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gives us no intimation ; and these pages commence with the birth of infancy, and close with the end of life, when takes place that birth yet to come, of which Sophocles declared his expectation in his last tragedy,-an idea that has been re-echoed through all the ages since by hosts of the greatest minds. Between these two momentous birthdays there are several periods whose anniversaries have for all of us, more or less, an affecting interest; whilst in the case of royal personages, that day on which they first entered upon the cares and grandeurs of sovereignty must always be a prominent anniversary of their lives.

And there is one day, figuratively so called, of unspeakable importance to all the denizens of a fallen world—“the new birth,” so solemnly appointed by our Saviour: “Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except a man be born again, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.” This is celebrated here in the one joyful birthday of our redemption—that of the nativity and incarnation of Christ.

From this happy starting-point we trace the journey of life by the milestones, pausing here or there, by the principal stations, to consider the country we are travelling through, and that towards which we are hastening.

The very farthest limits of the journey measure for us but a hundred birthdays; and which of us

can hope to reach that? Threescore years and ten is the natural terminating point.

And such is human life ; so, gliding on,
It glimmers like a meteor, and is gone ;
Yet is the tale, brief though it be, as strange,
As full, methinks, of wild and wondrous change,
As any that the wandering tribes require,
Stretch'd in the desert round their evening fire;
As any sung of old, in hall or bower,
To minstrel-harps at midnight's witching hour!

ROGERS. This strange “ tale that is told” is divided here into three parts—youth, middle age, and later life ; which mark the natural changes that present themselves to every eye, and are experienced by every one who lives to be old.

A word or two on the poems themselves. It has been said by an ancient writer, speaking of the lighter forms of poetry, “ These things commonly go under the title of poetical amusements, but these amusements have sometimes gained as much reputation to their authors as works of a more serious nature. It is surprising how much the mind is entertained and delighted by these little poetical , compositions, as they turn upon subjects of gallantry, satire, tenderness, politeness, and everything in short that concerns life and the affairs of the world.”

Our Book of Birthdays is, of course, principally occupied with these “poetical amusements," which

are of various degrees of literary merit, although none have been admitted that are not marked by refinement of feeling or of thought.

Thus the favour of the public is hoped for on a double basis. The poetry of human life here commends itself to all cultivated minds, whether they do or do not keep or enjoy actual birthdays; and the Book of Birthdays, as a collection of anniversary. poetry never before brought together in a volume, must be acknowledged to be at once curious and of some permanent value.

M. B.

CONTENTS.

234

PAGE Abide with Me . . . . . .. . 210 Action .

· Wilcox 106 Adieu to all that is Perishable in Love Campbell 179 Against Distrust of our Maker. . John Fletcher 104 Albert the Good . . . . . Tennyson 164 Angelo, Michael, Last Poems of .. Angels' Song, The . . . . . : 37 Another Life Spring .

Hood 197 nortening of our Years. . Campbell 98 Aspirations of Youth . . James Montgomery 70 At South Kensington on the Prince Consort's Birthday

M. R. Č. 266 Babe in the House, The . .

45 Bacon's, Lord, Sixtieth Birthday . . Ben Yonson

194 Baillie, 'To Miss Agnes, on her Birthday Joanna Baillie 204 Barbauld, Mrs., Death of . . . . . 230 Bark of Life, The . . . . . Kazineski 135 Birthday, The . . . . . . i Birthday Epigram

24 · · ·

Hook

· s w Birthday Epigram.

Tones Birthday Epigram on late-acquired Wealth Cowper 195 Birthday Gift of a King of France . Birthday Gift, The . . . . . Landon 67 Birthday of a Conqueror . . . . Dryden 132 Birthday of Christ . .

· Tennyson 17 Birthday of Love, The . . . Cartwright 77 Birthday of the Soul in Love . . Bulwer Lytton 108 Birthday of the World .

Hood 139 Birthday Poem to Maria Brontë by her Husband . . 117 Birthday Reflections . . .

. . Moore 228

. Birthday Thought, A . . .

86

. ...: Birthday Verses.

.. . Hood 120 Birthday Verses to Miss Logan. ..

Burns 80 Birthnight in Later Life . Bishop, To Mrs., on her Birthday . Samuel Bishop 116 Blount, To Martha, on her Birthday . . Pope Boundary of Middle Life, The . . . Burns 147 Burning Babe, The

. Southwell Burns's Sonnet on his Thirty-fourth Birthday . . 146

131

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are of various degrees of literary merit, although none have been admitted that are not marked by refinement of feeling or of thought.

Thus the favour of the public is hoped for on a double basis. The poetry of human life here commends itself to all cultivated minds, whether they do or do not keep or enjoy actual birthdays; and the Book of Birthdays, as a collection of anniversary poetry never before brought together in a volume, must be acknowledged to be at once curious and of some permanent value.

M. B.

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