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The great success of the two volumes of my brother's Lectures—the first on“ English Literature," and the second on “History as illustrated by Shakspeare's Plays,”-has induced me to publish another series, still more complete, on the “ British Poets,” which was delivered by Mr. Reed in 1841. These lectures are printed from the author's manuscript, with no other alteration than the omission of passages which he had used in his second course.

An addition has been made to these volumes of two essays on kindred subjects,—one on “English Sonnets," and another on “Hartley Coleridge.”

The present volumes are probably the last of my brother's works which I shall publish. The lectures already issued have been most kindly received on both sides of the Atlantic; and it would be ungraceful were I to omit, for myself and his still nearer family, an expression of the deep feeling with which this appreciation has inspired us.

W. B. R.

PHILADELPHIA, February 13, 1857.





Character of the transition from Milton to Dryden--The rank of Dryden

among the poets-English imagination in his age--Influence of Milton's

genius upon his contemporaries and successors--Wordsworth's apostrophe to

Milton-Decline of imaginative energy—Metaphysical Poetry—Daniel and

Drayton-Drayton's Polyolbion-Lamb's notice of this poem-Donne and

Cowley— The sin of this school of Poetry—Poetry a subject for studious

thoughtfulness-Donne's “Lecture”-Character of Cowley's genius-His

prose essays—“The Complaint”—The conceits of the Poetry of this period

-Herbert's lines on Virtue; Life; Peace-Herbert's self-criticism-Sacred

Poetry of the seventeenth century— Robert Herrick-His Litany to the Holy

Spirit-The music of his verse—Literary interest of the Civil War-Lord

Chatham on the character of this struggle--The Puritan system adverse to

poetic culture-Richard Lovelace—“To Althea, from prison”-George

Wither–His character-His address to his Muse—A tribute to Wither's

memory . . . . . . . . . . Page 144



Ambiguities in the general titles adopted to designate particular literary eras-

The last quarter of the seventeenth century the age of Dryden-The degraded

tastes of his times—The alliance of high Poetry with virtue— The true stand-

ard of poetic merit-Dryden's Poetry a reflection of the times of Charles II.

-Profligacy of that age-Character of Charles Stuart—The spirit of Poetry is

a spirit of enthusiasm—The debasing effects of the Civil Wars—Shaftesbury

as Lord-Chancellor - Reception of the Paradise Lost-Winstanley's Lives

of the English Poets-Milton's exposition of kingly duty—The Drama during

the age of the Restoration-Dryden's Plays--Defence of rhyming Tragedies

_"The Fall of Innocence”-Dryden’s alteration of “The Tempest”-

“Absalom and Achitophel”-Buckingham-Literary larceny—Sir Egerton

Brydges's Lines on Milton—"The Hind and the Panther” “Alexander's

Feast”-Ode for St. Cecilia's Day-Dryden's later Poetry Page 167

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