William and Robert Chambers, Readings in English Poetry: A Collection of Specimens from our best Poets From A.D. 1558 to 1860, Chronologically Arranged with Biographical Notices and Explanatory Notes. (London and Edinburgh: William and Robert Chambers, 1865)

Information about the collection: As the full title indicates, there are bio-critical headnotes for each author, with some bibliographic information as well. The contents of the volume are categorized and ordered in three different ways, as follows. The table of contents proper is followed by a "classified index of subjects," which contains these generic categories: sacred-moral-didactic; descriptive (the seasons, months, morning-night, natural phenomena, scenery, characters); historical; satirical; dramatic; miscellaneous narrative; miscellaneous lyrics (odes, songs); and sonnets. Following this is an alphabetical index of poets. There are quasi-baroque engravings of the dates that bound each chronological period before their respective sections in the volume. The names of authors in the TOC are in boldface, as you see here.

The Preface: This volume, Readings in English Poetry, forms the poetical part of Readings in English Literature. The prose part is also published separately, under the title of Readings in English Prose. Both volumes are designed as Reading-Books for upper classes in Schools, while the complete work forms a suitable companion to such manuals as the History of the English Language and Literature in Chambers's Educational Course.

The Readings in the present volume consist of selections from the works of our best poets from A.D. 1558 to the present day. They are arranged in chronological order, and are introduced by a short biographical notice of each author. The foot-notes contain explanations of difficulties in the text, and meanings of words not found in a school-dictionary. A detailed Table of Contents, an Index of Subjects classified, and an Alphabetical Index of Authors, are prefized to the volume.

Table of Contents: 

POETS: 1558-1649

Thomas Sackville: 1536-1609
From The Induction to the Mirrour for Magistrates-

Edmund Spenser: 1553-1598
From The Faerie Queene-
The Opening Stanzas
The Seasons

Samuel Daniel: 1562-1619
The Philosophical Observer From The Epistle to the Countess of Cumberland

Michael Drayton: 1563-1631
Lament over the decay of Charnwood Forest. From Polyolbion, Pigwiggen's Armour. From Nymphidia.

Christopher Marlowe: 1563-1593
The Murder of Edward II. From Edward II.
The Passionate Shepherd to his Love.

Sir Walter Raleigh: 1552-1618
The Reply to the Passionate Shepherd

William Shakespeare: 1564-1616
From The Merchant of Venice-
The Trial Scene, abridged Music
From Romeo and Juliet - Queen Mab
From Macbeth - The Murder of Duncan
From Julius Caesar - The Quarrel between Brutus and Cassius
From Shakespeare's Songs -
Serenade. From Cymbeline,
Influence of Music. From Henry VIII.
Approach of the Fairies. From Midsummer Night's Dream

John Donne: 1573-1631

Ben Jonson: 1573-1637
The Fall of Catiline. From Cataline,
Hymn to Diana. From Cynthia's Revels,

Joseph Hall: 1574-1656
The Poor Gallant, From his Satires,

Beaumont and Fletcher
(Francis Beaumont: 1586-1615. John Fletcher: 1576-1625.)
Palamon and Arcite. From The Two Noble Kinsmen,

Giles and Phineas Fletcher:
(Giles: about 1530-1623, and Phineas: 1584-1650.)
From Christ's Victory in Heaven, by Giles Fletcher -
The Rainbow,
From The Purple Island, by P. Fletcher -
Parthenia, or Chastity,

Philip Massinger: 1584-1640
Pride of Sir Giles Overreach in his daughter. From The New Way to pay Old Debts,

William Drummond: 1585-1649
To a Nightingale,

Thomas Carew: 1589-1639

Francis Quarles: 1592-1644.
Delight in God only,

George Herbert: 1593-1632

Sir John Suckling: 1609-1641
From A Ballad upon a Wedding,

Robert Herrick: 1591-1674
To Blossoms
To Daffodils

POETS: 1649-1689

Abraham Cowley: 1618-1667
The Grasshopper,
From Hymn to Light

Sir John Denham: 1615-1668
The Thames. From Cooper's Hill,

Edmund Waller: 1605-1687
On a Girdle,
Old Age and Death,

John Milton: 1608-1674
From Hymn on the Nativity,
From L'Allegro,
From Paradise Lost -
Satan's Address to the Sun,
Morning Prayer of Adam and Eve,
From Paradise Regained -
Satan's Survey of Greece,
On the late Massacre in Piedmont,

Samuel Butler: 1612-1680
Accomplishments of Hudibras.
From Hudibras,

John Dryden: 1631-1700
Ode to the Memory of Mrs Anne Killigrew,
From Absalom and Achitophel -
Character of the Earl of Shaftesbury as Achitophel,
Character of the Duke of Buckingham as Zimri,
Alexander's Feast,
Veni Creator Spiritus,

POETS: 1689-1727

Matthew Prior: 1664-1721
An Epitaph,
Epitaph Extempore

Joseph Addison: 1672-1719
From The Letter from Italy,
From The Campaign -
The Battle of Blenheim
From Cato -
Cato's Soliloquy before committing Suicide,

Alexander Pope: 1688-1744
From Essay on Criticism -
Harmony of Expression,
From The Rape of the Lock,
From Essay on Man -
The Future mercifully concealed,
The Scale of Being,
Ominpresence of the Deity,

John Gay: 1688-1732
The Hare and many Friends. From his Fables,

POETS: 1727-1780

James Thomas: 1700-1748
From Winter -
A Traveller Lost in the Snow,
Reflections suggested by Winter,
From The Castle of Indolence -
The Opening of Canto I

Edward Young: 1681-1765
From The Night Thoughts -
Apostrophe to Night,
thoughts on Time,

Mark Akenside: 1721-1770
Advantages arising from a well-formed Imagination. From The Pleasures of Imagination,

William Collins: 1721-1759
The Passions,

Thomas Gray: 1716-1771
The Progress of Poesy,

Oliver Goldsmith: 1728-1774
From The Traveller -
Swiss Life,
From The Deserted Village -
The Village of Auburn,
The Village of Ale-House,
Humorous Epitaph on Edmund Burke,

William Falconer: 1732-1769
From The Shipwreck,

Thomas Chatterton: 1752-1770
From Ella -

James Beattie: 1735-1803
From The Minstrel -
Life and Immortality,

POETS: 1780-1830

William Cowper: 1731-1800
The Play-Place of Early Days.
From Tirocinium,
On the Receipt of his Mother's picture,
From The Task -
Rural Sounds,
Winter Evening,
God in Nature,

George Crabbe: 1754-1832
Isaac Ashford, a noble peasant.
From The Parish Register,

Robert Burns: 1759-1796
To a Mouse,
The Cotter's Saturday Night,
Bonnie Doon,

Samuel Rogers: 1763-1855
From The Pleasures of Memory,

William Wordsworth: 1770-1850
Lines composed a few miles above Tintern Abbey
The Greek Mythology. From The Excursion.
London at Sunrise,

Samuel Taylor Coleridge: 1772-1834
From Kubla Khan,
Hymn before Sunrise in the Vale of Chamouni,
Broken Friendship. From Christabel,

Robert Southey: 1774-1843
From The Curse of Kehama -
The Entrance to Padalon,
From Thalaba the Destroyer -
The Desert,
From Roderick, The Last of the Goths -
A Moonlight Scene,

Thomas Campbell: 1777-1844
From The Pleasures of Hope -
A Mother watching over her sleeping Infant,
Hope beyond the Grave,
From Gertrude of Wyoming -
Gertrude's Home,
Ye Mariners of England,

Sir Walter Scott: 1771-1832
The Battle of Flodden. From Marmion,
From The Lady of the Lake -
The Trosachs,
Paternal Affection

Lord Byron: 1788-1824
From Childe Harold's Pilgrimage -
The Lake of Geneva
From The Giaour -
From Manfred -
The Coliseum

Thomas Moore: 1780-1852
I saw from the Beach
Paradise and the Peri. From Lalla Rookh.

James Hogg: 1770-1835
The Skylark,
Kilmeny. From The Queen's Wake.

James Montgomery: 1771-1854
The Ice-Blink. From Greenland,

John Wilson: 1785-1854
From The Isle of Palms,

Leigh Hunt: 1784-1859
From Rimini -
May Morning at Ravenna,
Funeral of the Lovers,

Percy Bysshe Shelley: 1792-1822
The Cloud
From Alastor - Forest Scenery

John Keats: 1796-1821
Saturn and Thea. From Hyperion,
To Autumn

Felicia Hemans: 1793-1835
The Treasures of the Deep,
The Trumpet

Fitzgreene Halleck: 1795--
Marco Bozzaris,

William Cullen Bryant: 1794--
Forest Hymn,

POETS: 1830-1860

Alfred Tennyson: 1810--
The Dying Swan, From,
Vision of the World's Progress.
From Locksley Hall,
The Dirge of the Old Year. From
In Memoriam

Robert Browning: 1812--
From Dramatic Lyrics.
Home Thoughts from abroad,
The Grape Harvest,

E.B. Browning: 1809?-1861
The Cry of the Children,
Love. From Sonnets from the Portuguese

Lord Macaulay: 1800-1859
Ivry, a Song of the Huguenots,

W.E. Aytoun: 1813-1865
The Burian-March of Dundee, From,

Edgar Allen Poe: 1811-1849
The Raven,

Henry W. Longfellow: 1807--
The Acadian Village. From Evangeline,
The Ladder of St. Augustine,

James R. Lowell: 1819--
A Day in June,

Sydney Dobell: 1824--
The Ruins of Ancient Rome. From The Roman
How's my Boy? From England in Time of War,

Alexander Smith: 1830--
The River Clyde. From City Poems,
From A Life Drama


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