A PEPYSIAN GARLAND - online book

Black-letter Broadside Ballads Of The years 1595-1639

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PREFACE
which are duplicates, and that of the 1671 distinct ballads in the five volumes 964 are unique.
No edition of Pepysian ballads has hitherto been pub­lished: for the present edition students are indebted to the good offices of Mr Stephen Gaselee and Mr O. F. Morshead, past and present Librarians of the Bibliotheca Pepysiana. The Ballad Society, founded by Dr Furnivall in 1868, announced its intention of printing the Pepys collection as an initial effort, but, failing to obtain the necessary authorization, turned instead to the huge collec­tions in the British Museum. The Roxburghe and Bagford collections, have, as a result, long been accessible in the eleven volumes published by the Ballad Society under the titles of the Roxburghe Ballads (1871-1891) and the Bagford Ballads (1878). Among the eight volumes of these publications that appeared under his riotous, if learned, editorship, Ebsworth1 estimated that he had reprinted, in one form or another, at least five hundred ballads that occur in Pepys's collection. From the collec­tion, too, long before Ebsworth's time, distinguished students had drawn heavily. Bishop Percy made a thorough study of it before beginning the publication of his epoch-making Reliques of Ancient English Poetry (1765), in that work reproduced a number of Pepysian ballads, and had many others copied for him. These copies, by the way, are now preserved in the Percy Papers owned by the Harvard College Library. Others were reprinted by Thomas Evans and R. H. Evans in various editions of their Old Ballads, Historical and Narrative (1777—1810). Macaulay gleaned from the ballads some picturesque facts for his History of England; and within the last few years many other broad­sides from the collection have been here and there re­printed2, often in unexpected places. Many of Pepys's ballads, then, are accessible if one searches diligently. The bulk of the collection, however, is still generally unknown,
1  Roxburghe Ballads, vm, 740.
2  Noteworthy are the photographic reproductions in Professor C. H. Firth's six volume illustrated edition of Macaulay's History.
viii
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