James and Mary Ford, eds. Every Day in the Year. 1902.
LET it be borne in mind that Every Day in the Year is not merely a poetical anthology, but a collection of poems commemorative of the most striking events in history and of the men and women who have left an imprint on their day and generation. These poems are arranged in the order of the calendar, the central idea of the book being that every day in the year is an anniversary of sufficient historic value to have been celebrated in fitting verse. In short, Every Day in the Year is a poetical epitome of the worlds historyone which touches nearly all the sensitive points in the story of civilization, from the killing of Julius Cæsar, half a century before the birth of Christ, down to the sinking of the Maine and the battles of Santiago and Manila Bay.
Thus: of the great happenings of these twenty centuries, to which dates can be accurately fixed, there are few to which no reference is made in these pages. The battles of early Scotch and English history; those of our own Revolution, and of the various struggles for freedom that have reddened the soil of Poland, Switzerland, Ireland, Italy, France and Cuba; the hard fought fields which mark the different chapters of the ever-fascinating Napoleonic story, the charge at Balaklava, the defence of the Alamo, the tragic deaths of Marie Antoinette, Emmett, Lincoln, Garfield and McKinley; the long struggle for the abolition of slavery and the battles which brought it to a close are here treated by some of the greatest of English and American poets, and by many of the humblest as well. While striving earnestly to maintain a high literary standard, the compilers have in many instances deemed the theme strong enough to atone for obvious poetical defects. A number of poems, chiefly sonnets, have been used to mark the days of birth or death of distinguished persons, whose lives have appealed to the poetic imagination. Among those thus celebrated are Washington, Lincoln, Keats, Shelley, Shakespeare, Webster, Dickens, Thackeray, Longfellow and scores of others. The historical notes which accompany the poems are, of necessity, brief and free from verbiage, but they have been prepared with every regard for accuracy and conciseness and, it is hoped, will add materially to the value of the book.