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POEMS, ODES, LEGENDS, LYRICS, HYMNS, SONNETS, EXTRACTS, ETC.
BY REV. ELON FOSTER.
A COMPANION VOLUME
NEW CYCLOPÆDIA OF ILLUSTRATIONS.
God sent his singers upon earth
With songs of sadness and of mirth,
That they might touch the hearts of men
And bring them back to Heaven again.
HENRY WADSWORTH LONGFELLOW.
W. C. PALMER, JR., & CO., PUBLISHERS,
14 BIBLE HOUSE, ASTOR PLACE
THIS work is the result of a purpose to furnish to the Christian public the best thoughts and illustrations of the various themes of religion and life which the poetic literature of all ages affords. Whatever is vital to truth and dear to the human heart, has found its most attractive expression in poetry. The poetic sense is common to men. Poetry is a mighty power for good. It always pleases,
"And comes like the benediction that follows after prayer."
It is one of those rich fields which no scholar, teacher, or preacher can afford to neglect. No single poet or class of poets can with propriety be selected from the great company of singers to the exclusion of the others. The great extent of this branch of literature renders selection and classification necessary. Much of the old poetry is worthless and immoral, wasting itself on love and wine, and could not be safely admitted into the family circle. Scattered indiscriminately, as the gems of poetry are, through a thousand volumes, from Homer to Tennyson, they are not in reach of the masses, or if the works are at hand, the desired poem is not readily found.
This work is a CYCLOPEDIA OF POETRY. It is more extensive than any collection heretofore made, embracing more than eighty-six thousand lines, on over three thousand topics, from six hundred poets, a chorus of song, single strains of which have made the earth rejoice.
The method of this work is the same as that of the NEW CYCLOPEDIA OF ILLUSTRATIONS (prose), to which it is a companion volume, yet either is complete in itself. The alphabetical arrangement of topics makes the poems on any subject as accessible as a word in a
dictionary, and in the same way. If something on HEAVEN is desired, turn to that word and glance down the phases of the subject. If a satisfactory illustration is not found, turn to the TOPICAL INDEX, page 667, and trace out the synonymous and related subjects or scattered poems. In this way all the poems on any subject may be reviewed or compared. The author's name is affixed to each poem when it is known, and the time and country in which he lived or wrote may
be found by a reference to the LIST OF AUTHORS, page 8. The numeration of each article makes reference specific and easy. The indexes are prepared on this basis. THE INDEX OF FIRST LINES, page 673, will enable one to find any particular poem.
The scope of this work embraces not only minor poems, but extracts from the great works of Milton, Pope, Young, Pollok, Bickersteth, and from the dramas of Shakespeare and others. Much new matter from foreign sources, available only through translations, is here presented. The generosity of living poets and publishers has enabled us to draw largely upon the unprecedentedly rich productions of this age. We bring no perishable wares to the literary market, but the immortal productions of poetic genius in its loftiest flights, laying its offerings upon the altars of humanity and religion. These are the fine gold, the tried gold of literature that never corrupts; the fadeless jewels that the hands of genius have set upon the brow of Truth.
It has been the purpose of the editor to give articles of sufficient length to make the work most valuable as a standard of reference and quotation, and at the same time to adapt it to general circulation. It is hoped that it may be found a desideratum for the library of the scholar, or the centre table of the household.
. In the production of the work we have received congratulations and favors from most of the living poets or their publishers, including Messrs. Longfellow, Bryant, Whittier, and others of America; Messrs. Tennyson, Bickersteth, Bonar, Tupper, Mackay, Monsell, Swain, Lord Lytton, Robert Browning, Eliza Cook, Jean Ingelow, Mrs. Charles, Mrs. F. E. Cox, and others of England.*
* The following, similar to many others received, may not be without interest to the public.
From William C. Bryant, New York City.
Mr. Foster has explained to me his plan of collecting from the field of poetic literature, poems and extracts which may serve to illustrate the various topics referred to in the course of "Christian Teaching." The plan seems to me a good one in that it will furnish the teacher with a repository of quotations adapted to his purpose, whatever be the theme of his discourses. I see no objection to the use of the writings of poets in this way. In fact, it is rather a compliment than otherwise.
From John S. B. Monsell, D.D., Guilford, England.
I gladly give you the permission you ask as regards any use of my hymns you may deem necessary for the illustration of your valuable forthcoming work, and feel that you confer the favor when you give me such publicity. I hope you may have every success in your important undertaking.
From Charles Swain, Manchester, England.
I assure you of my best wishes for the success of your publication, for which please place my name as a subscriber. You have my permission to publish whatever poems of mine you choose for your "Poetical Cyclopædia."