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JHE present volume is designed to furnish youthful

readers with a New Manual of English Poetry; a

manual which may be of service in their systematic studies, and yet a source of recreation in their leisure hours ; while, at the same time, it is intended to supply the tutor and the parent with a poetical text-book of unpretending character but comprehensive scope.

The Compiler, in order to carry out these objects, has endeavoured to extend his selection of extracts over the widest possible range. He has sought to introduce almost every distinguished name in English poetry, and has, therefore, frequently been compelled to confine his specimens to a few lines, which, he is willing to admit, can give the reader no just idea of an author's genius. But in the narrow compass of a book of extracts it is impossible to do justice to the many sides of a great poet's intellect; and if the “fancy” of Shakspeare is fairly represented, his “imagination” or his “philosophic insight” must be neglected. It seems desirable, therefore, in a book intended for the young, that the greatest possible number of authors should be introduced, rather than the supposed choicest specimens of an illustrious few; and the Compiler believes that

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the youthful reader who carefully peruses the following pages will at all events acquire a tolerably correct knowledge of the wealth and variety of our poetic literature. Familiar with the names of its immortal “lights,” he may afterwards proceed to a fuller study of the works which have secured their enduring


In his choice of extracts the Compiler has been influenced by a desire to engage the attention and fix the interest of the young; and, consequently, few purely didactic pieces have been introduced. He has also been anxious to include a large number suitable for being committed to memory, or read aloudthe latter the only way by which the young ear can be properly trained, and made sensible of the true melody of verse.

To increase the educational value of the volume, the extracts have been arranged chronologically, and brief biographical and explanatory notes appended. It is divided into Four Parts :the first ranging from 1316 to 1668; the second from 1668 to 1765; the third from 1765 to 1867; and the fourth being devoted to Living Authors. By very young readers or learners, the first two books may be passed over, until they have made themselves familiar with the more modern contents of the last two.

A novel feature of the present volume is the introduction of nearly one thousand Marginal Quotations — each quotation being literally a "pearl of price,” which shines with an undying lustre. The reader is recommended to commit as many as possible of these choice phrases and “household words” to memory. Most of them enjoin, in striking language, some truth well worthy of being borne in mind. Others are remarkable for their felicity of expression or imagery. Thus they

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may be used as hints for pleasant discussion in the domestic circle, or as subjects for “themes” and “essays” by the student of English composition. And, at all times, they will serve to "point a moral” or “adorn a tale;" to refresh the mind with agreeable recollections of favourite poets, just as the dried flower or leaf reminds the traveller of the scenes of wonder and beauty visited by him in the happy past.

In the Table of Contents references are given to the best biographies (known to the Compiler) of the poets represented in the following pages, as well as to a few accredited critical authorities, whose remarks will assist the reader in forming an estimate of their excellencies and errors.

The preparation of this volume has been a labour of love, and every care has been taken to render it worthy of its subject. That there are many deficiencies, nevertheless, the Compiler must needs admit, and any suggestions towards its improvement he will most gladly consider. Yet he would fain hope that the “HOUSEHOLD TREASURY OF ENGLISH SONG” may do “yeoman's service,” in promoting among the young an intelligent love of, and a familiar acquaintance with, the vast poetical wealth of our immortal literature.

In conclusion, the Compiler has to express his acknowledgments to the various publishers and authors who have courteously waived their copyright claims on his application; among others, to Messrs. Macmillan, F. Ellis, Arnold, R. Browning, W. Allingham, W. C. Bennett, B. W. Procter, His Grace the Archbishop of Dublin, the Right Hon. Lord Lytton, Lord Houghton, Alfred Tennyson, the Rev. Charles Kingsley, Miss Jean Ingelow, Mrs. E. D. Bullock, and Mr. A. Strahan. He has to regret that in some few instances he was less successful.

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A supplementary volume, for the use of older scholars, and devoted entirely to the poets of the present century, is in preparation.

W. H. D. A.


For the convenience of the young student, a list is subjoined of a few critical authorities, whose careful perusal will enable him to detect the true from the false, the gold from the alloy, and to form a correct and comprehensive judgment of our Poetical Literature.

Thomas Warton, History of English Poetry; Hazlitt, Lectures on English Poetry, and on the Elizabethan Dramatists; Thomas De Quincey, Critical Essays; Lord Jeffrey, Contributions to the Edinburgh Review; S. T. Coleridge, Biographia Literaria; Hartley Coleridge, Marginalia ; Professor Shairp, Studies in Poetry and Philosophy; Rev. Frederick William Robertson, Lectures and Addresses; Henry Taylor, Essay on Poetry, prefixed to Philip van Artevelde ; Professor Craik, History of Englis? Literature ; Hallam, Introduction to the History of Literature, &c.; Morley, English Writers; James Hannay, A Course of English Literature; Carlyle, Miscellaneous Essays; Professor Wilson, Recreations of Christopher North, and Essays; Leigh Hunt, The Indicator, The Seer, and Men, Women, and Books; J. Hain Friswell, Essays on English Writers; E. S. Dallas, The Gay Science; Sir Egerton Brydges, Censura Literaria ; Guesses at Truth, by the brothers Julius and Augustus Hare; Sir F. H. Doyle, Lectures on Poetry; and Arthur Helps, Friends in Council. Admirable monographs on our great poets frequently appear in the leading Reviews, as the Edinburgh, Quarterly, Westminster, North British, and British and Foreign; and in some of the principal weeklies, The Spectator, Saturday Review, Athenæum, &c.

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