The American publisher T.B. Mosher (1852-1923) gave eighteen of Donne's love-lyrics and 'A Hymn to God the Father' in the literary journal he edited. He introduced the poems with some appreciative passages from recent studies by Gosse and Saintsbury, and added a warm commendation of his own (Bibelot, 3 (1897), 106).
We may concede at once that Donne's poetry appeals to a narrow circle, the saving remnant whose judgments are something other than mere obiter dicta. Fortunately it is a widening circle. There is an inspired breath of the Renaissance in his verse, flashes of supreme insight as in the world of tragic art Webster only knew; single lines of beauty unsurpassed discoverable in this man's work and nowhere else. Let us consider the lyrics here chosen: they represent this great poet not unworthily.
F.I. Carpenter (1861-1925) was an American who wrote several guides to Edmund Spenser and edited a number of poetry anthologies. In the lengthy introduction to his much-reprinted English Lyric Poetry 1500-1700, he discussed the distinctiveness of Donne's lyrics (English Lyric Poetry 1500-1700, 1897, pp. lvi-lix).
The lyric manner of Donne certainly is in marked contrast with that of all preceding poets and of most of his early contemporaries,
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Publication information: Book title: John Donne: The Critical Heritage. Volume: 2. Contributors: A. J. Smith - Editor, Catherine Phillips - Editor. Publisher: Routledge. Place of publication: London. Publication year: 1996. Page number: 102.
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