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MY SIXTH FORM
AND TO ALL OTHERS ENTERING ON THEIR
THE NOBLE AND LOVELY THINGS THAT HAVE
BEEN SAID IN ENGLISH VERSE
THROUGHOUT THE WORLD
THIS LITTLE VOLUME IS DEDICATED
This third volume of my poetical series is intended primarily for the Upper Forms of High Schools ; but I hope it may prove useful to students who have left school, and are now reading for themselves. I have assumed that, in either case, the masterpieces of English Literature will be read independently, and have included no extracts from the Plays of Shakspeare, the Canterbury Tales, Paradise Lost, or the first two books of the Faery Queene. Poems from Spenser onwards I have, with some reluctance, given in modern spelling ; chiefly because it seemed unreasonable to do for the contemporaries and successors of Shakspeare what no one does for Shakspeare himself. But earlier poems, Scottish poems, and those written in dialect, I have given as they stand, confident that my readers will find them very well worth the trouble of mastering.
In this last volume I have allowed myself some
what more freedom of choice, as regards both subject and language, than in the earlier ones. Every piece, however, has been carefully selected, and some omissions necessarily made. Where these are small, I have not in all cases called attention to them ; where they are large, I have described the piece as an extract.
I need scarcely say that I have made no attempt to secure anything like a consensus of opinion or sentiment. These will differ in poems as in people, and we must all learn to make allowance for such differences, and to recognise the common inspiration that underlies them.
Lastly, I must confess that I make no claim to have included “the best, and the best only.” It would have been superfluous to attempt what has been so splendidly attempted already, and even if The Golden Treasury had not been written, I should have felt myself quite unqualified for so serious a task. I have simply done within the limits of publication what all of us who are lovers of poetry do without those limits. I have made a selection such as has pleased myself, and may, I hope, please others, and be of use to them in making their own.
To those who read it I would say, using a hackneyed metaphor-" I have gathered