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Their owners all are dead;
The mighty ships that brought them rot on shore ;
Yet still that murmur lingers at their core,
And Fancy's light across their tropic bed
Is shed.

I, less than bird or shell,
More volatile, more fragile far than these,
Lighting an hour hy these New England seas
Leave here my plume, my echo,-where it fell
To dwell :

You shook it from my wing,
You dived to lift it from my glimmering deeps ;
Now, wakened by your voice no more, it sleeps
And grows less mine than yours; here let it cling
And sing ;

Then, when at dusk you spy
The noiseless phantom-schooners warping down
To load in mouldering wharves of Boston town,
Turn sometimes to your lamp-lit shelves, where I
Shall lie.


December, 1884.


THE following chapters were written in response to an invitation from the trustees of the Lowell Institute in Boston, and were delivered before that institution in the month of December last. They were also read during the same winter, in whole or in part, before the Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, before Yale College, before private audiences in New York and elsewhere in America, as well as before my own university audience at Cambridge.

It has been of no small advantage to me that among the distinguished listeners to 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. In 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 re-mould ambiguous sentences. Above all, 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 lecturer, but not, I hope, without genuine importance to the student of the history of literature. The friendly



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