Originally published between 1909 and 1917 under the name "Harvard Classics," this stupendous 51-volume set-a collection of the greatest writings from literature, philosophy, history, and mythology-was assembled by American academic CHARLES WILLIAM ELIOT (1834-1926), Harvard University's longest-serving president. Also known as "Dr. Eliot's Five Foot Shelf," it represented Eliot's belief that a basic liberal education could be gleaned by reading from an anthology of works that could fit on five feet of bookshelf. Volume XL is the first of three volumes that ambitiously survey half a milliennium of poetry in the English language. Almost 300 works by more than 75 authors in this volume alone span the 14th through 18th centuries, and include: [ Geoffrey Chaucer: "The Prologue to the Canterbury Tales" [ George Gascoigne: "A Lover's Lullaby" [ Sir Walter Raleigh: "His Pilgrimage" [ Sir Philip Sidney: "A Ditty" [ Edmund Spenser: "Rudely Thou Wrongest My Dear Heart's Desire" [ Christopher Marlowe: "The Passionate Shepherd to His Love" [ William Shakespeare: "O Mistress Mine" [ Thomas Campion: "Follow thy Fair Sun" [ Ben Jonson: "The Noble Nature" [ John Donne: "Stay, O Sweet" [ George Herbert: "The Elixir" [ Richard Lovelace: "To Lucasta, on Going to the Wars" [ Andrew Marvell: "Love Will Find Out the Way" [ John Dryden: "Song for St. Cecilia's Day" [ Alexander Pope: "On a Certain Lady at Court" [ Thomas Gray: "Elegy" as well as traditional ballads and numerous works by writers who remain anonymous to us today. Useful explanatory footnotes explain the meanings of obsolete and rare words, as well as those in dialect.
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