Page images
PDF
EPUB

in Barham, the authors of “The Rejected Addresses,” and Winthrop Mackworth Praed. In Hood, who lived nearly till the mid-century mark, England produced a man of very high talent almost approaching genius, who could play at will on the keyboard of tears or laughter. For wholesome, exuberant fun, often very extravagant, but never gross, he has had no rival since his too-early death. A new kind of humor, however, has sprung up later, quite different from his own, and in the opinion of many of a superior order. It depends for its effectiveness, not on puns or outrageously comic situations, but on more subtle and pervasive elements. Among English writers, Thackeray, Calverley, Dobson, and Seaman, though each in a different way, represent this deeper mood, and, among Americans, such men as Lowell, Harte, Riley, Leland, and Bunner. Saxe, a very clever poet in his way, belonged to the school of Hood. Doctor Holmes, though from the very first more original than Saxe, showed evidence of the same moulding influence in his earliest humor, but later worked out for himself a much broader style.

It is strange that so few of the most eminent English and American poets have distinguished themselves in the field of humorous composition. Spenser, Milton, Wordsworth, Keats, Shelley, Tennyson, Arnold, Bryant, Longfellow, Emerson, Whittier, Poe, and Whitman - here is surely a formidable list! But it is, perhaps, still more remarkable that among the foremost humorists of the English language so few can be adequately represented in a collection like this. Chaucer and Shakespeare, greatest of English humorous poets, do not lend themselves to quota-, tion, except in very long or else in the briefest and most fragmentary selections. This is also true in a less degree of Pope and of Byron.

The editor has had very free range in the choice of copyrighted material, but it is only fair to add that he would willingly have given larger representation to several American writers, if the number of poems available had not been restricted by their publishers. In the case of one or two American humorists, indeed, he was prevented by copyright difficulties from including them at all. It is a matter of especial regret that the publishers saw fit to forbid the use of Halpine's “Irish Astronomy," and E. S. Martin's “Little Brother of the Rich,” - certainly two of the most clever among American humorous poems.

[ocr errors]

It is possible that among such a large number of selections one or more copyrighted poems may have been included on the supposition that they were common property. For any such unwitting transgression, if such there prove to be, the editor offers sincere apologies, and promises proper acknowledgment in future editions of the book.

The aim of the compiler has been, so far as practicable, to draw directly from original sources. No one can have a greater aversion to the indolent and worse tuan useless practice of making anthologies from other anthologies. On the other hand, in editing any book like this, it is impossible to disregard the patient labors of one's forerunners. The editor has consulted many humorous collections, of which the following list may serve as examples: Adams's “ Comic Poets of the Nineteenth Century,” Leigh Hunt's “Wit and Humour," Rossiter Johnson's “Play-day Poems,” W. M. Rossetti's “Humorous Poems,” Cook's “Anthology of Humorous Verse,” Miles's “Poets and Poetry of the Century (Vol, ix.), Caine's “Humorous Poems of the Century,” Parton's “Humorous Poetry of the English Language,” Langbridge's “Poets at Play,” Locker-Lampson's “Lyra Elegantiarum,” Shirley Brooks's “ Amusing Poetry," and many others. The editor is also indebted to such compilations as Smeaton's “ English Satires,” Adams's “ English Epigrams," and Hamilton's " Parodies of the Works of English and American Authors.” A collection of humorous poems by Irish writers is Graves's “Songs of Irish Wit and Humor,” and compilations of American humorous verse are included in " The Canterbury Poets” series of Walter Scott, London, and the “ Cap and Gown” series of L. C. Page & Company, Boston. Collections of both prose and verse are Morris's “ Half-hours with the Best Humorous Authors," Mason's Humorous Masterpieces from American Literature,” Mark Twain's “Library of Humor,' and “The International Humor Series," published by the London house of Walter Scott.

Thanks are due owners of copyright for the use of numerous selections. Poems by the following writers are included by permission of and by special arrangement with Houghton, Mifflin & Co., the publishers of the respective authors:

Ralph Waldo Emerson, James Thomas Fields, Bret Harte, John Hay, Oliver Wendell Holmes, James Russell

[ocr errors][ocr errors][merged small][ocr errors]

1

Lowell, John Godfrey Saxe, Edward Rowland Sill, Bayard
Taylor, Charles Henry Webb.

Further acknowledgments:
Century Company:

Irwin Russell.
Dodd, Mead & Co.:

Paul Laurence Dunbar. Bowen-Merrill Co.:

James Whitcomb Riley. Lee and Shepard:

Charles Follen Adams; Sam Walter Foss. Charles Scribner's Sons:

Henry Cuyler Bunner; Eugene Field. D. Appleton & Co.:

Joel Chandler Harris. Adam and Charles Black:

Charles Godfrey Leland. Small, Maynard & Co.:

Holman F. Day; Charlotte Perkins (Stetson) Gilman. John Lane:

Owen Seaman.
Whitaker & Ray Co.:

Joaquin Miller.
Richard G. Badger & Co.:

James Jeffrey Roche.
Life Publishing Company:

J. H. Thacher.
Forbes & Co.:

Ben King.
Frederick A. Stokes Co.:

Gelett Burgess; Frank Dempster Sherman.
Kurtz H. Kellam:

Eugene F. Ware. R. H. Russell:

Harry Bache Smith. (The selection quoted is from

Stage Lyrics,” by Harry B. Smith, copyright 1900,

by Robert Howard Russell.) The editor would make personal acknowledgments to the following authors who have given individual permission to include copyright poems:

Carolyn Wells, Oliver Herford, Charles Edward Carryl, James Whitcomb Riley, Charles Godfrey Leland, Gelett Burgess, Eugene F. Ware, Paul Laurence Dunbar, Harrison

Robertson, Samuel Minturn Peck, Joel Chandler Harris,
Joaquin Miller, Robert W. Chambers, Albert Bigelow
Paine, Charles Henry Webb, Harlan H. Ballard, Nathan
Haskell Dole.

I. L. K.
Boston, August 29, 1902.

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors][merged small][merged small]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors][ocr errors]

ADAMS, CHARLES FOLLEN, 1842 -

Leedle Yawcob Strauss

63

ALDRICH, HENRY, 1647 1710.
Reasons for Drinking

277
AYTOUN, WILLIAM EDMONDSTOU NE, 1813 – 1865.
The Biter Bit.

19
BALLARD, HARLAN HOGE, 1853
In the Catacombs

265
BARHAM, RICHARD HARRIS (“ Thomas Ingoldsby");
1788 — 1845.
Misadventures at Margate

124

Mr. Barney Maguire's Account of the Coronation 113

The Confession

319

BAYLY, THOMAS HAYNES, 1797 -

1839.

The Hunting Season

BLANCHARD, LAMAN, 1803 — 1845.

False Love and True Logic

282

BROOKS, CHARLES SHIRLEY, 1816 — 1874.

Home They Brought Her Lap-dog Dead

305

BROUGH, ROBERT BARNABAS, 1828 — 1860.

My Lord Tomnoddy

226

BROW NELL, HENRY HOWARD, 1820 1872.

The Lawyer's Invocation to Spring

BROWNING, ROBERT, 1812 — 1889.

The Pope and the Net

373

BUCK, CHARLES GURDON, 1847

An Idyl

BUNNER, HENRY CUYLER, 1855 1896.

Behold the Deeds!

Candor

• 172

« PreviousContinue »