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JOIIN DRYDEN. 1. From a original pourhaib, in the Bitur háttery od: (nford:
: probably printed in his thirty third year-ovci. 2. tromio print engraved by Frithorne fun after Outerman,
pudure pointed probabli about the year wipo. 3. /romso portrait painted by tir tporefror Kvieller in vigs'.
CRITICAL AND MISCELLANEOUS
NOW FIRST COLLECTED:
WITH NOTES AND ILLUSTRATIONS;
AN ACCOUNT OF THE
LIFE AND WRITINGS OF THE AUTHOR,
ORIGINAL AND AUTHENTICK DOCUMENTS;
A COLLECTION OF HIS LETTERS,
THE GREATER PART OF WHICH HAS NEVER BEFORE
By EDMOND MALONE, Esq.
VOL. I. PART I.
The great author of the following works has long had the honour of being ranked in the first class of English Poets; for to the names of Shakspeare, Spencer, and Milton, we have now for near a century been in the habit of annexing those of Dryden, and his scholar, Pope. The present publication will shew, that he is equally entitled to our admiration as a writer of Prose ; and that among his various merits, that of having cultivated, refined, and improved our language, is not the least. In making, therefore, this Collection of his Critical and Miscellaneous Essays, which are found dispersed in a great variety of books, many of them now not easily to be procured, I trust that, while I have done an acceptable service to good letters and to the publick, I have at the same time in some degree contributed to the fame of the author; a considerable portion of whose valuable writings will thus become accessible and familiar to a more numerous' class of readers than the votaries of the
Muses, and whose reputation, high as it is at present, will consequently be extended to a still wider circle than that within which it has hitherto been confined.
In the arrangement of the various pieces contained in these volumes, chronological order has been attended to, as far as was consistent with other still more important objects. With a view to mutual illustration, I have placed together all the Essays respecting the Stage ; from which I have selected and given precedence to the seven principal, both in value and bulk, as forming onę great body of dramatick criticism. These are, the Essay of Dramatick Poesy, the Defence of that Essay, the Preface to the Mock Astrologer, the Essay on Heroick Plays, the Defence of the Epilogue to the Second Part of the Conquest of Granada, the Grounds of Criticism in Tragedy, and the Answer to Rymer. All our author's Dramatick Dedications and Prefaces, not comprised in the foregoing list, then follow, in the order of time in which they were written; and to these succeed all his other critical Prefaces, Dedications, Lives, and Miscellaneous Essays, chronologically arranged ; with the exception of the Preface to the Translation of Ovid's Epistles, which, for the sake of juxtaposition, is placed in the same volume with the Preface to the Second Miscellany, nearly the same topicks being discussed in both.