood.
From tender years in Britain she doth rest
With king's child, where she tasteth costly food.
Honsdon did first present her to mine eyne:
Bright is her hue, and Geraldine she hight.
Hampton me taught to wish her first for mine ;
And Windsor, alas! doth chase me from her sight.
Her beauty of kind; her virtues from above:
Happy is he that can obtain her love!



Ser me whereas the sun doth parch the green,
Or where his beams do not dissolve the ice;
In temperate heat, where he is felt and seen ;
In presence prest of people, mad, or wise ;
Set me in high, or yet in low degree;
In longest night, or in the shortest day;
In clearest sky, or where clouds thickest be;
In lusty youth, or when my hairs are gray;
Set me in heaven, in earth, or else in hell;
In hill, or dale, or in the foaming flood;
Thrall, or at large, alive whereso I dwell,
Sick or in health, in evil fame or good;
Hers will I be, and only with this thought
Content myself, although my chance be nought.

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