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BRIEF EXPLANATORY NOTES,
PROFESSOR OF THE SCIENCE AND ART OF EDUCATION TO THE COLLEOE OF
PUECEPXORS; EDITOR OF " STUDIES IN ENGLISH POETRY,"
"STUDIES IN ENGLISH PROSE," ETC.
"It is no trifling good to win the ear of children with versea which foster in them the seeds of humanity, and tenderness, and piety; awaken their fancy, and exercise pleasurably and wholesomely their imaginative and meditative powers. It is no trifling benefit to provide a ready mirror for the young, in which they may see their own best feelings reflected, and wherein * whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are lovely' are presented to them in the most attractive form. It is no trifling benefit to send abroad strains which may assist in preparing the heart for its trials and in supporting it under them."—SotUhey,
"We are not proposing to train up poets or sentimentalists, but to replenish the mind with bright and available materials, such as shall impart to it an abundance of intellectual wealth, and give it breadth and elevation; and by these natural means exclude whatever is frivolous, vulgar, Belfish, or sensual."— Isaac Taylor.
TO THE FIRST EDITION.
In the course of his experience in tuition, the Editor of this little volume has often sought in vain for a selection of poems really adapted to the requirements of Childhood—including in this term the period between six years of age and eleven or twelve. There are, indeed, many valuable works already extant professing to supply this want; these, however, on trial, have been found to contain but a small quantity of that sort of poetry with which children can sympathize. "The poetry which children choose," says the author of "Home Education," "is that which, with a light descriptive brevity, brings the familiar aspects of the visible world before the fancy; and that also which is simply and briskly narrative, and which is enlivened by turns of humour, and deepened by just moral sentiments, and especially by touches of pity." Such poetry has a tendency to give to the mind of a child that healthful tone which pure air and open sunshine give to his body.
Should the selection now before the reader be found to approximate even to the idea which has just been presented of what such a book ought to be, the time and labour it has cost will be amply repaid.
Besides the advantages accruing to the taste and moral character from an early acquaintance with poetry, which are the greatest and most important, we must not pass over those which may be derived from it as a means of exercising and strengthening the memory, and of cultivating the graces of elocution. The attainment of these benefits will, however, depend, in some degree, upon the manner in which they are sought. The following remarks, suggested by experience, may, perhaps, be found useful.
When this book is used in schools, it is recommended that the lessons selected from it be learned simultaneously by small classes. An opportunity is thus afforded for giving that minute attention to the meaning and spirit of the poems which is an essential preparation for a just delivery, and for which otherwise, probably no time could be found. It