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The present edition of Dryden's Poetical Works seeks to justify its existence by a more complete collection of Dryden's writings than has hitherto been attempted in popular form, by a careful collation of the entire text with the original editions, by the chronological arrangement of its contents, and by the reprinting in the Notes of a considerable portion of Sir Walter Scott's commentary on Dryden.
This volume includes all Dryden's undoubted poetical works, both original and translated, except his dramas; and, with the exception of some hymns (see page 919), all that have been attributed to him with any show of reason. An apology is due for giving to a book that omits so important a division of the poet's writings as his dramas the title, Dryden's Poetical Works, but the inaccuracy may be defended by tradition. About half of Dryden's critical essays also appear in the volume.
Details as to the sources of the text may be found in the notes to the different poems. For only a very few minor pieces have I been obliged to rely on copies made at the British Museum or elsewhere. The text of Dryden's verse is reproduced without any omissions whatever ; from his prose only a few lines, in the commentary on Persius, are left unprinted. The labor of collation has resulted in the restoring of Dryden's own text in numerous passages, especially in the translation of Virgil and in the prose essays, that had later become corrupt. For new errors committed I make no apology, but I hope that they are not frequent. The textual notes are more extensive than in previous editions, and are generally intended to include all variant readings (other than obvious misprints and insignificant differences of spelling) of all important early editions. It has seemed needless, however, to collate texts that were evidently mere publishers' reprints, such as the later editions of most of the dramas ; or, except in rare instances, to consider any editions published after Dryden's death. The changes of text made in modern editions are noted, as a rule, only when adopted here.
The chronological arrangement of the contents should give the reader a clearer conception of Dryden's literary development, and of his relation to the politics of his time, than the classified arrangement hitherto followed.
Sir Walter Scott's great edition of Dryden, not the least of his claims to fame, was first published in 1808, just one hundred years ago. His sketches of the men of the seventeenth century, and his critical remarks on Dryden's genius, not only have independent literary value, but show his wide and intimate acquaintance with the society and the politics of Dryden's time. Unfortunately he was as inaccurate and diffuse as he was genial and sympathetic. In attempting to correct and condense Scott's work, I hope that I have not entirely destroyed the charm of his style.
Capitals and punctuation in this edition are made to agree with modern standards. The problem of spelling, as is always the case in a popular edition of an old author, was very difficult. No satisfactory compromise can be made between a literal reproduction of the old editions, with all their aimless inconsistencies and irregularities, and complete conform
1 Somo cases in which oditions desirable for collation, though not for use as a basis for the text, wore inaccessible to me are specified in the Notes. The most important are the second editions of Miscellany Poems, Sylve, and Jurenal and Persius.
ity with modern usage. In general, modern spelling has been adopted wherever the change was merely external, not affecting the pronunciation of a word: thus critick is made critic; buisy, busy ; chuse, choose ; boult, bolt ; humane kind, humankind; suddain, sudden. In honour, honor, and similar words, the latter form has been adopted, in conformity with American usage, though the early editions usually print honour. Participles and past tenses like confessed, confess'd, confest ; mized, mix'd, mixt, are normalized to confessid, mix'd, but an exception is made of blest and curst as participles.
On the other hand, spellings that apparently indicate peculiarities of English vocabulary or pronunciation in Dryden's time are retained: thus, reek [rick), shew, breer [briar), thrid, laund [lawn], prease (press), whether (whither), then (than]. Here also may be mentioned Dryden's variation between the forms them, 'em. By discarding such peculiarities, modern editions have altered the character of Dryden's language, disguising its kinship with Elizabethan English.
In cases that seemed in any way doubtful, the inconsistencies of the early editions have been retained, as in salvage, savage ; indued, endued ; desart, desert. Thus on pages 872 and 873 the spellings elfs and elves occur within a short distance of each other (lines 3 and 34). Some of these cases probably might better have been made consistent, but I preferred to err on the side of archaism.
Dryden's marks of contraction are retained, as in pow'r, wand'ring, heav'n, th' immortal ; these are important as emphasizing the regular flow of English verse in Dryden's time, which so often makes it seem mechanical to modern ears. But here, also, the irregularities of the old editions are followed, and except in a few special cases power, wandering, heaven, the immortal, are reproduced wherever they occur ; wandring, however, is transformed into wand'ring.
The same principles are followed for Latin names used by Dryden : thus Hyarbas, Sergesthus are not changed to Iarbas, Sergestus ; but Mecenas, Cytheron, Ptolomy become Mæcenas, Cithæron, Ptolemy. In English proper names the spelling of the Dictionary of National Biography is usually adopted. The titles of French works referred to in the Biographical Sketch and the Notes are ordinarily given in the orthography of the original editions.
Any editor of a classic author must depend largely on the labors of his predecessors. Besides my use of Scott, I have taken much material from Malone and Christie, and from Professors Saintsbury, Ker, and Williams. To the last three gentlemen I am deeply grateful for their courteous permission to make full use of their work. (Professor Saintsbury has also kindly allowed me to use the text of the Scott-Saintsbury edition as a basis for collation of the Virgil and the Discourse concerning Satire.) Occasional debts to other scholars, notably Professors Collins and Firth, are acknowledged in the Notes. I hope, however, that my commentary contains original contributions that will be useful to students of Dryden.
This edition has been in preparation since the summer of 1901, during which time I have been almost continuously resident in California, distant from all large collections of Drydeniana. For this reason, and others as well, I am indebted more than most editors to the help of many friends. The authorities of the Harvard and Yale libraries have generously sent their treasures to me across the continent ; Mr. T. J. Kiernan and Mr. F. B. Dexter, of those libraries, have been particularly courteous in the prompt attention that they have given to my many requests. Mr. Beverly Chew, President of the Grolier Club of New York City, and Mr. Winston H. Hagen, a member of that club, loaned me from their private libraries rare editions of Dryden that were elsewhere inaccessible to me, and the officers of the Club granted me the use of their building while collating or copying those volumes.
To Mr. E. H. Wells, Curator of Modern English Literature in the Harvard Library, I am more deeply indebted than I can well express. His zeal and skill have made the Harvard collection of Drydeniana exceptionally complete, so that Cambridge is now almost as satisfactory a place as London for the editing of Dryden's works. In my own behalf, though until my labor of collating was nearly finished I was a total stranger to him, he has taken infinite and unselfish pains, answering each of my queries with the utmost fullness, and finally sending me a card catalogue, prepared with great detail, of the Harvard Dryden collection. Largely through his aid, the bibliographical information in this volume is, I think, somewhat more complete than in previous editions.
Professors G. L. Kittredge and F. N. Robinson of Harvard University have aided me in many ways, especially by advice in regard to the text of the volume, and Professor W. A. Neilson has helped me very greatly by looking up questions that have arisen during the reading of the proof and in the preparation of the Notes. Mr. C. J. Barr, Assistant Librarian of the John Crerar Library in Chicago, has generously aided me by the gift of a copy of his valuable unpublished Bibliography of Dryden. I am indebted also to Professors E. K. Rand and W. S. Ferguson of Harvard, Professor W. T. Brewster of Columbia, Professor B. O. Foster of Stanford, and to my colleagues, Professors H. Morse Stephens, W. A. Merrill, W. M. Hart, H. W. Prescott, and T. F. Sanford of the University of California, for assistance of various kinds. Some minor obligations are acknowledged in the Notes.
Finally, all my other debts for aid in this edition of Dryden are as nothing compared to that I owe my wife, whose name, as joint editor, might well have been added to my own. She has collated, as well as I myself, every piece in this volume, and has read with me every line of the proof. She has prepared the Indexes, and has borne the larger part of the labor of making the Glossary ready for the press. She has revised the Biographical Sketch and the Notes, giving me invaluable advice in regard to them, and has coöperated with me in other ways too numerous for mention here.
G. R. N. BERKELEY, CALIFORNIA,
December 1, 1908.
TABLE OF CONTENTS
PROLOGUE, EPILOGUE, AND SONGS
FROM MARRIAGE À LA MODE