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