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which, both from considerations of its extent and character, ought, I think, to stand alone.

The volumes of English Verse edited by W. J. Linton and R. H. Stoddard have proved of service to me; and I should express my especial indebtedness to Mr. Linton, who is at once a poet and critic of distinction, to say nothing of his other claims to remembrance. I owe much also to Mr. Frederick Locker-Lampson, whose London Lyrics are surely destined to live as long as humour can provoke a smile. His compilation of occasional verse, published under the title of Lyra Elegantiarum, is all that a compilation should be,-a model of taste and discretion, well deserving the tribute of praise it has won from Mr. Swinburne. I have not hesitated in certain instances to follow the lead of Mr. Locker-Lampson, and many poems in his collection naturally take their places in these pages. I must also add my humble testimony to the services rendered to poetry by that indefatigable seeker after the good things contained in our old song-books, Mr. A. H. Bullen. Every lover of erotic verse is under a debt of gratitude to a compiler and critic so faithful and so earnest.


The curious may attempt an estimate of the claims to a first place among the English laureates of love. In my judgment, the palm lies with Shakespeare, Jonson, and Herrick. Together they occupy a considerable portion of this collection, and had I consulted my own fancy only I might have quoted so much more as to cause the disappearance of some minor writers who were fairly entitled to their place. To me no such limited selection from Herrick as I am able to offer seems wholly satisfactory, for, as he was the latest in the golden age of lyric poetry, so he was, as a laureate of love, perhaps quite the best; and to know him in every mood and temper his work must be read as a whole. Marlowe commanded hosts of imitators; but if, as Mr. Swinburne says, Herrick took the author of 'The Passionate Shepherd to his Love' as his first master and first model in lyric poetry, he abandoned his early discipleship in favour of Shakespeare, and his own mellowed companion, Ben Jonson, who took such pleasure in Herrick's verses as to number their author among his 'sons.'

But it is not easy to frame any appreciation of the laureates of love without regard to their other lyric work. Shakespeare's eminence as a songwriter was only less than his eminence as a dramatic poet. Ben Jonson gave a finish to his songs which commands enthusiastic admiration, and surely the play of quick and subtle fancy is the only quality proper to the best songs which even the hypercritical mind could suggest as to some extent wanting. Of the songs found in the plays associated with the names of Beaumont and Fletcher, it may be said in a word that they are full of grace and charm, and, like Shakespeare's, have always an exquisite dramatic setting. The bridal song from Two Noble Kinsmen-a play attributed in the edition of 1643 to Fletcher and Shakespeare - appears here under the of the former writer, together with other songs contributed by him to the plays written in conjunction with Beaumont. The song may be Shakespeare's, but if it was not written by Fletcher, he can least afford to lose it, and it adds little to the reputation of the other genius with whose name it is associated. "Take, oh! take those lips away' occurs in Measure for Measure, and, with an additional stanza, in Beaumont and Fletcher's play, Rollo, Duke of Normandy. Whether Shakespeare wrote the whole of the song, or only the first stanza, or accepted only what he wanted of what was already made for him, is perhaps not clear.


In order of time, the joyous note of Herrick was next heard. Mr. Swinburne has lately expressed his admiration of Herrick in an edition of The Muses Library. He says:

“As a creative and inventive singer, he surpasses all his rivals in quantity of good work; in quality of spontaneous instinct and melodious inspiration he reminds us, by frequent and flawless evidence, who, above all others, must beyond all doubt have been his first master and his first model in lyric poetry-the author of 'The Passionate Shepherd to his Love.'

'The last of his line, he is and will probably be always the first in rank and station of English songwriters.'

Following the humanity of Herrick, there come the elegance of Waller, the wit of Suckling, the intensity of Lovelace, the pretty imaginings of Cowley, and the humour of Sedley. After that the great song-birds of English love become for a time extinct.

Some of these poets may be inadequately represented in this collection. The reader's favourite may be missing. It is natural to an anthology

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like this that the eminence of many writers is but faintly indicated in its pages. Milton, for example, can be represented in a collection of love-poetry only by a translation of one of his Italian sonnets; and 'glorious John Dryden' is seen in songs which, though admirable in themselves, are by no means on the level of his best work. Such poets are scantily quoted, for no worse reason than that they devoted little or no attention to the making of such butterflies in poetry as take wing in this little book. In the cases of other poets, certain poems that are of great poetical merit have had to be omitted, because too highly flavoured, too boisterous in movement, or too direct in sentiment. Also, as curtailment was necessary for reasons of space, many of the minor poets of the Restoration, and of the period following, have been cut out to make way for the more important body of writers who flourished early this century, though born prior to 1801.

Of these I may name William Habington, Sir William Killigrew, Thomas Randolph, Owen Feltham, William Cartwright, Henry Glapthorne, Richard Crashaw, Sir Edward Sherburne, Andrew Marvell, Thomas Stanley, Aphra Behn, Thomas Flatman, Richard

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