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The Editor of this volume published, in 1772, a work entitled " Essays on Songwriting, with a Collection of such English Song's as are most cminent for poetical merit.” The Essays were four in number : one on Song-writing in general ; and one on each of the three classes into which the Collection of Songs was distributed. The pieces in the collection itself were rather select than numerous, and principally served as exemplifications of the ideas inculcated in the Essays relative to the character and diversities of this kind of poetical compositions. The volume was honoured with a reception which produced a demand for a second edition in 1774. For many years past, this impression has also been exhausted, and
copies of the work have been only occasion. ally to be met with. As inquiries were still from time to time made after it among the booksellers, the Editor was asked the question whether he had any intention of reprinting it; accompanied with the intimation, that, as the copy-right was expired, should he de cline the business, others would be ready to undertake it. Conscious that the Essays were the juvenile attempts of one whose taste was by no means matured, and whose critical knowledge was circumscribed within narrow limits, the Editor was unwilling that his book should again be given to the public with all its imperfections on its head. He WAS obliged, therefore, to declare, that if it were reprinted at all, it should be with many material alterations, corresponding to his own change of taste and opinion in various points during so long an interval. sista
Under these almost compulsory circumstances, although he perhaps should not now have chosen for the first time to appear as The collector of productions, the general strain of which is more risuitable to an carlier period of life, yet he thought he might without impropriety avail himself of the opportunity of making a new and much more extensive selection of compositions which will not cease to be favourites with the lovers of elegant poctry, whatever be the vicissitudes of general taste. jis The Editor, therefore, in this volume, which is rather a new work, than the republication of an old one, has made it his leading object to collect, from all the sources within his reach, those pieces of the song kind which seemed to him most deserving of a place in the mass of approved English poelry.sk And having with some care revised his notions respecting the character and distinctions of these compositions, he has prefixed a single Essay on Song-writing, in
which there is scarcely a sentence copied from his former work, but which is adapted to a new arrangement of the selected pieces, and expresses his present ideas on the subject. In the collection itself, the greatest part of the pieces which composed the forner will be found, with the addition of so many as nearly to double the numbersome of them written on topics of which that gave no example.
The volume, such as it is, is respectfully committed to the judgement, not of the same generation of readers which was so indulgent to the Editor's first attempt, but to one from which he has on various occasions experienced an equal degree of favour.