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IRISH MELODIES

LONDON: A. and G. A. SPOTTISWOODE,

New-street-Square.

IRISH MELODIES.

BY

THOMAS MOORE.

BOD

LONDON LONGMAN, BROWN, GREEN, AND LONGMANS,

280.2. 487

PREFACE.

(Originally prefixed to the Melodies in the collected

edition of Moore's Works.)

THE recollections connected, in my mind, with that early period of my life, when I first thought of interpreting in verse the touching language of my country's music, tempt me again to advert to those long past days ; and even at the risk of being thought to indulge overmuch in what Colley Cibber calls “ the great pleasure of writing about one's self all day," to notice briefly some of those impressions and influences under which the attempt to adapt words to our ancient Melodies was for some time meditated by me, and, at last, undertaken.

There can be no doubt that to the zeal and industry of Mr. Bunting his country is indebted for the preservation of her old national airs. During the prevalence of the Penal Code, the music of Ireland was made to share in the fate of its people. Both were alike shut out from the pale of civilised life ; and seldom any where but in the huts of the proscribed race could the sweet voice of the songs of other days be heard. Even of that class, the itinerant harpers, among whom for a long period our ancient music had been kept alive, there remained but few to continue the precious tradition ; and a great music-meeting held at Belfast in the year 1792, at which the two or three still remaining of the old race of wandering harpers assisted, exhibited the last public effort

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