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THE well-known "Select Collection of the British Poets " was formed by the late Dr. Aikin in the year 1820. Its object was, to comprise in a single volume of moderate cost, a chronological series of the best and purest works of our most eminent Poets, from Ben Jonson to Beattie, and to give them without omissions or abridgement; thus preserving to each piece its interest as an Entire Work, - an unmutilated specimen of the constructive art of the poet, as well as of his genius and his beauties of detail; - an advantage to the student obviously not to be obtained by the perusal of the usual collections of extracts, however copious or well selected. Biographical and critical notices of the authors were added.
A large and constant demand for the Work, maintained during a period of five and twenty years, sufficiently attests the convenience to a numerous class of readers found in such a Library of Classical English Poetry; as well as the general approbation of the taste, judgment, and moral discretion which guided the Editor in his task.
It has been thought desirable, in the edition now offered to the public, to bring down the series of Poets, on similar principles of selection, as near to the present time as the claims of copyright would allow.