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latter, which must endear them to the reader who is contented with simplicity of diction, and a direct appeal to human sympathies and affections.
In this they resemble the Sonnets of Bowles, which, without deeply touching the feelings, still exercise a gentle and humanising influence on the mind.
The Poems of LEIGH HUNT introduced here, are chosen as much on account of their own merit, as because they are a faithful reflex of the thoughtful, tender, and benevolent mind of their writer; they are already favourites with those who are acquainted with them, and the Editor thinks they cannot fail to be prized by those who may now read them for the first time. The Sonnet at page 421, "The Deformed Child," is by Mr. Hunt's Son, a young gentleman of a most amiable disposition, and, as the reader will perceive, giving no mean promise of becoming distinguished as a Poet, but for the early termination of his earthly existence. It is not only as a Poet that Mr. Hunt has conferred benefits on his kind, he has penned some of the most charming Essays in the language, and he has done more than any other writer to elevate and refine the taste of his readers, by his genial and discriminating criticisms on the Poets of Greece, Italy, and England. He cherishes the warmest aspirations for and faith in the destination of humanity, and his regard for the species co-exists with the tenderest sympathy and affection for those who stand in need of his counsel and assistance.
The specimens of TENNYSON's Poems given here, will be welcomed equally by those who are already acquainted with them, and by those who now see them for the first time. There are passages in this writer which remind us of the old ballads, and one or two of these would evince his extraordinary power over the mind, without
any other proof. One of these occurs in the Stanzas commencing Break, break, break," and runs thus:
But O for the touch of a vanished hand,
And the sound of a voice that is still!"
The Poet who can write like this may well sway the minds of men to his own mood.
"The cry of the Children," by Mrs. BROWNING, is a Poem which may take its place by the side of Hood's "Song of the Shirt"; it has doubtless had its effect in producing an amelioration of the sufferings of those who are mentioned in it, and it is to be hoped that as the world becomes wiser and better, the miseries described in these two noble poems may no longer disgrace our land.
The other Poems by the same Authoress in the following pages show that indignation at the oppression of the poor, may co-exist with the most child-like fancy and love of nature.
Mr. BROWNING'S Poems given here will be read with great pleasure, but they are not to be taken as the highest specimens of his works, his dramatic Poems being (in the judgment of the writer) superior to them; but these, as has been previously stated, have been excluded by the plan of the work.
The names of CAMPBELL, ROGERS, ALLAN CUNNINGHAM, and BARRY CORNWALL have long been dear to all lovers of Poetry, and it is hoped the specimens here given will be welcome both on their own account, and for the sake of their authors.
The Editor feels proud at being able to insert some of the Poems of Professor WILSON and Mr. LANDOR, veteran and beloved names in the commonwealth of letters.
The popularity of Dr. MACKAY's name will prove the best introduction to the specimens of his poems contained in this Book.
Several of Professor LONGFELLOW's Poems have been given here. This charming writer has the happiness to be popular during his life time, and it appears likely that the circle of his admirers will expand as years roll on. He was at once welcomed in England as a true Poet, and if we sometimes regret that a higher finish is not given to his writings, we must acknowledge that "Evangeline," "A Psalm of Life," "Endymion," "Resignation," and many others, fully justify the eulogiums he has received, and that there is running through all his Poems a vein of elevated morality calculated to have the best effect on their readers. Some exquisite descriptions of natural scenery are to be found in Evangeline, and although the measure is not a popular one, readers of sensibility will hardly think of the form into which this beautiful and affecting tale has been moulded.
Several of BRYANT'S Poems have been given, many of which are deserved favourites with the reading public. The specimens of EMERSON given here will interest those readers to whom he has only been known as a writer of Prose.
Some old English and Scottish Ballads, though not coming strictly within the plan of the work, and many of the lyrics of our great Dramatists, will be found in this Volume;-it is almost needless to point out to any reader the extreme beauty and delicacy of most of these.
There are some modern Poems which are worthy of being classed with them; and first among these may be mentioned Lady ANNE BARNARD'S "Auld Robin Gray," (page 44,) and the "Lament of the Irish Emigrant," by the Honourable Mrs. PRICE BLACKWOOD, (p. 165.) The deep pathos of the latter, and the settled despair of the former
Poem, can hardly be surpassed. "The Braes of Yarrow," by LOGAN, (p. 163,) is a worthy companion to these. The fourth stanza of this Poem is so strikingly solemn and beautiful, that no apology is necessary for introducing it here:
"His mother from the window looked,
The greenwood path, to meet her brother;
They sought him all the forest thorough;
They only saw the cloud of night,
They only heard the roar of Yarrow."
Allusion has already been made to the affection which the lovers of Poetry entertain for the writers to whom they owe so many happy hours. This feeling is beautifully expressed by Wordsworth in the following lines, which may form an appropriate conclusion to these remarks and serve as an introduction to the treasury of delightful poetry contained in the following pages.
"Dreams, books, are each a world; and books, we know
Round these, with tendrils strong as flesh and blood,
Two shall be named, pre-eminently dear,-
Blessings be with them, and eternal praise-
The Editor wishes to put on record his great obligation to those living Authors who have kindly permitted etxracts to be made from their works, the insertion of which has much increased the beauty of this collection. Especially his thanks are due to Mr. MoxON, "the Poets' Bookseller," whose kindness, in giving leave for the use of Poems in which he is interested, has been of the greatest value.