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who speak of themselves as without a taste for poetry. Criticism addressed to this class would be invaluable, for many such persons as are here spoken of ask, in all sincerity, as they have a right to ask, wherein it will be to their advantage to give time and attention that have such serious and, we may almost say, inexorable demands made upon them, to give this time and attention to a study which seems to have no very definite issue. 'All about and around us,’ said a recent writer, 'a faith in poetry struggles to be extricated, but it is not extricated.' And it is so. Among those who have made friends with the poets this faith, this confidence in poetry, is very marked. They are satisfied of its quite incalculable worth, conscious that nothing can take its place, and that it has a kind of magic virtue peculiar to itself; but with the vast majority of readers, 'a faith in poetry struggles to be extricated, but it is not extricated.' Lovers of poetry, indeed, wish that it were otherwise, and are willing to give their testimony in behalf of what they love; but while the minds of almost all men are so determinedly employed in other and far different directions, and, amid the tumult of voices proclaiming many gospels, to gain a hearing for the cause of poetry is not an easy matter. Poetry, we may safely say, will never attract the crowd, or draw to the seclusion of its shrine a multitude of devotees such as worship with passionate abandonment the great goddess Success, and so can never become, in any complete sense, a universal concern; but we may indulge the hope that by means of a wise criticism the confines of the poetic realm will be indefinitely extended, and the benign influences of its sovereignty experienced by an ever-growing number of subjects. Plato, when he made his famous indictment against the poets, and shut against them the gates of his

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ENGLISH POETRY

FROM BLAKE TO BROWNING

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