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SACRED AND SERIOUS
CHAUCER TO THE PRESENT DAY;
AND BLAIR'S GRAVE.
BIOGRAPHICAL NOTICES AND CRITICAL
BY JOHN JOHNSTONE.
In laying a correct edition of " THE SABBATH” of Grahame and “THE GRAVE” of Blair before the public, no apology is necessary; and for an explanation of the views by which the Editor has been guided in diverging from the beaten track of modern compilers, in selecting the other materials of this volume, he must refer to the observations prefixed to the SPECIMENS.
There never were so many readers of compilations and extracts as now; and yet, but for certain accidental lights streaming in upon the pages of the ordinary caterers for the general taste, it could scarcely be guessed that poetry or the art of printing was above a half century old in a country which has for ages possessed the richest, and the
most copious and varied literature in the world.There is no better nor surer means of elevating the tastes and bracing the minds of a people beginning to be enervated by a feeble and diffuse literature, than to multiply cheap editions of the best parts of the works of those who were the true and manly fathers of the national mind. Nor, in this point of view, can a greater blessing be conferred on a people, than by clearing away the rubbish from those golden mines which they have long unconsciously possessed, and which they must prize the moment they are thrown open. Those precious spoils of time have been the exclusive property of the rich and the learned so long, only because the general class remained ignorant of the value of the common inheritance.
The present volume comprehends SPECIMENS of SACRED and SERIOUS POETRY.-It is intended that a succeeding one, arranged on the same plan, shall be devoted to the LYRICAL, AMATORY, PATRIOTIC, and DESCRIPTIVE Poets, and to those whose writings afford fine specimens of this kind, though the definition be not strictly applicable to the general character of their writings. In a few instances the same ground