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them, and also for removing a false one;—by showing, on the one hand, that, as a body, they will not suffer by comparison with those of any other nation —perhaps even with those of all other nations put together,—on the other, that the English, as well as the Scottish, the Welsh, and the Irish, have national melodies—a truth which, old and irrefragable as it may be to those who have looked into the matter, will be altogether new to, and require confirmation with, those who have not. Some excuse for this may have existed, up to a comparatively recent time, in the absence of any authentic and accessible body of evidence in relation to English melody ; but the labours of Mr. Chappell have now put this within reach of every candid inquirer, and establish beyond doubt the priority as well as the extent of our claims as a nation of song-makers.
In his splendid and exhaustive collection,* Mr. Chappell has included not only the majority of those English songs and tunes " of the olden time" which are still current and popular, but many others that, wanting a chronicler or an interpreter, had ceased, or would soon have ceased, to be so. Many a treasure, too, long lost to eye and ear in the folds of ancient manuscripts, or veiled under obsolete and repulsive notations, will be found in it :—all these accompanied and enriched by annotations and illustrations, not more remarkable for their number than for theii accuracy and interest.
Indeed, but for Mr. Chappell's, a book like the following would have demanded an amount of research which must have placed many years between its projection and its publication. Nor, without his encouragement, could the Editor have ventured to avail himself so often of the results of Mr. Chappell's researches, as this book will show he has done. But an announcement of the plan of it, submitted by the Editor to Mr. Chappell before he undertook to carry it into effect, was met by that gentleman, not merely
* Popular Music of the Olden Time, a Collection of Ancient Songs, Ballads, and Dance Tunes, illustrative of the National Music of England, &c. By William Chappell, F.S.A. Loudon Cramer & Co.