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EXERCISES IN READING AND SPEAKING.
FOR THE HIGHER CLASSES
PUBLIC AND PRIVATE SCHOOLS.
BY SALEM TOWN, L. L. D.
SANBORN & CARTER,
HARVARD COLLEGE LIBRARY
CHARLES HERBERT THURBER
Entered according to Act of Congress, in the year 1847, by
In the Clerk's Office of the District Court of the District of Maine.
IMPROVEMENT is characteristic of the present age; and especially is this true in respect to the preparation of school books. The author, therefore, has no apology to offer, for presenting this revised edition of his former Third Reader, with its present title, except that he desired to make such additions and improvements as would be calculated to render it more permanently useful. That philosophy which teaches us to follow in the beaten path, because it is most familiar, is erroneous; since its tendency is to put an end to all progress in knowledge.
A primary object, in presenting this work, has been to furnish a thorough and systematic course of reading, and to lead our youth to a more careful and critical study of its principles. The author believes that reading is a science founded upon principles peculiar to the constitution of man- that the principles of good reading are as unchangeable as those of the natural sciences. If, therefore, these principles are not perfectly understood and correctly applied, it is not from any imperfection in them, but from a want of knowledge and experience on our part.
As aids in carrying out the plan of this book, the most popular works upon elocution have been consulted. The first part consists of rules and observations, with pertinent and copious examples to illustrate them. These are presented in as clear and brief a manner as possible, so as not to weary the learner by their prolixity, nor embarrass him by their philosophical minuteness.
The course commences at the very foundation of elocution- the elementary sounds of the language-and gradually advances through all the departments of vocal culture, to the most intricate principles of elegant reading and speaking.
The views of Dr. Porter, the great pioneer in this department of learning, and author of the Rhetorical Reader, have generally been adopted, while, at the same time, the deficiencies found in that excellent work-which doubtless would have been supplied, had the author lived-have not been overlooked in this.
The subject of expression, which is very often omitted in reading books, is nade a prominent topic, and such principles have been presented, and
examples selected, as it is thought, cannot fail to show how much beauty and force may be given to reading by a proper expression, adapted to the sentiment of the language which is read.
The correct reading of poetry is so important an attainment—indeed, so elegant an accomplishment, and so frequently neglected, or, if attended to, so imperfectly understood — that the author has made it a subject of special attention, and entered briefly into its metrical structure. By a little study, the learner may become familiar with the most common forms of English verse, and by a little exercise in scanning it, be able to appreciate all the beauties of harmonic compositions.
In order to make a more general application of the rules, the second part is composed of selections embracing a great variety of style, from the simple, unimpassioned narrative, to that of the most dignified and sublime. These selections offer choice exercises for almost every kind of modulation'; and frequent reference is also made from them, to the rules in the first part, by which the most essential elocutionary principles are drawn out, and impressed on the mind.
Another object, in presenting this work, has been a desire to improve the literary taste of the learner, to impress correct moral principles, and augment his fund of knowledge. The selections have been made from the best writers in the langu ge, and are distinguished for elegance of diction and classical style. Every expression which would have a tendency to vitiate the taste, has been rejected.
It is believed, also, that the moral sentiment of the pieces is of the highest order. The English Reader, a book preeminent for purity of style and sentiment, has, in this respect, been imitated.
Care has been taken to explain by notes, at the bottom of the page, all difficult terms, historical and classical allusions, and proper names. It is presumed that many advantages will be derived from these, both on account of the historical information they contain, and as affording a better understanding of what is read. Indeed, it is in vain to think of reading any piece well, without an understanding of the subject. S. TOWN.
NOTE TO TEACHERS. As to the manner of using this work, every teacher will of course exercise his own judgment. The author, however, would suggest, that the class, on taking it up, commence with part first, and carefully study the definition and rules of each chapter, with the examples under them; at the same time, further illustrating each rule separately, by the general exercises following the chapter in which the rule is found.