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The present Publication is intended to form, with The British Drama, and Shakspeare, a complete and uniform Collection, in Ten Volumes, of the best English Plays. The distinction of Ancient and Modern will be found to consist chiefly in reference to their having lost or retained possession of the Stage. IIamlet and Macbeth, for example, cannot, in this sense, be termed ancient Plays, although prior in date to many, or indeed to most of those which will be found in the following Volumes. It is unnecessary to inform the lovers of the Drama, that although the later and more fashionable department of the Collection will be found most useful to the frequenters of the Theatre, yet that which we are now prefacing will be the most acceptable to the admirers of poetry. From the latter end of the sixteenth century to the breaking out of the civil war, the best Poets of England were engaged in dramatic composition; and DRAYTON and Spencer are the only authors of eminent reputation, who have not written for the Stage.
It must be recollected, that, besides the immortal SHAKSPEARE, there flourished, during this period, BEAUMONT and FLETCHER, JONSON,