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THE

HANDBOOK OF SPECIMENS

F

ENGLISH LITERATURE.

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THE

HANDBOOK OF SPECIMENS

OF

ENGLISH LITERATURE:

SELECTED FROM THE CHIEF BRITISH AUTHORS,

AND ARRANGED CHRONOLOGICALLY.

BY

JOSEPH ANGUS, M.A., D.D.,

EXAMINER IN ENGLISH LANGUAGE, LITERATURE, AND HISTORY TO THE

UNIVERSITY OF LONDON ;
AUTHOR OF THE HANDBOOK OF EXGLISH LITERATURE.'

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LONDON:
THE RELIGIOUS TRACT SOCIETY;
56, PATERNOSTER ROW; 65, ST. PAUL'S CHURCHYARD;

AND 164, PICCADILLY.

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LONDON:

PRINTED BY WILLIAM CLOWES AND SONS, LIMITED,

STAMFORD STREET AND CHARING CROSS.

PREFACE.

This volume completes the plan announced in the HANDBOOK OF ENGLISH LITERATURE. It adds Specimens to the History, and illustrates the principles of criticism laid down in the previous volume by examples taken from the master-pieces of English authorship.

Throughout this work, the Editor has kept in view four distinct ends. He has sought (1) to illustrate the progress of our literature and language ; (2) to select from each author the most characteristic specimen, both of his style and thought; (3) to present extracts remarkable for beauty, force, or suggestiveness ; and (4) to introduce the reader to the works from which selections are taken. He bas, therefore, quoted largely from our older writers, has copied direct from their works, retaining in almost every case the old spelling, indicating carefully all omissions, and adding the references, so that the reader may himself examine the passages in situ. Besides the advantage of knowing whence an extract is taken, it will be found that every beautiful passage becomes more beautiful when read in its connexion : the setting nearly always adds to its charm.

From Novels and Dramas no extracts have been made-except in the case of Shakespeare. Such extracts, unless given at very great length, must fail to do justice to the works from which they are taken, and could only disappoint the reader.

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