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to carry it out fully and perfectly; but should any of our readers search in vain for a favourite passage, which they might reasonably expect to find here, let them not accuse us of carelessness, or want of judgment, but remember that within the limited space of a single volume, it was quite impossible to give every thing good in the way of Poetical extract which might be found in the English authors alone, not to speak of those of other nations, and especially of America, to the press of which country we are indebted for the main idea, and much of the material of this volume, of the contents of which, as it may be looked upon as of the “Curiosities of Literature," we may perhaps be pardoned if we insert here a brief summary. We give round numbers only, thinking these a sufficiently near approximation to the truth for our present purpose. First, then, there are 700 pages, with an average of at least six extracts to the page, making an aggregate of 420) extracts; probably 5000 would be more exact. The number of authors quoted exceeds 500, of whom 427 are English, which of course includes Scotch, Irish, and Welch;
27 American; 6 German; 4 Italian; 3 French; 2 Spanish and Portuguese; 9 Greek; 12 Latin; 8 Persian; 2 Hindoo. The number of subject headings under which the matter is arranged exceeds 1000, being, it is believed, at least twice as many as can be found in any work of the kind ever published: the advantage of this must be obvious to all quoters of Poetry. With very few exceptions, not merely the idea embodied in the heading under which it stands, will be found in each extract, but the very word, in one of its forms or inflexions, marking the meaning of the passage with greater distinctness than if it were otherwise: it is sometimes difficult to say what is the leading idea of a quotation; and, without asserting that we have altogether obviated this difficulty, we may express a belief, that the plan which we have adopted, renders it at least likely, that we have placed each passage under a heading, that is expressive of its chief meaning. It will thus be seen that our field of research has been a wide one; it may be judged that our labour of compilation and arrangement has not
been small; we have accomplished this work in the midst of other avocations, often of a very engrossing character, and hope to meet with an indulgent criticism of the errors which have unavoidably crept in: we shall be obliged to any of our readers who will point out such as they may meet with, in order to their correction in a future edition of the work.
In conclusion, we would observe that one class of subjects we have altogether excluded, namely, those which would tend to foster a spirit of pride and vain glory, whether in nations or individuals, and set up a standard of morality opposed to that of the Gospel of the Prince of Peace. And herein, we apprehend, it will be found that our compilation differs from nearly all other volumes of Poetical Extracts. Too
of the most spirited, and most admired stock pieces of such collections, breathe a spirit which would better suit a heathen, than a Christian author: with such we have nought to do; the sooner they are forgotten the better. Such themes we would fain hope are unsuited to the inclinations and the convictions of the present day. Let us say with the American Poet, Grenville Mellen
“We have been taught in oracles of old
But other times have strung new lyres again,
We have no minstrels in our echoing halls,
The last lines remind us, by the way, that we ought to account for the exclusion from this collection of much beautiful Poetry of an especially sacred character: our reason for this exclusion is, that we purpose issuing a companion volume to the present, consisting wholly of such pieces. There is also another class of subjects to which anything like justice could not be done in less space than a volume; we have therefore reserved them for a POETICAL GALLERY OF NATURE, to be published by-and-by. The title will, we apprehend, sufficiently indicate its character.