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ENGLISH SONNETS.

Selection.

EDITED BY

JOHN DENNIS.

TOTHE

LONDON:

HENRY S. KING & CO.,

65, CORNHILL, AND 12, PATERNOSTER ROW.

1873-

280. n. 6.41.

[All Rights Reserved.]

ΤΟ

JOHN WILLIAM INCHBOLD.

To you who have so dear a love of the Sonnet, and have sometimes so happily employed it in moments of release from professional labour, I gladly and affectionately dedicate this little volume. And I do this the more readily, because all that is most worthy in it comes from the noble masters of English verse, who impart to us, although in different language, the same joyinspiring lessons which our great artists teach upon

canvas.

J. D.

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PREFACE.

THIS selection of Sonnets is designed for the student of poetry; not for the reader who takes up a volume of verse in order to pass away an idle hour. A beautiful song gladdens the ear at once, a noble ode, or a pathetic ballad, sends the blood bounding or brings tears to the eyes, and a great drama affords to the mind infinite delight even upon a first perusal ; but "the sonnet is a form of poetry, in which style is put under high pressure," and the wealth it contains is rarely to be won without toil. Condensation of thought, exactitude of language, and unity of design are demanded of the sonnet writer, and through his fourteen lines, and knitting them together, must run the golden thread of poetry. Perfection in this most difficult branch of the poetic art is of course not easily attained, and even in this little volume several Sonnets will be found whose intrinsic value is comparatively slight, although from association, or from other causes, they possess a literary interest.

It will be observed that the names of living writers

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