« PreviousContinue »
P R E F A CСЕ.
OES Nature, when she denies to the age a royal poet-king by right of mighty genius-concede the gift in another form, diffusing the poetic art in lesser minds? While it must be admitted that there is much true and genuine poetry floating about amongst us, it cannot be said that there is at present any great poet who is known to, and reaches the hearts of the masses. The Literary World, in reviewing a batch of poets, recently said-"A grotesque fancy suggests itself, and will not away, as we glance over the scores and scores of volumes, all published under the heading of poetry. It is simply impossible that so many authors should be great poets. Does Nature grant, instead of one colossal statue, resplendent in golden purity, that the fine gold shall be beaten thin, and thus become the inferior possession of the multitude? We do not attempt to answer the quaint fancy, but one thing is certain-much of the poetry of the present day is doubtless pure gold, though beaten out, often to attenuation." Popular poetry has been compared to the wild rose, the stock out of which the richer garden roses are grown. We suspect that it must be the minor poetry of England that is here referred to. The Glasgow Herald, commenting on the remarks of a writer on the subject of the dearth of English ballads, who could not understand how it has come about that English cultivated poetry is so rich when the wild stock is so poor, remarks that "the Scotch Lowlands, peopled by substantially the same race as that which inhabits England, have been prolific in peasant poets, but the Scotch peasantry have for centuries been educated, whereas the English peasantry are to this day, for the most part, sunk in ignorance. The portions of Scotland in which education has been most widely diffused are precisely those which have produced the largest number of working-class poets; and it may also be noted that the counties distinguished for