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more, but in nearly a new form, and with

superior attractions.

Neither pains nor ex

pense have been spared to render our pages

still more acceptable to our little readers, as

well as to "children of a larger growth;” and

it is believed that the illustrations will be

considered as forming an attractive feature in

the present edition, or, at all events, agreeable

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So much of our early popular ballad literature has perished, that although from internal

evidence it would appear that a large number

of our nursery songs are at least as ancient as

the time of Queen Elizabeth, yet we have not

succeeded in tracing many; but a few antiquarian novelties will be found in the following

pages, and in time probably further discoveries will be made. Perhaps one of the most curious in this way is the early version of the Carrion Crow, at p. 53, which is still found in the chapbook collections, and with less variation than

might have been expected after the lapse of

more than two hundred years.

The dissemi

nation of scraps like these through all parts of

England, in forms very slightly varying from

each other during a long period of years, may

be considered one of the most singular facts in

the history of our literature.

In the expectation of rendering our collection

an unexceptionable contribution to a juvenile library, every allusion that could possibly offend the most fastidious reader has been carefully excluded, and rhymes founded on portions of

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the Scriptures have been altogether omitted.

These facetious compositions frequently degene

rate into mere vulgarities.

An ingenious writer has lately endeavoured

to find the "originals" of our nursery rhymes

in the ancient Dutch language, and if the odd

similarities produced by him in aid of his theory

had been discovered instead of invented, it

would have been an interesting subject for an

tiquarian investigation. But as it is, we are

afraid Mr. Ker will rarely receive thanks for treating them so barbarously; nor do we owe

any obligations to those who have attempted to

substitute popular science in that place in the

education of infants which those truly English

compositions have so long occupied. We cannot help thinking that harmless and euphonious

nonsense may reasonably be considered a more

useful instrument in the hands of children than

that overstraining of the intellect in very early

age, which must unavoidably be the result of

a more refined system :

Roscia, dic sodes, melior lex, an puerorum nænia ?”

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