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while with a fidelity and industry seldom equalled, and never exceeded, he was carrying through the press his augmented and most rich edition of Lord Orford's Royal and Noble Authors, which has just made its appearance; collating the text for Sharpe's beautiful Collection of English Poets; and aiding the inquiries of a large literary acquaintance, who are in the habit of applying for his aid; the simple statement will exhibit traits of character, which do not require any comment. I know the diffidence of my friend will shrink from this acknowledgment with hesitation, and perhaps with momentary anger : but it it thus that I am resolved to prove my consciousness of what I owe him, and not to assume to myself the merits which belong to another. To him I am happy to say, that the public may now look for a new edition of Warton's His. tory of English Poetry, to which he will bring a perfect and intimate acquaintance with the recondite materials used by that ingenious and powerful, but sometimes too hasty, critic, and an accuracy of collation, and congeniality of feeling, eminently fitted for so arduous and important a task.
There are perhaps some few, I hope' not many, among my readers, who require to be reminded of the candour and indulgence due to the errors of inadvertence and haste which must necessarily occur in a periodical publication. Such I have too frequent occasion to perceive and lament; but I am sure that they will afford no cause of triumph or insult to the generous and enlarged mind. Petty critics may seize upon them as their prey; pedantic ill-temper may magnify them into proofs of dulness or ignorance; but these
ate flies, or wasps which may be easily brushed away's without disturbing the quiet of an enlightened spirit:
When I hear whispers of dryness and want of inte. rest in this work, I sometimes ask, what such unreasonable censurers expect. Do they hope for a book of merry tales? Or do they think that the quaint title of some obsolete volume is to be made a peg to hang a set of flippant jests upon? Or a piquant disquisition worked up with all the flowers of modern rhetoric? It may be the defect of the uncommon gravity of my nature; but I will not conceal, that of all things a joke out of place is to me the most odious! And in a work, which proposes for its main object a register of the titles, contents, and specimens of scarce or neglected volumes, the reader, who expects to be entertained by the editor's witticisms, or relies on any other amusement, than what results from the gratification of curious research, deserves to be disappointed. To those who read merely for the purpose of filling up a passing hour, who are not desirous of a just or permanent impression either on the head or heart, but seek to have their fancies tickled for a moment by the high-seasoned charms of meretricious composition, or the pungent asperities of degrading malice, I have neither the ability, nor the wish to recommend myself.
I suspect that a good taste seldom exists, where a good heart is wanting. That sensibility, which is its fountain, becomes degraded by vicious thinking, still more perhaps than by vicious conduct; at least infinitely more, than by the occasional indulgence of vice, on the pressure of accidental and passing temptations. Great scholars therefore are not always more pure in
their literary judgments, than the half-learned amateurs, whom they despise. The memory may be marvellously stored with Latin and Greek, without one generous emotion of the bosom, or one responsive emotion at the quiverings of genius. These things perhaps with perfect readiness, and in every varied combination,
Play round the head, but come not to the heart."
Such men will continue to think with the vulgar, wherever they have the boldness to indulge their undisguised opinions. Their authority therefore can add little weight to the scale into which it is thrown. I remember in my earlier days, when at Cambridge, more than one character of this sort, who appeared to me to do much injury by arrogating an influence over the minds of others, to u hich they were by no means entitled.
If industry be considered inconsistent with genius, if what is sound and faithful be therefore deemed dull, I am fearful that I must plead guilty to the charge of. being a very stupid and heavy compiler. Still, delusive as may be my hopes, I will flatter myself, that I am performing a task, of which the value will hereafter be better estimated ; and that, when these meteors are passed away, my steadier labours will be classed among the useful, if not the brilliant, works of my cotemporaries.
In the present age, we are as anxious to become acquainted with the modes of thinking and expression of former centuries as of our own day. He, therefore, who endeavours to give facility to these inquiries, by labour, for which he can only be repaid by the esteein of those, whom he assists, merits at least a liberal re
ception. For me, whose life is principally spent in a deep solitude, which has given me an opportunity of yielding myself up to that intense love of books, which I have felt from my very boyhood, I doubt if I could exist without the balm of literature; without a perpetual renovation of that mental food, which wraps me for a time in: o forgetfulness of sorrows and perplexities, such as it has been the lot of few to encounter! Sometimes indeed the delusion is dangerous; and only defers the evil, to enable it “ to deal the mightier blow." But what years of grief and anxiety does it while away! What wounds does it heal! What hours of pure and exalted virtue does it give! The feast therefore that I seek from others, I am willing to attempt to prepare for them. By this reflection I feel repaid for much and repeated labour; for some weary and some inconvenient hours; for some occasional abridgment of my private pleasures, and sometimes perhaps a little sacrifice of my health. But my views
a at least are generous, if mistaken; and the private friendships whith this work has procnred me, are alone an ample recompence for all my toils.
SAMUEL EGERTON BRIDGES.
Denton, 26 April, 1807.
DIGESTED DIGESTED TABLE OF CONTENTS.
1, Extracts from Hawes's Paltime of Pleasure ... 2. Baldwin's Canticles of Salomon, 1549, 4to.
. 405 3.+ T. Howell's Arbor of Amitie, 1568, 8vo..
217 4.t Devises, 1581, 4to...
ib. sit. Faule i Ovid, 1560.
218 6. Extracts from the Paradise of Daint. Devises, 1576.
26 7. Stanyhurft's Translation of Virgil, 1583, 8vo...
225, 354, 385 8. Churchyard's Praise of Puetry, continued..
45, 157, 265, 365 9. T. Bastard's Chreite.eros, 1598, 12mo.
· 374 10. Skaleti e a, 1598, 12mo.....
137 II. R. Cheater's Love's Martyr, 1601..
. 127 12. Tho. Scott's Foure Paradoxes, 1602.
32 13. T. Sampson's Fortune's Fashion, 1613, 4to..
.243 14. T. Freeman's Rub and a Grea: Cast, 1614, 4to.
. 129 15.+ Goddard's Satirical Dialogue, 4to..
216 16.7 .. Neafte of Walpes, 4to. 1615.
217 17.7. Mattitfe Whelp, 4to....
. 216 18. Harrington's epigrams, 1625, fm. 8vo.. 19. Sir T. Hawkins's Oles of Horace, 1635, 12mo..
392 20. Alex. Rosie's Mel Heliconium, 1642, 8vo....
342 21. J. Shirley's Poems, and Narcissus, 1646, 12m0..
380 22. Musarum Deliciæ, vy Sir J. Mennes and D. J. Smith, 1656, 12m0... 23. W. Chamberlaine's Piaronnida, 1659, 840..
263 24. J. Whitney's Genteel Recreation, 1700, 8vo....
344 25. Beactie's Original Poems, Ist edit. 1760, 8vo...
26, Memoirs of Mrs. Charlotte Smith... 27.
of Thomas Wharton... 28.
of Sir William Jones... 29.
of Col. Hutchinion, 1806, 4to. 30.
of John Bampfylde. 31.
of W. Jackson of Exeter. 32.
of Capt. E. Thompton. 33.
of G. L, Way, Esq. 34.
of Maurice Morgan. 35.
of William Stevens, Esq. F. S. A.. 36. Biographical Notice of Dr. Gloc. Ridley.. 37.
Miss Pennington. 38.
Miss Farrer. 39. Gab. Harvey's Character or Dr. Perne, 1593.. 40. Notices of Marlow, Lodge, and Peele, by R. Greene.....
301 303 307 310 178 219 193 194
ib. 138 43