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The National Music of America. 71
His glowing enthusiasm for his art was probably unfeigned; his earnest prefaces bear the mark of sincerity, and, judging by the preface to his next collection, published eight years after the one described above, he began to discard his "Babe and Suckling" and " Natural composition " theories, for he says :*
"... About ten years ago I published a book entitled ' The New England Psalm-singer' and truly a most masterly performance I then thought it to be. How lavish was I of encomium on this my infant production. . . . But to my great mortification . . . I have discovered that many pieces were never worth my printing or your inspection."
We have already intimated that the patriotic side of Billings was the favourite one with his public; he was always at fever-heat, nor did he consider it at all unfitting to drag in paraphrases of the Scriptures in dealing with Revolutionary topics.2 His " Lamentation over Boston " boldly appropriated the beauti-
1 Preface to the " Singing Master's Assistant." a Gould, " History of Church Music in America."