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WILEY AND PUTNAM'S

LIBRARY OF

CHOICE RE A DIN G.

SPECIMENS

or

ENGLISH DRAMATIC POETS.

PART 1.

1

А

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PREFACE.

More than a third part of the following speciinens aro from plays which are to be found only in tho British Museum and in some scarce private libraries. The rest aro from Dodsley's and llawkins's collections, and the works of Jonson, Beaumont and I'letcher, and Massinger.

I havo chonill wherever I could to give entire scenes, and in some instances successive scenes, rather than to string together single passages and detached beauties, which I have always found wearisome in the reading in sclections of this naturc.

To cvery extract is prefixed an explanatory head, sulli. cient to make it intelligible with the help of some trifling omissions. Where a line or more was obscure, as having reference to something that had gone before, which would have asked more time to explain than its consequence in the scene seemed to descrve, I have had no hesitation in leaving the line or passage out. Sometimes where I have met with a superNuous character, which seemed to burthen without throwing any light upon the scene, I have ventured to dismiss it altogether. I have expunged, without cere. mony, 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 somo others.

The kind of extracts which I have sought after have been, not so much passages of wit and humor, though the old plays are rich in such, as scenes of passion, sometimes of

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