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The following reprint of Mr. Campbell's Essay on English Poetry, and his Prefatory Notices of the principal English Poets, has been made to supply a want which many have felt of a pocket edition of the work without the Specimens. The Essay and Notices are complete in themselves, and the real value of the work may be said to consist, not in the selection of extracts, which, from a desire not to give the same specimens as Ellis or Headley had given, is often defective and unjust, but in the beautiful discriminating character of the criticisms, and the wider feeling which the work evinces for poetry in its enlarged sense than is to be found in any other body of criticism in the English language. No work indeed of any importance on our literary history has been written since they were published without commendatory references to them. They have been appealed to by Lord Byron, applaudingly quoted by Sir Walter Scott, and frequently cited and referred to by Mr. Hallam.
For the notes distinguished throughout by brackets the present Editor is responsible, to whom, with Mr. Campbell's express approval, the revision of the second edition was intrusted. Various inaccuracies of the former editions have been removed in this—some silently, for it would have burdened the book with useless matter to have retained them in the text, and pointed them out in a note—while others, entangled in a thought, have been allowed to stand, but not without notes to stop the perpetuity of the error. Mr. Campbell is not properly chargeable with many of the inaccuracies in dates and mere minutiæ discovered since he wrote; some may be laid to the excursive nature of his task, and others to the imperfect information of the period.
The first edition of Mr. Campbell's work appeared in 1819, in 7 vols. 8vo., and the second in 1841, in one thick volume 8vo.
LIVES OF BRITISH POETS.
Earl of Dorset. . 150 | Henry Constable. . 180 | William Alexander,