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IF I had consulted only my own judgment, this Work would not have been extended beyond the Six Numbers already published; which contain, perhaps, the flower of our National Melodies, and have attained a rank in public favour, of which I would not willingly risk the forfeiture by degenerating, in any way, from those merits that were its
Whatever treasures of our music were still in reserve (and it will be seen, I trust, that they are numerous and valuable), I would gladly have left to future poets to glean, and, with the ritual words " tibi trado," would have delivered up the torch into other hands, before it had lost inuch of its light in my own.
But the call for a continuance of the work has been, as I understand from the Publisher, so general, and we have received so many contributions of old and beautiful
airs,* the suppression of which, for the enhancement of those we have published, would resemble too much the policy of the Dutch in burning their spices, that I have been persuaded, though not without considerable diffidence in my success, to commence a new series of the Irish Melodies.
* One Gentleman, in particular, whose name I shall feel happy in being allowed to mention, has not only sent us near forty ancient airs, but has communicated many curious fragments of Irish poetry, and some interesting traditions, current in the country where he resides, illustrated by sketches of the romantic scenery to which they refer; all of which, though too late for the present Number, will be of infinite service to us in the prosecution of our task.
MY GENTLE HARP!
AIR.—The Coina, or Dirge.
The sweetness of thy slumb'ring strain;
And now in tears we meet again.
But-like those harps, whose heavenly skill