eader's understanding of a passage, are presented and illustrated.
I think it not necessary to offer any apology for my going all the way
back to Chaucer, and noting the Ebb and Flow in English Poetry
down to the present time, of the spirituality which constitutes
the real life of poetry, and which should, as far as possible,
be brought to the consciousness and appreciation of students.
What I mean by spirituality is explained in my treatment
of the subject. The degree to which poetry is quickened with it should always enter into an estimate of its absolute worth. It is that, indeed, which constitutes its absolute worth.
The weight of thought conveyed, whatever that be, will not compensate for the absence of it.
The study of poetry, in our institutions of learning, so far as I
have taken note of it, and the education induced thereby,
are almost purely intellectual. The student's spiritual nature is left to take care of itself; and the consequence is that he becomes, at best, only a thi