Page:Livingstone in Africa.djvu/10

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vi
PREFACE.

treat simply as a piece of impertinence. He will have adapted his workmanship, arrangement, and mode of expression to the nature of his subjectmatter. Perchance the problem of conciliating superfine collegians, or light skirmishers detached from their main body in the shape of certain "irresponsible reviewers," and at the same time satisfying intelligent readers of poetry in general—unephemeral critics, who are beyond the passing fashion of a clique—may be a problem well-nigh as insoluble as that of perpetual motion. But if so, a poet should be prepared with contempt and defiance only for the former. To me I confess it appears that Past and Present are equally poetical, when regarded and treated by a poet—equally unpoetical when regarded and treated by a mere versifier—though I am far from saying that every particular time is fully as poetical as any other. But the present time seems by no means deficient in that respect. No age is heroic to its valet-de-chambre; and every age has many valets-de-chambre. If there is danger from vulgar and debasing