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Southern District of New-York, ss.
“ Poetry for Schools; designed for Reading and Recitation, The whole selected from the best poets in the English language. By the Author of American Popular Lessons.
Not marble, nor the gilded monuments
Of princes, shall outlive this powerful rhyme.'”
F. J. BETTS,
THE superfluity of school-books which already exists, seems to make any further multiplication of them absurd, unless new ones should be better than the old; and it is somewhat presumptuous to suppose that a better than so many existing compilations can be furnished but as an instructer of
young persons, I have felt the want of elementary books different from those in common use, and therefore I have composed them.
All that is new to a pupil stands in need of illustration, for without it his mind is rather overburthened than enriched by his acquirements. Oral instruction may furnish an enlightened commentary upon what is contained in school-books; still it would diminish the labour of instruction if school-books themselves should not only afford the principal matter of instruction, but lead the young to inquiry, and supply the helps which the understanding requires in order to make the finest writers intelligible, and it appears to me that ordinary school-books are wholly deficient in this respect.
It is a matter of self-gratulation to many, that they were early made acquainted with the finest passages of English poetry, that these passages were safely stored in the memory before the imagination or the heart could be affected by their beauty, and that, when the higher powers have been cultivated in after life, they could discover their inspiration and enjoyments to have grown not only from nature but knowledge.
This is certainly true of many who have read Shakspeare and Milton as tasks, or because they loved the sound of their words-and that this fondness for the sound of poetry or eloquence does exist in young minds, before the subjects of either can be comprehended, may sometimes be observed. The writer has seen a boy of seven years listen to the pages of Burke with fixed and delighted attention, and has known a little girl two years younger as much excited and gratified by the reading of fine poetry—yet in both instances it was not a genuine comprehension of beauty, but an influence of sympathetic affection. A parent's tastes, and animated pleasure, imparted this lively interest to the full-toned periods of the orator, and the magic numbers of the poetand these early indications of taste and enthusi
The greater part of young per
asm are rare.