Excerpt from The Flower of the Mind: A Choice Among the Best Poems
Partial collections of English poems, decided by a common subject or bounded by narrow dates and periods of literary history, are made at very short intervals, and the makers are safe from the reproach' of pro... posing their own personal taste as a guide for the reading of others. But a general Anthology gathered from the whole of English literature - the whole from Chaucer to Wordsworth - by a gatherer intent upon nothing except the quality of poetry, is a more rare enter prise. It is hardly to be made without tempting the suspicion - nay, hardly without seeming to hazard the confession - of some measure of self confidence. Nor can even the desire to enter upon that labour be a frequent one - the desire of the heart of one for whom poetry is verit ably 'the complementary life' to set up a pale for inclusion and exclusion, to add honours, to multiply homage, to cherish, to restore, to protest, to proclaim, to depose; and to gain the consent of a multitude of readers to all those acts. Many years, then - some part of a century - ~may easily pass between the publication of one general anthology and the making of another.
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