In making this collection my object has been to present the reader with pieces that are really gems, not only in expression, but in thought and sentiment. It has been my constant endeavour to present the real spirit of the present age, so eminently an age of progress.

It will consequently be found that not only are the pieces here given, the productions of living or very recent writers for the most part, but that the poetry breathes that high spirit of philanthropy and Christian benevolence which marks the present era, and which serves to keep alive the high tone of moral feeling, which the real philanthropist is happy to recognise as one of the features of our best current Poetry is one of the most powerful aids to human refinement and spiritual progress. With the aid of flowing numbers it impresses great truths indelibly on the mind; and, although the office of collecting the fugitive pieces of great living writers, and presenting them in a collective form for popular instruction, may be deemed an humble one, its known utility has rendered the task in the present instance highly delightful.

The prose extracts are chiefly didactic and descriptive, with the same object of real utility always in view.

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