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To Meadows
To Charlotte Pulteney
Introduction to Songs of Innocence
Song
Infant Joy
Laughing Song
Nurse's Song
The Shepherd
The Chimney Sweeper
The Echoing Green
Spring
Meg Merrilies
Kubla Khan
Hunting Song
An Invocation
Song
The Waning Moon
The Cloud
Arethusa
Song of Proserpine
Hymn of Pan
Evening
Autumn
Clock-a-Clay
The Thrush's Nest
Mariana
The Hamadryad
Song
The Lady of Shalott
To Helen
The Valley of Unrest
Dreamland
The City in the Sea
The Haunted Palace
Ulalume
A Dirge
Norton Wood
Riding Together
The Blue Closet
Golden Wings
Chorus from Atalanta in Calydon

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AN ANTHOLOGY

of PURE POETRY

INTRODUCTION

I

ALTHOUGH deflowered thirty or forty years ago in Confessions of a Young Man, the incident that led me to poetry must be related here, so significant does it seem to me to be of every man's adventures

among books.

When I was a child of nine, ten, or eleven, the family coach, a coach hung upon Cee springs, came round to the front door to take us to the County of Galway, and as we had promised to arrive at Headfort in time for breakfast our start was an early one, not later than half-past six or seven in the morning. My father and mother lay back talking in a deep, cushioned seat; and I remember envying them, for I was seated with my brother on a hard bench, our backs to the horses; and the swinging of the coach and the shining of the sun through the glass on my face caused a sickness to rise up in me. I was about to ask my parents to lower the window-blind when a kindly cloud veiled the sun, and it was at that moment I heard my father telling my mother about Lady Audley. Maurice was too young to be interested in a beautiful name and in the story of a woman who ran away with her groom for he had violet eyes, and my mother wishing to abandon herself unreservedly to the charm of hearing my father relate the murder of the groom, begged me to keep quiet. My father's words were more peremptory: Hold your tongue, George! My resolution, however, was taken to read the book as soon as we returned home. Lady Audley's Secret led me to John Marchmont's Towers and thence to Aurora Floyd, and from Aurora Floyd I passed on to The Doctor's Wife, an adaptation of Madame Bovary in which Miss Braddon retained only the country doctor and his wife, a sentimentalised Emma, who found content, or didn't, in Byron and Shelley. To the sound of Shel. ley's name my grandfather's library was searched for the poems and at last a short, thick volume in red boards was discovered behind a line of books. It contained a portrait of the poet, ringleted, pensive, beautiful, goose quill in hand, and the fortune of the volume being to open at The Sensitive Plant, my imagination was so fanned by the description of the garden that I could not do else than rush to my mother's room to tell her of what I had found, detaining her in her dressing. And so ardent was my pleading for her hearing of some stanzas if not the whole of the poem, that she agreed to listen, but she soon put me out of her room through a green baize door, saying: George, Georgie would like to read you some poetry. My father, pleased by my enthusiasm, for I was a backward child, accepted my admiration of The Sensitive Plant, and to put me to what seemed to him a test more con

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