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The object proposed in this selection has not been to give specimens of every poet, but to provide a book which may exalt and purify the taste of the reader. To cultivate the imagination is an important branch of education; and it is through poetry that the imagination may be most successfully reached. In aiming to give as much variety as possible to the volume, this higher object has never been lost sight of. It is to be regretted that the committing of the standard pieces of poetry to memory does not enter more generally into the plan of an English education; for, besides the beneficial effect already alluded to, to make our youth acquainted with Shakspeare and Milton, and Goldsmith and Wordsworth, is to teach them more to value the privileges of their birthright as Englishmen, and to furnish them with thoughts that may sweeten the drudgery of daily toil, and render them superior to the exciting and licentious literature of the present age. Among the lessons to be learnt out of school-hours, a portion of poetry should be given once or twice a-week in every school which pretends to provide an English education. The present volume has been prepared in reference to such a practice, as well as generally for the instruction and amusement of youth. And if there are some things in it which appear to be above the reach of the youthful understanding, it must be remembered that one object of poetry is to create an ideal world, which shall serve as a kind of set-off to the stern realities of this life, and repair the injuries which the mind is ever receiving from familiarity with selfishness and vice.
The Poor Blind Man of Sall