Robert Southey, Specimens of the Later English Poets, with preliminary notices. 3 Volumes (London: Longman, Hurst, Rees and Orme, 1807)

Information about the collection: The poets included in the 3 volumes are arranged in the table of contents both in chronological (from year of death) and in alphabetical order. The titles of the poems themselves are not listed in either place; in the alphabetical list both the volume and page number where the author's works might be found are given.

From the Preface: These volumes are intended to accompany Mr. Ellis's well known Specimens of the Early English Poets. That series concludes with the reign of Charles II, this begins with that of James his successor: the two together will exhibit the rise, progress, decline and revival of our Poetry, and the fluctuations of our poetical taste, from the first growth of the English language to the present times. A slight difference has been made in arrangement; instead of sorting the Poets, according to the reigns in which they flourished, I have noticed each under the year of his death, where that could be ascertained, otherwise according to the date of his chief publication. It was desirable that the series should be brought down to the end of the last century, and this order determined whom it should include. In consequence of this arrangement a few names will be found, which are included in the work of Mr. Ellis.

Many worthless versifyers are admitted among the English Poets, by the courtesy of criticism, which seems to conceive that charity towards the dead may cover the multitude of its offences against the libing. There were other reasons for including here the reprobate, as well as the elect. My business was to collect specimens as for a hortus siccus; not to cull flowers as for an anthology. I wished, as Mr. Ellis has done in the earlier ages, to exhibit specimens of every writer, whose verses appear in a substantive form, and find their place upon the shelves of the collector. The taste of the publick may better be estimated from indifferent Poets than from good ones; because the former write for their contemporaries, the latter for posterity. Cleveland and Cowley, who were both more popular than Milton, characterise their age more truly. Fame, indeed, is of slow growth; like the Hebrew language, it has no present tense; Popularity has no future one. The gourd which sprang up in a night withered in a day. The list of these writers, will inevitably be imperfect. Of all branches of knowledge bibliology, though always becoming more and more needful, is that in which the student of our literature can find the fewest works to guide his researches. I have, however, to acknowledge with pleasure, much personal assistance. Mr. Heber's stores have been open to me on this, as on former occasions; so also has Mr. Hill's ample collection of English Poetry. The worthy heart of Mr. Isaac Reed would have rejoiced to have known the advantages I have derived from his rare Library, and still rarer knowledge; but while I am adding one more testimony of esteem and thanks to the many due to him, I hear of an event, which places him beyond my praise or my gratitude. Grosvenor Charles Bedford, an old and dear friend, with whom I have lived in habits of unbroken intimacy, since we were school-boys together, has been my coadjutor in the work, has selected many of the specimens, supplied many of the prefatory notices, and conducted the whole through the press, which, in a situation so remote from London as that of my residence, it was impossible I could do myself.

The biographical notices might easily have been extended, had it been consistent with the plan, or the limits of this selection. Of a few great writers it was unnecessary to say anything -- of some ignoble ones sufficient to say what they had written. I have, in a few instances, rather inserted a piece of inferior merit, than those which are so well known, as to be printed in every collection.

[transcription still in progress from here; it is a lengthy preface]

Table of Contents: 


From whose works extracts have been given in these volumes: with their titles and academical degrees

Addison, Joseph
Akenside, Mark
Amhurst, Nicholas
Bacon, Phanuel
Baker, Henry
Bampfylde, John
Banckes, John
Barber, Mary
Behn, Aphra
Bellamy, Daniel
Betterton, Thomas
Bishop, Samuel
Blacklock, Thomas
Blackmore, Sir Richard
Blackstone, Sir William
Blair, Robert
Boswell, James
Boyse, Samuel
Brady, Nicholas
Brereton, Jane
Brooke, Henry
Broome, William
Browne, Moses
Browne, John
Browne, Thomas
Bruce, Michael
Budgell, Eustace
Butt, George
Byrom, John
Canning, George
Carey, Henry
Cawthorne, James
Chatterton, Thomas
Chandler, Mary
Chudleigh, Lady
Churchill, Charles
Cibber, Colley
Cockburne, Catherine
Collins, William
Concanen, Matthew
Congreve, William
Cooper, John Gilbert
Cooper, Myles
Cotton, Charles
Cotton, Nathaniel
Cowper, William
Coxall, Samuel
Crowne, John
Cunningham, John
Dance, James
Day, Thomas
De Foe, Daniel
De La Cour, James
Dennis, John
Denton, Thomas
Derrick, Samuel
Desaguliers, T.S.
Dodd, William, D.D.
Doddington, George Bubb, Ld. Melcombe
Dodsley, Robert
Dryden, John
Duck, Stephen
Duke, Richard
Durfey, Thomas
Dyer, John
Ellis, John
Etherege, Sir George
Eusden, Lawrence
Evans, Nathaniel
Falconer, William
Farquhar, George
Fawkes, Francis
Fenton, Elijah
Fitzgerald, Thomas
Fordyce, James
Free, John
Garrick, David
Garth, Sir Samuel
Gay, John
Gildon, Charles
Glover, Richard
Goldsmith, Oliver, L.l.D.
Graeme, James
Granger, James
Granville, Geo. Lord Lansdowne
Gray, Thomas
Green, Matthew
Grierson, Constantia
Hamilton, William
Hammond, James
Harrison, William
Harte, Walter
Harvey, Lord
Hay, William
Headley, Henry
Hifferman, Paul
Hill, Aaron
Hinchcliffe, William
Hopkins, Charles
Howard, Sir Robert
Howard, Leonard, D.D.
Hughes, John
Hughes, Jabez
Jago, Richard
Jefferies, George
Jenner, Charles
Johnson, Samuel, L.l.D.
Jones, Henry
Jones, Sir William
Jenyns, Soame
Keate, George
Kelly, Hugh
Kenrick, William
Killigrew, Anne
Killigrew, Sir William
King, William
Langhorne, John
Langley, Robert
Leapor, Mary
Lee, Nathaniel
Lloyd, Robert
Lloyd, Evan
Lewis, Theobald
Leveridge, Richard
Logan, John
Lovibond, Edward
Lowth, Robert, D.D.
Lyttleton, Lord George
Macpherson, James
Mallet, David
Manly, La Rivierre
Marriot, James
Maynwaring, Arthur
Mendez, Moses
Merrick, James
Merry, Robert
Meston, William
Miller, James
Mitchell, Joseph
Monk, Mary
Montague, Charles, Earl of Halifax
Montague, Lady Mary Wortley
Moore, Edward
Motteaux, Peter Anthony
Mountford, William
Needler, Henry
Nugent, Robert, Earl
Oldmixion, John
Otway, Thomas
Pack, Richardson
Paget, Lord
Parnell, Thomas
Pattison, William
Penrose, Thomas
Philips, John
Philips, Ambrose
Pilkington, Laetitia
Pitt, Christopher
Pomfret, John
Pope, Alexander
Price, Henry
Prior, Matthew
Rack, Edmund
Ralph, James
Relph, Josiah
Roberts, Hayward William
Rogers, Samuel
Rowe, Nicholas
Rowe, Elizabeth
Sackville, Charles, Earl of Dorset
Savage, Richard
Say, Samuel
Scott, John
Scott, Walter
Sedley, Sir Charles
Settle, Elkanah
Sewell, George
Shadwell, Thomas
Shaw, Cuthbert
Sheffield, John, Duke of Buckingham
Shenstone, William
Sheridan, Frances
Sheridan, Thomas
Smart, Christopher
Smith, Edmund
Smollett, Tobias
Somervile, William
Southerne, Thomas
Sprat, Thomas
Stanhope, P.D., Earl of Chesterfield
Stepney, George
Stevens, George Alexander
Swift, Jonathan, D.D.
Tate, Nahum
Thomson, James
Thompson, William
Theobald, Lewis
Tickell, Thomas
Tollet, Elizabeth
Vanbrugh, Sir John
Victor, Benjamin
Villiers, George, Duke of Buckingham
Waller, Edmund
Watts, Isaac, D.D.
Walpole, Horace, Earl of Oxford
Walsh, William
Warton, Thomas
Warton, Joseph
Welsted, Leonard
Wesley, Samuel, 1st
Wesley, Samuel, 2d
West, Gilbert
West, Richard
Whaley, John
Whitehead, Paul
Whitehead, William
Wilkie, William
Williams, Sir Charles Hanbury
Winchelsea, Anne, Countess of
Woty, William
Wycherley, William
Yalden, Thomas
Young, Edward, L.l.D.

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