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Eastern District of Pennsylvania, to wit :
BE IT REMEMBERED, That on the sixteenth day of March, in the forty-third year of the Independence of the United States of America, A. D. 1819, Ezekiel Sanford, of the said district, hath deposited in this office the title of a book, the right whereof he claims as proprietor, in the words following, to wit: “The Works of the British Poets. With Lives of the Authors, by
Ezekiel Sanford." In conformity to the act of the Congress of the United States, entitled, “ An act for the encouragement of learning, by securing the copies of maps, charts, and books, to the authors and proprietors of such copies, during the times therein mentioned."-And also to the act, entitled, “ Ån act supplementary to an act, entitled, * An act for the encouragement of learning, by securing the copies of maps, charts, and books, to the authors and proprietors of such copies during the times therein mentioned,' and extending the benefits thereof to the arts of designing, engraving, and etching historical and other prints."
MR. EZEKIEL SANFORD, the gentleman ori. ginally engaged to execute the literary part of this edition of the British Poets, being obliged, by severe indisposition, after having prepared the vo. lumes to which his name is prefixed, to desist from the prosecution of the enterprise; the Publishers have resorted to Mr. Robert Walsh, jun., who has undertaken to complete what Mr. Sanford is thus unfortunately compelled to relinquish. The plan chalked out by the first editor, will be pursued by his successor, with but a few slight variations. It is proposed by the Publishers, if they meet with the expected encouragement, to make an addition, under the same direction, of a couple of volumes, containing selections from the versified dramas of the old English dramatists-Beaumont and Fletcher, Massinger, Jonson, Ford, Shirley, Webster, &c.; and also, of one or two volumes of selections from the best American poetry. These shall be printed uniformly with the preceding; and will, it is be. lieved, increase the value and attraction of the col. lection at large. The Publishers expect to have the remaining twenty-five volumes ready for delivery to subscribers, during the summer of eighteen hundred and twenty.
The first collection of British Poetry was made by Dr. Blair, of Edinburgh, in 1773. It consisted of forty-two volumes, 12mo. ; and contained the works of Milton, Cowley, Butler, Dryden, Waller, Garth, Prior, Addison, Parnell, Pope, Swift, Gay, Young, Thomson, Shenstone', Gray, and Lyttelton. Not only were all the earlier writers entirely omitted,--but of some, who found a place in the collection, many valuable poems were overlooked. In 1776, Mr. Bell, a bookseller of London, undertook another collection, which was to occupy one hundred and nine miniature volumes, accompanied by engravings; and to include, besides the authors in Dr. Blair's edition, the works of Chaucer, Spencer, Donne, Denham, Roscommon, Buckingham, Lansdown, King, Pomfret, Congreve, Rowe, Watts, J. Philips, Smith, Hughes, Fenton, Tickell, Somerville, Broome, Savage, Pitt, A. Philips, Dyer, G. West, Hammond, Collins, Moore, Armstrong, R. West, Mallet, Cunningham, and Churchill. As the parts of this edition were published at distant intervals, (some of the last volumes appeared more than
ten years after its commencement,) scarcely a complete set is any where to be found. The type is very diminutive; the errors of the press frequent; and, upon the whole, Mr. Bell is not considered as having made a very valuable present to the English library.
Indirectly, however, he was the means of procur. ing us an edition of the poets, and, more especially, a work of biography and criticism, for which, perhaps, we cannot be sufficiently grateful. His own collection was to be printed in Edinburgh, and sold in London. The booksellers of the latter place considered it as the invasion of what (says Mr. Dilly, in a letter to Mr. Boswell, of Sept. 26, 1777,) they called their literary property;' and, as the statute of Queen Anne would necessarily prohibit Mr. Bell from publishing the more recent poets, it was resolved to supersede his edition altogether, by a ‘more elegant and accurate' collection of all the celebrated versifiers from Chaucer to the present time.' One committee was appointed to wait on Dr. Johnson, and solicit him to furnish a concise account of each author; another, to engage 'Bartolozzi, Sherwin, Hall, &c.' for the engraving; a third to give directions concerning the paper, printing, and other parts of the typography; and nothing was clearer to the sanguine undertakers, than that they were about to produce a work, which, in splendour of execution, as well as in extent and value of matter, would far exceed every other English publication of the same kind. It consisted of sixty small octavo volumes, and appeared in 1779. ‘All the English poets of reputation, from Chaucer to the present time,' were found to begin at Cowley, and