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ANTHOLOGIA ANGLICA. LONDON: PRINTED BY SPOTTISWOODE AND CO., NEW-STREET SQUARE

AND PARLIAMENT STREET

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PREFACE.

If to please is the peculiar and primary object of poetry, to instruct ought to be scarcely less the office of the divine art. The specious but imaginary idea of Plato of the intimate connection between corporeal beauty and mental excellence, so charmingly expressed by Spenser,

So every spirit as it is most pure,

And bath in it the more of heavenly light,
So it the fairer body doth procure

To habit in, and it more fairly dight
With cheerful grace and amiable sight:
For of the soul the body form doth take,
For soul is form, and doth the body make ;

is applicable to the intimate union that ought to exist between the beautiful and the true in poetry. Yet the world in general seems to hold that mere sentimental pleasure is, and ought to be, the sole end and purpose of the poetic art; that truth and instruction are quite beyond its legitimate province. That it is not the proper purpose of poetry to be didactic in the sense of teaching theological dogma, or the facts of natural science, or, even of displaying the interesting enquiries of metaphysical speculation, may be readily admitted. But if it is meant, as it seems to be by most people,

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