Page:Australian and Other Poems.djvu/11

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6
PREFACE.

paper on the Aborigines of Australia, which were considered to have shed much light on the manners and customs of that now almost extinct race. It is to be regretted that his death prevented the publication of those essays in book form.

Much that passes for brilliant poetry now-a-days is generally a matter of patience and labour, combined with verbal dexterity and what may be described as a skilful process of assimilation. The faculty alluded to may exist unmingled with a single particle of the genuine quality which it counterfeits. It was decidedly otherwise in Mr. Flanagan's case. That he possessed at least the poetic temperament in a strong degree there can be no doubt. Had he assiduously cultivated the gift he might possibly have struck a memorable note. As it is, there is in these fugitive productions not a little, perhaps, which even the most coldly critical reader can hardly fail to admire: a play of fancy which is occasionally