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THIS Work is an attempt to arrange, under a new classification, an interesting portion of our literary and dramatic annals, and to give the origin and antiquities of an office, which, if it in some reigns fell deservedly into contempt, was in earlier times graced by the genius of Jonson and Dryden, and has of late been brought into honourable connection with the names of Southey, Wordsworth, and Tennyson.

The object of the Authors has been to produce a Work popular in style, but to be relied on for its accuracy. That some errors may be found in a volume, the contents of which are spread over such a space of time, and which make mention of the works of so many writers, will not be matter for surprise.

Had the Authors been intent upon mere book-making, it would have been quite possible to have constructed two or three volumes out of the materials which have been

sparingly (and it is hoped judiciously) used. Their aim has rather been to give the most concise accounts, which might be consistent with clearness, of the lives of such of the Poets-Laureate as have met with biographers, and, in collecting from multifarious sources the narratives of the career of those who have not been so fortunate, to record nothing which was not in itself valuable, or interesting from its relation to literary, dramatic, or political history. Nothing would have been easier than to have imparted to the Work, by a copious parade of references, an appearance of industry and research, if not of learning.

LONDON, JULY 21, 1853.

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