I am anxious at the first outset that the object of this work should not be misunderstood. It does not assume to be a handbook for poets, or a guide to poetry. The attempt to compile such a book as is implied by either of those titles would be as absurd as pretentious.
A Poet, to paraphrase the Latin, is created, not manufactured. Cicero's "nascimur poetæ, fimus oratores," is, with some modification, even more to the point. In a word, poetical genius is a gift, but education and perseverance will make almost any man a versifier.