Text extracted from opening pages of book: CHILDHOOD IN V-ERSE AND PROSE CHOSEN BY SUSAN MILES HUMPHREY MILFORD OXFORD UNIVERSITY PRESS 1923- PRINTED IN ENGLAND AT THE OXFORD UNIVERSITY PRESS BY FREDERICK HALL TO MISS MARGARET E. THOMPSON GRATEFULLYMoreText extracted from opening pages of book: CHILDHOOD IN V-ERSE AND PROSE CHOSEN BY SUSAN MILES HUMPHREY MILFORD OXFORD UNIVERSITY PRESS 1923- PRINTED IN ENGLAND AT THE OXFORD UNIVERSITY PRESS BY FREDERICK HALL TO MISS MARGARET E.
THOMPSON GRATEFULLY AND WITH AFFECTION PREFACE THIS anthology is the result of an attempt to bring together, within the scope of a single volume, those passages of English literature from the fourteenth to the twentieth century which deal most happily with children and with childhood.
Any attempt to justify in a pieface the sclt-ction of passages cannot but be futile. The extracts must speak for themseUes. But it is perhaps permissible to note in passing that an attem] t has been made to resist that tendency towards sentimentality which is so common and so disastrous a failing in writers whose concern is with childhood.
The book is intended for those lovers of literature who happen also to be lovers of children- it is not intended to appeal directly to the maternal instinct. Doubtless many passages which should have been included are omitted because the compiler is unfortunately ignorant of them.
Of these, obviously, nothing more can be said. But the limitation of space is responsible for the omission of much that is iccognized as having a strong claim for inclusion. The decision to economize by re fusing to admit translations except in the case of the brief aphorisms which head each section has involved the with drawal of the Shunammitcs son who died upon his mothers knees, of the Lords little servant in the Temple, and of that goodly child on whom the daughter of Pharaoh PREFACE had compassion.
It has ruled out Astyanax, the son of Hector: DantesBeatrice: St. Augustine, the babe and boy: Canaces piteous son, from Lydgates Fall of Princes: Sir Thomas Mores young infants of Utopia: a passage on the punishment of childish faults from Florios Montaigne- and another dealing with the question as to * howe a maiden ought to be broughte up, which shall be a Christian , from The Christian Mans Closet, a large discourse, made dialogue ivise, very pleasant to reade and most profitable to practise, collected in Latin by Bartholomew Batty and Englished by William Lowth.
American writers have been excluded again because of the limitation of space and passages from Walt Whitman have been reluctantly withdrawn. Extracts from Pearl the fourteenth-century poem on a fathers loss of his child have been omitted, on the ground that they would probably be largely unintelligible to the general reader unless tianslatcd. Coventry Patmores poem * If I were dead, youd sometimes say Poor child has also been with drawn, as there appears to be no justification for doubt that the poem refers to his wife and not, as has often been supposed, to a child.
Many passages have been omitted on account of the extreme difficulty of excision. The critic whose impulse it is to find fault because Tom the Sweep is not among 4 Young Toilers is invited to tuin to The Water Babies to see how hard it is in a detached paragraph or in half a dozen paragraphs to get him there.
And where, it may be asked, is Peepy Jellaby, with his clergymans hat and his ploughmans boots, and his scratched legb bearing their chart of his mishaps ? He refused to be inveigled, shy PREFACE not unnaturally, perhaps at the approach of another woman with a pen and a purpose. Pip provedevasive too, and Sentimental Tommy sat down firmly with Shovel on his stair and refused to budge. Nor would Hugh Proctor be cajoled away from Ciofton. His loyalty was character istic but unkind.
Other children who had seemed in recollection to have a substance of their own, proved upon examination wholly intangible. There was Swifts little girl, for instance, crying provocatively, Ive got an apple, Miss, and I shant give you some There was nothing to catch at- she had peeped, mocking, and was gone. The farcical and the purely fantastic ha/ e been alike omi