« ПредыдущаяПродолжить »
PRINTED For F. c. AND J. R.IVINGTON,
Since the first publication of works something similar in plan to the present, mearly half a century has now elapsed. Whatever merit may be due to the first idea of such a repository, undoubtedly belongs to France. It was not, however, till the year 1765, that a volume of the kind appeared, worthy of preservation. In that year, the A/manach des Muses was first established; and it has been continued, sometimes with more, sometimes with less merit, down to the present period, For many years it was adorned by the names of Voltaire, Gresset, Dorat, Bernard, Colardeau, Leonard, De Lille, and other authors scarcely less distinguished, whose productions, though often morally reprehensible, always bore the stamp of genius. When the epoch of the Revolution arrived, it was prostituted to the purposes of those who had a leading share in that Revolution, and became a collection of miserable verses in praise of the most abandoned principles, and their abandoned propagators. To what A 2 -
a state of degradation it was fallen, may be easily guessed, from the circumstance of its containing several inscriptions and poems in honour of Marat! For the last two or three years, it has been gradually recovering its antient credit.
The plan was next adopted in Germany, but in what year is unknown to the editor of thc Poetical Register. Two volumes are still annually published in that country: they are edited by Schiller and Voss. That which is under the care of Schiller is devoted principally, if not entirely, to the compositions of young authors, which receive the corrections of the editor.
It has long been a subject of surprize to the editor, that no collection similar to that of our Gallic neighbours was formed in England. Two volumes have, indeed, been published within the last three years, professedly in imitation of the French work, but, in reality, differing from it very considerably. The volume, which is now submitted to the public, is an enlargement, and, it is hoped, an improvement, of the plan on which the Almanach des Muses is conducted. That work includes only poetry and criticism; the first in great part original, and the latter to a very limited extent. In the Poetical
Register, it is purposed to include every subject connected with poetry.
What share of praise is due to the execution of the task imposed on himself by the editor, the public will decide. The difficulty of procuring compositions of poetical excellence, for a first volume, must be sufficiently obvious. One merit he can with justice claim—that of having strenuously endeavoured to render the work not unworthy of that flattering support which it has been promised from all quarters; and which, should this volume be favourably received, will render the next still more Worthy of approbation.
The editor has now to perform the pleasing duty of acknowledging his obligations. For the very gratifying and effectual kindness of Thomas Park, Esq. of Hampstead, and Dr. R. Anderson, of Edinburgh, he has to return his warmest thanks. Many of the best pieces in the volume were obtained for it by their influence. To S. E. Brydges, Esq. he is also indebted for much valuable assistance. The poems of Miss Brydges and Dr. Beauvoir were furnished by that gentleman, as was also the whole of what is to be found under the title of “Antient Poetry,”