EDITOR’S PREFATORY NOTE (1882)
An attempt has been made in the present collection to gather together the patriotic poems of America, those which depict feelings as well as those which describe actions, since these latter are as indicative of the temper of the time. It is a collection, for the most part, of old favorites, for Americans have been quick to take to heart a stirring telling of a daring and noble deed; but these may be found to have gained freshness by a grouping in order. The arrangement is chronological so far as it might be, that the history of America as told by her poets should be set forth. Here and there occur breaks in the story, chiefly because there are fit incidents for song which no poet has fitly sung as yet.
The poems have been printed scrupulously from the best accessible text, and they have not been tinkered in any way, though some few have been curtailed slightly for the sake of space. In a few cases, where the whole poem has not fallen within the scope of this volume, only a fragment is here given. When this has been done, it is pointed out. Brief notes have been prefixed to many of the poems, making plain the occasion of their origin, and removing any chance obscurity of allusion.
NEW YORK, November, 1882.