Excerpt from The Children's Treasury of Lyrical Poetry, Vol. 2: Selected and Arranged With Notes
The standard of 'merit as poetry' (so far as the editor, aided by some friends distinguished by good judgment and scholarship, may have been success ful in preserving it), has exc... luded a certain number of popular favourites. But the standard of suita bility to childhood,' as here understood, has ex cluded many more pieces pictures of life as it seems to middle-age - poems coloured by sentimentalism or morbid melancholy, however attractive to readers no longer children - love as personal passion or regret (not love as the groundwork of action) artificial or highly allusive language - have, as a rule, been held unfit. The aim has been to shun scenes and sentiments alien from the temper of average healthy childhood, and hence of greater intrinsical difficulty than poems containing un usual words. Hence, although the rules of choice have given this book, as compared with many of its predecessors, an unfamiliar air, yet it is believed that the contents will in fact prove ultimately at least as comprehensible to children between the ages specified.
Poems suitable for readers in the latter half oi these years are marked with a star in the index. Some pieces will be found admitted as examples leading up to the poetry appropriate to later educa tion and the experience of life but, looking to the small size of the collection, it has not been thought desirable to attempt ranging the contents in order of composition or of relative difficulty.
A few omissions have been made in order to render a poem more suitable for childhood, or to escape encroachment on the field of distinctly devotional verse; others, more copiously, when the poem could be thus strengthened in a vivid effectiveness. The North-country Ballads have thus been greatly shortened a child (in the editor's judg ment), especially one unfamiliar with dialect, being more likely t6 appreciate afterwards their charming antique garrulity, and the repetitions of phrase proper to orally-published poetry, if presented first with a tale in our more condensed modern manner. When, as here, poetry for poetry's sake is concerned, extracts in general appear wholly unsatisfactory to the editor; they are like fragments barbarously broken from statues. Such only have, therefore, been included which form in themselves complete works of art.
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