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terminate with Lyttelton; comprising only four more than were in the collection, which it was designed to supersede; and being, in fact, little better than a new edition of Bell, on the model of Dr. Blair. This default in the booksellers, however, was more than compensated by the supererogation of Dr. Johnson ;* who, though he, at first, intended to furnish merely a series of short Advertisements, was afterwards induced to enlarge his plan, ' by the honest desire of giving useful pleasure.'
This collection was reprinted in 1790; when it received an accession of fifteen volumes, by the addition of Moore, Cawthorne, Churchill, Falconer, Lloyd, Cunningham, Green, Goldsmith, P. White, head, Armstrong, Langhorne, Johnson, W. Whitehead, and Jenyns. Two years afterwards, some booksellers of Edinburgh conceived the plan of publishing the whole collection in six large octavo volumes; but, as it was still so very incomplete, from the total omission of the earlier writers, and as Dr. Anderson undertook to make a selection of these, and to furnish biographical and critical prefaces to all, it was at length determined to comprise the work in double that number of volumes. He included forty-five authors, that were never printed in any former collection; and the whole number amounts to one hundred and fourteen:-Chaucer, Surrey, Wyat, Sackville, Spencer, Shakespeare,
* He was ever ready to elude censure for the incompleteness of the edition, by protesting, that he had no:hing to do with it, any farther than to write the lives of such authors as the booksellers should select. But he confessed, that Pomfret, Yalden, Blackmore, and Watts were inserted at his instance; and it was idle for him to pretend, that any others wonld not have been included, had he chosen to take the responsibility of giving his fiat.
Daniel, G. Fletcher, Davies, Carew, Drayton, Donne, Jonson, Suckling, W. Browne, P. Fletcher, Drummond, Creshaw, Hall, Davenant, Cowley, Denham, Milton, Butler, Rochester, Roscommon, Otway, Waller, Pomfret, Dryden, Dorset, Stepney, J. Phi. lips, Walsh, Smith, Duke, Sprat, Halifax, Parnell, Garth, Rowe, Addison, Hughes, Sheffield, Prior, Pattison, Congreve, Blackmore, Fenton, Gay, Granville, Yalden, Green, Tickell, Hammond, Somerville, R. West, Savage, Swift, Pope, Broome, Blair, Pitt, Thomson, Watts, A. Philips, Boyce, Hill, Hamilton, G. West, Collins, Moore, Dyer, Cawthorne, Shenstone, Young, Dodsley, Lloyd, Churchill, Mallet, Brown, Grainger, Bruce, Falconer, Cooper, Akenside, Chatterton, Gray, Smart, Smollet, Thompson, Wilkie, Graeme, Lyttelton, Harte, Cunningbam, P. Whitehead, Goldsmith, Lovebond, Langhorne, Armstrong, Penrose, Jago, J. Scott, Johnson, Glover, W. Whitehead, Jenyns, Headly, Logan, Cotton, Russel, Michel, Wharton, Blacklock, Lovell.
This new foray of the Edinburgh booksellers appears to have given those of London another alarm; and, in 1810, Mr. Chalmers commenced the publication of the Poets, upon the same plan, though in three more volumes. Dr. Anderson professed to give new biographies to all the poets ; but he often copied the language of Johnson, word for word. Mr. Chalmers retains the Lives of Johnson entire; and has only furnished new lives to such authors, as were not included in Johnson's edition. His work extends, also, as low as Cowper; and includes several of the earlier poets, that are not to be found in Anderson.
Since this reprint, another edition has been pub
lished, in seventy volumes, small 18mo.; extending only from Milton to Cowper ; and containing the biographies of Johnson, which are presented toge. ther in the first three volumes. This has formed the basis of our own undertaking; though we have made some material alterations in the plan.
It was, at first, determined to print the complete works of all the poets, from Chaucer to the present time, in an hundred miniature volumes, of four hundred pages each : but the publishers were soon convinced, that a more select edition, while it would be less onerous to themselves, might prove more acceptable to the reader; and the design was, therefore, changed, so as to include the same number of authors in half the number of volumes ; giving the complete works of the more celebrated, and select poems of the more obscure.
It was originally intended, also, to furnish each author with merely a concise biographical notice. To this plan the editor has, for the most part, adhered; and in some few instances he has adopted implicitly the notices which Mr. Campbell has given in his late work of Specimens. But, in composing accounts of the most celebrated authors, a desire of removing error, of supplying information, or of refuting ill-founded criticism, has enticed him to treat the subjects somewhat more in detail. The Lives of Johnson will stand as monuments of classical biography, so long as elegance of diction, acuteness of criticism, or depth of moral reflection are esteemed among men: but Johnson has no claim to extent or accuracy of research : his facts and dates are not always numerous, nor always exact; and, though he seldom fails to supply the gaps of information, by
mpracticable to effect, without the disarrange
here alluded to. s may not be impertinent to suggest, in conclu. that, while the reduction of our plan from one med to fifty volumes has diminished the cost of ription one half, the reader will probably ex
ne no real loss of pleasure in the absence of Poetry, which has been necessarily excluded.
tury ago, the English paid no regard to their i poets; and, when once the revulsion of taste 's, they seemed to think it their duty to comste unusual neglect by overrunning admiration. %, who had long slumbered in the oblivion of letter, were dragged to light with antiquarian and whatever author had written any thing in ape of verse, was deemed worthy of a name and ( in the temple of the British Apollo. An im. ve mass of vapid poetry is thus foisted into the collections on the other side of the water. In ountry, however, we do not feel the necessity of ning the national character by a superstitious
nce of English authors, merely because they d; and all that is excellent in English poetry, we think, be easily included in the compass of Volumes.