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Had the writer I here introduce to your Grace been, for the honour of Great Britain, still alive, what a noble field would have been now open to his genius, for exerting all its powers, in celebrating your long and unwearied application to public business, that zeal and fidelity with
you have acquitted yourself in the service of one of the best of kings! Then, my lord, the just praises of our countrymen under your Grace's administration, had been touched by a pen adequate to their worth. The memorable year seventeen hundred and fifty-nine, would have shone with distinguished lustre to latest pofterity, in his prose and verse equally, for he was equally a master of both,
The defeat of a numerous French army by a handful of Britons on the plains of Minden! Ali the plans our enemies
had formed for attacking and distressing our settlements in the East-Indies, baffled and disappointed ! Senegal and Goree torn from them in Africa! Guadaloupe in the West-Indies become a British colony ! Louisbourg taken ! And by the important reduction of Quebec, all North America laid open to our arms! The fleets of France twice beaten in the Mediterranean! and the ruin of her Marine compleated upon the Ocean! Almost all these are the events of one year, under a ministry in which your Grace acts so illustrious a part. Had we then a Dryden among us, to what heights must the subject have raised such a writer? With what sublimity of thought and expression, with what happy elegance and variety of harmony would such a writer have adorned his subject? Inferior authors can only look up to this summit of Par
naffus, without even the vain hope of being able to reach it; but my utmost ambition will be gratified, if this public dedication to your Grace of fo noble a poet's remains may be, if not approved, at least forgiven, and admitted as a mark of the inviolable respect and attachment with which I have the honour to sub fcribe myself,
DR Y DE N’s WORK S.
HILE editions of Chaucer, Spencer,
writers of a much inferior class, have been presented to the world complete, is it not surprising that Dryden, equal in almost every respect to all of them, scarcely inferior to any, has remained till now a single solitary exception ? The thin folio of his poetical works printed in 1701, was extremely imperfect ; and the two volumes in twelves, published in 1742, were far from being sufficiently comprehensive.
To remedy these defects, and to unite the whole of his original poems and translations (the plays and his Virgil excepted) has been the business of the present editor. As the former of these consist of satires, politics, and private history, which in a few years would become almost unintelligible, the occasions of them being removed to such vast distance, he has added notes in every place that seemed to demand them, which, while they illustrate the text, he has endeavoured to make as entertaining as truth, the invariable guide of his inquiry, would admit,
Over some passages, indeed, time has let fall a veil of obscurity, which his utmost industry has not been able to penetrate.
In his search he was fully convinced, that he could not be too speedy in rendering this signal service to one of the greatest writers that ever adorned these kingdoms; as the people best acquainted with the transactions, to which most of his pieces relate, are almost all deceased, consequently the materials for such a work are daily diminishing; so that shortly these inimitable writings must have remained wholly without a key.
He should think himself ungrateful did he not here acknowledge, that he owes much to the communication of David Mallet, Esq; whose polite writings are an ornament to the age; to the learned and accurate Dr. Birch, secretary to the Royal Society; and to the candour and ingenuity of the reverend Mr. Walter Harte, one of the canons of Windsor.
He begs leave to observe to the inquiring critic, that he has no where presumed to enter the lists with his author as a disputant; neither has he exhausted his paper in tediously praising, or impertinently censuring him. Such a proceeding he would look upon as an insult to the underAtanding of his readers ; by prescribing bounds to their judgment, like the virtuoso who insisted that no body could see well but through his glass. He has confined himself meerly to the explain