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PREFACE.

This book is composed of the Poetry of Birthdays -that is to say, of poetry relating to the principal anniversaries of human life from the cradle to the grave—birthdays of the material frame of humanity

-birthdays of the heart, the mind, the soul ; of the entrance into this world and into the next-birthdays of love, of death, and immortality.

The Poetry of Birthdays comprises, therefore, in its wide range, the whole cycle of human existence.

Many deep thinkers have surmised that our birth into this state of existence is not the first we have experienced — so have thought some theological and some poetical writers, including Sir Walter Scott, Bulwer Lytton, and Wordsworth, who says:

Our birth is but a sleep and a forgetting,

The soul that rises in us, our life's star,
Has had elsewhere its setting,

And cometh from afar.
But of this supposed pre-existence Christianity

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