Child's, The English And Scottish Ballads

Volume 1 of 8 from 1860 edition

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PREFACE.                                   XI
lection of Ballads forms a part, nor were the necessary books immediately at hand. At a more favorable time the whole subject may be resumed, unless some person better qualified shall take it up in the interim.
While upon this point let me make the warm­est acknowledgments for the help received from Grundtvig's Ancient Popular Ballads of Den­mark {Danmarks Gamle Folkeviser), a work which has no equal in its line, and which may in every way serve as a model for collections of National Ballads. Such a work as Grundtvig's can only be imitated by an English editor, never equalled, for the material is not at hand. All Denmark seems to have combined to help on his labors; schoolmasters and clergymen, in those retired nooks where tradition longest lingers, have been very active in taking down ballads from the mouths of the people, and a large number of old manuscripts have been placed at his dis­posal.— We have not even the Percy Manu­script at our command, and must be content to take the ballads as they are printed in the Ee-ligues, with all the editor's changes. This manu­script is understood to be in the hands of a dealer who is keeping it from the public in order to en­hance its value. The greatest service that can now be done to English Ballad-literature is to publish this precious document. Civilization has made too great strides in the island of Great