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A CALENDAR differs somewhat from an
Anthology, inasmuch as not always the absolute best but the relatively fittest must be chosen. In so far as this selection adheres to any principle, it is that which Bacon recommends for a flower garden : these flowers of verse follow the seasons throughout the whole cycle of the year. Yet not so closely as to shut out many which have nothing to do with Nature or her moods, though an attempt has been made to keep, so to speak, the general tone of each month in selecting those poems which have no particular reference to it. Occasionally, as in March or April, the season of penitence and sorrow may seem to come into collision with the natural season of hope and Spring—a kind of blackthorn Winter, as it were; and sometimes in the Summer there are dark days. The saints' days have only now and then been marked, when any specially striking poem fitted them, and in the case of Christmas, when there were only too many, they have been grouped about the Nativity.
The only other guiding principle was that the poems should be lyrical rather than narrative or didactic; and when not strictly so in form, they are in content, as in the few passages taken from long poems. This is the cause that the eighteenth century is almost unrepresented, while liberal selection has been made from the sixteenth and seventeenth, and from the years which ushered in the twentieth ; some of our youngest poets, markedly those called Celtic, being especially happy in the lyric, whether inclining to the mysticism and tender melancholy of the Irish school, or to a certain radiant freshness which characterises "A Shropshire Lad” and “Vagabondia". But it is invidious to particularise : I have culled my flowers, and will leave it to the reader to appraise their perfume.
My sincere gratitude is due to those living poets who have one and all given most kind and generous consent to my including their work. To Mr. Swinburne for five lyrics and a passage from "Adieux à Marie Stuart”; to Mr. Watts-Dunton for three sonnets from “The Coming of Love"; to Mr. Robert Bridges for a liberal selection from his “Shorter Poems” (Smith, Elder & Co.); to Mrs. Hinkson for several from “The Wind in the Trees” (Grant Richards), and from "Shamrocks" and “Ballads and Lyrics” (Kegan Paul & Co.); to Mr. W. B. Yeats for one from “The Wind among the Reeds" (Elkin Mathews), and three from those published by Fisher Unwin; to Mr. A. E. Housman for four from "A Shropshire Lad” (Grant Richards); to Mr. W. D. Howells for "Earliest Spring"; to Mr. J. Meade Falkner for The Last Church” and " Theocritus in Fleet Street”; to the Very Rev. the Dean of Ely for three from "In a Minster Garden"; to the Rev. A. G. Butler for “ Oxford ” and “Labuntur Anni," from “The Choice of Achilles"; to the Rev. G. M. A. Hewett for his lines from “The Open-Air Boy”; to Mr. Francis Patmore, youngest son of the poet, for “Usque ad finem ;” to Miss G. M. Seymour for three lyrics : and to the late Mr. W. E. Henley for “Margaritae Sorori"
I am indebted also to the kindness of Mrs. Coventry Patmore for leave to put in “A Farewell” and “The Year,” by the late Mr. Coventry Patmore; to Mr. Lloyd Osborne for two by Mr. R. L. Stevenson ; to Mr. Horatio F. Brown for Mr. J. A. Symonds's translations from Michael Angelo; to the executors of Mr. Du Maurier for his rendering of “La Vie est vaine"; to Mr. W. M. Rossetti for a sonnet from “The House of Life," and two other poems by Dante Gabriel Rossetti, in which Messrs. Ellis & Elvey concurred; to Mrs. Eden for her consent, kindly obtained by Messrs. George Bell & Sons, for including three sonnets by Mrs. Elder which originally appeared in Aunt Judy's Magazine, when conducted by the latter's sister, Mrs. Gatty ; to Mr. Conrad B. Fry for lines from “Days of First Love," by Chatterton Dix.
My thanks are also due to Mr. John Lane for most kindly allowing me the following published by him : four sonnets by Edward Cracroft Lefroy, two poems from "Travels in
England,” by Richard Le Gallienne, one from “Orchard Songs,” by Norman Gale, one from “Poems," by Nora Hopper, one from “The Fairy Changeling and other Poems," by Dora Sigerson, two from “Poems," by the Rev. Canon Beeching, one from "Fleet Street Eclogues,” by John Davidson, and a bit of translation from Sophocles from “The Dominion of Dreams," by Fiona McLeod; to Mr. Grant Richards for those of Mrs. Hinkson and Mr. A. E. Housman, published by him ; to Messrs. Longmans, Green, & Co. for three from “The Earthly Paradise" and "The Message of the March Wind,” by William Morris ; to Messrs. Kegan Paul, Trench & Co. for two by the late Archbishop Trench; to Messrs. Smith, Elder & Co. for one of Robert Browning still in copyright, and the selection from the “ Shorter Poems” of Robert Bridges; to Messrs. Murray for some lines by Lord Houghton ; to Messrs. Blackwood for “Violets," by Mr. William Story; to Mr. George Allen for “Mimnermus in Church," from "Ionica," by William Cory, and four stanzas from "The Open-Air Boy,” by the Rev. G. M. A. Hewett. Also to Mr. Reeves for three by William Allingham; to the Walter Scott Publishing Co. for those from “Poems," by Philip Bourke Marston ; to Messrs. Chatto & Windus for two by George MacDonald, and two from "Music and Moonlight,” by Arthur O'Shaughnessy ; to Mr. Elkin Mathews for some from "Songs from Vagabondia," by Bliss Carman and Richard Hovey, from