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May 10 , 2008

The Bon Gaultier Ballads

Overview present you this wonderfully illustrated edition. A further edition of this book— the sixteenth— having been called for, I have been asked by the publishers to furnish a preface to it. For prefaces I have no love. Books should speak for themselves. Prefaces can scarcely be otherwise than egotistic, and one would not willingly add to the too numerous illustrations of this tendency with which the literature of the day abounds. I would much rather leave the volume with the simple “Envoy” which I wrote for it when the Bon Gaultier Ballads were first gathered into a volume. There the products of the dual authorship of Aytoun and myself were ascribed to the Bon Gaultier under whose editorial auspices they had for the most part seen the light. But my publishers tell me vithat people want to know why, and how, and by which of us these poems were written, — curiosity, complimentary, no doubt, but which it is by no means easy for the surviving bard to satisfy. It is sixty years since most of these verses were written with the light heart and fluent pen of youth, and with no thought of their surviving beyond the natural life of ephemeral magazine pieces of humour

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