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readily afforded, it has sometimes been received after the irrevocable operations of the printer had taken place. On the second point, he may have been too lavish in historical notes, and entered too deeply into the secret history of the persons and times to which Dryden's satirical poems refer. But he has endeavoured to avail himself of all information, as soon as communicated, whether corrective or corroborative of his prior opinions; and the wish, not only to render intelligible, blanks, allusions, and feigned names, but to present, if possible, the very spirit and political character of Dryden's contemporaries, must be the excuse for intruding a few pages of political history and personal anecdote; which, after all, they, whose memory
does not require such refreshment, may easily dispense with reading. In this last part of his task, the Editor has been greatly assist
ed by free access to a valuable collection of the fugitive pieces of the reigns of Charles II., James II., William III., and Queen Anne. This curious collection was made by Narcissus Luttrell, Esq., under whose name the Editor usually quotes it. The industrious collector seems to have bought everypoetical tract, of whatever merit,which was hawked through the streets in his time, marking carefully the price and date of the purchase. His collection contains the earliest editions of many of our most excellent poems, bound up, according to the order of time, with the lowest trash of Grub-Street. It was dispersed on Mr Luttrell's death; but a number of the volumes, referring chiefly to the latter part of Charles the Second's reign, have fortunately become the property of Mr James Bindley of Somerset-Place, who, with the utmost urbanity, permitted the Editor the unlimited use of
these and other literary curiosities in his valuable library. It is so much a matter of course with every adventurer in the field of antiquities, to acknowledge the liberality and kindness of Mr Richard Heber, that the public would probably be surprised had his extensive literary treasurés escaped contribution on this occasion, particularly as it contains several additional volumes of the Luttrell collection. To both gentlemen the Editor has to offer his public thanks; nor will he be tempted to dilate farther on the liberality of the one, and the tried friendship of the other. It is possible, that these researches may, by their very nature, have, in some degree, warped the Editor's taste, and induced him to consider that as curious which was only scarce, and to reprint quotations, from the adversaries or contemporaries of Dryden, of a length more than sufficient to satisfy
the reader of their unworthiness. But, as the painter places a human figure, to afford the means of computing the elevation of the principal object in his landscape; it seemed that the giant-height of Dryden, above the poets of his day, might be best ascertained by extracts from those, who judged themselves, and were sometimes deemed by others, his equals, or his supe riors. For the same reason, there are thrown into the Appendix a few indifferent verses to the poet's memory which, while they show how much his loss was felt, point out, at the same time, the impossibility of supplying it.
In the Biographical Memoir, it would have been hard to exact, that the Editor should rival the criticism of Johnson, or produce facts which had escaped the accuracy of Malone. While, however, he has availed himself of the labours of both, particularly of the latter, whose industry has removed the cloud which so long hung over the events of Dryden's life, he has endeavoured to take a different and more enlarged view of the subject than that which his predecessors have presented. The general critical view of Dryden's works being sketched by Johnson with unequalled felicity, and the incidents of his life accurately diseussed and ascertained by Malone, something seemed to remain for him who should consider these literary productions in their succession, as actuated by, and operating upon, the taste of an age, where they had so predominant influence; and who might, at the same time, connect the life of Dryden with the history of his publications, without losing sight of the fate and character of the individual. How far this end has been attained, is not for the Editor to guess, especially when, as usual at the close of a