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INTRODUCTORY NOTE TO THE POEMS

Or all astonishing things in this world perhaps English poetry is the most unexpected. In Greece, in Italy, we expect to find poetry of the highest kind; the blue sky, the tender greens, the enfolding Mediterranean, the beauty of the women, the heat of the blood, mirth, art, religion prepare us for poets from Smyrna to Attica, from Thessaly to Chios, and for a Dante or a Petrarch from every city in Tuscany. In England, ce pays brumeux de Protestantisme, the factory of the world, the producer and distributer of wealth, the breeder of colonists, we expect to find the cool, practical, hard-headed Englishman; and there we find him, steady, industrious, phlegmatic, spinning cotton, building ships, making laws, in the midst of ease, respectability, and self-satisfaction. We find him the least musical of Europeans; we find his paintings of the second rank. But when we turn to his literature,

"What forms are these coming
So white through the gloom?
What garments out-glistening
The gold-flower'd broom?"

Shakespeare, Milton, Chaucer, Spenser, Marlow, Sidney, Drummond, Lovelace, Wither, Herrick, Shelley, Burns, Wordsworth, Byron, Keats, Tennyson, Browning, Swinburne - here is passion, melody, variety, such as no other literature can boast. Even these are not enough. Human desires exceed all golden treasuries. There are all kinds of men. Some are all for Marlow, some for Herrick, some for Wordsworth; there are countless inclinations, and among others a taste for the poetry of rhetoric. One might be so bold as to say that if we exclude the blank verse of the great masters, English poetry has been deficient in verse of a rhetorical quality. Verse of this char

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