« 前へ次へ »
With the second quarter of the seventeenth century we reach a period when literature in England becomes active and impassioned in so great a variety of forms that it is no longer possible in a summary record to mention all the names which naturally attract the historian. He is forced to close his ears to many siren voices. His task becomes more and more one of selection, and the most serious of his responsibilities a weighing the sum of qualities which each candidate presents. In this he cannot hope or even wish to please everybody; he must follow as consistently as he can a principle adopted in harmony with his own temperament and his own line of study. He can, however, affirm that if the work of certain authors is not recorded in the following pages, it is not that their merit has been neglected, but that the exigencies of space have been tyrannical.
The writer of this volume has to thank two friends in particular for invaluable help in its construction. Mr. A. H. Bullen, whose acquaintance with the poetical history of the seventeenth century is unsurpassed, has obliged him by reading the whole of the proofs and by making numerous suggestions. Mr. Austin Dobson has shown a similar kindness by examining the portions of the volume dealing with the eighteenth century, and by indicating the very latest biographical discoveries. The wide and intimate knowledge of the iconography of English literature possessed both by Mr. Bullen and by Mr. Austin Dobson has also been placed, with the most generous good nature, at the author's disposal, greatly, he believes, to his readers' advantage.
Among those who have obliged the author with illustrative matter, of the highest interest, which had never been reproduced before, must be mentioned, with particularly warm acknowledgment, the present Lord Leconfield, Sir Charles Tennant and Mr. Clinton Baker, of Bayfordbury.