BL 11602.aaa.6, 7

Specimens of the British Poets from Lord Surrey to Cowper.

Vol. I.

London: Published by W. Suttaby, B. Crosby & Co. and Seateherd and Letterman, 1809. Corral Printer.

[A picture opposite the title page by T. Stothard, R. A., engraved by Geo. Noble, with lines excerpted from a Ballad by John Gay.]

Volume I

Specimens of the British Poets. Vol. I. Part I.

Containing Selections from the poets who flourished in the reigns of Henry VIII. Queen Elizabeth. James I. Charles I. and Charles II.

London: Published by W. Suttaby, Staioners Court. 1809. Corrall, Printer, Charing Cross.

[Another of these pages midway through volume 1:] Specimens of the British Poets. Vol. I. Part II. Containing selections from the poets who flourished in the reign of Queen Ann. London: Published by W. Suttaby, Crosby and Co. and Scatcherd and Letterman, Stationers Court. 1809. Corrall, Printer, Charing Cross.


The original plan of this work was to comprise all the beautiful Poetry in the English language, from the time of Henry VIII. and Queen Elizabeth, (when the excellence of our poets began to fix the language,) down to the present time. But the limits to which the Editor was confined, rendered it impossible: much fine poetry was unavoidably to be excluded: this had constituted one great difficulty, and must be the excuse for many of the omissions.

The selections from the minor ancient poets, are chiefly taken from a small volume published in 1790, entitled Specimens of the Early English Poets.(1) With respect to the moderns, the Editor has not attempted to come down lower than Cowper.

The arrangement which has been adopted, (of placing all the poems of one author together, and classing the poets according to the time in which they flourished,) is the most obvious, and the best calculated to show the gradual alterations in our language, and the improvement in our versification, if not in our poetry. A division under separate heads, must generally be fanciful. The length of the selections from each poet, has been as much as possible proportioned to his excellence: and where all the fine poems of an author could not be admitted, those have been chosen which are most generally admired. No selections from our Epic, and other long poems, are admitted, [iii / iv] because it very much destroys the interest of the whole poem, to be first acquainted with the most beautiful parts: and even the passages selected lose much of their beauty, when given detached from the subject, to which the poet had connected them. But this is not the case where the parts of a poem are unconnected, or rather where several distinct poems are written under one title, as the Night Thoughts of Young. Independently of these objections, the admission of extracts from long poems, must have excluded too many of the entire poems.

The Editor has endeavoured as much as possible, to correct his own judgment by public opinion; and under that idea has admitted several poems, which he does not particularly admire. Therefore he cannot hope, that any one of his readers should find no poems he would wish to exclude; nor recollect others whose omission he may regret. If he does not find many such, the Editor will be more than satisfied. Novelty is not to be expected in a work of this kind: it could only be obtained by inserting the least known, and consequently the worst productions of our poets. If therefore the reader find nothing new, it will be an argument in favour of this Selection.

As it may be expected that something should be said concerning the utility of this work, on this ground the Editor has only to say, that the last edition of the British Poets, commencing from Milton only, contains nearly an 100 volumes, and is published at 10 Guineas.(2)

[E means "in Ellis"; NE means "not in Ellis."]

[H means "in Headley," but that is not complete: not by computer search, as Ellis is, but only by my memory.]

[Note: this has no list of subscribers and has a table of contents.]


(Henry VIII.)

LORD SURREY. 1520-1547.

EOde.--The soote season, that bud and bloom 1

EGive place, ye lovers ib.

Sonnets.--From Tuscane came my Lady's 2 (3)

Set me e'en where the Sun doth parch 3

Alas! so all things now do hold. ib.


My lute, awake, perform the last 4

SIR THOMAS WYAT. 1503-1541.

E3-4Since love will needs that I must love 5

E3Your looks so often cast ib


E9A many may live thrice Nestor's life(4) 6

E10-11I see there is no sort2

E1920From Gammer Gurton's Needle 7

(Queen Elizabeth.)


EA strange passion of a lover 9

EThe Dole of Despair ib.


ESong.--Blow, blow thou Winter-wind2 11 [v / vi]

ESonnet.--On a day, (alack the day!)(5) 11

ESong of Fairies(6)12

EWinter, a Song(7) ib

EA Song on Fancy(8) 13

EAriel's Song ib

EDirge ib ["Fear no more the heat o'th'sun, / Nor the furious winter's rages;"]

ESympathizing Love(9) 14


ESonnet.--Whence comes my love(10)


ESonnets.--Faint amorist! what, does thou think 17

EIn a grove most rich of shade 18(11)

ESong.--Who is it that this dark night 20

NESonnets.--Lock up, fair lids 21

O happy Thames ib

Be your words made 22(12)

E(13)MICHAEL DRAYTON. 1563-1631

NE/HSonnets.[yes]--Love banish'd Heaven 23

NEDear! why should you command ib.

JOHN LILLY. 1533*-1600*[(14)

ECupid and Campaspe [sic.] 24

ESong.--O yes! O yes! if any maid ib

DANIEL. [Samuel Daniel.] 1562-1619

Sonnets.[yes]--EBeauty, sweet love 25

EI must not grieve, my love ib.

ELook, Delia, how we'[sic.] esteem 26

Let others sing of knights ib

HRestore thy tresses 27

And whither, poor Forsaken ib. [vi / vii]

N. BRETON 1555*-1624*

EPhillida and Corydon 28

EThe Shepherd's Address to his Muse ib.


EThe Sturdy Rock 30

EThe Praise of Amargana ib.

C. MARLOW. 1562*-1592.

EThe Passionate Shepherd 32


E85-86The Nymph's Reply to the Passionate Shepherd 33

E82-85The Soul's Errand 34

EThe Silent Lover 36

Imitation of Marlow 37

Shall I like an hermit dwell 38

SPENSER 1553*-1598

To his Book 40



Sonnets.[yes]--Fair is my love 64

The doubt which ye misdeem 65

Rudely thou wrongest ib.

Fresh Spring, the herald 66

Like a huntsman ib.

EJOHN DONNE. 1573-1631.

NESend home my long-stray'd eyes 67


GEORGE WITHER. 1588-1667.

ESong.--Shall I, wasting in despair 78

EAmaryllis I did woo 69

ELordly gallants, tell me this ib.

EWantons! 'tis not 70

EThe Stedfast Shepherd 71

BEN JONSON. 1574-1637.

ESong.--Come, my Celia, let us prove 73

EThe Sweet Neglect ib.

EHue and Cry after Cupid 74

WILLIAM BROWN. 1590*-1645.

ESong.--Shall I tell you whom I love 76

1586-1615 BEAUMONT & FLETCHER. 1576-1625.

ESongs.--Hence all you vain delights(15) 77

EWeep no more(16) ib.

ELet those complain(17) 78


ESonnets.[yes]--To Sleep 79

ETo his Lute ib.

ETo the Nightingale 80

EThrice happy he ib.

ESweet spring 81

ETo the Nightingale ib.

HTrust not, sweet Soul 82

Sweet Soul ib.

Song.--Phoebus, arise 83


EShepherd's Song 84

DAVISON. 1582-16--.

ECupid's Pastime 85

NESome there are as fair 86


EExtract.--This life of ours(18) 87

ESong.--O would to God(19) ib. [viii / ix]

WILLIAM [sic.] BURTON. 1575-1645.

EThe Abstract of Melancholy.(20) 89

DR. CORBET 1635--

The Fairies' Farewell


CAREW. 1577*-1639

Songs.--EIf the quick spirits 94

EHe that loves a rosy cheek ib.

EAsk me why I send you here 95

EThe Inquiry ib.

EUngrateful Beauty Threatened 96

NENow the Winter's gone ib.

NEAsk me no more 97

SHIRELY. 1594-1666.

EDeath's Final Conquest 98

HABINGTON. 1605-1654.

NETo the Sun 99

EThe Description of Castara ib.

E[2nd-174]To Castara 100

ESong.--Fine young Folly 101

NETo Roses, in the Bosom of Castara 101

NERetirement 102

RANDOLPH. 1605-1634.

NEFair Lady, when you see 103

EOde.--Come, spur away 104


ESonnet.[no]--When love, with unconfined wings 107

ESongs.--Why doest thou say I am forsworn 108

EAmarantha, sweet and fair ib. [ix / x]

E. SHEBURNE. 1618-1702.

EExtract from the Sun-rise 109


ESong.--To the inconstant Cynthia 111

EThe Resolution ib.


EStanzas--On Clarastella saying she would commit herself to a Nunnery 113

ESong. Anacreontic 114


EThe Mad Maid's Song 115

NEAs Julia once a slumbering lay ib.

SIR HENRY WOTTON. 1568-1639.

ESonnet.[no]--You meaner beauties of the night 117

EStanzas--From the Reliquiæ Wottonianæ ib.


ESong--In the Lady Errant 119

EFalsehood ib.

ELesbia on her Sparrow ib.


Songs.--EWhy so pale and wan 121

EHonest lover whosoever ib.

E'Tis now, since I sat down 122


ESong.--I do confess thou'rt smooth 124 [x / xi]


COWLEY. 1618-1667.

The Motto 125

Ode.--Of Wit 126

On the Death of Mr. W. Hervey 128

The Complaint 132

Hymn to Light 137

Life and Fame 140

Odes.--Of Solitude 141

Upon Liberty 143

Acme and Septimius 147

EThe Chronicle 149

EThe Soul 151

EThe Wish 152

EThe Inconstant 153

Anacreontics.--Love ib.

Drinking 154

Beauty ib.

The Duel 155

Age 156

The Account ib.

The Epicure 156

Another 158

The Grasshopper 159

The Swallow 160

ESIR JOHN DENHAM. 1615-1668.

NECooper's Hill 161

NEOn Mr. Abraham Cowley's Death 170

NEEpistle to Richard Fanshaw 173

ESong.--Morpheus, the humble god 174

JOHN MILTON. 1608-1674.

EIl Penseroso 175

EL'Allegro 179

To the Nightingale 183 [xi / xii]

On his deceased Wife 184

Song.--On May Morning ib.

EDMUND WALLER. 1605-1637

Upon the Death of the Lord Protector 185

The Story of Phoebus and Daphne applied 186

To Amoret ib.

EOf Love 188

The Battle of the Summer Islands 189

Epistle to a Lady 196

ESong.--Go, lovely rose ib.

To Phillis 197

Of my Lady Isabella playing on the Lute ib.

Of the Marriage of the Dwarfs 198

SEDLEY. 1639-1701

Songs.--EPhillis, let's shun the common fate 199

ENot Celia, that I juster am . . . ib.

EGet you gone 200

EHears not my Phillis 201


ETo Chloris 202


EThou blushing rose 203

JOHN DRYDEN. 1631-1701.

EAlexander's Feast 204

Ode to the Memory of Mrs. Anne Killigrew 208

Song for St. Cecilia's Day 213 [no more overlap with Ellis]


The Ivy 216 [xii / xiii]



THOMAS PARNELL. 1679-1717.

The Hermit 217

A Night-Piece on Death 224

A Hymn to Contentment 226

A Fairy Tale 228

Health.--An Eclogue 234

The Flies--An Eclogue 236

An Allegory on Man 238

JOHN PHILLIPS. 1676-1708.

The Splendid Shilling 241


A Letter from Italy 245(21)

To Sir Godfrey Kneller 249

A Song for St. Cecilia's Day 252

An Hymn 254

NICHOLAS ROWE. 1673-1718

Colin's Complaint.--A Song 255


An Essay on Poetry 257

MATTHEW PRIOR. 1664-1721.

Alma 266

Henry and Emma 309

The Lady's Looking-Glass 329

Chloe Hunting 330

The Garland ib.

The Despairing Shepherd 332

Her right Name 333

Ode to Howard ib. [xiii / xiv]

JOHN GAY. 1688-1732.

The Shepherd's Wek 336

Ballads.--Black-ey'd Susan 363

'Twas when the seas were roaring 364

A Contemplation on Night 36

The Birth of the Squire 367


On a Fan 360

THOMAS TICKELL. 1686-1740.

Epistle to the Earl of Warwick 371

Colin and Lucy 374

Epistle to a Lady before Marriage 376

RICHARD SAVAGE. 1698-1743.

The Bastard 379

JONATHAN SWIFT. 1667-1745.

On Poetry: a Rhapsody 383

Verses on the Death of Dr. Swift 397

Baucis and Philemon 411

The Grand Question Debated 416

Cadenus and Vanessa 421

Stella's Birth-Day, 1720 444

Stella at Word Park 445

Stella's Birth-Day, 1724 448

....................1726 449

To Stella, Visiting me in my Sickness 451

Mrs. JOHNSON. 1681-1728

On Jealousy. 455 [i.455:] [In text: "Mrs. JOHNSON.* *Celebrated by Dean Swift under the name of Stella."]

Miss VANHOMRIGH .+(22) 1634-1721.

An Ode to Spring 455

An Ode to Wisdom 456

Volume II

[frontispiece a scene from "The Rape of the Lock," painted by Henry Fuseli and engraved by W. Bromley]

Specimens of the British Poets.

Vol. II. Part I.

Containing Selections from the Poets who flourished in the reigns of Queen Ann. George I. and George II.

London: Published by W. Suttaby, Stationers Court, 1809.





[all three above things centered.]

The Rape of the Lock 1

Eloisa to Abelard 22

An Essay on Criticism 31

Of the Uses of Riches 51

Elegy to the Memory of an Unfortunate Lady 67

Ode on St. Cecilia's Day 69

Messiah.--A Sacred Eclogue 73

Epistle to Dr. Arbuthnot. 76


An Epistle to the Earl of Dorset

EDWARD YOUNG. 1781-1765

Night I.--On Life, Death, and Immortality 89

Night III.--Narcissa 101

Love of Fame.--Satire I. 115

On Women.--Satire V. 122


JAMES THOMSON. 1700-1748.

The Castle of Indolence 138

Hymn on Solitude 156

On the Death of his Mother 158

BYRON. 1691-1748.

Phoebe.--A Pastoral 161

DAVID MALLET. 1700-1765

Edwin and Emma 163

William and Margaret 166 [iii / iv]


A Pipe of Tobacco 168

ALLAN RAMSAY. 1696-1763

Songs.--Peggy and Patie 174

Hid from himself 175

Speak on, speak thus ib.

When hope was quite sunk 176

At setting day and rising morn 177

The bonny grey-ey'd morning ib.


The Passions.--An Ode for Music 178

Ode to Fear 181

Ode to Evening 183

Dirge in Cymbeline 185


The School-Mistress. In Imitation of Spenser 186

Inscription 195

A Pastoral Ballad 196

The Sky-Lark 202

Jemmy Dawson.--A Ballad 203

Song.--Flavia 205

GILBERT COOPER. Died in 1760.

Song.--Away! let nought to love 207

LORD LYTTELTON. 1709-1773.

Advice to a Lady 206

Monody to the Memory of Lady Lyttelton 211


The Tears of Scotland 220

THOMAS GRAY. 1716-1771

Elegy. Written in a Country Church-Yard 222

Odes.--A Distant Prospect of Eton College 225

To Adversity 228

The Bard.--Pindaric 229

The Progress of Poesy.--Pindaric 234

On the Spring 237

On the Death of a favourite Cat 239 [iv / v]



London 241

The Vanity of Human Wishes 248

On the Death of Dr. Robert Levet 257

Prologue. Spoken by Garrick 258


The Traveller 261

The Deserted Village 272

The Hermit 283

The Haunch of Venison 288

CUTHBERT SHAW. 1738-1771.

Monody to the Memory of a young Lady 292

An Evening Address to a Nightingale 299

JOHN LANGHORNE. Died in 1779.

Owen of Carron 303

THOMAS PENROSE. 1743-1779.

To Miss Slocock 320

Elegy on Leaving the River of Plate 321


Farewell to the Muse 323

The Law 324

MICHAEL BRUCE. 1746-1767.

Elegy. Written in Spring 326

THOMAS WARTON. 1728-1790

The Suicide 329

The Pleasures of Melancholy 332

Inscription in a Hermitage 340

Ode to Sleep 341


Ode to Fancy 342

Ode to Evening 346

JOHN LOGAN. 1748-1788.

Ode to Sleep 347

JOHN SCOTT. 1730-1783.

Ode on Winter 348 [v / vi]


Absence.--An Elegy 349

The Debtor 350


Laura; an elegy from Petrach 352

An Ode of Petrarch 356

Solima.--An Arabian Eclogue 357

To Lady Jones 366 [must be 356 really]

A Persian Song of Hafez 361

A Song from the Persian 362

Song.--Wake, ye nightingales 363

MASON. 1725-1797.

Ode to Truth 365

Epitaph on Mrs. Mason 366

ROBERT BURNS. 1759-1796

The Cotter's Saturday Night 368

A Winter Night 374

To Mary in Heaven 377

To a Mouse 378

To a Mountain Daisy 379

Aston Water 381

Songs.--The Gloomy Night 382

From thee, Eliza 383

Now westlin winds ib.

Again rejoicing nature sees 384

JAMES BEATTIE. 1735-1803.

The Hermit 386

WILLIAM COWPER. 1731-1800.

The Task. Book I. The Sofa 388

Book IV. The Winter Evening 408

On his Mother's Picture 428

To Mary 431


Eclogues 433

Song to Ælla 445

Bristowe Tragedie 446. [end of contents, p. vi.]


(1)[which is, of course, George Ellis's volume, and I have marked those that appear in that volume.]

(2)[A guinea is 1 pound 1 shilling, and 1 shilling is five pence.]

(3)[not entire first lines, presumably bec. wouldn't fit on one line of the index.]

(4)[entire first lines--I checked]

(5)[This doesn't look anything like a sonnet; the same title, "Sonnet," appears in Ellis; it seems more like a title than a designation of kind. The title given here is the first line, and all remaining 20 lines of heroic couplets are about the same length.]

(6)[1st / last lines:] Now the hungry lion roars, . . . To sweep the dust behind the door.

(7)[1st /last:] When icicles hang by the wall, . . . [last is a refrain rptd. throughout:] While greasy Joan doth keel the pot.

(8)Tell me, where is fancy bred, . . . . I'll begin it. Ding dong bell.

(9)[1st / last] As it fell upon a day . . . Faithful friend from flattering foe.

(10)[this does look like a sonnet.]

(11)[these are entirely too long for sonnets, 28 and 78 lines respectively, and the entire first lines are given here, the rest of the lines being of roughly the same length.]

(12)[These three actually are sonnets, the entire first lines not being given here.]

(13)[no songs from Ellis, but same author.]

(14)]* The dates marked thus * are doubtful.

(15)[Text tells you where it is from:] In the Nice Valour. [right under title]

(16)[title as appears on page:] SONG / In the Queen of Corinth.

(17)SONG / In a Wife for a Month.

(18)EXTRACT / From a Chorus in Julius Caesar.

(19)SONG / From the Aurora.

(20)WILLIAM BURTON / THE ABSTRACT OF MELANCHOLY / Prefixed to the Anatomy of Melancholy. [someone wrote a big X next to it, probably because of the erroneous attribution; all the reprintings in anthologies of this prefatory poem attribute it to "William" rather than "Robert"--maybe the first editions of the Anatomy had the wrong name on the title page? If not, compilers are getting the poem from each other rather than from the Anatomy of Melancholy.]

(21)[title on page reads:] JOSEPH ADDISON. / A LETTER FROM ITALY, To the Right Hon. Charles Lord Halifax. / In the Year 1701.

(22)[Note on p. 455 with her name says:] + Vanessa.

"Yes" means it is in the form claimed by the title (usu. a sonnet); "no" means it is not.

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