|The Oxford Book of English Verse, Part 3|
|by Arthur Quiller-Couch|
|The Oxford Book of English Verse in its entirety is a choice collection of over 800 poems spanning the period from 1250-1900, selected and edited by the eminent British literary figure, Arthur Quiller-Couch. This third part roughly covers the period from 1650 to 1800 and as such guides the reader through the poetic work of one of the more tumultuous eras in English history.
John Milton with 18 poems included opens the volume and Robert Burns with 14 selections closes it. In between we have 67 other poets represented. Richard Crashaw (7), Richard Lovelace (5), Andrew Marvell (6), and John Dryden (5), along with John Milton, are the poets most prominently featured from the seventeenth century, while Matthew Prior (5) and William Blake (12) join Robert Burns as those representing the eighteenth century to the greatest extent.
Quiller-Couch gathered most of the Ballads (26) into the middle of the seventeenth century, where, he says, "they fill a languid interval between two winds of inspiration-the Italian dying down with Milton and the French following at the heels of the restored Royalists."
Having set his heart on choosing the best, the compiler consulted existing anthologies, but only after making his own choice. As he says, "The best is the best, though a hundred judges have declared it so." Ages 12-18 |