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Art. I.-The Dramatic Works and Poems of James Shirley,

now first collected. With Votes by the late William Gifford,

Esq. And additional Notes, and some Account of Shirley

and his Writings, by the Rev. Alexander Dsce. 6 vols.

London, 1832.

SHIRLEY at length takes his place among the posts of

England. His collected works are, for the first time, within

the reach of the common reader. A few years ago these solumes

would have excited more general interest, and stood a chance of

more extensive popularity. The admiration of our clia drama-

tists was then at its height. The wonder and delight raised by

a vein of poetry so rich and so deep, almost suddenly disclosed,

tempted the public mind to imagine that its wealth was inexhaust-

ible, and, in the fresh ardour of enthusiasm, it refused to suspect

that much dross might be mingled with the precious metal. The

strong excitement, in those days, perpetually aiministered by my

dern poetry, kept the popular taste in a state prepared, and start

up, as it were, to receive with pleasure the force, the per natt

vehemence, the splendid imagery of our ancient theatre. Ýsa

successful poets then living were professed admirers, wmk 2301164

imitators, of the Elizabethan dramatists. They seemed to emas,

and obtained a favourable hearing for their masters in the art,

If latterly this ardour of the public mind has sunkints amparz.

tive apathy, and its curiosity languished into indifference, we are

not inclined altogether to ascribe this defection from the cits

brief idolatry to its general inconstancy :—the blame must be ben,

at least in an equal share, by the injudicious paru priets ch snar

older poets. Of these some had but a cold, an antiquarian, a

bibliomaniac passion for these neglected writershey bou, wa

their invention, their poetry, their character, but their rar!);

admiration rose and fell, not with the kindling of their imagem,

or the thrilling of their inmost heart, but with the avera

watched vibrations of Mr. Sotheby's or Mr. Fren's bana;

their principles of taste were on the margin of a Pestrerzdu, na

logue--and inestimable must be the merit of that draina wtorets ***

not to be found in the Malone or the Garrick collection. But this

was innocent in comparison with the patronage of a dwa,

by which the older dramatists were incumbered. There were a

VOL. XLIX. NO, XCVII.

ontains

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