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felections of excellent matter have lately been made for the benefit of young perfons. Performances of this kind are of fo great utility, that fresh productions of them, and new attempts to improve the young mind, vill fcarcely be deemed fuperfluous, if the writer make his compilation inftructive and interefting, and fufficiently diftinct from others.
The prefent work, as the title expreffes, aims at the attainment of three objects: to improve youth in the art of reading; to meliorate their language and fentiments; and to inculcate fome of the most important principles of piety and virtue.
The pieces felected, not only give exercife to a great variety of emotions, and the correfpondent tones and variations of voice, but contain fentences and members of fen. tences, which are diverfified, proportioned, and pointed with accuracy. Exercifes of this nature are, it is prefumed, well calculated to teach youth to read with propriety and effect. A felection of fentences, in which variety and proportion, with exact punctuation, have been carefully obferved, in all their parts as well as with refpect to one another, will probably have a much greater effect, in properly teaching the art of reading, than is commonly imagined. 7 In fuch conftructions, every thing is accommodated to understanding and the voice; and the common difficulties in learning to read well, are obviated. When the learner has acquired a habit of reading fuch fentences, with juftneís and facility, he will readily apply that habit, and the inprovements he has made, to fentences more complicated and irregular, and of a conftruction entirely different.
The language of the pieces chofen for this collection, has been carefully regarded. Purity, propriety, perfpicuity, I and, in many inftances, elegance of diction, diftinguish them. They are extracted from the works of the most correct and elegant writers. From the fources whence the fentiments
are drawn, the reader may expect to find them connected and regular, fufficiently important and impreffive, and divefted of every thing that is either trite or eccentric. The frequent perufal of fuch compofition, naturally tends to infufe a tafte for this fpecies of excellence; and to produce a habit of thinking, and of compofing, with judgment and. accuracy.*
That this collection may also ferve the purpose of promoting piety and virtue, the Compiler has introduced many extracts, which place religion in the moft amiable light; and which recommend a great variety of moral duties, by the excellence of their nature, and the happy effects which they produce. Thefe fubjects are exhibited in a ftyle and, manner, which are calculated to arrest the attention of youth; and to make strong and durable impreffions on, their minds.t
The Compiler has been careful to avoid every expreffion and fentiment, that might gratify a corrupt mind, or, in the leaft degree, offend the eye or ear of 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 fuch as are perfectly innocent; and if, on all proper occafions, they were encouraged to perufe thofe which tend to infpire a due reverence for virtue, and an abhorrence of vice, as well as o animate them with fentiments, of piety and goodness. Such impreffions deeply engraven on their minds, and connected with all their attainments, could fcarcely fail of attending them through life; and of producing a folidity of principle and character, that would be able to refift the danger arifing from future intercourfe with the world.
The Author has endeavoured to relieve the grave and
* The Grammatical Student, in his progrefs through this work, will meet with numerous instances of compofition, in strict comformity to the rules for promoting perfpicuous and elegant writing contained in the Appendix to the Author's English Grammar. By occafionally examining this conformity, he will be confirmed in the utility of thofe rules; and be enabled to apply them with ease and dexterity.
In fome of the pieces, the Compiler has made a few alterations, chiefly verbal, to adapt them the better to the defign of his work
ferious parts of his collection, by the occafional admiffion of pieces which amufe as well as inftruct. If, however, any of his readers should think it contains too great a proportion of the former, it may be some apology, to obferve that, in the existing publications defigned for the perufal of young perfons, the preponderance is greatly on the fide of gay and amafing productions. Too much attention may be paid to this medium of improvement. When the imagination, of youth efpecially, is much entertained, the fober dictates of the understanding are regarded with indifference; and the influence of the good affections, is either feeble, or tranfient. A temperate use of fuch entertainment feems therefore requifite, to afford proper fcope for the operations of the understanding and the heart.
The reader will perceive, that the Compiler has been folicitous to recommend to young perfons, the perufal of the facred Scriptures, by interfperfing through his work, fome of the most beautiful and interesting paffages of thofe invaluable writings. To excite an early tafte 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 occafion.
To improve the young mind, and to afford fome aflistance to tutors, in the arduous and important work of edu cation, were the motives which led to this production. If the Author fhould be fo fuccefsful as to accomplish thefe ends, even in a fmall 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 effential to a complete reader, that he minutely perceive the ideas, and enter into the feelings of the author, whofe fentiments he profeffes to repeat: for how is it poffible to reprefent clearly to others, what we have but faint or inaccurate conceptions of ourfelves? If there were no other benefits refulting from the art of reading well, than the neceffity it lays us under, of precisely afcertaining the meaning of what we read; and the habit thence acquired, of doing this with facility, both when reading filently and aloud, they would conftitute a fufficient com penfation for all the labour we can bestow upon the fubject. But the pleafure derived to ourselves and others, from a clear communication of ideas and feelings; and the frong and durable impreffions made thereby on the minds of the reader and the audience, are confiderations, which give additional importance to the ftudy of this neceffary and ufeful art. The perfect attainment 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 ftudent whofe aims fall fhort of perfection will find himfelf 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 neceffary paufes, emphasis, and tones, may be discovered and put in practice, is not poffible. After all the directions that can be offered on these points, mitch will remain to be taught by the living instructor: much will be attainable by no other means, than the force of example in
For many of the obfervations contained in this preliminary tract, the Author is indebted to the writings of Dr, Blair, and to the Encyclopadia Ezitannica,
fluencing the imitative powers of the learner. Some rules and principles on thefe heads will, however, be found ufeful, to prevent erroneous and vicious modes of utterance; to give the young reader some tafte of the fubject; and to affift him in acquiring a juft and accurate mode of delivery. The obfervations which we have' to make, for thefe purpofes, 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 muft endeavour to fill with his voice the fpace 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 affistance from art. Much depends, for this purpose, on the proper pitch and management of the voice. Every perfon has three pitches in his voice; the HIGH, the MIDDLE, and the Low one. The high, is that which he ufes in calling aloud to fome perfon at a distance. The low is, when he approaches to a whisper. The middle is, that which he employs in common converfation, and which he fhould generally ufe in reading to others. For it is a great miftake, 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, loudnefs or strength of found, with the key or note on which we fpeak. There is a variety of found within the compass of each key. Afpeaker may therefore render his voice louder, without altering the key and we fhall always be able to give moft body, molt perfevering force of found, to that pitch of voice, to which in converfation we are accuf tomed. Whereas by fetting out on our highest pitch or key, we certainly allow ourfelves lefs compafs, and are likely to ftrain our voice before we have done. We fhall fatigue ourselves, and read with pain; and whenever a perfon fpeaks with pain to himfelf, he is always heard with pain by his audience. (Let us therefore give the voice full