Alexander Chalmers, The Works of the English Poets, from Chaucer to Cowper; including the series edited with prefaces, biographical and critical, by Dr. Samuel Johnson: and the most approved translations. 21 Vols. (London: J. Johnson, 1810)

Information about the collection: 

From the Preface:  "a work professing to be a Body of the Standard English Poets" (v)
"It cannot, however, be unknown to those who have paid any attention to the subject, that the question of too much or too little in these collections, does not depend on the previous consideration of the merit of the poet, so frequently as on the relative rank which he seems destined to hold among his brethren. Some may be admissible in a series, who would make but an indifferent figure by themselves, and it is not improbable that by perpetuating editions in this manner, the fame that has sunk in one revolution of taste may be revived in another" (v)

"There are perhaps but two rules by which a collector of English poetry can be guided. He is either to give a series of the Best poets, or of the most Popular, but simple as these rules may appear, they are not without difficulties, for whichever he choose to rely upon, the other will be found to interfere. In the first instance, the question will be perpetually recurring ‘who are the best poets?’ and as this will unavoidably involve all the disputed points in poetical criticism, and all the partialities of individual taste, an editor must pause before he venture on a decision from which the appeals will be numerous and obstinately-contested. On the other hand, he will not find much more security in popularity, which is a criterion of uncertain duration, sometimes depending on circumstances very remote from taste or judgment, and, unless in some few happy instances, a mere fashion. Any bookseller can tell an editor that popularity will frequently elude his grasp, if he waits for the decision of time; that authors, popular within the memory of some of the present generation, are no longer read, and that others who seemed on the brink of oblivion, if not sunk in its abyss, have by some accountable or unaccountable revival, become the standing favourites of the day." (v-vi) -- "as, however, they [his criticisms] are the result of a judgment derived from no partial school, I have only to hope they will not be found destitute of candour, or improperly interfering with the general and acknowledged principles of taste" (x)

Table of Contents:

Addison, Akenside; Armstrong; Beattie; F.Beaumont; Sir J.Beaumont; Blacklock; Blackmore; Blair; Boyse; Brome; Brooke; Broome; Browne; Butler; Byrom; Cambridge; Carew; Cartwright; Cawthorne; Chatterton; Chaucer; Churchill; Collins; Congreve; Cooper; Corbett; Cotton; Dr. Cotton; Cowley; Cowper; Crashaw; Cunningham; Daniel; Davenant; Davies; Denham; Dodsley; Donne; Dorset; Drayton; Drummond; Dryden; Duke; Dyer; Falconer; Fawkes; Fenton; G.Fletcher; P.Fletcher; Garth; Gascoigne; Gay; Glover; Goldsmith; Gower; Grainger; Gray; Green; Habington; Halifax; Hall; Hammond; Harte; Hughes; Jago; Jenyns; Johnson; Jones; Jonson; King; Langhorne; Lansdowne; Lloyd; Logan; Lovibond; Lyttelton; Mallett; Mason; Mickle; Milton; Moore; Otway; Parnell; A.Phillips; J.Phillips; Pitt; Pomfret; Pope; Prior; Rochester; Roscommon; Rowe; Savage; Scott; Shakespeare; Sheffield; Shenstone; Sherburne; Skelton; Smart; Smith; Somerville; Spenser; Sprat; Stepney; Stirling; Suckling; Surrey; Swift; J.Thomson; W.Thomson; Tickell; Turberville; Waller; Walsh; Warner; J.Warton; T.Warton; Watts; West; P.Whitehead; W.Whitehead; Wilkie; Wyatt; Yalden; Young

Translations: Pope’s Iliad & Odyssey; Dryden’s Virgil & Juvenal; Pitt’s Aeneid & Vida; Francis’ Horace; Rowe’s Lucan; Grainger’s Tibullus; Fawkes’ Theocritus, Apollonius Rhodius, Coluthus, Anacreon, Sappho, Bion and Moschus, Museus; Garth’s Ovid; Lewis’ Statius; Cooke’s Hesiod; Hoole’s Ariosto & Tasso; Mickle’s Lusiad

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