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MORRIS ROBINSON, Efq.
A SPIRITED independency of conduct, in
Parliament, having, hitherto been the only cause of your engaging public attention, it may at first be thought ftrange that I fhould request your patronage of these sheets; but when the reader is informed of the very confiderable taste you poffefs for all the delicate beauties of English poefy, and that you are not only an admirer but a favourite of the Muses, I am perfuaded he will think with me, that. the name I have chofen is fuitably prefixed to a book of the prefent description.
Being well acquainted with the liberality of your fentiments, I cannot help entertaining an opinion that every well-intended attempt which comes to your knowledge is fure to meet with your approbation, if not with fome portion of your fupport. The prefent being one that has for its object the giving to metrical compofitions the force, harmony,
and animation of which they are fufceptible, by the affiftance of a juft, graceful, and feeling deli. very, muft, I think, profeffing fuch intentions, ftand a fair chance of attracting at leaft your notice. With this impreffion on my mind, what need I fay more (being determined not to infult your understanding by fulfome adulation, or debafe my own by offering it, however ufual on thefe occafions) than exprefs my hopes that the work before you may not prove unworthy the distinguished favour it folicits, and that the fhortnefs of this addrefs may in fome degree be confidered as a compenfation for its intrusion.
I am, Sir,
With the greateft refpect,
Your moft obedient
And very humble Servant,
NOTWITHSTANDING the numerous at
tempts that have been made, to facilitate the Art of Reading and Speaking, I do not find that our improvement has been commenfurate to the labour of those who have endeavoured to effect it. To afcertain the caufe of this deficiency, I have frequently revolved the subject in my mind; and, in perusing the various fyftems of ftudy which have been laid down as neceffary for the fcholar, I difcovered but little novelty in them, and that the writer of each has nearly followed the fteps of his predeceffor, without trying to explore a new path which might lead to a mode of inftruction more pleafing than a dry method of theoretical forms and precepts hitherto attended with little advantage to the reader. After fo many unsuccessful trials to teach by rule the fubject before us, it is far from being a matter of astonishment
that an entire new plan is now offered to the public, for the purpose of inftructing youth in the delightful talent of reading English verfe with propriety, and thus contributing, in a great meafure, to their melioration in elocution in general.
The fetting down a certain number of rules without elucidating their propriety by immediate fubfequent examples, has hitherto been one cardinal defect in treatifes of this kind.-That the fcholar fhould have a knowledge of fome of thofe leading precepts in speaking, which are founded on nature and reafon, cannot be denied; but thefe alone will. be far from rendering him a proficient in the art. He will find, from experience, that a trifling paufe, accompanied by a fuitable look and inflection of tone, at certain places, either attended to, or neglected, will give a kind of captivating ornament to a line, or perhaps completely destroy its true meaning and effect; and that the greatest beauties in the delivery of a fentence depend fo much upon such simple graces of expreffion, look, and manner, as will at once convince him of the impoffibility of their being gained by methodical inftruction, or taught by any regular fyftem whatever. As one way of coming to this point of perfection, it is intended, in the following pages,