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PREFACE TO THE FOURTH EDITION.
THREE Editions of this little volume having been exhausted in less than a month, the publisher has called upon me to prepare a fourth; and with this object I have gone over it carefully, and expunged as many as I could detect of the original sins incident to early editions-errors of the press, of haste and of carelessness. Something of this kind was done for the third edition; but there was not leisure to do it carefully. It will now, I trust, be found tolerably free from errors of the class chargeable on an editor.
I have also made some changes in the collection-useful and agreeable as I believe, but too slight to require specification.
The success of these ballads seems to me to give happy promise of a vigorous and national literature in Ireland. Ballads have been among the first home-grown productions of all countries; and their popularity here, now, is no slight evidence that the national mind is still fresh and earnest, and has the impulses and propensities that belong to a young nation.
PREFACE TO FOURTH EDITION.
Poetry of action and passion are popular where action, and passion, and faith, and noble sentiments are still common. Poetry of reflection succeed them in a lower state of public feeling.
It was a great achievement of Wordsworth to wed philosophy to the ballad; and to put a high moral purpose and large intellectual development into his ballad stories; but the ages that required only the simple passion and truth were ages of greater faith, worth, and heroism. Let us rejoice if we have not yet passed out of them
In justice to our periodical literature, I ought to have stated in the Introduction, that the ballads by Mr. Ferguson and Mr. Murray were taken from the University Magazine; those by Mr. Mangan from the Irish Penny Journal; the "Fate of the Forties," by Mr. H. G. Curran, "My Connor," and the "Woods of Kylinoe," from the Citizen; Mr. Carleton's "Sir Turlough” from the Dublin Literary Gazette, and the ballads of Mr Davis, Mr. Walsh, Mr. Keegan, Mr. Mac Carthy, and Mr. Lane, as well as some of the anonymous ones, from the Nation.
Rathmines, August, 26, 1845.