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So large a collection of poems as this demands of its compiler an extensive familiarity with the poetic literature of our language, both of the early and the later time, and withal so liberal a taste as not to exclude any variety of poetic merit. At the request of the Publishers I undertook to write an Introduction to the present work, and in pursuance of this design I find that I have come into a somewhat closer personal relation with the book. In its progress it has passed entirely under my revision, and, although not absolutely responsible for the compilation or its arrangement, I have, as requested, exercised a free hand both in excluding and in adding matter according to my judgment of what was best adapted to the purposes of the enterprise. Such, however, is the wide range of English verse, and such the abundance of the materials, that a compilation of this kind must be like a bouquet gathered from the fields in June, when hundreds of flowers will be left in unvisited spots, as beautiful as those which have been taken. It may happen, therefore, that many who have learned to delight in some particular poem will turn these pages, as they might those of other collections, without finding their favorite. Nor should it be matter of surprise, considering the multitude of authors from whom the compilation is made, if it be found that some are overlooked, especially the more recent, of equal merit with many whose poems appear in these pages. It may happen, also, that the compiler, in consequence of some particular association, has been sensible of a beauty and a power of awakening emotions and recalling images in certain poems which other readers will fail to perceive. It should be considered, moreover, that in poetry, as in painting, different artists have different modes of presenting their conceptions, each of which may possess its peculiar merit, yet those whose taste is formed by contemplating the productions of one class take little pleasure in any other. Crabb Robinson relates that Wordsworth once admitted to him that he did not much admire contemporary poetry, not because of its want of poetic merit, but because he had been accustomed to poetry of a different sort, and added that but for this he might have read it with pleasure. I quote from memory. It is to be hoped that every reader of this collection, however he may have been trained, will find in the great variety of its contents something conformable to his taste.
I suppose it is not necessary to give a reason for adding another to the collections of this nature, already in print. They abound in every language, for the simple reason that there is a demand for them. German literature, prolific as it is in verse, has many of them, and some of them compiled by distinguished authors. The par