The present edition ot Donne's poems grew out of my work as a teacher. In the spring of 1907, just after I had published a small volume on the literature of the early seventeenth century, 1 was lecturing to a class of Honours students on the Metaphysical poets. They found Donne difficult alike to understand and to appreciate, and accordingly 1 undertook to read with them a selection from his poems with a view to elucidating difficult passages and illustrating the character of his metaphysics, the Scholastic and scientific doctrines which underlie his conceits. The only editions which we had at our disposal were the modern editions of Donnes poems by Grosart and Chambers, but 1 did not anticipate that this would present any obstacle to the task I had undertaken. About the same time the Master of Peterhouse asked me to iertake the chapter on Donne, as poet and prose-artist, whhe Cambridge History of English Literature. The result it that though I had long been interested in Donne, of had given, while at work on the poetry of the seven- stith century, much thought to his poetry as a centre of therest and influence, I began to make a more minute dy of the text of his poems than I had yet attempted. imPhe first result of this study was the discovery that thee were several passages nthe poems, as printed mo Mr. Chambers edition, of which I could give no late-factory explanation to my class. At the close of the wasion I went to Oxford and began in the Bodleian tradipid collation of the text of that edition with the werer copies, especiiilly of 1633.