The Flower of the Mind

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Transcribed from the 1898 Grant Richards edition by David Price, email ccx074@pglaf.org Of this reissue only 250 copies will be bound up. THE FLOWER OF THE MIND A Choice among the best Poems MADE BY ALICE MEYNELL [Picture: Decorative graphic] * * * * * LONDON GRANT RICHARDS 9 HENRIETTA STREET 1898 * * * * * Edinburgh: T. and A. CONSTABLE, Printers to Her Majesty INTRODUCTION PARTIAL collections of English poems, decided by a common subject or bounded by narrow dates and periods of literary history, are made at very short intervals, and the makers are safe from the reproach of proposing their own personal taste as a guide for the reading of others. But a general Anthology gathered from the whole of English literature—the whole from Chaucer to Wordsworth—by a gatherer intent upon nothing except the quality of poetry, is a more rare enterprise. It is hardly to be made without tempting the suspicion—nay, hardly without seeming to hazard the confession—of some measure of self-confidence. Nor can even the desire to enter upon that labour be a frequent one—the desire of the heart of one for whom poetry is veritably ‘the complementary life’ to set up a pale for inclusion and exclusion, to add honours, to multiply homage, to cherish, to restore, to protest, to proclaim, to depose; and to gain the consent of a multitude of readers to all those acts. Many years, then—some part of a century—may easily pass between the publication of one general anthology and the making of another. The enterprise would be a sorry one if it were really arbitrary, and if an anthologist should give effect to passionate preferences without authority. An anthology that shall have any value must be made on the responsibility of one but on the authority of many. There is no caprice; the mind of the maker has been formed for decision by the wisdom of many instructors. It is the very study of criticism, and the grateful and profitable study, that gives the justification to work done upon the strongest personal impulse, and done, finally, in the mental solitude that cannot be escaped at the last. In another order, moral education would be best crowned if it proved to have quick and profound control over the first impulses; its finished work would be to set the soul in a state of law, delivered from the delays of self-distrust; not action only, but the desires would be in an old security, and a wish would come

Alice Meynell

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