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THE text and notes of this edition of The Lives of the Poets are, with a few necessary exceptions, scrupulously printed as my uncle, the late Dr. Birkbeck Hill, left them. Whatever changes or additions I have made are enclosed within square brackets.
The Text is based on that of the four-volumed octavo edition of 1783-the last edition published in Johnson's lifetime. The spelling has been retained, save in a few places where obvious typographical errors have been corrected; but Johnson's punctuation, which seems to rest on no system, has been altered in accordance with modern usage, and with Dr. Birkbeck Hill's express directions.
A posthumous edition of a work must always suffer from lack of that care in revision, as it passes through the press, which the editor himself alone can bestow. Yet it has been my constant endeavour to strive, so far as was within my powers, to carry out the work as my uncle would have wished it done. There is, I believe, scarcely a quotation or a reference in the notes which has not been verified in the proofs by a comparison with the original authority.
In his work Dr. Birkbeck Hill received the assistance which happily scholars are ever ready to give to one another. I think that, in most instances, acknowledgement has been made in the notes; yet where this has not been done, as he is no longer with us to remedy the omission, I wish to express here, in his name, the sense of gratitude which he entertained to all who gave him aid. In my own portion of the work I have received the greatest help and kindness from my uncle's friends, among whom I would particularly express my gratitude to Mr. C. E. Doble, M.A., of the Clarendon Press; Mr. G. K. Fortescue, Keeper of the Printed Books, British Museum; and Mr. Thomas Seccombe, M.A.
18 Church Row, Hampstead,
HAROLD SPENCER SCOTT.
ADDENDA AND CORRIGENDA
vol. i, p. 163, l. 16, 'Where there is,' &c., delete quotation marks.
vol. i, p. 249 n. 2, Waller was born on March 3, 1606: Amersham Parish Reg., quoted in Waller's Poems, ed. G. T. Drury, 1893, Pref. xv. n.
vol. i, p. 410 n. 7, for 1859 read 1589.
vol. i, p. 412 n. 1, for Essay of English Poesy read Essay of Dramatic Poesy.
vol. ii, p. 87 n. 5, Ante ADDISON, 22 n. 7 read 22 n. 6.
vol. ii, p. 287, l. 1, comma after 'imitated.'
vol. iii, p. 43 n. 2, for Lyons read Lyon.
vol. iii, p. 161 n. 4. For a detailed account of the early editions of Pope's Essay on Man see Mr. G. A. Aitken's communication to the Athenaeum, Jan. 28, 1905.
vol. iii, p. 228 n. 4. There is an error here. The comparison is with Dryden's second Ode for St. Cecilia's Day, Alexander's Feast, the last stanza of which ends :
'He rais'd a mortal to the skies;
She drew an angel down.'
vol. iii, p. 237 n. 2, for 1523 read 1723.
vol. iii, p. 337 n. 2, for The Poetical Character read The Poetical Calendar. vol. iii, p. 359, app. T, last line but one, for Whitfield read Whitefield.
In the Notes, all cross-references to passages in the Lives give the number of the paragraph of the Life to which allusion is made, e. g. Ante or Post MILTON 274. The paragraph numbers are printed throughout in bold italic on the outer margin of each page of the text.
In the Index, the roman numerals refer to the Volumes; the arabic figures to the Pages.