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Toined to publish a Body of Eng

HE Booksellers having deter

mined to publish a Body of English Poetry, I was persuaded to promise them a Preface to the Works of each Author; an undertaking, as it was then presented to my mind, not very extenfive or difficult.

My purpose was only to have allotted to every Poet an Advertisement, like those which we find in the French Miscellanies, containing a few dates and a general character; but I have been led beyond my intention, I hope, by the honest desire of giving useful pleasure.

In this minutę kind of History, the succession of facts is not easily discovered; and I am not without fufpicion that some of Dryden's works are placed

[iv] in wrong years. I have followed Langbaine, as the best authority for his plays; and if I shall hereafter obtain a more correct chronology, will publish it; but I do not yet know that my account is erroneous.

It had been told me, that in the College of Physicians there is some memorial of Dryden's funeral, but the intelligence was not true; the story therefore wants the credit which such a testimony would have given it. There is in Farquhar's Letters an indistinct mention of it, as irregular and disorderly, and of the oration which was then spoken. More than this I have not discovered.

Dryden's Remarks on Rymer have Deen somewhere printed before. The former edition I have not seen. This was transcribed for the press from his own manuscript.

As this undertaking was occasional and unforeseen, I must be supposed to have engaged in it with less provision of materials than might have been accumulated by longer premeditation. Of the later writers at least I might, by attention and enquiry, have gleaned many particulars, which would have diversified and enlivened my Biography. These omissions, which it is now useless to lament, have been often supplied by the kindness of my friends; and great assistance has been given me by Mr. Spence's Collections, of which I consider the communication as a favour worthy of publick acknowledgement.

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