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ther. I have expunged without ceremony all that which the writers had better never have written, that forms the objection so often repeated to the promiscuous reading of Fletcher, Massinger, and some others.

The kind of extracts which I have sought after have been, not so much passages of wit and humour, though the old plays are rich in such, as scenes of passion, sometimes of the deepest quality, interesting situations, serious descriptions, that which is more nearly allied to poetry than to wit, and to tragic rather than to comic poetry. The plays which I have made choice of have been, with few exceptions, those which treat of human life and manners, rather than masques and Arcadian pastorals, with their train of abstractions, unimpassioned deities, passionate mortals, Claius, and Medorus, and Amintas, and Amarillis. My leading design has been, to illustrate what may be called the moral sense of our ancestors. To shew in what manner they felt, when they placed themselves by the power of imagination in trying situations, in the conflicts of duty and passion, or the strife of contending duties; what sort of loves and enmities theirs were ; how their griefs were tempered, and their full-swoln joys abated : how much of Shakspeare shines in the great men his contemporaries, and how far in his divine mind and manners he surpassed them and all mankind.

Another object which I had in making these selections was, to bring together the most admired scenes in Fletcher and Massinger, in the estimation of the world

the

the only dramatic poets of that age who are entitled to be considered after Shakspeare, and to exhibit them in the same volume with the more impressive scenes of old Marlowe, Heywood, Tourneur, Webster, Ford, and others. To shew what we have slighted, while beyond all proportion we have cried up one or two favourite

names.

The specimens are not accompanied with any thing in the shape of biographical notices.* I had nothing of consequence to add to the slight sketches in Dodsley and the Biographia Dramatica, and I was unwilling to swell the volume with mere transcription. The reader will not fail to observe from the frequent instances of two or more persons joining in the composition of the same play (the noble practice of those times), that of most of the writers contained in these selections it may be strictly said, that they were contemporaries. The whole period, from the middle of Elizabeth's reign to the close of the reign of Charles I., comprizes a space of little more than half a century, within which timè nearly all that we have of excellence in serious dramatic composition was produced, if we except the Samson Agonistes of Milton.

* The few votes which are interspersed will be found to be chiefly critical

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TABLE OF REFERENCE

TO THE EXTRACTS.

THOMAS SACKVILLE AND THOMAS NORTON.

Page

1

6

13

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15 18 20 29 32

Gorboduc

THOMAS KYD. Spanish Tragedy

GEORGE PEELE.
David and Bethsabe

CHRISTOPHER MARLOWE.
Lust's Dominion
First Part of Tamburlaine
Edward II.
Jew of Malta
Doctor Faustus

ROBERT TAILOR.
Hog hath lost his Pearl

ANTHONY BREWER.
Lingua

AUTHORS UNCERTAIN.
Nero
Merry Devil of Edmonton

JOSEPH COOKE.
Green's Tu Quoque

41

48

49 50

55

THOMAS Page

56 63 64 66

THOMAS DECKER.
Old Fortunatus
First part of the Honest Whore
Second part of the Honest Whore
Satiro-mastix

THOMAS DECKER AND JOHN WEBSTER.
Westward Hoe

JOHN MARSTON.
Antonio and Mellida
Antonio's Revenge
Malcontent
Wonder of Women
Insatiate Countess
What You Will

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GEORGE CHAPMAN.
Cæsar and Pompey
Bussy D'Ambois
Byron's Conspiracy
Byron's Tragedy

THOMAS HEYWOOD.
Challenge for Beauty
Royal King and Loyal Subject
Woman Killed with Kindness
English Traveller

THOMAS HEYWOOD AND RICHARD BROOME.
Late Lancashire Witches

THOMAS MIDDLETON AND WILLIAM ROWLEY. Fair Quarrel

99 104 105 113

120

124

WILLIAM ROWLEY.
All's Lost by Lust
Woman never Vext

137
143

THOMAS

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