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of this volume would not admit of the adoption of all those Gems, even of minor poems, which have become stereotyped, as it were, in the affections of the general reader; especial care, however, has been taken to admit only those which have been recognized as the purest and most brilliant droppings from “the wells of English undefiled.” The period of Shakespeare and his contemporaries has been chosen for the commencement of the Selections ; our language then assumed its almost definite shape, and its literature may be considered then to have achieved some of its greatest triumphs. Subsequent Poets, as far as practicable, have been arranged to follow in the order of their succession, down to the latest candidate for poetic fame at the publication of this volume.
The Selections have been arranged consecutively under their appropriate authors, affording greater facilities for reference, and concentrating more distinctly the interest on each individual Poet, than could be obtained by a miscellaneous distribution: a species of unity and individuality is thus preserved, that we trust will be found acceptable to the reader.
The Collector, in acknowledging the adaptation
of the Title of an English compilation of very limited extent, intended chiefly for the introduction of Pictorial Illustrations, confesses the expressiveness of the name so completely harmonized with the design he contemplated, in furnishing a Series of Compilations that should be indeed “GOLDEN LEAVES” from the works of Standard Authors, that he could not resist its adoption. The second volume of the Series is prepared, and will be issued immediately, under the title of “Golden LEAVES FROM THE AMERICAN Poets.”
J. W. S. H. New York, June 22, 1864.