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Sherborne Journal. The instant we look upon these volumes we discover that they supply a desideratum, and wonder that amid the multitude of publishers and publications we have not had till now a Standard edition of our best poets. Milton, and Byron, and Pope, and Cowper, have hitherto been accessible to the general reader only through small editions in scarlet and tinsel-mere catchpenny volumes, so small in type and so diminutive in size, as to render their perusal to some an impossibility, and to all a trial. We have here, however, an edition worthy both of the poets and the people ; of large size, bold type, substantial paper, and enduring binding. The publisher has well fulfilled his duty. Of the editor, those who know him, or know the best articles in the Eclectic, which we believe is much the same thing, will require for him no note of introduction. His biographies are not a mere réchauffé of old histories, but heartfelt and living eulogies, such as might have been written of the great men of yesterday.
Irish Presbyterian. The volumes are brought out in splendid style, leaving nothing to be desired as regards paper, typography, and general appearance. The great attraction of this series of the Poets will be the brilliant and elaborate dissertations from the pen of Gilfillan which accompany each volume. We must regard the publisher as very fortunate in securing his services as editor. No writer of the present day possesses superior ability in analysing and hitting off the most salient points in the character and style of an author. In the work assigned him here, his rare gifts will find full play; and, from the specimens before us, it is manifest he has taxed his powers to the utmost.
Hogg's Instructor. Mr James Nichol, publisher, Edinburgh, has projected a uniform edition of the British Poets, the editorial superintendence of which has been intrusted to George Gilfillan, Dundee. ..... With this specimen before us, we can speak with confidence of the enterprise; and assuredly it would be difficult to over-rate its importance. ...... Relative to the editing, we are quite of opinion that the enterprising publisher could not well have made a better arrangement. Few men are better qualified to do this varied, vast, and important work than Mr Gilfillan. His previous labours, steady literary habits, and vast acquaintance with poetic literature, fit him in a peculiar manner for the task. And it is impossible to glance over these volumes, without being convinced that he has done his work well. . . . . . If the editor has done his part to admiration, so also has the publisher. The volumes are exceedingly cheap, being only 3s. 6d. each to subscribers; and yet we have volumes for which we would not, but a short time ago, have grudged half-a-guinea. The paper is of first quality, the type suited to eyes of any age, and the binding substantial.
Church of Scotland Magazine and Review. The four volumes above mentioned, form a part of a new and uniform series of the British Poets, issued at a marvellously cheap rate, and produced in a style of superior elegance by our townsman Mr Nichol, whose project, in the publication of which the works of these authors forms part, we deem to be worthy of encouragement and enlarged success, contident as we are, that the literary execution of the biographical sketches will not be out of keeping with the typographical accuracy and value of the rest of the contents. . ... Our business is rather with the manner in which the biographer and critic of this edition has performed his task. So far as reverence for his subject goes, none can suppose that Mr Gilfillan would be deficient; and it is easy to see, that as the series has hitherto proceeded, the editing has been with him a labour of love, while the restricted limits to which his sketches have necessarily been confined, have imposed some restraint on the excursions of a rich and sometimes over-luxuriant fancy.
Macphail's Edinburgh Ecclesiastical Journal and Literary Review.
It is with great satisfaction that we see the new edition of the British Poets progressing under the editorship of the Rev. George Gilfillan. All varieties of the public press are united in their laudatory notices. The volumes are at once substantial in their structure,—elegant in their workmanship,—and so cheap as to be at the command of almost any class of the community; and the preliminary notices by Gilfillan, with all the depth and comprehensiveness of his other compositions, are characterized throughout by a more chaste and subdued tone, than we had previously been led to expect from the well-known peculiarities of this author. If his style is not in the fashion of the venerated remains of classical antiquity, it has, however, in almost every instance, a Gothic richness and variety which suit admirably with the pervading character of most of the volumes which, as portions of this edition, have already come under his revision.
The Homilist. This is one of the most magnificent enterprises of modern times, and has the strongest claims to the hearty support of the British public.
This scheme contemplates the publication of the productions of about one hundred such minds,-poet minds. In looking through the list, we find that, whilst they are all bright orbs in the firmament of British literature, there are some of stupendous magnitude and wondrous effulgence, who have cast their radiance over all lands, given a pulse and a hue to the thoughts of nations, and bid fair to burn and blaze in their thought-spheres till the heavens be no more. They are the brightest names that old Time wears in his gorgeous belt. The man who aims to bring one hundred of those minds into fresh contact with the living world is a mental benefactor. He will give a new impulse to the great wheel of the world's thought. ..... We know of no one who would compare with Mr Gilfillan in competency for
work he has undertaken. He is himself a true poet; and the poet-life, like the bow of Ulysses, can be drawn by po weaker hand. He can meet his hero at every turn, and follow him in his boldest flights.
For the reasons we have assigned, we feel it a duty to urge our readers to encourage this enterprise.
The Atlas It is one of the most hopeful literary signs of the times that publishers are not afraid of issuing a series like the present, five volumes of which are now before
The type is large and legible, the paper stout and good, and the whole appearance not belying their title of “Library edition.” By way of reprint, these are the cheapest and best specimens we have seen of the typographical art. The name of the editor is a guarantee that his department will be carefully execnted.