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HE Editors of the present selection believe them
selves justified in claiming for the principle which has directed them a certain novelty, at least as far as regards living writers. They have prepared an anthology which aims at being no casual or desultory assemblage of beautiful poems, but one which presents in chronological order examples of the highest attainment, and none but the highest, of the principal Poets of our own age.
So great is the wealth of English poetry in this century, so varied its field, so versatile its execution, that the difficulty has been to know how to repress and omit. In making such a selection it has been felt that it was of the highest importance to avoid anything like narrowness of aim, and above all to secure exemption from the prejudices and the
PREFACE TO ORIGINAL EDITION
partialities of any one school. The Editors believe that they have been scrupulously catholic in their views; they have not undertaken the work in haste, and they are anxious to record that, as far as they are able to learn, there is no living writer of verse, whose works have enjoyed any reputation either in a wide or narrow circle, to whom they have not given their unbiassed consideration, and that, if any names are found to be omitted here, the Editors must take upon themselves the responsibility of having felt obliged to omit them deliberately.
There are but two exceptions to the names they have wished to include. An eminent writer whose verse deserves to be no less widely read than is his prose, has declined “to be bound with others in a selection;" and while this is in one sense a great regret to the Editors, it is not wholly without its compensations, since all readers who are aware of the omission of any favourite Poet will of course consider that he, their own Apollo, is the fastidious One who has refused to allow his flowers to be twined in the general garland.
The other has succeeded in