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In fuch constructions, every thing is accommodated to the understanding and the voice; and the common difficulties in Jearning to read well, are obviated. When the learner has acquired a habit of reading such sen. tonces, with jufiness and facility, he will readily apply that habit, and the improvements he has made, to sentences more complicated 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 iniiances, 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, fuffis ciently important and impressive, and divested of every thing that is either trite or eccentric. The frequent perusal of fichiepimpolition, naturally tends to infuse a taste for this species.of esrellence; and to produce a habit of thinking, door de riding, with judgment
That this collection may also serve the purpose of pron:oting piety and virtue, the Compiler has intro
** The Grammatical Student, in his progress through this work, will me«t with nur.erous instances of compofition, in Nrict conformnity to the rules for promoting perfpicuous and el.gant wiiting, contained in the Appendix to the Author's English Grammar. By occasionally examining this confoimity, he will be confirmed in the uulity of those rules; and be enabled to apply them with ease and dexterily.
duced 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*.
m the From eader
· 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 innocence. This he conceives to be peculiarly incumbent on every person who writes for the benefit of. youth. It would, indeed, be a great and happy improvement in education, if nö writings were allowed to come under their notice, but such as are perfectly innocent; and if, on all proper occafions, they were encouraged to peruse those which tend to inspire a due reverence for virtue, and an abhorrence of vice, as well as to animate them with sentiments of piety and goodness. Such impressions deeply engraven on their minds, and connected 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 intercourle with the world.
The Author has endeavoured to relieve the grave and serious parts of his collection, by the occasional
* In some of the pieces, the Compiler has made a few al. terations, chiefly verbal, to adapt then the better to the design of his work.
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 perusal of young persons, the preponderance is greatly on the side of gay and amusing productions. Too much attention may be paid to this medium of improvement. When the imagination, of youth especially, is much entertained, the fober dic. tates of the understanding are regarded with indifference; and the influence of the good affections, is either feeble, or transient. A temperate use of such entertainment seems therefore requisite, to afford proper scope for the operations of the understanding and the heart.
The reader will perceive, that the Compiler has been solicitous to recommend to young persons, the perusal of the facred Scriptures, by interspersing through his work, some of the most beautiful and interesting passages of those invaluable writings. To excite an early taste and veneration for this great rule of life, is a point of so high importance, as to warrant the attempt to promote it on every proper occasion.
To improve the young mind, and to afford some affistance to tutors, in the arduous and important work of education, were the motives' which led to this pro. duction. If the Author should be fo fuccefsful as to accomplish these 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 underftanding and the heart. It is essential to a complete reader, that he minutely perceive the ideas, and enter into the feelings, of the author whose sentiments he professes to repeat: for how is it possible 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 necessity 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 fufficient compensation for all the labour we can bestow upon the subject. But the pleasure derived to ourselves and others, froin a clear communication of ideas and feelings; and the strong and durable impressions made thereby on the minds of the reader and the audience, are confiderations, which give additional importance to the ftudy of this necessary and useful art. The perfect attain
Note. For many of the observations contained in this preliminary tract, the Author is indebted to the writings of Dr. Blair, and to the Encyclopædia Britannica.
ment 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 sort of perfection, will find himself amply reward. ed 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 possible. After all the directions that can be offered on these points, much will remain to be taught by the living instructer : much will be attainable by no other means, than the force of example: influencing 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 utterance; to give the young reader fome taste of the subject; and to assist him in acquiring a just and accurate mode of delivery. The observations 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 ; PAUSES; and MODE OF READING VERSE.
Proper Loudness of Voice, 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 con· fiderable assistance from art. Much depends, for this pur