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SIR JOHN MANDEVILLB
BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCHES OF THE AUTHORS, SELECTIONS FROM THEM
Entered according to act of Congress, In Hie year IMS. by
CHARLES D. CLEVELAND,
Id the Clerk's Offloe of the District Court for the Eastern District of Pernlytvsr l».
CLEVELAND'S SERIES OF COMPENDJUMS OF ENGLISH v- •••'.'. *. AND AMERICAN LITERATURE • "■>•• * Consists.tjf' ."
CoMPENmrjB.ioP' .ENGLISH Literature. 762 pp., largo 12mo.
Comprising-English authors from tho 14th to the 18th century inclusive English Lite-iathr? Of The Ninetkenth Century. 778 pp., largo 12nio.
Comprising living English authors, and those who have died in the 19th century.
Compendium Of American Literature.
Comprising American authors from the earliest period if American literature to the present time.
BTERF.OTTPEI) BT L. JOHNSON AND I
PREFACE TO THE FIRST EDITION.
The following work is, perhaps, as much the offspring of necessity, as of a love for the subject. In 1834, very soon after I opened my School for Young Ladies in this city, I felt greatly the want of a book to give my first or "finishing' rlass a knowledge of the best British Poets and Prose writers, arranged in a chronological order, to show the progress of the English language, with short accounts of the authors and of their works, and such notes as would direct the reader to the best editions of the writers, to the various criticisms upan them, and to other books upon kindred subjects which might be read with profit But such a work I could not find. Accordingly, in 1838, I printed, solely for the use of my pupils, a small syllabus of the names of most of the British authors, with the dates of their birth and death, arranged under the different sovereigns. From this syllabus I delivered a series of lectures, from time to time, until I had gone through the reign of Elizabeth, when 1 determined, about four years ago, to prepare, as soon as I could, a work like the present But numerous avocations have, until now, prevented me from completing my design.
I have felt it to be a duty to myself to give this brief history of my book, lest it should be supposed that the Idatof it was taken from Chambers's "Cyclopedia of English Literature,'' receWtly reprinted in this country. On the contrary, it is apparent, that, years before that work was published, I had matured the plan of this, and had gathered materials for it Besides, the "Cyclopedia," excellent as it is, is on a different plan, and far too voluminous for the object for which the "Compendium" is intended: yet the two, so far from conflicting with each other, may be mutu.il aids; for I should hope that uiy own work would give the reader a greater longing to extend his inquiries into the same most interesting subject—one so ricli in every thing that can refine the taste, enlarge the understanding, and improve the heart
In making selections for my work, I have not been prevented from inserting many pieces because they had previously been selected by others; for I did not deem myself to be wiser, or to possess a better ta^te, than hundreds who have gleaned from the same rich field. Hence, while much, to the generality of readers, will be new, some extracts may also be found that will be familiar. But, like old friends, their re-appearance, I hope, will be hailed widi pleasure. Besides, I have constantly endeavored to bear in mind a truth, which even those engaged in education may sometimes forget, that what is well known to us, must be new to every successive generation; and, therefore, that all books of selections designed for them, should ,'ontain a poition of such pieces as all of any pretensions to taste have united to admire. Milton's "Invocation to Light," Pope's " Messiah," Goldsmith's * Village Pastor," and Gray's "Elegy" are illustrations of my meaning.
But if any one should rr.irs soma favorite piece, Vet him reflect that I could not put in every thi.j^cnd" bj jssuied'thca often, very often I have felt no little pain in being cenip3lled, from my narrow limits, to reject pieces of acknowledged beauty anil merit, ^et Jiim but propose to himself, too, the task of bringing the beauties of English literature into a duodecimo of seven hundred pages, and 1 am sure he will be little inclined to censure my deficiencies. I say not thisi to ^.ljjpjepi.te Briticism, On the contrary, I invite it, and shall be glad to have ali.iDje.iHults it: the work—both of omission and commission—faithfully pointed out