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LONDON
KEGAN PAUL, TRENCH, & CO., I PATERNOSTER SQUARE

1884

10494.44.5 (2)

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HARVARD UNIVERSITY

LIBRARY AUG 10 1903

INTRODUCTION.

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The history of English Verse in the nineteenth century implies more than appears in the Verse itself, for granting that it is understood by contemporary students—a supposition which is contradicted by literary history in general—its origins are still to be sought and discovered. Bibliography enables us to trace its progress from year to year, and, if it be carefully studied, enables to trace its intellectual direction likewise. Biography is also of service, conducting us through its special province like a guide who is familiar with the ground that he traverses ; and history is of the greatest service, provided it be largely written and intelligently read, for so written and read, it authenticates and justifies all that it embraces—the violence of passion as well as the repose of power, Thersites and Ajax as well as Achilles and Nestor. If we place ourselves in thought on the threshold of the nineteenth century, and look back with critical eyes upon the poetical literature of the eighteenth century—or upon the small portion of it which continued to be read at its close the prospect is not an enlivening one. To say that it was in any large sense a poetical period

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