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Preface.

THE

JHE selections contained in this volume are such as

relate to one subject only—that of country life. But this, in itself, is a very wide sphere, and offers in its many different fields, old and new, all the variety that the most capricious spirit could desire. In collecting the different passages, the editor has allowed herself a wide sweep of the net; it has been her aim to bring together many beautiful passages from the best writers, mingled with others interesting rather from their quaintness and oddity, or their antiquity. With this view, not only have the poets of our own tongue, ancient and modern, English and American, been laid under contribution for the reader's amusement, but translations from a dozen different languages have also been included in the volume. Materials for a work of this nature abound, and the editor would have gladly drawn even more largely from the
sources open to her, not only from the older authors,
but from many writers of our own day also. It was
desirable, however, that the volume should not reach
an unwieldy size, as it was intended for pleasant com-
panionship—the summer-seat, under a shady tree, or
the chimney corner in winter-rather than for the
prouder position allotted to the ponderous quarto on
the library shelf. A word of especial apology is per-
haps needed, regarding some of our omissions; “Co-
mus,” the “ Allegro and Penseroso,” Gray's “ Elegy"
and “Ode to Spring,” with other poems of that class,
though peculiarly fitted for a compilation of this kind,
will not be found in our table of Contents. But they
have already been so often printed and misprinted,
quoted and misquoted !

« Dono infelice di bellezza, ond' hai

Funesta dota d' infiniti guai.”

In this instance their very absence will serve to recall
them to the reader's memory.

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