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PREFACE [1827].

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WITH the confidence arising from the consciousness of honourable and successful exertion, the Proprietor and Editor of the Forget Me Not submit this volume to the public, which they have not the least doubt, will confirm by a welcome reception the opinion they themselves entertain of its superiority to all its predecessors. How decisive soever that superiority, they should still be very loth to have this considered as the ne plus ultra of their endeavours, and to relinquish the ambition of carrying into future years that progressive improvement which has thus far marked their annual labours.

A reference to the Contents and a glance at the numerous names, more or less eminent in the various walks of literature, displayed in the pages occupied by them, will at once show the great accession of contributors, and the mass of talent which has co-operated in the production of this volume. So abundant indeed was

 

iv                                                             PREFACE.

the supply of materials destined for it, that the Editor has been reluctantly compelled to exclude many communications, the authors of which will, he trusts, regard the limits imposed on him as a sufficient apology for the omission.

It will likewise be obvious that this volume is much richer in poetical compositions than any of the preceding portions of the Forget Me Not; and many of those compositions are of so high an order that the Editor can assert, without fear of contradiction, that a miscellany possessing within so small a compass equal claims to public favour has rarely issued from the press. Some of these pieces are tributes of personal friendship; many more the spontaneous offerings of well-wishers, solicitous to aid by their talents in maintaining the Forget Me Not in that high station to which the public voice has elevated it. To all and each of the contributors the Editor takes this occasion to express his own and the Proprietor's warm acknowledgments. He ventures also to indulge a hope that he shall continue to be favoured with their communications; and that many other distinguished votaries of the Muses


PREFACE.                                                             v

may be induced by their example to give the sanction of their names to this undertaking.

Flattering as were the opinions of critics in general on the last volume, still, owing to some unaccountable misconception, one or two writers belonging to the periodical press treated the Forget Me Not in their remarks as a mere selection from works previously before the public. In order to correct a notion equally false and derogatory, the Editor feels it incumbent on him to declare, in the most unqualified manner, that originality is an essential requisite in articles destined for the pages of this miscellany; and that, though in former years some translations were introduced, yet all the pieces in the present volume-so far from being borrowed from other publications, or selected from hoards of spurious or unauthenticated scraps-have been, with a few trifling exceptions (such as the short poems by the late Mrs. Piozzi and Mrs. Grant), written expressly for this work, and communicated by the authors themselves.

On the graphic embellishments, all of which have been executed from original designs made, in like manner, expressly for this volume, it


PREFACE.                                                                 vi

would be superfluous to remark. The names of the artists by whose united talents they have been produced-of WESTALL, CORBOULD, FRADELLE, OWEN, PROUT, HILLS, PORTER; HEATH, the FINDENS, LE KEUX, WARREN, FREEBAIRN, SMART, etc.-must be a satisfactory guarantee of their value, and of the determination of the Proprietor to render this annual tribute in every respect worthy of its endearing object, and of the extraordinary popularity which it enjoys.

Of this popularity the annually increasing circulation furnishes an indisputable criterion. Though nearly ten thousand copies of the last volume were printed, yet so rapid and extensive was the demand that this large impression was exhausted some time before Christmas, and the publisher received orders for thousands more than he was able to supply. A much larger edition has this year been prepared; but still the propriety of early application copies, as well on the present as on every future occasion, cannot be too strongly recommended.

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Katherine D. Harris 2001-2005