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whom I have had the honour of reading these pages
there have been more than a few whose special studies have rendered them particularly acute in criticising the links of my argument.
consequence of such criticism, I have been able profitably to revise the work, to add evidence where it seemed wanting, to remove rash statements and to remould ambiguous sentences.
I have given a great deal of care to the accumulation, in the form of notes and appendices, of historical and critical data of a kind too particular for the purposes of a lecture, but not, I hope, without genuine importance to the student of the history of literature. In an enquiry of this nature, exact evidence, even of a minute kind, outweighs in importance any expression of mere critical opinion. The friendly criticism of which I have spoken has not, however, shaken me in the slightest degree with regard to my central idea. On the contrary, the effect of minute controversy
has merely been to strengthen on every side my conviction that the theory which I have here laid down for the first time is substantially the true one, and that the opinion hitherto received regarding the sources of the classical school in our poetry is erroneous. I think I may at least claim, from the critic who is inclined to reject my views, a careful consideration of the arguments and evidence upon which they are founded.
It would be impossible for me to speak too warmly of the kindness which my friend Professor Samuel R. Gardiner has shown me in allowing me to see and use the unfinished MS. of the forthcoming volume of his History, and in leading me to MS. sources of seventeenth-century information. It is wholly owing to his generosity that I have been enabled, in the second chapter of this volume, to give an account of Waller's Plot which is much more complete and accurate than
hitherto published. Prof. Gardiner's volume, for which
students of the Caroline period can hardly command their impatience, will not, I am sorry to say, be in our possession for some years.
TRIN. COLL., CAMBRIDGE.
TO W. D. HOWELLS.
The humming-bird in June
And then—away he goes,
But leaves a plume behind,-
The fluted conchs that came
These still, if shaken, give
Their owners all are dead;
1, less than bird or shell,
You shook it from my wing!
Then, when at dusk you spy
302 BEACON STREET, Boston.