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THIS book was planned and begun seven years ago, to meet what seemed to me a real want in English Literature: a full and representative selection of the best poems of Tennyson, arranged so as to show the variety of his work, the growth of his art, and the qualities of his poetry, and printed in a single volume not too large to hold in the hand or carry in a fair-sized pocket.

Of course, I had no notion that such a volume could take the place of Tennyson's Complete Works. But it would have a purpose and use of its own. It would be a friendly book for familiar reading, on a journey or a vacation-ramble. It would serve as a good manual for closer study with an intelligent class. It would help the understanding of the complete works. There is a distinct gain in presenting, within a small compass, a body of the best things that a man has done, disengaged and set apart from the mass of his productions. It simplifies the view and makes it easier to appreciate the vital meaning of his work.

I trust that the present volume may be acceptable and useful in this way. No other book of selections from Tennyson, of the same kind and scope, has been made hitherto. His own selection (dedicated to the "Working Men of England" and sold in threepenny numbers) was printed in 1865, before the writing of some of his most important poems. Mr. Palgrave's selection (1885) was confined to lyrical verse.

Mr. Ainger's selection (1891) was intended for young readers. Dr. Rolfe's scholarly little volumes (1884, 1887) contain only forty-eight pieces in all. The present volume contains one hundred and thirty-six selections, chosen from all the fields of Tennyson's poetry, except the dramas, from which it was impossible to detach representative scenes, although three of the interspersed lyrics are given.

It is not to be supposed that all readers will find here every poem of Tennyson which they have learned for personal reasons to like or to love. I have reluctantly omitted a number of those which I might have put in, if the book had been meant solely for my own use. So far as possible I have tried to make the book for general service, and on grounds of broad critical judgment rather than of mere personal partiality. Whatever has been left out, at least I feel confident that nothing has been taken in which does not deserve, for one reason or another, to have a place in such a book.

The text of the poems is that of Tennyson's latest revision. This represents his own preference as to final form, and is, upon the whole, the best version in almost every case. The only exception which I have ventured to make is the lyric out of which the monodrama of Maud was unfolded (p.167). For this the earliest text has been used, taken from The Tribute, 1837, where the poem first appeared. No attempt has been made to give a complete list of various readings. But practically every important change from the original text of the poems has been carefully noted, and in many cases the reason for the change has been explained. Thus, unless I am mistaken, the book gives a fuller and clearer view of Tennyson's methods in the revision of his verse, than is to be found anywhere else.

The plan of the volume included several features which seemed to me likely to add to its permanent value. First, a general introduction, giving a survey of Tennyson's relation to his times; then, a clear account of his life; then, a study of the way in which he used his material and worked over its form; and finally an estimate of the leading qualities which characterize his poetry. Then, I wished to add a general note of a descriptive nature on each poem, giving, as far as possible, its date and history, the source, or sources, drawn upon in its construction, and a condensed statement of its theme, and pointing out its metrical structure and peculiarities. I thought that this might be especially useful because Tennyson, from his central position and his mastery of the poetic art, would be a good subject for a class to take up in beginning the study of modern English verse.

In carrying out the last part of this plan, and enlarging it by the addition of many textual notes, I am much indebted to the scholarly and painstaking assistance of my collaborator, Mr. D. Laurance Chambers, who has worked with me during the past year. He has verified the references, worked out almost all of the textual changes and a majority of the notes, traced some of the material to sources never before identified, discovered many errors and inaccuracies of other commentators, corrected the proofs, and thus contributed largely to the completion of the book. For this reason I wish his name to stand with mine upon the title-page. Grateful acknowledgments should be made also to Dr. Hardin Craig for his kind assistance in verifying certain references at the British Museum, and to Dr. W. P. Woodman for his aid with some of the classical notes.

It is my hope that the book may be welcome to those who like to read good poetry and understand its meaning. If the

lovers of Tennyson find here anything that helps them to a new appreciation of his work, either in its limitations or in its excellences; if teachers and students can use the volume as a text-book in the study of Nineteenth Century English poetry; I shall be glad. Impartial criticism, on broad lines, in the introduction; careful commentary on particular points, in the notes; these are the things that have been aimed at. Their value, much or little, lies in the light which they throw upon the poems.

Tennyson's popularity has been great. This has been urged, in some highly aesthetic circles, as an argument against his fame. If the purpose of this book is attained, it will help to show that poetry which is popular may also be noble. It will contribute to a clear and just estimate of a poet whose name is one of the enduring glories of the English-speaking world.


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