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" legant. Instructive and Entertaining
() in POETRY;)
DISPOSED'UÒDER PROPER MÈADI,
Hac Studia (dolescentiam alunt, Senectutem oblectant; secundas res
sC*Bent,fcatchedd el temor,Myime, Wilkelowndes,iranse Kaarsley.
HÈ charms of Poetry have been felt by mankind in all ages.
So highly were the ancients enamoured of this art, that with them the Poet was a sacred character; and they spake of the Muses as the offspring of Jupiter himself.
And aš the pleasure derived from Poetry is founded on that sense of fublimity, beauty, and harmony, which is natural to the mind of man, , it will always meet with admirers, while, in the words of one of the elegant authors of The Guardian, it can meet with “ a heart tender and
generous, a heart that can swell with the joys, or be depressed with "the inisfortunes of others ; a heart large enough to receive the
greatest ideas nature can suggest, and delicate enough to relish the "most beautiful; that is capable of entering into all those subtle
graces, and all that divine elegance, the enjoyment of which is to be " felt only, and not expressed."
To young minds especially, whose susceptibility is not destroyed, and who are alive to the pleasing impressions of nature and fancy, it yields a charming repast, while (to cite the same author again) “ it leads them
ihrough flowery meadows or beautiful gardens, refreshes them with
cooling breezes or delicious fruits, soothes them with the murmur of “ waters or the melody of birds; or else conveys them to the court and “ camp, dazzles their imagination with crowns and fceptres, embattled "hosts, or heroes shining in burnished steel.”
It would, therefore, be allowable to encourage a taste for Poetry in young persons, were it only capable of affording them these innocent delights.
But Poetry may be successfully employed as the vehicle of instruction, as well as pleasure.
From the earliest periods its language has been made use of, not only in describing the beauties of nature, the pleasures of innocence, and the emotions of love, but in exciting to virtuous and heroic actions, and in conveying historical, political, and religious instruction. And it has often been found a successful instrument in fixing impressions on young minds, when precepts dressed in a less alluring form could not engage their attention.
It is to an acquaintance with the Muses, likewise, that most of those characters who have attained to any considerable eminence in police literature, have acknowledged themselves chiefly indebted for the graces and recommendations of fine writing; for liveliness and strength of A 2
0! imagination, variety and force of language, as well as the noblest fentiments and reflections.
The design of the present compilation is, to supply young persors, in 195 the course of a school education, with a greater variety of English poetry than has ever yet been published in one volume, and at an expence that is comparatively trifling and inconsiderable.
The poets from whose works the extracts have been taken are, many of them, the most celebrated which this country has produced ; and others sustain no mean rank in the lists of famę.' In borrowing from them, the same freedom is used as has been observed in former collections: and in many instances, where the plan would admit of it, such poems as have received the stamp of universal approbation are inserted entire.
Particular care has at the same time been taken, to admit of nothing into this collection but what is calculated for improvement, or for innocent recreation. As the bees, to borrow a comparison from St. Bafil, do not dwell upon every sort of flowers, and even from those they fix upon draw only what is of service for the composition of their precious liquid, the Editor has endeavoured to follow their example: and as in gathering roses we take care to avoid the thorns, he has been careful to gather only, from the authors to whose works he has had recourse, what may be useful and entertaining, without touching any thing that is pernicious.
The first book is composed of pieces on facred and moral subjects : the second, of didactic, descriptive, narrative, and pathetic pieces.
The third book contains extracts from our best dramatic writers, and particularly Shakspeare, of whose works the last edition, by Mr. Malone, has been closely followed.
To the fourth book, which is epic and miscellaneous, the works of Spenser, Milton, and Pope have largely contributed.
The fifth book courts principally of ludicrous poems, epigrams, songs, ballads, prologues, epilogues, and various other little
intended for amusement and diverfion.
As such a great variety has unavoidably swelled this work to a very considerable size, it has been thought proper, in the same manner as in the Extracrs in Prose, to insert a new title page nearly in the middle, that it may be bound in onc, or in two volumes, according to the with of the purchafers.