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& poet's mind unless he has himself provided one, and an annotator can do no more than exercise that faculty of intelligent guessing which every good teacher tries to instil into his pupils. So in case any young people should read this Preface—which is most unlikely, as it will not fall within any examination limitsI give them full leave to question the accuracy of my interpretations, provided they can find better, and I beg them to exercise that right of private judgement, the use of which is the basis of all real conviction.

The citation of parallel passages affords a fine field for the display of an editor's reading, or at least testifies to his possession of a good Dictionary of Quotations, but as in the vast majority of cases it does nothing to increase the reader's understanding of the text, I have rigorously abstained from this easiest of all ways of eluding a difficulty, except where the parallel was needed to elucidate the text or to support my interpretation of it. The first object of an editor should be to get as far as possible into an author's mind and to put down what he finds there ; thus if a poet appears to be consciously drawing on some earlier source, it is the editor's business, as I conceive, to cite the original passage (not merely to give a reference to it); but if there is no such conscious borrowing, the citation of a number of other passages bearing on the same point is to be deprecated as introducing matter which was not in the poet's mind at the time of writing. And yet is almost pathetic to see how some reviewers, faithful to the mid-Victorian editions of the Classics on which they were reared, will reproach an editor with not having quoted all the obvious parallels to a passage in the text; this they will doubtless do with the present work, unless by some chance they pause to ask themselves what good end is served by such quotations. They may then realize that a power of abstention is not the least among the requirements of an cditor.

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I have devoted more space to textual criticism than is usual in editions of English books intended for the young ; for I think a child's mind cannot be directed too early to the importance of verbal accuracy, and I cannot see that the critical faculty which is exercised by the study of the various readings in a chorus of Agamemnon is not equally benefited by the study of those in a lyric from Lucasta. Moreover, though I have not felt it necessary to flood each page with untempered eulogy, I have a deep love for the English Masters of Song, and an equally deep resentment against those who through carelessness or presumption have falsified their writings. I have accordingly not hesitated to amend the text given by Palgrave where the true reading was beyond dispute ; though wherever such alteration is of importance the change is recorded in the notes.

Palgrave's notes, in so far as they are not mere expressions of admiration, are incorporated in the following pages ; his summaries of the periods covered by the four books are omitted, as being more suitable for a History of Literature, and indeed as being of less value to-day than fifty years ago when they were written.

I should like to acknowledge the great help I have received from Mr. Charles Williams while the notes were going through the press. His poetic insight enabled him to throw light on many dark places, and he has detected many points which, for all my care, I had omitted to notice. Even now I cannot venture to hope that there are no omissions ; for, however often we read many of the poems in the Golden Treasury, it will always be possible to find some knowledge at each pause, or some new thing to know.' C. B. W.


(N.E.D.=New English Dictionary (Oxford): D.N.B. = Dictionary of

National Biography.)




THOMAS NASH (1567–1601), a pamphleteer with an envenomed pen who was constantly at war with his contemporaries. This song is taken from Summer's Last Will and Testament, a play in which the chief characters are Will Summer, or Summers, Jester to Henry VIII, and the Four Seasons. It was written in 1593 and printed in 1600.

4. jug-jug: the conventional representation of the nightingale's song; pu-we is perhaps intended for the cry of the peewit or plover i to-witta-woo, more commonly “to-wit-to-woo,' is supposed to represent the hoot of the owl. Cf. No. 27, 1. 7.


WILLIAM DRUMMOND OF HAWTHORNDEN (1585–1649), a country gentleman living near Edinburgh, who took arms on the King's side during the Civil War. He collected a valuable library which he bequeathed to

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Cambridge University. Professor Kastner in his recent edition of Drummond makes it abundantly clear that Drummond was the most scandalous plagiarist that ever won the name of a great poet. At least a third of his sonnets are translated or adapted from French or Italian writers, and what he stole he never acknowledged and very rarely improved. This song is taken from his Poems of 1616, but the text Palgrave has followed is that of the edition of 1656, brought out by Edward Phillips, Milton's nephew; this text was reprinted in 1711.

4. Memnon's mother : Memnon in early Greek legend was the son of Tithonus and Eos (the Dawn).

5. That she thy càreer may: presumably to fit modern pronunciation Palgrave in both editions printed,

That she may thy career.' On this principle of editing each century will have to rewrite the works of the preceding.

11. decore : 'decorate.'

19. And fates my hopes betray: the 'not' must be understood from the previous line.

24. preserves : in modern grammar this would be preservest. But in 14th-century English -s was the regular ending of the second person singular.

27. Peneiis, or Peneius, was the chief river of Thessaly; it ran through the beautiful vale of Tempe, where Apollo, the Sun-god, saw and became enamoured of Daphne, the brightness of whose eyes is mentioned by Ovid (Met. i. 498), "videt igne micantes, Sideribus similes, oculos.'

28. After this line comes a couplet which Palgrave omitted as being 'hopelessly misprinted':

*Nay, suns which shine as clear

As thou when two thou did to Rome appear.' This only becomes hopeless if one forgets Livy's statement (xxviii. 11) that in the Second Punic War, among other portents, two suns appeared at Alba near Rome.

29. Flora : the goddess of flowers. 31. Amphion had received a lyre from Hermes on which he played with such skill that the stones of which he was building a wall round Thebes moved into their place ; see Hor. Od. 1II. xi. 2.

34. After this line Palgrave has omitted the line,

'Kissing sometimes those purple ports of death, which apparently means her lips, from which issue words that slay her lovers.

36. Phoebus in his chair : i.e. the Sun-god's chariot. 37. Ensaffroning : “ painting yellow.'

39. Night like a drunkard reels : taken from Romeo and Juliet, II. iii. 3, • Flecked darkness like a drunkard reels.'

44. save' She : the nominative of the pronoun is normally used after' save,' a relic of the time when the phrase was a nominative absolute, "She being safe.'


WILLIAM SHAKESPEARE (1564-1616), born at, Strata ford-on-Avon, whither he also retired after he had made his fortune. His first reputation in London was made as an actor, his earliest play appearing two or three years after he reached the metropolis. The Sonnets were first published in 1609 in a quarto volume; but the date of their composition, like everything else about them, has been fiercely debated. There is reason to conclude that they were begun after 1590 and finished before 1599, but no nearer date can be fixed with certainty.

Sonnet No. LXIV. For the heading of this and the other sonnets and songs of Shakespeare given in the Golden Treasury Palgrave is responsible,

1. fell : 'cruel.'

2. cost : costly object'; an obsolete use found in 2 Hen. IV, 1. iii. 60, leaves his part-created cost A naked subject to the weeping clouds.'

3. sometime lofty: i.e. which once vere lofty.

4. eternal as the epithet of 'brass' is often found in the Roman poets.

7. the firm soil win of the watery main : the land encroaching on the sea, In some parts of the coast the sea is gaining on the land, in others the land is gaining on the sea ; thus the ' store? is balanced by the


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