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ing what relates principally to the author, his friends and enemies; the situations of times, and occasions of writing ; neither does he pretend to burthen the reader's attention with heaps of quotations from learned authors. Some remarkable imitations he has indeed pointed out ; and for the rest, he leaves the reader to employ his own application ; which may perhaps be thought on both sides most eligible.
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The editor was a good deal disappointed at not being able, with all his industry, to obtain any essential materials relating to our author's life or his works, though he applied to the present Sir John Dryden, through the means of a friend, who has a considerable fortune in his neighbourhood. He also addressed himself on this head in person to a descendant of our poet's, near Berkley-square ; but cannot say he met with any information that
He has with his utmost care been able only to recover two of Dryden's manuscript letters, one to Wilmot, Earl of Rochester ; the other to Mrs. Thomas, otherwise known by the name of Fair Corinna; and for these there did not appear any proper place in these four volumes. It has been said that many of his letters are in the hands of one of the Saville family ; if the
report be true, it is to be hoped that the poffeffor will be public-spirited enough to communicate such a treasure to the world, as, from the specimens we have by us, we are persuaded
a collection of his letters would be the most agreeable that ever came from the press; and the bequeathing them to pofterity would make the memory of the donor immortal.
In the arranging of the larger of our author's original pieces, we have paid a strict regard to the times in which they were written ; beginning first with the earliest. The dedication of the Annus Mirabilis to the city of London, is added from the first edition of that poem in 4to; and we have given the entire second part of Absalom and Achitophel, though a good deal of it was written by Tate, because the whole narration is rendered thereby more perfect and uniform. We have also reprinted Soam’s translation of the Art of Poetry, as Dryden had a very confiderable hand in it, and permitted his name to be inserted in the title-page in his own lifetime.
We have been very exact in arranging the epistles according to chronological order, which was never done before, and have retained that to Julian, because we find it in the sixth volume of the Miscellanies ; and therefore, though we have not the highest opinion of its value, we cannot suppose it to be an imposition. We have paid the same regard to the elegies and epitaphs, two of which are not in the edition of 1742 ; neither are the first song in this collection, entituled the Fair Stranger, nor the Secular Masque, nor yet the prologue to the Mistakes ; the epi. logue to the Husband his own Cuckold, and the prologue and epilogue to the Pilgrim. The
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prologues and epilogues are, as nearly as we could prove, here printed in their order of time; and for the dates of many of them we are particularly obliged to Mr. Garrick, who with great civility gave us the use of his fine collection of old 4to plays.
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The third volume of this edition may now, more properly than ever, be called Dryden's Fables, as it contains fuch of the Tales of Chaucer as he has modernized; his translations from Boccace, and such of the Metamorphoses as he translated : all disposed in their respective places. We were a good deal mortified to find ourfelves obliged to run part of the latter into our fourth volume, otherwise our third would have swelled beyond all size ; and this we had the more reason to lament, as it broke in upon the uniformity which we flattered ourselves we should have been able in this edition to preserve. At the same time, for reasons of a fimilar nature, we were under a necessity of adding the translations from Theocritus, Lucretius, and Horace, to the end of the second volume.
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In our fourth volume we have added the 19th elegy of the second book of Ovid's Amours ; and Dryden's fine dedication of Juvenal, together with such of the satires as he translated, and the whole of his Perfius, none of them in the edition of 1742.
Thus we think we have collected all his loose pieces; and if this edition should meet that encouragement from the public, which the merits
of such an author deserve, and which by our labour we have endeavoured to awaken, we shall reprint his Virgil and his Plays in the same size, which will make up a complete and uniform set of his works.
No body, we hope, will blame us for leaving out in this edition most of the complimentary copies of verses prefixed to our author's works : they were few of them worth preserving ; but it was the custom of the times for every man who was supposed capable of writing, to furnish his friend with such a present, on his printing any thing; and the publication of them, indiscriminately, was observed, because they were mostly solicited.