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Think for a moment of that great, silent, resistless power for good that might at this moment 'be lifting the youth of our country, were the hours for reading in school expended upon the undying, life-giving books! Think of the substantial growth of a generous Americanism were the boys and girls fed from the fresh springs of American literature.

--Selected Poetry is rhythmical, imaginative language, expressing the in. vention, taste, thought, passion, and insight of the human soul.

-Stedman.

CHAPTER I.

THE GREAT POETS OF AMERICA.

Poetry is itself a thing of God;
He made his prophets poets, and the more
We feel of poesie do we become
Like God in love and power.

-Bailey.

HENRY WADSWORTH LONGFELLOW.
JOHN GREENLEAF WhittieR.
JAMES RUSSELL Lowell.
WILLIAM CULLEN BRYANT.
RALPH WALDO EMERSON.
OLIVER WENDELL HOLMES.
EDGAR ALLAN POE.

There are so many tender and holy emotions Aying about in our inward world, which, like angels, can never assume the body of an outward; so many rich and lovely flowers spring up which bear no seed, that it is a happiness poetry was invented, which receives into its limbus all these incorporeal spirits, and the perfume of all these flowers.

-Jean Paul.

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The American Poet Laureate.''

"The poet of the home."

"The poet of the commonplace.
Longfellow has composed poems which will live as long as the
language in which they are written.

-James Russell Lowell.
Ah! gentlest soul! how gracious, how benign
Breathes through our troubled life that voice of thine,
Filled with a sweetness born of happier spheres,
That wins and warms, that kindles, softens, cheers,
That calms the wildest woe and stays the bitterest tears!

-0. W. Holmes.

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L
ONGFELLOW is the universal favorite and the most

widely read of all the American poets. Every sentence that he penned is as clear as crystal and as pure as

“Few of the vast multitude who have learned to love Longfellow through his songe ever saw the face of this ‘gentlest soul,' or were ever gladdened by hearing that voice, ‘filled with sweetness,' 'that wins and warms, that kindles, softens, cheers’; yet have not all our hearts been made more tender and sympathetic as we wandered and wept with the gentle Evangeline?” And again, who

? has not been filled with a desire to be like gentle, scholarly John Alden, or simply true-hearted and womanly like Priscilla, the gentle Puritan maiden, whose sweet lips framed such wonderful words of quiet wisdom,

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“Let us, then, be what we are, and speak what we think,

and in all things Keep ourselves loyal to truth and the sacred professions

of friendship." He has perhaps touched more heroic chords in our nature than any other poet. His Psalm of Life breathes new courage into our hearts, helps us to bind up our scattering sheaves and strike out with renewed purpose.

Life is real! Life is earnest!

And the grave is not its goal;
“Dust thou art, to dust returnest,”

Was not spoken of the soul.

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Let us, then, be up and doing,

With a heart for any fate;
Still achieving, still pursuing,

Learn to labor and to wait. Excelsior, The Builders, etc., appeal to the kingly virtues of heroic endeavor and self-reliance; while such poems as The Arrow and the song and Santa Filomena inspire us to beautiful and noble deeds, for

Whene'er a noble deed is wrought,
Whene 'er is spoken a noble thought,

Our hearts, in glad surprise,

To higher levels rise. What American, on reading his beautiful, patriotic lines, The Building of the Ship, has not been thrilled with a truer, deeper love for his country?

Thou, too, sail on, O ship of State!
Sail on, O UNION, strong and great!

Humanity with all its fears,

With all the hopes of future years,
Is hanging breathless on thy fate!

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