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good reading and repetition, and the invariable result of its presence is, benefit to the speaker, and pleasure and improvement to the listener. But how often such benefit is experienced in schools which profess to make this exercise a part of their programme, they best know who have gone most among them. The appointed portion is indeed glibly got over, but with so many verbal inaccuracies in little words, with so many substitutions of expressions which entirely destroy the rhythm of the line, and with such an ignorance of the value or principles of punctuation, as to subvert the meaning, or to change the point of the passage, and make the exercise neither pleasing nor instructive.
The effect of good, expressive, and intelligent reading is irresistible to every class of hearers. I have discovered more beauties in a passage of Shakspeare, a simple poetical narrative of Wordsworth, or even in an argumentative leader from the Times newspaper, when I have heard it read at sight by a student in a training college, or a well-trained pupil-teacher in his or her last years of service, than most people would be inclined to believe. I have seen this result produced between reader and hearer, when I should have imagined that there could be but little sympathy between them.
Now, this power of affecting others by means of our interpretation of an author's own words may be a gift resulting in the lowest sense from inere organic excellence, from a sensitive or responsive ear, or a well-pitched and melodious voice; but this is a rare accident. In general, the only sure basis of good and effective repetition or reading is that the writer's thought and expression shall be perfectly understood, and, as far as can , be, appreciated and sympathised with by him who is to deliver them to others. After all, in this, as in all other labours which demand success, toil alone crowns the work.
The Compiler of this Selection, having this truth in view, has done his duty, I venture to think, to all who may be disposed to use his book. The pieces are selected with the intention of interesting all who are to learn them by their
simplicity, novelty, and attractiveness. They have also been chosen with a view to their fitness for grammar lessons, and exercises in grammatical analysis. In order to carry out his idea successfully, it is recommended that before any piece be committed to memory, it should be made the subject of many lessons in grammar, be thoroughly manipulated, so to speak, parsed, paraphrased, and analysed, and then the committing to memory will be found to involve little or no exertion.
The Selection cannot fail to be of use in schools whose upper classes are able to attempt more than most of the Advanced Reading Books in circulation ; and I believe that in day-schools for boys and girls of the upper middle classes,' it will be found an excellent help to teachers in suggesting home lessons on English Literature, History, and even Geography.
This Selection may also, in my opinion, be of great use in schools of a higher class than those just mentioned ; or even in home schoolrooms. The extracts are taken from authors upon whose works every young lady or gentleman ought to be able to form an opinion. The time seems to be approaching when a competent knowledge of the literature of their own country, and especially of the best works of standard contemporary authors, shall be required of all who may have received an English education ; and this book, if carefully mastered and understood, may form a sufficient ground-work or introduction to such knowledge. I should be glad to see it in the hands, not only of all teachers and pupils who teach and learn English, but of all who care to know the spirit and tone of those minds which have swayed the thoughts, light or serious, of readers and thinkers of our own day.
LONDON: May 1866.
MERRICK, JAMES: 1720—1766.
GOLDSMITH, OLIVER: 1728—1774.
Description of Auburn
The Village Preacher-The Schoolmaster
WORDSWORTH, WILLIAM : 1770—1850.
Grace Darling . . . . . . . . . .
SIR WALTER: 1771-1832.
SOUTHEY, ROBERT: 17741843.
The Cataract of Lodore . . . . . . .
Napoleon and the Sailor ..
The Battle of the Baltic
LONGFELLOW, HENRY WADSWORTH : 1807.
The Wreck of the Hesperus
The Slave's Dream . . . . . .