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ENGLISH VERSE

IMPRESSIONS

BY

WILLIAM STEBBING

HON. FELLOW OF WORCESTER COLLEGE, OXFORD
AUTHOR OF SIR WALTER RALEGH: A BIOGRAPHY'

TRUTHS OR TRUISMS', PARTS I AND II

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• THE POETS: CHAJCEX TO. TENNYSON

IMPRESSIONS?

HENRY FROWDE
OXFORD UNIVERSITY PRESS

LONDON, EDINBURGH, GLASGOW
NEW YORK, TORONTO, MELBOURNE, BOMBAY

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BY THE SAME AUTHOR

THREE ESSAYS: Posthumous Fame, Tolera.

tion, and Brilliant Failures. Cr. 8vo. 6d, net.

TRUTHS OR TRUISMS (Part I). 8vo. 45. net;

also on Oxford India paper, 6s. net. CONTENTS: The Dead Hand—Necessary Nuisances—How to Quarrel - Counsels of Perfection - Eccentrics-Great-Freedom -Doing Without-Clerical Errors-Courtesy-Self-deceptionThe Marriage Lottery—A New Law of Libel — Temper-De Jure v. De Facto—The Elder Sister-How to Make the Most of Life-Memory—August 29, 1905–Putting the Brain into Commission—Through Whose Glasses ?-Cupboards—Insincerities -Popularity.

TRUTHS OR TRUISMS (Part II). 8vo. 45. net;

also on Oxford India paper, 6s. net. CONTENTS: Vices we could spare-Our great Prose PoemPauperizing — Dinner-table Talk-Concerning War-Atoms, • With one Consent they made Excuse '— The Shadow of Crime - June 22, 1911-Readable-Sophists—Sensations— Even as this Publican!'-Pleasure in Art-Cruelty-The Ideal Newspaper les grands : Hömmeš Méconnus'. Why-How-and Whom?— It is more Blessed to Give than to Receive'-Shakespeare's Brother-Dramatists—Inconceivably Incompatible-Man Anticipated-A new Circulating Library.

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INDEX OF FIRST WORDS

397-416

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I may be asked how I can have dared to sit in judgement on five centuries of English verse. My answer is that the following pages contain reports rather of my trial before the poets than of them before me. I have sat at their feet; and they have required me to say how I have understood them; what I have learnt from them. So long and intimately I have talked with them, from boyhood till the eventide of life, that somehow I felt bound to render them an account of the lessons they have taught me. I thought I should like, while I could, to tell them and myself results of our companionship. To them I owe the best of my education. Whatever intelligence I possess has

I been fed, refined, and illuminated by them. Hereafter it will not, I trust, be deemed that I have ill repaid my debt to my benefactors by the present attempt to trace and define their magic. Most of them, early and late, have been my old familiar friends and confidants. Pleasant, gracious, fragrant memories exhaled from scores of volumes as I successively took them from their shelves to refresh my acquaintance. If the souls enshrined therein look to the intention, I do not fear that they will resent my audacity at calling the roll.

Each of the company as he passed before me has so entirely occupied my attention that I have seldom been

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