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It is unnecessary
Every book ought to explain itself, without preface ; but in a volume of selections from the past, a brief prefatory note will have its value. to vindicate the re-issue of any Literature of the Old Times, which has in reality enriched the world : for in the noisy Present we need the Teaching of writings on which the silence of the Past has settled down. But when a volume is compiled from the works of men long silent, some explanation of its aim and plan may be expected.
The present volume is mainly, but not exclusively, a religious book. It is so exclusively, if the word Religion is understood as co-extensive with all the Deep and True in man, that has an upward tendency. It is not exclusively devotional. It is not a hymnology. But all its poems have an undertone of the devotional in them, even when the theme is not explicitly religious. Poetry which looks into the deep things of Man, or which speaks of the moral analogies of Nature, or reveals the hidden significance of Life, in a lofty and unworldly way, is really, in a broadly