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Davenant 11-23-26 13907
tions, but the British satirists are so little known
that I am not without hope that specimens from their works may prove both useful and interesting the ordinary reader.
It is, indeed, due to the same causes that the satirists are little read and that they lend themselves to this treatment of selection. In the first place, especially in the case of the earlier authors, their good things are buried in a mass of writing, partly satiric, partly not, which is dreary and obscure, now that its interest has evaporated with the ephemeral occasion of its production. In the second place, the works of these earlier writers are often quite beyond the reach of the man in the street. In some cases they have never been reprinted, in many cases they have only been reprinted in elaborate and expensive editions, intended solely for scholars and connoisseurs. In the third place, the frank filth and savage coarseness which disfigure so much of our satire have rendered it revolting to modern taste. But there are pearls to be found in almost all these dunghills, and I have endeavoured to present to the reader as many jewels of pure wit and sarcasm and irony as space would allow.
With the object of selecting, where desirable, more copiously from less available writers, I have denied myself the pleasure of giving extracts from the novelists of this century.