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not my only reason for printing them. I suppose that every man who writes verse (or, for that matter, prose), however poor it be, thinks that it will give to a certain number of people that same pleasure in the reading which it gave to himself in the writing, and looks to receive their approval in return: if any one be insensible to such motives for authorship, I am not that one. But I am so little blinded to the weaknesses of this volume that any critic who should do me the honour of noticing it among other 'Recent Verse' needs have but slight fear of wounding its author's feelings.
On one point alone I venture to deprecate too harsh a judgment. While the subject and measures of “The Death of none' and 'The Air Spirit' were of course suggested by poems of Tennyson, not the faintest attempt was made to copy his manner. But in the style of 'The Christ-Child,' 'The Story of Comatas,' and 'The Second Valentine,' Morrisian influence, however copiously diluted, is plainly present, and I am aware that verse-writers who seek to reproduce the style of a great living poet reap small thank for their ill-bestowed ingenuity. I can honestly say that I have sought to do nothing of the kind, but have only ventured to use the same broad type of expression for ideas of which it seemed the most fitting vehicle.
And since poetic insight and poetic art are capable of the same continuous development as all other art and insight, and no man likes the unripe fruit of his boyhood to be taken for the best produce of his fuller powers, I may be pardoned for adding that the two longest and most ambitious poems in this volume, as well as that from which its title is taken, were written before the age of twenty. It is the more needful for me to say this because my verses are not in the least likely to meet with a favour which might encourage me to try better things.
It is due to the printers to add that I am responsible for the spellings coud (could), hole (whole), holely (wholly), iland (island), lim (limb), rime (rhyme), sent sented (scent, scented), and tung (tongue). The modern spellings of these words are sheer blunders, insulting alike to pronunciation and etymology. Coud (once cound) does not come from a root ending in l, like 'should' and 'would': iland (igland) has not the remotest connexion with isle (insula), lim with limbus, or rime with rhythm : hole (cf. holesome) is the same word as hale : tung-e or tong-e did not come to us from the French : sent did. These facts are well known to every student of the English language, and, if I recollect rightly, the Saturday Review has more than once called attention to some of them, and has favoured a return to the old and rational spelling.