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TO THE FIRST EDITION 1804.
The difficulty experienced by the Editor in understanding many of the allusions contained in the following poems, gave rise to the present work. In the attempt to obviate this difficulty, he was obliged to wade through some hundred volumes, mostly of a local or political nature, and consequently now either very scarce, or quite neglected and forgotten: from these and other works in more general circulation, he principally collected the substance of the notes he now offers to the public; while for some of them, consisting of original anecdotes, he is indebted to oral tradition, and to an intimate acquaintance with several of the friends and contemporaries of the poet.
The highest praise to which a work of this kind can aspire, is that of diligence and impartiality; and if an earnest endeavour to deserve that praise merits indulgence, the Editor lays claim to it as the only exculpatory plea he has to offer, for thus adding to the weight under which the shelves of our libraries already groan. So little anxious is he to appear before the public, that he can with sincerity declare, that had he known of any competent person engaged in the same undertaking, he would willingly have presented him with all his materials, together with the best information, and assistance in his power.
The greater portion of the few hours the Editor could spare from the pursuits of a laborious profession, has been devoted to this work; to him