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Out of the conquered Past
Unravishable Beauty; Hearts that are dew and dust
Rebuking the dream of Death; Flower of the clay down-cast
Triumphant in earth's aroma; Strings that were strained in rust
A-tremble with Music's breath!
Wine that was spilt in haste
Arising in fumes more precious; Garlands that fell forgot
Rooting to wondrous bloom; Youth that would flow to waste
Pausing in pool-green valleys — And Passion that lasted not Surviving the voiceless Tomb!
This book furnishes, if I am not mistaken, the largest and therefore most valuable collection yet printed, on either side the Atlantic Ocean, of the poetry of the great Elizabethan period in England. This alone should make it a work of much value for use in all those colleges and high schools where the worth of the best literature is habitually appreciated. Were it only for the service of such institutions the very best poetry of every epoch ought to be collected bodily and not merely selected, as if by samples. Few indeed are there
among the teachers of such schools who will not find in this volume, as I have found, many poems of striking value and interest which have escaped all their previous reading.
The sonorous epithet of “ Elizabethan” is commonly applied to the epoch to which this volume is substantially confined. Yet it will always remain doubtful how far the school of poetry here represented ought justly to bear that great queen's name. That she had some knowledge of Latin and Greek we know, and that she spoke several modern languages with some degree of fluency. It has, however, been justly claimed by one of the most accomplished of Englishwomen, Mrs. Anna Jameson, that her Majesty was “much fonder of displaying her own name than of encouraging the learned.” Indeed, the same impression of her is rather confirmed than otherwise by the extravagant flattery pronounced on the queen by one who was in some respects the best critic' of his day, Puttenham, the author of the “ Arte of English Poesie." He assures us that the queen's "learned, delicate, and noble muse easily surmounteth all the rest that have written before her time or since, for sense, sweetness and subtilitie even by as much oddes as her own excellent estate and degree exceedeth all the rest of her most humble vassals.” The slightest glance at her Majesty's so-called poetry will dispose of all such flattering criticism, while on the other hand the mere names of such writers as Shakespeare, Bacon, Sidney, Raleigh, Hooker, Spenser, Marvell, Herrick, and the rest stand out as memorials of an intellectual group which must have been greatly self-sustaining and by no means the outcome of any mere patronage.