Selections from the American poets
William Cullen Bryant
Page  [iii]


THIS collection, although embracing specimens from the writings of a very great number of American poets, may not yet contain the names of all who deserve admission. Of some authors, however, the best things, in a literary point of view, are of a nature which did not fall within the plan of the compiler. Amatory poems and drinking songs, notwithstanding the skill or the spirit with which they might be written, have been invariably excluded, as not proper for a book designed to be placed in a school or family library, and, therefore, to be read by very young persons. If it had been the sole object of the compiler to present samples of the poetical literature of his country, he would have adopted a less rigid rule in this respect. There are also scattered in our magazines and other periodicals many poems of much merit, some accompanied by the names of their authors, and others, the authorship of which might with due pains be ascertained, which would add to the value and interest of a compilation like this. The necessity of preparing the work for the press withinPage  iva stipulated time has, however, prevented the compiler from making the necessary researches for the purpose, except in a few instances; and, even if the time had been sufficient, the size of the volume would not have permitted a much more various selection than has been made. If this volume should meet with a favourable reception from the public, another may be prepared from the materials yet untouched.

New-York, October, 1840.