This volume has been assembled at a difficult time of parental illness and loss. I am grateful to Blackwell, and particularly to Emma Bennett and Karen Wilson, for their patience at an inevitable delay in its production. One of the pleasures of undertaking an enterprise of this kind has been the opportunity to make close contact with so many colleagues who work in the field, both in the United Kingdom and in North America. It has enabled me to revive old friendships and initiate new ones — a model of amiable sociability of which early eighteenth-century coffee-house proprietors and patrons would thoroughly approve. I owe a debt to David Fairer for his early support for the project and his unceasing enthusiasm for eighteenth-century poetry, and to many of my Oxford colleagues, including Ros Ballaster, Abigail Williams, and Mina Gorji, for their willingness to be chivvied into contributions. I am particularly appreciative of the new insights into eighteenth-century poetry which the Oxford English MSt. Class on Politics and Poetry 1660—1750 yielded during its weekly Friday morning meetings during Michaelmas 2005. Especial thanks to John McTague, Steven Bernard, John West, Lawrence Williams, Claudine Van Hensbergen, and Ed Kenny. I am also grateful to the patient labors of Damian Love, Jenny Batt, and Gillian Somerscales, who have made this volume more accurate than it might otherwise have been. As ever, I am thankful for the daily support of the four men in my life.

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