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PREFACE.

The changes which have taken place in the public taste as it respects Poetry during the last thirty years have been manifold and extraordinary. About the close of the eighteenth century, the only poems which were honoured with any marked share of popular favour, were of a DIDACTIC order; and although Cowper and Burns had already made their appearance above the literary horizon, the latter was comparatively unappreciated, and the former chiefly known by the least valuable and important portion of his writings. Of our more modern poets, Rogers and Campbell alone excited any particular attention. Wordsworth, Coleridge, and Southey had published many of their most beautiful lyrical compositions, but as yet they had attracted little notice; and even those noble ballads of Campbell, on which his strongest claims to immortality will be found ultimately to rest, sank into insignificance before his longer and more elaborate poem. From this epoch until the publication of the poetical romances of Sir Walter Scott, there was a complete interregnum in the Parnassian Dynasty: the

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