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of the early ones are discarded, and the whole is made up of favourite airs from the fashionable comic operas of the winter, and the summer warblings at Vauxhall, Ranelagh and Spring Gardens; so that in a year's time they are as much out of date as an almanack. From this account it will be perceived, that after making use of one of the best old collettions as a standard, all the rest were little more than mere repetitions; and that the very modern ones were entirely useless.
After all, I would not presume to say that I bave culled every valuable produktion which this branch of poetry affords. Difference of taste will always prevent uniformity of judgment, even where the faculties of judging are equal; and I have been much less solicitous to give a colle&tion to which nothing could be added, than one from which nothing could reasonably be rejected. In fong-writing, as well as in every other produktion of crt, there
is a large class of the mediocres, which are of such dubious merit as would allow the reader to hesitaté' in his approbation of them. I have felt very little scruple in rejecting a number of these. It is not enough that poetry does not disgust, it ought to give raptures. A much more disagreeable piece of severity was the rejection of several pieces, marked with a rich vein of genuine poetry, but not sufficiently guarded from offending that charming delicacy of the sex, which every man must admirc, and ought to respect. These were the luxuriances of an age, when the men of pleafure lavished wit and genius, as well as health and fortune, upon their diversions. Had they lived at a time when tofte was more refined, and manners were less licentious, their natural gallantry would have restrained them from offering an outrage to those, whom they most wished for readers and admirers.
I hope I have now said enough to intimate for what class of readers this work is calcu
lated. The soft warbler, who fills up a vacancy of thought with a tune, in which the fucceßion of words gives no idea but that of a succesion of sounds, will here be much disappointed in meeting with the names of Prior, Congreve and Landsdown, instead of Arne, Brent and Tenducci. The midnight roarer of coarse jest and obscenity will be still farther out of bis element. But to those who are enamoured with that sacred art, which beyond every other elevates andrefines the foul, to whom the sprightly lyre of Horace and Anacreon, and the melting music of Sappho still sound, though ages have passed since they vibrated on the ear, I will venture to promise a source of enjoyment, from the works of those great masters whose names adorn this collection, which I hope they will not think too dearly purchased by the perusal of such introductory matter as is fubmitted to their candid examination,