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P R E F A C
"HE charms of Poetry have been felt by mankind in all ages.
So highly were the ancients enamoured of this art, that with them the Poet was a facred character; and they spake of the Muses as the offspring of Jupiter himself.
And as the pleasure derived from Poetry is founded on that sense of fublimity, beauty, and harmony, which is natural to the mind of man, it will always meet with admirers, while, in the words of one of the elegant authors of The Guardian, it can meet with “ a heart tender and
generous, a heart that can swell with the joys, or be depressed with "the misfortunes of others; a heart large enough to receive the
greatest ideas nature can suggest, and delicate enough to relish the " most beautiful; that is capable of entering into all those subtle
graces, and all that divine elegance, the enjoyment of which is to be “ felt only, and not expressed.”
To young minds especially, whose susceptibility is not destroyed, and who are alive to the pleasing impressions of nature and fancy, it yields a. charming repaft, while (to cite the same author again) “ it leads them " through flowery meadows or beautiful gardens, refreshes them with “ cooling breezes or delicious fruits, soothes them with the murmur of "waters or the melody of birds; or else conveys them to the court and
camp, dazzles their imagination with crowns and sceptres, embattled " hosts
, or heroes thining in burnished steel.” It would, therefore, be allowable to encourage a taste for Poetry in young persons, were it only capable of affording them these innocent delights.
But Poetry may be successfully employed as the vehicle of instruction, as well as pleasure.
From the earliest periods its language has been made use of, not only in describing the beauties of nature, the pleasures of innocence, and the emotions of love, but in exciting to virtuous and heroic actions, and in ftonveying historical, political, and religious instruction. And it has Poften been found a successful instrument in fixing impressions on young minds, when precepts dressed in a less alluring form could not engage their attention.
It is to an acquaintance with the Muses, likewise, that most of those characters who have attained to any considerable eminence in polite literature, have acknowledged themselves chiefly indebted for the graces and recommendations of fine writing; for liveliness and strength of
imagination, variety and force of language, as well as the noblest sentiments and reflections.
The design of the present compilation is, to supply young persor.s, in the course of a school education, with a greater variety of English poetry than has ever yet been published in one volume, and at an expence that is comparatively trifling and inconsiderable.
The poets from whose works the extracts have been taken are, many of them, the most celebrated which this country has produced ; and others sustain no mean rank in the lists of fame. In borrowing from them, the same freedom is used as has been observed in former collections: and in many instances, where the plan would admit of it, such poems as have received the stamp of universal approbation are inserted entire.
Particular care has at the same time been taken, to admit of nothing into this collection but what is calculated for improvement, or for innocent recreation. As the bees, to borrow a comparison from St. Basil, do not dwell upon every sort of flowers, and even from those they fix upon draw only what is of service for the composition of their precious liquid, the Editor has endeavoured to follow their example : and as in gathering roses we take care to avoid the thorns, he has been careful to gather only, from the authors to whose works he has had recourse, what may be useful and entertaining, without touching any thing that is pernicious.
The first book is composed of pieces on facred and moral subjects : the second, of didactic, descriptive, narrative, and pathetic pieces.
The third book contains extracts from our best dramatic writers, and particularly Shakspeare, of whose works the last edition, by Mr. Malone, has been closely followed.
To the fourth book, which is epic and miscellaneous, the works of Spenser, Milton, and Pope have largely contributed.
The fifth book consists principally of ludicrous poeins, epigrams, songs, ballads, prologues, epilogues, and various other little pieces intended for amusement and diverfion.
As such a great variety has unavoidably swelled this work to a very considerable size, it has been thought proper, in the same manner as in the Extracts in Prose, to insert a new title page nearly in the middle, that it may be bound in one, or in two volumes, according to the with of the purchasers.
Hymn for Morning
ib. 15 Good Resolutions
Oa tke Godness of the Supreme Being
Fables from Wilkie, Whitehead, Cotion,
Mrs. Barbauld sc | Pain arising from Virtuous Emotions, 8c. Akujiude 138
Effay on Criticism
ib. 180 The Triumphs of Owen
Prologue to Cato
ib. 194 The Fairy's Answer Countefs of C--- 42 I
Ellay on Man
ib. 199 Ode to Mirth
ib. 299 Monody to the Memory of a young Lady Shaw 44+
Drgden & Buckingbam 301 An Evening Address to a Nightingale
Weft 315 On the Employments of what is called an Idle
An Address to Winter
Cowper 317 The Poft comes in, &c.
Gay 340 Ode to the Genius of Shakspeare
de sent to a Friend
ib, 396 Great Cities, and London in particular, allowed
Art of Preferring Health
their due Praise
je on the Spring
Gray-414 The Want of Difciplin the English Univer-
Die on the Death of a Favourite Cat
Dryden 109 In what Manner Princes ought to be taught Mallet 164
Despair never to be indulged
Retent of Ajas