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ENGLISH ESSAYS

WITH AN

INTRODUCTION

BY

J. H. LOBBAN

LONDON: MDCCCXCVI
BLACKIE & SON, LIMITED
NEW YORK
CHARLES SCRIBNER'S SONS
153 FIFTH AVENUE

HARVARD
UNIVERSITY
LIBRARY
MAY 141954

As we read in these delightful volumes of the Tatler and Spectator the past age returns, the England of our ancestors is revivified. The Maypole rises in the. Strand again in London; the churches are thronged with daily worshippers; the beaux are gathering in the coffee-houses; the gentry are going to the drawing-room; the ladi's are thronging to the toy-shops; the chairmen are jostling in the streets; the footmen are running with links before the chariots, or fighting round the theatre doors." — THACKERAY: English Humourists.

- I 20

- 158

xxxiv. Dick Minim (Idler, No. 61),

· 163

OLIVER GOLDSMITH-

xxxv. National Prejudice (Citizen of World, No. 4), · 166

XXXVI. The Man in Black (Citizen of World, No. 26), - 170

XXXVII. A Club of Authors (Citizen of World, No. 30), 173

XXXVIII. Beau Tibbs (Citizen of World, No. 70), • 180

XXXIX. A City Night Piece (Citizen of World, No. 117), 185

LEIGH HUNT-

XL. A Few Thoughts on Sleep,

- 188

XLI. Deaths of Little Children,

· 194

WILLIAM HAZLITT-

XLII. On Going a Journey,

· 198

XLIII. The Sick Chamber, -

CHARLES LAMB-

XLIV. All Fools' Day,

219

xlv. Mrs. Battle's Opinions on Whist,

• 224

XLVI. Dream-Children-A Reverie,

· 232

XLVII. The Convalescent,

• 237

XLVIII. Detached Thoughts on Books and Reading, 242

XLIX. Rejoicings upon the New Year's Coming of Age, 251

- 211

INTRODUCTION.

A ;

digested piece; not a regular and orderly composition "—such is Johnson's definition of an essay. The first of these phrases admirably describes the typical eighteenth-century essay, but the term has so wide an application, embracing the maxims of Bacon, the philosophy of Locke, and the loose sallies of Steele and Addison, that the necessity is at once obvious of drawing some broad lines of demarcation among its various significances. The difficulty of making any such division is probably greater in the case of the essay than with any other generic name employed in literature, but three leading senses may be noted in which the term is used. It may be modestly applied to an elaborately finished treatise; or, with more direct reference to its primary meaning, it may denote the brief, general treatment of any topic, an author's preliminary skirmish with his subject; while again, it may mean a short discursive article on any literary, philosophical, or social subject, viewed from a personal or a historical standpoint. It is with essays of the last kind that this volume deals, and its scope is still farther limited by the exclusion of professedly critical papers. Literary criticism is a subject of so much importance and interest that

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