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THE present edition contains all those numbers of The Spectator in which Sir Roger de Coverley is prominent, except the one by Tickell, which gave displeasure to the creators of the good old Knight by its violation of the character.
It contains also a number of others which, by reason of the Spectator's close association with Sir Roger, have come to be habitually included in the group. The text is based upon that of the three-volume edition of The Spectator edited by Henry Morley. No change has been made in the text beyond making it correspond to present usage in capitalization, punctuation, and orthography. The student in the secondary school should derive benefit, rather than injury, from noticing the slight variations in usage between the best prose of the eighteenth and that of the present century.
However advantageous it may be theoretically to tell the student nothing that he can find out for himself, yet the student sometimes will not, and often can not, make the researches into books of reference necessary to give him the proper background for an appreciative reading of a work so filled with contemporary and historical allusions. Furthermore, time and energy are of value to the young as well as to the old; so are enthusiasm and a spirit of appreciation undulled by drudgery.
The editors have therefore tried to make the present edition readable without the help of any further book of reference than an unabridged dictionary. It is hoped, however, that the student will be enough interested in the aspects of the period here presented to make wider excursions into the literature of the life and manners of the eighteenth century. Few periods of English history are more fascinating, though much of its interest arises from the sharp contrast between it and the better things of the nineteenth century.
Of close and minute criticism this edition has but little. The Spectator is, after all, a book to be read rather than studied. Beauty, grace, humor, and thought it undoubtedly has; but these lie on the surface for any discerning reader, old or young. For the student of history and for the student of the history of literature The Spectator is a good field for research. Like all works which have attained and retained prominence, its roots reach out into its present and its past. But to the ordinary reader it is still, as it was on its appearance nearly two hundred years ago, a book which carries its message of truth and beauty to the hearts and understandings of men without the impertinence of learned and labored
The Introduction attempts to make clear some of the salient features in the political, intellectual, and social life of England at the time The Spectator appeared. Without some such commentary the purpose and the great influence of these moral essays can hardly be understood. It is hoped, however, that the student will come to realize the inadequacy of so brief an introduction by making himself familiar with some of the books recommended in the bibliography on page 34.
XXV.-THE SPECTATOR ENDS HIS VISIT
XXVIII. THE CRIES OF LONDON
XXXIII.-WILL HONEYCOMB'S ADVENTURES
XXXV.-DEATH OF SIR ROGER DE COVERLEY
APPENDIX I.-TRANSLATIONS OF THE MOTTOES
APPENDIX II.-COLLEGE ENTRANCE