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IN preparing this collection of English verse, it has been the aim of
the compiler to include such poems as are acknowledged to be among the best works of the authors here represented; and also to present, in one compact, inexpensive volume, a popular handbook of English Poetry, from the time of Chaucer to the present day.
In the pursuance of this plan he has availed himself largely of the labor and judgment of others, in deciding what authors or selections should be included.
Among the works more frequently consulted, and from which numerous extracts have been made, are the following: viz., Ward's “ English Poets,” Palgrave's “Golden Treasury,” Mackay's
Thousand and One Gems,” Beeton's “Book of Poetry,” “ Living English Poets,” and “ English Poetesses.”
A number of poems by authors now living brings the volume down to the latest period, and will doubtless prove of interest to many readers who have not access to the works of these writers.
The biographical data are from Johnson's “Cyclopedia,” Ward's “English Poets,” Allibone's “ • Dictionary of Authors," · Men of the Time," and other reliable sources.
An Index of Authors, Contents, and First Lines has been placed at the end of the volume.
[GEOFFREY CHAUCER, born in London probably about 1328, died at Westminster in 1400. He was the son of a vintner; was page in Prince Lionel's household, served in the army, was taken prisoner in France. He was afterwards valet and squire to Edward III., and went as king's commissioner to Italy in 1372, and later. He was Controller of the Customs in the port of London from 1381 to 1386, was M. P. for Kent in 1386, Clerk of the King's Works at Windsor in 1389, and died poor. Mr. Furnivall divides his poetical history into four periods : (1) up to 1371, including the early poems; viz., the A. B. C., the Compleynte to Pité, the Boke of the Duchesse, and the Compleynte of Mars; (2) from 1372 to 1381, including the Troylus and Criseyde, Anelida, and the Former Age ; (3) the best period, from 1381 to 1389, including the Parlement of Foules, the Hous of Fame, the Legende of Goode Women, and the chief of the Canterbury Tales; (4) from 1390 to 1400, including the latest Canterbury Tales, and the Ballades and Poems of Reflection and later age, of which the last few, like the Steadfastness, show failing power.]
PRAISE OF WOMEN.
Both in hele and also in sickness,
And alway right sorry for our distress! For, this ye know well, tho’I wouldin
In evéry manère thus shew they ruth, lie,
That in them is all goodness and all In women is all truth and steadfastness;
truth. For, in good faith, I never of them sie But much worship, bounty, and gentleness,
THE YOUNG SQUIRE. Right coming, fair, and full of meeké
With him there was his son, a youngé ness;
Squire, Good, and glad, and lowly, I you en
A lover and lusty bachelor, sure,
With lockés crull, as they were laid in Is this goodly and àngelic creatùre.
press. And if it hap a man be in disease, Of twenty year of age he was I guess. She doth her business and her full pain
Of his statùre he was of even length, With all her might him to comfòrt and
And wonderly deliver and great of please,
strength; If fro his disease him she might restrain :
And he had been some time in chevaIn word ne deed, I wis, she woll not
In Flandres, in Artois, and in Picardy, With all her might she doth her busi
And borne him well, as of so little space, ness
In hope to standen in his lady's grace. To bringen him out of his heaviness. Embroidered was he, as it were a
mead Lo, here what gentleness these women All full of freshé flowers white and red. have,
Singing he was or fluting all the day : If we could know it for our rudéness! He was as fresh as is the month of How busy they be us to keep and save May.
Short was his gown, with sleeves long GOOD COUNSEL OF CHAUCER. and wide;
Fly from the press, and dwell with
Suffice unto thy good, though it be
Savor no more than thee behoven shall, Courteous he was; lowly aná serviceable, Rede 6 well thy self that other fold can’st And carved before his father at the table. rede,
And Truth thee shalt deliver
drede.? ARCITAS DYING ADDRESS.
That thee is sent receive in buxomness : “ALAS, the wo! alas, the painés strong
The wrestling of this world, asketh a That I for you have suffered, and so long!
fall. Alas, the death ! - alas, mine Emelie!
Here is no home, here is but wilderness. Alas, departing of our company!
Forth, pilgrim, forth -- on, best out of Alas, mine herté's queen! - alas, my
thy stall, wife,
Look up on high, and thank the God Mine herté's lady - ender of my life!
of all! What is this world? What axen men to
Weivith 8 thy lust, and let thy ghost 9 have?
thee lead, Now with his love, now in his coldé
And Truth thee shalt deliver — 'tis no grave
drede. Alone! withouten any company,
1 The crowd. 4 Commendation. 7 Fear, Farewell, my sweet! farewell, mine
8 Subdue. Emelie?”
THE EARL OF SURREY.
1517-1547. [Henry HOWARD was the eldest son of Thomas Earl of Surrey, by his second wife, the Lady Elizabeth Stafford, daughter of Edward Stafford, Duke of Buckingham. The date and place of his birth are alike unknown. It probably occurred in 1517: He became Earl of Surrey on the accession of his father to the dukedom of Norfolk in 1524. The incidents of his early life are buried in obscurity; the incidents of his later life rest on evidence rarely trustworthy and frequently apocryphal. He was beheaded on Tower Hill January 21, 1547, nominally on a charge of high treason, really in consequence of having fallen a victim to a Court intrigue, the particulars of which it is now impossible to unravel. With regard to the chronology of his various poems we have nothing to guide us. Though they were extensively circulated in manuscript during his lifetime, they were not printed till June, 1557, when they made their appearance, together with Wyatt's poems and several fugitive pieces by other authors, in Tottel's Miscellany.]
ses chiety a'i her pain, they make the like agai na gave her the prai chiefest work she wr serverink, some better way Schali might well be so
They are, as ye have done the candle with the sun
THE MEANS TO ATTAIN HAPPY | The equal friend, no grudge, no strife,
No charge of rule nor governance;
Without disease, the healthful life;
The household of continuance.
The fruitful ground, the quiet mind. True wisdom joined with simpleness;