perfect; nor, by the way, will he judge worthily in the name of others unless he be resolved to judge intrepidly for himself.
Inasmuch as even the best of all poems are the best upon
innumerable degrees, the size of most anthologies has gone far to decide what degrees are to be gathered in and what left without. The best might make a very small volume, and be indeed the best, or a very large volume, and be still indeed the best. But my labour has been to do somewhat differently--to gather nothing that did not overpass a certain boundary-line of genius. Gray's Elegy, for instance, would rightly be placed at the head of everything below that mark. It is, in fact, so near to the work of genius as to be most directly, closely, and immediately rebuked by genius; it meets genius at close quarters and almost deserves that Shakespeare himself should defeat it. Mediocrity said its own true word in the Elegy:
"Full many a flower is born to blush unseen,
And waste its sweetness on the desert air.