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The motives and objects of this work have been frequently explained in former Prefaces. But if they had not, the explanation would now have been unnecessary; for the work having coming to a close may fairly be left to speak for itself.
Whoever shall hereafter make researches into old English Bibliography, will scarcely neglect to turn to the copious stores furnished by these volumes. If Herbert, and Ritson, furnish a more complete collection of title-pages, they who wish to go deeper, will come hither, for contents, specimens, and sometimes, it is hoped, for opinions. Few have now the opportunity or the means of gathering a large assemblage of black- letter literature, which is becoming every day more scarce, and higher priced. But every well-furnished library requires a substitute for it; and under that denomination it may surely be not too presumptuous to class the ten volumes of, the CENSURA LITERARIA.
Of almost all the numerous, yet rare, poets, of Queen Elizabeth's reign, something beyond what is to be found in any other, may be learned in this collection. Even the elegant labours and beautiful criticisms of Warton, may be frequently illustrated by these pages; which at the same time, by descending far lower than the times of which Warton treats, furnish a variety of cúrious matter beyond his limits.
If the readers of this publication have not been numerous, it is matter of just pride that they have been those, whose notice is most flattering, and makes ample amends for numbers.
Unknown at book-sales, and living remote from the, metropolis, the Editor has had to win his way against prejudice and indifference. But candour and kindness have gradually opened a path to him; he has had the satisfaction of seeing the usefulness of his work at least acknowledged by some, who long gave it an unwilling reception; and heard with no little triumph some gentle sighs of regret, now that it is about to close.
The few, (even if there be any) perfect copies now to be had, will at least secure to the Editor the satisfaction of seeing a high price put on his labours, which,
as it cannot be expected that so large a work should ever be reprinted, is not likely to diminish.
To the greater part of his Correspondents the Editor has neither space nor opportunity to return more than general thanks. Four he feels himself called on to particularize.
To Mr. PARK he repeats his warm acknowledgments for his invaluable assistance to the early volumes; which his own increasing literary engagements have never entirely withdrawn from the latter.
To the venerable and profoundly learned Correspondent of NORWICH, every mark of respect and admiration is due for industry and vigour of research and command of acquirements in the most abstruse paths of literary inquiry, at an age, when the few who reach it, are generally in a second childhood.
To the Rev. MONTAGU PENNINGTON, (the nephew and biographer of the celebrated Elizabeth Carter) the delicacy of an intimate friendship restrains the Editor from cxpressing what he fecls for his continued and various aid.
To Mr. HASLEWOOD it would be ridiculous to return thanks as to an occasional Correspondent. Every
page almost of the latter volumes of the Bibliography
With his aid, that Editor still glowing with the
SAMUEL EGERTON BRYDGES.
Denton, May 25, 1809.