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PREFACE TO PRIOR.
Though this publication is from the same hand as Selections from Dryden, it is upon a quite different principle.
Both poets require abridgment, and for nearly the same reasons.
But the works of Dryden are much more extensive than those of Prior; and therefore require larger omissions, in order to produce a volume, likely, from its size, to be read in the present generation.
Many of the best productions of Prior are quite short pieces. There is hardly any thing of this in Dryden.
Prior, though a more polished and careful writer in many instances, was, in others, much more careless than Dryden; or perhaps we might say, that Dryden was naturally much more of a poet, and had a pervading and persisting spirit, which animated, in some degree, even his laziest productions. Prior, in short, seems to have written in a greater variety of different humours, as one may call them, than Dryden. Besides which, he was not merely a poet, but was pretty constantly engaged in public business.
He published, too, many things which he had better have left to their proper oblivion. For these reasons, and perhaps others, instead of printing extracts, as in