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collection will for the first time present those which have been published in a complete form. I think that it may not be uninteresting for readers to have an opportunity of comparing with the undoubted work two plays, “The Mistaken Husband,” and “ The Modish Lovers,” which good authorities have suspected to be possibly Dryden's. These will accordingly be given in the last volume of the plays. A bibliography of Dryden, and writers on Dryden, and a certain number of pièces justificatives of various kinds, will also be added, as well as notes, and where the subject seems to demand them, appendices on points of importance. These additional notes and appendices will be bracketed and signed Ed., Dryden's own notes, which are rare, will be indicated by a D., and Scott's will stand without indication.

The principles upon which I have proceeded in re-editing the text require somewhat fuller explanation. Dryden never superintended any complete edition of his works, but on the other hand there is evidence in his letters that he bestowed considerable pains on them when they first passed through the press. The first editions have therefore in every case been followed, though they have been corrected in case of need by the later ones. But the adoption of this standard leaves unsettled the problem of orthography, punctuation, etc.

I have adopted a solution of this which will not, I fear, be wholly agreeable to some of my friends. Capital letters, apostrophes, and the like, will be looked for in vain. It would, I need hardly say, have been much less trouble to put copies of the original editions into the hands of the printers, to bid them “ follow copy,” and to content myself with seeing that the reprint was faithful. The result would have been, to a very small number of professed students of English literature, an interesting example of the changes which printers' spelling underwent in the last forty years of the seventeenth century. But it would have been a nuisance and a stumbling-block to the ordinary reader, in whose way it is certainly not the business of the editor of a great English classic to throw stones of offence. Where a writer has written in a distinctly archaic form of language, as in the case of all English writers before the Renaissance, adherence to the original orthography is necessary and right. Even in the so-called Elizabethan age, where a certain archaism of phrase survives, the appreciation of temporal and local colour may be helped by such an adherence. But Dryden is in every sense a modern. His list of obsolete words is insignificant, of archaic phrases more insignificant still, of obsolete constructions almost a blank.

If any

journalist or reviewer were to write his tomorrow's leader or his next week's article in a style absolutely modelled on Dryden, no one would notice anything strange in it, except perhaps that the English was a good deal better than usual. There can therefore be no possible reason for erecting an artificial barrier between him and his readers of to-day, especially as that barrier would be not only artificial but entirely arbitrary. I shall however return to this point in some prefatory remarks to the dramas.

Another problem which presented itself was the question of retaining the irregular stichometric division in some plays and passages which are not in verse. Scott has in such case generally printed them in prose, and with some hesitation I have, though not uniformly, followed him.

I have already received much help from divers persons, and I trust, dis faventibus, to acknowledge this and more at the end of my journey, in (to use a word for which a great writer of French fought hard) a “postface.” In a work of magnitude such as the present, which can only be proceeded with pedetentim, the proverb about the relations of beginner and finisher is peculiarly applicable. For the present I shall confine myself to mentioning with the utmost thankfulness the kindness of Mr. E. W. Gosse, who has placed at my disposal an almost complete set of first editions of the plays and poems. One word must be said as to the Life which fills this first volume. Except in minor details, there is little to add to it. Any biographer of Dryden who is not carried away by the desire to magnify his office, must admit that Johnson's opening sentence as to the paucity of materials is still applicable.

In conclusion, I have but to repeat that in this edition it is not my ambition to put myself or my own writing forward, even to the extent ordinarily possible to an editor.

In particular, my plan excludes indulgence in critical disquisitions, however tempting they may be. For such I must refer my readers to the monograph already mentioned. Occasionally where critical opinions of Scott's are advanced which seem demonstrably erroneous or imperfect, something of this nature will be found, but on the whole my object is to give the reader my author, and not what I have to say about him. The office of νεωκόρος is a comparatively humble one in itself, but it is honourable enough when the shrine is at once the work and the monument of two such masters of English as Scott and Dryden.


LONDON, July 8, 1882.


[Prefired to Edition issued in 1808, edited by Sir Walter Scott.]

AFTER the lapse of more than a century since the author's death, the Works of Dryden are now, for the first time, presented to the public in a complete and uniform edition. In collecting the pieces of one of our most eminent English classics,-one who may claim at least the third place in that honoured list, and who has given proofs of greater versatility of talent than either Shakespeare or Milton, though justly placed inferior to them in their peculiar provinces, -.. the Editor did not feel himself entitled to reject any part of his writings; even of those which reflect little honour on the age, by whose taste they were dictated. Had a selection been permitted, he would have excluded several of the

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