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EN years have passed since the completion of my
critical survey of the poets and poetry of England from the beginning of the present reign. The scheme of the Victorian Poets included, besides an extended review of acknowledged leaders, a concise analysis of groups forming the general choir of the period represented. The work thus became somewhat complete in scope, and doubtless has served as a critical handbook and means of reference. This incidental result, however, was quite subordinate to the author's main design; and I think that such a fact was evident not only to a professional class, but to all readers interested concerning the spirit and methods of poetry, especially of our English song.
To that design I wish shortly to refer, as it is the chief motive of the present volume also. But first I would reproduce a statement made in the Preface to the former work, viz., - that the author originally had undertaken to write upon the poets of this country and the causes of their successes and failures; that on examination he had found modern and radical changes in the conditions affecting ideal effort, at home and abroad ;