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This little book may be said to proceed upon one assumption—that in the effort to frame for ourselves an equable, a serene, in a word, a wise economy of life, there is no such assistance to be had as in the friendly counsel of the makers of literature: its aim is therefore to awaken an interest in poetical literature in general, and a special period in particular, and to stimulate thought, where that interest already exists.

I have been in large measure content to follow the beaten track made by critics in the past, and have preferred to incur the risk of censure by a repetition of much that has been already, perhaps, well and sufficiently said, to indulging in the fanciful ingenuities characteristic of modern literary essayists. The short concluding chapter sketches only the broader aspects of the poetry of Tennyson and Browning; a detailed study—impossible here through lack of space-has already appeared in Messrs Methuen & Co.'s series under the title Victorian Poets.'

To Mr Symes, the editor, for his courtesy in connection with the publication of this book, and to Mr W. E. Wales, for his careful revision of the proof sheets, I have to return my best thanks.

To Dr Gwynn, Regius Professor of Divinity in the University of Dublin, I owe a greater debt than can here be fully acknowledged.


September 1893

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