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1776-1900

WITH NOTES AND BIOGRAPHIES

BY

AUGUSTUS WHITE LONG

PRECEPTOR IN ENGLISH AT PRINCETON UNIVERSITY
JOINT EDITOR OF ENGLISH POEMS FROM

CHAUCER TO KIPLING

NEW YORK .:: CINCINNATI .:: CHICAGO

AMERICAN BOOK COMPANY

COPYRIGHT, 1905, BY

AUGUSTUS WHITE LONG.

ENTERED AT STATIONERS' HALL, LONDON.

LONG'S AM. POEMS.

W. P. 5

PS 586

26

INTRODUCTION

“ Lit

The purpose of this volume is not to thrust upon the public another anthology which, after decorating the drawing-room table a few days at Christmas, shall go to rest under the dust on the top shelf. On the contrary, it is intended to serve in the hands of students as a useful collection of American verse, with notes of explanation and interpretation, which shall illustrate the growth and spirit of American life as expressed in its literature. Moreover, it should, by giving new perceptions of power and beauty, lift the spirit and increase the sum of human enjoyment. erature is the record of the best thoughts,” says Emerson ; and the best thoughts of the best Americans are most assuredly worthy of careful study.

The notes are intended primarily, not to ask puzzling questions, but to give information. It may be objected by some critics that much is explained that is already obvious; such criticism, however, is most likely to be made by those who have never taught school. The brief critical comments which have been added to the explanatory notes are meant to interpret the poems to the student and to win his attention and sympathy. In the biographical sketches, the aim has been to avoid all matters which are obscure or which

may

lead to fruitless discussion. The purpose of these sketches is to inform, and, if possible, to entertain and awaken interest. As a whole, the volume does not pretend to exhaustiveness, either in its selections or its notes, but is rather meant to serve as an introduction to the systematic study of American poetry.

The field has been divided into three periods. The Early Period begins with Freneau, and includes the writers who preceded Bryant. These writers had many traits in common. They

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