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clinations are turned to Mirth, will be pleased to know how the good Fellow of a former Age told his jovial Tale; and the Lover may divert himself with the old fashioned Sonnet of an amorous Poet in Q. Margaret and Q. Mary's Days. In a Word, the following Collection will be such another Prospect to the Eye of the Mind, as to the outward Eye is the various Meadow, where Flowers of different Hue and Smell are mingled together in a beautiful Irregularity.
I hope also the Reader, when he dips into these Poems, will not be displeased with this Reflection, That he is stepping back into the Times that are past, and that exist no more. Thus the Manners and Customs then in Vogue, as he will find them here described, will have all the Air and Charm of Novelty; and that seldom fails of exciting Attention and pleasing the Mind. Besides, the Numbers, in which these Images are conveyed, as they are not now commonly practised, will appear new and amusing.
The different Stanza and varied Cadence will likewise much sooth and engage the Ear, which in Poetry especially must be always flattered. However, I do not expect that these Poems should please every Body, nay the critical Reader must needs find several Faults; for I own that there will be found in these Volumes two or three Pieces, whose Antiquity is their greatest Value; yet still I am perswaded there are many more that shall merit Approbation and Applause than Censure and Blame. The best Works are but a Kind of Miscellany, and the cleanest Corn is not without some Chaff, no not after often Winnowing: Besides, Dispraise is the easiest Part of Learning, and but at best the Offspring of uncharitable Wit. Every Clown can see that the Furrow is crooked, but where is the Man that will plow me one straight ?
There is nothing can be heard more silly than one's expressing his Ignorance of his native Language; yet such there are, who can vaunt of acquir. ing a tolerable Perfection in the French or Italian Tongues, if they have been a Fortbnight in Paris or a Month in Rome : But shew them the most elegant Thoughts in a Scots Dress, they as disdainfully as stupidly condemn it as barbarous. But the true Reason is obvious: Every one that is born never so little superiour to the Vulgar, would fain dis uish themselves from them by some Manner or other, and such, it would appear, cannot arrive at a better Method. But this affected Class of Fops give no Uneasiness, not being numerous; for the most part of our Gentlemen, who are generally masters of the most useful and politest Languages, can take Pleasure (for a Change) to speak and read their own.
It was intended that an Account of the Authors of the following Collection should be given ; but not being furnished with such distinct Information as could be wished for that End at present, the Design is delayed, until the publishing of a Third or Fourth succeeding Volume, wherein the Curious shall be satisfied, in as far as can be gathered, with Relation to their Lives and Characters, and the Time wherein they flourished. The Names of the
Authors, as we find them in our Copies, are marked before or after their Poems.
I cannot finish this Preface, without grateful Acknowledgements to the Honourable Mr. WilLIAM CARMICHAEL of Skirling, Brother to the Earl of Hyndford, who with an easy Beneficence, that is inseparable from a superior Mind, assisted me in this Undertaking with a valuable Number of Poems, in a large Manuscript-book in Folio, collected and wrote by Mr. George Bannyntine in Anno 1568; from which M. S. the most of following are gathered : and if they prove acceptable to the World, they may have the Pleasure of expecting a great many more, and shall very soon be gratified.
Sic Dancing and Deray, Nowthir at Falkland on the Grene,
Nor Pebills at the Play,
Because we strictly observe the old Orthography, for the more Conveniency of the Readers, we shall note some general Rules at the Bottom of the Page, as they occur, wherein the old Spelling differs from the present, in Words that have nothing else of the Antique, or Difference from the English: But shall refer you to the Glossary at the End of the second Vol. for the Explanation of all of that kind in particular, and of those that are more peculiar to this Nation.
Rule I. Grene, Sene, Clene, &c. Green, Seen, Clean. The double ee is sup in such Words, commonly with one e before, and another after the Consonant.