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SIR JOHN MANDEVILLE
WILLIAM COW PER.
BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCHES OF THE AUTHORS, SELECTIONS FROM THEIR
DESIGNED AS A TEXT-BOOK FOR THE HIGHEST CLASSES IN SCHOOLS AND FOR JUNIOR CLASSES IN
COLLEGES, AS WELL AS FOR PRIVATE READING.
CHARLES D. CLEVELAND.
Entered according to act of Congress, in the year 1848, by
CHARLES D. CLEVELAND,
in the Clerk's Ofice of the District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvanla.
Dr The Publishers would hereby announce that the Sequel to the “Compendium," upon the same plan, and embracing the most prominent English Authors, dead and living, since 1800, and entitled “ English Literature of the Nineteenth Century,” is now published, and ready for delivery. The size of the volume is about the same as that of the “Compendium,” and is sold at the same price.
STEREOTYPED BY L. JOHNSON AND CO.
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 after 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 hint of it was taken from Chambers's “Cyclopedia of English Literature," recently reprinted 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 my 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 familiar. But, like old friends, their re-appearance, I hope, will be hailed with 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 contain 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 favorite piece, let him reflect that I could not put in every thing, and be assured that often, very often I have felt no little pain in being compelled, from my narrow limits, to reject pieces of acknowledged beauty and merit. Let him but propose to himself, too, the task of bringing the beauties of English Literature into a duodecimo of seven hundred pages, and I am sure he will be little inclined to censure my deficiencies. I say not this to deprecate criticism. On the contrary, I invite it, and shall be glad to have all the faults in the work-both of omission and commission-faithfully pointed out.
In the preparation and execution of this work, I trust I have not been un mindful of the great, the solemn responsibility that rests upon him who is preparing a book which may form the taste, direct the judgment, and mould the opinions of thousands of the rising generation; and I hope and pray that it may contain not one line, original or selected, which can have the least injurious effect upon a single mind; not one line which, "dying, I might wish to blot;"—but that, on the contrary, it may render good service to the cause of sound education; may exert, wherever read, a wholesome moral influence; and impress upon the minds of the young, principles essential to their well-being and happiness for time and for eternity-principles in harmony with everlasting truth.
CHARLES D. CLEVELAND. PHILADELPHIA, November 2, 1847.
PREFACE TO THE SECOND EDITION.
Though it is but ten months since the first edition of fifteen hundred copies of the “Compendium” was published, it is now exhausted. For the great favor with which it has been received, I am truly grateful, and have felt that I could return my thanks in no way more suitable than by endeavoring to make the second edition (now to be in a permanent form) as much better as my experience in the use of the first edition, further reading and research, and the suggestions of many literary friends would enable me to do. Accordingly, the present stereotyped edition will be found to be considerably enlarged, and I would hope materially improved. To state all the additions, however, would be impracticable in the limits of a preface. I must therefore confine myself to the most important.
First. There are in this edition, numerically, seventy-six more pages than in the first; but owing to a trifling enlargement of the page, and to the notes being printed in a smaller type, there are, at least, one hundred and fifty more pages of the same size and type as the first edition. Yet for all this, no advance in the price is contemplated by the publishers.
Second. Thirty-five new authors have been added; they are the following: John Gower, James I. of Scotland, John Still, Queen Elizabeth, Sir Thomas Overbury, Francis Beaumont, Lady Elizabeth Carey, John Fletcher, John Donne, Michael Drayton, George Herbert, Gervase Markham, William Ha. bington, Richard Lovelace, Catherine Philips, Sir William Davenant, Margaret Duchess of Newcastle, Edward Hyde Earl of Clarendon, Owen Felltham, Robert Leighton, Anne Killegrew, Henry Vaughan, Anne Finch, Esther Vanhomrigh, George Sewell, John Arbuthnot, Elizabeth Rowe, Thomas Yalden, Elizabeth Tollet, Lady Montagu, Catherine Talbot, Thomas Chatterton, Tobias Smollet, Mrs. Greville, William Pitt Earl of Chatham.
Third. Many new selections will be found from the prose writings of the poets given in the first edition from Chaucer, Wyatt, Southwell, Spenser, Sandys, Gay, Gray, Cowper, and Sir William Jones. These, with the prose selections from other poets previously given, will fully substantiate the re mark of Sir Egerton Brydges, that our best poets will be found to have equally excelled in prose.
Fourth. Many more specimens of the English female mind will be found in this edition. The reader, however, must bear in mind that the most dis. tinguished female writers of England have been during the present century, into which it was not my purpose to enter.
Fifth. This edition will be found to be enriched also with many more specimens of epistolary correspondence-not only the most interesting portions of an author's writings, as they show us more plainly the workings of his heart; but the most permanently valuable, serving as models in that branch of literature with which every one must, more or less, be practically conversant. The letters of Wyatt, Temple, Gay, Gray, Pope, Montagu, Jones, and Cowper, will, I am sure, be considered as adding much to the value of the “Compendium.”
The changes that have been made in a few of the authors were not made without substantial reasons, which I think it proper concisely to state.—MORE. The previous account of the Utopia was too meagre to give a correct idea of it; and there were some points in the author's life that deserved to be brought out, to do justice to his character.-Marlow. The beautiful song, “ The Passionate Shepherd to his Love," is now printed as found in Sir Egerton Brydges's elegant edition of Sir Walter Raleigh's Poems, which I took the pains to procure, though but one hundred copies of it were printed. It is now, doubtless, correct; and who will not be struck with its superior beauty ?-SOUTHWELL. One of his poems I had to omit, to make room for some of his equally charming prose.-ENGLISH MINSTRELSY,
The changing of the ballad of the “Demon Lover," for the longer and far richer one of “Sir Patrick Spens,” every one must deem an improvement.-TRANSLATION OF THE BIBLE. The account of the most important versions of the Bible is now given, chronologically arranged, with some additional remarks on the value of our present version.-SHAKSPEARE. “Othello's Defence," being more common, is left out for two choice extracts that are less known.-SIR WALTER RALEIGH. More change has been made in this author than in any other, as I was able to procure a copy of Sir E. Brydges's edition of his works. “The Nymph's Reply” is now printed correctly, and every one must see its greater beauty. The “Soul's Errand" is given to him for reasons stated in the note under the piece.-Ben Jonson. An additional piece of poetry and of prose.—GEORGE SANDYS. An extract from the Preface to his travels.-CRASHAW. A portion of his spirited version of the twenty-third Psalm.-JEREMY Taylor. Instead of the “ Ephesian Woman," will be found those most instructive remarks, “What is Life ?"-MILTON. Considerable change will be found in this author. I was very desirous to give one of his poetical pieces entire, and selected his “ Lycidas," which, of all his minor pieces, ranks next in merit to “Comus." This obliged me to throw out the extracts from “ L'Allegro," and “Il Penseroso," and two extracts from “Paradise Lost." I regretted the loss of these the less, as they are more generally known. I also added two extracts from “Paradise Regained," and another of his exquisite “Sonnets." The extracts, also, from Dr. Symmons's and from Sir E. Brydges's Life of this "greatest of great men,” will be deemed choice additions.-ANDREW MARVELL. His “Song of the Emigrants" is now printed from the best edition of his works : the alterations, though trifling in number, are certainly for the better.-SAMUEL BUTLER. This was one author from whom I thought I could take two pages, without much loss.-Walton. The additions from this author will, I am sure, be considered an improvement. DRYDEN. Instead of the “Character of Shaftesbury," the reader will find the beautiful “Ode to the Memory of Mrs. Anne Killegrew," and an additional extract from his prose works: his remarks on Spenser and Milton I have left out, as they are hardly worthy of his genius.--ADDISON. To the ex