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SELECTED FROM THE CHIEF ENGLISH WRITERS,
AND ARRANGED CHRONOLOGICALLY.
THOMAS B. SHAW, A. M.,
WILLIAM SMITH, LL. D.
THE USE OF AMERICAN STUDENTS,
BENJAMIN N. MARTIN, D.D., L. H.D.,
PROFESSOR OF PHILOSOPHY AND LOGIO IN THE UNIVERSITY OF THE
CITY OF NEW YORK.
498 AND 500 BROADWAY.
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TO THE ENGLISH EDITION.
THE following extracts from the Chief English Writers were selected by the late Mr. Shaw to accompany his History of English Literature, and are divided into the same number of chapters, that they may be read with the biographical and critical account of each author. They present Specimens of all the chief English Writers from the earliest times to the present century. In making these Selections, two objects have been chiefly kept in view: first, the illustration of the style of each Writer by some of the most striking or characteristic specimens of his works; and, secondly, the choice of such passages as are suitable, either from their language or their matter, to be read in schools or committed to memory.
TO THE AMERICAN EDITION.
IN furnishing to American students an edition of Dr. Shaw's "Specimens of English Literature," which should be adapted to their wants, the Editor deems it proper to state what changes have been made in the volume.
It appeared, upon examination, that, even with Dr. William Smith's additions to the original work of Dr. Shaw, some of the best English writers were not represented in the selections. As it seemed desirable to make the representation of approved authors as complete as a moderate limit would allow, it became necessary to revise the whole work; and, in order to gain space for a more extended view, to omit whatever was of inferior interest. It was found, too, that many passages, either not of the highest merit,
of needless length, or unsuitable to be read in seminaries, might
with advantage be abbreviated, or exchanged for others.
By these methods, it became possible, without increasing the size, materially to extend the scope of the work. While no important writer represented in the original has been excluded from this reprint, opportunity has been gained, by judicious condensation, to present to the reader specimens of the following list of English authors not included in the English edition, viz.: Algernon Sydney, Ray, John Howe, Sir Isaac Newton, Doddridge, Watts, Bishop Butler, Bentham, Foster, Chalmers, Pollok, Hallam, Mrs. Hemans, Mrs. Browning, Hugh Miller, Edward Irving, Macaulay, Hazlitt, and Hood.
In addition to the changes involved in this more enlarged representation, alterations have been made upon some one or other of the following grounds.
Passages containing Greek or Latin quotations have generally been omitted, as embarrassing in seminaries in which the ancient