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[English poetry]

The treasures of English poetry are inexhaustible, and our wealth in this respect has of late years been largely exhibited in selections. A fresh introduction to English poetry, entitled Poet's Walk collected and arranged by Mowbray Morris (Remington and Co.), has a distinct and intelligent purpose. It is dedicated "To Eton, from an Old Etonian," and the aim of the compiler has been to bring together such poems as are likely to give a boy pleasure. It is a difficult task, for the editor has to avoid over-much simplicity on the one hand, and on the other all poetry of the class that used to be termed didactic. He does not think any previous publication of this kind has succeeded in hitting the mean of boyhood, "that time so difficult to understand, so difficult to define, when the boy has thrown aside the frock of childhood, nor yet assumed the toga of the man." There are readers, not many in number, perhaps, to whom from earliest youth poetry has proved, as it were, the breath of life, the solace of dark hours, an inspiring and invigorating force in days of gladness. Such readers do not need to be allured towards verse by a selection like this, although even to this select few it cannot fail to prove a delight. Most boys, however, and most men also, need to be taught what is best in verse; and the study of a book like this is in itself an education. The boy who learns to love the poetry presented by Mr. Morris will grow to appreciate all that is noblest in the art, and will gain that most valuable of acquirements, a love of good literature. It is always possible to point out sins of omission, if not of commission, in a selection of poetry. The critic, like the compiler, has his special taste, and is apt to wonder why it is not gratified. Omissions there are here, but not many in number, for which it is hard to account; and still fewer are the pieces unworthy of a place in this delightful pocket volume. We may add that "Poet's Walk" is divided into four books, the last of which contains several well-known poems by living writers. "How large a gap," Mr. Morris writes, "the absence of Mr. Tennyson's name must make, I am but too conscious; that, however, arises from circumstances over which none but his publishers have any control."

Source: The Illustrated London News, No.2254—Vol. LXXXI, Saturday, July 15, 1882, p.71