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IN compiling "Select Poetry for Children," the Editor's aim was to assist in laying the foundation of a pure and just taste, by interesting the mind, at an early age, in poetry of a superior order -high-toned, beautiful, simple, but not childish. The success which that little volume has met with induces him to believe that the object was, in some degree, appreciated. The present work is intended to supply materials, in the specimens themselves, for the higher cultivation of the youthful taste; and by brief explanatory and critical annotations on particular passages, to develop their spirit and beauty, and to make the learning of poetry in schoolswhat it has hitherto but rarely been-a valuable auxiliary to the study of our mother tongue. Such a study as is here indicated involves, however, not merely an acquaintance with the general meaning of words and their grammatical relations, but a nice investigation into their origin and history-the vicissitudes they have undergone, and their present significance and power. Inquiries of this kind cannot, of course, be extensively pursued at school, but it is well to arouse the pupil to a sense of their importance, and thus prepare his mind for that sympathy with noble thoughts displayed in exquisite language, which is productive of some of our purest enjoyments. The more general diffusion, moreover, of good taste by means of early cultivation, would probably so elevate the public standard as to suppress entirely such offences as are now frequently committed against it.
The work now offered to the candid consideration of parenta and teachers is divided into two parts:-the first consisting of miscellaneous poems and extracts; the second, of poems and extracts from the highest class of English poets, chronologically arranged from Chaucer to Burns, showing the progress of the language, and accompanied by short biographical notices and remarks on the spirit and style of each author.
The specimens given in the second part will be found ample and characteristic. Those from Chaucer and Spenser occupy nearly forty pages, and are printed in the original spelling, in order to give a genuine impression of their style. The appended notes will remove every difficulty arising from the obsoleteness of much of the diction.
It is only necessary to add, that the extracts from the works of Campbell, Shelley, and Wordsworth, are inserted by the obliging permission of the proprietors of the respective copyrights.
Dying Boy, the
Dying Gladiator, the
Dying Mother and her Babe, the
Elegy written in a Country Churchyard
End of all Earthly Glories
Epistle to Joseph Hill, Esq.
1. On a Young Lady.
2. On the Countess of Pembroke
Sir H. Wotton