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GEMS

OF

ENGLISH POETRY.

With Illustrations by Great Artists.

"Then came the magic of a poet's name,

Like light, upon my fancy; and I sat
Brooding for hours, amid sequestered nooks,
On all the mighty masters of the lyre."

109

LONDON:

T. NELSON AND SONS, PATERNOSTER ROW;

EDINBURGH; AND NEW YORK.

1865.

280. i. G.

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PREFACE

JRUE Poetry is soothing or stimulating (always influential some way), according to the nature of the theme with which it deals; and nothing more than this is necessary to commend it to the human heart, or to account for the fascination which it exercises upon almost every variety of the human race. No doubt a certain amount of culture is needed, in order to the appreciation of its more subtle and delicate meanings; but even where such previous culture is wanting, it will not be without a healthful and invigorating influence, in a general way; while the very habit of perusing it will so quicken the sensibilities, that the want will gradually come to be comparatively little felt. Its themes, too, are as numerous and diversified as are human feelings, interests, and wants. It passes round the whole circle of nature and life, and draws forth responses, sympathetic and thrilling, in connection with everything that is most vital in relation to man. Among its chosen subjects are the beauties of nature, the strength and sanctity of love or friendship, natural affection in its varied forms, the manifold relations subsisting between the moral and the material universe,

"All thoughts, all feelings, all desires,

Whatever stirs this mortal frame,"

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