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The following reprint of Mr. Campbell's Essay on English Poetry, and his Prefatory Notices of the principal English Poets, has been made to supply a want which many have felt of a pocket edition of the work without the Specimens. The Essay and Notices are complete in themselves, and the real value of the work may be said to consist, not in the selection of extracts, which, from a desire not to give the same specimens as Ellis or Headley had given, is often defective and unjust, but in the beautiful discriminating character of the criticisms, and the wider feeling which the work evinces for poetry in its enlarged sense than is to be found in any other body of criticism in the English language. No work indeed of any importance on our literary history has been written since they were published without commendatory references to them. They have been appealed to by Lord Byron, applaudingly quoted by Sir Walter Scott, and frequently cited and referred to by Mr. Hallam.

For the notes distinguished throughout by brackets the present Editor is responsible, to whom, with Mr. Campbell's express approval, the revision of the second edition was intrusted. Various inaccuracies of the former editions have been removed in this—some silently, for it would have burdened the book with useless matter to have retained them in the text, and pointed them out in a note—while others, entangled in a thought, have been allowed to stand, but not without notes to stop the perpetuity of the error. Mr. Campbell is not properly chargeable with many of the inaccuracies in dates and mere minutiæ discovered since he wrote; some may be laid to the excursive nature of his task, and others to the imperfect information of the period.

The first edition of Mr. Campbell's work appeared in 1819, in 7 vols. 8vo., and the second in 1841, in one thick volume 8vo.

PETER CUNNINGHAM. Kensington, 25th October, 1848.

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Page

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George Sandys 216 William Walsh 249 | Mark Akenside 295

Francis Quarles 216 Thomas Parnell 250 Thomas Chatterton. 297

William Browne . 217 Samuel Garth. 251 Christopher Smart 304

Thomas Nabbes. 218 Peter Anthony Mot-

Thomas Gray

. 307

Thomas Heywood 219 teux.

252 Cuthbert Shaw 310

William Drummond. 220 Matthew Prior 252 Tobias Smollett 311

Thomas May

222 Dr. George Sewell 253 George Lord Lyttelton 314

Richard Crashaw 223 Sir John Vanbrugh

253

Robert Fergusson 315

William Habington . 224 Elijah Fenton. 254 Oliver Goldsmith 316

William Chamber Edward Ward 255 Paul Whitehead. • 327

layne

225 John Gay.

255 Walter Harte. 329

Richard Lovelace 226 Matthew Green 256 John Armstrong. 332

Katherine Philips 227 George Lillo

257 John Langhorne. 337

William Heminge 227 Thomas Tickell 260 Thomas Penrose 341

James Shirley 228 Alexander Pope 260 | Henry Brooke 343

Alexander Brome 228 James Bramston 262 John Scott

345

Robert Herrick 229 William Meston 262 George Alexander

Abraham Cowley 230 Robert Blair

263 Stevens.

346

Sir Richard Fanshawe 232 James Thomson 263 | William Whitehead . 347

Sir William Davenant 232 Isaac Watts

267 Richard Glover

354

Sir John Denham 233 Ambrose Philips . 267 Edward Thompson 359

George Wither 234 Leonard Welsted 268 Henry Headley 359

Jasper Mayne 237 Amhurst Selden 268 John Logan

360

Richard Brathwaite . 238 Aaron Hill

268 Robert Nugent, Earl

John Milton. 238 William Hamilton 268 Nugent

362

Andrew Marvell . 241 | William Collins • 269 William Julius Mickle 363

Samuel Butler

243 Edward Moore 270 Timothy Dwight.

Charles Cotton 243 John Dyer

271 Thomas Warton

Dr. Henry More . 244 Allan Ramsay 271 | Thomas Blacklock 373

George Etherege. 245 William Shenstone 277 William Hayward Ro-

Nathaniel Lee 246 Henry Carey . 279 berts.

375

Thomas Shadwell 247 Charles Churchill 280 Sir William Jones 376

Henry Vaughan . 247 Robert Lloyd . 284 Robert Burns. 385

John Pomfret

247 David Mallet. 285 William Mason

395

Thomas Brown 248 Edward Young 286 Joseph Warton 404

Charles Sackville, Earl John Brown

290 William Cowper . 411

of Dorset

248 Michael Bruce 290 Erasmus Darwin . 428

George Stepney 248 | James Grainger 291 James Beattie

431

John Philips

248 William Falconer 292 Christopher Anstey. 436

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ESSAY ON ENGLISH POETRY.

PART I.

The influence of the Norman Conquest upon the language of England was like that of a great inundation, which at first buries the face of the landscape under its waters, but which, at last subsiding, leaves behind it the elements of new beauty and fertility. Its first effect was to degrade the Anglo-Saxon tongue to the exclusive use of the inferior orders; and by the transference of estates, ecclesiastical benefices, and civil dignities, to Norman possessors, to give the French language, which had begun to prevail at court from the time of Edward the Confessor, a more complete predominance among the higher classes of society. The native gentry of England were either driven into exile, or depressed into a state of dependence on their conqueror which habituated them to speak his language. On the other hand, we received from the Normans the first germs of romantic poetry; and our language was ultimately indebted to them for a wealth and compass of expression which it probably would not have otherwise possessed.

The Anglo-Saxon, however, was not lost, though it was superseded by French, and disappeared as the language of superior life and of public business. 'It is found written in prose at the end of Stephen's reign, nearly a century after the Conquest; and the "Saxon Chronicle,' which thus exhibits it,* contains even a

[As the Saxon Chronicle relates the death of Stephen, it must have been written after that event.-Ellis, Early Eng. Poets, vol. i. p. 60, and vol. iij. p. 404, ed. 1801.

What is commonly called the 'Saxon Chronicle' is continued to the death of Stephen, in 1154, and in the same language, though with some loss of its purity. Besides the neglect of several grammatical rules, French words now and then obtrude themselves, but not very frequently, in the latter pages of this Chronicle.—Hallam, Lit. Hist., vol. i. p. 59.]

*

B

fragment of verse, professed to have been composed by an individual who had seen William the Conqueror.

To fix upon any precise time when the national speech can be said to have ceased to be Saxon, and begun to be English, is pronounced by Dr. Johnson to be impossible. It is undoubtedly difficult, if it be possible, from the gradually progressive nature of language, as well as from the doubt, with regard to dates, which hangs over the small number of specimens of the early tongue which we possess. Mr. Ellis fixes upon a period of about forty years, preceding the accession of Henry III., from 1180 to 1216, during which he conceives modern English to have been formed.† The opinions of Mr. Ellis, which are always delivered with candour, and almost always founded on intelligent views, are not to be lightly treated; and I hope I shall not appear to be either captious or inconsiderate in disputing them. But it seems to me that he rather arbitrarily defines the number of years which he supposes to have elapsed in the formation of our language, when he assigns forty years for that formation. He afterwards speaks of the vulgar English having suddenly superseded the pure and legitimate Saxon. Now, if the supposed period could be fixed with any degree of accuracy to thirty or forty years, one might waive the question whether a transmutation occupying so much

* Introduction to Johnson's Dictionary. [Nor can it be expected, from the nature of things gradually changing, that any time can be assigned when Saxon may be said to cease, and the English to commence.

Total and sudden transformations of a language seldom happen.

About the year 1150 the Saxon began to take a form in which the beginning of the present English may be plainly discovered : this change seems not to have been the effect of the Norman Conquest, for very few French words are found to have been introduced in the first hundred years after it; the language must therefore have been altered by causes like those which, notwithstanding the care of writers and societies instituted to obviate them, are even now daily making innovations in every living language.Johnson.]

+ [It is only justice to Mr. Ellis to give his date correctly, 1185. may fairly infer,” Mr. Ellis writes, “ that the Saxon language and literature began to be mixed with the Norman about 1185; and that in 1216 the change may be considered as complete.”]

I “ The most striking peculiarity in the establishment of our vulgar English is, that it seems to have very suddenly superseded the pure and legitimate Saxon, from which its elements were principally derived, instead of becoming its successor,

as generally has been supposed, by a slow and imperceptible process.”—Ellis, Specimens of Early English Poetry, vol. iii. p. 404. Conclusion.

66 We

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