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In the present day it would be a superfluous task to eulogise the poetry of Burns. No sooner had he given utterance to his exquisite strains, than they found an echo in the palace and the cottage. Men heard in them the voice of a master-poet-of one of those great minds who exercise an influence on the manners and sentiments of a people ; and even before he died, his country did honour to his surpassing genius, and inscribed his name as the greatest of her minstrels, an award which has been continued with increasing reverence to the present day. And though other poets should arise to divide the national homage, still every succeedirg age will continue to admire the truth and beauty of his sentiments and descriptions, upon the same principle that they will admire the simple manners and romantic scenery by which his inspiration was kindled, and which his patriotic heart loved to celebrate. To be dead to the poetry of Burns, is to be dead to Nature itself.
In reprinting the poetical works of one so distinguished in our national literature, the Publishers considered it their duty to collate the various editions of his works, and to collect together the various poems which are the admitted productions of Burns, so as to render the present edition more complete than even the most expensive. The whole has been carefully revised, and edited by one of our inost talented living authors of Scotlish Song; and to make the dialect and allusions fully accessible to English readers, glossarial definitions, and notes illustrative of the manners and customs which are described, have been added—not heaped together at the end, to fatigue the patience of the reader by a continual reference to the vocabulary—but subjoined to their respective pages, where they can be seen at a glance, in connexion with the text. In addition to these, the Life of the Author, by the late Dr. Currie, of Liverpool, whose account, notwithstanding the numerous biographies of the poet which have been published, bas never been surpassed, has been prefixed ; and although it has been considerably abridged, still few particulars of any im. portance have been omitted. These advantages, combined with elegance and economy, will, it is hoped, secure a favourable reception for this edia tion of Burns' Poems, not only among his coupe trymen, but the public at large.
PREFACE to the First Edition