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INTRODUCTION TO THIS EDITION
This edition of "The Golden Treasury" differs, I believe, from other editions in that the notes are literary rather than linguistic. I have shaped all my annotations to four ends: to bring out the literary qualities of the poems; to discuss the metre; to introduce any material that might aid in the interpretation, as, for example, the circumstances under which some of the lyrics in Shakespeare's plays were originally sung; and to give suggestions about the oral reading. I have endeavored, in a word, to assist students in the appreciation of the poems.
Such an edition is assuredly new. But is it desirable? I believe it is. It is because I felt the need of such an edition in my own work that my thoughts were first directed to the subject. I do not question, of course, that many a teacher will teach the poems better with an un-annotated edition than many another teacher will with notes-notes like these or any other notes. Such a teacher will find this edition valuable only in saving time for him and his students and in giving him a chance hint here and there. But surely there are many teachers that will be glad to receive suggestions as to the literary qualities of the poems and the methods of approach to them.
Certain it is that many of us do not know how to teach poetry. Many of us emphasize the linguistic, the formal, and the intellectual phases, and ignore that for which poetry exists: the expression and the communication of emotion. I know that some teachers of English believe that the emotional cannot be taught except through the
intellectual, that a poem must be zealously studied before it can be enjoyed. Of course, it is true that many poems cannot be enjoyed until certain intellectual problems have been solved, and it is equally true that the intellectual and the emotional go hand in hand. But the trouble has been that most of us content ourselves with the intellectual elements, taking it for granted that the student will feel the emotion of himself or that he would not feel it whatever we might do to assist him. I do not believe that. I believe that the student can be very materially assisted if the teacher will lay emphasis upon the literary interpretation, upon the emotional phases of the poetry. It is in that belief that this edition has been prepared. I have tried to steer between the matter-offact, unemotional dissection of the poems, which will not arouse students, and the ecstatic admiration, which will arouse merely their antagonism; but Scylla and Charybdis are so perilously close to each other that I do not pretend I have not, at times, approached each of them.
Believing that there is no use in telling a student flatly that he must appreciate a poem, when perhaps he does not know and cannot discover what is the meaning of it or of some part of it, I have tried, in making my annotations, to remove all the mental obstacles before approaching the emotional elements or the oral reading. I have included a good many textual glosses, though I set out with the intention of giving few. I have found, on the whole, that it is not the obsolete word that presents the greatest difficulty, but the word which, in the particular passage, has an unusual meaning. If a student does not know any meaning for a word, he will consult a dictionary-perhaps; but if he knows a meaning, he may conclude that it fits the particular case, and so wrest the entire passage from its proper meaning. Take
INTRODUCTION TO THIS EDITION
an illustration: Suppose that the student does not know that "stare", in the second stanza of No. 73, means "starling", but that he does know, as he certainly will, that there is a verb, "stare", meaning to "gaze at fixedly." The chances are that he will so interpret the word, connecting it with "sing" and "give" in the same stanza. Most of my notes on words and phrases are on those that might be misunderstood. I have made few glosses on mythological references.
A word as to the directions for oral reading. Most of us believe that poetry should be read aloud. we permit our convictions to be set aside too easilywe have not time, or the students do not read well, or we ourselves do not read well. We need to believe that poetry is not poetry until it is read aloud, as music is not music until it is sung or played. I hold that it is an essential part of our work as teachers of poetry to train students in the art of reading aloud. For this reason I have given, directly or by implication, many suggestions for oral reading. I have tried not to be "elocutionary", and I have tried to base my suggestions on the obvious qualities of the poems under discussion.
There is one other unusual feature in the book. I have annotated all the poems in the first book, but I have left a good many for the student to work out in the second book, more in the third book, and very many in the fourth. The motive underlying this is, of course, the desire to give the student some ideals of criticism and some bases of appreciation, and to make him independent of text and teacher by putting him forward to do the work. I have tried to make him self-sufficient, within limits; and I have tried to make myself, by the time the student has done faithful work on the first part of the book, unnecessary.
Teachers will readily perceive that I have had space for but the notes. Even in these I have had to be so brief that I fear I am sometimes obscure, and I also have had to employ some technical terms without properly defining them. I have had no space to make crossreferences, I have had no space to discuss the different lyric forms or the characteristics of the authors and the periods. I am sorry I could not touch upon all this, for I believe it is, though often overdone, an essential part of literary study. But the necessity of doing well the one thing I thought should be done prevented me from following up any of these interesting lines. I suggest that the teacher provide himself with "Notes on Palgrave's Golden Treasury," the Macmillan Co., New York, where he will find all this and much more.
I have changed the punctuation in many places-for the better, I hope. These alterations were made not so much to make the meaning different as to make it clear.
I have not had access to the definitive editions of some of the poems in "The Golden Treasury", so have had little opportunity to study variant readings intelligently. I have employed the reading that seemed the best. This is not good scholarship, certainly; but I have been the less unwilling to do this because I design the notes for students rather than for scholars, and I have yet to find a young student who is very much interested in pedantic quibbling-and scribbling-on minute points. of scholarship.
My thanks are due Professor Bliss Perry of Harvard University, Professor Waitman Barbe of West Virginia University, and Mr. Charles Welsh of the World Book Company, for their sensible and sympathetic criticism of my manuscript.
Fairmont, W. Va., Dec. 15, 1914.
THE GOLDEN TREASURY
Spring, the sweet Spring, is the year's pleasant king; Then blooms each thing, then maids dance in a ring, Cold doth not sting, the pretty birds do sing:
"Cuckoo, jug-jug, pu-we, to-witta-woo!"
The palm and may make country houses gay,
The fields breathe sweet, the daisies kiss our feet,
Spring! the sweet Spring!
THE FAIRY LIFE
Where the bee sucks, there suck I;
There I couch when owls do cry;