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“A DRUG IN THE MARKET:”
SOME OF THE
SONGS OF ZION
ARE NOT WANTED.
AND PUBLISHED BY
PASSMORE & ALABASTER, 4, PATERNOSTER BUILDINGS, LONDON, E.C.
All Rights Reserved.
HE Songs of Zion contained in the following pages are not new, though being now published for the first time, an explanation of the title under which they appear may be considered necessary. A few years since, having prepared a volume in some respects not dissimilar from the present, I called on a well-known house of business with a view to making arrangements for its publication. The gentleman, however, to whom I communicated my wishes rather discouraged me in my plans as far as his own firm
was concerned, the book not being of the class with which it had most to do. He recommended another and, as he considered, more likely house, adding with reference to the nature of the book, that “ of course I did not expect it to pay—works of that class being always published at a pecuniary loss." Though surprised at this statement, I followed the advice given, and called on the publisher named, with an equally discouraging reception, and then on a third. The result was the same in all cases; it was only necessary to mention that the work was a yolume of sacred poems, to meet with the candid avowal that“ of course "they would not pay for production, one gentleman adding that books of that kind were “a complete drug in the market.” The prospect was not a pleasing one, though, conscious that some books of sacred song had attained to a large circulation, I was not without misgivings as to
the accuracy of the prognostications, believing that whether a work was successful or not, must certainly, to some extent, at least, depend on its own merit. Nevertheless, I determined to lay the “Songs” aside for a time, thinking it not impossible that age might have the same satisfactory results in their case as it has in that of some other things, and that they might“ mature" by keeping, while I was actually rash enough to resume my pen, and write more in the same strain. Now, after a lapse of some years, I have once more contemplated appearing in print, and with that view have selected those songs that seemed to be most desirable for the purpose. Knowing what I have to expect, and “with a heart for any fate," I have even been so reckless as not to attempt to go the cheapest way to work, but have endeavoured to produce a tasteful and complete volume with appropriate title-page and cover, an explanation of which I have appended in Note M, page 94.
In the further negotiations with persons connected with the various stages of publication, rendered necessary for the carrying out of my intentions, I met with abundant confirmation of the opinions already expressed. One gentleman supposed that I did not expect to sell many copies, while another went sufficiently into detail to specify “two hundred ” as the outside limit that I could look forward to reach. The lithographer-or