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A GENERAL collection of Irish Lyrics, carefully selected, affording the best specimens of various authors, and in various styles, has been a long-existing want in the library, and that it has been so, is presumptive evidence of the task of producing such a work being difficult.
I felt this when first invited to become Editor of such a collection, and it was only repeated requests, after some lapse of time, and arguments which my love of country could not resist, that overcame my reluctance to engage in editorial duty -a duty quite new to me- -and if I have failed in it, I can plead in extenuation that I did not rush into the difficulty presumptuously; and I can add, with equal truth, that having undertaken what the judgment of others entrusted me with, I have made every endeavour to discharge the onerous duties of my post becomingly. Having said thus much in mitigation of any editorial errors whereof I
may be guilty, I will offer a few remarks upon the subject-matter of this book. .
Two volumes of national songs have, at short intervals, preceded this—a book of English and a book of Scotch songs,
and with these this volume must come into immediate comparison. That comparison, I think, must prove singularly honourable to Ireland, if the disadvantageous circumstances be considered under which she appears in literary competition with the other portions of the united kingdom :- to those whose judgment may not award her a high place, the consideration I solicit will afford sufficient cause for the supposed inferiority, while, if the