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PROFESSOR OF HISTORY AND ENGLISH LITERATURE IN THE QUEEN'S COLLEGE, CORK, AND FELLOW OF

THE ROYAL UNIVERSITY OF IRELAND,

Author of " Ugone,The Tragedy of Israel," and " A Garland from Greece,"

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I Dedicate these pages,

WITH

HEARTY

GRATITUDE AND GENUINE ADMIRATION.

F. L.

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When, as is usually done in the case of Authors still living or recently deceased, the source from which an extract is taken is given, the reference is merely meant to indicate the best or most popular form in which the work containing the particular extract can be obtained.

PREFACE.

The present collection was originally intended to form nothing more than a répertoire of what, for want of a single comprehensive epithet, I must describe as amatory, complimentary, and social verses—verses suitable to those rather numerous occasions ” which it is now becoming usual, or at least common, to celebrate by sending card-souvenirs to one's friends.

That intention has never been lost sight of, and, in addition to a large number of available extracts from the works of poets more or less celebrated, this volume contains many little pieces written with the sole object of their being made to do duty on Christmas, New Year, Valentine, Easter, Birthday, Wedding, and Condolence cards. All these verses are the copyright of the Publishers of this volume, and many of them are now printed for the first time. In the case of these unpretending bits of rhyme, I must ask the reader to indulgently pardon the iteration—not quite, I trust, usque ad nauseam-of the names of some three or four authors.

It is now becoming common to issue card-designs both with and without verses printed on the back. In the performance of a mere social formality, where facility is the chief desideratum, those bearing the ready-made verses will no doubt be preferred. When, however, it is desired to individualize the sending of a cardto convert it into a really friendly and personal greeting—it is humbly suggested that that object may be attained by inscribing on the back of the card, in the sender's own handwriting, a few lines of verse such as this collection supplies in ample measure.

But the book has altogether outgrown its original design. The present volume can hardly be without interest to the ordinary reader, how remote soever his intention may be from sending a copy of verses. It covers pretty well, and

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covers almost exclusively, the whole of social and domestic life, and thus fills a niche in our handbook-literature too long vacant. The reader will not expect an uniformly high literary standard, the maintenance of such being obviously incompatible with the foregoing history of the growth of the book.

Of nearly fifteen hundred extracts which the collection embraces, only a very small number has been previously included in Anthologies. I have hardly touched the drama, and have passed somewhat lightly over our older poetic literature. From the parterres of poets of the present century, and especially from those of poets still living, whether well-known, less known, little known, or unknown, I have

I culled profusely, but not, I trust, recklessly. One of my most gratifying reflections, in bringing to a close the labour of eighteen months, is that this book may serve to convince persons only slightly acquainted with contemporary poetry of the wonderful richness of the mine, and that by exhibiting these sample nuggets I may induce some few of my readers to go and dig for themselves. For the absence from the list of authors of the great names of Tennyson and Thackeray, and of one or two others that will naturally be looked for, the Editor is not responsible.

Objectionable in principle as I consider the process of “extracting” from a poem-a process wherein the true extract or essence is very frequently lost-I have been compelled in the present case to have recourse to it. Without it, it would have been simply impossible to illustrate the several subjects with any approach to adequacy. My plan has been, at the risk of some appearance of scrappiness and incongruity, to let the comic and the tragic tread on one another's heels, just as they do in the commonplace book, and just as they do in the commonplace world – to let complete poems and brief aphoristic bits stand side by side. I believe that this method, or absence of method, will be found to impart to these pages piquancy and variety more than compensating for any loss of literary tone. Any inconvenience in reference and selection that the plan might have involved is obviated by a rough system of classification which a glance at the Table of Contents will serve to make clear.

Throughout the progress of the compilation, I have received from Authors and Publishers almost uniform courtesy, and, in not a few cases, much more than

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