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WITH SHORT BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCHES,
NOTES EXPLANATORY AND CRITICAL:
A Text Book for the Higher Classes in Schools,
AND AS AN
INTRODUCTION TO THE STUDY OF ENGLISH LITERATURE.
BY JOSEPH PAYNE:
EDITOR OF “SELECT POETRY FOR CHILDREN."
“Poesy serveth and conferreth to magnanimity, morality, and to delectation."
THIRD EDITION, REVISED AND CORRECTED.
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 schools what 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.