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I have also given the complete text and a new translation of the whole of the poem on the Fair of Carman^ which O'Curry has made so much use of in his second Lecture, and the value of which, as an illustration of Irish customs, cannot be overrated.
Owin^ to the sudden death of Professor O'Curry immediately after the completion of his Lectures on Music, the intended Lectures were not written, and I have not been able to discover any materials collected towards their preparation. Being very anxious that the publication of these lectures should take place with as little delay as possible, I offered to edit them.In performing this task, I found that some of Professor O'Curry's translations were only free renderings of the original text, more or less paraphrased, but always sufficiently close and correct for the purposes for which they were used.However anxious I might be to make some emendations in those trans- lations, such as he would have himself made if he had been spared to prepare his work for the press, I thought it due to O'Curry's memory to give his own words, except in one or two instances, where he gave rather an abstract than a translation.As the printing progressed, the necessity of supplying references to manuscripts, and the Irish text of the passages translated in the body of the Lectures, impressed itself more and more on my mind, so that at length I determined to make the attempt.This, as the reader will find, has been done in Volume III., and a table is now added at the beginning of Volume II., supplying the references for the passages quoted from Irish manuscripts in that volume.The way in which the Introduction was produced, and especially the widening of its scope according as materials ac- cumulated, account for many of its defects.
As I have already said, it was to have consisted of a short dissertation on the ages cf stone, bronze, and iron, and a number of notes, illustrative of special points, which seemed to require some further explana- tion, such as the comparison of the weapons in the museum of the Royal Irish Academy, with the descriptions of the arms of the ancient Irish given in Irish tales, the comparison of the houses of the Irish with those of the Gauls, the nature of Glakin, etc.
On searching among the papers of O'Curry, I found only a rough draft of a translation of the fragment of the tract which he knew, evi- dently made for his own use when preparing his Lectures, and in which he consequently left many of the most important terms untranslated, so that it was almost unintelligible to any one else, and evidently not intended for publication.
The frag- ment of this tract, such as it was, appeared to me, however, to be so important that I thought it worth while to institute a search through all our manuscripts in order to ascertain whether a complete copy of the tract, or the missing fragment, might perchance be in them.
11 able time, but it repaid all my trouble by furnishing me with the key of the whole Irish political system.
It was this study which chiefly retarded the publication of the Lectures, and extended my Introduction, from forty or fifty pages, to a thick volume.
One object which the University had in purchasing O'Curry 's manu- scripts was, to obtain possession of the Lectures now published, with a view to having them printed.