London: John and Arthur Arch; Bell & Bradsute & J. Mundell & Co., Edinburgh, 1795-1807. Fourteen octavo volumes, contemporary full tree calf gilt, raised bands, calf labels, engraved frontispiece in each volume. Light wear to bindings and some joints, but all sound; offsetting to endpapers; occasional foxing to frontispieces. Item #100209
An ambitious attempt to "unite the works of the ancient and modern poets in one comprehensive view, and exhibit the progress of our national poetry, corresponding with the gradual refinement of language and of manners, from the rudeness and simplicity of a remote period, to the polish and elegance of modern times." The collection begins with Chaucer and features more than a hundred other poets, including forty-five not included in previous anthologies of English literature. Highlights include Wyatt, Spenser, Shakespeare, Donne, Jonson, Milton, Dryden, Congreve, Pope, Gay, Swift, Young, Gray and Chatterton, as well as a selection of important English translations of the classics. A very handsome collection, offering a sweeping survey of English poetry on the eve of Romanticism.