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hot ARVARD UNIVERSITY LIBRARY

PREFACE

THIS

HIS volume will, I hope, be found to contain

nearly all the genuine poetry in our language fitted to please children,

of and from the age at which they have usually learned to read, — in common with grown people. A collection of this sort has, I believe, never before been made, although its utility seems clear.

The test applied, in every instance, in the work of selection, has been that of having actually pleased intelligent children ; and my object has been to make a book which shall be to them no more nor less than a book of equally good poetry is to intelligent grown persons.

The charm of such a book to the latter class of readers is rather increased than lessened by the surmised existence in it of an unknown amount of power, meaning, and beauty, beyond that which is at once to be seen ; and children will not like this volume the less because, though it contains little or nothing which will not at once please and amuse them, it also con

tains much, the full excellence of which it will be long before most of them are able to understand.

The application of the above test has excluded nearly all verse written expressly for children, and most of the poetry written about children for grown people. Hence the absence of several well-known pieces, which some persons who examine this volume may be surprised at not finding in it.

I have taken the liberty of omitting portions of a few poems, which would else have been too long or otherwise unsuitable for the collection ; and, in a very few instances, I have ventured to substitute a word or a phrase, when that of the author has made the piece in which it occurs unfit for children's reading. The abbreviations I have been compelled to make in the “Ancient Mariner,” in order to bring that poem within the limits of this collection, are so considerable as to require particular mention and apology.

No translations have been inserted but such as, by their originality of style and modification of detail, are entitled to stand as original poems.

131

COVENTRY PATMORE.

December, 1861.

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