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Had the writer I here introduce to your Grace been, for the honour of Great Britain, ftill alive, what a noble field would have been now open to his genius, for exerting all its powers, in celebrating your long and unwearied application to public business, that zeal and fidelity with which you have acquitted yourself in the service of one of the best of kings! Then, my lord, the just praises of our countrymen under your Grace's administration, had been touched by a pen adequate to their worth. The memorable year seventeen hundred and fifty-nine, would have fhone with distinguished luftre to latest pofterity, in his profe and verfe equally, for he was equally a master of both.
The defeat of a numerous French army by a handful of Britons on the plains of Minden! All the plans our enemies
had formed for attacking and diftreffing our fettlements in the Eaft-Indies, baffled and disappointed! Senegal and Goree torn from them in Africa! Guadaloupe in the Weft-Indies become a British colony! Louisbourg taken! And by the important reduction of Quebec, all North America laid open to our arms! The fleets of France twice beaten in the Mediterranean! and the ruin of her Marine compleated upon the Ocean! Almost all these are the events of one year, under a ministry in which your Grace acts fo illuftrious a part. Had we then a Dryden among us, to what heights must the fubject have raised fuch a writer? With what fublimity of thought and expreffion, with what happy elegance and variety of harmony would fuch a writer have adorned his fubject? Inferior authors can only look up to this fummit of Par
naffus, without even the vain hope of being able to reach it; but my utmost ambition will be gratified, if this public dedication to your Grace of fo noble a poet's remains may be, if not approved, at least forgiven, and admitted as a mark of the inviolable refpect and attachment with which I have the honour to fubscribe myself,
London, Feb. 20, 1760.
Your GRACE's most humble
and obedient Servant,
DRYDEN's WORK S.
HILE editions of Chaucer, Spencer, Shakespear, Milton, and many writers of a much inferior clafs, have been prefented to the world complete, is it not surprising that Dryden, equal in almost every refpect to all of them, scarcely inferior to any, has remained till now a fingle folitary exception? The thin folio of his poetical works printed in 1701, was extremely imperfect; and the two volumes in twelves, published in 1742, were far from being fufficiently comprehensive.
To remedy these defects, and to unite the whole of his original poems and tranflations (the plays and his Virgil excepted) has been the bufinefs of the prefent editor. As the former of these confist of fatires, politics, and private history, which in a few years would become almoft unintelligible, the occafions of them being removed to fuch vaft diftance, he has added notes in every place that seemed to demand them, which, while they illuftrate the text, he has endeavoured to make as entertaining as truth, the invariable guide of his inquiry, would admit.
Over fome paffages, indeed, time has let fall à veil of obfcurity, which his utmost industry has not been able to penetrate.
In his fearch he was fully convinced, that he could not be too fpeedy in rendering this fignal service to one of the greateft writers that ever adorned these kingdoms; as the people best acquainted with the tranfactions, to which most of his pieces relate, are almost all deceafed, confequently the materials for fuch a work are daily diminishing; fo that fhortly these inimitable writings must have remained wholly without a key.
He fhould think himself ungrateful did he not here acknowledge, that he owes much to the communication of David Mallet, Efq; whofe polite writings are an ornament to the age; to the learned and accurate Dr. Birch, fecretary to the Royal Society; and to the candour and ingenuity of the reverend Mr. Walter Harte, one of the canons of Windfor.
He begs leave to obferve to the inquiring critic, that he has no where prefumed to enter the lifts with his author as a difputant; neither has he exhaufted his paper in tedioufly praising or impertinently cenfuring him. Such a proceeding he would look upon as an infult to the underftanding of his readers; by prefcribing bounds to their judgment, like the virtuofo who infifted that no body could fee well but through his glafs. He has confined himself meerly to the explain