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In adding another to the numerous Poetical Selections which have already appeared for the use of schools and young persons, the Compiler feels that he is called upon to explain the motives that have induced him to intrude himself on the notice of the public. He would, therefore, briefly state, that in the course of his practice, as an instructor of youth, he has often been led to consider, notwithstanding the popularity several Selections have obtained, that a work, which, while it did not exclude those favourite passages already familiar to general readers, and esteemed as choice subjects for Elocutionary Exercises, at the same time embraced some of the most valuable specimens of our living poets, was still a desideratum. For though the productions of the most admired writers of our age may be read, and appreciated by many, yet from their almost entire omission from our Class-Book Collections, it can hardly be considered that they are nearly as extensively circulated as they deserve. This is more especially the case with the Poems of Thomas Campbell, Esq., and James Montgomery, Esq., from which, it may be observed, many selections appear in the present volume. Justly entitled as these gifted individuals are to the rare praise of having written "No line, which dying, they need wish to blot," the Compiler has not the vanity to believe that his encomiums can add to their already-acquired Fame; yet, as he has presumed to make such copious Extracts from their Writings, with the view of inducing young persons to seek an acquaintance with the whole of their works, he cannot omit to tender them his best acknowledgments; and to the former especially he would add his heartfelt thanks, for the condescending manner in which he was pleased to accept the proffered dedication of this little work.
Though the Compiler's first design was to supply, what appeared to him a deficiency in school books, and thus furnish his own pupils with the Beauties of English Poetry in every variety of style that might be useful in forming their literary taste; yet he submits the result of his labours to the public, cherishing a hope, that, from the gradational plan pursued, and the suitability of the Pieces for the purpose of Recitation, this Compilation will be found to meet the wants of those Tutors who prefer the use of one Selection to more; while by others it may be deemed no unacceptable Companion to those Class Books already in use. He would add, in conclusion, that while he has aimed to collect together a Nosegay of the choicest flowers, culled from many a garden, and has plucked here and there a few simples for the sake of variety, he trusts the most scrutinizing eye will detect no poison lurking beneath.
Dane John Academy,
Canterbury, Aug. 1st, 1838.