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BY WILLIAM ALLEN, D.D.,
Late President of Bowdoin College; Author of the American Biographical
Dictionary, and of Wunnissoo or the Vale of Hoosatunnuk a Poem.
For some remarks on the nature and history of the Sonnet and its peculiar excellence, as exemplified by Milton, the reader is referred to the Notes at the close of this book. The Author regards it as by its fixed laws and its structure the very best form of poetry for one short, complete, meditative lesson. A collection of such distinct, separate little poems,-mostly written within a recent period,-and not mingled with other forms of poetry,-constitutes this little volume.
The notes annexed are historical and illustrative, elucidatory of what from the necessary brevity of the verse might be otherwise left obscure, or such as seemed to be required by the unevasible claims and the infinite worth of the revealed Christian truth, which makes the texture of these sonnets.
While Petrarch, the inventor of the Sonetto, Spenser, Shakespeare, Wordsworth, and other foreign poets have written a multitude of sonnets, it is to the author a matter of surprise, that not more than half a dozen sonnets-within his knowledge-have ever been sent forth by any one of our poets; so that this may be regarded as the first book of American Sonnets ever published.
An old man, the tenant for a year past of a sick chamber, who from early life has been a student and cultivator of poetry, has found not a little pleasure in such musings, as he now offers to the public. His meditations, it may well be supposed, have not been of fictitious scenes. Aware of his liableness at any moment to be sum