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LIBR

LECTURES

ON THE

ENGLISH LANGUAGE.

BY

GEORGE P. MARSH.

FIRST SERIES.

What! crave yé wine, and have Nilus to drinke of ?

PescENNIUS NIGER to his Soldiers in Egypt.

(Old translation.)

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NEW YORK:
CHARLES SCRIBNER, GRAND STREET.

LONDON:
SAMPSON LOW, SON & COMPANY.

1863,

ENTERED, according to Act of Congress, in the year 1856, los

CHARLES SCRIBNER, In the Clerk's Office of the District Court of the United States for the Southern District of

New York.

John F. Trow,
Printer, Stereotyper, and Electrotyper,

46, 48 & 50 Greene Street, Between Grand & Broorne, New York.

PREFACE.

In pursuance of a plan for enlarging the means of education afforded by Columbia College in the city of New York, courses of instruction, called Post-graduate Lectures, were organized in the summer of 1858. I was invited by the Trustees of that institution to give readings on the English language. The Lectures which compose the present volume were prepared and delivered in the autumn and winter of 1858–1859, and they are printed very nearly in their original form. The title “Post-graduate” and the Introductory Address sufficiently indicate the class of persons for whom they were designed. It was supposed that the course might extend through two terms, and the plan of the Lectures was arranged accordingly. The purpose of the first or introductory series was to excite a more general interest among educated men and women in the history and essential character of their native tongue, and to recommend the study of the language in its earlier literary monuments rather than through the medium of grammars and linguistic treatises. The second term would have been devoted to what might be called a grammatical history of English literature, or á careful and systematic examination of the origin and progressive development of English, as exhibited in actual practice by the best native writers.

This statement will explain many apparent deficiencies in the Lectures now published, and especially the omission of any notice of the minor dramatists, and of the Scottish dialect and other local peculiarities of English, as well as the small amount of critical discussion upon the diction, style, and literary merits of different authors.

In selecting illustrations, I have chosen to draw attention to the less known fields of our literature, and I have had recourse to works neither so rare as to be inaccessible, nor, though highly deserving, so common as to be familiar, to most readers. Hence I have seldom cited Shakespeare, Milton, Addison, or other authors whose productions are, or ought to be, in every man's hands, though I am aware that they would often

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