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Entered according to Act of Congress, in the year 1870,
BY SHELDON & COMPANY,
In the Office of the Librarian of Congress, at Washington.
The title of this book suggests its purpose.
This is simply to bring together, in a single, convenient, and attractive volume, as many as possible of those lesser poems, secular and sacred, in our language, with which the lover of poetry is, or would gladly become, conversant. Many of the pieces are, therefore, the familiar household poems of the language ; others, not a few, are of rarer occurrence; and some will greet most readers for the first time. That the Editor has come near to exhausting the class of pieces to which the volume is dedicated, that he has invariably made the best selections, and that any lover of poetry will not niss from them some of his favorites, he does not for a moment flatter himself. A work of triple the size could scarcely exhaust the treasures of this department of our litera ure. The limits of the volame have compelled him to be exceedingly careful and choice in his selections.
Much pains have been taken to secure accuracy in the text. The poems are nearly all given entire, though in a few instances some stanzas have been dropped, and a few extracts of surpassing excellence have been admitted. As to the character of the pieces while the Editor could not, of course, be responsible fo: every sentiment admitted, he has felt bound to exclude alike what was erroneous in sentiment or irreverent in spirit. Some otherwise exce:lent poems have yielded to ihe application of this prir
.. ple. The purpose of the took has not seemed to require