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Two volumes of the Minstrelsy of the Scottish Border were published in 1802;-a third followed in 1803; and, in the course of subsequent editions, the arrangement of the ballads underwent various changes, and numerous additions were made to the Notes. Sir Walter Scott drew up, in March 1830, the "Introductory Remarks on Popular Poetry," which appear at the head of the present volume, and an "Essay on Imitations of the ancient Ballad," which will be given in the fourth volume of this edition. He kept by him, as long as his health permitted him to continue his literary pursuits, an interleaved
copy of the Collection by which his name was first established, inserting various readings as chance threw them in his way, and enriching his annotations with whatever new lights conversation or books supplied. The work is now printed according to the copy thus finally corrected, with some notes, distinguished by brackets, in which the Editor has endeavoured to compress such additional information concerning the incidents and localities mentioned in the Minstrelsy, as he could gather from the private correspondence of Sir Walter Scott, now in his hands, or remembered to have dropt from his lips in the course of his rides among the scenery
of Border warfare.
One of the Reviewers of the Minstrelsy, when it first appeared, said, "In this collection are the materials for scores of metrical romances." This was a prophetic critic. In the text and notes of this early publication, we can now trace the primary incident, or broad outline of