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LOVES AND HEROINES
RICHARD HENRY STODDARD.
MD COO LXI.
In the Clerk's Ofice of the District Court of the United States for the Southern District of New York.
My object in this volume is to present specimens of English love-poetry, especially that which is, or seems to be, addressed to particular women—“the Loves and Heroines of the Poets," and to give, as concisely as possible, all that is known concerning them. I begin with the three great Italian poets, because I conceive their love-sonnets--above all, Petrarch's-to have been the models after which our early poets shaped their amorous fancies. Wyatt and Surrey, even when most original, are little better than imitators of Petrarch. Indeed, so notorious was this fact in the generation immediately succeeding them, that they were said to have travelled in Italy, and to have brought their art from thence. I trace the course of love-poetry in English Literature from Wyatt to the poets of the present day. I have gone over the ground carefully, and have selected what seemed to me the best specimens for a volume of this kind. The poetic literature of the age of Elizabeth and the times of Charles the First and Second, is largely represented. I have arranged my materials chronologically, giving the dates at which the different poems were written, wherever they were known, or at least the dates and names of the volumes in which, as far as I could ascertain, they were first printed : where there was nothing positive to guide me, I have arranged them conjecturally. When I could consult the early editions, I have done so, although I have not
always followed their readings, when a later one seemed better. I have chosen authenticated portraits, when I could obtain them, in preference to ideal heads, greatly, I think, to the permanent value of the work. For some of the best of these illustrations I am indebted to my friend Barry, who has copied from their scarce originals the portraits of Laura, Beatrice, and Geraldine, and drawn from his imagination the ideal heads of Shakespeare's Mistress, Burns's Highland Mary, and Coleridge's Genevieve.
R. H. S.