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Dryden, who was not in the habit of careful correction of the press, printed a list of errata on this occasion, with the following notice :
· TO THE READERS. Notwithstanding the diligence which has been used in my absence, some faults have escaped the press; and I have so many of my own to answer for, that I am not willing to be charged with those of the printer. I have only noted the gravest of them, not such as by false stops have confounded the sense, but such as by mistaken words have corrupted it.'
This little volume, which Sir Walter Scott does not appear to have seen, contains the best text. Tonson's reprint, in quarto, 1688, contains several changes of text, which are generally changes for the worse; a few, however, may be accepted as improvements. The text of 1688 was literally followed in the edition of the 'Miscellany Poems' of 1716. The poem is printed in this volume, as also in the Globe edition, with the title-page of the first edition, which has not been generally given by modern editors, and also with Dryden's own marginal indications, which have been often omitted.
Absalom and Achitophel. The first edition was in folio, published by Jacob Tonson in November 1681. A second edition appeared in quarto before the end of December, with several minor changes, and two considerable additions. This second edition is authoritative for the text. Seven more editions were published in Dryden's lifetime. That in the folio volume of Dryden's poems, published by Tonson after Dryden's death in 1701, is there called the tenth edition.
Religio Laici. The first edition is in quarto, published in November 1582; there was a second edition in the same year, and a third in 1683. The poem was not again reprinted till it appeared in Tonson's folio edition of Dryden's poems of 1701.
The Hind and the Panther. This poem was first published in quarto in April 1687, and a second edition was published in the same year. The Revolution of 1688 stopped
the demand for the poem. The reprint in Tonson's folio volume of 1701 is called there the third edition. There are several errors in this last reprint; the correct text is to be sought in either of the two editions of 1687.
A bibliographical notice of the ‘Miscellany Poems,' edited by Dryden, is added, much confusion arising out of the continued connexion of his name with volumes of the series and with whole collections published after his death. The first volume of ‘Miscellanies' was published by Dryden in 1684; there is a second edition of this volume, 1692, and a third, 1702. There is no important difference between the first and second editions, but the third is considerably different. The second volume of Dryden's Miscellanies' was called
Sylvæ,' and published in 1685. A third edition of this volume was published in 1702. The third volume of Dryden's series of Miscellanies' was called 'Examen Poeticum,' and appeared in 1693; there was a second edition in 1706. The fourth and last of Dryden's volumes is called ' Annual Miscellany for the year 1694'; and there is a second edition of 1708. .
After Dryden's death a fifth volume was published by Jacob Tonson in 1704, and a sixth in 1709, with neither of which Dryden had anything to do. Pope's Pastorals were first published in the sixth volume.
An edition of ‘Miscellany Poems,' in six volumes, was published by Tonson in 1716. This is quite different, both by addition and omission, from the previous sets of six volumes, and has no just title to the name, by which it goes, of Dryden's Miscellany Poems. There are later reprints of these socalled Dryden's Miscellany Poems of 1716.
UPON THE DEATH
OF HIS LATE HIGHNESS, OLIVER,
LORD PROTECTOR OF ENGLAND, SCOTLAND,
CONSECRATED TO THE MEMORY OF HIS HIGHNESS
LATE LORD PROTECTOR OF THIS COMMONWEALTH, &c.
WRITTEN AFTER THE CELEBRATING OF HIS FUNERAL
AND now 'tis time; for their officious haste
Who would before have borne him to the sky, Like eager Romans, ere all rites were past,
Did let too soon the sacred eagle fly.
Though our best notes are treason to his fame
Joined with the loud applause of public voice, Since Heaven what praise we offer to his name
Hath rendered too authentic by its choice;
3 Though in his praise no arts can liberal be,
Since they, whose Muses have the highest flown, Add not to his immortal memory,
But do an act of friendship to their own;
Yet 'tis our duty and our interest too
Such monuments as we can build to raise, Lest all the world prevent what we should do And claim a title in him by their praise.
To draw a fame so truly circular?