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of the history, growth, and condition of poetical literature; and, more especially, as a companion, at the will of its possessor; for the varying moods of the mind.
Necessarily limited in extent, it yet contains one fifth more matter than any similar publication, presenting over fifteen hundred selections, from more than five hundred authors,* and it may be claimed that of the poetical writers whose works have caused their names to be held in general esteem or affection, none are unrepresented; while scores of the productions of unknown authors, verses of merit though not of fame, found in old books or caught out of the passing current of literature, have been here collated with those more notable. And the chief object of the collection to present an array of good poetry so widely representative and so varied in its tone as to offer an answering chord to every mood and phase of human feeling has been carefully kept in view, both in the selection and the arrangement of its contents. So that, in all senses, the realization of the significant title, 'Library,' has been an objective point.
"In pursuance of this plan, the highest standard of literary criticism has not been made the only test of worth for selection, since many poems have been included which, though less perfect than others in form, have, by some power of touching the heart, gained and maintained a sure place in the popular esteem.”
The present edition embraces a new feature, namely, the addition to each of the departments into which the poems are divided (as "Childhood and Youth," "Love," "Nature," "Peace and War," etc.) of a number of briefer poetical quotations under the general head of "Fragments." These are in harmony with the character of the respective divisions, and are also grouped under more specific subject-titles. In the compilation of them there has been not only much careful searching in original poetical works, but also, for hints of what are commonly accepted as famous or apt quotations, a consultation of various collections of such brief passages, those of Addington, Mrs. Hale, Watson, Allibone, Bartlett, and others. By far the most helpful of these has been Mr. JOHN BARTLETT'S Familiar Quotations: being an Attempt to trace to their Sources Passages and Phrases in Common Use, published by Messrs. Little, Brown, & Co., of Boston. This work covers not only the poetical but also the prose literature of the English language, besides the Bible, the Book of Common Prayer, and a mass of Proverbial Expressions of miscellaneous and curious origins. It is a work of such broad scope and rare accuracy of detail, and it has been so fruitful of suggestion and helpful in settling troublesome questions (for, as an authority, it holds probably the first place), that an acknowledgment of the debt which this book owes to it is gladly offered.
All of the poetical compilations of the day necessarily contain much of the same material, although the present one includes much not to be found in any other single one; and in order to show — under the general classification of the work the connection in which many well-known or striking "quotations" occur, an index has been made which refers the reader to the pages on which they may be found, either as separated "fragments," or in the text of the poems wherein they took their origin. The volume thus becomes a Dictionary of Poetical Quotations, on a somewhat novel and interesting plan.
* Now more than two thousand selections, representing more than six hundred authors.
The Publishers desire to return their cordial thanks for the courtesy freely
In addition to the above acknowledgments, readers will see in the "Index of
The death of Mr. Bryant made it seem especially appropriate that some recog-
With these explanations and acknowledgments, BRYANT'S Family Library of
NEW YORK, November, 1880.
THE EDITOR TO THE READER.
[EXTRACT FROM MR. BRYANT'S PREFACE TO "A NEW LIBRARY OF POETRY AND SONG.”]
THE present enlarged edition of the Library of Poetry and Song has been projected with a view of making the collection more perfect, both in the choice of poems and the variety of sources from which they are derived. Within a very few years past several names of eminence have been added to the list of poets in our language, and every reader would expect to find samples of their verse in an anthology like this, to say nothing of the air of freshness which these would give.
That the demand for compilations of this character is genuine and very general is sufficiently demonstrated by the appearance, since the first edition of this was published, of Emerson's Parnassus and Whittier's Songs of Three Centuries. These, however, do not seem to have supplanted Dana's Household Book of Poetry, which still retains its popularity. It often happens that the same household contains several of these publications.
The first edition has proved, commercially speaking, one of the most successful publications of the day; and if the compilation in its present shape should meet with the same favor, the Publishers, it seems to me, can ask no more.
When I saw that Mr. Emerson had omitted to include any of his own poems in the collection entitled Parnassus, I doubted, for a while, whether Yet when I considered that I ought not to have practised the same reserve.
the omission on his part was so far a defect, and that there is not a reader of his volume who would not have been better pleased to possess several of his poems along with the others, I became better satisfied with what I had done, and allowed such of my poems as I had included to remain. In one respect, at least, the present compilation will have the advantage over Mr. Emerson's, namely, that it contains several of the poems with which he has enriched our literature.
WILLIAM CULLEN BRYANT.