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HIS little work is an attempt to bring together, on a plan which will be obvious to the attentive reader, speci
mens of the Poetry of Fashionable Life, from the time of Queen Anne to the present day. The mere
" familiar verse,” of a humorous or sentimental character, which is so often made to do duty as “ Society verse," has been uniformly put aside, and the collection confined-on the principle laid down in the Introduction—to pieces dealing with “Society” in the literal and strict sense of the term.
The word “Songs ” in the title is not, however, to be taken quite so literally, some of the pieces in this volume not coming strictly under that description. My excuse must be that I found it difficult to discover an expression which would completely, and yet briefly, describe the nature of the book.
The work consists about equally of copyright and non-copyright compositions, and for permission to reproduce the former, I have to thank
very sincerely the authors, publishers, and others in whom the copyright is vested, and who have so courteously responded to my application.
It is possible that pieces may be found included or omitted which the individual reader would have preferred to find absent or present, as
the case may be. I can only say that, so far as I am aware, I have overlooked no conspicuous lyric which entirely answered my requirements, nor have I admitted any which did not seem to me to come within my plan. I may remark, however, that several pieces by writers of the eighteenth century have been discarded, owing to the fact that, though otherwise acceptable, they contained expressions of an indecorous or unpleasant nature. These, following the example of distinguished predecessors, I might have modified, but I have preferred either to insert a poem as its author wrote it, or else to dispense with it altogether.
A large proportion of the pieces have never before appeared in a collection, and some appear in book form for the first time.
I may add that the Introduction is designed merely to explain the principle on which the collection has been made, and that the Notes have been restricted as much as possible to brief explanations of allusions which might not have been intelligible to every reader.
W. D. A.