The Hundred Best English Poems
"Let me frankly admit, to begin with, that the attractiveness and probable selling qualities of the title of this little book, "The Hundred Best English Poems, " proved, when it had been once thought of, too powerful arguments for it to be abandoned. I am fully conscious of the presumption such a title implies in an unknown selector, but at the same time I submit that only a plebiscite of duly qualified lovers of poetry could make a selection that could claim to deserve this title beyond all question, and such a plebiscite is of course impossible. I can claim no more than that my attempt to realize this title is an honest one, and I can assert, without fear of contradiction, that every one of the poems I have included is a "gem of purest ray serene"; that none can be too often read or too often repeated to one's self; that every one of them should be known by heart by every lover of good literature, so that each may become, as it were, a part of his inner being. "
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