« 前へ次へ »
IN presenting this little Collection to the Public, the Editor begs leave, in the first instance, to refer to a previous announcement, of its being conducted, as far as the subject would admit, on a MoRAL plan; or, at the least, with an exclusion of all articles of a directly exceptionable character. At the same time, it is hoped that no candid and intelligent Reader will mistake this for an unqualified panegyric on its contents; or subject that to a rigid assay, which was never intended for, and consequently never can come forth as, pure and unmixed metal.
It is well known that this description of Poetry possesses to many minds, and particularly to those of the young, peculiar charms; it is also a fact which may easily be verified by observation, that in no previous selection of this kind, has any discretion been exercised as to the general character and effect of their miscellaneous contents. To render, then, that which is popular, at least comparatively innocent, is surely an object which a superior mind might not consider bemeath its notice;—and in this view of the subject, the Editor has had the satisfaction of coinciding with the ideas of a high Ecclesiastical character, but whose name he is not at liberty here to mention. Such then has been his prevailing design in the production of this little Volume; and whether or not he shall be pronounced by rigid, or lenient criticism, to have attained his object, he feels conscious that, to the best of his humble abilities, no care or pains have been spared in pursuing it. About one third of the Ballads in this Collection, have been taken from “Percy’s Reliques,” + and the rest from the most esteemed Authors and Compilers; upwards of Forty Volumes having been consulted for that purpose. The spelling in the older Ballads has been modernized;—a liberty which the scrupulous antiquary may well excuse, in consideration of the additional facility and pleasure which is thus afforded to the mass of general readers. Whilst, at the same time, the original style and idiom has either been minutely preserved, or with such a trifling deviation as may fairly dispense with the necessity of apology.
* This work was first published in the year 1765, in 3 vols. 8vo. Dr. Percy was, in 1778, appointed Dean of Carlisle; and in 1782, Bishop of Dromore in Ireland, where he died in 1811, in his 83rd year;-having nobly signalized himself in the employments of a more mature age, and an exalted station; and leaving a character for piety, liberality, and benevolence, to which ample testimony was borne by all classes and descriptions of men.