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ENTERED, according to Act of Congress, in the year 1957, by
D. APPLETON & COMPANY, In the Clerk's Office of the District Court of the United States, for the Southern District of New York,
ENTERED, according to Act of Congress, in the year 1866, by
D. APPLETON & COMPANY, In the Clerk's Office of the District Court of the United States, for the Southern District of New York.
The purpose of this book is to comprise within the bounds of a single volume whatever is truly beautiful and admirable among the minor poems of the English language. In executing this design, it has been the constant endeavor of the Editor to exercise a catholic as well as a severe taste; and to judge every piece by its poetical merit solely, without regard to the name, nationality, or epoch of its author. Especial care has also been taken to give every poem entire and unmutilated, as well as in the most authentic form which could be procured; though the earliest edition of an author has sometimes been preferred to a later one, in which the alterations have not always seemed to be improvements.
The arrangement of the book will be seen to be somewhat novel; but it is hoped that it may be found convenient to the reader, and not altogether devoid of asthetic congruity. The Editor also flatters himself that in classifying so many immortal productions of genius according to their own ideas and motives, rather than according to their chronology, the nativity and sex of their authors, or any other merely external order, he has exhibited the incomparable richness of our language in this department of literature, quite as successfully as if he had followed a method more usual in such collections.
That every reader should find in these pages every one of his favorite poems is, perhaps, too much to expect; but it is believed that of those on which the unanimous verdict of the intelligent has set the seal of indisputable greatness, none, whether of English, Scotch, Irish, or American origin, will be found wanting. At the same time, careful and prolonged research, especially among the writers of the seventeenth century, and in the current receptacles of fugitive poetry, has developed a considerable store of treasures hitherto less known to the general public than to scholars and to limited circles. Of these a due use has been made, in the confident belief that they will not be deemed unworthy of a place with their more illustrious companions, in a book which aspires to become the familiar friend and companion of every household.
NEW YORK, August, 1856.
ADVERTISEMENT TO THE ELEVENTH EDITION.
It is hoped that the revised edition of this collection of poems, which is herewith issued, may not be thought in any respect less worthy than its predecessors of the remarkable favor which the public has accorded to the work. In its preparation, the poetry produced during these eight years, both in this country and England, has been perused, and the observations of the numerous critics who commented upon the first edition have been diligently consulted. Some pieces may now be missed which were formerly to be found in our pages; but as their places are filled by others which are believed to possess greater merit, while the volume is considerably enlarged, it is presumed that these changes will not be disapproved, especially as the system of arrangement and the general character of the collection remain unaltered.
NEW YORK, August, 1866.