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HE Editors and Publisher 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 too often looked upon with an evil eye. The author, the editor, 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 bimself, 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 tread. ing 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 which a work of mere selection can prefer It is enwreathed with a fresh garland of wild Aowers belonging exclusively to itself--which
grew under its auspices and which, 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
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 sin. cerity 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.
No classification of the naterials has been attempted, as they considered this would have been a disadvantage rather than the contrary. A short essay on the poets of Renfrewshire is however subjoined. To this essay, a valuable appendix, containing specimens of their poetry, in a regular series downward, with some other interesting matter, is now added.
The Harp of Renfrewshire is now consigned to its fate to sink or swim-to thrive or fail. In bidding it good bye, they comfort themselves by repeating the old Greek distich, thus Englished :
“ Heart, take thine ease, men hard to please thou haply maist offend, Though some speak ill of thee, some will say better; there's an end."
THE POETS OF RENFREWSHIRE.
unminn Parva nunc civitas, sed gloria ingens; veterisque famae late vestigia manent!
The Poets of Renfrewshire have neither been few, in respect of numbers. nor contemptible, in regard to merit. Although none of them have ever risen far above mediocrity, yet their performances have been such, as to entitle their names to an honourable place amongst the minor bards of Scotland, and to preserve them from the death of total oblivion. As yet nothing like a compendious account, not even so much as a bare catalogue of these Makers has been given, albeit, the same is much wanted to fill up some little chasms in the history as well of our ancient, as our modern, stock of national biography and literature. This essay, hastily thrown together though it be, and notwithstanding it pretends as little to give the former, as it does to set aside completely the necessity of the latter, will, in some measure, supply the deficiency complained of, until something more perfect and abounding in minuter detail find its way to the public. Nor will such a work be long desiderated : for if we may trust report, a gentleman whom we know to be tho. roughly qualified for the task, has it at present in contemplation, and indeed, is considerably advanced in its progress.
The full assurance we have of that gentleman's literary talents, local knowledge of this county, its history and antiquities—intimate acquaintance with the vernacular poetry of Scotland, and other qualifications requisite for such a work, had almost dissuaded us from anticipating in any degree the track of enquiry he has chosen. But as an undertaking of this nature must be the result of time and laborious research, we imagine our desultery