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THE REV. ALFRED SUCKLING, LL. B.
Si foret hoc nostrum fato dilatus in ævum,
LONGMAN, REES, ORME, BROWN, GREEN, & LONGMAN.
AND JOHN STACY, NORWICH.
On presenting to the world a new edition of Sir John Suckling's Works, it may not be improper to state the considerations which have led to its production. They are, briefly, these — a desire to revive the beauties of a neglected author, and to develope, more fully than has heretofore been done, the incidents of his literary and domestic life -- attempts which, it is believed, will appear neither superfluous nor useless.
For the neglect which the writings of Suckling have of late years experienced, his earlier editors are responsible — it has arisen solely from their inconsideration. The avidity with which the first appearance of his works was received, induced in them a hasty and eager search for further productions of his pen; and much matter; which discrimination would have consigned to the flames, was injudiciously committed to the press. Succeeding editors but imitated their precursors; and, neglecting to strip their idol of its tinsel investments, reduced its appreciation to a standard below its intrinsic value: thus, while the public taste was rapidly advancing in delicacy
and refinement, the clouded merits of Suckling became gradually consigned to the obscurer shelves of the library.
It has been the first object of the present editor to restore his author to his merited position in the ranks of literature, by a careful revisal of his pages, and by excluding those passages which the delicacy of the present age would justly reject. On this point, however, the editor thinks it proper to observe, that the charge of occasional grossness, thus admitted, cannot be preferred against Suckling exclusively, as scarcely any of our older poets would bear an entire revival. Nor are we, in this case, so‘much to tax the morality of the individuals, as to blame the influence of fashion, which, in their days, falsely connected a degree of licentiousness with loyalty and generosity, and ascribed severity of manners to hypocrisy and meanness.
With regard to the memoirs of Suckling’s life, it must be obvious that the meagre and imperfect notices, hitherto prefixed to former editions of his works, are far from sufficient to satisfy biographical thirst; and that, while their numerous inaccuracies mislead the reader, they bring him but little acquainted with the habits and sentiments of one who mixed much in the active scenes of his day, and was celebrated for the keenness of his wit and the playful raillery of his satire. In the endeavours which have been used to obviate this defect, the channels of authentic information have been found choked to an unexpected degree, and in seeking the