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IN NINE VOLUMES.
WITH NOTES CRITICAL AND EXPLANATORY,
AND A BIOGRAPHICAL MEMOIR,
By W. GIFFORD, Esq.
The Muses' fairest light in no dark time;
VOLUME THE FIRST.
PRINTED FOR G. AND W. NICOL; F. C. AND J. RIVINGTON; CADELL
AND DAVIES; LONGMAN AND CO.; LACKINGTON AND Co.;
By W. Bulmer and Co. Cleveland-row, St. James's.
THE RIGHT HONOURABLE
PRESIDENT OF THE BOARD OF CONTROL FOR
INDIA, &c. &c.
WORKS OF BEN JONSON,
OF THE SINCEREST ADMIRATION OF HIS
HIGHEST RESPECT FOR HIS PUBLIC PRINCIPLES
AND PRIVATE VIRTUES,
July 3d, 1816.
To write the Life of Jonson as it has been usually written, would be neither a very long nor a very difficult task; since I should have only to transcribe from former biographers the vague accounts which each, in succession, has taken from his predecessor; and to season the whole with the captious and splenetic insinuations of the critics, and commentators on our dramatic poetry. A due respect for the public seemed to require something more. It was fully time to examine into the authenticity of the charges incessantly urged against this eminent man; and this has been, at least, attempted. The result has not accorded with the general persuasion concerning him. The reader, therefore, who has the courage to follow me through these pages, must be prepared to see many of his prejudices over