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VOLUME THE FIRST.
DULCE EST DECERPERE FLORES.
PRINTED BY C. CLARKE,
FOR T. AND J. EGERTON, WHITEHALL.
THE public is here prefented with a selec tion of English poetry, in a chronological series, from the beginning of the fixteenth century (or, including an extract from CHAUCER, from the latter part of the fourteenth) to the present time, upon a plan hitherto unattempted, at least in this country*. It will not be thought poffible that a collection in three volumes should comprise every poem of value in the language; but it may be confidently afferted that there is scarce a fingle poet of any eminence or merit who has not contributed generally his beft,
THE CALEDONIAN MUSE, a collection of Scotifh poetry, upon a fimilar plan, printed fome years fince, though not yet published, was, in fact, a subsequent compilation.
and in some cases his only, production, and that no publication of like nature ever comprehended fuch a number and variety of excellent poems, or was printed with superior elegance, fidelity, or correctnefs. No alteration (except in apparent mistakes) has been attempted either in the language or in the orthography, and as little as poffible even in the punctuation, of the edition followed, which, if not always the best, will in no case be found a bad one; the only variation, if any, confifting in the orthography, which is, perhaps, very feldom that of the author: nor has any piece been inferted which had already appeared in "A SELECT COLLECTION OF ENGLISH SONGS," publifhed in 1783.
It must be confeffed that the use, or rather abuse, of Italic types and capital letters has proved a fource of conftant discouragement and vexation. To have entirely preserved thefe frivolous diftinctions, of which, in many