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The success with which it has been recently cultivated by Mr. Wordsworth, would alone have conferred an enduring celebrity on his name, even if he had achieved no other triumphs.
The object of this volume is to exhibit specimens of our best Sonnet-writers, both ancient and modern,—to lay before the public productions of intrinsic merit, not to gratify the curious antiquary by extracts from the rare works of forgotten rhymers.
All the “ Passions” in Watson's Centurie of Love exceed by four lines the limits prescribed to the Sonnet : one of them, however, I have inserted, not choosing to exclude from the selection a writer (by no means contemptible ) who has acquired some notoriety of late years from the preposterous declaration of Steevens,—that he was a more elegant sonnetteer than Shakespeare.”
The arrangement of the following pieces has been made, not according to the dates of their authors' deaths, but with reference to the time of their first appearance : thus, the beautiful Echo and Silence of my friend Sir Egerton Brydges, having been published in 1785, is placed earlier in the volume than Sonnets by various writers who have long been in the grave.
London, June 1, 1833.
LIST OF SONNET-WRITERS.
HENRY HOWARD, EARL OF SURREY,
From Tuscane came my Lady's worthy race ; Fair Florence was sometime her ancient seat. The western isle, whose pleasant shore doth face Wild Camber's cliffs, did give her lively heat. Foster'd she was with milk of Irish breast:
Her sire an earl; her dame of princes' blood.
HENRY HOWARD, EARL OF SURREY.
Ser me whereas the sun doth parch the green,