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PIECES IN PROSE AND POETRY,
SELECTED FROM THE BEST WRITERS,
DESIGNED TO ASSIST YOUNG PERSONS TO READ WITH
PROPRIETY AND EFFECT:
TO IMPROVE THEIR
LANGUAGE AND SENTIMENTS;
AND TO INCULCATE SOME OF THE MOST
IMPORTANT PRINCIPLES OF
PIETY AND VIRTUE.
Wüh a few Preliminary Observations
ON THE PRINCIPLES OF GOOD READING.
BY LINDLEY MURRAY,
Author of "English Grammar, adapted to the different
BRINTED AND PUBLISHED BT
MANY selections of excellent matter have lately be for the benefit of young persons. Performances of this are of so great uility, that fresh productions of thein, Bew attempts to improve the young mind, will scarcely be deemed superfluous, if the writer makes iris compilation instructive and interesting, and sufficiently distinct from others.
The present work, as the title expresses, aims at the attainment of three objects; to improve youth in the art of reading; to meliorate their language and sentiments; and to inculcate some of the most important principles of piety and virtue.
The pieces selected; not only give exercise to a great variety of emotions, and the correspondent tones and variations of voice, but contain sentences and members of sentences, which are diversified, proportioned, and pointed with accu Kacy. Exercises of this nature are, it is presumed, well calGuiated to teach youth to read with propriety and effect.— A selection of sentences, in which variety and proportion with exact punctuation, have been carefully observed in all their parts as well as with respect to one another, will prob ably have a much greater effect, in properly teaching the art of reading, than is commonly imagined. In such constructions, every thing is accomodated to the understanding and the voice; and the common difficulties of learning to read well are obviated. When the learner has acquired a habit of reading such sentences with justness 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, perspecuity, and in many instances, 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, sufficiently important and impressive, are divested of every thing that is either trite or eccentric. The frequent perusal of such composition, naturally tends to infuse a taste for this species of excellence; and to produce a habit of thinking, and of composing, with judgment and accuracy.
That this collection may also serve the purpose of pro moting piety and virtue, the Compiler has introduced many
extracts which place religion in the most amiable light; ant 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.
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 no writings were allowed to come under their notice, but such as are perfectly innocent; and if on all proper occasions they were encour aged to peruse those which tend to inspire a due reverence for virtue, and an abhorrence of yice, as well as to animate them with sentiments of piety and goodness. Such impres sions deeply engraven on their minds, and connected with all their attainments, could scarcely fail of atieuding them through Me and of producing a solidity of principle and character hat would be able to resist the danger arising from future intercourse with the world.
The Author has endeavored to relieve the grave and seious parts of his collection by the occasional 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 per rons, 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 sober dictates of the understanding are regarded with indifference; and the Inquence 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 scBeitous to recommend to young persons the perusal of the sered Scriptures, by interspersing through his work, some. of the most beautiful and interesting passages of these inYaualle writings,
7. Diffidence of our abilities, a mark of wisdom