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P R E F A C E.
The first and principal part of the ensuing Volume, consists of the Correspondence between Mr. Burns and Mr. Thomson, on the subject of the beautiful Work projected and executed by the latter, the nature of which is explained in the first number of the following series.*
The undertaking of Mr. Thomson, is
* This work is entitled, “ A Select Collection of Original Scottish Airs, for the Voice; to which are added, “ Introductory and concluding Symphonies and Accom“ paniments for the Piano Forte and Violin, by Pleyel " and Kozeluch; with select and characteristic Verses, by “ the most admired Scottish Poets," 8c. London, printed and sold by PRESTON, No, 97, Strand.
one in which the Public may be congratulated in various points of view; not merely as having collected the finest of the Scottish songs and airs of past times, but as having given occasion to a number of original songs of our Bard, which equal or surpass the former efforts of the pastoral muses of Scotland, and which, if we mistake not, may be safely compared with the lyric poetry of any age or country. The letters of Mr. Burns to Mr. Thomson include the
songs he presented to him, some of which
in different stages of their progress; and these letters will be found to exhibit occasionally his notions of song-writing, and his opinions on various subjects of taste and criticism. These opinions, it will be observed, were called forth by the observations of his correspondent, Mr. Thomson ; and without the letters of this gentleman, those of Burns would have been often unintelligible. He has therefore yielded to the earnest request of the Trustees of the family of the Poet, to suffer them to appear in their natural order; and, independently of the illustration they give to the letters of our Bard, it is not to be doubted that their intrinsic merit will ensure them a reception from the Public, far beyond what Mr. Thomson's modesty would permit him to suppose. The whole of this correspondence was arranged for the press by Mr. Thomson, and has been printed with little addition or variation.
To this are added, the greater number of the songs furnished by our Bard for Mr. Johnson's publication, entitled, “ The Scots Musical Museum,” (See p. 269) and such other of his poems, not before published, as seemed not unworthy of seeing the light