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SIR JOHN MANDEVILLE
WILLIAN CÓW PER:
BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCHES OF THE AUTHORS, SELECTIONS FROM THEN
ITSIGNED AS A TEXT-BOOK FOR THE PIGAEST CLASSEY IN SCIONIS AND FOP. JU.TIGR CLASSES IN
COLLEGES, AS WELL AS FOR PRIVATE ZEALYA
1 3 Catietie'sty
. 123 Fast winter
in the Clerk's Office of the District Court for the Eastern District of Pensylvania.
CLEVELAND'S SERIES OF COMPENDIUMS OF ENGLISH .::.: AND AMERICAN I TURE
Comprising English authors from the 14th to the 18th century inclusive English LITERATURE OF THE NINETEENTH Century. 778 pp., large 12010.
Comprising living English authors, and those who have died in the
19th century. COMPENDIUM OF AMERICAN LITERATURE.
Comprising American authors from the earliest period of American
literature to the present tiine.
STEREOTYPED BY L. JOHNSON AND
PREFACE TO THE FIRST EDITION.
The following work is, perhaps, as much the offspring of necessity, as of a love for the subject. In 1834, very soon atier I opened my School for Young Ladies in this city, I felt greatly the want of a book to give my first or “finishing':lass a knowledge of the best. British Poets and Prose writers, arranged in a chronological order, to show the progress of the English language, with short accounts of the authors and of their works, and such notes as would direct the reader to the best editions of the writers, to the various criticisms upon them, and to other books upon kindred subjects which might be read with profit. But such a work I could not find. Accordingly, in 1838, I printed, solely for the use of my pupils, a small syllabus of the names of most of the British authors, with the dates of their birth and death, arranged under the different sovereigns. From this syllabus I delivered a series of lectures, from time to time, until I had gone through the reign of Elizabeth, when I determined, about four years ago, to prepare, as soon as I could, a work like the present. But numerous avocations have, until now, prevented me from completing my design.
I have felt it to be a duty to myself to give this brief history of my book, lest it should be supposed that the hins of it was taken from Chambers's * Cyclopedia of English Literature," recently reprinteil in this country. On the contrary, it is apparent, that, years before that work was published, I had matured the plan of this, and had gathered materials for it. Besides, the "Cyclopedia," excellent as it is, is on a different plan, and far too voluminous for the object for which the “Compendium” is intended : yet the two, so far from conflicting with each other, may be mutual aids; for I should hope that any own work would give the reader a greater longing to extend his inquiries into the same most interesting subject-one so rich in every thing that can refine the taste, enlarge the understanding, and improve the heart.
In making selections for my work, I have not been prevented from inserting many pieces because they had previously been selected by others; for I did not deem myself to be wiser, or to possess a better taste, than hundreds who have gleaned from the same rich field. Hence, while much, to the generality of readers, will be new, some extracts may also be found that will be fainiliar. But, like old friends, their re-appearance, I hope, will be hailed wiih pleasure. Besides, I have constantly endeavored to bear in mind a truth, which even those engaged in education may sometimes forget, that what is well known to us, must be new to every successive generation; and, therefore, that all books of selections designed for them, should ontain a portion of such pieces as all of any pretensions to taste have united to admire. Milton's "Invocation to Light," Pope's " Messiah," Goldsmith's “ Village Pastor," and Gray's “Elegy” are illustrations of my meaning.
But if any one should miss some favprite piece, let him reflect that I could not put in every thing, and be issued that often, very often I have felt no little pain in being compelled, from my narrow limits, to reject pieces of acknowledged beauty an! merit. Let him but propose to himself, too, tho task of bringing the beauties of English isterature into a duodecimo of seven hundred pages, and I am sure he will be little inclined to censure my deti. ciencies. I say not this to deprecate criticisia, On the contrary, I invite it, and shall be glad to have ali tre, inults in the work-both of omission and commission--faithfully pointed out.