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· BEING A COLLECTION OF THE CHOICEST
RELATIVE TO THE
POETS OF EVERY AGE AND NATION.
SPECIMENS OF THEIR WORKS AND SKETCHES OF THEIR
R.ICTIA KD RYAN,
FICTIONS of THE ANCIENT IRISH,” &c. &c. &c.
IN THREE VOLUMES.
ILLUSTRATED BY ENGRAVINGS.
În complianice with established -custom, the Editor, having completed these Volumes, is now called upon to apply himself to the “weary, stale, flat, and unprofitable” task, of writing a Preface for them; and it becomes a question of what that Preface is to consist. Of the two topics usually put in requisition for the performance of this duty,--apology and panegyric,-he does not conceive he is at liberty to avail himself. With regard to the first, in these days of light reading, when works of a desul. tory and amusing description have usurped so large a portion of the shelves of every bookseller, it cannot, surely, be necessary to offer any excuse for obtruding on the world a few additional volumes, on the interesting and exhausta
less theme to which the present are devoted. The enormous and increasing demand for works of Anecdote, renders such excuse perfectly nugatory; and the Editor is, therefore, precluded from indulging in the favourite apologetic strain.
Still less does it become him to adopt the panegyrical, and, sitting as censor on his own work, in imitation of certain modest writers of the day, to point out to the world the great advantages which it possesses over all that have gone before it; aid; indeed;: over all that will come after it: He cannot përsuade himself that he is the rnost impartial jadgie:of the merits of his own compilatidh; he will, therefore, leave it to the public whose peculiar province it is, and who are far more likely to come to a just decision on the subject, to ascertain what degree of merit may belong to it.
He will only say for himself, that he has endeavoured to select such Anecdotes relative to the Poetry and Poets of his own country in particular, as may convey information as well as amusement, cautiously rejecting the trite sto, ries which are to be met with at every corner, and diligently searching among works little known to the majority of readers, for those