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A

BIBLIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL

ACCOUNT

OF THE

Rarest Books in the English Language,

ALPHABETICALLY ARRANGED.

A

BIBLIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL

ACCOUNT

OF THE

Rarest Books in the English Language,

ALPHABETICALLY ARRANGED,

WHICH,

DURING THE LAST FIFTY YEARS,

HAVE COME UNDER THE OBSERVATION

OF

J. PAYNE COLLIER, F.S.A.

IN TWO VOLUMES.

VOL. I.

LONDON:

JOSEPH LILLY, 17-18, NEW STREET, COVENT GARDEN.

1865.

PREFACE.

During my whole life, now rapidly approaching fourscore, I have been a diligent reader, and, as far as my means would allow, a greedy purchaser of all works connected with early English literature. It is nearly sixty years since I became possessed of my first really valuable old book of this kind—Wilson's “Art of Logic,” printed by Richard Grafton in 1551-from which I ascertained the not unimportant facts that “Ralph Roister Doister” was an older play than “Gammer Gurton's Needle," and that it had been written by Nicholas Udall, Master of Eton School: I thus learned who was the author of the earliest comedy, properly so called, in our language. This was my first literary discovery, made several years anterior, although I had not occasion to render it public, until I printed my Notes upon “Dodsley's Old Plays” soon after 1820. My latest discovery, which occurred only a few months ago, is that "Tottel's Miscellany,” 1557, the oldest and most interesting in our language, containing as it does the poems of the Earl of Surrey, Sir Thomas Wyat, and their contemporaries, has always, during the last three centuries, been reprinted, by Dr. Sewell, Bishop Percy, Dr. Nott, and their followers, from the second instead of the first edition : the differences between the two are not merely extremely curious, but very interesting and important.

Between the one discovery and the other there was an interval of perhaps fifty years; and whatever may appear to be new in the ensuing volumes has been the result of

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