THE   author   of   the   following   Songs   and   Poems   does   not   pretend   to   say,   neither   is   he   so   vain   as   to   imagine,   that   he   can   present anything   to   the   Public   superior,   either   in   sentiment   or   poetical   composition,   to   what   has   been   already   published   by   others,   who   have exercised their talents in that art. ALTHOUGH   he   has   observed   that   immorality,   when   dressed   in   poetry,   to   many   readers   gives   unbounded   pleasure,   he   has   uniformly rejected   that   method   of   courting   applause,   sensible   that   the   young   reader   will   lose   but   little   in   meeting   with   an   idea   somewhat   blunted by modesty, and never can he benefited by one brightened with images of debauchery and set off with oaths and imprecations. HE   is   aware   that   not   a   few   of   his   readers   will   expect   some   apology   for   his   now   offering   his   pieces   to   the   Public.   Many   very   modest excuses   might   be   made,   which,   though   pretty   true,   to   some   might   appear   stale   and   insignificant   ;   he   will,   therefore,   content   himself with one. HAVING   written   a   number   of   Songs,   and   given   copies   of   them   to   a   few   of   his   friends   and   acquaintances   (whom   he   considered   worthy of   more   kindness),   they   somehow   or   other   found   their   way   into   the   hands   of   the   printers;   some   were   altered   to   suit   the   taste   of   those who   were   willing   to   be   thought   their   authors,   and   put   into   music   sheets;   others   were   ranted   through   the   streets   of   almost   every   town and   village   in   the   neighbourhood.   Wishing   to   know   by   what   authority   the   printers   had   published   them,   he   applied   to   these   gentlemen for   information   on   that   head.   Some   of   them   seemed   to   be   at   a   loss   for   words   to   express   their   contempt   at   such   a   proposition,   and refused   giving   him   any   satisfaction.   He   then   began   to   think   -   since   some   considered   it   an   honour   to   be   thought   the   author   of   them,   and others   think   that   by   publishing   them   they   can   reap   some   benefit   -   if   anything   is   to   be   made   it   is   but   reasonable   that   he   who   sows   the seed should reap the harvest. HE   should   now,   to   be   in   the   fashion,   say   something   about   the   critics,   who   are   represented   as   being   always   busy,   and   in   no   way scrupulous   about   attacking   everything   that   appears   in   public;   but   as   he   is   aware   they   will   have   too   much   room   to   display   their   talents on the productions of his homely Muse, he is very willing to make what is called Cathkin's covenant with them - "Let a be for let a be." HE   might   likewise   say   something   about   the   time   when,   and   the   place   where,   the   Muse   first   threw   her   inspiring   mantle   over   him,   and encouraged   him   to   limp   after   her;   but   as   he   might   err   in   pointing   out   the   particular   time   and   place,   and   considering   it   can   be   of   little   use to   the   reader,   he   will   conclude   by   heartily   agreeing   that   everyone   should   exercise   their   judgment   on   this   and   every   book   that   may   come into   their   hands.   If   they   find   anything   entertaining   or   informing,   so   much   the   better;   on   the   contrary,   if   they   find   anything   disgusting   and unbecoming, let them avoid it. WALTER WATSON
Preface from 1808 Edition
The Village of Chryston - North Lanarkshire - Scotland
Walter Watson
The Chryston Poet