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instances, the production of rustic wits, in some the whimsies of mere children, and originally were designed for no higher purpose than to convey the wisdom or the humours of the cottage, to soothe the murmurs of the cradle, or enliven the sports of the village green. The reader is therefore not to expect here anything profound, or sublime, or elegant, or affecting. But if he can so far upon occasion undo his mature man, as to enter again into the almost meaningless frolics of childrenif to him the absence of high-wrought literary grace is compensated by a simplicity coming direct from nature—if to him there be a poetry in the very consideration that such a thing, though a trifle, was perhaps the same trifle to many human beings like himself hundreds of years ago, and has, times without number, been trolled or chanted by hearts light as his own, long since resolved into dust—then it is possible that he may find something in this volume which he will consider worthy of his attention.
In one respect only can the volume have the least claim upon a less gentle class of readers. In some instances a remarkable resemblance is made out between rhymes prevalent over Scotland and others which exist in England and Germany; thus adding a curious illustration with regard to the common origin of these nations, as well as showing at how early a period the ideas of these rhymes had originated. In some instances more direct proofs are adduced of the great antiquity of even the simplest and most puerile of these popular verses.
I greatly regret that it has not been in my power to investigate the subject of kindred foreign rhymes further; but it may be hoped that the present volume, showing what are those which exist, or have recently existed, in Scotland, will enable inquirers in France, Holland, Germany, and other countries containing a Teutonic population, to make out such tallies as may exist in those countries, and thus complete the investigation in a satisfactory
EDINBURGH, November 24, 1841.