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SCHOOLS AND PRIVATE TUITION.
G. F. GRAHAM,
ENGLISH GRAMMAR," ETC., ETC
Facies non omnibus una.
BY HENRY REED, LT:D.,:::
THE NEW YORK
Entered, according to the Act of Congress, in the year 190,
By D. APPLETON & COMPANY, In the Clerk's Office of the District Court of the United States for tbe Souther
District of New York.
THE AMERICAN EDITION.
This treatise is republished and edited with the hope that it will be found useful as a text-book in the study of our own language. As a subject of instruction, the study of English tongue does not receive that amount of systematic attention which is due to it, whether it be combined or no with the study of the Greek and Latin. In the usual courses of education, it has no larger scope than the study of some rhetorical principles and practice and of grammatical rules, which, for the most part, are not adequate to the composite character and varied idiom of English speech. This is far from being enough to give the needful knowledge of what is the living language, both of our English literature and of the multiform intercourse—oral and written—of our daily lives. The language deserves better care and more sedulous culture; it needs much more to preserve its purity and to guide the progress of its life. The young, instead of having only such familiarity with their native speech practice without method or theory gives, should be so taught and trained as to acquire a habit of using words -whether with the voice or the pen—fitly and truly, intelligently and conscientiously.
For such training this book, it is believed, will prove serviceable. The • Practical Exercises,' attached to the explanations of the words, are conveniently prepared for the routine of instruction. The value of a course of this kind, regularly and carefully completed, will be more than the amount of information gained respecting the words that are explained. It will tend to produce a thoughtful and accurate use of language, and thus may be acquired, almost unconsciously, that which is not only a critical but a moral habit of mind—the habit of giving utterance to truth in simp clea" and precise terms of telling one's thoughts and feelings in words that express nothing more and nothing less. It is thus that we may learn how to escape the evils of vagueness, obscurity and perplexity—the manifold mischiefs of words used thoughtlessly and at random, or words used in ignorance and confusion.
In preparing this edition, it seemed to me that the value and literary interest of the book might be increased by the introduction of a series of illustrative authorities. It is in the addition of these authorities, contained within brackets under each title, and also of a general index to facilitate reference, that this edition differs from the original edition, which in other respects is exactly reprinted. I have confined my choice of authorities to poetical quotations, chiefly because it is in poetry that language is found in its highest purity and perfection. The selections have been made from three of the English Poets—each a great authority and each belonging to a different period, so that in this way some historical illustration of the language is given at the same time. The quotations from Shakspere (born A. D. 1564, died 1616) may be considered as illustrating the use of the words at the close of the 16th and beginning of the 17th century; those from Milton (born 1608, died 1674) the succeeding half century, or middle of the 17th century; and those from Wordsworth (born 1770) the contemporary use in the 19th century.
In an elementary book like this there was no occasion to introduce earlier illustrations from the immature periods of the language, and why Shakspere and Milton have been chosen as important authorities it cannot be necessary to explain. Why Wordsworth is placed by the side of them may be shown in the words of another, which I prefer using rather than my own :
“ Besides the power of Wordsworth's poetry to minister to a sense of the beauty of the world, both material and spiritual, there is a further advantage in it, still more directly connected with education. By no such great poet, besides Shakspere, has the English language been used with equal purity, and yet such flexible command of its resources. Spenser gives us too many obsolete forms, Milton too much unEnglish syntax, to make either of them available for the purpose of training the young of our country in the laws, and leading them to apprehend and revere the principles of their magnificent language. But in Wordsworth is the English tongue seen almost in its perfection; its powers of delicate expression, its flexible idioms, its vast compass, the rich variety of its rhythms, being all displayed in the attractive garb of verse, and yet with a most rigorous conformity to the laws of its own syntax. Those who know how much education must concern itself with man's distinctive organ, speech, will know also how to appreciate such a benefit as this.”—Preface to “ Select Pieces from the Poems of William Wordsworth.” London : 1845.
In the quotations I have endeavoured, whenever it was possible, to make choice of passages that might have an interest as words of wisdom or of poetic beauty, and often of both combined, and I should rejoice to think that these fragmentary specimens may allure the student to the willing and happy study of the great masters of English poetry—to feed his moral and intellectual being from their pages.
In transcribing the passages quoted, I have been not seldom painfully