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This Number of The MELODIES ought to have appeared much earlier; and the writer of the words is ashamed to confess, that the delay of its publication must be imputed chiefly, if not entirely, to him. He finds it necessary to make this avowal, not only for the purpose of removing all blame from the publisher, but in consequence of a rumour,
which has been circulated industriously in Dublin, that the Irish Government had interfered to prevent the continuance of the Work. This would be, indeed, a revival of Henry the Eighth's enactments against Minstrels, and it is very flattering to find that so much importance is attached to our compilation, even by such persons as the inventors of the report. Bishop Lowth, it is true, was of this opinion, that one song, like the Hymn to Harmodius, would have done more towards rousing the spirit of the Romans than all the philip
ADVERTISEMENT TO THE
pics of CICERO. But we live in wiser and less musical times; ballads have long lost their revolutionary powers, and we question if even a “ Lillibullero" would produce any very serious consequences at present. It is needless, therefore, to add, that there is no truth in the report; and we trust that whatever belief it obtained was founded more upon the character of the Government than of the Work.
The Airs of the last Number, though full of originality and beauty, were perhaps, in general, too curiously selected to become all at once as popular as, we think, they deserve to be. The Public are remarkably reserved towards new acquaintances in music, which, perhaps, is one of the reasons why many modern
introduce none but old friends to their notice. Indeed, it is natural that persons who love music only by association, should be slow in feeling the charms of a new and strange melody; while those who have a quick sensibility for this enchanting art, will as naturally seek and enjoy novelty, because in every variety of strain they find a fresh combination of ideas, and the sound has scarcely reached
the ear, before the heart has rapidly translated it into sentiment. After all, however, it cannot be denied that the inost popular of our national Airs are also the most beautiful; and it has been our wish, in the present Number, to select from those Melodies only which have long been listened to and admired. The least known in the collection is the Air of “ Love's young Dream ;” but it is one of those easy, artless strangers, whose merit the heart acknowledges instantly.
Bury Street, St. James's,