Joseph Ritson, The English Anthology (London: C. Clarke, 1793-4)

Information about the collection: in 3 volumes, with line numbers but no headnotes; dates of birth and death of the author are listed where known; poem titles are listed above or before the name of the author; original sources and years of publication are given in the table of contents (see the entries below) [volume1][volume 2][volume 3]

From the Advertisement: "The public is here presented with a selection of English poetry, in a chronological series, from the beginning of the sixteenth century (or, including an extract from Chaucer, from the latter part of the fourteenth) to the present time, upon a plan hitherto unattempted, at least in this country. It will not be thought possible that a collection in three volumes should comprise every poem in the language; but it may be confidently asserted that there is scarce a single poet of any eminence or merit who has not contributed generally his best, and in some cases his only, production, and that no publication of like nature ever comprehended such a number and variety of excellent poems, or was printed with superior elegance, fidelity, or correctness. No alteration (except in apparent mistakes) has been attempted either in the language or in the orthography, and as little as possible even in the punctuation, of the edition followed, which, if not always the best, will in no case be found a bad one" (i-ii)

"the editor is sufficiently familiar with the poetical productions of preceding centuries to pronounce with confidence, that no composition of a moderate length is to be found, prior to the year 1500, which would be thought to deserve a place in these volumes; the nicety of the present age being ill disposed to make the necessary allowances for the uncouth diction and homely sentiments of former times" (v)

"the idea originated from a sight of the elegant French song-book, intitled L'Anthologie Francoise" (vi)

Table of Contents, Volume 1 (spelling and punctuation not standardized): 

Table of Contents, Volume 2 (Note: The women authors are set apart as you see printed here):

Table of Contents, Volume 3:

Return to the Anthologies and Miscellanies Page