These volumes have been compiled from the numerous collections of Ballads printed since the beginning of the last century. They contain all but two or three of the ancient ballads of England and Scotland, and nearly all those ballads which, in either country, have been gathered from oral tradition,?whether ancient or not. Widely different from the true popular ballads, the spontaneous products of nature, are the works of the professional ballad-maker, which make up the bulk of Garlands and Broadsides. These, though sometimes not without grace, more frequently not lacking in humor, belong to artificial literature, of course to an humble department. As many ballads of this second class have been admitted as it was thought might be wished for, perhaps I should say tolerated, by the "benevolent reader." No words could express the dulness and inutility of a collection which should embrace all the Roxburghe and Pepys broadsides a scope with which this publication was most undeservedly credited by an English journal. But while the broadside ballads have been and must have been gleaned, the popular ballads demand much more liberal treatment. Many of the older ones are mutilated, many more are miserably corrupted, but as long as any traces of their originals are left, they are worthy of attention and have received it. When a ballad is extant in a variety of forms, all the most important versions are given. Less than this would have seemed insufficient for a collection intended as a complement to an extensive series of the British Poets. To meet the objections of readers for pleasure, all those pieces which are wanting in general interest are in each volume inserted in an appendix.