The English and Scottish Popular Ballads (Volume I of 5) (Illustrated)

The English and Scottish Popular Ballads (Volume I of 5) (Illustrated)

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Overview

It was my wish not to begin to print The English and Scottish Popular Ballads until this unrestricted title should be justified by my having at command every valuable copy of every known ballad. A continuous effort to accomplish this object has been making for some nine or ten years, and many have joined in it. By correspondence, and by an extensive diffusion of printed circulars, I have tried to stimulate collection from tradition in Scotland, Canada, and the United States, and no becoming means has been left unemployed to obtain possession of unsunned treasures locked up in writing. The gathering from tradition has been, as ought perhaps to have been foreseen at this late day, meagre, and generally of indifferent quality. Materials in the hands of former editors have, in some cases, been lost beyond recovery, and very probably have lighted fires, like that large cantle of the Percy manuscript, maxime deflendus! Access to several manuscript collections has not yet been secured. But what is still lacking is believed to bear no great proportion to what is in hand, and may soon come in, besides: meanwhile, the uncertainties of the world forbid a longer delay to publish so much as has been got together.
Of hitherto unused materials, much the most important is a large collection of ballads made by Motherwell. For leave to take a copy of this I am deeply indebted to the present possessor, Mr Malcolm Colquhoun Thomson, of Glasgow, who even allowed the manuscript to be sent to London, and to be retained several months, for my accommodation. Mr J. Wylie Guild, of Glasgow, also permitted the use of a note-book of Motherwell's which supplements the great manuscript, and this my unwearied friend, Mr James Barclay Murdoch, to whose solicitation I owe both, himself transcribed with the most scrupulous accuracy. No other good office, asked or unasked, has Mr Murdoch spared.
Next in extent to the Motherwell collections come those of the late Mr Kinloch. These he freely placed at my disposal, and Mr William Macmath, of Edinburgh, made during Mr Kinloch's life an exquisite copy of the larger part of them, enriched with notes from Mr Kinloch's papers, and sent it to me across the water. After Mr Kinloch's death his collections were acquired by Harvard College Library, still through the agency of Mr Macmath, who has from the beginning rendered a highly valued assistance, not less by his suggestions and communications than by his zealous mediation.
No Scottish ballads are superior in kind to those recited in the last century by Mrs Brown, of Falkland. Of these there are, or were, three sets. One formerly owned by Robert Jamieson, the fullest of the three, was lent me, to keep as long as I required, by my honored friend the late Mr David Laing, who also secured for me copies of several ballads of Mrs Brown which are found in an Abbotsford manuscript, and gave me a transcript of the Glenriddell manuscript. The two others were written down for William Tytler and[Pg viii] Alexander Fraser Tytler respectively, the former of these consisting of a portion of the Jamieson texts revised. These having for some time been lost sight of, Miss Mary Fraser Tytler, with a graciousness which I have reason to believe hereditary in the name, made search for them, recovered the one which had been obtained by Lord Woodhouselee, and copied it for me with her own hand. The same lady furnished me with another collection which had been made by a member of the family.
For later transcriptions from Scottish tradition I am indebted to Mr J. F. Campbell of Islay, whose edition and rendering of the racy West Highland Tales is marked by the rarest appreciation of the popular genius; to Mrs A. F. Murison, formerly of Old Deer, who undertook a quest for ballads in her native place on my behalf; to Mr Alexander Laing, of Newburgh-upon-Tay; to Mr James Gibb, of Joppa, who has given me a full score; to Mr David Louden, of Morham, Haddington; to the late Dr John Hill Burton and Miss Ella Burton; to Dr Thomas Davidson.
The late Mr Robert White, of Newcastle-upon-Tyne, allowed me to look through his collections in 1873, and subsequently made me a copy of such things as I needed, and his ready kindness has been continued by Mrs Andrews, his sister, and by Miss Andrews, his niece, who has taken a great deal of trouble on my account.
In the south of the mother-island my reliance has, of necessity, been chiefly upon libraries. The British Museum possesses, besides early copies of some of the older ballads, the Percy MS., Herd's MSS and Buchan's, and the Roxburgh broadsides. The library of the University of Cambridge affords one or two things of first-rate importance, and for these I am beholden to the accomplished librarian, Mr Henry Bradshaw, and to Professor Skeat. I have also to thank the Rev. F. Gunton, Dean, and the other authorities of Magdalen College, Cambridge, for permitting collations of Pepys ballads,

Product Details

BN ID: 2940148253747
Publisher: Lost Leaf Publications
Publication date: 02/21/2014
Sold by: Barnes & Noble
Format: NOOK Book
File size: 1 MB

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