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ADVERTISEMENT TO THE THIRD EDITION.
In the Advertisement to the Second Edition of this Work, published three months after the first, it was stated that the one differed from the other only in one or two trifling insertions, in the correction of some faults which had been pointed out in periodical publications, and in the alteration of a few lines here and there, made for the most part with a view to consolidate the rhythm. In the years which have since elapsed there has been ample time for revision, and though some of the more material defects, being what may be called structural, are so incorporated with the whole as to be beyond the reach of correction; yet the Author trusts that much improvement has been effected by the removal of blemishes that lay on the surface. One or two short scenes have been introduced also where they seemed to be wanted for purposes either of connection or separation.
NAPLES, January, 1841.
ADVERTISEMENT TO THE SIXTH EDITION.
In publishing the Sixth Edition the Author wishes to add, that he has been indebted to the critical discernment and true poetic feeling of Professor Heimann, the German translator of the Work, for suggestions which have been of great value to him in the renewed revision of it.
MORTLAKE, April, 1852.
As this work, consisting of two Plays and an Interlude, is equal in length to about six such plays as are adapted to representation, it is almost unnecessary to say that it was not intended for the stage. It is properly an Historical Romance, cast in a dramatic and rhythmical form. Historic truth is preserved in it, as far as the material events are concerned-of course with the usual exception of such occasional dilatations and compressions of time as are required in dramatic composition.
This is, perhaps, all the explanation which is absolutely required in this place; but as there may be readers who feel an inclination to learn something of an author's tastes in poetry before they proceed to the perusal of what he has written, I will take the opportunity which a preface affords me of expressing my opinions upon two or three of the most prominent features in the present state of poetical literature; and I shall do so the more gladly because I am apprehensive that without some previous intimations of the kind, my work might occasion disappointment to the admirers of that highly coloured poetry which has been popular in these latter years. If in the strictures which, with this object, I may be led to make upon authors of great reputation, I should appear to be wanting in the respect due to prevalent opinions,-opinions which, from the very circumstance of their prevalence, must be assumed to be partaken by many to whom deference is owing, -I trust that it will be attributed, not to any spirit of dogmatism, far less to a love of disparagement; but simply to the desire of exercising, with a discreet freedom, that humble independence of judgment in matters of taste, which it is for the advantage of literature that every man of letters should maintain.
My views have not, in truth, been founded upon any predisposition to depreciate the popular poetry of the times. It will always produce a powerful impression upon very young readers, and I scarcely think that it can have been more admired by any than by myself, when I was included in that category. I have not ceased to admire this poetry in its degree; and the interlude which I have inserted between these plays will show, that, to a limited extent, I have been desirous even to cultivate and employ it: but I am unable to concur in opinion with those who would place it in the foremost ranks of the art: nor does it seem to have been capable of sustaining itself quite firmly in the very high degree of public estimation in which it was held at its first appearance and for some years afterwards. The poetical taste to which some of the popular poets of this century gave birth, appears