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MLANY selections of excellent matter have lately been made for the benefit of young persons. Performances of this kind are of lo gre at utility, that fresh productions of them, and new attempts to improve the young mind, will scarcely be deemed fuperfluous, if the writer make his compilation instructive and interesting, and sufficiently distinct from others.
The present work, as the title exprcfies, aims at the ai. Stainment of three objects : io improve youth in the art of
reading; to meliorate their language and sentiments ; and - co inculcate some of the most important principles of piety and virtue.
The pieces selected, not only give exercise to a great Oo'variety of emotions, and the correspondent tones and variaoptions of voice, but contain sentences and members of sen.
tences, which are diversified, proportioned, and pointed with accuracy. Exercises of this nature are, it is presumed, well calculated to teach youth to read with propriety and effect. A selection of fentences, in which variety and proportion, with exact panctuation, have been carefully ob
ferved, in all their parts as well as with respect to one an? other, will probably have a much greater effect, in properly 9 teaching the art of reading, 'than is commonly imagined 1 In such constructions, every thing is accommodated to understanding and the voice ; and the common difficules: in learning to read well, are obviated. When the learn. has acquired a habit of reading such fentences, with justneís
and facility, he will readily apply that habit, and the iniŹ provements he has made, to sentences more complicated 1 and irregular, and of a construction entirely different.
The language of the pieces chosen for this collection, has been carefully regarded. Purity, propriety, perspicuity, and, in many instances, elegance of diction, distinguish them. They are extracted from the works of the most correct and elegant writers. From the sources whence the sentiments
are drawn, the reader may expect to find them connected and regular, fufficiently important and impreslive, and divested of every thing that is either trite or eccentric. The frequent perufal of such composition, naturally tends to infufe a taste for this fpecies of excellence ; and to produce a habit of thinking, and of componing, with judgment and accuracy. *
That this collection may also serve the purpose of promot. ing piety and virtue, the Compiler has introduced many. extracts, which place religion in the most amiable light; and which recommend a great variety of moral duties, by the excellence of their nature, and the happy effects which they produce. These subjects are exhibited in a style and, manner, which are calculated to arrest the attention of youth; and to make strong and durable impressions on their minds.
The Compiler has been careful to avoid every expression, and sentiment, that might gratify a corrupt mind, or, in the least degree, offend the eye or ear of w nocence. This he conceives to be peculiarly incumbent on every perfon who, writes for the benefit of youth. It would, indeed, be a great and happy improvement in education, if no writings were allowed to come under their notice, but such as are perfectly innocent; and if, on all proper occasions, they were encouraged to peruse those which tend to inspire a due reverence for virtue, and an abhorrence of vice, as well as. lo animate them with sentiments, of piety, and goodness. Such impreffions deeply engraven on their minds, and con. nected with all their attainments, could scarcely fail of attending them through life ; and of producing a solidity of principle and character, that would be able to resist the danger arising from future intercourse with the world.
The Author has endeavoured to relieve the grave and
* The Grammatical Student, in his progress through this work, will meet with numerous instances of composition, in strict comformity to the rules for promoting perspicuous and elegant writing contained in the Appendix to the Author's English Grammar. By occasionally examining this conformity, he will be confirmed in the utility of those rules ; and be enabled to apply them with ease and dexterity.
+ In some of the pieces, the Compiler has made a few alterations, chiefly verbal, to adapt them the better to the design of his work
Yerious parts of his collection, by the occasional admission of pieces which amuse as well as instruct. If, however, any of his readers should think it contains too great a proportion of the former, it may be some apology, to observe that, in the existing publications designed for the perufal of young persons, the preponderance is greatly on the side of gay and omafing productions. Too much attention may be paid to this medium of improvement. When the imagination, of youth especially, is much entertained, the sober dictates of the understanding are regarded with indifference ; and the influence of the good affections, is either feeble, or transiento A temperate we of such entertainment feer.s therefore req. uisite, to afford proper scope for the operations of the understanding and the heart.
The reader will perceive, that the Compiler has been folicitous to recommend to young persons, the perusal of the facred Scriptures, by interfperfing through his work, some of the most beautiful and interestiag palfages of those in valuable writings. To excite an early taste and veneration for this great rule of life, is a point of fo high importance, as to warrant the attempt to promote it on every proper occasion.
To improve the young mind, and to afford fome aflilt..s ance to tutors, in the arduous and important work of edir. cation, were the motives which led to this production. If the Author should be so successful as to accomplila thele ends, even in a small degree, he will think his time and pains well. employed, and himself amply rewarded.
OBSERVATIONS ON THE PRINCIPLES OF GOOD
To read with propriety is a pleasing and important attainment; productive of improvement both to the under: standing and the heart. It is essential to a complete reader, that he minutely perceive the ideas, and enter into the feel.
ings of the author, whose sentiments he professes to repeat : · for how is it poffible to represent clearly to others, what we have but faint or inaccurate conceptions of ourselves? If there were no other benefits resulting from the art of reading well, than the neceffity it lays us under, of precisely ascertaining the meaning of what we read; and the habit thence acquired, of doing this with facility, both when reading filently and aloud, they would constitute a sufficient compensation for all the labour we can bestow upon the subject. But the pleasure derived to ourselves and others, from a clear communication of ideas and feelings, and the frong and durable impressions made thereby on the minds of the reader and the audience, are consideration's, which give additional importance to the study of this necessary and useful art. The perfect aitainment of it doubtless requires great attention and practice, joined to extraordinary natural powers : but as there are many degrees of excellence in the art, the student whose aims fall short of perfection will find himself amply rewarded for every exertion he may think proper to make.
To give rules for the management of the voice in reading, by which the necessary pauses, emphasis, and tones, may be discovered and put in practice, is not poflible. After all the directions that can be offered on these points, mich will remain to be taught by the living instructor : much will be attainable by no other means, than the force of example in
NOTE. For many of the observations contained in this preliminary tract, the Author is indebted to the writings of Dr. Blair, and in the Encyclopa viu sitannica...
fluencing the imitative powers of the learner. Some rules and principles on these heads will, however, be found useful, to prevent erroneous and vicious modes of utter. ance; to give the young reader some taste of the subjeet ; and to allist him in acquiring a just and accurate mode of delivery. The obfervations which we have to make, for these purposes, may be comprised under the following heads : PROPER LOUDNESS OF VOICE ; DISTINCTNESS; SLOWNESS ; PROPRIETY OF PRONUNCIATION ; EMPHASIS ; TONES; RAUSES ; and MODE OF READING VERSE, 2 011, SECTION E.
* PROPER” LOUDNESS' OF Voicé. The first attention of every person who reads to others, doubtless, must be, to make himself be heard by all those to whom he reads. He must endeavour to fill with his voice the space occupied by the company. This power of voice, it may be thought, is wholly a natural talent. It is, in a 'good measure, the gift of nature ; but it may receive confiderable assistance from art. Much depends, for this pur. pose, on the proper pitch and management of the voice. Every person has three pitches in his voice ; the high, the MIDDLE, and the low one. The high, is that which he uses in calling aloud to fome person at a distance. The low is, when he approaches to a whisper. The middle is, that which he employs in common conversation, and which he fhould generally use in reading to others. For it is a great mistake, to imagine that one must take the highest pitch of his voice, in order to be well, heard in a large company, This is confounding two things which are different, loudness or strength of sound, with the key or note on which we speak. There is a variety of found within the compass of each key. A speaker may therefore render his voice louder, without altering the key : and we shall always be able to give most body, molt persevering force of found, to that pitch of voice, to which in conversation we are accuftomed. Whereas by setting out on our highelt pitch or key, we certainly allow ourselves less compass, and are likely to strain our voice before we have done. We shall fatigue ourselves, and read with pain; and whenever a person speaks with pain to himself, he is always heard with pain by his audience. (Let ús therefore give the voice fu!!