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Bot quhat dangere is ocht to compile, allace:
-quha list spt doun and mote, Ane bthir sayaris faltis to spy and note, Than but offence or falt thame self to wryte ; Bot for to chyde sum bene so birnand hote, Vald thaythare pece, the worde wald scald thare
throte, And has sic custume to jangil and backbyte, That, bot thay schent, sum thay suld birst for syte : I say no more quhen al the rerde is roung, That wicht mon speik, that cannot haldhis toung.
THE Editors and Publishers of the Harp of Renfrewshire now present their little volume to the public in its completed state. In whole, it consists of two hundred and seventy-five Pieces; seventy-four of which—no inconsiderable proportion-are original: the remainder is supplied from poetical sources of approved worth and celebrity.
There are many features of this miscellany, in regard to which, a taste too nicely fastidious, not to use a harsher term, may, it is believed, have ample scope and verge enough to pick out faults withal. But they who read for the pure sake of deriving pleasure, and not to gratify their spleen, or display their critical acumen, will, it is hoped, be more indulgent towards its imperfections, and more aptly disposed to recognise what slender claims it may have on the score of merit.
Every work which issues from a provincial press, has to struggle under numberless disadvantages, peculiar only to its individual case, and to combat with many prejudices entirely of a local origin. In general, its sale is circumscribed—its defects more rigorously tasked—and its undoubted excellencies
the publisher, or the printer, is our next door neighbour, and
why he should think himself qualified to instruct, amuse, or delight others as adequate for that office, if not more so than himself, is a problem which neither our vanity nor self-conceitedness will ever permit to be satisfactorily solved.
Aware of these circumstances, and foreseeing the consequences which they involve in their train, the Editors of this Publication have exerted themselves not a little to counteract, if they could not altogether remove, their unfavourable tendencies. They can safely state that, to the utmost of their scanty ability, and the limited nature of their means, they have endeavoured to render it sufficiently valuable in respect of its matter to secure it from contempt; and sufficiently reputable in so far as their character of Editors or Publisher was implicated, to shield it from the petulant and puerile strictures
“Of the small critic with his delicate pen."
No apology, they have deemed, is necessary for again treading a path which has right often been trodden before : nor for selecting, in a variety of instances, those very blossoms of genius and poesy which their predecessors in the same beaten highway have previously culled. They conceive that a good song, like a good story, may be twice told, without deterioration in any degree from its interestingness and intrinsic merit. As a rose loses nothing of its bloom, complexion and fragrance, though enjoyed by our senses every day; in like manner, they can fancy a good song will always be listened to with satisfaction, however often heard, and yet after all, not ’bate one jot of its worth by the frequency of repetition. But independent of this, the Harp of Renfrewshire, they are proud to say, has higher claims to notice, altogether distinct from those wbich a work of mere selection can prefer. It is enwreathed with a fresh garland of wild flowers belonging exclusively to itself-which grew under its auspiees—and wbich, but for it, might have withered away, unnoticed, uncalled for, and unknown. These will confer on it some portion of that value and importance which a volume wholly consisting of original poetry possesses in the eye of the Bibliographer, and of the genuine lover of Song.
In justice to those who have written for the work, and to such as have assisted them in the arrangement of materials and other compilatory parts, the Editors now beg, once for all, to acknowledge this assistance in a public and grateful manner. With pleasure therefore, they mention the names of Mr John Sim, late of Paisley, and of Mr Robert Allan of Kilbarchan, as persons for whose numerous favours their warmest thanks and lasting gratitude are deservedly due. To those beneficent but unknown friends, who have aided them in the course of their editorship, they also return their every acknowledgement which a full sense of their unlooked-for kindnesses can dictate, To such of their townsmen as from motives of friend. liness, or otherwise, favoured the undertaking, a like return of thanks is due ; and the same is now made in downright sincerity of heart. All these gentlemen will find their names in the index affixed to their respective compositions; and if the world appreciate them half so highly as we do, their authors will never have occasion to lament its insensibility, or languish beneath its neglect.
One other name will they notice in this preface, and but one, namely, that of Mr R. A. Smith. To him in many ways have they been deeply indebted in the course of this publication. Several excellent hints and much miscellaneous information have been supplied by him. And that gentleman's clear and well defined notions of what are the true constituent and essential parts of good song writing, and rythmical melody, have often been, they candidly confess, of eminent service to them.