Poets, of course, may be satisfactorily read in volumes of, selections; but to me, at least, a book of brief extracts from twenty or a hundred prose authors is an absurdity.
I have written the present volume because I have found no other that, to my mind, combines satisfactory accomplishment of these ends with a selection of authors sufficiently limited for clearness and with adequate accuracy and fulness of details, biographical and other.
 THE appearance, so close to each other, of Professor Knight’s careful and elaborately annotated Selections from William Wordsworth, of Messrs.
For though what may be called professed Wordsworthians, including Matthew Arnold, found a value in all that remains of him– could read anything he wrote, “even the ‘Thanksgiving Ode,’– everything, I think, except ‘Vaudracour and Julia,'”–yet still the decisiveness of such selections as those made by Arnold himself, and now by Professor Knight, hint at a certain very obvious difference of level in his poetic work.
It was not for their tameness, but for their impassioned sincerity, that he chose incidents and situations from common life, “related in a selection of language really used by men.” He constantly endeavours to bring his language nearer to the real language of men; but it is to the real language of men, not on the dead level of their ordinary intercourse, but in certain select moments of vivid sensation, when this language is winnowed and ennobled by sentiment.
Evans, came and chatted with her, telling her that she had a charming voice and “interpreted” her selections beautifully.
She had a marvelously flexible voice and wonderful power of expression; the audience went wild over her selection. Anne, forgetting all about herself and her troubles for the time, listened with rapt and shining eyes; but when the recitation ended she suddenly put her hands over her face.
Smiling, blushing, limpid eyed, Anne tripped back and gave a quaint, funny little selection that captivated her audience still further.
We shall thus see that a large amount of hereditary modification is at least possible, and, what is equally or more important, we shall see how great is the power of man in accumulating by his Selection successive slight variations.
This fundamental subject of Natural Selection will be treated at some length in the fourth chapter; and we shall then see how Natural Selection almost inevitably causes much Extinction of the less improved forms of life and induces what I have called Divergence of Character.
Furthermore, I am convinced that Natural Selection has been the main but not exclusive means of modification.