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Burial of Moses" is one of the grandest descriptive poems of the English language. Its gifted authoress has done much good work, especially in her “Hymns for Little Children,” of which a

quarter of a million copies have been sold. She is the wife of the Rev. W. Alexander, and is a native of Ireland. She was born in 1823, and belongs to the Church of England. The one poem from her gifted pen selected for this volume, is of itself enough to inmortalize her name. In grandeur of thought and diction it rises into the truly sublime.

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EV. HORATIO ALGER, JR., the author of “ John Maynard," was born

at North Chelsea, Mass., January 13th, 1834. He graduated
at Harvard in 1852. He afterwards studied theology, and, in

1864, became pastor of a Unitarian congregation at Brewster, Mass. He has published several volumes of poems, besides making many valuable contributions to periodical literature. The poem given on page 406 of Gems is one of the most stirring he has written.


ILLIAM ROUNSEVILLE ALGER, a distinguished clergyman and au

thor, was born at Freetown, Mass., in 1822. His writings, in
the main, have been theological, though poetry and general

literature have been much enriched by his chaste and scholarly contributions. He has issued several volumes, one of which, entitled

“ Oriental Poetry,” has furnished the two gems we have given. One of these is from the Persian, the other from the Chinese, and both are good illustrations of the best poesy of those far-off lauds, and of the linguistic learning and poetic skill of the translator.

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He author of the beautiful selection entitled "The Fairies," was born

at Ballyshannon, Ireland, in 1828. He published one volume
entitled “Day and Night Songs,” whence “The Fairies," is taken.
Other works of his have been very favorably received, and, in
1864, a literary pension was bestowed upon him.




MICHAEL ALTENBERG was a German, who was prominent in the
Lutheran Church, and active in her most trying experiences.
He was born 1583, and died 1640. His “Battle Song ” (p. 430)
is grand in its noble and reverent spirit of faith and trust.


His famous Greek poet is supposed to have been born about 563

B. C., and to have died about 478. His native place was Teos, in
Ionia. He spent a long time at the court of Polycrates, the tyrant

of Samos, after whose death he removed to Athens, where he remained many years; then he journeyed in Greece, and finally met

his death, by accident, at a good old age. His reputed poems were largely on love and wine, though some were elegies and epigrams, a fair specimen of the latter being seen in “The Grasshopper King," on page 42. Criticism denies many of the so-called Anacreontics to be from Anacreon.




HIS most gifted writer was born at Odense, in the island of Fünen,

April 2, 1805. His father was simply a poor shoemaker, though descended from a rich ancestry. Hans loved to dwell on the

wealth and splendor of those ancestors and to talk of those departed glories. It seemed, indeed, to solace his own poverty. The

father of Hans died when the boy was but nine years old, leaving the mother to stagger under a heavy load. She thought of putting Hans at the trade of a tailor, but she was prevailed upon to send him to Copenhagen, where he sought employment on the stage. In this he did not succeed, owing, as the story goes, to his emaciated and generally uninviting appear

But he had a fine voice, and this gained him some employment as a singer. After a brief run of success in this line, his voice failed, and he was again afloat upon the world.

In this emergency he came under the notice of his subsequent patron, Councillor Collin, who obtained for Hans the privilege of a free education in one of the State academies. Prior to this time the boy had written several short poems and stories. One of these, “ The Dying Child," had attracted considerable attention. So conspicuous did his genius soon become however, that the King of Denmark furnished the means for Hans to trave! in Germany, France and Italy. After this tour his reputation grea


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rapidly, and in 1834 he produced a very brilliant romance entitled “The Improvisatore.” It sets forth, in an inimitable manner, scenery and customs in Southern Europe. Another sketch of life in the North of Europe appeared the next year, and was almost equally successful. He also wrought the story of his own early life into a series of very striking pen pictures, which he entitled “Only a Fiddler.” Andersen's genius was most conspicuous in the realm of fairy lore, of which he published several volumes. All these have met with a hearty reception. They are brilliant in imagination, quaint in humor, and ofttimes melting in pathos.

The works of Hans Christian Andersen have been translated into almost all the languages of Europe. His one story given in this work is “The Little Match Girl,” which is a perfect gem. Andersen died in 1875.


NDER the above nom de plume, or the fuller, Peleg Arkwright,

David L. Proudfit has written much concerning the "gamins," or street boys of our large cities. So graphic and tender have these descriptions been, that the public heart has turned very fondly toward this much neglected and abused class. “ Poor Little Joe” (p. 358) is full of pathos and vivid description.


DWIN ARNOLD is a native of England. He was born June 10th,

1831. As early as 1852 he took a high prize at Oxford for a poem. He subsequently became a master in a high school, but

soon after removed to British India, where he became President of the Sanskrit College at Poonah. He resigned this post in 1860, and

devoted himself wholly to literary pursuits. He has been a voluminous contributor to periodicals, magazines, etc., and has produced some highly meritorious poems, chief among which is his last extended venture, " The Light of Asia." His translation of the Persian poem,“ Call me not Dead," given on page 269, is a rare piece of literary elegance.

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He author of “The Jolly Old Pedagogue,” George Arnold, was

born in New York City, June 24th, 1834, and died November 9th, 1865. He followed journalism and literature, making a good



reputation by his poems, stories, reviews, etc. He also attained some distinction as a humorist. His writings have not been numerous, however, but their choice character has won and held for them an honorable place.


ILLIAM EDMONDSTOUNE AYTOUN, D.C.L., was a native of Scotland.

He was born at Edinburgh about the year 1813. He died
August 4, 1865. He began his career at the Scottish bar in

1840, but so marked was his ability that, in 1845, he was appointed Professor of Rhetoric and Belles Lettres in the University of his

native city. He excelled as a poet and dramatist, and he was also one of the most brilliant contributors of “Blackwood's Magazine.” He wrote under the nom de plume of Augustus Dunshunner. His most celebrated poems are “Lays of the Scottish Cavaliers" and “Bothwell." These poems are full of the old Scotch martial fire, and they have gone through numerous editions. “The Buried Flower” (p. 272) is one of the most es: quisitely sweet poems which ever appeared from this gifted writer.


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RS. ANNA BACHE, was a resident of the city of Philadelphia, where

she published a volume for juveniles in 1843. She also is

sued several humorous descriptive poems, one of the very best and most homelike of which, “ The Quilting," is given in this volume. It is a lifelike description of the old-tiine quilting parties in country places.


(DANBURY NEWS MAN.) AMES MONTGOMERY BAILEY, was born in the city of Albany, New York,

September 25th, 1841. In 1865 he commenced journalism on the “Danbury Times," afterwards known as the “Danbury News," and published at Danbury, Conn. From its constant flow of rich and healthy humor the paper soon gained a national reputation and

circulation. Mr. Bailey has published a collection of his papers under the title, “Life in Danbury,” also “The Danbury News Man's Almanac,” and other works, all of which are characterized by the same admirable veins, which first brought him into so favorable a prominence.




ZOLONEL BAKER, more generally known as Senator Baker, was a

native of England. He was born February 24th, 1811. He came

to the United States while but a youth and adopted law as his profession. He was among the early settlers of California, having migrated to that State in 1852. In 1860 he was chosen United States Senator for Oregon, but on the outbreak of the civil war he raised a regiment for the Union service, at the head of which he was killed at Ball's Bluff, October 21st, 1861. The selection from one of his most celebrated speeches, given on page 516, shows his spirit as that terrible struggle began. He was at the very moment of speaking ready to march to the front.


His distinguished Scottish poetess, whose maiden name was Lindsay,

was born at Fifeshire in 1750. She was a daughter of the Earl
of Balcarres. Her best literary effort, and that which made her

the widest reputation, was the poem given in this volume, “ Auld Robin Gray.” The history of this poem is related substantially in its few introductory lines (p. 193). She died in 1825. .



SICHARD BAXTER was an eminent English non-conformist minis

ter, who was born at Rowdon, in Shropshire, Nov. 12th, 1615. He was a man of very extensive learning, though he was not educated at any college. He was ordained to the ministry in 1638

and was chosen Vicar of Kidderminster soon after. He was distinguished as a very eloquent preacher. In the civil war of England he sought to be neutral and to mediate between the contesting parties. About 1645 he accepted the post of chaplain to a regiment of Cromwell's army; but he afterwards became hostile to the government of the Protector. In 1650 he published the “Saints' Everlasting Rest,” a work which is generally and justly admired, and from which a selection in “Gems” is taken. In 1685 Baxter was tried before the notoriously ninjust Jeffries on a charge of sedition, which was based on a passage

in one of his works. He was fined five hundred marks, for the non-payment of which he was imprisoned eighteen months. He died in December, 1691.

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